Improv Review: Competitive Comedy at National Comedy Theatre Phoenix

It’s a cool night in Mesa, AZ.  The audience fills into the theatre of capacity 118.  The referee explains the rules and the games begin.  The first game, titled, Schoolyard Insults, involves players hurling put downs at each other trying to include the secret word which their teammates are miming to them.  One of the audience suggestions was ambulate, which the referee remarks is probably a made up word, or is what ambulances do.  In fact, ambulate means to walk or move about.  Amazingly, the word is guessed correctly just by adding shorter sounds together.

Later on, they ask the crowd for a suggestion of a major life change for the game, Timeline.  I yell out “moving out of the country!”  The ref asks why and I respond that my wife lives there.  My family erupts with laughter as I am impersonating my brother.  Thus, it is difficult to refrain from laughing as they ask further follow ups.  The improvised scene is especially hilarious to us as they interpret Skype calls and life in Australia.

The next game involves one player guessing the activities being explained by their teammates using gibberish.  Through audience suggestions, he has to figure out they are playing Quidditch on toasters chasing Oprah Winfrey on the Death Star.  You’d have to be there understand the hilarity of this routine and how amazing it is that he was able to guess it correctly.

In review, the first half was much funnier than the second half.  This is likely because it involved longer scenes where relationships and plot could be fully realized while the second half had more games where the concept ran stale a while before the game completed.  Overall, it was a great night out and I would highly recommend that everyone goes to see an improv show and take one of their workshops as well!

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