With England on course to hit the next stage of the post-lockdown roadmap on May 17th we are extremely hopeful that live shows will return from the end of this month! We are delighted to announce you can now book tickets for ComedySportz and ComedySportz 4 Tots on 29th May 2021 at Waterside Arts, Sale.
ComedySportz is the all action, all improvised competitive comedy show for all ages you don’t want to miss! Our teams are ready to go for comedy gold with unscripted gags and games inspired by your suggestions. They’ve sharpened their wits and ironed their kits for what promises to be a fantastic return to live shows. Who wins? YOU decide!
We are making some temporary changes to keep shows fun and safe for players and audience alike. You can find out more about some of the changes we’re making in the video below:
We will continue to follow government guidelines as they are updated and may put additional measures in place before the show. The venue will also have their own COVID safety measures in place – you can find out more about these when booking or by contacting box office directly. After booking you will receive an email from Waterside detailing the safety measures in place for the show. In the unfortunate event that our May show is unable to go ahead you will be able to transfer your tickets to future shows or get a refund.
Not ready to return to live shows yet? We’re continuing our online shows on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 7pm BST (schedule may change as more venues open up with more live shows returning). Subscribe to our youtube channel today and never miss a show!
If you’ve been watching BBC’s fun new show This Is My House, you might have spotted a familiar face! Dalu joined ComedySportz at the start of 2020 and was about to have his first live show with us when lockdown was announced. Below he reflects on his journey into comedy and shares some of the lessons and advice he has learned over the last two years.
My Journey through comedy has been a great experience within the last 2 years. It initially started with me continually acting like a clown and telling bad jokes at home. My wife having had enough of my poor jokes, decided for Christmas 2019 to get me a place on the Beginning Stand Up coursewith ComedySportz Manchester.
My tutor was John Cooper a great tutor who gave us insight on the important factors of stand-up both in theory and practical application, it was brilliant meeting new people I still to this day maintain a relationship with. At the end of the course there was a showcase to which we all performed a 5-7 min stand up gig, from there we as a group continued to do stand-up gigs across Manchester and support one another within chasing the dream, which was really nice to do feeling like you’re not alone chasing something, whilst also learning and developing with others.
I have always enjoyed acting from a young age, and for many years left that dream to pursue the corporate ladder, and at 35 the itch returned with full effect. At the time I was taking the stand up course I was also in a play with my church developing acting foundations, skills and experience. And by Spring 2019 I was completely back in love with performance so I requested as a birthday present the Comedysportz Foundation Improv course, which I thoroughly enjoyed as I got to combine the elements of performance I enjoy most, comedy, improv and storytelling.
Comedy Improv has taught me a number of things:
Follow your instinct – allow for your natural self to come out.
Character development and commitment- focusing on what makes the character unique.
Allow your mind to wonder- in adulthood we are taught to constrict thoughts, ideas and dreams. Improv allows you to completely do the opposite of that. It helped me embrace my inner child again 😊
For those who are not sure improv is for them I would say, ‘what have you got to lose’? The course is 6 weeks of fun, frolics and a great chance to make a good bunch of friends with similar interests.
The improv course helped in all aspects of my life; in my day job, in my presentation and communication skills, in team working and developing ideas outside the box. For 6 weeks of fun in a safe workshop environment it certainly will help anyone in need of a confidence booster.
As a performer it really helped me refresh, refine and learn so much more about delivery, timing, engagement with audiences and thinking on the spot. Without ComedySportz Manchester, and of course my wife, I wouldn’t have been complete in the last year.
Whilst everyone’s journey is different these skills have allowed me to pursue my dream career. So far I have said “Yes, And” to:
5 paid web infomercials/commercials.
2 Voice over roles
Over 100 online shows – as a member of ComedySportz now
Two episodes of BBC One’s new game show This Is My House (where the casting criteria was specifically for ‘Improv Actors’)
I’m plotting to write a sitcom, with another new friend I met via ComedySportz courses.
Whatever your reasons for taking an Improv course, do it – it might just change your life!
Inspired by Dalu’s story? We still have a couple of spaces left on our next Online Foundation Improv Course. It’s a great way to build confidence, get creative and make new connections. Whilst we can’t guarantee that everyone who completes the course will get to appear on a prime time BBC One show (we really can’t), we can guarantee lots of fun! And you don’t need a performance background or desire to be on stage or screen, like Dalu says, learning improv skills allows you to develop communication and confidence whatever your background or reason for taking the course. The next course starts Thursday 8th April – book now!
To mark Dalu’s TV appearance we devised a ref challenge inspired by This Is My House. We have online shows every Wednesday and Saturday at 7pm BST. Don’t forget to to subscribe to our youtube channel and never miss a match.
This Is My House airs on BBC One Wednesday’s at 9pm BST. You can catch Dalu’s episodes on BBC iPlayer.
You’re in control with our March Mayhem Match this weekend! For this special show you’ll not just help decide the winners but you’ll also pick the teams and the games they play! It’s interactive, improvised and you won’t want to miss it!
Never seen a ComedySportz match before? Two teams compete for you laughs with improvised gags and games inspired by your suggestions. It’s a battle of quick-wits as our teams go for comedy gold. There’s a referee on hand to ensure a good clean match with penalties for bad behaviour and bad jokes. Shows are family friendly and our online shows are free to watch (donations are gratefully received).
For this special match we’re putting you in control of every aspect of the show from the teams to the games, so if you have a favourite game we haven’t played for a while – or one you just can’t get enough of – make sure you’re in the chat giving suggestions! You can subscribe to our youtube channel today to never miss a match.
The stream goes live approx. 6.45pm GMT and the match will kick off at 7pm GMT on Saturday 13th March. You can watch the show live at the link below:
And don’t miss our first Mother’s Day Match on Sunday that sees ComedySportz players team up with their mums for more improvised gags and games!
We’re celebrating International Women’s Day this week with a special match this Wednesday 10th March. It’s an all women, all improvised competitive comedy show you won’t want to miss! The stream goes live approx. 6.45pm GMT and the match will kick off at 7pm GMT. You can watch the show live – and for free – here.
This weekend also sees the return of our March Mayhem Match – that puts you in control of the teams and the games – and our first Mothers Day Match that sees ComedySportz players team up with their mums for more improvised gags and games!
We’re excited to announce that our 27th February match is an LGBT History Month special featuring players from across the CSz Worldwide family. UK players will be captaining teams will LGBTQ+ identifying players from CSz Chicago, CSz Indianapolis, CSz Philadelphia and CSz New York.
Never seen a ComedySportz match before? Two teams will be competing for your laughs with improvised gags and games inspired by your suggestions. Who wins? YOU decide!
As with all of our online matches, the show will be free to watch (link below). However, where we would normally ask those who can afford to do so to make a donation to help support our players, for this show will be asking audiences to donate to local charities The Proud Trust and Rainbow Noir.
The Proud Trust is a life saving and life enhancing organisation that helps LGBT+ young people empower themselves, to make a positive change for themselves, and their communities.
Rainbow Noir is a volunteer led social, peer support and community action group, which celebrates and platforms people of colour who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer and/or Intersex.
We know that the ongoing coronavirus situation means that not everyone is in a position to make a donation. This is why we have kept the show free to watch so that anyone can enjoy the show as we celebrate our LGBTQ+ players.
If you’ve ever taken a class in improv, chances are you’ve heard the phrase “Yes, And” which places acceptance of others at the heart of everything we do. In improvisation we share our ideas to communicate, collaborate and grow our scenes and games – and it’s how we like to approach life offstage as well. Our newest player Ben Hodge wanted to share a little something of his own journey into improv and saying “Yes, And…”
Hi! I’m Ben and I have been a part of CSZ Manchester since summer of 2020. I guess it’s also good to mention for this article that I am a gay, transgender man. I came out as trans when I was 16 and started testosterone at 17. I came out as a gay man at 18 and had my top surgery at 19. There was one thing that got me past the low points and the waiting times and the constant questions around my identity, and that was comedy.
I think that comedy has a lot of power when looking at identity, it has helped me to educate audiences and show them that people like me exist and we can thrive when given a safe and understanding space to do so. Joining ComedySportz, I felt that I had found that space, and that my identity wasn’t up for question or debate, as long as I ‘yes, and…’ then everything would be good!
It’s hard coming into a new space when people don’t necessarily know your past, and when talking to some members about my identity, they have been so respectable and eager to listen to what it means to be me. And I am grateful for them for taking the time to listen and understand who I am, and I think it has probably helped me put more trust into our relationship as improvisors. I even took part in an LGBT match at the online ComedySportz World Championship, where I played with all LGBT-identified players and got to interact with people who had been in this community a lot longer than me and had worked hard to make ComedySportz as inclusive as possible. It was truly a wonderful experience and I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to be a part of something so great!
I think that improvisation offers such a safe space for the LGBT community as people don’t care who you are as long as you make them laugh or create a good scene. There is so much room in improv to explore and express different parts of yourself that you never really have to ‘out’ yourself if that is something you don’t want to do. I’m currently organising an improv session for my LGBT+ support group from back home, as they invited me back as an ex-service user to talk about my identity and how comedy has supported my activism and my growth. Improv has offered me so much in supporting my own exploration of identity and expression that I think it’s something that the LGBT community should embrace and join in!
If you are reading this and you are an LGBT person currently struggling to find where you belong or you’re currently exploring what it means to be you, just know that you are not alone and there are so many safe spaces for you to do that exploration. There are several organisations in the north west as well as around the UK that offer support for LGBT people and they will always welcome you with open arms. Or come and watch one of our shows, and know that you belong and we are always happy to have you involved!
Ben’s documentary about his transition “1 Year” won the 2020 Into Film award for Best Documentary. Despite the COVID venue closures meaning Ben has only ever played online shows with us, he has quickly become an audience favourite and we are delighted to have him be part of the ComedySportz Manchester family.
You can catch Ben in our LGBT special match on Saturday 27th February. The stream will go live at 6.45pm GMT with the fun kicking off at 7pm GMT. Watch live at the link below!