Comedysportz is an after school improv team celebrating its fifth year on our campus. The players compete against each other for laughs in a competitive sports genre show.
Using this format, teams all over the U.S. and even in Manchester, England compete professionally. Comedysportz L.A. is the local division that Carson High’s team is registered under.
CSZLA has a permanent residency at the El Portal Theater in North Hollywood and is housing three of its four competitive ensembles: the Main Stage Team, the Sunday Team and the College League.
At Carson High School, the team is officially recognized as part of the final ensemble, the High School League. The High School League includes schools from all the way in the Napa Valley to the Southernmost part of the state, such as San Diego and Encinitas. The High School League was meant to bring improvisation to a young crowd and teach them the skills that come tenfold with the art of improv.
“It encouraged me to talk in public more and put out my personality,” Carson junior Brianna Barrera said.
Along with public speaking skills and the ability to learn confidence, Comedysportz offers other valuable skills for anyone open and willing to take the risk of attending practices.
Barrera said being a part of Comedysportz has helped her gain more confidence.
“It took me a while, but if you’re surrounded by the right people with an encouraging environment you can [learn] at your own pace.”
The low pressure environment of Comedysportz allows many students to improve how they handle situations where they feel uncomfortable.
“It gave me valuable things like social skills and helps with talking to people,” she said. “Comedysportz truly does create a safe space where all are welcome and where kids can try new things, laugh with each other and learn how to laugh at themselves.”
Carson’s team is led by two managers who are Carson seniors that have gone through the program and ran the practices and organize the games.
“Being able to run a practice is quite hard. Managers must work closely together in order to put together a set schedule,” Comedysportz Co-Manager Mia Molina said.
The managers are also expected to make connections and contact other high schools to organize home and away games along with introducing games to the students who attend practices every week.
“[Teaching and creating the agenda] is the hardest thing we do. We basically act as teachers and try to give our students the best possible lesson to improve their improv,” Molina said.
Team advisor Marcia Barryte keeps in close touch with the managers and help them to approve dates for games and outside activities. An example is the semi-annual GameCon, which is a Comedysportz conference where all the High School League teams gather and play improv games together and take classes taught by professionals who play at the El Portal Theater.
Five times throughout the year, one of the professionals, Eric Zipper comes to the school and teaches improv workshops to Carson’s team.
Carson’s Comedysportz team practices after school on Tuesdays from 5 to 6 p.m. Other teams’ practices times and dates may vary. For a better taste of the laughter you can visit the El Portal Theater on Fridays through Sundays or their website cszla.com.