Dear residents of the Philly area looking for laughs, groans, sports...(in other words, any activities slightly more engaging than Staying At Home),

I have just the laugh-imbued competition for you. You don't even have to compete. You'll be playing the part of "the loyal— FANS," an interactive term the referee introduces right away to get everyone in the easily-led spirit. She/he says "the loyal," you all say "FANS," get the picture? Simple. And for your part, the 90-minute show will flow simply— you'll only be asked to abide by funny rules and shout out spontaneous prompts. You'll watch remarkable feats based on your prompts; you'll see points stack up based on your applause... you'll get a brown paper bag put on your head if you suggest something inappropriate, but even that part is simple enough. Anyone can enjoy the show.

NOT just anyone can compete at the level of the highly impressive improv-ers on the Comedysportz teams. Their minds are not simple, not glued together bridge-by-cognitive-bridge among the bits of normal reasoning we use each day: "Apple? I can bite this apple, or use this knife to cut it first. Yum." In improv, ANYTHING can be connected; the minds and bodies of these actors are totally unlocked and loose, yet active. "Apple? I'm The Bad Apple who fell VERY FAR from the tree, and as the SEEDIEST villain of them all, I must rob the Granny-Smithsonian!" "Not if I fight you first! Crabapple's the name, and I can pinch!" *begins furiously crab-walking towards first speaker*

See, that wasn't very good. It would probably get a Groaner Foul in Comedysportz (yes, that's a real thing!). But I haven't been trained in improvisational comedy as thoroughly as the athletes who will entertain you at Comedysportz. There's a level of improv within us all; we use of-the-moment decision making and off-the-cuff speech giving frequently. But that regular sort of improv exists within the confines of society; we do it to be accepted. When it comes to improv games, the goal has changed, and the participants' mindsets have, too. The goal? To have fun. Not even to be funny; that happens on its own. To have fun is the main thing.

You may already know all of this, so here's a bit about the specific Comedysportz experience. There are shows at 7:30 and at 10 on Saturday nights; you should buy your tickets ahead of time, and BYOB if you wish. The show occurs in a blackbox-esque space in the InterAct Theater Company building, which is conveniently nearby a Shake Shack. The Philadelphia Fighting Amish and the New Jersey Turnpikes battle it out, trading blows in disparate rounds where strategies must change and attitudes must spike. I have been to a show twice, and the games were almost completely different each time. The one game that I'm certain happened both times is integral to the strategy of the event— midway through, the team in second place may play an EXTREMELY difficult miming-based game to earn extra points. This part of the show involves the zaniest prompts. The referee collects three prompts for each piece of each action that the team must explain (only via miming and Minion-like gibberish) to a clueless member of the team; there are five actions by the time the prompt-storm has ebbed, and they are actions like this one: "Knitting donkey booties with pasta needles." Wow, just wow. You need to see this. It's apparently not as impossible as it sounds, looks, and really should be.

Above, you'll see a special card that one person gets at the end of each show. The card is equal to two free passes to see Comedysportz another time. At my first show in August, I won "Suggestion of the Night" for the suggestion "sweating." The award doesn't necessarily go to the funniest phrase, but to the phrase that Madame Voice (the assistant to the referee who works behind a sound booth) has never heard before. So even though the teams also used my prompt "Shrek's ears" in a game that night, I won for "sweating." Shrek has become almost cliche as far as humor goes, just like Donald Trump; veteran suggestion experts shouldn't even go there. This time, January 30, I was super happy that my friend Skye won with the suggestion "spooning!"

Also that night, I suggested "Communism vs. Capitalism," but the prompt must have been too complex; it was not chosen. However, it resurfaced in a later game when one of the player for the New Jersey Turnpikes inserted, "It's not something SIMPLE like Communism vs. Capitalism!" into dialogue. The dialogue fell amidst a bunch of physically funny action, because the game was called "Stage Directions," and the reference to my words surprised everybody completely. I felt very included and appreciative to see the players rely so much on "the loyal— FANS." I definitely plan to see Comedysportz many times in the future. Have I convinced you to join me? Visit the Comedysportz Philly website to learn more, to get hype, and to buy tickets for your squad!