For about twenty years, Lebanon High School has been participating in the global organization of ComedySportz. ComedySportz is an improv comedy club for high school students to learn skills, compete, and perform. The leagues help out other leagues, and provide help to the coaches and sponsors to teach to their students.
“ComedySportz is run on a grown-up realm. It is family-friendly improv comedy that is structured like a competition, but the whole thing is like you’re playing for points, and it’s based on audience suggestions,” said club coach Ms. Becker.
The preparation for their performances is split up by season. Practice and workshops for developing skills, and learning the different games are done during the fall, and the actual shows begin in the spring.
“We usually practice once a week, or once every two weeks. And what’s really cool about it is that it brings together a collection of students that are probably never going to meet again. So many different kinds of people are drawn to it and are good at it, so it’s a really cool mix of personalities,” said Becker.
Ms. Becker has been a part of this club for seventeen out of her eighteen years at LHS, and it was already a formed team before then. Since she began, the club has built an incredibly strong culture, but with COVID-19 it was knocked down a bit. In recent years, the group has been trying to get that image back. They’ve organized small promos and even pep sessions in the past, to try and get some more recognition. She is also the one who schedules matches, drives the minibus, and overall helps students master the core fundamentals of improv.
“I replaced the guy who ran the team. But, I didn’t know what it was. So that first year I was like, ‘I’m not going to run a club. I have no idea what it is. I’ll just wait and see if the students want it,’ and they said, ‘no we want to keep it going,’ so we rebooted it,” said Becker.
ComedySportz is also a very impactful experience for students. From attempting, failing, and succeeding, to boosts in confidence of problem solving, improv can prepare students for events that require last minute solutions. This year Becker is striving towards a fresh and strong team with new people and forming bonds to create a safe space and have fun while taking risks.
“The benefits of improv are enormous. It is extremely helpful in building confidence in problem solving, just for life. It’s different skills that kind of bring different people together. And what’s nice about improv is that it is an arena where you are rewarded for taking a risk and failing and you don’t get to do that very often in life,” said Becker.