On Fri., Feb. 28, Downey High School’s Comedy Sportz team held one of its games, competing against Santa Fe High School, for an improv- based entertainment show in the school’s theatre.
As guests paid the $5 fee, students, parents, and other supporters made their way to the dimly lit room, waiting for the show to begin. As the show commenced at 7 p.m., Referee Silvie Zamora explained the scoring criteria to the audience. Based for the majority games, a five point score is given to the Red Team, Downey, or the Blue Team, Santa Fe, according to the audience’s applauses and loud cheering.
Starting the first round and representing Downey were players Juan Nuñez, who is the assistant manager and was one of the captains for Friday’s game, Cassandra Barrera, Stanley Delgado, and Bailey Campbell. For freshman Bailey Campbell, it was her first official Comedy Sportz game.
“I was kind of nervous since I’ve never really participated in a competition,” Campbell said. “I try to look at the game through the audience’s perspective. When I watch the game, I’m not nervous at all, but it’s different when you’re the one on stage, so I just imagine people enjoying it. The audience is very supportive and they laugh. I enjoy the acting in Comedy Sportz, but the best thing about it is how we’re all becoming a family. I look forward to having fun and trying to make people laugh, but not really try too hard because it won’t work.”
For one of the starter games, Downey’s team chose The Dating Game, in which three players act as contestants and the fourth player must choose their pick. The interesting part is that the audience chooses what or who the contestants will be and in this case, one was playing Lucille Ball, Abraham Lincoln, and a table. In the end, the chooser, who was newbie Bailey Campbell, had to eliminate two contestants and try to guess who they were impersonating, which resulted in incorrect guesses, but brought laughter to the audience as she thought the contestant playing Abraham Lincoln was Indiana Jones, despite many references to The Gettysburg Address.
In return, Santa Fe’s team chose to play Slideshow, in which one player narrates the still action of the three other players in a scenario. Rather than picking an ideal vacation spot, Referee Zamora stated that an unusual vacation, like Yogurtland, was needed and therefore, asked the audience to shout out a place and Target was then chosen. Three people have to stay still when the lights are off, doing an action that is associated with going to a store and when the lights turn back on, the other players have to narrate the scenario. After that match, a game called 185 was played. This joke involving doctors and fruits required the four players to line up shoulder- to-shoulder and go up to the front one-by-one. They had to start off by saying “185 doctors walk into a bar. The bartender says, ‘I’m sorry, we don’t serve doctors.’ The doctor says…” and needed to fill it in with one of their punch lines. A point was given if the referee heard any laugh or groan from the audience following a player’s line. For the end of the first half of the show, Santa Fe led to a score of 20-13.
Following the intermission, where audience members were able to buy snacks or drinks, the Red Team was setting up and switching players for the second round. Downey’s players for the second round were team captain Marco Arroyo, Chris Cruz, Brianne Gonzalez, and Hector Gonzalez.
The captain from the Blue Team, Tony Ayala, challenged the Red Team to a game called Town Meeting. Santa Fe was arguing to keep the band One Direction in town, and Downey was anti- One Direction. Each player was among the audience waiting for the referee to call one of their raising hands. Their impersonations of people gained laughter and the Blue Team gained five points, resulting in a score of 25-13.
The next games involved short skits called Emotional Party, Forward/Reverse, New Choice, and Freeze Tag. For Emotional Party, the audience chose three emotions, in which the players expressed that specific feeling. Downey gained five points for Forward/Reverse where they had to make up a scenario involving a love triangle relationship and forced to reverse their action whenever the referee blew the whistle. Downey had 19 points and Santa Fe remained at 25.
For the last few games, Downey came close to catching up to Santa Fe’s score. The game of New Choice, in which the Red Team started a juggling scene and had to come up with a new action or word whenever the referee shouted New Choice. Downey caught up to Santa Fe when playing Freeze Tag. The game played involved two players in the center creating a scene, like pretending to do karate moves, and have the next person in line mimicking the previous person’s position before the referee called Freeze. The game of Freeze Tag resulted in a score of 30-28, with Downey winning for the night.
Downey and Santa Fe’s enthusiasm and humor were appreciated by the audience as they ended the show with applauses and loud cheering. One of Santa Fe’s players Ryan Ortiz, commented on the importance of being able to make people laugh.
“On stage, there’s just that rush you get,” Ortiz said. “At first, of course, you’re like, ‘Ah, people!’ But that feeling you get when you know you put on a good show, made everyone feel good, and made them laugh is just great. It feels so natural. Even though there is a home-court advantage, it doesn’t really matter who wins, just as long as everyone had a great time.”
Although Comedy Sportz is played as competitive team-versus- team game, the main goal for both teams is to bring laughter to the audience. Senior Julian Rios and sophomore Mustafa True from Downey were among the audience who were happy watching the show.
“I’ve never really heard about Comedy Sportz club since there wasn’t any at my other school and I’m new here,” Rios said. “I thought it would be interesting to watch. It was really fun and I liked it a lot. I’m looking forward to see it again.”
Downey, as well as other local high school league teams, will play at Hollywood on Mar. 29 as part of Comedy Sportz LA’s March Madness rounds.