A freshman’s first week of college can be a scary one. Settling into a foreign land and meeting new people is difficult to do alone, which is why a freshmen orientation in Milwaukee is a giggling goldmine for organizations like ComedySportz, 420 S. First St.
Founded in Milwaukee by Richard Chudnow in 1984, ComedySportz is a competitive improvisational comedy show used for both entertainment and education. ComedySportz has spread to 18 other US cities as well as Manchester, England, according to its 25th anniversary informational booklet.
Kappa Sigma fraternity and Alpha Xi Delta sorority sponsored the welcoming hilarity of ComedySportz last Thursday in the Weasler Auditorium. Kappa Sigma President Joe Woelfel said he chose to organize the Late Night orientation show.
Mary Baird, office manager for ComedySportz, said college campus shows are a huge part of the company’s business.
“We did Wisconsin Lutheran on Monday, we’re doing University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee next week, and we’re doing one for Milwaukee School of Engineering,” Baird said. “I think we probably do 20 shows a year for Marquette.”
So why use this sort of entertainment to welcome students to college life?
“It’s a good ice-breaker,” Baird said. “That’s why I think we’re really effective for ‘welcome weeks.’ And we can send you a show for whatever your budget is.”
Not only is a ComedySportz event inexpensive to organize, but it’s an entertaining nightlife alternative, especially for those under the age of 21.
“It’s a great date place,” Chudnow said.
Along with live comedy from 7:30 p.m. to 2 a.m., ComedySportz offers an inexpensive home-style menu that will definitely impress your date, or even your family during Parent or Little Sibs weekends. Not to mention that getting off campus and exploring the city is a huge plus, said ComedySportz player Bo Johnson.
“Once you get them off campus and get them to realize that there’s comedy there, then they start to get a little bit further every time,” Johnson said.
Brian Green, another ComedySportz player, also said students shouldn’t be scared to venture off-campus to catch a show.
“They can get past the horror stories of what they heard about the neighborhood surroundings,” Green said. “People are not walking around with big nets that say ‘MU students.’”
Aside from live performances, ComedySportz also offers team-building workshops and adult classes to improve public speaking and performance skills.
“It teaches you how to focus, how to be in ‘the now,’ and how to get all the junk outta your head,” Chudnow said. “It teaches you a good kind of insanity.”
With any route you choose at ComedySportz, you can end up relaxed, entertained and with a good story to run back to campus and tell your new friends about.
Who knows, you may even start picking up the ComedySportz philosophy: “We practice, we play hard, and we do our best to make everyone look good.”
And if you think about it, that’s not a bad way to live.