Unlike the premium-cable version of Curious George, ComedySportz shows eschew racy material, going so far as to place a brown paper bag over the head of any performer who crosses the boundaries of good taste. The game-based comedy format pits two refereed teams of improvisers against each other, drawing from a repertoire of more than 100 improv scenes for their battleground. Over the course of 7 to 12 games, the red- and blue-clad teams may perform in Shakespearean verse or rapidly fast-forward and reverse a scene at the referee's whim. The audience, meanwhile, is tasked with generating suggestions, choosing the winners at evening's end, and gently consoling the losing team with made-up aspirational quotes.
This formula has proved successful since 1984, when the first ComedySportz flung open its curtains. Now, the franchise has expanded to major comedy hubs including Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. The latest addition to the fold, ComedySportz Boston, lassos the same spirit and off-the-cuff hilarity as its predecessors, dazzling onlookers with its teamwork, clean but uproarious humor, and ability to turn an audience suggestion into a fully fleshed out scene.
Known for his appearances on Comedy Central and NBC's Last Comic Standing, Jim McCue draws the audience into a rib-tickling, year-ending performance at convivial Italian restaurant Bucca di Beppo. With an impish grin, McCue picks out and good-naturedly picks on guests in a freewheeling set. The chief joke-slinger and supporting comics wrap up the fun before midnight, granting partiers the option to visit a different bar or return home before their cars revert to pumpkins.
For the 12th year in a row, the Boston Comedy Festival is pitting a diverse lineup of side splitters against each other for a $10,000 grand prize and the chance to coax giggles from top managers, agents and talent scouts. Laughter-packed preliminary rounds spotlight at least 10 comics who were carefully harvested from across the globe, either through an arduous audition process or pie fights with stern anti-humor magistrates. An assortment of comedic styles helps maintain a healthy concord of cackles, and special guest appearances during select rounds add celebrity fuel to an already roaring fire of revelry. Additionally, many past finalists and winners have landed on national television, granting festival audiences sneak peaks at budding jokesters before they become famous or sign lucrative contracts to perform in outer space.
Til Death Do Us Part, the third installment of the interactive comedy series Late Night Catechism, brings back the charismatic and hysterical Catholic nun known only as "Sister" to school audiences—whom she refers to as her students—in the dos and don'ts of holy matrimony and the Sacrament of Last Rites. In this participatory theater piece, Sister switches between delivering cynical, tongue-in-cheek lectures on everything from current events to Martian baptism and interrogating couples in the audience about the health of their relationships. Gracing the Regent Theatre's formerly vaudevillian stage, Boston native Denise Fennell calls upon her own memories of a strict Catholic upbringing to lovingly embody the role of Sister, which she snagged after being handpicked by Maripat Donovan, one of the show's creators.
THEARC Theater was created out of necessity. The first theater in Ward 8 in Washington, DC, it was founded to provide residents living east of the Anacostia River with expanded cultural opportunities and hide-and-seek spots. Constructed by local nonprofit Building Bridges Across the River, the theater aims to improve the lives of children and adults in southeast Washington through educational, health, and social-service programs such as free theater workshops and youth internships in technical theater management. Noting the tower of glass windows that crowns the entrance, the Washington Post called it "a veritable lighthouse of learning—a $27 million, 110,000-square-foot campus set on 16 beautiful green acres."