News From Prep
Posted May 18, 2012
ComedySportz: Laughing so Hard, Your Sides Hurt
On Friday, May 11, Prep’s ComedySportz the High School League held its final competition of the year in Norris Auditorium. The much anticipated show pitted students against faculty, with each team vying for laughter and points through competitive improv. With close to 200 attendees, it was the largest audience in the program’s history. Highlights included drama teacher Rob Lewis “doing the robot,” and Will Bremer ’14 befriending science teacher Theresa Cheng’s interpretation of an evil rat. Math teacher Todd Frost masterfully identified his teammates’ comical personas in “Dating Game,” (drama teacher Lisa Bierman as Kim Kardashian anyone?), but team manager Katie Eiler ’12 led the students to victory with her interpretation of a porpoise expert (it basically involves the color gray).
After a year taking classes at the main ComedySportz theater, Todd Frost started CSZ THL (ComedySportz the High School League) at Prep during the fall of 2006. In its first year, the team had nine members, including Jeff DeFond ’10 and Charlie Kennedy ’10.
“As a wide-eyed 8th grader, the sight of Jeff DeFond doing a perfect Tim Gunn imitation made a deep psychological impression upon me,” says Eiler, whose parents told Frost that one reason she came to Prep for 9th grade was the school’s CSZ THL team. “The senior players when I was a sophomore were gods among men. I pretty much spent the year absorbing their comedic wisdom like some sort of frizzy-headed sorcerer's apprentice,” adds Eiler, noting that she may repeat the process when she arrives at NYU this fall, where Kennedy will be a junior.
“She started very strong, able to hold her ground with the juniors and seniors even as a freshman” says Frost, describing Eiler’s progression with the team. “She got to perform in the main theater as a sophomore, and the professionals there couldn't believe she was only a sophomore.”
Mary Clare Plaschke ’13, who captained the students during the first half of Friday’s show, will succeed Eiler as manager. She recalls being intimidated by Eiler’s “comedic genius” at first, which led her to avoid being on stage with Eiler during matches. “One thing people don't realize is what a team player [Eiler] is,” says Plaschke, adding, “She never hogs a scene and will always set you up for a joke. I realized she isn't ‘intimidating’ at all, but so helpful that she’d rather see you succeed than herself.”
Plaschke started improv in middle school with Rob Lewis and says it was the highlight of her day. “Playing with him in Friday’s match was such a cool experience,” she says. “The Padawan got to duel the Jedi Master.” Plaschke wants to make CSZ THL a fixture of Prep’s Performing Arts program so more people can see the talented team players. Her first job: recruitment. “People think you have to be a class clown to be good at improv, but some of the funniest improvisers I've seen are really quiet and methodical,” says Plaschke. “If you jump in and learn the technique, you're going to be great.” She is excited to take the helm, saying she wants to emulate Eiler’s team player approach and “do her legacy justice.”
Frost expects she’ll do just fine, saying, “I don't look at it as filling anyone's shoes, as Mary Clare is talented in her own right.” Eiler believes Plaschke will be the most talented player next year and has a head for organization, adding, “I hugely lament that I won't be around to see it.”
Reflecting on four years doing CSZ THL, Eiler says, ”Without CSZ, I would be shyer, less active, less confident, and would probably have some sort of hideous comedy-gland infection.” From pretending to be lobsters with teammates to borrowing clothes, Eiler is convinced CSZ THL let her interact with people she wouldn’t have otherwise.
Everyone is welcome and should look at the schedule next year to attend a show and find out how much fun it is. “Basically, next year is going to rock” says Eiler. “Go and get a summer job and devote your savings to CSZ tickets.”