A Laugh to the Past: Comedy Sportz Takes the Stage


Maxwell Greene (10)

(From left to right) Michael Vino (11), Maxwell Greene (10), Alyssa Van (10), and Riley Pietenpol (12) link arms during an intense game of Spelling Bee. They wait in anticipation for the audience to suggest the next word for them to spell.

Zachary Ninomiya, Section Editor

“Comedy Sportz HSL is a great opportunity for students to venture out of their comfort zone in a safe and friendly environment,” Ms. Petz (staff) explains, describing the benefits that this team grants to its members.  “It gives the players both the chance to work with a professional coach and referee, as well as receiving professional training in improv.”

Peals of hearty laughter ring out from the Forum when the YLHS Comedy Sportz HSL team takes the stage. On certain Tuesdays every month, this team brings laughter to many parents, students, and faculty members alike. Every Friday in the Forum, the team hones their craft, practicing skills such as scenework, improv games, and puns. Quick thinking is a necessity for success on this stage.  But this improv team hasn’t always been the team that it is today.

The school has had a Comedy Sportz team for 11 years as of the 2019-2020 school year.  Rod Bagheri (Staff), both the music director in the theatre department and the Comedy Sportz coach, explains that it all started by chance, when “a group of students showed interest in improvisational comedy. Because [he] is a trained improviser, [he] decided to help them.”  Thus began the journey to establish a successful improv team in YLHS.

Of course, such a major decision comes with its own unique challenges. In the beginning, according to Ms. Petz (Staff), “the greatest challenge was bringing in players.”  However, over the last 11 years, this has changed, owing to the fact that “players are not required to audition, so possible participants can watch a few practices in the beginning of the year and decide if it’s something that they want to do.”  

Now, as of 2019, this team is 24 members strong.  Like any other organization, it operates with a series of goals in mind.  Madeleine Young (12), one of the team’s managers, elaborates on two different types of goals for the team: the goals which focus on the community, and those which focus on the individual members.  For the community, Young explains that it is important to “give the community a fun activity to come out and see,” while to the individual members, it “bolsters confidence in its members, both socially and on stage.”

“I want to raise more awareness for the team so people want to come and see us,” manager Riley Pietenpol (12) explains, when asked about his goals for the team.  “I want to leave both returners and newcomers in a good place, as I’m graduating this year.  Most of all, it’s important to make sure that every member has fun.”