Extensions are big at ComedySportz right now. The city's only professional theater devoted to improv comedy has stretched the run of A Day in the Laugh: The Improv Musical Comedy, which has been playing to a steadily growing audience since Aug. 12. Originally slated to bow out Sept. 16, the show will continue each Friday through Sept. 30. Audience members are invited to describe their day with the most interesting day being turned into musical comedy where all the dialogue, action and lyrics are dropped on the spot. Shows begin at 10 p.m. and run 75 minutes with an intermission. The show is restricted to those 17 and older. Tickets are $12.
"They are such a close-knit, talented group of people and it's really hard to think about everything they're going through right now," says Ed Trout, ComedySportz Indianapolis artistic director, about his ComedySportz New Orleans counterparts. A benefit will be held Sept. 21.
The ComedySportz crew is also extending something much more important: their goodwill. ComedySportz Indianapolis will hold a benefit performance Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 7:30 p.m. with all proceeds going to the players and staff of ComedySportz New Orleans, which was forced to close due to Hurricane Katrina. Other ComedySportz crews in the U.S. and United Kingdom are joining the effort. Donations of any amount will be accepted, but a minimum donation of $20 is suggested.
Many of the CS New Orleans players were in Los Angeles for an improv comedy competition when the hurricane hit and were able to alter their travel plans to avoid the storm. Staff and players in the city were able to evacuate before the storm devastated the city.
"We have lost ALL of our momentum," company manager Yvonne Landry posted on ComedySportz's online forum. "I have no house and no business."
The situation is equally bad for the performers. "My job is part-time, paid by personal check from my artist boss who might never return to the city," Arthur Simone wrote. "Others live from paycheck to paycheck and work in catering, bartending, waiting tables, contract production work, manning stores that don't provide employment insurance. ... Only a tiny handful of us can guarantee that our employers can prove we ever existed."
Many of the players are relocating, at least temporarily, to Austin, Texas.
The New Orleans chapter holds a special place in the hearts of many Indianapolis players. This past June, ComedySportz Indianapolis artistic director Ed Trout traveled to New Orleans with a handful of Indy players to present workshops for the New Orleans players, and to challenge them at two performances. "They were great hosts, very welcoming," Trout said, "and they were great to perform with. They are such a close-knit, talented group of people and it's really hard to think about everything they're going through right now."
The ComedySportz Theatre is located at 721 Massachusetts Avenue. Please call 951-8499 for reservations or additional information.