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November 26, 2022

San Benito students are game for comedy

Boys rushed forward in an imaginary vehicle before a referee yelled “reverse” and they backed up in a single-file line.
The improvised skit had been based on the audience’s suggestion of the word “cart,” and these San Benito High School students were jumping, telling a story with waving hands and doing some quick thinking as members of the campus’ ComedySportz group.
In the game, a team acts out a word suggested by the audience but has to reverse actions when a referee commands it.
“What keeps me coming back?” said Logan Sowards, 17, the referee for this scene and a team captain. “It’s hilarious, and laughing is fun.”
These boys were some of 20 students gathered last Thursday afternoon outside Room 223 in jeans, sneakers and sweatshirts. ComedySportz is “competitive, improvisational comedy,” said Sowards, a senior at the school.
The teenagers meet Tuesdays and Thursdays to warm up their voices, get their energy flowing and play improvisational comedy games after school. Afternoons like this are training runs that exercise the comedians’ minds and get them ready for competitions. Some games—including this one of “forward and reverse”—will be part of a special show this week.
The high school group is holding a one-day show to share a few family-friendly laughs set for 7 p.m. Friday in the campus auditorium. A professional from San Jose will facilitate, Sowards said.
During competitions, two teams of four compete for the attention of a referee, who judges audience enjoyment of the festivities and gives corresponding points. Captains usually pick the games their teams will play, and audience members yell out the word the comedians will use to focus the scene. The audience-chosen topics can be anything from the relatively simple “pineapple” to the much more challenging “turkey baster,” Sowards said.
“I’ve gotten that in a show once,” the student said.
It’s a fast-paced game. The only time team members have to think is in the moments between the point when the audience yells a suggestion and when the referee says go, Sowards said.
Most of the games are scene based but there are also guessing games, pun matches and head-to-head battles of wit.
Last year, two Baler teams participated in ComedySportz San Jose’s high school league tournament and one placed first. Sowards was there, but not on the winning team, he said.
Junior Kyler Mellor, one of the participants in the three-person cart scene earlier in the meeting, is soft spoken off stage but dedicated and intent when he is in the limelight.
“I guess I just like it ’cause it’s fun and everything is kind of strange, but it all kind of works together,” he said.
Participating in the group hasn’t made school presentations easier but it did help him talk to new people.
“I was kind of shy to start out but then after a year of doing this on stage I began to catch on to it more and became more outgoing, I guess,” he said.
For the upcoming show, tickets purchased at the door are $6. Tickets bought in advance through the Student Payment Center are $5 for children and senior citizens or $4 for Balers with Associated Student Body identification cards.

Staff Report
A staff member edited this provided article.

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