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Official logo of ComedySportz

ComedySportz (CSz) is an improvisational comedy organization started in 1984 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, by a group of local comedians including Dick Chudnow, Bob Orvis, Brian Green, and others.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7]

Match format[edit]

The traditional format of a ComedySportz match features two teams of improvisational performers ("Players"), competing in various rounds, using improv games and performing scenes. Audience members judge the results and award points as directed by the Referee. In every match, a ComedySportz referee monitors the action, awarding points, and administering Fouls as necessary. The flavor is somewhat like the television show Whose Line Is It Anyway?, though the ComedySportz organization precedes that show's debut by 4 years. The CSz format is a more competitive and For Everyone (content-wise) version of the Theatresports format, which preceded ComedySportz by 7 years.

ComedySportz penalties (put in place for the audience's benefit) include:

  • Out of Bounds Foul: called when a player uses explicit language or refers to something crass or off-color. If the Out of Bounds Foul is called, the offending player or audience member must spend the remainder of the game outside the theater space. They may or may not be welcomed back in. (Originally called the "Brown Bag Foul", the player would have a brown paper bag placed on their head for the rest of the round but replaced by the "Out of Bounds Foul" due to COVID-19 in 2022.)
  • Groaner Foul: whereby any player who speaks a pun bad enough to make the audience groan causing their team to lose one point (or awarding the other team with a point), unless their apology to the audience is heartfelt enough and accepted.
Example: Why does the Norwegian navy put barcodes on ships? So they can Scandenavian
  • Any spontaneously generated Foul the referee feels is needed to move the match forward.

Although the image of competition is maintained, the teams are often dynamic, with rosters depending on which player (many of whom have other occupations ) are available for a match at any given time, and match outcomes are not pre-determined as audience voting/selected judges decide the winner.


Official logo for CSz Worldwide

CSz Worldwide and ComedySportz are licensed by the World Comedy League Incorporated. There are over 28 cities with licensed ComedySportz organizations, most in the United States. In recent years, ComedySportz has been licensed in Manchester, England (although this team originated in Chorley, Lancashire) and Berlin, Germany.

Most ComedySportz cities operate their own "arenas," some with theatre type settings, others as nightclubs. Few (including ComedySportz Milwaukee) have their very own bar and restaurant. Sometimes the members of the comedic improv team also work sound and lights. The clean content and audience focused nature of the ComedySportz match allows CSz groups to perform thousands of road shows for corporate, college, church, school, and association clients each year; most CSz groups also lead corporate team-building workshops. In addition, players from some cities coach ComedySportz high school and middle school leagues, in which students perform in shows similar to those seen at the "professional" level.[8]

World Championship[edit]

Teams meet annually at the ComedySportz World Championship for a competitive tournament, training, and exchange of artistic, marketing, and organizational ideas. The location of the tournament rotates among the member cities. The first world championship that Milwaukee won was in 1988. The banner hangs in the Milwaukee stadium. The first World Championship in Milwaukee's new arena was August 4–7, 2004, also served as the Grand Opening for Milwaukee's all-new ComedySportz Arena at 420 South 1st Street in Milwaukee. In 2009, the World Championship returned to Milwaukee for the 25th anniversary celebration, and returned again in 2014 to celebrate both its 30th anniversary and rebranding of the logo.

Prior to 2004, this mostly annual event was billed as the "ComedySportz National Tournament."

In 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic the championships were held online. Portland defeated Jersey Shore in the 2021 Championship match.

Championship history[edit]

Year Host City World Champion
2022 Seattle, Washington Seattle
2021 Online Portland
2020 Online Houston
2019 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Philadelphia
2018 Los Angeles, California Los Angeles
2017 San Jose, California San Jose
2016 Indianapolis Indianapolis
2015 Quad Cities IA & IL Quad Cities
2014 Milwaukee Milwaukee
2013 Buffalo, New York Buffalo
2012 Chicago Chicago
2011 Indianapolis Indianapolis
2010 Philadelphia Philadelphia
2009 Milwaukee DRAW - Milwaukee & Twin Cities
2008 Portland, Oregon Portland
2007 Quad Cities, IA & IL Quad Cities
2006 San Jose, California San Jose
2005 Los Angeles Los Angeles
2004 Milwaukee Minneapolis
2003 Washington DC Washington DC
2002 Quad Cities, IA & IL Quad Cities
2001 Chicago Chicago
2000 Austin Austin
1999 Portland Portland
1998 Milwaukee Milwaukee

Notable players and alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fein, G. "Sporting Shots", Pasadena Weekly, September 15, 1989
  2. ^ Winn, S. "These Games Are Strictly For Laughs", Sports Illustrated, November 26, 1990.
  3. ^ Loesing, J. "Out on the Town", The Acorn, March 25, 1999.
  4. ^ Patterson, D. "With honors in humor", Los Angeles Times, June 3, 2004.
  5. ^ Berkowitz, L. "Improv is their game", Houston Chronicle, January 25, 2005.
  6. ^ Parmet, S. "Class Clowning", The San Diego Union-Tribune, February 6, 2005.
  7. ^ Radcliffe, J. "Laugh and Learn", Los Angeles Daily News, February 17, 2005.
  8. ^ "High School League". CSz Worldwide. Retrieved 2022-03-14.
  9. ^ BYUtv. "Wayne Brady Joins With BYUtv To Create And Host Comedy Competition Series". www.prnewswire.com (Press release). Retrieved 2022-03-14.

External links[edit]