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Comedy Sportz tops in the land

ROCK ISLAND -- The Quad-Cities is tops in Comedy Sportz.

That was proven in Rock Island last August, as a cadre from the local improv team (Chris Moore, Monta Ponsetto, Rick Davis and Jeff Deleon) out-yukked the defending champion squad from New York City to take the gold in the 1997 National Improv Tournament.

The four-day laugh-a-thon, held at Comedy Sportz and the Plaza One Hotel in August, had 22 cities from around the U.S. send teams to compete in a round-robin battle. Last year boasted the greatest number of comics ever participating in the event's eight-year history, and registered the largest audiences ever to attend the tournament, with more than 3,000 people.

The Rock Island team was overwhelmed by taking the gold.

``I think shocked would be a good word (for our reaction to winning),'' troupe leader Jeff Adamson said.

That's justified. The competition from New York was steep. Not only has its Comedy Sportz team won the tourney before, they've been top banana at the Montreal Laugh Festival and have headlined Comedy Central TV specials, as recently as last month.

However, it shouldn't have come as a shock to area Comedy Sportz fans, who have been enjoying the troupe since it began in 1990.

Comedy Sportz is a unique comedy club open to all ages. It serves up a G-rated competition of dueling teams of comedians who compete in a series of fast-paced improv games which test their ability as professional ``actletes.'' The teams are scored on their ability to make the audience laugh, and are even docked points for bad jokes -- or ``groaners,'' as they call them.

``Comedy Sportz is so addictive and so bizarre it's hard to explain,'' Mr. Adamson said.

The folks on stage at Sportz change from week-to-week. A large pool of ``actletes'' make up the troupe, and the ``players'' change on a regular basis. There's a good amount of turnover, as young people who make up the troupe move on in their professions outside Comedy Sportz. Folks interested in auditioning for the troupe should call Mr. Adamson at the club.

Want to see what all the buzz is about? Comedy Sportz performs at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays at the Circa '21 Speakeasy, 1830 3rd Ave., Rock Island. Call 786-7733 for tickets and more information.

-- By Sean Leary (January 22, 1998)

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