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« Lessons Learned Behind the Scenes of the 2009 New York Comedy Festival - Part 2 | By: Michael Grinspan | Main | The Honey Shot »


Jocelyn Guest, Justin Noble and Beth Appel of Stallone | Photo: Kirk Damato

In improv, one of the many ways to move a scene along is by raising the emotional stakes. So what better way to stoke interest in an improv show than by introducing hearty, Battle of the Bands-style competition? For weeks, various theater-house teams and indie groups have been duking it out Fight Club-style in basements and dingy backrooms. And now, for these next two Saturdays, the last ones standing will showcase their skills for bragging rights and cash dollars.

After three months of competition, more than 60 teams have been whittled down to three: Stallone, Megafauna and Identity Theft. Hosted by stand-up comics Rob Stern and Dan Black, The Bracket is "a league for NYC Improv teams [that] play through the pain. They do not respect line judges," according to Justin Noble. Saturday's winner will walk away with a cash prize.

Jason Tyne-Zimmerman, ring leader of the indie team Queen of Sharks, has hosted the weekly CHOMPetition since last October. In the past year, Tyne-Zimmerman has lovingly converted the downstairs-bar space into a full-fledged, super-friendly improv zone. The vibe is always fun and Tyne-Zimmerman has been known to give away VHS cassettes of his favorite movies.

Just three teams Dangerbox (NYU), Maybe Sherman and Purple Crayon (Yale) squaring up to outlaugh  the other two. By the look of things, this is a New York City college-crowd improv throwdown, and quite possibly one of the few true vestiges of improv nerdism in the city.

The Granddaddy of improv tournaments, the annual 3-on-3 Improv Tournament at The Upright Citizens Brigade Theater is the Hoop-It-Up of make-em-up teams. The 3-on-3 dates back to 2003 when then-UCB artistic director Kevin Mullaney "was having trouble figuring out what shows to put up during Thanksgiving weekend," according to the IRC Improv Wiki. So should you find yourself orphaned next week, hop in line, crack a few PBRs and fight seasonal depression with good old-fashioned hee-hawing at the little black box under the Gristedes.

Reader Comments (2)

and for more nyc improv competition action check out maybe sherman sunday night at 9pm at Richmond Shepard Theatre (26th btw 1 and 2) as they go up against Dangerbox (nyu) and the Purple Crayon (yale)!

November 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermaybe sherman

I want to get my man hands on that girl with the glasses. She looks good.

November 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbigdaddy45

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