Wednesday, April 30, 2008

May's Player of the Month: Todd Freestone!

Todd isn't one to draw attention to himself on stage. But if you're lucky enough to see a show when Todd is in the cast, you'll notice that he's usually the smartest/funniest/most clever person in the room.
Todd was gracious enough to answer a few questions for the blog.

How did you get into ComedySportz?

Actually, one of those high school buddies, Josh Hiatt, got me started with ComedySportz. He was doing shows and invited me to start doing the workshops, so I did, and one thing led to another, and now I'm here. Before then I had always thought about doing ComedySportz -- I'd come to shows when I was in high school. I doubt that I'd ever give it a shot if Josh wasn't doing it.

You're not a crazy-super showy player--your humor is subtle. One player called you a "comedy sniper." What are your feelings about your sense of humor compared to other players?

I'm pretty comfortable with my sense of humor, but it did take time for me to accept that I'm not a high energy player and that I probably never will be. A lot of the crowd falls in love with the witty, energetic types, which initially made me feel that I needed to find a way to emulate their style. But great performances really come down to being yourself and finding your own niche.

Has your science background helped your comedy?

Yes and no. Science requires creative and conceptual thinking, which is very helpful in improv. Science is also about understanding relationships and explaining them well, which is what also makes a good scene or story. However, science is heavily dependent on procedures and reproducing similar results under similar conditions, which completely opposes that which happens on stage.

When did you first feel like you were in your element on the CSz stage?

The first (and perhaps the last) time I felt like I was in my element was about two years ago. But I find it a good thing to not be in my element much because if I were in my element I would get complacent and resort to a style of improvisation I'd feel comfortable with.

The most exciting stuff that happens on stage usually happens when we're stretching ourselves and doing stuff we're afraid of. Also, the more I concentrate on being at my best, the more self-conscious I become, and I tend to close up. For me, going on stage with a mindset that I'll blunder allows me to be more natural.

Any on-stage horror stories you wish to disclose?

I don't really have any on-stage horror stories. I am a little OCD, so I do get spooked out a little bit when I touch the carpeted stage with my hands, or if I get some hair from a wig in my mouth.

What have you gotten out of ComedySportz?

More than anything, I've learned a lot about myself. Some of the things I've learned have surfaced in this interview, such as the importance of being yourself and being comfortable with who you are. Along with that, I've come recognize strengths I never was aware of.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April's Player of the Month: Scott Champion!

Born in Edmonton, raised in Alberta, this Canadian transplant has been with ComedySportz since 2000. He currently works as the office manager at CSz in addition to doing freelance design and consulting gigs. We knew where he works, so it was easy to have him sit down so we could pick his brain.

You've been with CSz for a long time.

Yeah. But I live here. I didn't come here to go to school.

When did you move to Utah?

I was seventeen. My dad got a job at BYU. My whole family's here, so when I go home for Christmas I have a long drive all the way to Orem.

How did you get involved with ComedySportz?

Long story short: I was the arts editor at the UVSC student newspaper and had heard about ComedySportz. I went to a show at the Wrapsody and it knocked my socks off. I knew I had to do it. But by the time I was available the Wrapsody closed, and ComedySportz disappeared for a few months. It popped back up at the Hale Center Theater. I took the workshops in the summer of 2000 and by September I did my first show at the Hale.

What was your first show like?

Honestly, I don't remember much. I know that I begged Curt to be in a show because I had a girl coming whom I wanted to impress. She ended up being a no-show.

That same girl, however, did come to a show at the club we now have when it first opened. We were playing object freeze, and someone brought a glass domed light fixture from their car. For some reason I put it on my head and it shattered. I stood frozen on stage as blood poured down my face. I don't know which was worse: her not coming to my first show or having her watch me be taken to the emergency room. Either way, I was in agony.

How many shows have you done?

Hundreds. I have no idea of an actual number. And they all kinda' turn into a blur. Every now and then someone who's seen a show will come up to me and make a reference to something funny I (apparently) did. I don't doubt that I did it, but it's impossible to remember everything.

What do you mean?

Improv is a disposable medium: it goes just as fast as it comes. It's of the moment. That's what makes it magical. It's kinda' like toilet paper.

What has been the best thing that has come from doing ComedySportz?

Honestly? I wouldn't have had the opportunities that I've had had it not been for people I met who perform at ComedySportz and work in the local film scene. I wouldn't have been able to do what I've done and, to some extent, am still able to do. Does that make sense?


I've also made some incredible friends. Lifelong friends. Quite a few people I would totally rescue from a burning building.

Any advice for our readers?