Tag Archives: comedysportz

The Long Hot Scenic Way Round.

Wed/Thur. For the opening of tournament there’s a big parade down the streets, where all the teams march to the venue. Manchester are the first team to play against L.A. and although we concede the win, is it’s a great show with about 600 people in the enormous Atheneum Theatre.

Chicago put on parties every night and for the first night it’s dancing and pizza. This being Chicago the pizzas are immense and I think it’s the first time I’ve seen a real ‘pizza pie’ which is basically a giant wedge of cheese so big you can loose meatballs inside it. It’s so tasty I can almost feel chest pains eating it, but it’s so good I don’t want to stop. We’ve also found ‘Forever Yogurt’, a serve yourself frozen yoghurt shop that does flavours like ‘cake batter’.

The team are all here and the next few days are a flurry of shows and workshops. I take a Meisner workshop, which is quite hardcore and somthing I’ve done breifly before. It’s all about learning how to understand and read the emotion within performance, and the theory goes pretty deep and you could spend years studying it here if you wanted to.

Chicago is recognised as the home of improvisation, and evidence of how improv is still in it’s infancy in the UK is evident in the wealth of venues here, at least a handful large and small across the city. All dedicated improv theatre venues show 2 or 3 improv shows every night of the week. Some Longform, shortform, drama, comedy, musical and even shakespearean, all unique shows in their own right. Some are ok, some really show high end at it’s best.

Saturday. As a group we all head into the city planning to meet up at the beach on Lake Michigan, but we don’t find it. Instead we find Navy pier so sit down for a bit. Then we go for food at the Chicago Cheesecake factory and it takes us one hour and forty minutes to get a table, so I sit there for a bit. Once we get served I decide I don’t want cheesecake after all.

The Tournament final is L.A versus Chicago and Chicago win. My money was on LA. At the final wrap party the bar, at my request, has ordered in some cider. There is cause for rejoicing.

Monday. The final day of our honeymoon, and I’m ready to go home. I feel like I’ve been ready to go home for the last week it’s been so hot. We make good on our gift from Bron’s mate Liz and have a grilled cheese sandwich at ‘Cheesie’s!’ which is awesome and I promise it will be the last fattening thing I eat…apart from the frozen yogurt and the pulled chicken sandwich. Myself Bron and Lynn and see the Bean, a giant shiney metal baked bean shaped object in the middle of a park. Temperatures have soared again the walking close to it is like being in an oven.

For the last day we stay with Nate and Nick, two comedysportz guys from Chicago, Nate is big on borad games and has a really impressive collection, and Nick is gearing up for the Edinburgh festival with Baby Wants Candy, his musical improv group.

The rest is a blur of taxi’s and aeroplanes and awkward goodbyes as I wave bye to Lynn as she disappears up an escalator only to see her minutes later. The British airways flight to London is probably the worst flight I’ve ever had with it’s broken in-flight entertainment, seats designed for people with one leg and and stale buns. I am however quite excited about getting home. Bron’s mum takes us from the airport and everything I’ve seen on the route home that I’ve seen a million times before has a weird ‘otherness’ to it because I’ve been away so long.

Open Door. Stroke Cat. Kiss Wife. Well done. It’s over. Oh yeah, I can now say I’ve been around the world in 44 days.


Milwaukee to Chicago

The road trip is reaching it’s end, but there’s still more to squeeze in. We are going to a cabin in the woods to recharge batteries again, where we meet up with Bron’s mum. We stop off at ‘The Spam Museum’ which does what exactly what it says on the tin. An entire building devoted to the everlasting spiced ham wonder-meat. The is a short film of the history of Spam, a giant wall of spam, a spam exam on what you have learned, they have a girl band called the spammette’s and the set of the Monty Python sketch is recreated. It’s bizarre but interesting and I find myself totally absorbed by the history of the tins opening mechanism.

Onwards to the cabin in Black River Falls. The insects here are massive but they don’t deter us from swimming in the lake, despite the green algae,then later eating meat on the big fire pit BBQ. The pace of seeing stuff slows down and two days in the middle of nowhere slip by almost unnoticed.

Friday/Saturday. We head down to Milwaukee meet up with Darryl, Rachel and Michelle and pay another visit to the Cheesecake Factory. The comedysportz tournament begins in Chicago in a few days. We staying at Dick Chudnow’s house. Dick is great fun and the perfect host. A bottle of engine oil in his bathroom and I guess it’s there for guests to notice and question, a test of character thingy to bring up in conversation. I do. It is. CSZ Milwaukee have four shows on a Friday including a matinee. It’s a long day and by Midnight, their final show, my brain is already fried.

The sun is baking hot and the car display tells us its hitting 99 degrees farenheit outside.We need to cool offand head out to Wisconsin Dells, which is like Blackpool without a coastline, and the Kalahari indoor theme park and water park. They have a new vertical drop water slide where you stand in a colourful tube/coffin and the floor gives way and you drop into a big slope. The water hits you really hard and if you don’t adopt the proper position on the way down the water blasts up your nose and bruises your elbows. It’s awesome.

Mon/Tues. We rock up in Chicago and drop the rental car off, which less fuss than we imaginged, and check in to our apartment in Roscoe village. I’ve been to downtown Chicago once before and it was all a bit skyscraper intense, but here in the suburbs it’s really pleasant, like a big Chorlton or Jesmond. The apartment is big and it’s warm until Bron’s tweaks the air-con. It’s hard to sleep in all the heat.

The tournament teams slowly arrive in town from the 19 other cites competing. This is my third and it’s great to see faces I met a couple of years back. A big posse forms and we head for Cesars Mexican restaurant where I order one of their trademark ‘killer margaritas’and a gigantic burrito. I really shouldn’t. I’m beginning to feel the weight I’ve put on during our trip, I’ll be hitting the diet hard upon return.