Get Schooled!

It’s not every day that teens and teachers can exchange “inappropriate” jokes without consequence. But unfiltered jokes, amusing skits and quick-witted insults were lightly tossed around during the theater department’s ComedySportz Teachers vs Students match on Nov. 4. 

Unlike a typical ComedySportz match, each of the four teams consisted of both teachers and students. Two teams faced off at a time, coming up with witty skits and slights on the spot to earn points.

Despite the time limit and pressure, participants, especially the teachers, were able to bring some considerable zingers to the table, according to ComedySportz member junior Carter Choi.

“Honestly, I wasn’t sure what most of the teachers were going to bring up. I was pleasantly surprised by how into it they were. They made a good show,” Choi said. 

Both Choi and fellow ComedySportz member junior Finn McGonigle saw that comedy allowed them to bond with their teachers and view them in a different light, as they became competitors rather than authorities. 

“The thing that stood out to me was how human they are and how they were making inappropriate jokes. It was funny because I’d never look at a teacher and think that they’d be making those kinds of jokes,” said McGonigle. 

Choi also recognized that the shared pressure of improv that forces one to step out of their comfort zone worked as a bonding force between teachers and students. 

“I originally joined [ComedySportz] because I just wanted to try ad-libbing [improvising], getting out of my comfort zone, and experimenting with something new. Mr. O [attempted all this] by stepping out of his own comfort zone on stage, which I think is really nice for somebody in ComedySportz,” Choi said. 

Playing against students was a less daunting task than anticipated, according to teacher participant Nicole Bertuccio. For Bertuccio, who played on ComedySportz teams throughout her own high school years, the recent match helped her to reconnect with comedy and express herself on stage.

“The fact that [ComedySportz] is here [at RUHS] is super cool. I’m very competitive, so it was so fun competing against students. I feel like it was just my regular crazy self being put on stage,” Bertuccio said. 

Although improv comedy is “high pressure”, according to Choi, stage fright proved to be no issue for the participants, who found they were able to lose themselves in the flow of the match. 

“I felt more nervous about the practice. But then once I knew what I was doing, and everybody was super calm and having a good time, the actual games were really fun and not nerve-wracking,” Bertuccio said. 

Reduced anxiety also made it easier for the participants to quickly come up with original material. According to McGonigle, when it comes to making up comedic content, “everything just flows” through his brain when on stage. 

“When I’m up there, I’m really hoping not to embarrass myself, but that’s not [my] main focus. [I try] to enjoy the moment because I’m up here on the stage and I’m not going to get to do that many times, so [I] savor it,” Choi said. 

The match was an entertaining outlet for teachers and students alike to express themselves, which, according to Bertuccio, allowed the night to be extremely successful. 

“I didn’t cuss the entire time or fall on my face, which is a great thing and a rarity. And I had a great time, which was the goal of the night,” Bertuccio said.