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ComedySportz Salt Lake

Spotlight On: ComedySportz Salt Lake
by Jesse Parent

Welcome to the end of the Skinny Lincolns. Welcome to the beginning of ComedySportz Salt Lake.

The first show was a month early. They couldn't cash my 20 dollar bill, so I had to give them my credit card. The credit card disappeared while it was processed upstairs over the Internet. Concessions were served on a card table and the drinks were kept cold in a cooler on the floor. The crowd started small but swelled to a decent size by referee Curt Doussette's opening diatribe. The grand opening isn't for another month.

Someone tell that to the guys on stage.

The crowd in the well polished theater got into the act quickly, applauding, shouting, and laughing hard. It had grown to a decent size, but still seemed dwarf by the enormous theater that used to be called the Comedy Circuit. Curt seemed almost at a loss as to what to call it when he was onstage. Midvale Main Street Theater seemed to be right, he almost guessed, surrounded by an elaborate sound system he himself had put in place in the last 24 hours.

Out on stage, on the blue team, was Lincoln Hoppe, former head honcho of the Skinny Lincolns. "We've merged," he tells me later. All the same people, but with a different name, a different home, and a different format. The crowd recognized Skinny favorites like Lincoln and Trent Krummenacher on the blue team and Micah Young, Thad Weiland, and Dave Boud on the red team. Referee Curt and blue team member Ben Quinn came up from Provo to perform, where ComedySportz already has an established presence. With the addition of Salt Lake City, Provo and Salt Lake City have two of the closest ComedySportz franchises (there are over 18 in the world, with the first troupe starting in Milwaukee, WI in 1984). Does this mean instant rivalry?

With the addition of Salt Lake City, Provo and Salt Lake City have two of the closest ComedySportz franchises

Absolutely, confirms Curt. Lincoln agrees. Not only rivalry, but cooperation and sharing players. "That's the fun!" claims Lincoln. In fact, Skinny Lincoln Dave Shipp was down in Provo that night. Lincoln had already been playing most of this year down in Provo with Curt and the rest of the ComedySportz Provo gang, splitting duties there and back with his own troupe. But for a guy who'd been leading improv troupes in Utah for 8 years, it was time to take a back seat for a while and let someone else drive.

Everyone on stage was great. There was support not just from the teammates, but all the players onstage. With a talented musical accompanist and expert lighting, they belted out songs, guessed suggestions like "artichoke hearts" and "Sacagawea" (missed "Kennedy Center," though… the horror), and helped guide audience members through an animatronic interpretation of the Matrix. The highlight for me was having my recent layoff played out for me, over and over again, in Day in the Life. Especially when Lincoln, playing me with a Japanese accent, came home and, before entering the house, took off his shoes. Nice!

So is this just yet another troupe in Utah that will be showcasing a competitive short form show? Perhaps. You probably won't see any more sketches you may have seen at a Skinny Lincolns (or Garrens) show. However, ComedySportz Provo has been putting on a regular long form show every other Thursday night down at their Utah County club. Curt hinted that we might see that, and ComedySportz improv classes, up in Salt Lake City if the interest is high enough.

As the first performance signifying the end of an era drew to a close, it was fitting that Lincoln's blue team pulled ahead of their 2 point deficit at the half to come away with the win. As a slow motion slugfest broke out over the outcome of the show, everyone on stage seemed to be happy with their roles and performance. It was a great show, and it wasn't evening the official grand opening yet.

So spread the word: The Skinny Lincolns are dead… long live the Skinny Lincolns!

Ahem… I mean, ComedySportz Salt Lake.

ComedySportz Salt Lake plays every Friday and Saturday at 9PM at the Midvale Main Street Theater (Old Comedy Circuit) on the corner of 7711 South and 700 West (Center St and Main St by Midvale coordinates). Tickets are $8 at the door.


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