Comedians of Color Connect at ComedySportz Philly

apocaplypse weekend

On Friday, October 12 and Saturday, October 13, performers of color from around the United States will converge on CSz Philadelphia for hilarious ComedySportz matches, as well as freewheeling improv jams, developmental workshops, and discussions of diversity and inclusion in the comedic arts.

Friday’s programming features the aPOCalypse Jam (10 pm) featuring local improv ensembles Supreme Court Justice and American Express. Admission to the jam is FREE (donations to our diversity scholarship program will be accepted) and attendees will have opportunities to participate on stage. Saturday at 7:30 and 10 pm, teams of POC players will go head to head in two ComedySportz improv matches.

The goals of the weekend are to increase the connectedness of players of color in CSz Worldwide, and in the wider improv community; to address challenges unique to players of color through workshops; and to entertain audiences while celebrating underrepresented PoC talent on the CSz Philadelphia stage.

being a person of color in predominantly white spaces has its own unique set of challenges
— Co-chair Erica Gooch

Last year’s inaugural aPOCalypse Weekend drew nine improvisers of color to Chicago for two highly successful ComedySportz matches. This year’s event will feature performers from Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Columbus, OH; Dallas, TX; Portland, OR; Richmond, VA; and other cities, as well as local Philadelphia improvisers of color.

Why aPOCalypse Weekend?

“Even in the most ideal circumstances, being a person of color in predominantly white spaces has its own unique set of challenges,” reflects co-chairperson Erica Gooch, a member of the ComedySportz Philadelphia ensemble. “Being able to connect with other players and celebrate our differences is incredibly fun and impactful. Last year, the positive energy of the weekend stuck with me for a long time, and I’m so excited to bring this event to our home turf.”

Co-chair Luis Cortes, a ComedySportz Chicago ensemble member, further summarizes the impact of the weekend: “We've seen a tremendous boost in interest. Word of mouth brought in several outstanding performers and students who'd never set foot in our space before…. We've also seen a higher percentage of women and LGBT performers coming to auditions.”

On bringing this year’s event to CSz Philadelphia, Cortes adds, “It’s a challenge to see how we can keep up continual engagement through performances and education. How can we continue to bring in underrepresented performers and students? How do we get to a point where a POC/CSz event is something we do just as a celebration instead of the centerpiece of our engagement and outreach?”

CSz Philadelphia’s 2018 aPOCalypse Weekend offers audience members and performers alike a unique opportunity to witness, and to present, too-often-overlooked talent in improvised comedy.


Creating Authentic Characters with American Express

Enrich your improv by bringing unique and diverse characters from real life onto the stage. This workshop will focus on making and committing to believable physical, vocal and perspective choices, and widening the range of characters at our disposal for performances. The workshop will also be an opportunity to discuss any difficulties with respectfully portraying ethnicity, sexuality, gender, age, and ability diverse characters in our work, and share tips on how to make space for all of these characters’ voices.

When: Saturday Oct 13th 10-12PM
Time: 10-12PM
Instructors: American Express
Tuition: $10

Playing as Your Authentic Self

Whether you know it or not you manage to adapt yourself to many different types of situations multiple times a day and in this workshop we will learn to harness this ability and tap into your authentic self in order to keep your scenes grounded and give them new life and longevity. This workshop will be taught by Erica Gooch (CSZ Philly) and Luis Cortes (CSZ Chicago).

When: Saturday Oct 13th
Time: 1-3PM
Instructors: Erica Gooch and Luis Cortes
Tuition: $10