This coming weekend (October 11-13th) marks the second annual APOCalypse Weekend at ComedySportz, a celebration of CSz players of color from around the country. With shows, social gatherings, community jams and workshops, the weekend culminates in two matches on Saturday night.
Two of this weekend’s featured players -- Erica Gooch and Dominic Wall -- took the time to talk with us about their path to becoming a ComedySportz player, their vision for their respective ComedySportz franchises and what they most look forward to during the weekend.
For more information on the weekend’s events, go here.
How long have you been performing? How long with ComedySportz (and which city do you play with)? I started theatre and the performing arts when I was in 8th grade: I was about fourteen. I’ve been doing ComedySportz for fourteen years at ComedySportz Richmond.
Why did you come out for ComedySportz? In high school, I was part of a speciality center for Theatre. After being taught some of the basics of improv, I was encouraged by the instructor to audition for ComedySportz Richmond’s High School League. I actually did because I wanted to belong to something. I wanted to be a part of something that was positive, accepting, and safe. I felt like I had finally found something I was amazing at and I needed to be a part of it.
What keeps you interested in playing with your fellow ComedySportz players? I just love to perform at this point. I also feel a responsibility to represent my culture in a area of comedy that’s mostly white. Improv makes me feel like I have a voice and able to educate, so performing is a must.
What are you looking forward to this weekend? To be honest, I’m looking forward to reconnecting with the players I built such a bond with last year. I’m looking forward to building new bonds also. The level of closeness that was achieved is more than I can say for some I’ve known for years. POC is about brotherhood and community. POC is a place I can be….with people just like me.
As your fellow CSz players, how can we best support you inside and outside matches? Any guidance on things to not do? Don’t be exclusive. Take an interest in learning about others, as we learn about you. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and open to something different.
Heading into aPOCalypse weekend here in Philly, what would be the ideal way to support and engage with hometown and visiting players as the Philly CSz franchise? Come around. Be at shows, hangouts and discussions.
As you look ahead to the future of ComedySportz, what does an inclusive league and city team look like for you? I think it’ll be more about people’s head knowledge of other cultures. Like what to be sensitive to and what is appropriate.
What is your favorite show moment since playing at CSz? Man, so many come to mind. One I will never forget was during Richmond’s Improv Festivus I created a character in the moment while playing Advice Panel. The character’s name was Fortlow Socrates, and he’s the African American studies Professor at Harvard University. He’s like Cornell West, Malcom X, Al Sharpton, and Jesse Jackson all in one. A place I’m sure doesn’t even HAVE a course like that. This character filters every single question through Black Culture. To hear the loyal fans reaction to him is something I will always cherish.
How long have you been performing? How long with ComedySportz (and which city do you play with)? I’ve been doing improv since March 2015 and joined ComedySportz Philly October 2015.
Why did you come out for ComedySportz? I saw ComedySportz perform for the first time when they performed at my job and I was completely blown away! By chance, my manager (who was a loyal fan) suggested that I audition because I had been taking improv classes for several months. I had ZERO confidence that I would ever get casted, but she believed in me and I thought it would be good to have experience with auditioning. I was probably so relaxed and did well during the audition because I had no confidence that I would get casted. Jokes on me, because I actually got in! I feel so fortunately that I was able to join the cast. It’s been an absolutely life changing experience!
What keeps you interested in playing with your fellow ComedySportz players? It’s such a dynamic show! Everything is changing and it keeps my on my toes. Most of all, my castmates are hilarious! It’s a ball to simply watch them play and we always have a great time.
What are you looking forward to this weekend? Most of all, I look forward to Friday’s improv jam. It will be fun to connect and introduce CSz to other local improvisers and vice versa. Building, and being a part of a community feels great and is so important to me.
As your fellow CSz players, how can we best support you inside and outside matches? Any guidance on things to not do? It would be great if everyone came! We want to celebrate together without anyone feeling excluded.
Heading into aPOCalypse weekend here in Philly, what would be the ideal way to support and engage with hometown and visiting players as the Philly CSz franchise? Come to the shows! It will be a phenomenal time.
As you look ahead to the future of ComedySportz, what does an inclusive league and city team look like for you? Our cast, loyal fans, and student body will reflect the diversity of our city.
What is your favorite show moment since playing at CSz? We got a volunteer player on stage that was a kid. We did a scene where he was superman. When the someone asked him why he wasn’t out saving the world he said had too much paperwork!!! You can see him on our Instagram page.