DSI Comedy Theater’s Humor Games is a monthly improvisational comedy show that spoofs “The Hunger Games” trilogy of novels-turned-films.
The show, taking place tonight at the theater’s new Franklin Street location , uses audience applause to determine the comedy champions. During the event, contestants must work together in various improv games to come out on top.
Kit FitzSimons, DSI resident instructor and creator of Humor Games, said the event is a great way for participants of different experience levels to learn to work together.
“We love having this event, because it gives people who don’t normally get on stage together a chance to perform together,” he said. “Even though it’s a competition where only one person can win in the end, each scene is rated, so everyone in the scene gets the same score. You have to work well with other people in order to progress.”
The show is a series of games and skits with names like “Chicken Fight,” “Aesop’s Fables” and “Physics Gone Mad.” FitzSimons said that in “Aesop’s Fables,” contestants pretend to be animals and explain modern phenomena, like why Burger King is better than McDonald’s.
FitzSimons, host of the show, said he likes to incorporate activities that encourage participants to get creative.
“It’s all sorts of either physical challenges or character challenges that really push people to go one step bigger and one step more exciting in their scenes,” he said.
Brad Bednar, a DSI performer, started doing improv three years ago to develop his public speaking skills. He won the first Humor Games in October 2012.
Bednar said everyone who participates wants the other performers to enjoy themselves and look good.
“At the end of the day, the thing that we all care about is that everybody’s having a great time and that it’s a great show and that all 12 or 13 of us look amazing,” he said. “It’s just a good feeling knowing that it’s a friendly competition, in a way that competition isn’t always friendly.”
Bednar, who started with DSI’s Improv 101 class, said improv is a tool for more than just entertainment.
“I had never done public speaking before and wanted to find a way to kind of throw myself in the deep end and figure out a way to build a little self-confidence,” he said. “I had a lot of fun doing that and wanted to keep working on those skills of being comfortable in front of crowds, and being able to think quicker on my feet so I could take whatever life threw at me.”
DSI moved to Franklin Street in May. Ashley Melzer, DSI’s associate artistic director and former Humor Games champion, said the event helps the company stay involved in the community.
“It’s a combined effort of allowing our community and the outside community to connect and compete and play on stage in a competition that, while we pretend is very serious, is really just about having fun.”