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Meet Dave Gaudet of ComedySportz Chicago in Lakeview

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dave Gaudet.

Dave, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was introduced to improvisational Comedy at Denison University where Steve Carrell had started an improvisational troupe called “Burpees Seedy’s Theatrical Company.”

While in college, I toured for three years throughout the nation with this group to numerous college campuses as improvisation was still new to most campuses in the late 80’s. Now every campus has an improv group or 3.

I then came to Chicago from the East Coast after college to follow fellow Alumni at trying to make a living at improvisational comedy. I joined ComedySportz as an ensemble member in 1988.

In 1990, the original owner of ComedySportz moved to Denver and myself with two other partners decided to purchase the license from the National Organization in Milwaukee. ComedySportz was one of the original expansion licenses and is an active member of CSz Worldwide which currently governs over 25 locations all over the world.

I have held multiple roles within the company:

-Artistic Director
-Managing Director
-President
-CEO

I was also the President of CSz Worldwide for two years.

ComedySportz Chicago has been in numerous locations throughout the city in its 30 year career. Our current location required us to bring on a few extra partners to complete the build out 2007. This current location is by far our best. We made a major investment in designing a venue that was designed for our audiences to enjoy ComedySportz.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Our trajectory has had highs and lows. The biggest challenge has always been to stay top of mind with our loyal fans. There are more improv comedy theatres in this city than ever before and the while we are one of the most successful ones, the glut of improv has made it quite a challenge to market ourselves.

Luckily for us we are unique in that we are age appropriate. Our audience is multi-generational and our moniker is “Comedy for Everyone.” ComedySportz is a highly accessible format for the audience and about the audience as they control the suggestions throughout the match.

The other way we have been able to overcome the lows is our touring company, learning and development offerings, and group sales channels.

The highpoints of our 30 year history:

Two world Championship Titles at our ComedySportz World Championships
10 Runner-up Finalist Finishes
The opening of our CSz Theatre on Belmont
Our World Tour for Intel
Special Guest stars on our stage include, Chris Farley, Bill Maher, and multiple Chicago Sports stars.

ComedySportz Chicago – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We are known the world over as creating highly accessible comedy for every generation.

Our show is clean so we can be enjoyed by everyone. Our audience on any given night ranges from ages 8-80! The audience is at the center of everything we do. Even to the point that we invite audience members to join us on stage to perform.

We are really nice…

This also makes us a perfect fit for families as well as school and church groups. Whether they come to our 150 seat theatre or we send our touring company to their location the end result is a customized comedy match everyone enjoys.

We perform short for improvisational comedy in a competitive format. It’s not about sport it is a sport. Two teams compete in improvisational sketches in hopes of winning the audiences approval after each round. The audience decides who the champion is every match. And our referee plays host to our loyal fans as they decide who the Champion is every match. Visit www.CSZchicago.com

CSz Corporate- http://www.cszchicago.com/corporate/
This is our corporate touring company that produces customized video and live experiences to delivery content at corporate meetings and trade shows. This part of our company also produces experiential marketing events to help companies promote their messaging and products in unique experiences.

CSZ Applied Improv
We are also known for our improvisational based Learning and Development. Guided by our L and D Director Matt Elwell we have developed numerous corporate training workshops for hundreds of companies to assist in topics such as, team building, soft selling skills, presentation skills, and so much more.

What were you like growing up?
I was always intrigued with putting impromptu “shows” together. Whether I was shooting my father Super 8 film camera or creating a haunted house for the neighborhood, I was always in the middle of trying to entertain. For instance, when a family reunion came around I was usually put in charge of taking all the cousins to the basement to put a show together; complete with tickets, programs, and preferred seating for the front seats!

As I got older, I gravitated towards comedy as I loved the feeling of making people laugh. I embraced the immediate feedback theatre provided. However, I was also a 3 sport varsity athlete and so most of my time was spent on the practice field. Even in college I was a two sport athlete and so to find time to participate in plays was a challenge.

However, once I had graduated college, my move to Chicago was full time improvisational comedy. I was rehearsing or performing every night of the week (Second City, IO, Annoyance Theater) in hopes of getting a big break.

Pricing:

  • $25 tickets Show times: Thursday 8pm Friday 8pm Saturday 6pm, 8pm, 10pm

Contact Info:

  • Address: 929 West Belmont Ave., Chicago, IL 606057
  • Website: www.cszchicago.com
  • Phone: 773-549-8080
  • Email: dave@daveandco.com, jo-el@cszchicago.com, greg@cszchicago.com

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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