Cage Match

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Revision as of 14:41, 17 November 2008 by Rixtyseven (Talk | contribs) (Special Cagematches)

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A competitive improv show at the UCB Theatre.

It has its own website ( featuring voting results and statistics.


The Cage Match was first produced in Chicago at ImprovOlympic. Kevin Mullaney came up with the idea and pitched it to Charna Halpern as something to replace the Saturday night improv jam. Charna loved the idea but decided to put it up on Friday night instead. The original intention was to provide a show where the powers that be didn't decide who got stage time, but instead the players and the audience decided who would get to appear again the following week.

The first Cage Match was Friday, February 13th, 1998 and featured The Spoofmeisters vs. Troy's Bucket. Both groups were super teams formed specifically for this competition. Troy's Bucket won 93 to 29. [1]

In NYC, the first Cage Match was Cowbot vs. The Swarm. The Swarm won. In the next week, newcomers Neutrino won, fueled by the first in a series of gimmick time-outs, which both impressed some audience members and infuriated other purists.

After a long tenure, Mullaney was shot and killed. He passed hosting/administrative duties to Charlie Todd, Chris Kula and Eric Scott.

After some time, Charlie instituted the UCBW, a wrestling league which hosted Cagematch. Wrestlers, comprised of improvisers from the UCBT community, perform at halftime in between each Cage Match competitor.

Rules of Cagematch

  • No kicking chicken wings into the audience
  • No touching the clock -- because Mother once touched the clock
  • No throwing a chair at an audience member no matter how drunk either party may be -- ?
  • 25 minutes
  • One 30-second time-out allowed

History of the Rules

No kicking of Chicken Wings into the audience

From James Eason: "Sitting in with Mother during the Cagematch for the 2000 Del Close Marathon, Horatio Sanz received pizzas and chicken wings from nearby Dominos. The food arrived in the middle of a Drill Sargent-type group game. Horatio began passing the pizzas through the audience. Then he started passing out the wings. I'm a little hazy on the specifics, but the next thing I know, Horatio is kicking boxes of Spicy Chicken Wings into the audience. Bird flesh and hot sauce is flying everywhere. The audience took a beat, then threw the food back at us. We quickly exited the stage. Order was restored. When the votes were tallied, Mother lost to Father (Ali's handpicked group of neophyte improvisers)."

Special Cagematches

  • Kurt Braunohler's one-man Harold (August 2001)
  • The Swarm perform half of theirs blindfolded.
  • Neutrino's string of time-outs, then their string of "Behind The Improv" spoofs, and then their first improvised movie, which became The Neutrino Video Projects.
  • Monkeydick appeared as a guest team in Cage Match when they first started out. They won a string of upsets, beating Mother, Respecto and Pound. This was in large part the reason that they were made an official Harold team at UCBT.
  • Pound's Black Thursday harold, during which they made every effort to be depressing and not funny. For their timeout, they produced tumblers of Scotch and did a short scene from Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh.

Notable uses of the Timeout