Cage Match

From IRC Improv Wiki
Revision as of 18:08, 11 August 2014 by Charlietodd (Talk | contribs)

(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search

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 passed hosting/administrative duties to Charlie Todd, Chris Kula and Eric Scott.

With the eventual departure of Kula and Scott, Todd created an evil alter-ego persona which eventually developed into the Chuck McMahon character. At the start of the 2006 CageMatch season, Todd instituted the UCBW, a wrestling league which host CageMatch to this day. Wrestlers, comprised of members of the UCBT community, perform a fully choreographed wrestling match between the two improv teams' performances.

Rules of Cagematch

  • Each team has 25 minutes, timed by a clock hanging on the back wall
  • No team member can touch the clock
  • No kicking chicken wings into the audience (boos)
  • No throwing a chair at an audience member no matter how drunk either party may be (cheers)

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)."

From Dan Telfer: "While I have never heard of the NYC incident, Horatio Sanz and Adam McKay also visited the original ImprovOlympic Chicago Cage Match in 2000 and performed the same stunt of kicking/throwing hot wings into the audience. I am unsure where they did it first, but I know they did it in Chicago because I was on the other Cage Match team and several of my friends were covered in hot sauce. I did not hear of it occurring in NYC until many years later."

No chair throwing

Kevin Mullaney created this rule for Cage Match NYC circa 2002 as a response to an incident that happened at ImprovOlympic, involving a performer throwing a chair at a drunk audience member.

30 Second Time Out

Cage Match NYC previously had a 30 second time out rule, which was very popular in the early days of the show. By 2013, the time out was only being used on average once a year, in part because it often served to disrupt the flow of a good show. Due to this inactivity, Charlie Todd retired the rule.

Touching The Clock

Touching the clock generates a penalty for the team. The penalty is at the discretion of the host, but generally it a docking of 5 votes from the team's total score. The penalty is generally not assessed if the touching was accidental.

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