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JULY 30-AUG. 2

The 16th Annual ComedySportz National Tournament will subject teams of “actletes” from such riotously mirthmaking cities as Eugene, Ore., and Provo, Utah, (and, of course, Washington, D.C.) to a sort of boot camp. Each day, the teams will train in theater games: improvising songs, for example, or creating dialogue in which each new sentence starts with the next letter of the alphabet. But Greg Proops (pictured), one of improv’s most recognizable faces, says the most important training is “to get onstage and go nuts.” Proops, who’s appeared on both the U.K. and U.S. versions of Whose Line Is It Anyway?, can get pretty serious when talking about making people laugh: “People ask: ‘Aren’t you afraid you’ll fail?’ We’re not. When we’re up there, this is our world. We’re in control.” Proops is coming to the tourney, but not as a ringer for any of the teams: “I think of myself as the ringmaster,” he says. He’ll perform at one of the nightly public performances, where he vows to “caper and bandy about and gesticulate and gesture and smart off.” Oh, and also to wield his power: “There’ll be laughter and pain. There’ll be triumph and tragedy. I intend on making someone cry every night.” He also promises, “I’m sleeping with all the judges.” So watch out, Washington City Paper “celebrity judge” Dave Nuttycombe, when the tournament opens with shows at 7:30 and 10 p.m. Wednesday, July 30 (See City List for other dates; Proops performs at 7:30 and 10 p.m. on Thursday, July 31), at the Improv, 1140 Connecticut Ave. NW. $15-$25. (202) 296-7008. (Pamela Murray Winters)