Heroes Only

   When most high school boys were outside playing sports or chasing girls, Patrick Ciamacco spent his spare time making movies with his friends and his brothers Jim and Joe.  These short comedic movies were the foundation of Jim Dove and Patrick Ciamacco’s idea to create a sketch comedy troupe back in January of 2005.  They recruited their brother Joe Ciamacco and two close friends Joe Kenderes and Chuck Klein.  All five had grown up together over the last ten years having attended and performing theatre at Brunswick High School outside of Cleveland, OH.  The chemistry already existed.  The ideas were plentiful.  The timing was right.  The Laughter League was born in February of 2005.

    Jim Dove had recently started a theatre company in Medina with his wife Jennifer called Stage Left Theatre Company.  He used his connections in the city to schedule the Laughter League’s debut performances at Grace Drake in Medina, OH in March of 2005.  The debut show included two of the most popular sketches in Laughter League history, Urinal Etiquette and Club Uterus.  The feedback was overwhelmingly positive.  Many people had said they laughed so hard their face hurt from smiling.  The Laughter League knew they had something special.

    In 2006, they recruited two new members to join to them.  Added to the cast were Seth Hrbek, a talented actor and musician from Cleveland who had performed in multiple shows with the other five Laughter League members at Near West Theatre, and Cody Farinacci, a bright engineer and long-time improvisational comedian.  Also at this time, Jim Dove made the difficult decision to leave the Laughter League to focus more time with his family and his Stage Left theatre company.  In September of 2006, the Laughter League made their anticipated return to stage at the Cleveland Public Theatre.  This show gave birth to the iconic character of Balloon Guy and the great sketches U-Scan-It and James Blunt.  Shortly after this performance, the Laughter League was asked to participate in CPT’s annual fundraiser; Pandemonium.  This was a true honor and exposed the Laughter League to a brand new audience.

   2007 ended up being a huge year for the guys.  The Laughter League website received a makeover after a fun photo shoot at North Park in Brunswick.  In March of 2007, the Laughter League performed inside the Galleria in downtown Cleveland.  The show was a blast and was the second hottest ticket that night at the Galleria.  It just so happens that NBA superstar Carmello Anthony was hosting a huge party three doors down.  The Galleria performance brought to life new sketches that quickly became popular such as CSI Sesame Street and The Opening (a Music Man parody).  That fall, the Laughter League was invited to perform for a second year in a row at CPT’s Pandemonium.  Shortly after their second Pandemonium appearance, the Laughter League was ecstatic to hear that they were voted the #1 Sketch Comedy Troupe in Cleveland on Fox 8 Cleveland’s Hot List!  They ended up receiving this honor three years in a row. The good news continued as the League added another talented actor to the cast by the name of Luke Scattergood.  Luke has performed all over Northeast Ohio but got his start at Brunswick High School performing with the Joe’s, Chuck and Patrick Ciamacco.  Luke’s technical expertise as well as his ability to sew was also a welcome addition to the Laughter League.

    In December of 2007, the Laughter League was honored to perform at the historical Cleveland Playhouse for their first ever Christmas Show.  The show was a nice mix of holiday sketches and regular sketches.  Instant classics featured in the Christmas Show include Fat Dietician, Theodore’s Surprise and the Chipotle Lava Sauce Revival.  Things were flying high for the Laughter League as they continued to make a name for themselves as comedic mainstays in the Cleveland area.  However, even the best rides at Cedar Point have to come to an end.  In 2008, personal life issues took over center stage for a few members and it caused the group to go on hiatus.  The main bump in the road was founding member and group manager Patrick Ciamacco moved to New York to pursue his theatrical dreams.  However, if the global recession did anything positive, it brought Patrick back to Cleveland in late December of 2008.  Thus, the Laughter was back, baby!

    After more than a year removed from performing, plans picked up for a comeback show in 2009.  Cody Farinacci decided he needed to focus on just one of the comedy groups he belonged to and elected to go with his true passion of improvisational comedy.  He left the Laughter League but you can still see him perform with the Improv Troupe Something Dada.  The Laughter League replaced Cody’s vacant spot with Noah Hrbek, the brother of current cast member Seth.  Noah is a talented artist and musician and also has performed with many of the current Laughter League members at Near West Theatre.  

    Up until now, most of the Laughter League performances have been primarily in front of family & friends.  This is why they were excited about an amazing opportunity taking place in July of 2009.  Longtime sketch comedy gods ShadowBox Live (operating out of Columbus) noticed some of the Laughter League’s work online.  Impressed with what they saw, they invited the League to be one of six troupes from across the U.S. to participate in the 1st Annual Sketch Comedy Festival.  The Laughter League accepted the invitation with open arms.  They performed their best material in front of a sell-out crowd of strangers, five other sketch comedy troupes and comedic legend and original Saturday Night Live cast member Garrett Morris.  The feedback across the board was outstanding.  A local paper reviewed the show and labeled the Laughter League from Cleveland, OH as a fan favorite.  They were asked to perform the sketch “Fat Dietician” for an encore performance the next evening.  

    Fresh off the great experience of the ShadowBox festival, the comedic juices were flowing with the Laughter League.  They decided to put together a Halloween Show which would, for the first time ever, feature 100% new material.  The show was performed at Playhouse Square in downtown Cleveland and featured many hilarious new sketches such as Waldo, Oggleman’s Grape Soda, Mind Battle and Sports Victory.  Realizing the Laughter League was here to stay, the guys finally buckled down and had T-Shirts printed (which can be purchased at any show or by contacting a cast member).

    In February of 2010, the Laughter League decided to do a “Best Of” show to commemorate their five year anniversary. The show was called “Laughter League in 3D,” where they spent a ridiculous amount of money on 3D glasses to give to the audience for a cheap laugh.  All the best sketches of LL history were performed at the Brooks Theater in the Cleveland Playhouse.  That summer, the guys were invited back to participate in ShadowBox’s 2nd annual sketchfest where their Waldo sketch was voted one of the top performances in the festival. 

    In January 2011, the Laughter League performed a new show full of all new material. It would be the last time they would perform at that performance space as The Cleveland Play House is closing those doors and moving locations. The show introduced the hilarious sketches of Alien Autopsy, Extremely General Hospital and WhoreFax.  In July of 2011, the new look Laughter League was honored to perform, for the third year in a row, at the 3rd annual sketchfest hosted by ShadowBox.

  As of 2013 The Laughter League has performed at The Cleveland Play House, Playhouse Square and all over the Cleveland area. However, they are now proud  to now call Blank Canvas Theatre their new home!  The Laughter League would like to give thanks to The Minimum Requirements, an amazing band that has performed in nearly half of the League’s shows, their family & friends and all the fans that continue to support them!