Given the company's pedigree, however, it's a shame that so much seems merely passable. Sports are so often mocked that a lot of targets seem especially low-hanging: "Hey, baseball's pretty boring, right?" or "You realize, if you take this innocuous broadcaster's comments out of context, it totally sounds homosexual." (The company does itself no favors in quoting from the great Yogi Berra, who would give his right arm to be ambidextrous.) In turn, this brings down the more original moments: an actual "fantasy" league, replete with Klingons and Jedi, or a conflated breakdown of cliches and mixed metaphors from films and coaches. A team is only a strong as its weakest link, so its safe to say that some segments should have been benched: unresolved bits on boxing and Australia come to mind, as does the twenty-minute climax, the "Olympish Tricotakaidathlon," which offers nothing you haven't already seen in the previous eighty minutes.
As for the audience-participation, the less said, the better. There's a reason fans aren't allowed on the field during the actual game, and that's because they pale in comparison to a well-oiled unit like Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor (who have been writing and directing together since 1992) and their fellow thespiathlete, Matt Rippy, who joined the company in 1996. It's their enthusiasm that carries even the silliest scenes (and wackiest wigs), and it's their faux naivety -- particularly Rippy's -- that allows the audience to laugh with them. And while it's not the greatest sign that even the seemingly ad-libbed moments of Sports [abridged] are scripted -- the group shouldn't need self-deprecating recoveries for failed jokes -- it's at least reassuring that the RSC is determined to make you (and the family) laugh at all costs. Bad sports cliche or not, they've got heart.