|Genre||Game show franchise|
|Created by||Sergey Muratov, Albert Axelrod, Mikhail Yakovlev|
|Country of origin||Soviet Union, Russian Federation|
|Running time||60–180 minutes (depending on the version)|
|Production companies|| Home Edition programs for the youth of the Central Television of the USSR (1961-1990)|
|Original release||8 November 1961 –|
|Official Russian version website|
KVN (Russian : КВН, an abbreviation of Клуб весёлых и находчивых, Klub Vesyólykh i Nakhódchivykh or Ka-Ve-En, "Club of the Funny and Inventive") is a Russian (and formerly Soviet) humour TV show and an international competition where teams (usually composed of college students) compete by giving funny answers to questions and showing prepared sketches. The Club originated in the Soviet Union; the television programme first aired on the First Soviet Channel on November 8, 1961. Eleven years later, in 1972, when few programmes were being broadcast live, Soviet censors, finding the students' impromptu jokes offensive and anti-Soviet, banned KVN. The show was revived fourteen years later during the Perestroika era in 1986, with Alexander Maslyakov as its host. It is one of the longest-running TV programmes on Russian television. It has its own holiday on November 8, the birthday of the game - celebrated by KVN players celebrate every year since it was announced and widely celebrated for the first time in 2001.
During the Perestroika era (c. 1985-1991), KVN spread to Russian expatriate communities around the world. In 1992 the Israel team tested the waters playing against the CIS team. The game was an unquestionable success and more international games on a highest level followed: the CIS team visited Israel, Germany and the United States. The culmination came in 1994 with the First KVN World Festival in Israel featuring four teams (representing the United States, Israel, the CIS and Germany).
Groups of KVN teams are organized into several Leagues, where they compete annually for the League Champion title. To organize the movement, the KVN Union created a (in Russian) structure of regional and multi-regional arrangements of Leagues. The Major League and the Premier-League are regularly broadcast on Russian Channel One. Other Leagues are broadcast on local channels. The winner of the Major League (Vysshaya Liga Russian : Высшая Лига) is declared the Champion of the Club. There are other KVN competitions outside the Leagues: the KVN Festival (KiViN) is held in Sochi every January and attracts hundreds of teams from around the world, this is where teams are arranged into Leagues for the Season, the Musical Festival which is called "Singing KiViN" (Golosyaschiy KiViN, Russian : Голосящий КиВиН) is held every July in Jūrmala, Latvia (from 2015 in Svetlogorsk, Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia) where teams are competing to win KiViNs, which are also very prestigious prizes, the Summer Cup or Supercup is played usually in August every year in a different place, usually in Sochi, and only Major League Champions are allowed to compete (with some exceptions, when in 2003 a unique team of famous KVN players competed (and also won) and 2007, 2008 and 2010 when Finalists were invited), another game is held every year in November to celebrate KVN's birthday and is called the Specproject (pronounced "Spetsproyekt"). Many places in the CIS have Leagues independent from the KVN Union and conduct their own competitions. The same is true of KVN competitions outside the CIS which have no connection to KVN Union.
KVN is a task-based team competition in front of a live audience and judged by a panel of judges. Typically, each team is asked to complete in four–five thematically connected assignments, such as:
Rarely, other activities are assigned.
A panel of judges, usually well-known celebrities, actors, and writers, evaluates performances on wit, humour, production values, and spectators reaction and declares a winner by awarding points to the teams. In the Premier-League the jury consists usually of famous KVN players.
KVN's reach is impressive. According to the official site of KVN Union:
For more than 20 years TV broadcasts of KVN games receive the highest ratings in Russia. The popularity of the game is so high that even politicians use it as an opportunity to gain extra points, Boris Yeltsin, Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev attended games played before the elections. The game of KVN helps in interstate relationships. The CIS–Israel game broadcast on September 19, 1992 helped in warming up relationships between the two countries (mostly on Russia's side). KVN became part of the culture, illustrated by the fact that it became a game of choice in Russian-speaking communities around the globe.
Also, the president of the club, Alexander Maslyakov, received one of the highest (if not the highest) award from Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, for hosting the game for so many decades. This happened at the end of the game dedicated to KVN's 45th anniversary in November 2006.
Since Perestroika opened former-Soviet borders for emigrants, KVN has reached Israel, Germany, Australia, Portugal, France, The United Kingdom, Vietnam and the United States. Many countries created their own teams, leagues and competitions. In 1992 the Israel team tested the waters playing against the CIS team. The game was an unquestionable success and more international games on a highest level followed: the CIS team visited Israel, Germany and the United States. The culmination was in 1994 with the First KVN World Festival in Israel with 4 teams (the United States, Israel, CIS and Germany). This event attracted a new generation of players to KVN. Currently, the American League includes more than 30 teams from different universities, including such prominent ones as Harvard, Berkeley and New York University (NYU) (the very firstLeague Champion). KVN Israel comprises two Leagues with about 30 teams from different towns. The U.K. also has a prominent KVN community, with teams from a number of universities.
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