No trip to Chicago would be complete without a visit to The Second City
, our world-famous comedy club and full-time training ground for Saturday Night Live
and just about every show on TV that makes you laugh.
The Second City came out of the Compass Players (Mike Nichols and Elaine May) back in the 1950s. Alan Arkin and Ed Asner were good friends, too. During the 1970s, John Belushi, Dan Akroyd, Bill Murray and Gilda Radner were performing skits on Wells Street. Then came John Candy, Martin Short, Catherine O'Hara and Eugene Levy with perhaps the funniest comedy series ever, SCTV.
From a fledgling company grew a reputation for developing the finest comedic voices of each and every generation. The Second City churned out even more famous comedians throughout its legendary history, and this tradition continues to this day. Some modern day alums include big name entertainers from Mike Myers to Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert to Tina Fey.
What's it like to see a show at The Second City? Founder Bernie Sahlins once described the place as "a theatre producing short comic scenes about contemporary events and ways of life." As you sit huddled around a cocktail table filled with drinks, you'll laugh your heart out at jabs made at today's infamous politicians and social issues. Plus, there's a good chance you will see parts of a new show being worked on while you're watching some of the nation's big comic stars of tomorrow.
The Second City has three different stages: there's the Mainstage and e.t.c. Stage putting up sidesplitting sketch theater and improv revues, plus a new space UP Comedy Club, which features headlining stand-up acts every weekend and signature shows for weeknights and weekend matinees. If one's sold out, then check the show calendar and make plans to attend another – you can't go wrong with this roster of talent.
Be aware that it's generally first come, first served for seating. However, you're never too far from the stage, and many scenes often have cast members in different parts of the room. But the earlier you get into line, the more time you'll have to look at all the photos of previous cast members and recount all the laughs these amazingly talented people have brought into your life.
That's worth the price of admission any day.
2012 SEASON HIGHLIGHTS
- The Second City's 100th Revue: Who Do We Think We Are? explores the good, the bad and the ridiculous that makes us uniquely American and more importantly, makes us human. Barreling into election season, it's increasingly clear that all politics are personal. Life is not as black and white as it seems, both racially and metaphorically. It's also not as bad as it seems. In the midst of uncertainty, there are still plenty of joys to choose and celebrate - both intellectual and carnal.
- We're All in This Room Together invites you to turn off your cell phone, log off Facebook and stop tweeting to attend a unique 21st century event featuring a diverse group of live people in one room actually interacting with one another. For two extraordinary hours, resist the compulsion to check text messages, status updates and twitter feeds knowing that this special group of people will never come back together as one audience again - physically, philosophically or politically.
- The Second City's Nut-Cracking Holiday Revue has your ticket to all that's ridiculous about this magical season. From uneven gift exchanges with your clueless boyfriend to couples therapy with Joseph and Mary, it features a seasonal blend of hilarious scenes, songs and trademark improvisation with a sprig of holiday mischief for a night of spirited fun. Funny, bright and completely original, it's the perfect alternative to the same old holiday shows.