Second City - Blog

You look both ways before sliding the Mistletoe Belt Buckle off the shelf. "Jim will think this is hilarious!" you think to yourself. A clerk walks by. You flip the gag gift over and hope he doesn't see. He gives you a knowing smile.

"Good luck with that one..." the clerk says.

Your funny friends are the toughest to shop for. It's hard enough to find gifts that are useful or personal. Finding ones that are just the right kind of funny can be a nightmare.

If you're dead set on getting a "funny" gift, here's some advice from Keith Habersberger. He's a professional improviser and musician who's toured with Mission IMPROVable and with me in Octavarius. He's also one of the best funny gift givers I've ever seen:

"For a funny gift, find the most incorrect item for a person, but present them the gift displaying confidence that they'll legitimately love it. When they look as if this is a joke, do not act like it is a joke."

But most of the time, you can skip the gag gifts. Most of them end the night in the garbage of whoever hosted your holiday party. Here are some gifts that any comedian or comedy lover will adore you for.

Tickets to Shows

Going out can get expensive. It's easy to give up and stay home, even if you'd love to be out laughing. This Holiday Season, you can make someone's day with the promise of making their day in the future. Gift Cards are available for every major comedy theatre in Chicago. Here are links to The Second CityiOAnnoyanceUP Comedy ClubLaughFactory and Zanies.

Comedy Classes

My father used to tell me, "Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to laugh and he'll have a lot more fun fishing." My father could have used comedy classes.

Most of the talented folks you see on stage didn't drop out of the womb with fully developed comedic timing. They spent hours in classes and years honing their skills. But even if the person on your list doesn't want to be a professional comedian, they will still have a blast meeting new people, improving their presentation skills and sharpening their comedic sensibilities. Second City has the largest comedy Training Center in the world and they use the same gift cards as the theatre. Other theatres like iO, Annoyance and ComedySportz also have training programs.

Cold Hard Cash

I could beat around the tree here, but I won't. Doing comedy takes most of your time and money. And most comedians in this city aren't "making it rain." If you've got comedians on your list this year, sometimes the simplest gifts are the best (Mom, I hope you read these). Don't feel like you're doing a disservice to someone's funny bone by writing a check. They'd rather eat than wear the Mistletoe Belt Buckle, no matter how funny it is or how well it works.