Friday, April 29, 2011

Chicago Live! Returns with Cardinal Francis George

Chicago Live! returns with an all new season on Thursday, May 5th. Grab a seat behind the headlines of Chicago's biggest stories at Chicago Live!, a weekly stage and radio show produced by the Chicago Tribune, in partnership with The Second City.

(Clockwise from top-left) Howard Sudberry, Melissa Pierce, Cardinal Francis George, Billy Dec and Cornmeal


Chicago Live! is recorded in front of a live studio audience at 6:30 p.m. Thursdays at the Chicago Theatre's Downstairs Stage. After each show, the audience is invited to a 30-minute reception with the cast, crew and guests.

Tickets for the show are $20.

  • Purchase online through

  • Purchase on the phone through Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000.

  • Purchase in person at the Chicago Theatre box office:
The Chicago Theatre (map)
175 N State Street
Chicago, Illinois 60601

Wheelchair seats, companion seats, aisle seats and Assistive Listening Devices are available.
For more information, call 312-462-6301.

Take a Tax Break, Canada!

(April 29, Toronto) As Canadians scramble to submit taxes before the April 30th deadline, we figured taxpayers might need a good laugh. So, for the next few days, we’re giving everyone a tax break.

At The Second City, HST now officially stands for Hilarious Savings Toronto!

Save 13% on tickets to select performances between Saturday April 30th and Tuesday May 3rd. To receive discount, tickets must be purchased online using promo code: TAXDAY

Offer valid only for new ticket orders booked online for the following performances:

No cash value.No refunds or exchanges. Offer not valid for Saturday 8pm performance.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Alums Come Home for Chicago Improv Festival

We're excited to be part of the 2011 Chicago Improv Festival this year with two alumni performances including Delicious Moments featuring Ithamar Enriquez and Brian Shortall and Babymakers featuring Colleen Doyle and Dana Quercioli. Both shows will be presented on Wednesday, April 27 at 8:00pm in The Second City e.t.c. Theater (1608 N. Wells, 2nd Floor of Piper's Alley). Tickets are $15 and can be reserved online.

Read more about Delicious Moments.

Read more about Babymakers.

Read more about the Chicago Improv Festival.

Colin Mochrie Returns to The Second City!

One Night Only! Tuesday May 10th

(TORONTO) - On Tuesday May 10th, beloved alumnus Colin Mochrie (Whose Line Is It Anyway?) will return to The Second City’s stage in, as the inaugural special guest in The Second City’s IMPROV ALL-STARS, our new all-improvised comedy blast.

Each Tuesday, The Second City’s greatest comedic minds throw away their scripts, and their inhibitions to battle wits before a live audience. Our current crop of all-star performers will be joined each week by a new special guest, beginning with beloved improv icon Colin Mochrie.

Pre-Show Celebration!
To welcome Colin and help kick-off this exciting new production, ticket holders for our May 10th performance are invited to join us for a pre-show celebration, with cocktails, fabulous door prizes, and an exciting announcement!

The Second City’s Improv All-Stars
with special guest Colin Mochrie
Tuesday May 10th at 8pm
Pre-show celebration begins at 7:15pm

Tickets $20 + tax


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Second City Teaches Workplace Skills Through Improv

Check out this article the New York Post did on Second City teaching workshop skills through improv!

Go Behind the Scenes - South Side of Heaven

After opening to rave reviews, The Second City's new Mainstage show has garnered some incredible press. Take a tour below to learn more about the cast, director and process for creating South Side of Heaven.

Chicago Tribune Feature – They'll Cry til You Laugh by Nina Metz
Learn more about the cast, director and the process for creating South Side of Heaven.

Chicago Tribune Photo GallerySouth Side of Heaven Photos by Keri Wiginton
Go behind the scenes during a performance of South Side of Heaven

Time Out Chicago – Profile on Director, Billy Bungeroth by Jason Heidemann
Second City's newest director shakes up the Mainstage.

TribLocal – Orland Park – Profile on cast member Katie Rich By Jeff Korva
Sandburg grad makes 'em laugh

Southtown Star – Profile on cast member Edgar Blackmon by Victoria Johnson
Orland Hills actor finds funny side on Second City stage

South Side of Heaven runs Tuesday – Sunday and tickets are now on sale through the summer. For a complete performance schedule and to book tickets, click here.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Tina Fey tells Sunday Life how Improvisation changed her life forever

Tina Fey details her time with Second City and the improvisational concepts that helped her succeed in her professional and personal lives.

Alum Jim Belushi Receives Terrific Reviews for Born Yesterday

Congratulations to Second City alum Jim Belushi on his fantastic reviews for Born Yesterday which opened last night on Broadway at the Cort Theater in New York! Describing his performance, The New York Times said, "His brutishness and unbowed egoism are conveyed with ferocious humor by Mr. Belushi, who can pivot from amusingly doltish to truly menacing without so much as shifting the cigar clamped between his teeth." For more information and to book your tickets for Born Yesterday, click here.

Second City Training Center Students find success on Comedy Central!

The Chicago Tribune has a feature article on one of our previous students that now works for Comedy Central! You can check out the article on their website.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tina Fey takes her Improv training to heart

Tina Fey takes, "rules of improv to heart" and breaks down the basic rules of improvisation to fans at IndieWire 2011.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Extra! Extra! Megan Mack named a 'Woman to Watch!'

Conservatory 3 student Megan Mack has been commuting between Rochester, New York and Toronto since beginning to study at the Second City Training Centre in 2009. She joined the Conservatory program in 2010 and has a wealth of experience in television and film.

Read her full story

Northwestern University Library Catalogs The Viola Spolin Papers

The Northwestern University Library has released a set of papers by Viola Spolin about her teaching techniques and her Theatre Games.

Spolin's games were one of the biggest influences on The Second City and on improvisation as an art form.

You can check out her work at the Northwestern University Library.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Comedy Desk: Fad-casting

Click to enlarge the latest Second City Comedy Desk in the Chicago Tribune by Seth Weitberg.

The Second City e.t.c. is Proud to Announce the Cast for Their 35th e.t.c. Revue

The Second City e.t.c. is proud to announce the cast for their 35th e.t.c. revue.

Returning ensemble members Tim Baltz, Brendan Jennings, Mary Sohn and Jesse Case (Musical Director) will be joined by new cast members Aidy Bryant, Jessica Joy, Michael Lehrer and Kyle Anderson (Stage Manager). Directing his sixth resident company revue will be Matt Hovde.

Please join us in congratulating our returning and new e.t.c. cast members.

Congratulations to New York Times Best Seller, Tina Fey!

Congratulations to Second City alum Tina Fey for landing at the top of the New York Times Best Seller List with Bossypants! Check out this great feature on Tina from The New York Times.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Jim Belushi talks to GMA about Born Yesterday

Second City alumni Jim Belushi sat down with Good Morning, America earlier this week to talk about his new Broadway show, Born Yesterday which is currently in previews and opens to the press on Sunday, April 24. Click here to watch the clip. To purchase tickets and for more information about Born Yesterday, click here.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tim Kazurinsky and George Wendt Open The Odd Couple

Congratulations to Second City alums Tim Kazurinsky and George Wendt! They recently opened a staged production of The Odd Couple at the New Theater Restaurant in Overland Park, KS. Tim and George originally met at The Second City when they wrote and performed on the Mainstage in two revues. The Odd Couple runs through June 19. Click here to reserve tickets.

Billy Bungeroth Talks to Time out Chicago About “South Side of Heaven”

In this week's issue of Time Out Chicago, Billy Bungeroth talks with Comedy Editor Jason Heidemann about directing the new Mainstage show, South Side of Heaven. Jason writes, "Whether Bungeroth's initial landing at the Second City was predetermined is debatable, but one thing is for sure: South Side of Heaven, a dark, emotionally charged assault on audience expectation, revels in the idea of destiny. 'This is a show about how everything that's happening is absolutely meant to happen,' says Bungeroth in March while sitting down to discuss the show's progress toward opening."

Click here to read the full interview.

Student Chronicles Her Experience With The Training Center

Jacki Carlson, a recent Second City Comedy Studies student, chronicles her experience studying with the Chicago Training Center. Read the story.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

South Side of Heaven Earns Rave Reviews and Jeff Recommendation

Our new Mainstage show, South Side of Heaven is earning rave reviews from the audiences and critics. Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune gives the show 3 ½ Stars (out of 4) calling it "groundbreaking, richly textured and deliciously dark." Check out the full review here. Kris Vire of Time Out Chicago writes "this latest revue gets very close to heaven." Tyler Tidmore with describes the show as "side-splitting laughs continue to roll on...a fast-paced, intelligent comedy that will have anyone laughing" and Marissa Oberlander from Chicago Reader writes "smart show…delivering rapid-fire comedy with the company's signature finesse."

Additionally, South Side of Heaven has been Jeff Recommended making the production eligible for a prestigious Joseph Jefferson Award at the end of the Chicago theatre season.

Tickets are now on sale for South Side of Heaven. To book your tickets, click here.

The Today Show talks to Tina Fey

The Today Show talks to Tina Fey about her humble beginnings as a Second City student and then TourCo cast member. Check it out here.

Student Spotlight: Sharon Sprague

Check Out The Second City's Student Spotlight! Get to know these awesome students and what makes them tick! Do you know a SC student that deserves the limelight? Email Andrew Thorp at with your recommendation.

Who are you?

Sharon Sprague. I'm a Senior Copywriter in Advertising.

Where are you from?

Ironwood, Michigan. Up 'der.

Why did you start taking classes with The Second City?

I've been a performer since a wee age and have been a professional writer in advertising for nearly 20 years now. I set out to master writing for the stage and couldn't think of a better place than Second City to do just that. When I moved to Chicago, I knew I'd be involved somehow with the center. Plus, I'm damn funny.

What do you like most about the class you are taking this term?

I love how we are really applying what we know and using our frame of reference to build characters. Songwriting has been a great challenge.

What are some of the concepts you have covered in songwriting?

First and foremost, it's important to keep it simple. Have on idea you're trying to get across. One of the concepts we covered was the idea of setting up a point of view in your verse and choruses but then in the B section (bridge) you can flip it and use that section to cover the opposite point of view, giving more color and contrast to your piece. That's how I heard it, but I'm usually busy texting, so who knows.

Who is your current instructor?

Dana Q

Who are some of your past instructors?

Mrs. Gertz - 1st grade. Mr. Boyd - high school band. Eric Gernand - Writing 1 & 2. Joe Janes Writing 3.

If you had to choose, would you rather have dinner with Joe Janes or Mrs. Gertz?

I'd go with Mrs. Gertz. Joe would make me write blackouts and perform them for nearby tables. Mrs. Gertz would just let me feed the fish in the classroom aquarium after dinner.

How has your experience here helped outside of the classroom?

It's helped me be more aware. I'm able to see a situation and retain that information for a future sketch. Able to find the funny. Professionally, I feel it's helped me be more confident in expressing and exploring ideas.

How has TC helped you be more confident in expressing and exploring ideas?

I work in for a big corporation in one of the creative departments as a senior copywriter. In my job, it's my responsibility to come up with new concepts and campaigns to deliver a message to consumers. Before it goes to the consumer I have to think it up and then pitch it. The writing classes have allowed me to be much more uninhibited than ever and trust my instincts. Honoring an idea and seeing where it goes. The confidence I've gained by sharing my work in classes and feeling great about it, has translated to the conference room as well. Now, every idea is a start of something. Something great or something that needs to be refined. Usually the latter but that's cool.

What's your favorite book?

Catcher in the Rye. No, lies. So expected. It's really a little book my aunt gave me when I was 5 called Somewhere Over the Rainbow by someone. Not the typical Dorothy story.

What is your favorite band?

Ask me that at different stages in my life. Age 10 - The Go Gos. Age 17 - Crowded House. Age 24 - TLC. Age 31 - Green Day. Age 39 - The Go Gos

If you were stuck on an island with one Second City Alum, who would it be and why?

Bill Murray. But I don't think I'd be his.

What's the funniest thing someone did in your class?

When Adam read his sketch and played the part of the demon. It was so realistic!

Who is your favorite Second City related comedian presently?

Tina Fey.

What do you love most about Chicago?

Eclectic and rich with history and personalities. It's THE American city. And it's so pretty and twinkly at night.

What do you hate most about Chicago?

The solicitors on the street that pretend they want to talk to me or want to ask a question about my hair.

Any shows you are in or would like to plug

See me in a few months :-)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Chicago Live! Returns May 5

Chicago Live! returns May 5 for an all-new season. The first episode is packed with great guests including Billy Dec, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, WGN Radio's Garry Meier, Chef Rick Trumanto, Chicago MOTH GrandSLAM champion Shannon Cason, members of the Chicago Children's Choir, jazz-vocal-guitar duo Petra van Nuis and Andy Brown and of course, Second City.

For a complete guide to this season and to book your tickets, visit the Chicago Tribune.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Sound of Young America Returns to Second City with Guest Peter Sagel

The Sound of Young America returns to The Second City e.t.c. Theatre (1608 N. Wells, 2nd Floor of Piper's Alley) for a live taping on Wednesday, April 13 at 8:00pm with an interview with Peter Sagal, the host of NPR's hit show Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me, stand-up comedy from Cameron Esposito, and more to be announced!

Reserve Your Tickets Now

The Sound of Young America can be heard on public radio stations around the country, including WNYC in New York and WHYY in Philadelphia. It was the first public radio program west of the Mississippi to podcast. The show has received plaudits from publications like Time Magazine (which called it "Pick of the Podcasts") and (which wrote "If you've never heard The Sound of Young America, then The Sound of Young America is the greatest radio show you've never heard."). It also was honored by the iTunes editorial staff as a "classic" Best of iTunes selection. The Sound of Young America is distributed by PRI: Public Radio International and can be found online at

"Second to None" Set to Air on PBS on Monday

On Monday, set your DVR to record "Second to None," an amazing documentary about the creation of Second City's "Paradigm Lost" which was written and performed by Scott Adsit, Kevin Dorff, Rachel Dratch, Tina Fey, Jenna Jolovitz, and Jim Zulevic and directed by Mick Napier. It will air on PBS - you'll probably want to watch this a couple of times.

To read more about "Second to None," check out this article from Darel Jevens in The Chicago Sun Times.

Tim Kazurisnky discovers improv by taking a Second City class!

After years in the ad-writing business, Tim Kazurinsky discovers the art of improv by taking a class at The Second City. The Kansas City Star interviews alums Kuzurinsky and George Wendt about their days at The Second City. Follow this link to read the full interview.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Join Us @ The Montrose Room this Saturday!

It's almost here – we're headed out to The Montrose Room at the Intercontinental Hotel this Saturday, April 9 for The Second City's Fair & Unbalanced. We're just about sold out of all of our shows in Chicago – take a quick trip to the suburbs to enjoy The Second City at one of Chicagoland's hottest venues. The Montrose Room was named by Time Out Chicago as one of the suburbs Top 5 bars!

To book tickets, click here.

For more information on The Montrose Room, click here.

South Side of Heaven Opens Sunday! Limited Tickets Available – Join Us for the Big Night!

We are excited to open our new Mainstage show, South Side of Heaven on Sunday, April 10. Join us for the big night! A limited number of tickets are available. Click here to reserve your tickets.

Join us on Facebook and check out photos from the show.

Toronto Training Centre Announces Spring Fever!

The date of the third annual Spring Fever has been announced! Saturday April 30th at 9pm, students, faculty and Training Centre Alumni alike will gather to celebrate everything Second City. The night starts in The John Candy Box Theatre where students from all programs and levels perform in a variety show. The fun continues at The Charlotte Room, the local Pool Hall, frequented by Second City staff and alumni. Students and Faculty look forward to this event every year, there's great food, great prize draws and you're always meeting someone new. Just one of the benefits of being part of The Second City Community.

Tickets for Second City Students are available in the office for $5!

Comedy Desk: F. Scott Hemingway

Click to enlarge the latest Second City Comedy Desk in the Chicago Tribune

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

"Workaholics," Featuring Alum Maribeth Monroe, Debuts Tonight on Comedy Central

Workaholics, a new scripted series on Comedy Central featuring Second City alumni Maribeth Monroe, debuts tonight at 9:30pm. Read more about the creators, including Evanston native Anders Holm, in Nina Metz's feature in the Tribune today.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Student Spotlight: Praveen Dandamudi

Check Out The Second City's Student Spotlight! Get to know these awesome students and what makes them tick! Do you know a SC student that deserves the limelight? Email Andrew Thorp at with your recommendation.

Who are you and what do you do?

Praveen Dandamudi. I am a physician.

Where are you from?

Battle Creek, Michigan

Why did you start taking classes with The Second City?

Awhile back during a bar conversation, my friend's brother was telling me about improv classes he took at Second City. And you know when you can see in someone's face how much they enjoyed whatever they were talking about; this was one of those times. I made a mental note and a few years later signed up for a class when I knew I could make the time commitment and have loved taking classes and performing ever since.

What do you like most about the class you are taking this term?

I am excited to learn a more structured process of creating sketch from improv. Currently, I just write sketches and film them for fun with friends when I have down time. Something tells me there is much much more to it than that.

Who is your current instructor?

Tim O'Malley

Who are some of your past instructors?

At Second City: Jessica Rogers, Ranjit Souri, Erica Elam, Dunbar Dicks, Brian Posen, Ric Walker, Tim Soszko (He coached one of my independent teams).

How has your experience here helped outside of the classroom?

It helped me grow as an individual overall, so it has really helped in all aspects of life. I feel more fulfilled, am more comfortable expressing my inner thoughts, having more fun, and I think it actually makes you listen and react more genuinely outside of class as well.

What’s your favorite book?

I bet you never have got this answer before - The Catcher in the Rye. I know, it's shocking.

What is your favorite band?

I don't have one favorite band, depends on my mood. Right now I am really liking Jose Gonzalez and the Fruit Bats.

If you were stuck on an island with one Second City alum, who would it be and why?

That's a tough question. I would say Chris Farley. If I am slowly dying on a stranded island, I might as well be laughing constantly.

What's the funniest thing someone did in your class?

Someone showed up late once. I laugh about it to this day.

Who is your favorite Second City related comedian presently?

I like watching Bill Murray and Fred Willard because of how dry and comitted they are. Stephen Colbert is basically living in one character so wholeheartedly, he is amazing to watch. Tina Fey's writing is so clever and always filled with subtle callbacks.

What do you love most about Chicago?

Everything except the prolonged winter. I love the people, the support/opportunities for improv around the city, the food, the distinctly different neighborhoods, and sitting outside in cafes/bars all over the city in the summer.

What do you hate most about Chicago?

Every April. The day is longer, but it's not warmer. April in Chicago taunts me.

Any shows you are in or would like to plug

I was on two independent teams that both died of natural causes earlier this year. I have some iO graduation shows coming up in May. Other than that, I am at Wendy's on Ashland and Division a lot. I don't think that qualifies though.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Happy Cubs Opener from The Second City!

Happy Cubs Opener from The Second City! Enjoy this heartfelt plea from the cast of "America: All Better" — Lauren Ash, Joe Canale, Shelly Gossman, Anthony LeBlanc, Brad Morris, Michael Patrick O'Brien and Emily Wilson. (Beware - strong language)

See it HERE.

Alum Maribeth Monroe Will Be on New Comedy Central Show

Congratulations to our very own alum Maribeth Monroe who is a series regular in a new show premiering on Comedy Central April 6th at 10:30/9:30c

Workaholics is a scripted series that follows three friends fresh out of college who live and work together as telemarketers.

Dress codes, deadlines and waking up before noon isn't something these guys are used to. The crew spends their days scheming together to avoid doing any real work and their nights looking for good times.

Get ready for ten half-hour episodes of Workaholics premiering on Wednesday, April 6 at 10:30pm/9:30c, directed by Kyle Newacheck and executive produced by Kevin Etten ("Scrubs").

Featuring alum Maribeth Monroe, (who is currently on tour, in Tuscon starring in the cast of Sex and the Second City 2.0)

Alum Jim Belushi Begins Previews for Born Yesterday on Broadway

Second City alum Jim Belushi began previews on Broadway in Born Yesterday, Garson Kanin's award-winning romantic comedy about sex and politics. Directed by Tony winner Doug Hughes and featuring Robert Sean Leonard and Nina Arianda, Born Yesterday opens on April 24. To book tickets and for more information, visit Born Yesterday on Broadway.

A New Longform Program at the Training Centre in Toronto

A new Longform Improv Program is being launched next session. The program will be in response to increased demand for quality longform Improv classes in Toronto. The program will be headed up by Rob Norman, a current member of the Second City National Touring Company and founding member of the Improv and Sketch troupes "Maybe" and "Mantown". Rob has developed a 4-Level curriculum that will introduce Improvisers to longform technique and eventually have them design their own format.

Comedy Desk: Fight Club

Click to enlarge the latest Second City Comedy Desk in the Chicago Tribune by Kelly Leonard.