Monday, March 25, 2013

Student Focus Night with Jen Whalen!

Join us in the John Candy Box Theatre on Wednesday April 3rd at 9pm for a FREE Q&A session with JENNIFER WHALEN and get a preview of what Bruce Pirrie's WRITING IV class is working on!

To reserve your spot email:
Spaces are limited, so it's first come first served!!!

Jennifer Whalen is a Toronto based writer and Second City Alumni.

She wrote for five seasons on “This Hour Has 22 Minutes,” two of them as Head Writer. In addition she's worked on “The Ron James Show,” ”The Jon Dore Show” and the critically acclaimed “Gavin Crawford Show.” Jennifer co-created, wrote and produced “The Bronte's” an animated children’s show for Disney as well as developing “Little Mosque On The Prairie” and “Instant Star.” Most recently, she returned to her comfort zone: shows with some guy’s name in the title and wrote on “Gavin Crawford’s Wild West”.

She has been nominated for three Geminis, four Canadian Comedy Awards and won both a WGC Award and a Canadian Comedy Award for her work on “This Hour Has 22 Minutes.”

According to IMDB she danced the lead in Swan Lake in 2005. She wishes this were true. AND FYI... The answer to your question is YES. YES SHE IS KEVIN WHALEN'S SISTER.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Second City Finds 101 Ways to Let Them Eat Chaos

The Second City is proud to announce the opening of The Second City's 101st Revue, Let Them Eat Chaos. Reviewing press are invited to attend the show on Sunday, April 7, 2013, at 7:00 p.m. at The Second City Mainstage Theatre (1616 N. Wells Street). A Grand Opening is scheduled for Wednesday, April 10, 2013, at 8:00 p.m.

For better or worse, we're someone to everyone. Sometimes the title is friend and sometimes the title is enemy - unfortunately, we can't always dictate our role nor can we control our path through the world. The cast of The Second City Mainstage invites you to grab the people that mean the most to you and take a journey with them from the high seas of the Atlantic to the bohemian home of Panamanian poets. Let's leave the rest and let them eat chaos.

Jeff Award-winning director Matt Hovde (Studs Terkel's Not Working, Sky's the Limit (Weather Permitting)) returns to The Second City's legendary Mainstage Theater to lead a veteran cast including Edgar Blackmon (Jeff Award-winner - Best Actor - Revue), Holly Laurent, Tawny Newsome, Katie Rich, Steve Waltien and new cast member Ross Bryant. Julie N. Nichols returns to the keys (and mandolin, gong and Wurlitzer) for Let Them Eat Chaos and Craig Taylor returns as Stage Manager. The producing team for Let Them Eat Chaos includes Chief Executive Officer & Executive Producer for The Second City, Andrew Alexander; Executive Vice President, Kelly Leonard; Producer, Alison Riley; and Associate Producer, Jeremy Smith.

Tickets for Let Them Eat Chaos are available by phone at 312-337-3992 or online at The show schedule and ticket prices are as follows:

Tuesday 8 p.m. $23.00
Wednesday 8 p.m. $23.00
Thursday 8 p.m. $23.00
Friday and Saturday 8 p.m. & 11 p.m. $28.00
Sunday 7 p.m. $23.00


Edgar Blackmon
EDGAR BLACKMON (Ensemble) is from Richton Park, IL. This is his third revue for The Second City Mainstage. He was a member of The Second City's Outreach & Diversity Ensemble and later toured with The Second City Touring Company. He is also a part of the comedy duo "Mad Highentists." Follow Edgar on twitter at @edgarblackmon.
Ross Bryant
ROSS BRYANT (Ensemble) travelled the world with The Second City Touring Company, co-wrote and performed the revue One Nation Under 1% in UP Comedy Club, and appeared in The Second City's Guide to the Opera at Lyric Opera. He is an ensemble member of Baby Wants Candy and The Improvised Shakespeare Company, with whom he has performed all over the USA and Canada.
Holly Laurent
HOLLY LAURENT (Ensemble) is a member of the longstanding improv group The Reckoning and is a consulting writer for The Onion News Network. She trained at iO Chicago, the Annoyance Theater, 500 Clown, and toured with The Second City Touring Company. Holly holds an M.A. in Interdisciplinary Arts from Columbia College. She was a member of the Jeff–nominated Mainstage revues South Side of Heaven and Who Do We Think We Are. This is her third Mainstage revue. Follow Holly on Twitter @laurentholly.
Tawny Newsome
TAWNY NEWSOME (Ensemble) was most recently in The Second City e.t.c.'s 36th revue We're All in This Room Together. A DePaul Theatre School graduate, Tawny has performed with several Chicago theatre companies including Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Writer's Theatre, and Porchlight Music Theater. Tawny can also be seen with her band Jon Langford and Skull Orchard, and she's just finished her first solo album and would love to talk to you for way too long about it. You can learn more about Tawny at
Katie Rich
KATIE RICH (Ensemble) studied at Northwestern University before traveling with The Second City Touring Company and performing in the 99th Mainstage revue, South Side of Heaven. Katie improvises at iO Chicago, and her solo work has been seen at iO West, TBS' Just for Laughs Festival, and the Paper Machete. Commercial credits include: Walmart, Sonic Drive-in, Lexus, Radio Shack and more. Movie credits include: Martin Short's Let Freedom Hum and with Abigail Breslin in Janie Jones. Follow her @katiemaryrich. Go Bears!
Steve Waltien
STEVE WALTIEN (Ensemble) is thrilled to be part of his second revue on The Second City Mainstage. Steve has performed regularly at the iO Theatre for years and toured the world with numerous improv shows including The Improvised Shakespeare Company and Whirled News Tonight. Favorite scripted shows include Jordan and Steve are Steve and Jordan, Respectively; The Late Night Late Show; and his solo show Scenes With Ghosts.
Matt Hovde
MATT HOVDE (Director) Directing credits include Sky's The Limit (Weather Permitting), Studs Terkel's Not Working (Jeff Award Winner – Best Director); Chicago Live!; America: All Better!; Rod Blagojevich Superstar!; Campaign Supernova; Between Barack and a Hard Place; How I Lost My Denverginity; and The Best of The Second City. He is the Artistic Director of The Second City Training Center, and is a founder of the Galileo Players sketch group. Matt was born in Chicago, grew up in Omaha, and graduated from TCU.
Julie Nichols
JULIE B. NICHOLS (Music Direction, Original Incidental Music, Sound Design) is thrilled to be part of the Second City Mainstage. This is her third Mainstage revue. Previous credits include Spoiler Alert: Everybody Dies and the Jeff-nominated South Side of Heaven. Prior to life on the Mainstage, Julie was the associate musical director for Boom Chicago in Amsterdam. Prior to that, Julie toured with The Second City Touring Company and was lucky enough to perform and compose for The Annoyance Theater. Julie serves as the musical director for The New Colony and her pet project is the hit NPR parody podcast, The Fraudkast (, for which she serves as producer, composer, and editor.
  CRAIG TAYLOR (Stage Manager) has stage managed more than 35 revues for The Second City and has been asked to provide the impossible for numerous Second City directors.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Offstage with Daniel Strauss

When The Second City paired up with University of Michigan-born theater company Team StarKid, a new sketch show, Airport for Birds, was born. Daniel Strauss of The Second City Touring Company and Team StarKid describes the group as "some super funny friends of mine from college who basically run the Internet," with their big hit "A Very Potter Musical." He says they tried to make the show very similar to a Second City show. "People brought in scripts or pitches, and we'd work them and rework them in rehearsals to get them to where we wanted," he says. We talked with Daniel about touring, video games and what influences his work.

You have two more Airport for Birds shows left with them. Tell us about the show. How did you guys come up with it?

Brian Holden and Meredith Stepien, two of my friends from StarKid, came to see me in one of my Second City Touring Company shows a while back. Afterwards, Brian mentioned he'd been talking to Kelly Leonard over at Second City about possibly putting up a sketch show with Team StarKid, and would that be something I'd be interested in working on. I'd wanted to get the chance to work with StarKid since they moved to Chicago, so it was a no-brainer for me. The title was Brian's idea, he wanted that title from the start. Which is a shame, because I think my title, Team StarKid Presents: The Daniel Strauss Story (A Tragicomedy in Four Acts) had a lot more zing to it.

How did you get started at Second City?

My first gig at Second City was the summer of 2006, as an intern. I had already seen a Second City show as a kid on a family vacation, but getting to be up close and behind the scenes at the theater was a pretty mind-blowing experience for me. By the end of that summer, I was sure I was moving to Chicago after school and that I wanted to work for Second City. I moved to Chicago and got hired by Second City almost instantly--to work in the box office. Which I did for two years. During that time, I was performing pretty much anywhere I could find a stage. Four months after I left the box office, I got the call to do a ship. And I got hired to understudy the Touring Company after I came back.

What's your favorite part about touring?

There are so many things. I would probably say getting to see parts of the country I would otherwise never have seen. We play a lot of small midwestern towns, and a few small southern towns, and it's like you're getting to sample this piece of America that you didn't even know existed before.

Tell us about your web series Game Bros. How did the idea come about?

So, Tim Ryder, my "Game Bros." co-star and I love playing video games. I was brainstorming ideas that would be fun/easy to shoot with a budget of $0, and the idea just kind of came to me. Tim and I toured together for about a year and a half, so we already have a bunch of bits that I thought would translate to the format of the show: two guys playing video games online and talking via their gaming headsets. Right now I'm on a pretty steady diet of Halo 4 and MLB The Show 2013. I'm super excited for Bioshock: Infinite, which cannot come out soon enough.

Who's your biggest comic influence?

Right now, I have to say Tim (Heidecker) and Eric (Wareheim). I can pretty much quote every episode of Tim and Eric: Awesome Show, Great Job! although I don't have to do it right now, because that would probably get annoying. That's probably the one comedy show that can make me fall out of my seat from laughing so hard.

How do these things play into your improvisation and performance?

I would say there's a certain irreverence in Tim and Eric's style that I try to bring to my work. Also, merciless mocking of all things related to the corporate business world, which I definitely try to incorporate.

When you’re not acting, improvising or writing, what else are you doing?

Probably hanging out with my wife, Rachel. There's also a 85% chance we're eating sushi.

By Pamela Birchard

Monday, March 18, 2013

WGN Interviews Anne Libera On The Second City and Columbia College's New Comedy Studies Bachelor's Degree

Anne Libera, The Director of Comedy Studies at Columbia College and Author of The Second City Almanac of Improvisation, talks with WGN's Brian Noonan about Columbia College and The Second City's latest collaboration: a Bachelor's Degree in Comedy Studies.

Listen to the WGN Interview

Read CJ Toledano's personal Comedy Studies experience.

Click here for more information on Comedy Studies.

Click here for information on Spring and Summer Camps and Classes.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day from The Second City

Looking for a new way to celebrate? Celebrate with Finian's Meats...or else.

Want to hit the town this weekend? Check out our shows in Chicago, Toronto and Hollywood.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Offstage with Mike Kosinski

When e.t.c. actor Mike Kosinski first saw a Second City show, he knew that was what he wanted to do. But he was terrified of improv. To face his fear, he enrolled in the Second City Training Center. "Learning how to do it scenically is so different than just sitting around and joking with your friends," says Kosinski. Soon he was taking improv classes everywhere around the city of Chicago. He learned how to make choices to heighten certain scenes, and improv became the most rewarding and fun part of acting for him. He says he was "bitten by the improv bug."

"Working for Second City was my dream when I moved to Chicago," he says. And that dream came true. He performed on four different cruise ships with Second City, spent a year in Denver for a Second City Theatricals show and spent a year and a half traveling with the Second City Touring Company. "Being paid to travel and do comedy with my friends was so great." He was lucky enough to travel all over the country, including Alaska, Bermuda, the Caribbean and Northern Europe. He says performing at all these different locations "keeps you humble."

Mike is about to finish his first Second City e.t.c. revue and begin the writing process for our 37th revue at the end of this month. Before joining the e.t.c. company, most shows he performed were archived material. "These archive pieces are so time tested and we know they work. So then going from that to all original material, you don't know if it's going to work," he says. "There's almost a comfort and safety in doing a Steve Carell scene, but also there is this sense of responsibility to do those scenes as well as you can because your comedy idols wrote them."

For Mike's first revue in the e.t.c. theatre, "We're All In This Room Together," Kosinski definitely took some risks with original material. The scene "Parents" he created involves bringing an audience member onstage to be introduced as his boyfriend. The cast goes on to perform an entire musical wedding with a different audience member every night. "It's definitely risky but I think with all things the more risk the better the payoff," he says. "I think it's always fun and the audience member is always really well protected." He recalls performing it at the Jeff Awards and receiving a standing ovation. For him, that was one of the most special moments for his career.

"I am so excited to get new stuff in now," he says about the process of creating a new revue. "We're going to have a brand new show and I have no idea what that show will look like," he says. "Ultimately it's so rewarding." It's interesting to think that in three months time, they will have created a brand new show and he has no idea what it's going to look like. He says he is lucky to have such a great group of people to work with. "No matter what happens onstage, we know we're friends offstage."

"The thing that I was most afraid of initially when I first saw a Second City show, which was improv, is now the thing I like most about a Second City show 'cause you never know what's going to happen."

By Pamela Birchard

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Onion, The Second City Join Forces For Touring Show, 'The Onion Live!'

Two of America's finest comedic institutions, The Onion and The Second City, announced today that they are partnering to present a first-of-its-kind theatrical event called The Onion Live!

The nationwide touring show, which will debut Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013, at the Capitol Theater in Columbus, OH, will combine The Onion's insightful, award-winning satire with The Second City's expert stage production. Audiences won't just see the topical headlines that make The Onion famous–they'll also learn the history of America's Finest News Source and be given an exclusive peak at news so new that it hasn't even happened yet. Theatergoers will learn The Onion’s journalism secrets through a series of presentations from the same news and lifestyle experts who train The Onion's handsome, knowledgeable staff. Audiences will learn everything from how to chase a scoop to how to become as insanely wealthy and successful as our own reporters.

As the world's definitive authority on all human endeavors, The Onion's live show is the only theatrical experience guaranteed to leave audiences smarter, better-looking, and three inches taller than they were when they sat down.

Said Steve Hannah, CEO of The Onion: "The Onion Live! marks the first time in our storied history that we've done anything resembling a live, theatrical show. We wanted to bring a funny, biting new incarnation of The Onion to our followers, old and new, and The Second City is the ideal partner."

"I am a big fan of The Onion and can't wait to see the marriage of our creative teams, and I am sure they will produce a funny and irreverent show" says The Second City's CEO & Executive Producer, Andrew Alexander.

The Onion Live! will tour the country during the fall and winter of 2013.

For booking information, contact The Road Company at 212-302-5200 or

Contact for all additional inquiries.

The Onion
Since its humble beginnings as a Madison, WI student-run newspaper in the late-'80s, The Onion has become the America's most recognizable and prominent source of satirical commentary. With daily coverage of politics, technology, sports, business, entertainment and more, welcomes over 8 million unique monthly visitors.

The Second City
The Second City is the leading brand in improv-based sketch comedy. With theatres in Chicago and Toronto, Training Centers in those cites as well as Hollywood, 11 full time touring ensembles, thriving corporate communications and theatricals divisions as well as television and film operations, The Second City has been called "A Comedy Empire" by the New York Times.

The Road Company
The Road Company is an independent theatrical booking agency, distributing award-winning musicals, plays and special attractions across North America, founded by Stephen Lindsay and Brett Sirota in 1997. Current clients include Wicked, Once, Evita, Peter and the Starcatcher, We Will Rock You, Donny and Marie and Experience the Beatles with Rain.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Steve Carrell Interview in the Chicago Tribune

Second City alum Steve Carrell shares his thoughts with the Chicago Tribune on his upcoming film The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, the Anchorman sequel and, how Second City influenced his career.

Read the interview at The Chicago Tribune

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Chicago Improv Festival Shows Announced!

Celebrating their 15th anniversary, this year's Festival is their largest yet with more than 150 teams in over 90 shows on 20 different stages. The Second City is excited to host 3 great shows from the Chicago Improv Festival this year.

Tuesday, April 2, 8pm
Headliners: Lucas Neff & Craig Cackowski
Opening Act - Cook County Social Club
Second City e.t.c stage
Tickets: $20

Wednesday, April 3, 8pm
Headliners: Scott Adsit & Jet Eveleth
Opening Act - Virgin Daquiri
Second City e.t.c. stage
Tickets: $20

Sunday, April 7, 8pm
Headliners: 30 Rock show with Scott Adsitt, John Lutz & Kay Cannon
Opening Act - Improvised Shakespeare Co.
UP Comedy Club
Tickets: $25

Tickets to all shows can be purchased by calling 312-337-3392 or online at

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Toronto Critics call "The Meme-ing of Life "an Epic Win"

A new revue hit the stage at The Second City Toronto last night, and critics have been quick to heap praise on the new production and its cast. The Meme-ing of Life -- the Second City's 71st Mainstage Revue in Toronto -- has an amazing opening night attended my members of the media, as well as many generations of Second City alumni.

The Toronto Star awarded the show four stars, and called The Meme-ing of Life "the most deliciously subversive comic stealth bomb of a show that the company has created in many years. It's also very, very, very, very, very, very funny. That's one 'very' for each of the gifted members of the cast."
(Click for full review) also awarded four stars, and said "The Meme-ing of Life is an Epic Win"
(Click for full review)

Congratulations to the wonderful cast and creative team!

The Meme-ing of Life is now on stage at The Second City Toronto each Wednesday through Sunday evening.
Click here for tickets or more information about the show

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Columbia College and The Second City Announce New Comedy Writing/Performance Major

Growing out of our Comedy Studies program with Columbia College, we're thrilled to announce the world's first four-year degree in Comedy Writing and Performance.

Anne Libera, Director of the Comedy Writing and Performance Program, says, "The most successful comedians of our day - from Tina Fey and Louis CK to Chris Rock and Lena Dunham are writer/performer/producers. The new degree requires students to study both writing and performance, to do improvisation, physical clowning, and stand-up. Most college programs have focused on medium as opposed to content, but the current professional landscape requires that artists be content creators and providers across media and to be prepared to do so in media that have not even been created yet."

Read more about it at The Hollywood Reporter