Thursday, May 30, 2013

Second City Offers Exclusive New Video Course in Partnership with Funny or Die

Two of America's top comedy creators, The Second City and Funny Or Die, have collaborated on an exclusive new video course. The pilot program will launch at The Second City Training Center's Hollywood campus (6560 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028) beginning July 2, 2013. Similar programs will be launched at The Second City Training Centers in Chicago and Toronto in the Fall of 2013.

The first course offering focuses on DIY or guerilla-style filmmaking with an emphasis on creating short form comedic video content. The course curriculum includes pitching video ideas, scripting and on-location coaching. Basic cameras, lighting equipment and editing software will be provided by The Second City. Students are encouraged to use their own equipment as well.

Course curriculum has been co-created by Funny Or Die Creative Director, Andrew Steele, and Second City Training Center Artistic Director, Joshua Funk. Course will be taught by Mr. Steele, Mr. Funk and other key Second City and Funny Or Die talent.

"While The Second City has perfected the process for creating theatrical material," states Andrew Alexander, CEO/Managing Partner of The Second City, "our friends at Funny Or Die have been perfecting the formula for creating funny, edgy and satirical short form videos. In the current comedy environment, it pays to be prolific. Having the right tools and coaching for short form digital content is an important asset for any writer and performer."

"It makes perfect sense to us. No one teaches short form sketch comedy better than Second City and we think we're pretty good at translating that form to the web," states Andrew Steele, Creative Director for Funny Or Die. "We were kind of stunned that they would come to us but I guess they know what they're doing. I hope they know what they're doing." He added, "This is a natural fit for us. We both have short form comedy in our DNA. And it gives us the added bonus of maybe stealing some of their better talent."

Course Description
Creating Video for Funny Or Die is a 12 week course in creating comedic digital shorts. Each student receives weekly feedback from Funny Or Die creative staff and has weekly check-ins with a Second City writing instructor and director. After completion of the 12 week course, each student will have his or her own fully produced digital short. Funny Or Die will post all student content on their main site under a section specifically designated for Second City Training Center student works.

10 classes meet over 12 weeks
Prerequisite: None

Class meets at the Second City Training Center Hollywood, 6560 Hollywood Blvd.
Tuesdays beginning July 2. Class runs through September 17. 6:30-10:00pm

Register for the class here.

Congratulations to Brian Gallivan on His Overall Deal with Sony TV

Congratulations to Brian Gallivan on landing an overall deal with Sony TV. He will be continuing with his current project, "The McCarthys" and create new projects for the studio. Read more at

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Second City Guide to the Opera opens this weekend!

The Second City Guide to the Opera opens this weekend!

Tickets are on sale now for this smart and hilarious collaboration between The Second City and Lyric Opera of Chicago. The Second City Guide to the Opera "had the crowd whooping with laughter...a smart script and the manic exuberance of the cast roasted the sacred cows of opera with a light yet loving touch." Chicago Tribune

The show will run from May 31 through June 30. Tickets are selling fast, so don't miss your chance to sit on the legendary Civic Opera House stage and see The Second City Guide to the Opera starting on May 31. Learn more about the performances and reserve your tickets today at

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Second City’s Walking Tour Is Back for the Summer

The Second City’s Neighborhood Tour returns for the summer starting this week! Written by Margaret Hicks, an experienced Chicago tour guide and author of Chicago Comedy: A Fairly Serious History, The Second City’s Neighborhood Tour both entertains and informs while highlighting the architecture, history and development of Old Town as well as various Second City alumni haunts and the stories that go with them.

Tours can have up to fifteen guests and advanced reservations are recommended. The tours are every Sunday at 10:30am and Wednesday at 4:00pm and last from one hour and 30 minutes to two hours. The walking pace is suitable for all ages. For more information, or to make reservations, call The Second City Box Office at 312-337-3992 or reserve online at

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Second City Celebrates Playwrights Theatre Club’s 60th Anniversary

The Second City is pleased to host a free event celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Playwrights Theatre Club on Sunday, June 23, 2013 in UP Comedy Club (230 W. North Ave, 2nd Floor of Piper's Alley) at 3:00 p.m. This special event will reunite the original members of The Playwrights Theatre Club, which was the precursor to The Compass and The Second City.

During this special reunion event, Chicago Tribune's Chris Jones will moderate a panel of Playwrights Theatre Club original members including: Ed Asner, Helen Axelrood, Rolf Forsberg, George Goritz, Zohra Lampert, Sheldon Patinkin, Bernie Sahlins, and David Shepherd, along with Joyce Piven, Carol Sills and Joann Shapiro.

The Playwrights Theatre Club was started in Chicago in the early 1950s by a group of young theater pioneers. Founded by David Shepherd, Paul Sills and Eugene Troobnick, Playwrights Theatre Club appeared on the scene in June 1953 with a production of Bertolt Brecht's The Caucasian Chalk Circle. In two years, the company presented nearly thirty productions, with the company members, several of whom lived in the theatre, making all sets and costumes themselves. In addition to show rehearsals, company members regularly played Theater Games (now considered the basis of improvisational theater) created by Sills' mother, Viola Spolin. This training prepared the group for their rechristening as The Compass Players in 1955. The Compass Players opened their doors in a new, larger and air-conditioned space on July 5, 1955, presenting regular improvisational theater shows, the predecessor to the legendary form The Second City is known for today. Roger Bowen, Elaine May and Barbara Harris are among the many notable performers in the original Compass Players.

Tickets for the event are free. For reservations, call The Second City Box Office at 312-337-3992 or reserve online at

Second City Featured on NBC's Today Show

The Today Show stopped by Chicago today for on the Great American Road Trip. While they were in town, they featured Second City including interviews with Andrew Alexander, Anne Libera and Second City Touring Company alum and current SNL cast member Cecily Strong. Watch it below:

Monday, May 20, 2013

Jeff Garlin Joins ABC Fall Line-Up with "The Goldberg's"

Jeff Garlin joins the ABC Fall line-up with a new family sitcom, "The Goldbergs." Set in the '80's, "The Goldbergs" also features Wendy McClendon-Covey. Click here to check out the trailer.

Peter Grosz to Star Off Broadway in "A Kid Like Jake" with Carla Gugino

Second City alumni Peter Grosz has been cast to star in the world premiere of Daniel Pearle's new play, "A Kid Like Jake," at the Claire Tow Theater as part of Lincoln Center Theater's LCT3 initiative devoted to emerging artists. Performances begin June 2 with the official opening set for June 17. Click here for more information.

Congratulations to Drama Desk Award Winners Andrea Martin and Richard Kind!

This year's Drama Desk Award Winners including Second City alumni Andrea Martin for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical ("Pippin") and Richard Kind for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play ("The Big Knife"). Click here for a complete list of winners.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Second City Alums Join "The Big Live Comedy Show" This Weekend on YouTube

Keegan-Michael Key of Key & Peele and Jack McBrayer join the line-up on YouTube's "The Big Live Comedy Show" on Sunday, May 19 at 7 pm Central. Click here for more info.

Jane Lynch Stars in "Annie" on Broadway

Alumni of The Second City Touring Company Jane Lynch began performances as orphanage matron Miss Hannigan in Broadway's "Annie" on May 14. Click here for more information about the production and ticket information.

Martin Short Joins the Cast of Paul Thomas Anderson's "Inherent Vice"

Second City and SCTV alum Martin Short is set to star in Paul Thomas Anderson's new movie "Inherent Vice," an adaptation of the 2009 Thomas Pynchon novel of the same name. Click here to read the full story from Splitsider.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Nancy Fast Interviews Super-Intern Miguel Lepe On His Last Day

Nancy snagged Miguel from his post on his last day of interning to talk about what’s next in his life! Find out all about Miguel’s Production Company Digital Cake, his upcoming one-man show, his wonderful fiancĂ© Ruby Vega and more!

Listen to the Podcast!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Andrea Martin Wins Outer Critics Circle Award for Pippin'

Congratulations to Second City alumni Andrea Martin on her Outer Critics Circle Award win for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical in "Pippin'." Awards winners will be recognized at the 63rd Annual Outer Critics Circle Awards on May 23 at Sardi's Restaurant in New York. Click here for a complete list of winners.

Shannon Skinner Shares Life Lessons from Her Second City Class on Huffington Post

Talk show host and author, Shannon Skinner, shares her experience and four life lessons she learned taking a class at the Second City Training Center. Read it on The Huffington Post.

Edgar Blackmon and Holly Laurent from our Mainstage Cast on WBEZ

Edgar Blackmon and Holly Laurent from our new Mainstage show "Let Them Eat Chaos" stopped by WBEZ's Afternoon Shift to talk Chicago news and oversharing.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Are You Ready for Mother's Day?

Haven't found the perfect Mother's Day gift yet? We're pretty sure she'd appreciate a good laugh. Treat her to something she'll enjoy - spending time with her wonderful child (that's you) and laughing harder than she has for years. Tickets are selling fast but still available for performances this Sunday. Click here to make her proud and plan ahead!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Offstage with Brianna Baker

When Brianna Baker first moved to Chicago, she had three different bosses recommend The Second City to her within a week. "The first time someone said it, I just smiled and nodded. The second time, I asked what The Second City was and pretended that I had known the entire time. By the third, I went to The Second City's website and signed up for a class," she said. Since then, she has done a handful of student and Outreach & Diversity shows, sailed on the NCL Pearl and now performs at UP Comedy Club in "What The Tour Guide Didn't Tell You." We talked with Brianna about some of her other projects, her grandma and what she does for fun.

Tell us about The TOMKAT Project.
The TOMKAT Project is the brainchild of my good friend, Brandon Ogborn. The play is about those two relatively well-known actors and The Church of Scientology, but it's also about so much more than that. It deconstructs our fascination with celebrities, why we want to know about them, what we think we know about them, why we think we are so well informed, and more importantly, it presents the audience with some pretty big questions about all of the above.

What are some of your favorite characters to play?
My Grandmother, Phyllis - She is in my solo show Bede. She is a pistol. I just say her catchphrases, or ones that I imagine she would say.

My Grandmother, Emmie - She is in my solo show as well, but such a contrast to Phyllis. She died when I was in 8th grade, so it feels good to embody her and keep her with me, even if on stage.

Yera, A Hermaphrodite Orca Whisperer - This one is new, and I think the title explains why I like to play it.

Fionica - I originally thought of her when I was on a ship for Second City, and I would play her when I was interviewing contestants for games. She was then a meter maid in my Conservatory show, and I've since used her in many different sketches.

How was your solo show Bede?
My solo show Bede has been the most personally fulfilling project I've done thus far. It centers around my child self, Bede, and my gender-nonconforming childhood. It was a show that I've known I should write for years. I'll be performing it at Stage 773 for the Chicago Women's Funny Festival on June 8th at 9pm.

What else are you working on right now?
I am going to be performing at the Awkward Phase Summer Series at the Annoyance. The show is sponsored by Tumblr. My Improv team, 3 Peat, has a run at the Playground Theater on Fridays at 10pm. I'm working on a project that involves my grandmother, Phyllis. I'm really excited about it.

What comedians inspire you?
I grew up idolizing Jerry Lewis and Jim Carrey. I can thank these two men for having each and every on-camera teacher tell me to stop playing everything so big. Amy Sedaris, David Sedaris, Molly Shannon, Steve Carrell, Cheri Oteri, Maya Rudolph, Steve Martin, Toni Collete. These are some of the people that strike a chord in me comedically. Jet Eveleth started as my idol, then my mentor, and now my friend. I still can’t get over her art. Of all of the people I’ve listed above, no one has had an impact on my comedy like she does. She is one of a kind.

When you're not acting, improvising or writing, what are you doing?
Any of the following: Folding laundry, hanging out with my radical parents, visiting my radical grandma, camping, hanging out with my radical friends around Chicago, visiting my parents radical dogs, taking pictures, staring at pictures, inline skating, watching Annie Hall, riding a bike, or trying to figure out the combination to a lock I bought.

By Pamela Birchard