“I came out of the old Second City in Chicago. Chicago actors are more hard-nosed. They’re tough on themselves and their fellow actors. They’re self-demanding… you learned to make the other actor look good so you looked good.”
Is it me, or is it possible that the Mayans were onto something? Maybe they were off a couple of months on their calendar of doom, but things lately have been more in the realms clouds of doom and gloom. We’ve had North Korea testing nukes, meteors exploding over an impressively calm Russian populace, and the disaster that is the newest Die Hard movie. It bring to mind the end-of-the-world proclamations of Bill Murray in Ghostbusters, “dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria!”
Call me crazy, but I think we all could use a
cold beer good chuckle. You know, something to serve as a friendly reminder that in these times, laughing matters.
Luckily for us, it’s time to tap the keg of funny. The Paramount will be hosting The Second City, a Chicago-based improvisational team that has been providing laughs for over 50 years. Before The Groundlings, before The Upright Citizens Brigade, before Saturday Night Live, Second City was pioneering new comedy trails with its signature non-confomist spirit and satirical wit.
They have resident stages in Chicago and in Toronto, and in addition to their touring companies still entertain over one million people a year. If you’re old enough, you may remember SCTV, a Canadian sketch comedy show like Saturday Night Live that served as a springboard for comedians the likes of John Candy, Martin Short, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara and many others.
The Chicago company is also chock full of legendary alumni that has inspired awe by comedians young and old.
“The first time I went to see a Second City show, I was in awe of everything. I just wanted to touch the same stage that Gilda Radner had walked on. It was sacred ground.”
The list of alumni is amazing, and their work has been the foundation for much of the comedy landscape we enjoy to this day. A great sense of humor is timeless, and the talents of these comedians will endure much longer than any Harlem Shake video or internet cat meme.
Amongst The Second City hall of fame are: Alan Arkin, Fred Willard, Joan Rivers, Robert Klein, John Belushi, Harold Ramis, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Dan Ackroyd, Bonnie Hunt, Mike Myers, Chris Farley, Amy Sedaris, Steve Carell, Steven Colbert and Tina Fey.
When they arrive for their performances at The Paramount, the touring Second City ensemble will be featuring some of the best sketches, songs, and improvisations from the Chicago group from the past five decades. No matter if its an archival gem or contemporary satire, it promises to be more entertaining than dashboard videos of meteors blazing across the skies and scaring the bejeebus out of us. It also will be funnier than the concept of Bruce Willis or Ben Affleck saving us from those meteors. Why? Because The Second City intends to be funny.
Gather around and laugh at the face of our pending armageddon with the next generation of Second City legends. Enjoy them today, just in case a raging asteroid of death dictates that tomorrow never arrives. If so, I’d rather die laughing. So come on, you don’t wanna miss a thing.
Catch The Second City on:
Wednesday, February 20th at 8:00 pm
Thursday, February 21st at 8:00 pm