Chicago’s Funny Business
Chicago, Illinois may not be first place that you would choose to be this weekend, as temperatures hover near freezing and the city recovers from a midweek blizzard, but no amount of wintry weather will detract from its status as the funniest spot on the planet for the next three days.
This weekend brings the return of many alumni from the vaunted Second City comedy theater to celebrate an anniversary they are calling 50 Years of Funny. Many of those alumni arrived this evening on a chartered flight from their current working home of Los Angeles.
NPR has two features on The Second City – the first, by correspondent David Schaper provides some of the history that spawned Second City out of the intellectual world of the University of Chicago in 1959.
The second, an interview with alumnus Fred Willard, taps into the mind of a Second City star who credits the experience with molding him into the performer that has just killed in so many classic improv moments during his hilarious career.
Theater director and creative director of The Second City’s training center, Matt Hovde, says it all right here:
“If you want to get good, come to Chicago and Second City. If you want to get rich and famous, you might have to leave, but if you want to get good, if you really care about improvising well and becoming an artist who has a point of view and can do the variety of things that Second City actors have gone on to do, then you need to come here.”
They have been coming to Second City for the last 50 years and the next best set of improv comedians are bound to pass through Second City’s doors for at least that many more.