Second City celebrates 50 years of funny
Fifty Years of Second City
The Second City: 50 Years of Funny [Flash Player]
Chicago Humanities Festival: The Second City's Museum Pieces
Make 'Em Laugh
Since its formal incorporation in 1837, the city of Chicago has seen it all: two World's Fairs, Al Capone, the Great Fire of 1871, and a series of colorful elected officials, including Michael "Hinky Dink" Kenna and "Bathhouse" John Coughlin. In 1959, another future piece of the city's storied cultural and social fabric was added when the Second City Theater was started in the city's Old Town neighborhood. Since then, it has proved to be a celebrated training ground for actors and comedians of all dispositions, including Alan Arkin, John Belushi, Amy Sedaris, Harold Ramis, Steve Carell, Tina Fey, and Severn Darden. This week, the theater celebrated their 50th anniversary, and a number of alumni and special guests returned for a series of talks, discussions, and of course, some very focused comedy. The theater's inspirations and roots can be traced back to an ensemble known as The Compass Players, which was started in the early 1950s by a group of people associated with the University of Chicago. One of their muses happened to be Viola Spolin, the noted author of several tomes on theatre games, including "Improvisation for the Theatre".
The first link leads to an article from this Sunday's Chicago Tribune about Second City, written by Tribune arts critic Chris Jones. The next link leads to an article from the Wall Street Journal on the group, which includes some observations from alumni like Fred Willard and Paul Sand. The third link will whisk users away to a very engaging interactive timeline of the past fifty years of Second City history. Moving on, the fourth link leads to a series of videos from activities at this year's Chicago Humanities Festival. These videos include clips of Second City alumni performing at the Festival, and a panel discussion on improvisational theater. The fifth link leads to a homepage dedicated to SCTV, which was a rather funny sketch show on television that featured Eugene Levy, John Candy, Joe Flaherty, and Martin Short. Finally, the last link leads to the homepage of the PBS documentary series, "Make 'Em Laugh". Here visitors can learn about the history of American comedy through interviews and video clips from the program.