We began as a small comedy theater, and have grown to become today’s leading brand in improv-based sketch comedy. With a variety of theaters, training centers and full-time, touring ensembles, you can find us all over the world. And we have more than a handful of successful Second City alum that we aren’t too modest to mention, like Tina Fey, Chris Farley, Bill Murray, and Keegan-Michael Key.
Since opening its doors as a small cabaret theater in 1959, The Second City has grown into an entertainment empire. With sold-out shows playing 7 days a week on 10 stages in Chicago and Toronto, plus numerous Second Touring and Theatrical companies, Second City entertains 1 million theatergoers a year. Partnerships with a wide range of illustrious creative groups include the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and the Chicago Bulls. Second City Entertainment’s foray into TV and media continues to produce new content and programming, including the upcoming Martin Scorsese-helmed Netflix documentary exploring SCTV’s enduring legacy.
The Second City Training Center is the largest school of improvisation-based arts on the planet, with locations in Chicago, Toronto and Los Angeles that serve 11,000 students annually. In 2016, the Harold Ramis Film launched, becoming the world’s only film school dedicated to comedy. The Second City has also teamed up with Chicago higher education institutions Columbia College and DePaul University to offer undergrad and graduate level opportunities to study comedy with the masters.
2012 added a third venue to its Chicago campus, UP Comedy Club. And the second floor of the historic Piper's Alley building is now home to The Second City's first bar and restaurant, 1959 Kitchen + Bar, the perfect spot to enjoy a pre- or post-show dinner and cocktail.
Today, The Second City has many philanthropic endeavors to give back to the the comedy community and beyond. The Second City Alumni Fund has raised $1 million as a resource for performers and other members of its creative and production teams facing hardship. 2017's 'I Can’t Believe They Wendt There: The Roast of George Wendt' raised over $200,000 for the Fund and Gilda’s Club Chicago. (Chris Rock even crashed the party!)
Cover photo by @saraschroud via Instagram.