Second City

1616 N Wells St Chicago

Old Town/Second City
Chicago Scene
Written By Chicago Scene

“The Insider's Guide” Of Where To Go And What To Do In Chicago

Opened in 1959, Second City has boasted its well-known improv skits and comedy routines for over 50 years. With three locations in Toronto, Hollywood, and, Chicago’s Old Town, Second City has stood the test of time and only keeps growing. The Windy City, though, is where the comedy revolution began. The name for the improvisational comedy enterprise pokes fun at the nickname given to Chicago in an article in The New Yorker. The theater was founded by University of Chicago students Bernard Sahlins, Paul Sills, and Howard Alk, who wanted to create a space for developing comedians to perfect their improv.

Many famous comedians today, including Bill Murray, Tina Fey, and Dan Aykroyd, rose to fame after starting out in Second City. In fact, Second City is known for sending their alumni off into the world of television and film. Saturday Night Live even took some of the club's performers and used the theater's improv techniques. The Mainstage Theater can hold about 290 people while next door is a smaller theater called e.t.c., which seats about 196 people. Each theater has a beverage and food service for you to enjoy while watching the show. Their acts tend to be satirical and play on current events, pop culture, and just about anything trending. Some acts are scripted while others are made up on the spot and others are Stand-Up comedy. At one point during the show, the audience will be asked for suggestions on what to perform for their next scene. Besides a mainstage, the club is also separated into many theater spaces, where separate shows take place, and classrooms, where anyone can learn the art of improv in just 8 weeks.

After the show, stop by Second City's 1959 Kitchen & Bar, which is just a few steps from the theater on the second floor of Pipers Alley. Enjoy craft beers and cocktails, munch on appetizers, or eat a full meal while talking about the hilarious show you just watched. All tickets for shows can be bought on their website or you can purchase them at their box office if you are feeling spontaneous. While you can select a certain theater section, your seat will be randomly assigned by the House Manager when you arrive.

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