I decided to start highlighting different places in Chicago that I enjoy. Be it tourist traps or hidden gems, you should check it all out! This month, I’m gonna tell you all about The Second City Training Center and Comedy Club. As an actor in the area, I frequent this place quite often. So you’re getting an inside scoop!
I moved to Chicago to develop my improvisation skills. Some people find this surprising, but Chicago has a huge live comedy community. And The Second City has played a huge part in that development. Founded in 1959, it is rooted from the comedy troop The Compass Players, which included alumni such as Del Close and Severn Darden.
Since then, Second City has developed over time to become the training center and source of satirical comedy it is today. Notable alumni include Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Chris Farley, Steve Carrell, and many, many others. Many Saturday Night Live staff share Second City Roots. And the building interior does not shy away from showing their alumni off.
Second City for Audiences
If you enjoy live shows, comedy, and satire, The Second City is a perfect source for your evening entertainment. They have six performance spaces in their building, and live shows every night of the week. You can access professional performers in the Mainstage shows before they move on to larger things, and you can get some more affordable entertainment and see some student shows that are put up throughout the building. And you can find all of your preferences with options for sketch reviews, improv, standup, and more. Prices vary, a lot.Be it tourist traps or hidden gems, you should check it all out! #getthatbagel #chicago #secondcity Click To Tweet
Do you want to develop your comedy skills? The training center is great for performers and writers of all skill levels. Their most popular programs are their writing program, which ends with putting up a show you and your class write together; their A-E improv program, teaching and developing improv for performers; and the conservatory program, for those wanting to be more well rounded in both their writing and performance skills. There is also the new Harold Ramis film school, the only training program that specializes in comedy film production. There are great classes fit for any part of the entertainment industry. And if there’s not, there will be if enough people ask for it.
1959 Bar and Other Goodies
Outside of watching and performing shows, you can socialize and grab drinks at the new 1959 Bar in the building. Named for the birth year of Second City, it’s a great place to just bask in the history and clout. And to get your tourist fix, you can wander around the building and find all sorts of photos of big name people from before anyone knew who they were.
I think I gave you a few pretty good reasons why. You may be asking, “but what about the chance to see famous people?” Well I never listed that, and for a reason. There’s probably a 1% chance that someone big will show up, even if they were a student there at some point. And there’s an even smaller chance that you’ll notice them. They’ll probably want to blend in with the crowd and won’t be showcased like a zoo animal.
BUT. If you watch a Mainstage show, you’ll see some up and comers and get to say you saw them “back when” once they pop up somewhere else!
That’s not even a reason to go, though. It really is a great and unique place, and you’re guaranteed to have a good time by going! Have a blast and share your experiences below!