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Being Kathy Griffin

Chicago is considerably the funniest city in America. Not only is Chicago Don Rickles and Joan Rivers funny, but even a little Carol Burnett funny-full of both sketch comedy and improv-ed scenes. With comedy clubs like Zanies and improv shows such as ComedySportz and The Second City, Chicago is not the second city, but actually the first city that is scouted for talent by shows like MadTV and Saturday Night Live. Many comic legends have come out of The Second City main stage or training center including Joan Rivers, Bill Murray, George Wendt, Shelley Long, Gilda Radner, Jackie Hoffman and SNL frontrunners such as Tina Fey, star of the show 30 Rock, and Rachael Dratch, also an SNL alumnus. This summer I had the opportunity to both learn and perform at The Second City. Two fun filled weeks of crude jokes and poking fun at each of the ensemble members made up an incomparable experience.
The most interesting thing of The Second City experience was being backstage at the main stage. Seeing the familiar faces who both the signed the wall and had pictures of themselves on the wall made me cry out in joy and laughter. Seeing pictures of Tina Fey being a real person and Rachael Dratch talking about other funny junk made me realize maybe comedy could be a career path. Doing the typical Second City show, the students in The Second City’s training center start with concentrated improv classes during the morning session and sketch comedy classes during the afternoon. Standup comedy was also a late afternoon, early evening option if you would like to try your talent at such. After the two weeks of memories, students have the chance to perform on The Second City’s main stage or Donny’s Skybox, both Second City theaters in the Old Town area of Chicago. The Second City training center does not only teach comedy, improv and sketch writing, but also how to think on your feet and work hard to become a better individual. Quoting Bill Murray on his fabulous and fun time at Second City, “I went to Second City, where you learned to make the other actor look good so you looked good and National Lampoon, where you had to create everything out of nothing, and SNL, where you couldn't make any mistakes, and you learned what collaboration was.” Learning how to think on one’s feet and learning that making your other actors onstage look good are some of the more important things learned at The Second City. Being funny yourself does not really matter, as long the ensemble looks good, you look good.





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