Live from Chicago, it's Second City Touring Company

Live from Chicago, it's Second City Touring Company

The touring company from The Second City, the cradle of comedy that spawned Joan Rivers, John Belushi, Bill Murray and Stephen Colbert, will bring an evening of laughs to Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts on Saturday, Feb. 18, at 8 p.m.

And audience members should be prepared: The eight-member Second City Touring Company is still as fresh, funny and relevant as it's ever been throughout its decades-long history.

"Watch out for them because these kids are damn funny and quick on the draw," reviewer Tyson Blaquart said of a 2005 performance.

Since 1959, The Second City has been a bastion of the country's best sketch comedy and improv, boasting an alumni roster that's practically a Who's Who of American comedy: Alan Arkin, Robert Klein, Dan Aykroyd, Catherine O'Hara, Tina Fey, Eugene Levy, John Candy, Gilda Radner, Chris Farley, Fred Willard and Mike Myers all honed their writing and performing skills with the first theater in Chicago and satellites in Los Angeles, Toronto and London.

By the early 1960s, Second City was already making waves, releasing its first comedy album, "Comedy from The Second City," and opening a Broadway run at the Royale Theater. In 1967, the company developed The Second City Touring Company, spreading improvisational mayhem across the country. The troupe performs in college, clubs, theaters, festivals and conventions nationwide, offering both a selection of hilarious classic scenes and songs and its always-original improvisations.

In fact, many a star got his or her start in the touring company, which counts Murray, Farley, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jeremy Piven, George Wendt, Bonnie Hunt and Tim Meadows among its former players.

The troupe really made its mark in the 1970s, when several soon-to-be "Saturday Night Live" stars became Second City standouts. For the first time ever, audience members were treated to skits teaming Belushi, Radner, Murray and Aykroyd. It also developed "Second City TV," a popular 26-episode television show that was home to O'Hara, Levy, Candy, Andrea Martin, Rick Moranis, Dave Thomas, Joe Flaherty and Harold Ramis.

In recent years, Second City tours have run the gamut from stays in Singapore and Bangkok to shows for the troops in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.  The company celebrated its 1,000th performance at Las Vegas' Flamingo Hotel in March 2003.

Tickets are $30 and $25. For tickets, call the Quick Center box office at (203) 254-4010 or toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396. For more information, visit

Posted On: 01-24-2006 10:01 AM

Volume: 38 Number: 142