A Night out in Old Town at Second City Comedy Club

If you haven’t heard of Second City, you’ve definitely heard of someone who’s performed there.

Tina Fey, Steve Carell, and Amy Poehler are just a few of the countless celebrities who honed their comedic chops at Second City before making it big. The comedy house is also a key player in producing the new faces on Saturday Night Live every season, and a great place to catch wicked talent before they breakthrough to the big screen.

What Broadway is to New York, comedy is to Chicago; the art of theatrical comedy and improv has been perfected in this town for over 60 years.

The History of Second City

Co-founders of The Second City, Paul Sills and David Shepherd created what is considered modern improv at the University of Chicago in 1955. Their group was called The Compass Players, and they specialized in performing improvisational scenes that were based off loose scenarios and random plot points. The group garnered a following around town, becoming a place for patrons to enjoy non-conformist satire that went against the grain of traditional comedy at the time.

Eventually, Sills, Shepherd and their friend Bernie Sahlins formed a new group: The Second City. They managed to get a cabaret space inside an old dry cleaner’s shop on Wells Street. In 1969, they landed in their current space at 1616 N Wells. The rest, as they say, is history. The 70’s brought the all-star powerhouse marquee of Belushi, Akroyd, Radner and Murray, and there was no looking back.

What is it that makes the City of Broad Shoulders the perfect breeding ground for first-rate comedy? Bob Odenkirk, actor/writer/Second City alum (most famously known for playing Saul in “Breaking Bad”) has said “the lack of ‘industry’ helps.” More specifically, “there are no talent agents, network execs, or studio people in the audience….people are challenging themselves and their artistry first.”

Over the years, Second City has continued to expand its reach far and wide, with two other locations in Toronto and Hollywood. Here in Chicago, there are multiple headlining shows on the roster, all offering the perfect distraction from the stress of the work week.

Classes and Events at Second City

A myriad of events and classes are also available to enjoy, and the on-site 1959 Kitchen & Bar is open daily. An unforgettable night out at The Second City makes for a classic evening of Chicago-style entertainment.

Second City is located at 230 W North Ave in the Old Town neighborhood, just north of the Gold Coast in Chicago.

Tickets and reservations are available online.