Monday, October 15, 2012

Paul Brittain coming to iO on Tuesday night

The following was sent out via the iO Chicago mailing list on Monday afternoon:
One Night Only: SNL's Paul Brittain joins The Reckoning's Jet Eveleth

Saturday Night Live castmember and iO alum Paul Brittain returns to the theater for a one-night only engagement, perfomring alongside The Reckoning's Jet Eveleth in their celebrated improvised show Ted and Melanie. Join them THIS TUESDAY, October 16th at 10:30 in our Cabaret Theater, along with The Scoundrels and Super Human. That's THREE incredible shows for just FIVE BUCKS. Tickets for this show are limited and will sell out, so get yours today by calling the iO box office at 773-880-0199, or buy online through TicketWeb here.

WHAT: Ted and Melanie (with The Scoundrels and Super Human)
WHEN: Tuesday October 16th, 10:30 PM
WHERE: iO's Cabaret Theater

Friday, October 5, 2012

TV deals...

Several Second City alumni have had deals made with networks this week.  They include Tami Sagher, Kourtney Kang, Brian Gallivan, Stephanie Weir, Peter Murietta, and Adam McKay.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Former Second City students on TV

In addition to all the alumni on SNL, Lamorne Morris is a former Second City student that is doing well on the small screen.  He is a cast member on New Girl, which airs Tuesday nights on FOX.  He has been named by Chicago Magazine as an actor to watch this season.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Second City offers CTU strike relief

For parents of students in the Chicago Public Schools, Second City is offering a free CPS Strike Camp for children.

Lunch is not included but it is first come, first serve.  The time of the camp is 10 AM-3:30 PM with an half hour supervised break for lunch.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

SNL hires three from Chicago

Saturday Night Live has hired three Chicago improvisers in Tim Robinson, Aidy Bryant, and Cecily Strong.  They are the only new cast additions to SNL this year.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Tim Baltz sets Last Night on Mainstage

Tim Baltz has set his last night on Second City's Mainstage.  He posted this evening on Facebook:
My friends. On Wednesday, September 12th, I'll be having my last night on the Second City Mainstage. I've been honored to perform and create many wonderful things there, in many different capacities. I've learned a ton and, more importantly, I've gotten to know and work with some of this city's best, and most talented people. 6 and a half years after I was hired as an understudy, I'm overjoyed to walk away with more memories than I ever thought possible, and a very full heart. Thank you to everyone who was part of my journey there, on and off stage. Come see the show before I leave, and if you can join me on my last night, well, that would be much appreciated, too.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Andy St. Clair in DirecTV commercial

I don't know why this one has yet to be officially uploaded by DirecTV's YouTube channel but it's the one that features Andy St. Clair.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Kay Cannon-penned movie due out October 5th

Pitch Perfect, with a screenplay by Kay Cannon, is due out on October 5th of this year.

Deadline reports:
Universal will release Gold Circle Films’ Anna Kendrick starrer Pitch Perfect on October 5, 2012. The comedy centers on a girl who takes her new college pals into the cutthroat world of university a cappella contests. Jason Moore of Broadway’s Avenue Q directs.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Watch for Tim Robinson this fall!

Tim Robinson is going to be on CBS this fall in a new sitcom from writers Alan Kirschenbaum and Ajay Sahgal, CBS TV Studios and the Tannenbaum Co.  The CBS schedule will be announced tomorrow.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Second City opens new revue

Second City opened their new revue this week to rave revues and a Jeff recommendation.

Meanwhile, Deadline reports:
As he gears up for Sunday’s Tribeca Film Festival premiere of his adaption of Elmore Leonard’s Freaky Deaky, director Charlie Matthau has set his next film. It will be The Sugar Shack, a farcicial comedy written by Kevin Fleming and Rob Janas. The storyline follows the most popular male stripper in Racine, Wisconsin as he fends off a young rival while saving the town from a corrupt politician.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Second City's 100th Mainstage revue to open

The press opening for the 100th Second City Mainstage revue, Who Do We Think We Are, has been set for April 17th while the Grand Opening will be the next night, April 18th.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

ETC news

Chris Witaske is joining the ETC cast at Second City. Congrats.

UPDATE: The full cast includes: Andel Sudik, Mike Kosinski, Chris Witaske, Tawny Newsome, Aidy Bryant, and Michael Lehrer.

Monday, March 26, 2012

TV appearances

Andy St. Clair is currently in a Wal-Mart commercial.

Brad Morris appeared in the 3/22 episode of The Office.

Brian Jack appeared in the season 5 premiere of Mad Men. Our long national nightmare is over.

TV appearances

Andy St. Clair is currently in a Wal-Mart commercial.

Brad Morris appeared in the 3/22 episode of The Office.

Brian Jack appeared in the season 5 premiere of Mad Men. Our long national nightmare is over.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Kate and Katie

Time Out Chicago has a nice piece up on Kate Duffy and Katie Rich.

Lana Del Rey's Hunger Games

Holly Laurent wrote and performed "Hunger Games," a parody of Lana Del Rey's "Video Games."

Fund this project

They need $10,000 by February 12th.

Read the details for the Improv Legends project on Kickstarter.
Improv Legends is a new series of documentary shorts exploring the art of improvisation from a wide variety of angles and perspectives.

Filmmakers and long time improvisers Joel Veenstra and Marc Warzecha started this passion project as a "love letter to improvisation.”

Monday, February 6, 2012

Another one bites the dust

Tim Stoltenberg's final show with BlueCo is tonight.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Ash starts blog

Former mainstager Lauren Ash has started a blog.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Watch this..

The Shit **** say movement made its way to Chicago and it comes from Taste The Bacon.

Friday, January 20, 2012


The New York Times profiled Pat O'Brien.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Newcity Stage Top 50

Several Chicago improv/sketch comedy folks made the Newcity Stage list of the top 50 people that really perform in Chicago.

8. Mick Napier
17. T.J. Jagodowski and David Pasquesi
20. Billy Bungeroth
43. Jet Eveleth

SNL Showcase

iO will be holding auditions for Saturday Night Live at 8 PM. It's free but come early because it will be full!

Best of luck to those auditioning!

UPDATE: I have a list of auditioners: Jo Scott, Patrick Rowland, Christine Tawfik, Greg Hess, Murial Montgomery, Brett Elam, Kate Collyton, Ross Kimball, Jet Eveleth, Kate Duffy, Jim Carlson, Kate Friedman, Daryl Walsh, Kate O'Brien, Timmy Mayse, Steve Waltien, and Lyndsay Hailey.

Monday, January 16, 2012

More sad news...

Thoughts and prayers to the friends and family of Frank Payne.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Sad news

Mike Enriquez passed away last night. My condolences to his family and friends. May he rest in peace.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Blogterview with Steve Waltien

Danielle Solzman: Thanks for joining us today. How are things going in the Windy City?
Steve Waltien: Excellent. Thank you. Full disclosure: I am writing this from NYC right now where I just completed a run of Improvised Shakespeare. I'll be back in Chicago tomorrow and I expect it to be excellent as I left it.

DS: When did you decide to go into improv and sketch comedy? When did you have your “Second City” moment? Or IO moment?
SW: I think I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be in comedy. I always thought of myself as a comedian as far back as I can remember- I just didn't know what would be the best outlet for that until I got to college. I attended Middlebury College in Vermont and the night I first saw the on-campus improv troupe (The Otter Nonsense Players) was probably the moment I knew I wanted to pursue something that looked like that. I auditioned and got into the group the following semester. After college, I looked around for ways to keep doing improv. Chicago seemed like the place to be. There were three great improv training centers that I knew about. I also wanted to broaden my horizons a bit. I grew up in Vermont and went to college there as well, so going to a city in the mid-west seemed like it'd be a great life experience even if the improv thing didn't work out.

DS: Similarly, what is your first memory of Second City and what would be your favorite?
SW: I think I had heard about Second City when I was growing up as the place where a lot of my favorite actors and comedians got their start. My first time seeing a Second City show was when the touring company came to do a show at Middlebury. A favorite Second City memory is hard. I've had a lot of different jobs in that building. I love the touring experience and the bond that forges with people. I was lucky to tour with a lot of different collections of people at Second City through my time understudying the touring company, actually being on one of the companies and many many road shows for Second City Communications- the corporate wing of the company. The friendships forged in those situations are my favorite thing about Second City.

DS: What was your improv training like? Is there any particular thing that an instructor said that has really stuck to you?
SW: At Middlebury we were pretty self-taught. We had read Truth in Comedy, but beyond that we were figuring it out on our own. By the time I got to Chicago, I was hungry for instruction. iO teachers like Liz Allen and TJ Jagodowski got to me early on in my training and forced me to be more of an actor in improv. I was more of an intellectual player when I started. I still probably rely too much on trying to be clever, but my Chicago training has helped me learn to play from my heart as well as my head. Liz Allen was my level one teacher at iO and she was very strict with me in trying to get me to react emotionally to my scene partners instead of being focused on getting laughs. In truth, I didn't realize until years later how right she was about that. Thanks, Liz.

DS: When did you join the Second City National Touring Company--and how long were you touring with them?
SW: I officially joined the touring company in February of 2009. But I had been understudying for about a year and a half before that. I ended up only actually being in the company for about six months. I left in the fall of 2009 to do my second season of Friday Night Tailgate.

DS: When you were promoted to the Mainstage, what was your initial reaction?
SW: I found out about a month ago on December 20th. I was surprised and thrilled. It’s an emotional thing to get a job that you’ve essentially been auditioning for for ten years. It was also very surreal because I was told I was not allowed to tell ANYONE until the public announcement which ended up being a full 24 hours later. During that time where I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone I started to wonder if I had imagined it.

DS: Last year, I saw you performing in It Takes a Ville down in Louisville. What did you think of the city and did the allergies bother you at all?
SW: The allergies weren’t too bad. I don’t know why. I have pretty severe allergies that come and go, but Louisville didn’t bother me too much. I really liked the city. I drank some great bourbon. It’s a great post-show drink. The one thing that surprised me was how cold it was. This was last January and for some reason I thought I was going to be walking around all the time. I don’t think I even brought a very heavy jacket. It ended up being very cold. As a result, I think I explored the city less than I expected to. I’d like to go back in the summer or spring and see what it’s like in those months. But I found it to be a beautiful city with a really great culture and great people. And the tuna steak sandwich at Ramsi’s Cafe on the World is the best sandwich I’ve ever had.

DS: You know how there was the song about building bridges? One of the current bridges Louisville is down to 2 working bridges.
SW: You need to build more bridges. Like the song says.

DS: How did that experience compare to touring the Big Ten colleges?
SW: It was pretty different- mostly because we got to stay in Louisville for five weeks and I was only ever in a Big Ten town for usually 3 or 4 days. It's nice to stay in one place for more than a few days because you can get a feel for what it's like to live there. But the Big Ten towns are great. And since I went to all of them twice, I did get to know them a bit. Speaking of sandwiches, the second best one ever is at Zingerman's deli in Ann Arbor, MI. Also I rarely got down time during Friday Night Tailgate. In Louisville I was able to enjoy free days once the show was up and running.

DS: How did you get involved with the Big Ten Friday Night Tailgate?
SW: My good friend and writing partner Jordan Klepper had auditioned for the show and shot a season of it in 2007. When the 2008 season came around, they were looking for a road partner for him. He recommended me and I auditioned and got the part.

DS: The Big Ten expanded their conference to 12. If they consider expanding to 13, would this mean that IO is going to field an athletic team since they practically sponsor the network, right?
SW: Ha! We did have a run of iO talent doing some great stuff there for a while. I think Mike Hall is the only one left. I think the network is starting to be less interested in comedy which is too bad.

DS: What can you tell me about the revue process? When do you expect the new revue to open?
SW: We haven't started yet, so my knowledge is not first-hand, but basically the new cast starts on night one performing the old show- in this case the current revue South Side of Heaven. While we're still doing the show every night, we're also rehearsing and pitching and improvising new scenes during the day. We'll try some of these out in the improv sets at night and then slowly integrate them into the show as new scenes take the place of old ones. This goes on for about 8-10 weeks and then we have an entirely new show. In our case, we'll start this process on January 24th. An opening date is not set yet, but I'm guessing it will be the first week of April.

DS: What are some of your favorite characters to perform as during a show?
SW: I don't have a lot of recurring characters. I like to try and make them all different in improv. I suppose I have some defaults. I really enjoy playing characters with heavy accents who misappropriate the english language. I think those are fun and easy to escape into. There's also a kind of poetry in the way they talk. I enjoy playing women and children too. It's fun to change the way you hold your body. But I also have worked to get good at playing a version of myself- which is harder than it sounds. In fact, it may be the hardest thing to do and still have faith that it's going to be interesting.

DS: What do you usually tell new improvisers when they are just starting out?
SW: Relax and don't force the humor. That part arrives naturally. Just listen and react to your partner. Try to be as honest as you can. Genuine is a more valuable currency than clever.

DS: Andy was quoted in the AP about having to sign an autograph for an audience member and was flattered when they said they can't wait to see him on SNL. Has this ever happened to you?
SW: Yes. I think this happens a lot because many people see SNL as the top of the mountain in the comedy world. It's a nice way of people saying "I think you'll go as far as you can." Which of course is always a great compliment to get.

DS: Do you ever get recognized for your work on Friday Night Tailgate?
SW: Rarely but sometimes. Usually in Big Ten towns if I happen to be there. During the two years I was on the show I would sometimes get recognized for it in airports but not much anymore.

DS: Thanks again for joining Chitown Improv Celebrity News. Is there anything else you would like to add?
SW: Thanks for having me!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Brendan Jennings sets last night

Brendan is moving on from the ETC stage. He posted a statement this afternoon:
In these tough economic times I feel now is the perfect time to become voluntarily unemployed!!! Come see me in my final two weeks on the Second City etc stage, and celebrate free food and booze style with me January 22nd.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Annoyance anniversary set

Save the date!

The following was in the latest email blast from Mick Napier and crew.
We are very pleased to announce that The Annoyance will celebrate its 25th Anniversary this year. A big milestone deserves a big party, so on August 18, 2012, we will host an event at ParkWest from 7PM-midnight. Tickets and show specifics are still to come but we look forward to celebrating with all the people who have made it possible and hope you'll hang on to the date.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sam's last night

Sam Richardson's final night on Mainstage is this evening.

Monday, January 2, 2012

TourCo in the News

Daniel Strauss was profiled by the Beaver County Times.
“We’ve been known to pull audience members on stage,” said Daniel Strauss, one of the performers. What Strauss enjoys most about the improvised portion of the show is that it allows the cast “to take a break from remembering lines and cues and goof off.”

Strauss took an interest in improv comedy at the age of 15 when he saw a show during a trip to Chicago. After moving to Chicago roughly four years ago and trying to gain recognition by performing in the area, he was hired to perform on a Norwegian Cruise Lines ship for four months with The Second City. Now he’s touring with the group nationally.

“I think the coolest part is going to other places I wouldn’t otherwise go to,” he said. “I have an excuse to travel the country.”
The South Florida Sun Sentinel profiles John Hartman.