Comedy: The Second City

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

The Second City has always been a stepping stone to something greater. Traditionally, many "Saturday Night Live" cast members get their start with the Chicago-based sketch comedy troupe.

Now that "SNL" generally sucks (an exception: Jim Carrey's ungainly interpretation of the Black Swan), Second City alumni have branched out, setting up shop at all of the best comedies on TV. While some appear on camera - such as Tina Fey, Jack McBrayer and Scott Adsit on "30 Rock" - others are behind the scenes, writing for "Conan," "Community" and, well, "SNL."

"A lot of people go into writing because Second City teaches you how to improvise and to write," said Cecily Strong, a member of Second City's touring company, which will visit Columbus on Saturday.

Strong, a Chicago native who joined the cast last year, has no intentions of leaving Second City anytime soon.

"It was a dream to someday get to perform with them. When you first get that call, you start crying and hugging everyone," she said. "It's such a magical place for us. So many heroes are in the same club as I am now."

"Fair and Unbalanced," the part-scripted, part-improvised show the troupe will perform Tuesday, pokes fun at the foibles of politicians and celebrities. It also features some classic Second City sketches - written by Rachel Dratch, Tina Fey and other esteemed alumni - that can only be seen these days in the touring show.

"It's social and political satire," Strong said, "but don't come expecting 'The Daily Show.' It won't be so in-your-face."

The Second City

8 p.m. Saturday, March 5

Southern Theatre

21 E. Main St., Downtown