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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

    Second City brings improv to MSU

    In the world of sketch comedy, there are two places a comedian wants to be – “Saturday Night Live” and the Second City. The latter has been the proving grounds for hundreds of improvisational comedians. Thursday night, the Second City will bring its renowned improv to Lee Hall Auditorium.For those not familiar with the Second City, it is tantamount to being a baseball player and making it to the big leagues. To be a Second City player is to be put in the same esteem with such comedic geniuses as Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis and Jimmy Fallon.
    The Second City Theater opened in December 1959 in Chicago and quickly became renowned for its sometimes irreverent but topical satire shown nightly on the Chicago stage. Formed by a group of University of Chicago students, the troupe made an indelible mark on comedy and theater.
    In the late ’60s, the Second City decided to get its show on the road and take its improvisational sketches to American cities.
    The decision to create a touring troupe was the genesis of modern sketch comedy.
    The ’70s was when the Second City came into its own.
    The list of notables from the cast reads like comedic royalty. From 1971 to 1974 John Belushi, John Candy, Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd and Gilda Radner made their debuts on the Second City stage. It was these individuals that moved on to create an American television staple – “Saturday Night Live.”
    Current cast member Tara Defrancisco explained the levity of being a Second City performer.
    “I always wanted to do comedy and learn the type of comedy taught at Second City since it’s kind of the improv mecca. Everyone in comedy wants to work here. It’s really fun to be part of such a great legacy,” she said.
    “Sometimes alumni will pop in at Chicago and play some improv with current actors.”
    Aside from its distinguished alumni list, one hallmark of the troupe is its timely, sometimes politically charged satire.
    “Our show will be a lot of political and social satire. MSU will see the ‘best of’ Second City called ‘One Nation Under Blog,'” Defrancisco said.
    “Some of the material will be new stuff that we wrote and the rest will be older stuff that other writers wrote that we perform, people like Steve Carell, John Belushi and Rachel Dratch.”
    Second City’s performance at MSU will be its typical road show, albeit time on the road for the cast is not always typical.
    “Just this past month we did ten states in 30 days – it was nuts. We just loaded up in a big conversion van and hit the road.We all get along real well and do some writing while out there. It’s great being on the road for a month with seven funny people,” Defrancisco said. “There are also tons of recurring inside jokes we have while out on the road. It’s pretty crazy out there.”
    It’s that craziness the Campus Activities Board wanted to bring to campus.
    “I’m definitely excited,” CAB member Jacob Jones said. I love Mike Myers, Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey. That kind of comedy is great and it’s going to be great to see the group that they came from.”
    “CAB is really excited about the performance,” he said.
    Josh Gilbert, a sophomore wildlife and fisheries major, is intrigued by the Second City’s performance on campus.
    “I’m really interested in checking it out. I like to see some good comedy here on campus,” Gilbert said.

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    Second City brings improv to MSU