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Second City campaigns for laughs

By Geo Gomez

Step aside, Biden! The Second City Comedy Troupe, which trained famous comedians such as Tina Fey, Steve Carrell, Stephen Colbert and Joan Rivers, is bringing their campaign to the Harris Concert Hall this Saturday with their “Second City for President” sketch comedy act.

The title is a tongue-in-cheek reference to Chicago’s comparison to New York. Although bearing the “second” title may imply some sort of inferiority complex, this company is a heavyweight champ when it comes to comedy. The group combines dramatic performance with improvisational humor to deliver fantastic shows.

The performers rely less on props or setting, but on wit and improvisation. The starkness of their act demonstrates their legitimate acting chops, teasing out the humor from their fictional scenarios

The group’s comedy incorporates social and political satire often portrayed in hyperbolic situations. For example, one of their skits involves Irish terrorists, referencing the Irish Civil War. The Irishmen try to convince security that they are terrorists and prevent them from getting on a plane, only to have the attendant laugh at their accented declarations that “we ’ave a bomb.”

“We’re not part of Al-Qaida, so they just say Alrighta,” sing the two defeated Irishmen.

The group performs comedy with well-informed social context that utilizes complex social and political context to create humorous situations.

Grinnell College had the pleasure of having the Second City Touring Company visit three year ago, with a fantastic reception. Rachel Bly, Events Committee Coordinator, made sure to have the group return.

Bly gave the group some background information about the campus so that they would get a sense of Grinnell life.

“We give them resources so that they know a little bit about campus before they get here,” Bly said.

With such a sharp wit, Second City is bound to poke some fun at Grinnellians sitting in the audience. Especially considering the group’s current show,

“Second City for President,” they will show no mercy to liberals and conservatives alike.

Bly also mentioned that the Public Events Committee brought Second City with the intention of inspiring students by the performance and highlighting possible future career paths.

“We have great improv groups on campus and Second City itself is a training ground for students who want to get into comedic theater,” Bly said. “We want to show students that this could be a real, sustainable career path.”

Clearly, some Grinnellians in the past have taken advantage of the opportunity and chosen to pursue such career paths. Rob Neal ’91 established a comedy troupe called Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind in New York City.

“He’ll be coming to Grinnell in October to perform and give some workshops to the theater department, so look out for that!” said Bly.

Second City will be performing in Harris Concert Hall at 7:30 p.m. this Saturday. Tickets are provided free for students at the Bucksbaum Tickets Office.

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