Monday, August 16, 2010

Second City: Day 1

All week long, I'll be blogging from the heart of Chicago as I study improv and comedic writing at the Second City theater training center. Each day this week will be packed full of writing assignments, group games, and creative exercises yet to be named. Today was day one of the week-long immersion. Here are the highlights:

1. I'm amazed at the diversity of people in my class. All in all, there are 14 of us, each with a different story. There are actors/waiters from New York City. A couple of moms from the suburbs of Chicago. A math teacher. Three strangers from Dublin. Yes, that Dublin. And me. No one really wants to admit that they think they are funny. Humility ruled the day. Time will tell I suppose.

2. Why come to Second City? The alumni list speaks for itself. Tina Fey, Alan Arkin, John Belushi, Chris Farley, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, and Rachel Dratch to name a few. It's a small stage but the previous performers cast big shadows. Basically, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. But making it here is hard. Our instructor told us today that 1,000 people recently auditioned for two spots in the main stage cast. "It's good to have goals" she said, "it's also good to have plan B."

3. Speaking of making it, I saw the main stage show last night. There was a performer named Shelly Gossman who stole every scene she was in. Put that name in your pocket and, when she's the next big thing someday, remember that you heard it here first.

That sums up the last 24 hours. I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I've got a little homework tonight that I need to tackle before bed. If I could only get this lamp to work. Here's another highlight. Cheap hotels in downtown Chicago are cheap for a reason. That's something else you can put in your pocket.


Andy Rodriguez said...

I think you mistakenly wrote you had a math teacher in your class. Those people don't do things like this.

If it's not a typo, I'm rooting for him/her.

Epp said...

No typo. He's a math teacher at a performing arts school. It surprised me as well.

Travis Jones said...

Sweet bro. I'll be prayin for you. You do a fantastic job at MOVE. You're one of my favorite speakers there at Lee University. I think I was week 6 or something...

Anyway, DO well.

TS Harrison said...

So incredibly jealous as I read this. Not necessarily 'you in the class', but just being able to walk around that place.
Farley's brother published a really great biography, with some great stories from Chris' time there (
Enjoy the experience!