The Second City, an improvisational comedy troupe from Chicago, Il., entertained parents and students in Kuhl Gymnasium on Saturday Oct. 20 as part of the Limelight & Accents Performing Arts Series.
The Second City has a rich history spanning back to 1959 with noted alumni including Tina Fey, Chris Farley and Stephen Colbert. Part of the allure of The Second City is, of course, the possibility that the no-names on stage will be household names in five years.
The show was the perfect activity for students who had family visiting for Parents Weekend. It started off with a series of 10-second skits delivered one right after another as dance music blared.
Later, the group performed longer skits with more substance, including a skit with an eccentric mother and father and an embarrassed daughter dressed as Michael Jackson.
There were multiple parent-child jokes, including a short skit featuring two girls the morning after a night out. In the skit, one upset girl sat in a chair scolding a visibly sick girl on the bed, saying things like, “You got me kicked out of my sorority” and “You were trying to kiss my boyfriend all of last night.” The sick girl in the bed then asked, “What do you want me to do?” to which the girl in the chair responded, “I just want you to go home, mom!” These jokes worked well on the audience and were appropriate given the performance’s timing.
With the upcoming election, it was inevitable that the troupe would make many political jokes. In one skit, a man surveyed people who had just voted by asking them what political party they belonged to, and then, depending on the response, asked an outlandish follow-up question poking fun at each political party.
The man surveyed two members of the audience, which made for easy laughs. These political jokes seemed like a forced, unimaginative and easy way to get cheap laughs from the audience and, unfortunately, a large portion of the show was devoted to this kind of political humor.
In another memorable skit, two members of The Second City left the gym while the audience selected an arbitrary three-word phrase composed of an adjective, noun and verb. The two members were brought back on stage and asked to have a political debate about the unknown phrase while the members that did know the phrase attempted to convey the three-word phrase to the debaters using only their body language.
While this skit had the potential to be very humorous, the result was essentially a game of charades that the audience was forced to watch.
The Second City show was, for the most part, a very humorous addition to the Parents Weekend events. The audience seemed to enjoy the two-hour show, and the performers looked like they were having fun on stage.