For the fourth year in a row, comedy group Second City graced Gambier with its one-of-a-kind improv and sketch comedy. Inspired by the political contention of the past presidential election, Second City presented a mix of scripted scenes and improvised scenarios riffing off audience suggestions.
The company, based in Chicago, boasts a selection of incredibly talented alumni: Tina Fey, Jordan Peele, Cecily Strong, Steve Carell and many more. Part of the appeal of watching Second City is that you could be watching future Saturday Night Live cast members or Comedy Central celebrities.
On the night of Tuesday, Aug. 28, the show began with a peppy choreographed number, but it was soon clear that the lights were not functioning as planned. The producer quickly stopped the show and after a small break, the actors restarted. The show kept the audience laughing without any further technical glitches. By then, Rosse Hall was crowded with first-year and returning students looking for a break from the stress of move-in. Second City did not disappoint, weaving from skits both meaningful and silly: a group of friends frustrated by a biased board game based on white and male privilege, and a prospective step-dad combating the dangerous obstacles of the son of a single mother.
Part of the unique charm of the group, and why they continue to be a great opener to the school year, is the element of particiation throughout the show. Second City members asked students for details about movies as they played senile old ladies, which later the actors used to create a trailer. In another skit centered around a bachelorette party gone wrong, the chauffeur free-styled on subjects given by an audience member invited on stage.
Ceci Rodriguez ’22, who sat in the front row, was one of the students who was called up. Although she enjoyed it, it took her entirely by surprise. She hadn’t heard of the group before, but “wanted to go because I thought it was going to be a lot of fun.” She wasn’t disappointed and found the improv movie segment particularly funny. “I absolutely loved it,” Rodriguez said. “I thought it was hilarious.”
One of the more amusing riffs was the inclusion of bats in several improvised scenes, acknowledging the ongoing bat infestation in Rosse Hall that has disrupted every show the group has performed on campus. It seemed that referencing the critters was an invitation for them to join in the festivities. The group’s last skit, an encore, ended in abrupt hilarity as the cast fled the stage, hoping to spare themselves the harmless flapping as a bat made a surprise entrance for the finale.