- Chicago, Illinois
- Cleveland, Ohio
- Detroit, Michigan
- Las Vegas, Nevada
- London, England
- Toronto, Canada
Second City began life in the 1950s as a revue performed by a group of University of Chicago students calling themselves the Compass Players. The group changed its name to The Second City after a New Yorker article referred to Chicago by that title, and the name has stuck for over 50 years.
The first Second City show premiered in 1959 at a space in Chicago, where the theater remained until 1967 when it took up its permanent residence in Chicago's Piper's Alley. In 1960, the theater held its first improvisational workshop -- a feature which has since become a staple of Second City.
In 1967, the Second City Touring Company was started to help bring improvisational comedy to cities across the country.
Live From New York:
The Move Up North:
In 1973, a second club opened. The Second City Toronto gave rise to future comedy stars like John Candy, Dan Aykroyd and Gilda Radner and inspired its own TV spin-off.
In 1976, the Second City Toronto debuted SCTV, a Saturday Night Live-style sketch comedy featuring Toroto performers John Candy and Eugene Levy, as well as Catherine O'Hara and Joe Flaherty and, eventually, Rick Moranis and Martin Short. The show ran for six years and won two Emmy Awards.
Having offered its first improv workshop in the 1960s, the Second City continued to teach and train students in comedy disciplines over the next several decades. Training centers were opened in Chicago, Toronto, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. In the 1980s, the Second City Conservatory was opened in Chicago, offering classes to nearly 2,000 students in everything from improvisation to comedy writing.