Second City Stars Align for Anniversary

Chicago celebrates 50 years of funny

Steve Carell. George Wendt. Bonnie Hunt. Tina Fey. Stephen Colbert.

That's a funny bunch.

The Second City celebrated 50 years of laughs this weekend as hundreds of comedians came to be pay homage to the place that gave them their start.

"It was the beginning of everything," Carell, who stars on NBC's "The Office" said on the red carpet Saturday. "I made great friendships here. I think it was the most fun I've ever had."

Cameras descended on the red carpet for the highly-anticipated events Saturday evening at the theater on the city's North Side.  Bonnie Hunt, who has always been a proud proponent of Chicago's comedy scene, lamented the loss of the "creative cocoon" she said nurtured her while working at The Second City.

"I knew that creatively, it's really the best atmosphere, because it's all about the team and making the audience happy at the top of our intelligence," she told NBC Chicago on the red carpet.  "In Hollywood, it's hard to get that atmosphere again."

As the Trib's Chris Jones pointed out, the cast wasn't exactly over-prepared for Saturday's two shows. They freely admitted to not having rehearsed enough, and "hid" scripts in plain sight onstage, but no one cared once the belly laughs started rolling. Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Harold Ramis, Andrea Martin, Joe Flaherty and Martin Short all took the stage, bringing back classic characters from the comedy club's short-lived SCTV days.

Chicagoan Tim Kazurinsky, who joined the Second City stage in 1978 and went on to be a cast member for Saturday Night Live, has kept fond memories of the comedians he worked with over the years.

"We've stayed in touch. We see each other all the time," he said. "You know, they're family."

Second City alumni are also known as second citizens, but that is not how they were treated by fans in Chicago at the sold-out extravaganza.

Contact Us