The Second City

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My boyfriend and I went to see The Second City live at my university’s performing arts center this past Friday. It was AMAZING! I laughed so hard I think I laughed off my dinner from that night. My stomach hurt afterward as if I have done an intense ab workout. It was great.

I’ve never been to a comedy show before so I really didn’t know what to expect. All I knew about the group going in was that Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey, Bill Murray and many other famous comedians came from this company. It was only logical to conclude that the show would be good because of this knowledge and the $5 spent for two tickets made my decision for me. Also, my boyfriend loves those guys so I knew that he’d probably enjoy this.

While most of the skits within the show were rehearsed, there were parts that were complete improv and this is what I really wanted to talk about tonight before I go back to doing silly things like homework. I think there’s definitely something that should be noted about improv as a way of expressing ideas. In the case of the show, one has to come up with something on the spot that is witty and will instigate laughter. The only time they are given is the amount of time to process what is going around them and react. It is really quick and there is no proofreading. I don’t think I could ever do something like that. It takes time for me to come up with something clever to say or even to type up in a blog. I have to sit in my comfy desk chair for a while, marinating on what I could write about that could be somewhat compelling. I’d be lucky if I came up with something in less than an hour. Also, the inability to retract what I came up with for a certain topic would kill me.

I suppose that is what makes comedians brilliant: their ability to come up with something clever in a moment’s notice. I remember one of my friend scoffed at the knowledge that most of the members of Monty Python were graduates of Cambridge and Oxford, but now I realize that the best comedians are also some of the smartest people out there. We can trace this knowledge back to Shakespeare and the fools like Touchstone in As You Like It  and Feste in Twelfth Night where, as fools, their role is to point out and criticize the behaviors of those around them. They were, as a result, some of the smartest characters in the play because, unlike the other characters, they knew what was going on in their fictional world and knew that the best thing to do was to hang back and laugh at it.

I guess that’s all you can do in this silly world…laugh at its silliness.

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