By Paul Ryan
This coming Tuesday night, we will once again be doing our 24-hour benefit for Letters To Santa.
Each year, there are a few less of us who last all 24 hours, whether on stage or in the audience. A few different things account for this truth. Some get jobs, some have families, some move away… but most die.
Sadly, death is the leading cause of not being able to perform or witness 24 hours of improvisation and music for charity. To help avoid such tragedies this year, here are a few helpful training tips to help you survive this wonderful ordeal.
Start Training in April
Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Zumba, cold-water deep diving, solo freeze tag, Roomba, upside down bench presses, dog-chasing. A daily 8 hour combo block of any three of these is a good start.
Pack on Weight
Muscle, fat, hair, nails… it doesn’t matter, just put it on.
Increase your body weight by 20%. The night-into-day will take it out of you, literally hollowing you out old-cicada-style. Don’t leave this event looking like an empty beer can that was taken to a great underwater depth.
Phone your Parents, Spouse or Children Pre-Show
Just in case, say what you need to say:
“I love you.”
“I could have been a better father.”
“It was unfortunate you made me hit you so much.”
“Alexander McQueen’s petulance was worth dealing with if only for the extravagance he was able to bring to an otherwise tepid catwalk.”
Whatever that important thing is, don’t leave it unsaid.
Bring Lots of Money You Don’t Plan On Leaving With…
…Like a gambler bent on masochism.
Amidst all the goofballery and catnapishness, there will be something wonderful happening. It’s not just some of the best players in Chicago working long hours and still doing really good scenes 19 hours in.
It’s not just the audience keeping butts in seats and the energy going around the clock, often giving more than they’re getting.
Not just the staff giving up a rare free night to work for a night for free.
Not just world-renowned musicians playing our humble room.
It’s not even the the American cash money finding great new homes where it is often tearfully received and converted into food and electricity.
It’s that this night, it feels like we are all at our best. Clearer and more whole than we normally feel. That night, we’re all doing right and feeling right and being treated right. There is a vibe in the e.t.c. Theater on that night that is different than anything you’ve ever felt in the world.
Get your well-exercised, big, fat, issue-settled ass out that night. It is magic.
TJ Jagodowski has been a part of every single 24 Hour.
The Second City That Never Sleeps: 24 Hour returns for its 12th epic year tomorrow night at 6:00 p.m. non-stop though Wednesday at 6 p.m. in The Second City’s e.t.c. Theater. Tickets are $20 at the door. The joy in the room is free. For complete information on the event (including how to live stream it), visit our Facebook page.