If you’re making everyone happy in comedy, you’re not doing comedy right.
For 15 years, The Second City has hosted an event where a group of caffeinated improvisers, musicians, crew, wait staff, bar staff and audience members come together in our e.t.c. Theater for 24 hours straight.
Why would anyone do that?
Twenty years ago, husband and wife superduo Steve Albini and Heather Whinna began collecting letters addressed to Santa from the post office, written, Albini says, by “people let down by the remnants of a social safety net, without families or abandoned by their families, people suffering sickness, poverty and abuse.” On Christmas morning, they delivered gifts to these desperate, deserving families.
Their efforts grew over time, eventually finding a home here at Second City, where Whinna works. Our annual show has allowed us to raise over $1 million for needy Chicago families from Onward Neighborhood House, an organization that helps the type of people who need to feel lifted up more than ever in the America of November 2016. Albini, Whinna and a group of their friends (which typically includes folks like Jeff Tweedy and his family, Cecily Strong and Fred Armisen, who also serves as a translator) still give up their Christmas morning and go door-to-door delivering miracles. Everyone cries.
So this is why we’re using Second City’s weekly RedEye column to tell you about “24 Hour.” It’s a comedy show. It’s a concert. It’s a privilege to stage this year after year, and it’s open to you and everyone you know for just $20. Come for an hour, or come for the whole 24. Hope to see you there. And if you’re still not convinced you need to be a part of this incredible thing, here are 24 more reasons.
1. The theater is warm.
2. It’s cheap enough that you can still afford to hit TBOX, if you’re into that.
3. Maybe Cecily Strong will do her Melania.
4. The bar is open for business a good amount of the time.
5. We can’t not say there won’t be nudity.
6. You get to watch some of the best improvisers in the world do their thing.
7. It’s an intimate opportunity to listen to world-class musicians play live.
8. Jeff Tweedy. Jeff Tweedy. Jeff Tweedy. (And the chance that he could come play a concert at your house. For real.)
9. There will probably be a lot of remembering how great that whole World Series thing was.
10. The bathrooms are clean and spacious.
11. Jack McBrayer is dreamy.
12. It’s grotesquely amusing to watch people slowly unravel into madness.
13. You can low-key text your friends that you’re chilling out listening to the Mountain Goats.
14. Zero commercial breaks.
15. See actual human babies doing actual improv.
16. Free flu.
17. Not-free “SNL” tickets—you’ll be able to bid on them online.
18. You can wear your pajamas. Or a pantsuit. Whatever, it’s your body.
19. You’re helping others and being entertained at the same time. It’s a win-win.
20. If you can’t be there in person, you can still watch (and donate!) online.
21. Most likely, the president-elect won’t be there.
22. Seriously, everyone needs a laugh right now.
23. It changes the trajectory of people’s lives at a time when unconditional love and acceptance are at a premium.
24. Something really magical always happens.
“The Second City That Never Sleeps: 24 Hour” runs nonstop Nov. 21-22, 5 pm-5 pm, at The Second City’s e.t.c. Theater. For more info, go to secondcity.com/second-city-24-hour-improv.
Written by: TJ Jagodowski, Liz Kozak, Brett Lyons, Carley Moseley and Andel Sudik