Bob Curry Fellows 2023/2024

by The Second City

NOV 17, 2023


CHICAGO, IL – The Second City, the pioneering institution of comedy and improvisation, is proud to announce the Bob Curry Fellows for 2023/2024. Generously sponsored for the first time by Wintrust, The Second City granted 14 tuition-free fellowships to exceptional BIPOC talent from diverse cultural backgrounds.   


Established in 2014 and named for the first African-American to join The Second City’s resident company, the Bob Curry Fellowship has proven to be a significant initiative to nurture talent and foster diversity in the comedy industry. Offering an in-depth 15-week master program that enables qualifying actors, improvisers, music directors, and stage managers of color to train at The Second City.   


Meet the 2023/2024 Bob Curry Fellows!  

Aaron Alicea – Aaron Alicea is a Writer/Performer/Puerto Rican from Brentwood, NY, with a myriad of college credits from different institutions that he would like a refund for, please! He has studied comedy with The Annoyance Theatre, The Pack Theater, and The Onion. He is a producer for the variety show Everything Is Fine, Resident Company member at iO Theater, and performs solo material at whichever venue allows him. You can follow him on Instagram @theaaronalicea or be his friend on Venmo @Aaron-Alicea-2  


Ruby Aviña – Ruby, a Chicago native hailing from Brighton Park, is a comedy performer and writer with a focus on improv. Having graduated from the iO training program in 2019, Ruby has been actively performing, showcasing their talents in groups like Antojitos Improv and Ratas De Dos Patas, which had a successful show at Steppenwolf Theater. With a passion for exploring the intricacies of human nature through comedy, Ruby brings a unique perspective to the stage.  


Alexi Bolden – Alexi Bolden is from Cedar Rapids, IA and graduated from The University of Iowa with a B.A. in Theatre Arts and African American Studies. Alexi is an SNL Scholarship recipient with The Second City and has written and performed with her sketch teams at Brooklyn Comedy Collective (N.Y.), Austin Sketch Festival (TX), The Annoyance, iO and other theaters around Chicago. You can find her at @alexibolden on Instagram or on any streaming platform where she co-hosts her podcast, Academia.  


Mo Burns – Mo Burns is from St. Louis, MO, where he started performing at the Improv Shop Theater. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in Film Studies. When not on stage, Mo enjoys reading, watching films, catching NBA games, and eating chocolate chip cookies. Catch Mo in “Holy Fuck Comedy Hour” every Friday at midnight at The Annoyance theater, and find him performing standup across the Chicago area. You can also follow him on Instagram @jokesburns.  


Xzavier Dean – Xzavier is from Davenport, IA and moved to Chicago in December 2020. Before joining Bob Curry Xzavier performed at the iO with Keystone improv and served as a writer/performer with sketch group Missed Call at the Annoyance theater. Mostly just happy to be here, Xzavier enjoys the simple things in life like ice cream and a good slab of ribs. You can still catch Xzavier performing with Missed Call every Friday night at The Annoyance theater, and feel free to give him a follow on Instagram @ezrashabazz.  


Tara Egan – Tara Egan is a performer, a comedy writer, and a big fan of olives, and is beyond honored to be joining the incredible Bob Curry Fellowship family. Outside of Second City, she’s a contributor to The Onion and can be found performing with ComedySportz Chicago, Trapped in a Musical, RIFF, and more. Follow her adventures in comedy, cooking, and flower identification on Instagram @tara.egan. She is endlessly grateful to her mom, Tiny Cat, and Vinny, without whom she wouldn’t be here.  


Alphaeus Green, Jr. – Alphaeus is an experienced stage, screen, and voiceover performer who has performed as Troy Maxson in August Wilson’s Fences and has been seen on The Chi, among many other projects. Since moving to the Chicago area, he’s been a part of Foul Play and ComedySportz and is a recent graduate of the Conservatory at Second City. Alphaeus is thrilled to be a part of The Bob Curry Fellowship.  


Colette Gregory – Colette S. Gregory is an award-winning writer, comedian, and actress. She is the showrunner and a performer on the upcoming Chicago-based sketch show “Out of the Loop” which will be released on the Hipstr network in 2024. Colette was in the 2020 Second City Black History Month show and understudied for The Second City Mainstage and e.t.c. She toured the country using humor to teach sexual assault prevention with Catharsis Productions and produces SHADE: An Actually Diverse Comedy Show at Steppenwolf Theatre Company. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Religion and Bachelor of Music in Music Theatre Production from Northwestern University, as well as a Master of Arts and Master of Education in Counseling Psychology from Columbia University–New York. You can catch her singing with RIFF: Chicago’s Music Improv Party, performing sketch comedy with Bosses in Bonnets and doing improv with Baby Wine. Colette was recently featured on the third season of HBO’s South Side. Follow her on Instagram @colettecomedy or on TikTok @colettegregory  


Olivia Jackson – Originally from Bellevue, Iowa, Olivia Jackson (she/her) is an actor and improviser based here in Chicago. She has a B.A. in Literature and Theatre from Saint Mary’s College and has trained at Second City and iO Theater. Recent theatre credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Bottom/Helena), Gather (U/S), and Hamlet (Ophelia/Claudius). Olivia also performs with improv team, The Mermaids, who have played festivals in Orlando, Kalamazoo, Miami, and the Boom Chicago Festival in Amsterdam. Follow Olivia on Instagram @livdawg3. Love to Mom, Dad, and Mads.  


Yamina Khouane – Yamina is first generation Texican. She has a degree in Theater & Dance (but mostly theater) from UT Austin and has trained at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater and H.B. Studio in NYC. In Austin, she performed with several award-winning ensembles, including sketch group The Latino Comedy Project. Among her acting credits is the controversial indie film “Call Me Brother,” which stars current SNL cast member Andrew Dismukes. Yamina is also a recent graduate of Second City Chicago’s Conservatory program.  


Yuxin Lu – Yuxin embarked on their musical journey as a pianist, captivating audiences as a soloist and chamber musician across Europe and the United States. Yuxin ventured into the realms of short film and music production, showcasing their versatility as a sound designer, multi-instrumentalist, and composer. Their expertise in recording and mixing techniques allows them to infuse creativity into every project they undertake. Notably, Yuxin recently concluded the Victor Wong Fellowship in Second City, serving as a music director. When not immersed in the world of music and audio, Yuxin finds solace in playing video games and indulging in culinary pursuits. You can check out their sound works and music at Or follow on Instagram @sourlyx.  


Deshawn Mason – It all started with standup for Deshawn, a devout follower of the fun. Stand-up led him to acting, improv, and traveling the country. He’s performed in comedy festivals on both coasts, headlined many a show, and, in the last year, spread his wings in the improv community, performing upwards of 150 shows. Following his foot and listening to the fun has finally brought him all the way here to Chicago. He’s excited to continue to sharpen his tool kit, and can’t wait to show you what he’s been working on all the years.  


Kelton Neals – Kelton Neals is from the farmlands of Oklahoma, knee deep in chickens and donkeys. Since moving to Chicago, Kelton has participated in Second City’s Archive Show and Second City’s Directors Review as a writer and actor. Along with his friend and comedy partner, Kelton wrote and performed in the two-person comedy show Better You Than Me ™ . They were also seen in I.O. Theater’s Improvised Housewives of I.O. Kelton performs standup and characters around the city is a part of the resident team Whimsy Lohan, at the I.O. Theater. Kelton enjoys reading, hanging out with his dog, over decorating his apartment, and writing sketches in their free time. You can see what Kelton is up to by visiting their Instagram @keltonneals or visiting their website at  


Seth Pae – Seth Pae is a multi-instrumentalist and composer based in Chicago, IL. Seth has been Assistant Principal Viola of the Chicago Sinfonietta since 2022, and recently joined the Chicago-based music collective, D-Composed. He is an artistic collaborator, educator, and mentor, working with Chicago area composers, arts organizations and creators on a variety of exciting projects. Along with viola, he has an active piano-vocal career, and is a mainstay at several piano lounges across the Chicagoland area. For more info, visit  


Meet the 2023/2024 Bob Curry ADs! 

Luis Cortes– Luis David Cortes is a Mexico City born, LA raised, Chicago resident. In addition to having appeared in several national commercials and TV shows, Luis has also toured with The Second City, Csz Chicago, The National Theater for Children, Story Pirates and the musical improv team, Baby Wants Candy. Most recently, Luis created the DEI dept at ComedySportz Chicago serving as Director for 5 years until 2022. Luis also assistant directed the last two ETC revues: “Eat Pray Bigfoot in Love” and “Oh the Places you’ll Glow”. 


Kaleb Jackson– Kaleb Jackson [they/them] is a Chicago-based performer, writer, producer and director from the suburbs of Chicagoland. Kaleb also co-founded and would later serve as Artistic Director for Vibrancy Theater, a theater company that uplifts and broadcasts Black, Indigenous and People of Color in theater at Ohio University and beyond. For business inquiries, headshots sessions or more information about Vibrancy, please visit or follow @kaleebjackson on Instagram. 


Meet the 2023/2024 Bob Curry Directors! 

Marla Cáceres– Marla is thrilled to be a part of the Bob Curry Fellowship as a director! She recently served as assistant director for the 111th Mainstage, Don’t Quit Your Daydream, the 46th e.t.c., Great Altercations, and has written and performed in several Second City productions, including debuts at the Kennedy Center, LaJolla Playhouse, and the Spanish/English El Show Mas Funny for the Arscht Center in Miami, her hometown. She was also a writer and performer for the acclaimed all-woman She The People, and facilitates improv workshops around the country for Second City Works. In addition to her work at Second City, Marla has worked for The Onion, writing comedy videos for multiple national brands, and performed as an improviser in several shows including the long-running improvised political satire Whirled News Tonight. She thanks her husband, James, for his never-ending love and support, and her kids Wyatt and Juniper, who are the funniest people she knows. 


Sabrina Odigie– Sabrina has trained and performed at famous institutions across the country, including The Second City, Upright Citizens Brigade, The Pit, The Annoyance, and more. A graduate of the Second City Directing Program, she Assistant Directed ‘Dance Like There Are Black People Watching’ (2023), the 2022 Bob Curry Fellowship, and 4-time Jeff-nominated ‘Do The Right Thing, No Worries If Not’ (2022). She also performs weekly with Mall Walkers and iO resident improv team The Paisleys (iO Theater). Follow her on IG at @sillygalbribi. 


Following intensive training and workshop performances, the selected fellows will be given a unique platform to shine in a series of public and industry showcases slated for February 2024  

For more information on the Bob Curry Fellowship, please contact:   

Colleen Fahey

About Wintrust

Wintrust is a financial holding company with assets of approximately $56 billion whose common stock is traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market. Built on the “HAVE IT ALL” model, Wintrust offers sophisticated technology and resources of a large bank while focusing on providing service-based community banking to each and every customer. Wintrust operates fifteen community bank subsidiaries, with over 170 banking locations located in the greater Chicago and southern Wisconsin market areas. Additionally, Wintrust operates various non-bank business units including business units which provide commercial and life insurance premium financing in the United States, a premium finance company operating in Canada, a company providing short-term accounts receivable financing and value-added out-sourced administrative services to the temporary staffing services industry, a business unit engaging primarily in the origination and purchase of residential mortgages for sale into the secondary market throughout the United States, and companies providing wealth management services and qualified intermediary services for tax-deferred exchanges.


Join our mailing list to stay in the loop with our newest Events

More of

The Latest


Thereʼs been plenty of advice offered up on this site for the Under-30 set. Die now, live later, you say? That might be all fine and dandy, but what about the rest of us? Those sad saps who were born before 1983? Whether you like it or not, here are the hard and fast truths about aging that you need to face right now. If you are doing– or are about to do– any of the following, STOP IMMEDIATELY. You are too old, my friend.

Attend a Music Festival That Involves Camping/Swedish Electronica/Side Braids

You saw all those awesome Instagrams your friends posted from SXSW. Youʼre pumped for this summerʼs Lolla lineup. Coachella is just a few weeks away… maybe youʼll try to figure out a way to get there? NO YOU WONʼT. Itʼs crowded. Itʼs sweaty. The foot- pump-y hand washing stations outside the porta potties are always out of non-potable water. Admit that a nice brunch with good friends sounds a hell of a lot better way to spend a weekend.

Apply to Medical School

Remember that one time you so knew you had blepharitis? For years, your superior symptom-Googling gave you a certain… I dunno, air of medical quasi-authority. Donʼt pretend like applying to medical school never crossed your mind… because you still had time to consider a career change. So letʼs see. If you start now, you should be a full- fledged M.D. when youʼre about 47 or so. Or maybe marketingʼs not so bad, after all.

Get a Nose Job

Speaking of doctors…. Elective plastic surgery is only fun to fantasize about until a certain age. Then you have kids, and the thought of risking something going wrong for a smaller bump doesnʼt seem (as) worth it. Youʼre just going to just have to be satisfied with the mocked up “before and after” photo you got at that appointment you had a few years ago when you were really, really worried about that potentially deviated septum. On the bright side, once the kids get married, the window opens again– and you can get a whole new face, if youʼve invested your funds wisely.

Flirt with Guys Who Look Like Johnny Depp

Let me save you on this one. Hereʼs what you donʼt want to have happen:


(breathy whisper, to dirty-hot barista)

Wow. You look just like Johnny Depp.


Thank you, maʼam.

Also, donʼt forget the part where “You” are 9 1/2 months pregnant and are literally out of breath from the human in your gullet sitting on your lungs.

Change Your name to Samantha

If youʼve been holding on to this dream past the age of nine and/or the cancellation of Gimme a Break!, weʼve really gotta talk. Unless your name right now is Arnold, Ralph or Joshua, in which case, I totally support you and want you to know I just want you to be happy. Everyone deserves to live their all of dreams. Mostly.


Liz Kozak (Editor) is a writer in Chicago who would take commas and hyphens over cake and ice cream any day. She also contributes regularly at The Huffington Post and blogs about stuff at Follow Liz: @LizKoz



SCTV Sneak Previews

Gene and Roger review the latest Star Wars, “Empires are a Girl’s Best Friend.”


Your Father’s Approval, and Other Things You Should Stop Striving For.

Some people spend their entire lives chasing their fathers’ approval. From choosing which college to attend to deciding whether or not mom would like that box set of Cheers for Christmas, dads influence our every decision. Well, I’m here to tell you now: stop. Your dad is one of literally billions of people on the planet. The only thing that connects you to him is the fact that he graciously spilled his DNA in your mother one day. If you really can’t live without other people’s approval, at least make a thoughtful selection. Find a community of people that you respect and then push each other to be better, like a cult or a high school wrestling team. Here are some other things that you should stop striving for:

Crowded CTA_630x407

-A Stress-Free CTA Ride. Yes, the CTA sucks. But looking in the direction of the next train doesn’t make it arrive faster, and working yourself into a quiet rage while squeezed between a DePaul student’s backpack and a lunatic pissing his sweatpants doesn’t get you to work any faster. Instead, force a smile and accept the CTA for what it is: a poorly-run public service.

-That Million-Dollar App Idea. You know that simple-yet-amazing iPhone app idea you have? Someone else developed it last year. Just play Powerball.

-A Full Understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Even International Relations professors don’t know what is going on over there. Read some Wikipedia articles and call it a day.

-A Productive Day Off. So you have MLK Day off, and you’re planning on knocking out that laundry list of chores? Your bottle of Lubriderm, box of tissues, and web browser have different plans. Don’t forget to turn on “private browsing.”

-A Drinkable Beer with Fewer Than 100 Calories. No number of ads featuring giggling gal pals on a night out can change the fact that Miller64 tastes like carbonated cat urine.

-The Perfect Fedora. If Justin Timberlake looks silly wearing something, rest assured you look even sillier.

Philosophy Degree_630x407

-A Use for Your Philosophy Degree. It’s not that you’re unemployable. After all, there are lots of customer service and retail jobs available. Plus, college wasn’t a total waste of time. I’m sure you had a great time debating Ayn Rand with your buddies in the student union.

-A Valuable LinkedIn Profile. LinkedIn is an extra-boring Facebook. “I would like to add you to my professional network” might as well read “I have nothing to do today and, well, why not?”

Great American Novel_630x407

-Writing the Next Great American Novel. After a decade of writing sessions, all you’ve accomplished is getting the Starbucks barista to memorize your order. And she totally hates you.

-Fame. The odds of achieving this are so low it’s laughable. Just have a good time and push your kid into piano classes at age 3. You never know.

-Fortune. The odds of achieving this are so low it’s laughable. Just have a good time and push your failed musician of a child into an MBA program. You can live off him.

-Convincing People That Disagree With You On Something That You Are Correct. This sounds defeatist, but it’s really intended to save you time. You are not Noam Chomsky or Christopher Hitchens, so you don’t stand a chance. Just hang out with people who already agree with you and high-five each other constantly.

-Flossing Everyday. Every… day…

-Being Cool. Coolness is overrated and silly. You know those brooding quiet guys at the party who look super badass and complicated? Me neither, because they’re boring. Unless you’re Johnny Depp or a main character in a nouveau vampire movie, just be energetic and emotionally open. It’s way more fun.

Happy man doing push ups

-A Perfect Pushup. This is completely unattainable unless you have perfect patience and everything fun in your house perfectly breaks at the perfect time.


-An Occupy Movement That Accomplishes Anything. I like camping too, but come on.

-A BMI in the “Healthy Range.” Diets are boring and so are conversations that revolve around them. Just put a belt on it or something if you want to feel different. You’re beautiful.

-World Peace… Ah, what the heck, we need dreams. Keep striving for this one.


Asher Perlman performs with iO, Second City, and Comedysportz. He also writes and performs comedy with ATV and is a winner of the Gimme 5 solo sketch competition at The Playground.




Maribeth Monroe on No Jacket Required

This episode Chris sits down with the very hilarious Maribeth Monroe from Comedy Central’s Workaholics.


A Word on Marriage

I didn’t change my facebook profile picture to a pink equal sign.  Don’t get me wrong I support empty gestures as much as the next guy; and there’s nothing like a picture of Ernie and Burt superimposed over parallel lines to legitimize a serious political issue.  I’m just not entirely on board with gay marriage or heterosexual marriage either.  Sure, I’m a married man (very happily if my wife is reading this) but marriage is an institution that blurs the line between Church and State.  A couple can get married in a church or a courthouse by a reverend or a judge, where else does this crossover exist?  You can’t serve your jury duty in a church choir (although that could make for an hilarious Jack McBrayer movie).  You can’t pay your taxes with prayers (I tried).

This whole debate could be clarified if the government left recognizing marriage to the churches, temples, synagogues, and covens and simply let two people of whatever gender, race, or religion merge like corporations do.  That’s basically what marriage is in the eyes of the government, isn’t it?  Two people combine their assets, tax responsibility, and such.  Taking the word “marriage” out of the equation eliminates any questions of morality and then people who did oppose gay mergers would have to come out and say, “I oppose this because I’m a hateful, ignorant, prick”.  The U.S. does not need to legislate morality, leave that to the Taliban.  So if your church is progressive and approves of gay marriage, great; if your church opposes gay marriage, fine but the male prostitute your pastor visits is free to legally spend his life with the person he loves.  That’s win-win.  I hope the day comes soon when any U.S. citizen can get down on one knee and ask the person they love, “Will you file jointly with me?”

Ed Furman is a Second City alumni and a co-founder of the Annoyance Theater. He is a playwright and co-authored the hits Co-ed Prison Slutsand Rod Blagojevich: Superstar.


About Us

  • Board of Directors
  • Diversity & Inclusion
  • Careers
  • Auditions

Stay In The Loop

Join our mailing list to stay in the loop with our newest Events

Copyright © 2024 The Second City

Box Office