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Second City: Where (aren't) they now?

  • Tina Fey
Tina Fey (Second City )
February 16, 2012|By Georgia Garvey, RedEye

Names like Jim Belushi, Chris Farley and Dan Aykroyd helped create Second City's reputation as an incubator of "destined for greatness" talent. RedEye checks in with some of the improv powerhouse's more recent alumni to see if they're still giving Chicago love.

Tina Fey

Second City stats: 1996 on the Chicago Mainstage in Old Town

You may remember her from: "30 Rock," "Date Night," "Mean Girls" (for which she wrote the screenplay), her memoir "Bossypants," "SNL" and being the recipient of the Mark Twain humor award

Chicago name-checks: Too numerous to mention. In her memoirs, she brings up not only Chicago but also Evanston, where Fey worked at the YMCA before hitting it big. "Mean Girls" is set in a North Shore suburb of Chicago. Fey also posted a video to Hulu in which she talks Chicago food, singling out The Athenian Room, Jimmy John's and the Golden Apple.

See her as: The neurotic but charming Liz Lemon on NBC's "30 Rock."

Stephen Colbert

Second City stats: 1991 in Northwest in Rolling Meadows, Chicago Mainstage and Chicago e.t.c. in Old Town

You may remember him from: The Rally To Restore Sanity and/or Fear in 2010, Emmy Awards, his book "I Am America (And So Can You!),""The Daily Show" and "Strangers With Candy"

Chicago name-checks: Colbert gave the commencement speech at Northwestern University in June. Colbert graduated from the school.

See him as: The (fake) egotistical smartass behind "The Colbert Report" on Comedy Central.

Horatio Sanz

Second City stats: 1996 in Chicago e.t.c. in Old Town

You may remember him from: "SNL," the movie "Boat Trip," Comedy Central show "Big Lake" and "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon"

Chicago name-checks: Sanz, who grew up in Chicago, often talks about loving the Cubs and the Bears. Poor guy.

See him: Performing in "The Upright Citizens Brigade" in New York City.

Jason Sudeikis

Second City stats: 2001 in Las Vegas

You may remember him from: "SNL,""Horrible Bosses,""Hall Pass" and Floyd in "30 Rock"

Chicago name-checks: Sudeikis was spotted Aug. 4 watching a show at Second City and reportedly joined in for some improv afterward. Sudeikis also told TimeOut that a lot of his family lives in Beverly and that he often comes to town for the holidays.

See him in: "Dog Fight," a flick about presidential candidates starring Zach Galifianakis and Will Ferrell. It's also been announced he'll be a recurring character on the next season of "Eastbound and Down."

Nia Vardalos

Second City stats: 1991 in Northwest and Chicago e.t.c.

You may remember her from: She wrote "Larry Crowne," the film that starred Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts (she also had a small role), and appeared in"Cougar Town"

Chicago name-checks: Vardalos is most famous for writing and starring in the Oscar-nominated "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," the top-grossing movie never to have hit No. 1 at the box office. The film is set in Chicago and though a lot of it was shot in Canada, Greektown and Windy City locations are everywhere (main character Toula attends Truman College).

See her in: A TV comedy The Hollywood Reporter says is being developed for Vardalos.


Second City has spawned comedic stars for years. In fact, it wasn't tough for RedEye to find alums from each of the Past five decades who've gone on to success.

'60s: Fred Willard, 1965, Chicago Mainstage ("WALL-E," "Anchorman," "Best In Show,""Roseanne")

'70s: Bill Murray, 1973, Chicago Mainstage ("Caddyshack," "Ghostbusters," "Rushmore," "Lost In Translation")

'80s: Steve Carell, 1989, Northwest, Chicago Mainstage, Chicago e.t.c. ("40-Year-Old Virgin,""The Office,""Crazy Stupid Love")

'90s: Amy Sedaris, 1990, Northwest, Chicago Mainstage ("Strangers With Candy," "Elf," her book "I Like You : Hospitality Under The Influence")

'00s: Dan Bakkedahl, 2001, Las Vegas, Chicago Mainstage ("Observe And Report," "The Daily Show") | @gcgarvey

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