Another sad death in the comedy community. Former Saturday Night Live writer and Second City performer has passed away at the age of 61.
After graduating Ohio University in 1981, he joined the writing staff of Saturday Night Live for the 1983-1984 season during the Dick Ebersol era of the show. Following that, he spent two years working as a staff writer on Sessame Street (which he called the “best gig ever!” on his FaceBook page) before moving to Chicago to join the Second City main stage.
Additionally, over the years, he also turned up on numerous television shows including The Nanny, Coach, Freaks and Geeks, Spin City, Gilmore Girls, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and According to Jim. He also wrote episodes of The Drew Carrey Show.
Later on, he moved back to Chicago and begun teaching comedy classes at Second City, DePaul, and iO. While there, he taught writing classes that prepared students for comedy writing. Some of his students included Jon Favreau, Tina Fey, Brian Stack, Peter Murietta, Vanessa Bayer, Matt Walsh, Kay Cannon, Travis Bowe, and Matt Kuhn, among many others.
“The Second City is devastated to share that alumnus and friend Michael McCarthy passed away Wednesday after a heroic battle with cancer,” the comedy institution wrote in a statement. “A revered Second City Mainstage and e.t.c. ensemble member and writing instructor, Michael was extraordinarily smart, talented and kind. He was someone you always enjoyed being with, and you felt better about yourself and the world when you were given the pleasure of his gracious company. Michael had true wit, and his writing felt effortless in its beauty and intelligence, which led him to a fruitful writing career with SNL and Sesame Street, among many other productions. Our deepest condolences to his adoring wife Susan Messing and his step-daughter Sofia Mia, both of whom he doted on with all of his being. We will miss our friend and colleague, who made our world brighter and funnier every single day.”
“Our deepest condolences go out to the family of our dear friend, Michael Clayton McCarthy,” iO wrote on their FaceBook page. “Michael was a great teacher, mentor, and an even greater person. We love you, Michael.”
McCarthy is survived by his wife, Susan, and his step-children.