Without a doubt, this has been a tough year for every single industry that doesn’t specialize in making hand sanitizer or masks. We have seen multiple comedy institutions go under or massively scale back. Some of these have included UCB, iO in Chicago, and Cap City Comedy Club. And while they’re not closing per se, there’s another club we can add to the list that clearly is struggling.
It’s been announced that The Second City, one of the most prestigious names in comedy, has been listed for sale for the second time in its over 60+ year history. Investment bank Houlihan Lokey will apparently be overlooking the sale.
Beyond their presence in Toronto, Chicago, and Los Angeles, they’ve also begun offering a presence online, that allows people in other areas around the world to take part in their various workshops and classes. However, during a time where everything moved online, that probably also meant some stiff competition that they were up against. So sadly, a move like this shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise.
“While all our lives have been affected by the pandemic, The Second City has found green shoots that have further highlighted our growth potential,” president of The Second City Steve Johnston said in a statement. “The company’s growth plan leverages Second City’s unique position in the comedy ecosystem as the leader in both education, and live sketch and improv performance to capture market share in the short to medium term, as well as accelerate a transition toward digital delivery of programming, which is already off to a great start.”
Additionally, the respected comedy hub has also been met with a fair amount of criticism this year, accused of poor treatment and even some harassment of people of color. Because of this, longtime CEO Andrew Alexander announced that he was stepping down from his post in June, promising to be replaced by a person of color.
“I have had an extraordinary 47-year-run guiding this wonderful living, breathing, dynamic comedy institution. Watching the talent development process has given me more joy than one person should be allowed,” Alexander said at the time. “But it is time for a new generation with fresh ideas to take the company to the next level.”
And just how far back does the legacy extend? Some of the names that have come from the hallowed halls include John Belushi, John Candy, Dan Aykroyd, Eugene Levy, Martin Short, Chris Farley, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Alan Arkin, Keegan-Michael Key, Fred Willard, Mike Myers, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carrell, Aidy Bryant, Jason Sudeikis, and the list goes on and on and on. We seriously hope someone swoops in and can save the company, so we can continue to get the next biggest names in comedy.