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Improv troupe The Second City to share ‘inside jokes’ with Columbus

Courtesy of Dave Rentauskas

If laughter is the best medicine, The Second City hopes to serve a large dose to audiences this weekend ­- just don’t be late.
Second City’s touring ensemble is scheduled to perform “Laughing Matters” Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Lincoln Theatre. The Chicago-based improv powerhouse was once home to comedy stars such as Tina Fey and Steve Carell.
Kate Lambert, a cast member, said she had only done improv as a theater warm-up before taking an improv class from Second City. She got the chance to join the touring cast in August 2012.
“Improv is really fun because it’s a shared experience with the audience that’s only going to happen once,” she said. “It’s almost like a shared inside joke between the audience and the cast.”
Lambert said this show will feature the “best of” material from Second City’s 50-year history. The sketch-based show is still relevant since it deals with common experiences such as listening to NPR, she said. The show will also include audience interaction.
“One of the cool things about Second City is it’s developing sketch through improv, so while the majority of scenes are sketch-based, they were primarily developed through improv,” she said.
She said one of her favorite parts about working with Second City is her cast mates.
“You know they are going to turn whatever I put out there into gold,” she said.
Lambert has been to Columbus before but said one of the last times she was here she was stuck inside performing.
“I didn’t get to see too much of the city, so hopefully I can change that this time around,” she said.
Lambert is also in an all-female improv group in Chicago, The Katydids, and said she is happy to see more women in comedy.
“It is historically more of a male-dominated field, but you get people like Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Lena Dunham (of HBO’s “Girls”), people who are in charge of the comedy they’re creating,” she said. “It’s a really exciting time to be a woman in comedy.”
Second City has been performing with the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts since 2007, said Rolanda Copley, publicist for CAPA. She said the show usually draws a crowd.
“The comedy is fresh, relevant and side-splitting, which makes for a very well-attended event,” Copley said in an email.
Students have picked up on the event as well. PNC Arts Alive and the Ohio Union have sold out of discounted tickets.
Stephen Doughten, a member of Ohio State’s Fishbowl Improv and third-year in biomedical engineering, said while he’s never seen Second City live he was a fan of the “SCTV” show.
“They know what they’re doing. When people do improv, Second City is what they want to ascend to,” he said.
He said he believes Second City is the best introduction to improv.
“If you haven’t given improv comedy a shot, these are probably the people to do it with,” he said. “If you go to this show and you don’t like it, then you don’t like improv.”
Lambert also warned that audience members should arrive on time.
“If you walk in 15 minutes late to an improv show you’re going to miss half the jokes that have already been set up and the audience is already in on,” she said.
Tickets are $30 through Ticketmaster or at the CAPA Ticket Office at 39 E. State St. Lincoln Theatre is located at 769 E. Long St.

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