Surely You Jest: The Second City Performance Review


I caught The Second City comedic team at San Jose Rep on Sunday. Never heard of it? How about Tina Fey, Steve Carell or Mike Myers? They’re all Second City alumni so, of course, I decided to catch the show.

It certainly didn’t disappoint.

Comedians Cody Dove, Niki Lindgren, Megan Hovde Wilkins, Dana Quercioli, Mark Raterman and Tim Robinson all lived up to their predecessors.

The show was a combination of scripted skits, songs and improvisation, some of which involved the audience and those turned out to be the funniest parts. For instance, Wilkins dressed up as a little boy and threw a ball around with an audience member, whom she pretended was her dad. Here’s a bit of their on-the-spot conversation:

Wilkins: “What did you this morning, dad?”

Random Guy: “I watched the British Open.”

Wilkins: “Really? What did they open?”

Another notable improv occurred during the third act, when the audience, coming down with a case of the gimmes, wanted more. The comedic team asked people for an object or place and two of them acted it out right then and there.

The memorable one was — no question — the performance set at a strip club. Dove played a male stripper while Lindgren was the female customer. Lindgren, who decided her character was disabled, began to cry at some point and Dove tried to comfort her.

Dove: “What’s wrong?”

Lindgren: “All I wanted was a dick slap.”

During an earlier crack at improv, the audience suggested, “Spaceship,” when Second City asked for an object. The team turned the whole thing into a radio show with guests who were experts on everything spaceship-related. Quercioli’s character supposedly authored a book entitled, “Shuttle Your Mouth or I’ll Kick Your NASA.”

They also made up a story called, “The Transfiguration of a Pony,” after they requested two words/titles from the audience. The story’s title reveals all you need to know about the humor level of that improv.

The number of improvisations is reason enough to see them more than once because it’s never the same show. The Second City even caters some of its dialogue to the locale, which adds to the variety. For example, they made jokes about Sunnyvale, the San Jose Sharks and Joey Chestnut, a hotdog-eating champion and San Jose resident.

Of all the scripted acts, a marriage proposal at Applebee’s was certainly a standout. The comedic team also poked fun at Twitter, Prop 8, Iran and (shocker) former Gov. Sarah Palin. All the comedians were funny and each certainly had his or her moment, but Wilkins is the breakout star. Wilkins, who played Palin, is a hybrid of Amy Poehler and Tina Fey — not a bad combination.

Her biography on the programme reads, “The ability to hurt something is the greatest reason not to.”

True to her word, the only thing Wilkins and the others broke was my funny bone.


*Note: The show was so fun that time flew. The Second City clocked in at 2 hours and 30 minutes so clear your schedule. The last San Jose show was on July 19, but here are more tour dates.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s