Comedians make it seem like cracking good joke is as easy as breathing, but even the most seemingly instantaneous gag or quip is rarely of-the-moment; folks who make humor their business edit and tweak and begin again before taking that risky step onstage.The ever-changing crew at The Second City has been doing just that since 1959 and, this week, they’ll launch the 106th Mainstage Revue, dubbed “Dream Freaks Fall From Space,” under the direction of Ryan Bernier.
“The Second City process is unique compared to other theaters,” says Bernier, whose past directorial efforts with the outfit include the Jeff Award-nominated “Panic on Cloud 9” and winner “We’re All in this Room Together.” “Each new show emerges from the previous one. Throughout the show’s development, we are pulling out scenes from the previous show and replacing them with new ones in front of the audience. We constantly adjust when [scenes] don’t go as well as we’d like. Making these adjustments and forming the show in front of the audience is one of the great parts of our process.”
Any stage show is only as good as its performers, and that goes double for Second City productions, which are generated in part with material developed by its cast members. Ryan Asher, Tyler Davis, Kelsey Kinney, Jeffrey Murdoch, Tien Tran and Nate Varrone form the ensemble for the new revue. “As individual performers and especially as an ensemble, they have a deep understanding of the process, a clear comedic point of view of the world and diverse character range,” Bernier says. “And as an audience member, you can see that they truly enjoy working together.”
In our increasingly divided culture, the chances of a sketch or routine falling flat (or worse) would seem greater than ever. But at times like these, humor is a bridge worth building. “We use comedy to escape the weight of the day, but also as a tool to get into topics that may not otherwise be easy to look at,” Bernier says. “When satire is done well, it invites you over the line and hopefully makes the audience consider a new point of view.”
‘Dream Freaks Fall From Space’
Opening Oct. 26, 1616 N. Wells. For tickets ($29-$80), visit Secondcity.com