The Second City is an improvisational comedy enterprise, best known as the first ever on-going improvisational theater troupe in the United States (Chicago) and Canada (Toronto). It also has programs that run out of Los Angeles. It began in 1950s, as small groups of undergraduates, including young actors such as Mike Nichols and Elaine May, who met at Jimmy’s Woodlawn Tap, a bar on the University of Chicago campus, which later became the Compass Players, a 1950s cabaret revue show.
The Second City Theatre opened on December 16, 1959, and has since expanded its presence to several other cities, including Toronto and Los Angeles. The Second City has produced television programs in both the United States and Canada including SCTV, Second City Presents, and Next Comedy Legend. Since its debut, the Second City has consistently been a starting point for comedians, award winning actors, directors, and others in show business.
Toronto’s Second City mainstage troupe has won ten Canadian Comedy Awards: Best Improv Troupe (2001), Best Sketch Troupe (2001, 2006 and 2009), and Best Comedic Play winners Family Circus Maximus (2002), Psychedelicatessen (2003), Facebook of Revelations, Barack to the Future (2009), 0% Down, 100% Screwed (2010) and Something Wicked Awesome This Way Comes (2011).