Second City alums descend on Chicago

December 11, 2009 (CHICAGO) For the last 50 years, the improvisational theatre has brought laughter to countless numbers of people and made stars out of many of its comedians.

Second City alumni are back in Chicago for a weekend reunion celebration.

They live all over the country, but a lot of the Second City alums who live out on the west coast arrived at Midway Airport Friday evening on a special chartered flight from Los Angeles -- it must have been a raucous flight.

A lot of them have a lot going on this time of year, but they said missing the 50th anniversary was not an option.

The Southwest Airlines jet backed into the hanger while they poured champagne and rolled out the red carpet. Then the doors open and 50 years of comedy history got off the plane. Some are now big stars, others are no longer in show business, but all are Second City loyal alums.

"When I was in second city, I was really smart. I just decayed. I was learned, I would read the paper, I would see people and talk to them and really be interested. Now I'm just a schlub," said alum Richard Kind.

"It's such a venerable institution, has such a name, and when they sign off on you it gives you a confidence. It gives you an ability to say maybe I'm I am not absolutely terrible," said alum Colin Ferguson.

It began as a small cabaret theatre on the city's North Side in 1959 and has grown into a brand-name comedy business that grosses $30 million a year. It's produced many stars like Bill Murray, Tina Fey and Steve Carrel.

"We don't take ourselves too seriously. Honestly, none of us can believe we do this for a living and we thank the Chicago audiences, who are very honest," said alum Nia Vardalos.

The plane ride was the first chance many had had to catch up with old friends in years. They're looking forward to the rest of the weekend.

"I'm excited and touched. I can tell it's going to be a lot of fun," said Angela V. Shelton.

"I can tell you what this weekend is going to be, it's going to be a drunken mess," said alum Frances Collier.

The first of the anniversary shows was Friday, a special SCTV reunion show. Good luck getting tickets to that. They are, however, filming it for a television special which will be aired later.

They also had a television camera on the plane ride over from Los Angeles, so all of it will eventually get out.

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