Hollywood stars, alums take stage at Second City

December 12, 2009 (CHICAGO) Hundreds of comedians who once performed arrived for a special red carpet event earlier Saturday, and many took the stage to perform again.

Excitement was in the air as 50 years of the Second City in the Old Town section of Chicago were celebrated. Fans lined up to see Saturday night's alumni show with some of the best and brightest on stage.

On the red carpet, many of the familiar faces came to talk with ABC7.

"Coming back and seeing everybody, it's like being in that creative cocoon that you imagined Hollywood might be a bigger version of," actress and talk show host Bonnie Hunt said. "I think when you get the job here, you can't believe it."

"Being onstage here is just as much fun as it was. Whereas the thrill of acting in movies can wear off or directing films, this is always a jolt of, like, gosh, this is real. It's live. It's happening. And I'm right here with some very talented people," said alum Harold Ramis.

"It was everyting. It's the beginning of everything. I made great friendships here. It's the most fun I think I've ever had," actor and comedian Steve Carrell said.

"The most fun is seeing people not only that you're in company with, but who we've known over the years [and saying] 'Oh, my God! How are you?'said Fred Willard.

"We all came here to celebrate the fact that we walked in the door, and it changed everything," alum Tim Kazurinsky said."We got to do something more interesting than we ever felt like we'd be doing with our lives."

"I was at the Yale drama school doing graduate work, heavy tuition, and I got $150 a week here and learned five times as much," said alum Robert Klein.

When asked if there were a lot of people he hadn't seen in years there on the red carpet, actor George Wendt, best known as Norm from the television show Cheers, said:

"Actually, you'd be surprised. I see a lot of friends. So many of them are in L.A. I see them quite a bit, actually."

All of the Second City stars and many more took the stage Saturday night reviving some of the skits they performed 5, 10, 15, even 50 years ago. Among the participants was Shelly Berman, one of the oldest members who began with the Compass Players that actually began in the Second City.

In 50 years, many amazing comic talents have come out of Second City. Another interesting fact: This year, more than 1 million people will see the shows in Chicago and Toronto.

The 50th anniversary events were not over Saturday night. Many of the celebrities were set to participate in a panel discussions about comedy Sunday.

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