Second City: For the love of laughter

Touring company brings the funny on Valentine’s Day

by Jared Curtis 

For more than five decades, Second City in Chicago has been making people laugh. Along with all the funny jokes and skits, the company has produced some of the biggest names in comedic talent including John Belushi, Bill Murray, John Candy, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Chris Farley, Bob Odenkirk, Jeff Garlin, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey (the list could go on and on). But along with the nightly shows at the home base in Chicago, the company also sends young comedians out on the road to strengthen their comedic chops and hone their improv skills as part of their touring company, which is what brings them to the Mount Baker Theatre as part of “Hooking Up With” Second City touring show.

If you’re looking for a show all about relationships, then “Hooking Up With” is the show for you. Featuring funny songs, hilarious sketches and top-notch improvisation, “Hooking Up With” is a uniquely modern take on all the crazy things we do for love. The show couldn’t have landed in town on a more perfect night, Valentine’s Day, Sunday, Feb. 14.

“It is the perfect date show,” said Martin Morrow, one of the six members of the cast. “We talk about relationships, use couples in the show and improvise off how they met. Hopefully, we’ll add some new things for the Valentine’s Day show.”

Martin, along with Ali Barthwell, Kelsey Kinney, Charles Pettitt, Jasbir Singh and Casey Whitaker, make up the cast. Morrow, originally from Alabama, got involved in Second City after struggling as a comedian in New York City.

“I only had $800 bucks, so I could either rent an apartment in Chicago for a month or die in New York City after a month,” he laughed. “I started taking classes at Second City, got a scholarship and then in 2012 got involved with the showcases and shows. I stayed in the system, took the classes and made it to the big leagues.”

Morrow still gets chills when he walks out on that Second City stage.

“It’s an incredible feeling every single time,” he said. “You walk past and see all the former greats that have been on that stage. Then you start thinking about the scenes your doing and what amazing performers have done them in the past.”

The group has some popular archive material they perform as well as original material and plenty of improvisation appears in the third act, as the audience gets in on the laughs.

“Each night and each show is different. Sometimes jokes will land and sometimes they won’t, but we’ve had such great responses in each city,” Morrow said. “It’s a lot better touring with a group instead of yourself, normally you’d be in your hotel all alone, but with the group we have been heading out and exploring each city we stop in. It’s a very interesting group dynamic and as we continue to perform and spend time together, the tighter the show has become.”

The show finds humor in a variety of relationships.

“We tackle it all from dating to family and work relationships; we even have a scene about a firefighter orgy,” Morrow laughs. “The show is all over the place in the name of love.”

Morrow promises plenty of laughs and maybe more to be found at “Hooking Up With.”

“Second City has a rich history of producing great comedic shows, so when you get a chance to see the performers in your town, it’s a once in a lifetime experience,” he said. “You can stay home and watch a movie anytime, but when you see Second City live, you’ll get a chance to see scenes that are unique to the moment with plenty of laughs. It’ll seriously change your life, after seeing my first Second City show, I realized all I ever wanted to do was to make people laugh.”

LIVE SHOW: See Hooking Up With Second City at the Mount Baker Theatre on Sunday, Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. 

Published in the February 2016 issue of What’s Up! Magazine