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From Chicago’s HMS Media comes a dream come true for fans of comedy, theater and improvisation: "Second To None," the first ever behind-the-scenes look at the Mecca of improvisational comedy and theater, The Second City. This critically acclaimed one-hour documentary is hosted by famed Second City alum Jim Belushi.
Gilda Radner, Bill Murray, John Belushi, Mike Myers, Chris Farley... these are but a fraction of the comedic geniuses who launched their careers at Chicago’s world famous comedy theater. Hit television series like NBC’s "Saturday Night Live," ABC’s "Whose Line Is It Anyway" and "MAD-TV," and films like "Ghostbusters," "Animal House," "Wayne’s World" and "The Blues Brothers," would not exist without the groundbreaking style of improvisational sketch comedy that has been developed on the stages of The Second City.
To create this exciting and very funny documentary, cameras were permitted behind the scenes while the brilliant Second City improvisers created a mainstage comedy revue. "Second To None" is the exclusive backstage pass to the inner workings of The Second City creative team as they create the revue "Paradigm Lost," one of the finest and funniest productions ever to grace the stages of The Second City. And, fittingly, two of the cast members featured in "Second To None"—Rachel Dratch and Tina Fey—have already gone on to national fame as cast members of "Saturday Night Live." In "Second To None," viewers see the birth of Dratch’s famous "Wicked Boston" character.
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Walk into The Second City, the groundbreaking improvisational theater in Chicago, and you will be as dazzled as we were. Look at the walls and see the photos of those who have performed there: Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, John Belushi, John Candy, Mike Meyers, Ed Asner, Robert Klein, Alan Arkin and many more. You will begin to realize that this theater has had an extraordinary impact on television, film and theater, and the next generation of Second City movers and shakers are appearing on its stages nightly.
Creating "Second To None," the sixth of our PBS specials, remains one of the most exciting and enjoyable experiences we've had at HMS Media. Our job: document the comedic genius of six terrific improvisers, under the guidance of one of the most original and risky directors working in American theater. The challenge: do justice to their genius and accurately and creatively display their talents as they create one of the truly remarkable revues in the history of The Second City. "Second To None" will not only showcase an innovative and very funny mainstage revue, it will show you how it's done -- an elusive process, never before seen by television cameras.
Watch electrifying talent make comedy magic and have a blast doing it. That's life at The Second City, and that's what HMS Media is proud to present in "Second to None."Review:
A documentary about The Second City ought to be, foremost, funny, and this one meets the test. -- Chicago Tribune, December 16, 1999
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