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Second City Does It Again

By Suzy Evans in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 15, 2009 10:20PM


For a show with “flu” in the title, Second City’s Taming of the Flu has relatively little to do with the current epidemic or the healthcare bill. There’s not even a mention of the H1N1 virus until the second act, and only one sketch unfolds in a disorganized hospital. Instead, the show’s strengths lie in the calculated balance of Chicago-centric and widespread appeal, something the Second City has perfected over its 50-year reign as Chicago’s comedy leader.

The company celebrated half a century in Chicago this weekend, and Taming of the Flu is the company’s 97th Mainstage revue. Now, we haven’t seen every show at the theater, but from our encounters with this improv icon, we have this say this revue pays perfect homage to the institution. It won’t go down in history as a classic, but it does what Second City does best - provides humorous outlook on Chicago and the world.

From socialism to sexualized teenagers to twitter, Taming of the Flu finds has an evergreen quality in its social commentary. One of the funniest sketches is about senator’s wives singing about their cheating husbands. While the Tiger Woods hullaballoo exploded before this show opened, we can only assume that the writers wrote this sketch before the drama unfolded. The sheer irony makes it worthwhile.

Of course no Second City show opening in December would be complete without poking fun at the Chicago winter. Actually, no Second City show opening during any season would be complete without talking about the weather. Chicagoans do love discussing their weather. We bet Second City will still be around in another 50 years and they’ll still be talking about the weather, along with everyone else in this city.

Taming of the Flu plays Tues-Thurs 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 8 p.m and 11 p.m.; Sunday 7 p.m. at 1616 N. Wells Street. Tickets are available at