Second City

Donna McCrohan, Author Perigee Books $9.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-399-51339-8
Like McCrohan's earlier celebrations of TV's Honeymooners, this informal, name-dropping history of the influential Second City comedy troupe offers considerable substance to readers able to bypass the hype, the sweeping generalizations and the pedestrian prose. The Second City members themselves engagingly recall their illustrious forerunners, such as Mike Nichols and Elaine May; their group ethos (an emphasis on character acting, ensemble playing and improvisation); their occasional casting mistakes (Joan Rivers); and their major impact on TV. The last proves fascinating: the actors trace classic bits from Saturday Night Live and SCTV back to their own stage improvs. And Second City's influence is not overstated: alumni include John Belushi, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner, Alan Alda, Shelley Long, Valerie Harper, Barbara Harris, John Candy, Andrea Martin, Martin Short, Alan Arkin and many more. (August)
Reviewed on: 08/04/1987
Release date: 08/01/1987
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