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Second City brings Homecoming hilarity

A view of the Freed Center stage before the show. (Northern Review photo/Will Rostorfer)

A view of the Freed Center stage before the show. (Northern Review photo/Will Rostorfer)

Comedy has always been a medium in which people can express any thought or emotion in a way that can be easily understood and appreciated. It’s the reason stand-up comedians can address issues within society, along with personal issues, in a way that can be injected with wit and wisdom to entertain and engage us in what’s going on in our society.

As part of this year’s Homecoming, the popular Chicago-based Second City improvisational comedy group performed at Ohio Northern University’s Freed Center for the Performing Arts. The performance, titled “Fully Loaded,” allowed the comedians to use improvised comedic skits to express social issues.

The comedians began the show by presenting a skit in which two people visit a town after one of the characters has been away for an extended period of time. The comedic twist came when one of the characters admitted to his counterpart that in this town, he was known by an entirely different identity. This caused the pair to be dumbfounded by this fact, as well as puzzled as to how well he can accomplish such a feat. The scene was twisted yet again when the second character admits that they go by another identity in their home town as well. The skit was a brilliant portrayal of a person who has many different identities that never intersect, and how people in their different social circles never see them.  

One of the show’s best skits dealt with the relationship between three teenagers and their parents – a theme appropriate for the predominant college-oriented audience. It opened with a mother of a teen-age boy cleaning his bedroom. She sees a text message on her son’s cell phone from two of his friends. The mother decided to carry on a conversation in order to find out what kind of life her son leads, as well as what he really thinks about her. To her astonishment, she finds out that her son didn’t hold a positive opinion of her.

While this fact is heartbreaking to a parent, the theme was made light-hearted by the humor coming from the conversation between the mother and her son’s friends. The mom attempted to carry a conversation like her son would do, though her word choices were contrary to anything a teenager would say. However, throughout the conversation, she noticed that the dialogue from her son’s friends was suspicious, finally discovering that it was coming from her son’s friends’ parents – so this had been a conversation with adults on both sides. This comedic twist also brought a skit that dealt with a sad subject to an end that had the entire audience laughing profusely.

The last skit was an improvised act that the comedians performed with ONU’s student improv comedy troupe, Fearless Shenanigans. These scenarios ranged from normal, with a father teaching his children how to take care of a garden, to comically outlandish, having the U.S. Army enlisting the aid of two kids in order to discover a network of secret underground tunnels running from North Korea to South Korea. The groups ended the skit with a party being attended by several eccentric persons. One of the characters was North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un, who was enthusiastically suggested by an audience member.

Comedy has always allowed us to express subjects that would otherwise be difficult to address. This is fitting since comedy needs at least some type of misfortune in order to work. The Second City is a great example of how talented comedians are able to express topics that seem difficult to stomach for some people, but in the same way make anyone laugh. As long as we have laughter, we will always be able to push forward and upward.


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