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Keegan-Michael Key And Robin Thede Join Second City Comedy Theater's First Ever Artistic Advisory Board

Keegan-Michael Key And Robin Thede Join Second City Comedy Theater's First Ever Artistic Advisory Board

They want to preserve the company’s legacy for another 60 years!

Keegan-Michael Key and Robin Thede have joined Second City comedy theater’s first-ever artistic advisory board.

Second City opened in 1959, starting as a small comedy cabaret in the historic Old Town neighborhood of Chicago. Today it boasts locations across the country and has become one of the most influential names in comedy and improvisation. Last year, Second City was acquired by the private equity firm, ZMC, just before its 62nd birthday on December 16, 2021. Now, officials have announced Second City’s first-ever Artistic Advisory Board, aimed at preserving the legacy of the institution for another six decades. 

Stephen Colbert (Late Show) is serving as Board Chair, helping to compile the 15-member board of Second City alumni and community members, including Keegan-Michael Key (Key & Peele), Tim Meadows (The Goldbergs), Dwayne Colbert (The Conners), Sam Richardson (Veep), and Robin Thede (A Black Lady Sketch Show). 

The Board will focus on nurturing the next generation of comedy, working with Second City to inform creative direction, champion the artistic and comedic values of the institution, and support its artists as the theater works to recover and grow. 

“We are so incredibly thankful to the alumni who have joined the inaugural Artistic Advisory Board for their generosity and dedication to The Second City and its future. As we look to the next 62 years and beyond, we are thrilled to have the Board’s support and creative vision guiding the way,” said Second City COO Parisa Jalili via a press statement. 

Other board members include Jane Lynch (Glee), Peter Murrieta (Wizards of Waverly Place), Steve Carell (The Office), Tina Fey (Saturday Night Live), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Seinfeld), Suzy Nakamura (The West Wing), Catherine O’Hara (Schitt’s Creek), Jeff Richmond (30 Rock), and Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso). 

As Board Chair, Colbert hopes that they can all work together to build the next generation of comedy, calling Second City essential to that mission. 

“I’m grateful to my fellow…Board members for being so generous with their time and talent. We all believe comedy is better off with a vital Second City. We want to share our experience of this tradition which helped form who we are as comedians and artists and help encourage a new generation to make that tradition their own,” he said. 

SMC Principal Jason Sporer called the Board “inspiring,” and said the firm is happy to support the foundational work Second City is doing to prepare for the future. Improv actor Dwayne Colbert took to social media to share the good news about the monumental moment. 

“[Stephen] asked and I enthusiastically accepted. I’m extremely proud to be a part of such an esteemed group that’s dedicated to giving back,” wrote Dwayne. 



Cheers to the future of comedy! 

Photos Courtesy of Cliff Lipson/CBS/Kevin Scanlon/Variety