The improv business: Second City corporate communications wing visits Cape

Thursday, November 8, 2012
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Second City Communications, the corporate-seminar offshoot of the famed comedy troupe The Second City, will present "Creativity and Innovation through Improvisation" at noon Monday in the Bedell Performance Hall at the River Campus.

The engaging and fun-packed brand of corporate humor is free and open to the public and serves as the kickoff for Global Entrepreneurship Week at Southeast Missouri State University.

"I think businesspeople, and those who attend the seminar just to see Second City Communications perform, will look at things differently after they see it," said Matt Huber, project coordinator at Southeast's Donald C. Greene Center for Innovation and Technology. "They have found a way to incorporate sketches and improv into their corporate message, which is designed to throw people off their current routines."

Huber said Monday's performance by Second City Communications demonstrates how to use the fundamentals of improvisation to change how people think, present ideas and engage target audiences in business and organizational settings. Past performances of the group have included business leaders throwing an invisible cat to one another, an executive portraying "celebrity spokesman Justin Bieber" and attempts to sell a bottomless bucket and other "unsellable" products.

"Second City Communications has a unique way of getting attendees to focus on creativity and innovation," Huber said. "They get them to think more strategically and less robotically. It's not the same, boring nine-to-five mindset."

The Southeast Missourian is a sponsor of the event.

Second City Communications has been performing corporate shows since 1997. The group runs training centers in Los Angeles, Chicago and Toronto, and performs more than 400 shows each year in the U.S. and Canada, with a client list that has included Louis Vuitton, Heineken and Major League Baseball.

The Second City, the parent company of Second City Communications, is best known for its famous alumni and comedy shows. With theaters in Chicago and Toronto, the troupe served as the training ground for John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd and Gilda Radner, who later starred on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" and a string of successful movies.

The Toronto theater also produced the highly successful "SCTV" television show, featuring the talents of John Candy, Martin Short and Rick Moranis.

The Second City continues to produce major comic talent today, with the likes of Mike Myers, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell and Tina Fey having performed for the company before reaching celebrity status.

"So much of life -- including much of business -- is one big act of improvisation," said Tom Yorton, CEO of Second City Communications. "Regardless of how much we plan and try to script, life happens and we adapt to the situations we're presented with. That's improv, and we're excited to bring our point of view to Southeast Missouri State University about how to adapt the teachings of improv to business and life challenges."

The appearance at the River Campus by Second City Communications is the third installment of the 2012-2013 University Speakers Series at Southeast.

Other events in the series are John Legend on Jan. 23; Michelle Kwan on March 6; and Jeff Corwin on April 10.

For more information on Global Entrepreneurship Week at Southeast, go to or contact the Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at 651-2929.


Want to go?

What: "Creativity and Innovation through Improvisation"

When: Noon Monday

Where: Bedell Performance Hall

Info: 651-2929

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