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Second City's 20 Most Famous Alumni in Chicago

By Kelly Bauer | August 26, 2015 5:45pm

CHICAGO — Second City's offices were destroyed in a Wednesday fire, shocking those who follow the famous and iconic comedy company.

The troupe, which started in the '50s, has trained and featured hundreds of comedians. Many of them have gone on to be TV and movie stars, with alumni like Bill Murray, Tina Fey and John Candy becoming household names.

But, just in case you needed a reminder of how key Second City's contributions to comedy have been, here are 20 of its Chicago alumni who highlight the troupe's importance:

[Wikimedia Commons]

Alan Alda

Where you've seen him: Alda is — and always will be — Hawkeye, the star of hit TV series "M*A*S*H."

Time at Second City: Alda was a member of the Compass Players, which created Second City in 1959.

[Wikimedia Commons]

Alan Arkin

Where you've seen him: Arkin serpentines to save his life in "The In-Laws," but he's also taken serious roles in "Little Miss Sunshine" and "Argo."

Time at Second City: 1959-1960

[Flickr/Gregory Wild-Smith]

Dan Aykroyd

Where you've seen him: Aykroyd is known for more roles than we can list, but his work in "Ghostbusters," "The Blues Brothers" and "Saturday Night Live" is among his most well-known.

Time at Second City: Though Aykroyd made his bones in Toronto, he swapped to Chicago in 1974.

[Wikimedia Commons and Flickr/mtkr]

John and Jim Belushi

Where you've seen them: John, the older brother (and a Humboldt Park native) was famous for his roles in "Animal House" and "The Blues Brothers." Jim was the star of sitcom "According to Jim."

Time at Second City: John was there in 1971, while Jim was there in 1978.

[Flickr/Alan Light]

Peter Boyle

Where you've seen him: Boyle played cranky father Frank Barone on "Everybody Loves Raymond."

Time at Second City: 1967

[Wikimedia Commons]

John Candy

Where you've seen him: Candy starred in "Uncle Buck," "Stripes," "Summer Rental" and "Cool Runnings," among other notable roles.

Time at Second City: 1973-74

[Flickr/Eva Rinaldi]

Steve Carell

Where you've seen him: Carell was the lovable boss, Michael, of "The Office."

Time at Second City: 1989

[Flickr/Peabody Awards]

Stephen Colbert

Where you've seen him: Colbert is famous for hosting "The Colbert Report." He'll soon be the host of "The Late Show," succeeding David Letterman.

Time at Second City: 1991

[Wikimedia Commons]

Chris Farley

Where you've seen him: Farley was famous for his physical comedy on "Saturday Night Live," and he was the star of "Tommy Boy."

Time at Second City: 1989

[Flickr/Nick Step]

Tina Fey

Where you've seen her: Fey was Liz Lemon in "30 Rock," but she's also hosted the Oscars with friend Amy Poehler to critical acclaim.

Time at Second City: 1996

[Flickr/Canadian Film Centre]

Eugene Levy

Where you've seen him: Levy is the bumbling dad in the "American Pie" movies. He's also the star of "Schitt's Creek."

Time at Second City: Levy started in Tornoto but moved to Secondy City in Chicago in 1974.

Shelley Long

Where you've seen her: Long was the stuffy, cultured Diane Chambers on "Cheers." She's also known for roles in "The Money Pit" and "Night Shift."

Time at Second City: 1976

[Wikimedia Commons]

Tim Meadows

Where you've seen him: Meadows was on "Saturday Night Live" for 10 seasons (and is the much-quoted principal of "Mean Girls").

Time at Second City: 1989

[Flickr/Paul Sherwood]

Bill Murray

Where you've seen him: "Caddyshack," "Ghostbusters," "Stripes" and "Groundhog Day" are Murray classics, but this list could go on and on.

Time at Second City: 1973

[Wikimedia Commons]

Mike Myers

Where you've seen him: Myers has starred in "Wayne's World" and the "Shrek" and "Austin Powers" series.

Time at Second City: 1986


Amy Poehler

Where you've seen her: Poehler is Leslie Knope of "Parks and Recreation."

Time at Second City: '90s

[Flickr/Justin Hoch]

Harold Ramis

Where you've seen him: Ramis has been attached in one way or another to some of the greatest comedies in history ("Animal House" and "Groundhog Day," to name a couple), but he also starred as nerdy Egon Spengler in "Ghostbusters."

Time at Second City: 1969

[Flickr/David Shankbone]

Joan Rivers

Where you've seen her: Rivers was famous for her biting, acidic comedy and for carving a path for comediennes. She was a leading fashion critic on "Fashion Police" at the time of her death last year.

Time at Second City: 1961

[Flickr/Louise Palanker]

Fred Willard

Where you've seen him: Willard is known for his improv work in "Anchorman," "Best in Show" and "This is Spinal Tap," among other movies.

Time at Second City: 1965

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