When Chicago-based actor Tawny Newsome joined The Second City comedy troupe two years ago, she figured she knew the routine:
Get a script, rehearse, improvise a bit, perform.
This was OK until Day 2 when she was handed a new script, told to learn it, improvise some more, and perform. The pattern repeated itself day after day until she was “kind of shell-shocked.”
“This is different than any other acting job on the planet, really. You work a completely different muscle,” she said in a phone interview from The Second City offices in Chicago.
The comedy group will be at the Valentine Theatre in Toledo on Friday for its Laugh Out Loud tour. Newsome said the tour features about 30 percent new material and 70 percent classic skits from the past 50 years of Second City acts.
The group keeps the material contemporary while also taking advantage of the work of the who’s who of comedy that makes up Second City’s alumni: Joan Rivers, Robert Klein, Peter Boyle, Harold Ramis, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, George Wendt, Martin Short, John Candy, Bonnie Hunt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Chris Farley, Mike Myers, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey, and more.
Newsome said some of the skits are tweaked to account for the passage of time, but many of them are true to routines created by the past masters. The latter are left alone because, “there are some scenes in Second City history that you better not mess with no matter how funny you think you are,” she said.
Improv always has been an important element of Second City comedy and Newsome said you can expect to see plenty of it over the course of an evening. “I think just the knowledge that something is being created on the spot will make people more excited that they’re seeing it,” she said.
A graduate of Depaul University, Newsome was in various theater and performing groups before joining Second City. She also sings in the alt-punk band Jon Langford and Skull Orchard, a gig that she said helps inform her comedy, which started at a young age when as an only child she looked for ways to make her parents laugh.
“I just learned that humor is a tool and it was a lot of fun to use it,” she said. “And it got my parents to be less mad at me.”
Tickets for The Second City are $22 to $37 and can be purchased at The Valentine at 419-242-2787 or valentinetheatre.com. Show time is 8 p.m. and The Valentine is located at 410 Adams St.
Contact Rod Lockwood at