The Second City Works

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The Second City Works

One of the World's Most Famous Comedy Troupes

From the world famous The Second City Theater that gave us such famous comedic actors as Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Steve Carell, and Stephen Colbert comes a proven and innovative training methodology that builds the skills necessary to make companies successful.

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Whether in a Keynote format for large audiences or smaller breakout workshops, Second City Works delivers interactive, engaging, and entertaining sessions that continue to exceed the expectations of their varied client base. Subjects include Collaborative Communication, Using Yes, And to build innovative cultures, Storytelling, Presentation Skills, and Leadership Development.

In addition to interactive Keynotes and workshops, Second City Works uses comedy, improvisation and digital content to help hundreds of global clients deliver key messages to their customers and employees. Drawing on The Second City’s 55-year legacy of engaging audiences with smart, incisive comedy, Second City Works supports meetings and conferences by creating custom sketches and content that supports presentations and meeting messages.

Not forgetting their roots in pure entertainment, Second City Works performs improv-based shows for corporate audiences, which includes “The Best of Second City” and customized shows written specifically for the company’s audience, industry, and culture.

The Second City learning philosophy is the focus of a new book by Tom Yorton and Second City executive vice president, Kelly Leonard titled, Yes And: How Improvisation Reverses “No, But” Thinking and Improves Creativity and Collaboration, which is published by Harper Collins.

The Second City Works’s Speech Topics

  • Funny Business: the Live Customized Comedy show

    Our most popular offering, custom shows are clean, one act revues (approx. 50-60 minutes) prepared and customized specifically for your company. A third of the show is made up of original scenes crafted by our writers and based on the day-to-day life of your company and business. Additionally, the revue includes equal parts “best of” Second City sketches and improvisation — all carefully chosen to fit your audience. You approve all content and we work hard to make it suitable to your organization.

  • Interactive Talk Show

    Our talk show helps you transform what could be a series of podium speeches into an opportunity for your executives to connect with an audience. You get to pick the guests, and our host will tee-up their talking points with light questions and a little fun – we’ll also include “commercial breaks” as live scenes throughout the show. These “commercials” are custom-written sketches that tee-up the topics of the day, generating hearty laughs and a great transition into discussions between our host, the guests on stage, and the audience who we involve via roving microphone (thanks, Donahue). The talk show typically runs 60-90 minutes

  • BizQuiz: the Game Show About Your Company

    Our customized game show, complete with an over-the-top host and competitive contestants, is a great way to convey some interesting facts and insights about your company, new products, or internal process changes. This 45-60 minute show has an open format & we can even use your executives or guests to show off their knowledge on the unique details of the industry (think “name that acronym” or “buzzword bingo”).

  • Improv Keynote

    Audiences loathe flat, cookie-cutter monologues posing as ‘keynote speeches’. Our improv keynotes are interactive, funny experiences that encourage your audience to “think outside the box” and become more innovative in their careers. We start with a focus on Innovation, the very element that has allowed The Second City to create award-winning productions on stage and television— then we combine presentation, demonstration, audience participation and entertainment elements in a perfect blend. Each keynote contains sharp, funny, hosting supported by hilarious videos to reinforce the learning points. Improv keynotes typically run 45-60 minutes.

  • Improv-Based Live Learning

    Workshops – These workshops teach the fundamentals of improvisation – the same skills our actors use on stage – and show you how it can be applied to business. Workshops include a combination of tried and true improv exercises, role plays and tailored discussions done in pairs and small groups. They are highly interactive and experiential, where participants learn by doing and are on their feet moving around. We work with the client to create an agenda compiled of improv exercises that fits their needs and objectives. Common learning topics include active listening, thinking on your feet, building rapport, collaboration and trust, building on one another’s ideas, presentation skills and storytelling skills.

    -Half-day (1-3 hrs.) or Full-Day (4-6 hrs.)

    -Groups of between 1-50 people ( 35 is ideal for half day, 25 for a full day)

    -Cast of two

    -Lead time 4 weeks


    Interactive Keynote – A keynote is a great alternative to the workshops offering when the audience size greater than 100. Like the workshop, these sessions provide the audience with a crash course in the fundamentals of improvisation as tools for learning and development. The main difference, the active participation of pairs and small group exercises is done with the attendees in their seats. Areas of focus can include: Collaboration, Creativity & Innovation, Leadership, Customer Service, Sales Effectiveness, Agility and Adapting to Change, Communicating in a Diverse Environment, or custom built on any topic.

    -Combination of small group exercises, sketches & improv scenes and facilitated discussion.

    -60 minutes is typical, but we can customize to the learning agenda after consultation with you and the client

  • Custom Scenic Support

    Custom Scenic Support – To bring the meeting content to life, keep the audience engaged and build a thematic through-line throughout the program, SCW will write custom scenes or “sketches” to be performed throughout the event. Our writers work with you to identify what’s ‘true’ about your company, your industry, or your audience, and turn that into a series of funny, smart sketches that entertain, educate and inspire. These scenes can be used to set up a speaker, highlight new initiatives, and/or support audience-related themes. They also can be used as a high energy opening for a conference or act as energy bumps between breakout groups to keep your audience engaged.

    -Lead time 6 weeks

    -Each scene is about 4-6 minutes long


    Host/Emcee – Similar to the custom scenic support, but on a smaller scale. We provide an experienced host to welcome your audience, warm the crowd, introduce speakers, announce company winners, and keep things moving in a fun way with engaging energy bumps throughout the event.

    -Can include a musical sidekick on the piano

    -Lead time is 6 weeks


    Talk Show/Game Show – You pick the guests, we supply the host. Just like Stephen Colbert or Jimmy Kimmel, we write a custom show with you, and our host will tee-up talking points based on relevant questions with a little fun added to the mix. The talk show format works well to support a panel discussion and is a great way to convey interesting facts about your company, new products, or internal process changes. The goal with these talk shows is to showcase your people, make knowledge exchange more conversational and engaging, helping your presenters better connect with the audience.

    -Custom written sketches that highlight the topics of discussion in between talking points

    -We can use your executives or guests to show off their knowledge on the unique details of the industry

    -Lead time 6 weeks

    -Typically between 45-90 minutes in length.


    Custom Video Production – We combine a state of the art HD production facility, expertise in social learning and the top comedic writers, directors, and performers in the country to create cool, relevant 21st century, shareable video, audio and web programming to reinforce your learning agenda. After meeting with your team to gather insights about your key messaging, culture and organizational quirks, we then find creative ways to present that information using a variety of entertaining formats and styles. Whether it’s kicking off your event or keeping your learning alive long after, popular styles include:

    -Man-on-the-street reporting to capture the program

    -Voices from the front lines – which involve your people

    -Audio podcast interviews with thought leadership

    -YouTube style videos to highlight a learning agenda

Works by The Second City Works

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