As part of its 55th anniversary tour, internationally renowned comedy troupe The Second City will perform at the Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center (PAC) on Sunday, Feb. 8. The Chicagoan comedy troupe, notable for launching powerful alumni such as Tina Fey, Steven Colbert and Will Ferrell into the comedy world, will join forces with Smile and Nod — Cal Poly’s own improvisation comedy troupe — to finish off the 7 p.m. show.
Four Smile and Nod members — Brandon Cunnane, Dillon Jones, Miko Vespremi and Dalton Varvell — were selected through an in-team vote to perform with the award-winning comedy troupe at its upcoming show. Two other Cal Poly students, Tarun Chigurupati and Jonathan Grishpul, have also been invited onstage.
Biological sciences senior Dillon Jones, who has been on the team since his freshman year, said the selection process was sparked per The Second City’s request.
“They contacted Smile and Nod saying they wanted four people to do it,” Jones said. “And while traditionally things like this have mostly gone to seniority, we ended up voting.”
The Second City also contacted Cal Poly Arts Director Steve Lerian and said they were interested in writing material specific to San Luis Obispo.
“Students can expect to hear references to things like Bubble Gum Alley, Madonna Inn and Mustangs,” Lerian said.
The Second City will perform its sketch sets and then invite the four Smile and Nod members and two members from the Theatre and Dance Department onstage for a 15-minute “jam,” or a collaborative comedic improv set.
Jones said he never thought he would have had the opportunity to perform with “possibly the biggest name in improv,” and while he is a little nervous to perform with professionals, he’s also excited for the opportunity.
Cunnane, a mechanical engineering senior who has been on the team for as long as Jones, said he is elated to be chosen and is trying not to overthink preparation for the show.
“Improv’s really a skill, not a rehearsed thing,” Cunnane said. “You get better at it over time — I think it’ll be really great because I’m assuming they’re all going to be really, really good at improv.”
Tickets are available through Associated Students, Inc. and can be purchased at the door at 20 percent off regular price for students. Lerian said tickets are running short, but there will likely be a few rush tickets available the day of the show.