Second City to hook up with Iowa City this Valentine’s weekend

Alex Kramer, [email protected]

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Big laughs and a celebrated past follow Second City whenever it graces audiences with a show. Lovers of sketch comedy, improv, and laughter may center Valentine’s Day plans on the Englert, 221 E. Washington St., for “Hooking Up with the Second City.” And Adam Schreck, a four-year veteran of the company, told *The Daily Iowan* why.

*Daily Iowan*: For those who don’t know a lot about Second City or improv in general, what does a typical show look like?

Schreck: It’s composed of a collection of short scenes that can go anywhere from 20 seconds to, like, 10 minutes. The closest comparison to what you’re going to see in terms of sketch comedy would be “Saturday Night Live.” We do similar material, but ours tends to be less topical, and we don’t do any impressions or things like that. We don’t do a lot of parody. Ours tends to be more depictions of life for people and then with improv sprinkled in between. We’ll play games, or we’ll devise longer scenes, something like that. It goes back and forth between scripted, written material we have rehearsed and prepared, then to improv.

DI: How is it working for such a historic name in comedy?

Schreck: It’s a dream job. We are very fortunate to get to do this kind of work. We play pretend and make believe for a living, and get paid for it. I first saw a comedy show at 19 years old, and I was like, “Oh man, I want that job.” To get to do it is really special.

DI: So many great names have come out to Second City, most notably to “Saturday Night Live,” and gone on to be huge names. Do you have any comedy idols you carry with you?

Schreck: Yeah, certainly. I mean, one of the things that we do in the intro is we’ll say that Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis are all Second City alum — that’s three of the four Ghostbusters. When I was, like, 4-years old, growing up, that was my favorite movie, so to get to work at a place where Harold Ramis and Bill Murray worked as well is something that has taken me aback at times.

DI: Are there any specific aspects that you love about working with this company?

Schreck: They’re all a really great group of people. And it’s fun to get to go out on stage and for a few hours just really goof around with your friends. I love the acting aspect of it, too. You know, if you do a play or something like that, you dig your heels into one particular role, but we’re fortunate enough that because it’s a sketch show, we get to play numerous different characters. You’re a straight man one scene, you’re a goofy person the next; you’re doing a silent scene, and then the next scene you’re singing a song. So we get to be very versatile and stretch ourselves in our performances.

DI: The show is called “Hooking Up with the Second City,” which is the perfect theme for Valentine’s Day weekend. What should the audience expect from the show?

Schreck: In regards to the Hooking Up aspect, there’s just a lot of relationship-driven themes. We have a lot of scenes that are basically about love … It’s a lot of the exploration of romance in the year 2016.

COMEDY

“Hooking Up with the Second City”

Where: Englert, 221 E. Washington

When: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday

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