CHICAGO -- Ever since The Second City opened in December 1959, the Chicago comedy theater co-founded by Bernie Sahlins has helped produce some of the world's most famous comedians. Many followed their Chicago runs by landing cast roles in "Saturday Night Live," while others have jumped to TV sitcoms, talk shows or movies.
The list of famous Second City alumni is extensive, but here are a few of the big-name stars who were part of Second City between 1959 and 1985, when Sahlins sold the theater. In parentheses are the years listed by Second City for when the performers joined the company.
_ Alan Arkin (1959)
_ Dan Aykroyd (1973)
_ Jim Belushi (1978)
_ John Belushi (1971)
_ John Candy (1973)
_ Shelley Long (1976)
_ Bill Murray (1973)
_ Harold Ramis (1969)
_ Joan Rivers (1961)
_ George Wendt (1975)
"30 Rock" star and A-list comedienne spent time in Evanston and Chicago during her time with Second City.
The biting comic was part of Second City in the early '60s.
A longtime comedy vet, Willard was a Second City player in 1965.
Dan Aykroyd And John Belushi
Both "Blues Brothers" were Second City players before they were stars on "Saturday Night Live."
Shelley Long and George Wendt
Both "Cheers" stars were also members of Second City back in the day.
The comedy legend is a well-known Second City vet, and, as a North Shore native, he still returns to Chicago several times a year.
The star of "American Pie" and many Christopher Guest movies, Levy is among the Second City's finest.
Besides Second City, Andy Dick has roots in Chicago: the star attended Columbia College and took improv comedy classes at i.O. (Improv Olympic).
Before she was a neurotic New Yorker on "Seinfeld," star Julia Louis-Dreyfus was a Second City performer.
One of SNL's funniest physical comedians got his start at Second City.
Not everyone would recognize one-time Second City-er Dan Castellaneta by face, but they'd sure know his voice: the actor puts the "Doh!" in Homer Simpson's donut.
"Glee" star and all-around comical badass Jane Lynch was a one-time Second City player.
Before he was NBC's best page at "30 Rock," Jack McBrayer was in Second City.
Amy Sedaris was briefly part of Second City in the 90s. Sedaris and her brother, writer David, both lived in Chicago for a period.
Before the "Felicity" and "Cougar Town" star was on TV, he was making people laugh with Second City.
Mike Myers, who went on to make scores of successful comedies before and after SNL, spent his early days at Second City.
Before Amy Poehler was one of the most in-demand comic actresses, she was a Second City star.
The "Ladies Man" and "Mean Girls" actor had plenty of fellow Second City alums with him during his years on SNL.
Before he built his massively successful "Colbert Nation," Stephen Colbert was just another funny guy on the Second City Mainstage.