On Sept. 9, Second City alumni and friends of George Wendt walked a red carpet before a planned comedic roasting of the actor at 230 W. North Ave. Titled I Can't Believe They Wendt There the evening's proceeds benefited Gilda's Club of Chicago and The Second City Alumni Fund.
Several of the stars stopped to chat with Windy City Times about their careers before the event.
Wendt talked about starting in a new musical currently called Rock and Roll Man: The Alan Freed Story at Bucks County Playhouse in Pennsylvania. It is about the radio DJ who influenced music, with Wendt playing FBI head J. Edgar Hoover, who runs him out of town.
Actor Jason Sudeikiswho is also Wendt's nephewwas the roastmaster of the evening, and spoke of loving sketch comedy in Chicago.
Naperville native Bob Odenkirk talked about how Second City influenced him when he was young and that led him to be a part of the evening's festivities. He mentioned how talented his costar Michael McKean is on Better Call Saul and that he just finished filming a Steven Spielberg movie called The Post.
Keegan-Michael Key stated that Ethan Turner, his character from Netflix's Friends from Collegem is not gay but there is a theory that Turner had some history with it in college. While we wait to see how that unfolds, he just wrapped up the newest installment of the Predator series coming out in August 2018.
Performer Tim Kazurinsky starred in three Second City shows with Wendt before landing Saturday Night Live. At 64, he did Hairspray at Drury Lane, then began a national tour of Wicked as the Wizard in 16 cities. Joe Mantello saw him and hired him recently for An Act of God as an angel on Broadway. He said, "I had no idea God was a fortysomething gay Texan, but it was the best incarnation of God that I can imagine!"
Julia Sweeney mentioned working on a new one-woman show that she will be workshopping at Second City to open in January that is tentatively titled Older and Wider. When asked about the gender fluidity of her SNL character Pat, she said, "It was always about people's reactions to Pat. Pat was a very happy person. Pat was not transgender, but was either male or femaleand we just don't know which that is!"
For more information, visit SecondCity.com and GildasClubChicago.org .