Inside Second City’s first-ever New York outpost

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It’s a good time in New York — even just Brooklyn — to take in some live comedy. Union Hall, The Bell House and Littlefield are just three clubs clustered in the center of the borough that have some of the most exciting regular live comedy offerings in the country. UCB — the Upright Citizen’s Brigade — will be returning to the city in a brand new theater in Manhattan.

And The Second City opened its first-ever New York outpost last week, a 12,000 square-foot entertainment complex at 64 North Ninth Street in Williamsburg that includes two cabaret-style live theaters, seven Training Center classrooms, and a full-service restaurant and bar.

Second City, of course, is the legendary Chicago improv comedy company that opened in 1969 and launched the careers of everyone from Bill Murray and Gilda Radner to Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara to Tina Fey and Amy Poehler to Keegan-Michael Key to Stephen Colbert to Steve Carrell to Mike Meyers and Aidy Bryant and Tim Meadows. You get the picture.

“It was new, it was fresh, and it’s just that challenge: that you have to carry that,” says Yazmin Ramos, one of The Second City’s new Brooklyn ensemble members along with Jordan Savusa, Drew Reilly, Jacklyn Uweh, Ashley Blair and Ben Remeaka. “I want to do what’s funny. I want to do what really makes someone say, ‘Oh, I don’t think I understood it in that way.’ That’s kind of what I’m going for.”

Ramos and Rameaka are this week’s guests on “Brooklyn Magazine: The Podcast.” They are veteran comics, improv actors and comedy teachers in their own right. And this week they share what Brooklyn can expect from the new Second City outpost, the legacy of Second City and how it’s attempting to change with the times (they have new owners and have been reckoning with representation and diversity). They also talk about their own backgrounds, how New York audiences differ from Chicago crowds and more.

The following is a transcript of our conversation, which airs as an episode of “Brooklyn Magazine: The Podcast,” edited for clarity. Listen in the player above or wherever you get your podcasts.

Thank you for bringing Second City here … is the implication that New York is the first city?
Ben Rameaka: We might have a small difference in opinion. Yes. This is from Chicago. I’ve been in New York for a long time. But they are labeling our first show, “The First City Revue.” So to go by the publicity, I guess we can say yes.
Yazmin Ramos: I’m from Chicago, so Chicago’s only called the Second City because of the Great Chicago fire. Right? They had to rebuild.

This is some interesting background.
Ramos: New York is an incredible city. There are other cities outside of New York.

Ramos: I know. Isn’t that crazy?
Rameaka: This has been a bone of contention in our cast for sure.

So what can one expect from “The First City Revue”?
Ramos: Second City was known for sketch comedy and improvisation. We are unique in that our Second City process includes improvisation to written material, which is sketch. So we’re really trying to utilize our audience suggestion and participation in our laughs to create an original revue. We’re going to be doing a lot of archival material that’s been written throughout the history of Second City. So we have some sketches in there that were written by Steve Carell and Amy Sedaris. We have one that was performed and written by Stephen Colbert.

Oh wow. So it’s like a greatest hits.
Ramos: Kind of, just to get it started, just to see how New York responds to some of the content that we built in Chicago. You can see some improv as well in there. We have a couple improv slots where we come to the audience, ask them for suggestion. You know improvisation. Those scenes could possibly end up to be a sketch later down the line. So that’s kind of our process.

Do you have a sense of Chicago versus New York audiences and what they respond to?
Rameaka: With six people in the cast in two different cities, we’ve collected a lot of data on all of it.

I want Excel spreadsheet.
Rameaka: We first started in September by doing shows at Joe’s Pub, which is a bit of like a 92nd Street Y crowd, subscriber base, Upper East Side, Upper West Side. So they were a little staid. And then we moved to Caveat, which is a terrific smaller venue in the Lower East Side that tends to do more alternative comedy. And that was an age group that was closer to ours and more fans of alternative comedy. So both of those were distinct flavors. I performed for a long time at the Upright Citizens Brigade. Sometimes in New York there’s a little bit of a combative relationship with the audience, not that they’re necessarily angry at you.

It’s like, “Make me laugh.” Like, arms crossed.
Rameaka: Yes, that’s right. “Make me laugh,” a little bit. And they like the stuff a little bit more on the fringe, a little bit darker. Overall comedy assumes the tenor of the city in which it is. Yaz, you’re welcome to correct me on this, but Chicago is a Midwest city and New York is an East Coast —
Ramos: That’s fact. I can’t correct you on that.
Rameaka: What this audience will be, I do not know yet
Ramos:  Chicago, I will say, because of our alumni, attracts a lot of people that are ready to see Saturday Night Live-style comedy that are excited to be there. The reputation upholds itself. People like to party in Chicago. When I moved here, people are like, “I forgot how much Chicago likes to drink.” So that has a lot of say in how the audiences respond, a little bit more vocal. Not easier, but more accepting.  Here, there’s so much art being put out, there’s so much. “Okay, yeah, we’ve seen that. Yeah, we’ve seen that. What do you have that’s different for us,” is kind of the energy that I get. And rightfully so. We’re coming into this city, we should be presenting to you something fresh, something new, something that is interesting and hilarious to watch.

I would imagine most people are familiar with Second City, but how would you describe the company’s legacy and relevance to people who may not know? Is there a special onus? You were referring to some of the alums, some of the biggest names. I would imagine the bar feels very high for you in some respects. How would you describe this legacy and does this feel like big shoes to fill or are you guys just doing your own version?
Ramos: I’m just going to give you the history, my friend.

Break it down.
Rameaka: Three hour podcast!
Ramos: Second City was founded in 1959, right, in Chicago by the Compass Players. So that’s Paul Sills, Bernie Sahlins. Paul Sills is the son of Viola Spolin, who is known for creating these theater games and being an educator and just is, like, the mother of improvisation. When you have that kind of legacy already, it’s like, wow, we’re using improvisation as theater and creating these revues in front of an audience like it has never been done before. And then with all of the alumni that have since come and gone, it just creates more of that legacy. But also for me personally, I’m like, okay, yes, Chris Farley was Chris Farley. I’m never going to be Chris Farley. No matter how hard I try in my comedy. Or Tina Fey or Amy Poehler. They were great in their times because that was the time for them. That was the style of comedy that they were bringing. It was new, it was fresh, and it’s just that challenge: that you have to carry that.

But by just being me and existing in the comedy world as is, especially as a Puerto Rican and Mexican, female-identifying comedian, I already am adding a lot to this legacy. There hasn’t been, to my understanding ever on a main stage, a Puerto Rican and Mexican female-identifying woman. So I’m like, “Okay, then I have my own little legacy that I’ve already created.” But I’m not really focused on that. I want to do what’s funny. I want to do what really makes someone say, “Oh, I don’t think I understood it in that way.” That’s kind of what I’m going for.

You alluded to this with your own personal background. In 2021, thereabouts, there was an actual deliberate attempt on behalf of Second City to restructure itself after criticism over its handling on race and stereotypes and some demeaning language. And I’m wondering, with the new owners — it’s private equity, which it’s its own thing — but were you there for that conversation and how has it adapted?
Ramos: So that was during the pandemic. Obviously we were not open, but I was coming fresh off of a theatrical, which is when Second City does a residency somewhere for about three weeks. And that was in Boston, and we came back and then the pandemic happened, and then that happened. In Chicago, we have the Bob Curry Fellowship, which is aimed to uplift diverse voices in the community and give them sort of a masterclass and a fast-track to what Second City does and to hiring for a touring company or understudy or whatever. An effort to bring diversity to the stages, to the touring companies, et cetera.

So during that time it was like, “Hey, this isn’t enough. We are not feeling like the stages reflect who we are as a community, especially Chicago. We want to make sure that we’re reaching out to everybody, whether that be the south side of Chicago, the west side of Chicago, people that feel like they are represented on stage.” Because that’s how you create more interesting and hard-hitting comedy is when you have these different styles, these different viewpoints, and you bring them to the stage. We wanted that. We wanted to be able to have our voices heard. It was very important for the restructuring. We are heading towards making sure that Second City is continuing to commit to that promise of “we are trying to do better,” and it’s all a learning curve as with anything, any company that has a diversity issue.

People are very passionate because we love the work we do. It’s not like, “Ooh, what can we fight about now?” No, we want voices to be heard and we want to create cutting edge comedy and we want to do it here. Otherwise, we would just leave. Some of the experiences of past people of color or people of under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella have not been always great. I cannot imagine what comedy was like in the ’90s for some of those people. In the ’80s. And we’re still seeing some of that in our media, or our Netflix specials, of the hate.

Or Dave Chappelle. Yeah.
Ramos: What is new, my guy? Why can’t we just move forward and just make sure that we are allowing everyone to add what they want to this world of comedy? Because I would get tired of the same voice over and over again. It was a very important shift and happy that we were there to be a part of it, and I just hope for the best in the future.

It seems like a no-brainer to me: The more voices and experiences you have, the more interesting the stories you can tell. In addition to this ensemble cast, I know Second City is a performance space, you guys are also teaching classes. Are you involved in that or are you more involved in just the performance aspect of things? 
Rameaka: I have taught classes outside of this system and when I was at UCB before, but presently I don’t teach at the training center. They’re sort of getting the ball rolling. But Yaz is there teaching intro class and an acting for improv.
Ramos: Acting 1 and Improv 1. So we have a bunch of classes. We also have teen classes and camps available, so everyone’s really excited. My class size on Monday nights is 16. For improv, that’s really big.

Is that too big? Is there a tipping point?
Ramos: No, no. Everyone’s having a good time. It’s just on me as a teacher to make sure that I’m managing it in a way that everyone’s having fun. I love teaching for that reason. Every eight, six weeks or however long the term is, I get, “Oh, this is why I do what I do.”

Do you guys do corporate events at all? Bring the troop sout to a retreat for, I don’t know, Dell or whatever? You’re nodding. 
Rameaka: Again, I don’t have that much experience with it, but yes, Second City is probably the preeminent established organization that will lead corporate workshops. They have contracts out on things like cruises or as Yaz said before, people do residencies in cities that hire them.
Ramos: Yeah, in 2022 I went to the Kennedy Center for six weeks, I think? In terms of companies, yeah, there’s Second City Works, which is based in Chicago still, and they go all over, whether that’s retail or food industry, any headquarters they go and teach, whether that’s public speaking or basic improv to kind of team build. So that is also available and they do that nationwide, but it’s based in Chicago.
Rameaka: It’s helpful to think about, since Second City has this legacy, has all of these longstanding sketches that a lot of things you can sort of insert business name or noun to a certain sketch in that moment. I’d also add too that some people, second City, are hired out to do a workshop with an advertising agency for ideation, or they might come in to do punch ups on a certain campaign for that moment. So it’s not just necessarily going out and doing say, an expo for unnamed fast food restaurant, but also helping people to use our creative tools to further whatever it is that endeavor they’re working on may be.

I would imagine it could be alternately either really fun or really kind of a grind depending on whoever the client is. Is there a common misconception about what it is you guys do or are there to do either among audiences or clients or whoever?
Rameaka: The number one thing you always get whenever you’re performing improv is that people can’t believe that something is not pre-planned. Suppose you’re doing an interview with someone in the audience, they always assume that you know that person or that it was not rehearsed. But there’s a funny thing about doing improvisation, which is that the biggest compliment you can get is when someone does not believe you, does not believe that was made up. So if they say to you, “You wrote that, right?” That is an enormous compliment.

You had mentioned UCB now a couple of times. They’re also reopening in New York. Are we going to see a Jets and Sharks-style rumble meeting in the streets? Or a softball game?
Rameaka: At the very beginning of Second City, we were fortunate enough to be flown out to Chicago to sort of get onboarded into what that process was, and we were granted a moment to speak to a teacher there that’s also the theater historian. And there were some aspects of it that were really eyeopening. Second City is the beginning, Second City is the Stanislavsky, and then further down the line there’s Stella Adler and Meisner and et cetera, et cetera. Or Elvis Presley ripped off incredible Black artists. And then there was Chuck Berry who inspired the Stones, who combated with the Beatles, who inspired the Beach Boys or whatever.

A thing that I’ve found myself having a lot of affection for is that in Chicago, there’s a lot of theaters that have been there for decades. And they have a lot of affection for each other and there is a lot of fluidity between the theaters. There’s not any sort of animosity or us versus them. From my perspective, in New York, it was a bit combative between the different theaters before the pandemic. The New York City theaters went through the same transition to recognize their fallibilities. There’s been a reset and I am hopeful that the theaters can recognize that there’s enough space for all of us. There’s enough people in the city to go see enough shows, we all know. And that hopefully it moves into a more collaborative phase where it’s not so much well us versus them as much as it is. We’re all Jets, we’re all Sharks.
Ramos: Just to tack onto that really quickly. Coming into this, I’ve always wanted to take a class at UCB and I probably will when they open. To me, there isn’t really a hierarchy. And in this, I’m a student of comedy and improvisation as everyone should be of their field forever. I’m not so arrogant to think that I know what’s best for comedy just because I work at one institution. I’ve been to the Brooklyn Comedy Collective and I’ve been to other theaters around town already just because I’m excited to see what we’re all doing and how can we support each other. And that’s very important. Especially because in Chicago, you’d go have a show at iO and then you’d have a show at Annoyance, then you’d go to the Second City. We’re all kind of in it. It’s fun to see the different perspectives and the different types of comedy and the different ways to learn what we’re doing. So it’s exciting, honestly.

It’s interesting that you still take classes, because you’re on the cast.
Ramos: I just want to learn. I love it. I know it probably would seem like I wouldn’t tell anybody I’m here. I’m on the main stage cast, but I’m just like, “Yeah, sure, let’s do it.”

How did each of you get into this? It’s probably an annoying question, but what’s the origin story for each of you? Were you class clowns? Did you remember the first time you made your dying relative laugh, or whatever it was?
Ramos: I wish.
Rameaka: All my relatives are still alive. They’ve never died.

Not a single one.
Rameaka: Apart from the typical psychological profile for most comedians, which is mostly youngest in their family, sometimes oldest and also bullied. That’s the big Venn diagram for most comedy. A more recent journey for me is I had very, very funny friends in high school and college, and I wanted to be a serious actor. So I got my masters from The Actors Studio through the New School. This might be dated, but that’s the old James Lipton show, if you recall, who Will Farrell parodied very well. And after I finished that and got my graduate degree, I was wandering through the city and people had told me over that time, “You need to go take improv classes.” Including my best friend who had gone to Chicago to take comedy classes at the same time that we finished from college. And I had put it off. I put it off. And then this man named Brett Christensen who’s at the Upright Citizens Brigade, told me two things basically in 2002. He said, “You really need to go take improv classes and you really need to listen to the Magnetic Fields.” And I did not do either for three years. And then when I finally did, I was like, “Oh, I love the Magnetic Fields.”

And then when I took UCB or improv classes, I was like, “Oh, I really love this.” There’s something in you that when you go through a school that’s focused on serious acting, they’re going to tell you what your type is and they’re going to tell you what you should be auditioning for and what you should be doing. And it cuts you off from a wealth of people’s experiences and their lives that like improv and sketch, specifically improv allows you to participate in and live in and take on these different skins. If we’re talking about “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” then fingers crossed I’d be cast as Brick. But if I’m improvising, I can be Big Daddy, I can be Big Mama, I can be Cat, I can be whatever I want in those scenes. I can cross gender. I can make so many different choices that are things that I observe in the city every single day that really sing in me that I would be cut off from normally. And on top of that, the gratification of immediately communing with an audience. Theater is ritualistic, but improv is only of that moment.

Instant gratification.
Rameaka: Instant gratification. But it’s like if you could expand the sense of an in joke, that moment with a friend, you’re surrounded by a bunch of people and somebody says something and you think, though, that’s just between us. If you could expand that to an entire room, that entire room feels like, oh, for this moment it’s just between us. We have this. There’s very few things like that.

It’s like jazz.
Rameaka: It’s like jazz. I’ve never been to Burning Man. I don’t know if that is like that whatsoever.

Yeah, me neither. No, thanks. Yaz, what do you say?
Ramos: I grew up being the quiet, shy kid. I never said anything, and when I did say anything, people seemed to laugh, which was interesting to me. But I never did theater in high school. I auditioned my last year for a student-run play that they were doing. They wrote it and I remember auditioning for, I used impressions of the American Idol judges. I did an impression of each one. And this was in 2006 or ’07.

They thought it was the funniest thing they had ever seen. I didn’t do anything else other than that. I used to do characters at home and my grandparents would love when I used to do this old man character that they still ask me to do today. My granny loved it so much, she bought me a cane to go with this character, no lie. But I never thought anything of it, and for a long time I wanted to be a professional wrestler.

Ramos: Yeah, I was super-obsessed with pro wrestling. And I got to high school and I was going to try out for wrestling, and the coach was like, “No.” I was not the feminist I am today. Back then, I wasn’t going to fight for my right. I went to college for journalism and then my friend knew how much I wanted to try acting, so she was like, “You should audition. The women’s center is having the ‘Vagina Monologues’.” So that was my first show ever was the “Vagina Monologues.” I did that two years in a row via the Women’s Center and not the theater program. That was just so much fun. And I got cast as the Flood, which is the 72-year-old woman, and I was 18.

You got to do your old person character after all.
Ramos: Yeah, it came in handy. I had been preparing for this since I was 14, and it was super fun. But both were comedy roles. There’s very dramatic roles in “Vagina Monologues,” but I always got cast in the comedic ones. And then I moved to Chicago and someone was like, oh, you want to take acting classes? Why don’t you try this place or that place? And Second City was on that list. Don’t tell Second City this, but I only chose Second City because they had a payment plan at the time. I was like, “Oh, well Tina Fey went there, so maybe they have good acting classes.” I wanted to be Meryl Streep. It’s kind of similar to Ben. Ben wanted to be Meryl Streep.
Rameaka: She’s the GOAT. What can I say?
Ramos: So I went to Second City, took an improv class, fell in love with it. I have taken almost every single program at Second City. And then, yeah, just auditioned. There was a revue called “She The People at Second City” that I auditioned for five times, and then I finally got it in 2020. They sent us to Boston, a group of people. And since then I did more theatricals and then did the touring company. So Second City was sort of my whole life as a performer. I’ve performed at a couple theaters outside small TV roles and such. And I wrote for a small television show before I came here on MeTV, but that’s kind of my trajectory. I’ve just been doing this whole Second City thing for a very long time.

Both Second City, UCB — and Groundlings out in L.A. — are famously incubators for tremendous talent. That was in the pre-internet era. I wonder if you guys think at all about the challenges of a group like Second City being able to incubate the type of talent that they used to when the access to distribution and creation tools is so much more democratic now. You’re seeing people becoming TikTok famous or Instagram famous or whatever. Has the dynamic of comedy incubation or where talent is found changed?
Ramos: What Second City brings is having the ability to have an evergreen sketch last. Some of the sketches we’re doing were written in the early ’90s. We’re still doing them and people still laugh at them. So that is what we have to bring to the table. We are also known for satire. In this revolving door of news, our news cycle is so everything’s different in two hours even. It is harder to maintain that political satire in a way that social satire kind of exists longer.

We will find a way to make those evergreen as well as we have in the past. And social media is a great way for people. You refer to it as a democratic way to get different voices heard. I love that. I’m like, yeah, go ahead, go off. But it’s more based on trend I feel, which as we know, trends do not have a long shelf life. So that’s the main difference: We’re really creating this play material that is intended to be more evergreen, but still maintain sort of that attention. We understand the attention span is a lot different than it was 10, 20 years ago, and so we have to make sure that sketches we write are hit, hit, hit, hit, joke, joke, joke, joke, tender moment, hit, hit, hit, hit, joke, joke, joke. Because that’s just how our brains exist now.
Rameaka: One thing I will add to what Yaz said too is that one of the hallmarks of Second City is this idea of collaboration and creation. The social media efforts that I see, and I might be wrong, but they seem tend to be very isolated. I remember the big shift during the pandemic, which was like, okay, now we’re all doing front-facing videos and we’re doing a character or we’re talking about whatever may be happening at this moment. There truly is nothing like what Second City does in the comedy space in the United States. Groundlings has some similarities as well. But we are an ensemble that are put together, just like you don’t choose your family, so you have these disparate personalities of people that love each other, appreciate each other. Over the course of four to five months you’re building this thing, tensions arise, and those are beautiful too. It’s all part of that fabric of whatever it is that we’re creating. And I, by myself, will never get to the heights that I would without the input from the rest of the people or their perspectives. Improvising or just critically punching up a sketch, I have this braintrust that I know all these people are incredible and they’re excellent, and if I fall, they’ll pick me up. Or they’ll catch me, or they’ll have a better idea, or they’ll have a take on it that I didn’t see.

This is not a knock, but people that might be writing social media moments or even stand-ups don’t get to allow that collaborative process. And then we get to collaborate with the audience. We get to say, hey, here’s this thing we did. Do you like it? And sometimes they won’t laugh, and when they won’t laugh, we’ll go backstage and we’ll be like, “They were wrong. They were wrong about that.”

“And we’re not changing a thing.”
Rameaka: No, no, no, no. We’ll make changes obviously. But sometimes audiences are wrong.

Sometimes audiences are wrong, 100 percent. I’ve been listening to Albert Brooks, who has been making the podcast rounds, and he’s like, “Sometimes they’re wrong.”
Rameaka: Sometimes they’re wrong. Sometimes when you’re improvising or even when you’re doing a joke that’s written, the audience is processing it and they’re just like [blank stare]. And then maybe later they’ll laugh. With improv, especially, if you haven’t seen it before, there can be a moment of amazement like, “What? Really, they’re making this up?” And what you think is a gap in laughter is them just watching you do the highwire act.

It’s interesting that you guys are opening in the northern end of Brooklyn where right now there’s a lot of heat at Union Hall and the Bell House. I don’t know if you go to those venues, Littlefield, all sort of clustered more closely together in the central Brooklyn area. Do you have a venue you want to shout out? I know there’s stuff percolating in Bushwick, which I never get out to. How’s the landscape looking to you?
Rameaka: Union Hall is great. The curation is excellent. Philip Markle with the Brooklyn Comedy Collective, definitely inherited the title of Brooklyn Alternative Comedy out here. They have a lot of great sketch and a lot of improv. Those are great places to go. Bell House is a little bit wider swath. I’ve been to the Bell House to see Jonathan Richman perform, or I went to see Jordan Klepper a few months ago. Both terrific. I had a really good time. I will go to all of those. Littlefields is terrific as well. Yaz, to her credit, is probably the greatest consumer of live comedy I’ve ever met in my life.

Oh, really?
Rameaka: If she could go out eight days a week to see live comedy. She has a plaque named after her at the Comedy Cellar, one of the chairs, and she’s only been here for five, six months.
Ramos: I wanted to see what New York’s comedy looks like and feels, sounds like. I’ve been to the Comedy Cellar a bunch of times. I know that’s not in Brooklyn, but I went every week. I’ve been to The Stand. Sam Jay hosts a show there every other Sunday or a couple Sundays, a Sunday a month. Brooklyn Comedy Collective, like I said.

Have you seen a show that completely blew you away or like a surprise guest that you were stunned by?
Ramos: Yeah. I went to The Stand pretty early on and tickets were very, very affordable, so I was like, let’s go. It’s Sam Jay. She’s got to have her celeb friends there. Dulcé Sloan stopped by the night before she was going on to the Daily Show, and I just thought, “Oh, this is New York baby.” I love New York. In Chicago, our celebrity is really limited to Michael Shannon.

Who lives in Brooklyn, by the way. I see him around all the time.
Ramos: On our last day in Chicago when we did that intensive, we saw him in the area, so that was a really cool night, and just seeing all of the people that you see online via these little standup bits and such. It was really cool to just throw myself in. I did an open mic at a little cafe. That was fun, but like I said, I’m a student to it all, so no matter how high I get, I’m just so interested in this.
Rameaka: I’d also say don’t sleep on the spare room at The Gutter here in Williamsburg. They have a great show called Comedians You Should Know. Which is terrific as well. So that’s a venue that flies under the radar, but it has great standup and great cabaret and sketches, et cetera.

And slanted and pockmarked bowling lanes.
Rameaka: The worst bowling lanes in the world.

The worst bowling lanes.
Rameaka: I’m a bad bowler and it made me worse. I will also say, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention too that I know that Second City isn’t necessarily for the shows accessible to everybody that might be, say, on a student’s budget the way that other comedy theaters are. But one thing that we do do is that … What?
Ramos: You said doo-doo.

You did say doo-doo.
Rameaka: I won’t poo-poo your efforts to make a doo-doo joke. Our third act is always free. So we do two hours of sketch with some improv inside, and then the final act, our third act is open to everyone. The public, to students. So if you can’t afford our tickets necessarily, you can always come in to see us do live improvisation or maybe working on something that we had pitched that day. The set at the end is always open to everyone. Which is a through line in all of the sort of grassroots, socialist, improv, comedy aspect of all these.

Socialist improv. I love it. If you could, shout out your favorite Second City alum. Not to put you on the spot. I’m absolutely putting you on the spot.
Rameaka: I’ll go first. I’d be in big trouble if I didn’t say my best friend Steve Waltien who writes with Colbert.

Oh, come on.
Rameaka: I have to thank him. I have to say it because if he listens to it, I’ll get in trouble. (I will not get in trouble. He’s a very, very humble dude.) I’m a bit of a classics guy, so I love Bill Murray way back in the day, although maybe minus whatever problematic stuff’s going on with him now. And then more recently, Tim Robinson, Amber Ruffin, big fans of both of those folks.
Ramos: For me. It’s absolutely Rachel Dratch. I think she’s so funny.

She is so funny.
Ramos: So funny, and I know lives in New York. So, hi, Rachel. I love her so much. Tina Fey, obviously. Keegan-Michael Key. Tim Robinson is just our generation’s god, I feel like. He would probably hate that, but I love Tim Robinson.

Check out this episode of “Brooklyn Magazine: The Podcast” for more. Subscribe and listen wherever you get your podcasts.

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