It was the summer of 1989. I was between my Freshman and Sophomore year of high school. It was probably the last family road trip we would do as a family as my sister had just graduated high school and was heading off to K-State.
On our family trips everyone tries to pick one cool thing to do. My sister wanted to see the Monet exhibit at the Chicago Institute of Art. I wanted to go to Second City.
We stopped mid afternoon by the iconic theater on Wells Street. The box office was closed. I was worried we would not get to see the show. As we started to leave a woman asked if we were wanting to get tickets. We said yeah and dad told her we were from Kansas and that this was something I wanted to do on the trip. The woman said, “What’s your name?’ I’m in the show, I’ll get you tickets.” We were like, yeah, ok, we gave her our names.
The woman was Holly Wortell, and she was in the cast. So were Joel Murray, Tim Meadows, David Pasqueri and Chris Farley. We checked in at the box office and were seated front and center. Holly came out before the show to say hi. We were speechless.
The show started, it was very funny. Chris Farley stole the show. And it wasn’t that he was such a big guy. He was funny. Second City improv is about helping your fellow actors be funny. You could see how they worked together. So cool.
They did a dentist scene and Chris walked into the “office” and said, “I’m Dr. Crockett” I was ecstatic.
Intermission rolled around. Holly came back out to see if we were enjoying the show. Suddenly Chris comes out and she introduces us. He was polite and charming. As you would expect.
During the second half, the improv part, a scene featured two women. It was one of their birthdays. The other said, please tell me you did not order a stripper. The other friend smiled. There was a knock on the door. Chris Farley walks in and says, “I’m Kevin Crockett and I’m your stripper.” The woman yells, “Stop, his boobs are bigger than mine.” Her friend pushed Chris out the door. Another awesome moment.
I can’t thank Holly enough. She was hilarious. She is a writer and teacher now. I still follow her career. She pops up here and there in tv shows and she was nominated for an Emmy for her work on the Bonnie Hunt Show. Tim Meadows was a genius. I remember he was laying on a piano while someone was playing it, and he made eye contact with us at the table and kind of rolled his eyes. David and Joel pop up here and there too. Chris passed away December 18, 1997.
If you ever have a chance to visit Second City, it is a must see. Amazing talent and you’ll probably get a glimpse of future SNL players.