Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

The Second City theater is seen in Chicago, on July 17, 2020.

DANIELLE SCRUGGS /The New York Times News Service

The Second City comedy theatre – where comedy stars such as Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, John Candy, Bill Murray, Martin Short, Steve Carell, Mike Myers, Tina Fey and others got their start – has been put up for sale.

In a statement released Tuesday, co-owner Andrew Alexander said a sale presents the opportunity for Second City to succeed well into the future.

“What we are seeking is critical reinvestment in the business that will allow us to continue to grow in the right ways and with the right resources while remaining an oasis of speaking truth to power and providing vital human connection in an increasingly complex world,” Alexander said in the statement released by Los Angeles investment bank, Houlihan Lokey, which is advising Second City’s owners on the sale.

Story continues below advertisement

The investment bank did not immediately respond to a request for comment on how the plans will impact operations in Toronto.

Levy and O’Hara appeared on the theatre’s television show, SCTV, long before sweeping this year’s Emmy awards for their work on Schitt’s Creek. Saturday Night Live trailblazer Gilda Radner is a Second City Toronto alumnus, as is Dan Aykroyd of The Blues Brothers and Ghost Busters fame, Wayne’s World and Austin Powers star Mike Myers, John Candy of Cool Runnings and Uncle Buck, and Colin Mochrie and Ryan Stiles of Whose Line is it Anyway?

Before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company announced plans to open a new location in 2020 for its Toronto mainstage – touting the Second City as “a 100 per cent Canadian-owned company,” given its owners' ties to Canada. The company has also held workshops in London, Ont. Developer Menkes Developments Ltd. was not immediately available to comment on the future of the Toronto mainstage move.

Privately held throughout its 61-year history, Second City suspended all its shows and classes in early March until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Second City also faced controversy in June when Alexander stepped down from the training and performance troupe due to allegations of racism within the company.

Second City is co-owned by Alexander and D’Arcy Stuart, although its president, Steve Johnston, also has a small equity share. When he stepped down, Alexander said he was going to sell his half of the theatre. The two decided rather than try to sell about half of the institution, it makes more sense to market the entire operation. The theatre was sold once before in the years after Bernie Sahlins, Howard Alk and Paul Sills launched the comedy theatre in 1959.

The theatre has several arms beyond its mainstage theatres, including a long-standing comedy training school, a film school and a corporate division that has maintained much of its revenue by offering online training and education to clients.

With files from the Associated Press.

Story continues below advertisement

The Globe has five brand-new arts and lifestyle newsletters: Health & Wellness, Parenting & Relationships, Sightseer, Nestruck on Theatre and What to Watch. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies