Buy Used
$6.20
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Very Good | Details
Sold by BigHeartedBooks
Condition: Used: Very Good
Add to Cart
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Second City: Backstage at the World's Greatest Comedy Theater (book with 2 audio CDs) Hardcover – October 1, 2000


See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$4.98 $0.01
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks MediaFusion; Har/Com edition (October 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570715610
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570715617
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 9.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #442,028 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Patinkin was one of the early directors at the Second City, the risk-taking comedy cabaret that opened in Chicago in 1959. Second City's potent impact on theater, film and TV is revealed in its lengthy alumni list, which includes the likes of John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Betty Thomas, Tim Meadows and Ryan Stiles. Combining interviews, research and rare photos with his own memories, Patinkin traces the origins of Second City back to 1955 when the Compass (which featured Mike Nichols and Elaine May) opened in Chicago. Second City spawned a cult of its own: in addition to Second City clubs in L.A. and other cities, there were recordings, touring shows, SCTV and a Broadway production. A dazzling lineup of talent is profiledDMartin Short, Joan Rivers, Robert Klein, Andrea Martin, Fred Willard, Severn Darden, Bonnie Hunt and Del Close. Along with a salmagundi of sidebars, blackout bits, quotes and anecdotes, there are contributions written by Alan Arkin, Dan Aykroyd, George Wendt, James Belushi and Harold Ramis, plus a long-ago look at an afternoon rehearsal, as documented by an anonymous author in 1973. Janet Coleman's brilliant and unforgettable history, The Compass, would be difficult to top, but the influence of the Compass and Second City was so vast that Patinkin makes a solid contribution with fresh material in an entertaining package. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

The Second City celebrated its fortieth anniversary in 1999, so it's fitting that this entertaining retrospective be produced to showcase the theater's output thus far. Second City's ensemble has included much of the Saturday Night Live cast, the SC-TV cast, as well as Alan Arkin, Joan Rivers, Peter Boyle, George Wendt, Shelley Long, Dan Castelleneta, and dozens of other now-familiar voices in American comedy. Established, and still based, in Chicago (a second theater opened in Toronto in 1973), Second City has always offered polished scenes rooted in improvisation; its satire and silliness are an unusual blend of high and low cultural references. Patinkin's engaging narrative is presented with dozens of profiles, essays, and quotes from cast members and hundreds of photos from the archives. The package wisely includes two full-length audio CDs featuring more than 30 scenes, narrated by Robert Klein. These recordings include Bonnie Hunt as a telephone "on-hold" entertainer, and an early recording of Chris Farley's classic "motivational speaker" Matt Foley, who lives, as many of us know, "IN A VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER!" James Klise
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 18, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I used to work at Second City myself and I really liked reading this book. I think Sheldon Patinkin did a very good job of covering the history of the place and his examination of the various changes in style and attitude is very interesting and informative. I wish there were more random memories from alumni and staffers, though. I think the quotes give you more a feel for the place on a personal level and besides that, they're very fun to read. I would also highly recommend the book, "Something Wonderful Right Away", a book that got me and many of my friends interested in the place long before we worked there.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Sam Callahan on December 12, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I received this book from Amazon as an early Xmas present from my brother. I was a bit skeptical at first, since I've never been to Second City. It turns out I do know, though, about its people. I was surprised at how many people had come through this group at some point, and the book makes it easy to skim through and read about them. This isn't necessarily a book you'll sit and read from cover to cover. The real cool part is the CD's that come with the book. The book is worth having if only for the John Belushi routine on the first disk and it's interesting to hear the comedy get more edgy over the years. I listen to them in them in the car on the way to work. In all, this made me laugh, and what more could you ask?
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 25, 2001
Format: Hardcover
It is important to understand what this package (ie book and two audio CDs) is not. It is not a definitive history of the group, nor does it provide detailed biographical information about the group's most prominent members, nor is it a probling analysis of the broader and deeper context in which the group was established and then evolved. Yes, the reader is "taken backstage at the world's greatest comedy theater" but the experience (albeit enjoyable) very much resembles what a family member or friend would probably encounter when literally allowed backstage. After having read the book, I understood more about the group's development and the interaction (onstage) between and among the principals.
Perhaps you have seen the Olivier film based on Henry V in which, during the first 12-15 minutes, the viewer is transported back to the Elizabethan Age, to the London theatre world, and to the stage on which Shakespeare's play was performed. Brief scenes backstage are included. When reading this book, I had the same sense of being allowed limited access. Only when the two audio CDs are heard are the unique talents of the various performers brought to life. I view the book as being supplementary to the CDs. Together, they provide exceptional entertainment to those who enjoy comedic improvisation.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robert Lowe on June 16, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is an extraordinary chronicle of the most important theater movement in a hundred years. Following "The Compass" by Janet Coleman and "Something Wonderful Right Away" by Jeffrey Sweet, this is required reading. Sheldon Patinkin has captured the story of the people and the times of The Second City in a fashion that will engage those who have not been part of the Improv movement and will give a wonderfully informed perspective the initiated. For the CDs alone, the book is worth it. For the photographs alone, the book is worth it. For the spotlights on personalities it is worth it. The narrative is crisp, and clear, and personal. As I read I felt I was listening to the story told in a kitchen with a beer in my hand. The only thing that he leaves out is mention of the story beyond The Second City of the hundreds of Improv clubs and playing teams and the thousands of players, and now millions of audience members who have never been to a Second City show yet who have been inspired by this great history.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on January 4, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Second City comes with two cds packed with comedy routines and skits, presenting a book which explores the comedy theater's personalities, achievements and founding fathers. Black and white photos from skits pack a lively presentation of Second City routines, personalities and history, making this an exceptional guide for any fan of comedy in general and Second City history in particular. A lovely gift idea.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Daniel M Mont on August 6, 2002
Format: Hardcover
If you are already a fan of Second City -- or of comedy in general -- this is a very entertaining and informative book, containing many nuggets that elucidate the overwhelming impact Second City has had on comedy in the US. But if you know nothing about them, it is not the greatest introduction. It doesn't give a real sense of the improv process. It is accompanied by two CDs of performances. The CD of the early years has pretty bad sound, and some of the performances are dated. THe second CD is great.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By N. Bilmes VINE VOICE on July 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Patinkin has scribed a look back at Second City that is full of self-love for all the club stood for and all the comedians who traipsed through the door. The book would have benefited from a more honest account that featured the failures as well as the successes.

The two compact discs are worth the price you'll pay for a copy on the used book club market, however. They are full of funny bits featuring many famous comedians, and will give your money's worth back in laughter.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Search