THE SECOND CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS featuring the cast of the Second City and special guests, at 51 Mercer, Sunday (February 19) from 10:30 pm until Monday (February 20) at 10:30 pm. $20. 416-343-0011.
If you hate the weekend to end, or you're simply a fan of Toronto's huge comedy scene, you'll want to check out Second City on Sunday night. Or Monday morning. Or Monday afternoon and night.
The sketch comedy troupe is hosting a 24-hour marathon of improv comedy to raise funds for Sick Kids' Therapeutic Clown Program and the Toronto Star Fresh Air Fund.
They're following the model of the Chicago troupe, who helped raise $100,000 earlier this year.
For SC cast member Naomi Snieckus, who's helping organize the show, it's a chance to bring together a lot of comedy talent for a good cause, with egos firmly checked at the door.
"It's one of those rare opportunities to actually feel like a community, where we're sharing a common goal," says Snieckus a week before the marathon begins.
So far, the 24-hour sked is filling up quickly with groups that include the interview-then-improv show Monkey Toast, the on-the-spot improvised movie troupe Neutrino Video Project and Catch23.
But the core Second City group minus member Anand Rajaram, who's out of town, and plus alumni Paul Constable, Carolyn Taylor and Lisa Brooke will be onstage pretty much the whole time.
When musical acts appear so far, the female musical duo Dala is confirmed the comics will likely improvise on the songs just sung.
"Right now, I'm afraid of the 4s," laughs Snieckus.
"Four in the morning and 4 in the afternoon. But who really knows what will happen? I can't remember the last time I stayed up 24 hours."
Snieckus shrugs off a question about what pick-me-up she'll use to get her through. Red Bull? Coffee?
"Someone told me coffee's not really good for staying up late," she says. "But (energetic former Second City member) Jen Goodhue is dropping by, so that's kind of like coffee, don't you think?"
The funder has also just snagged a 24-hour liquor licence, so theoretically it could become an after-hours lounge. Just call it the Comedy Comfort Zone.
"Oh yeah, it's going to be a rave," kids Snieckus. "Look for the wigs and glow sticks at the door."
I've been to one local marathon improv show before an improvised soap opera and recall a pretty lacklustre affair when I showed up at 3:30 am. There were way more people onstage than in the audience.
"If there's ever a point when there's no one in the audience, we'll probably have a poker game onstage," laughs Snieckus. "We're also thinking of ordering pizza and having it delivered onstage so we can work that into a scene, and having a telephone onstage so Second City alumni can call in. That's the great thing about improv. Anything goes."
Yes, but it's also an art form that requires quick reflexes not so easy when you're sleep-deprived.
"On the other hand, being tired might just dull that inner censor," says Snieckus. "That's always a good thing in comedy."