- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
The Second City, the Chicago-based improv and sketch comedy brand that spawned Hollywood talent like Tina Fey, John Belushi, Bill Murray and Keegan-Michael Key, has been acquired by Strauss Zelnick’s private equity firm, ZMC.
“We are very excited to partner with management and the incredible talent at The Second City to grow the brand and build a diverse organization that elevates all voices. Over its sixty-year history, The Second City has been home to some of the most beloved names in comedy, and we plan on building the next generation of comedy talent by investing in people and creativity,” said Jordan Turkewitz, co-chief investment officer and managing partner at ZMC.
Terms of the purchase deal were not disclosed. In Nov. 2020, the comedy group announced it was going up for sale, with investment bank Houlihan Lokey leading the formal process to field buyer interest.
Zelnick is best known as chairman and CEO of video game giant Take-Two Interactive, the game studio behind the NBA 2K, Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption properties. Take-Two Interactive has gained from the gaming boom brought on by the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has forced people worldwide to shelter in their homes.
Beginning as a small cabaret theater in 1959, the Second City empire includes a school of improv-based arts and a corporate division. Among the long list of alumni that used Second City as a way station to Saturday Night Live and Hollywood movie careers are Dan Aykroyd, John Candy, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Chris Farley, Adam McKay, Bonnie Hunt, Jack McBrayer, Mike Myers, Amy Poehler, Gilda Radner, Joan Rivers, Amy Sedaris, Nia Vardalos and Fred Willard.
Steve Johnston, The Second City President, said: “We are thrilled to work with ZMC as we continue to transform the company into an equitable and thriving environment while delivering world-class comedy to our audiences. I want to thank the talent, staff, alumni and audiences of The Second City for supporting us on our journey.”
The comedy brand, which has seen its live theaters in Toronto, Los Angeles and Chicago operate at reduced capacity during the COVID-19 crisis, has branched out into TV, film and digital projects that involve its top improv talent.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day