After spending time in Europe and graduating college, I was kind of drifting around trying to figure out what I had done all that for. I lived at home and it was in a very quiet, dry town, far away from big city life which I rather enjoyed.

At one point I got a job through a guy I met in college, which turned out to be selling insurance. I had to work waitressing to make ends me. It was a kind of bizarre existence. I lived in an apartment in a place that was half way between where I went to school and where my family lived.

I used to work at a place called the Chateau Louise, when I needed extra money. There was a actually a kind of theater in the place and there was a Second City Tour Company there for a bit. I talked to one of the guys in the cast and decided that after seeing this show that I could probably do better. I thought I just might be funnier than he was.

After everything in my life at that point, why not? I asked him  how he got in this group and he told me. He auditioned. So I asked him how he got the audition and he went through some mumbo jumbo and I decided to just send a letter to whomever I needed to talk to.

I sent a handwritten letter on notebook paper that was full of you know what and basically had the premise that I was funnier than this guy I had met.

I was back at home on the south side one day and someone called my house. My dad answered and it was someone from Second City. He took a message. I got that strange, excited feeling that said, "Is this real?" and I called back. It was someone telling me when and where to come for an audition and to bring my resume. Of course they meant acting resume, of which I had none. I also had no head shots, no nothing. Just chuzpah.

When I got downtown for the audition, I found my way into the theater. It was like a red carpet on the way, with red walls, as I remember. There were pictures of famous people dotting the walls. Bernie Sahlins and a woman, Joyce Sloane, she was like his partner or something, were there. The house lights were down and the stage lights on. We were all sitting in the audience. A person then passed out little note cards, bigger than the ones I used to use on the debate team years earlier. He asked us to put some information on those and turn them in with our resume. I realized at that moment that I was really the odd person there. I had no professional stuff to turn in for them, just a typed resume with my most recent work experience, selling insurance.....

Bravely I carried on. After all, this was improv wasn't it?

So a group of us lined the edge of the stage and they asked each person to demonstrate their abilities according to a question they asked. When it came to my turn there was a noticable chuckle when reviewing my resume, they even asked me if I had anything else. Then it was my turn to wow them,  they listened to me and they laughed. No clapping, but I took them where I wanted them to go. They did not laugh for anyone else that I recall.

I did receive a call back. They thought that with some classes or a bit of work they might be further interested. I chalked it up to one more thing that I couldn't "just do" and at that time I lived nowhere near where these classes might have been held and had no money to do anything like that. So I just moved on. I was getting really good at that...

There was something about classes being held near Pipers Alley at that time, but it would be a few more years before they had the Second City school thing going.

When I think of it all in retrospect, I think that they wanted to give me a chance. I think they did give me a chance.

Bernie Sahlins was running the show. He knew what he was doing.

Many years later I auditioned once again for a news program in Chicago. This time is was an open casting call and I went with a girlfriend. It was a good experience. They talked to me after my piece on film, and asked me to continue with something I had said. I had some on camera experience by this time, but I did not get this job either. I did enjoy the experience though.

Around this time I did some radio and some cable stuff but none of it was my show. I often think that I would have enjoyed that. I have used my humor a great deal in my life and my boldness served me well, more than once politically.

Since my meeting with Bernie was over 30 years ago I barely remember what I saw beyond those foot lights but for years after I did follow his Second City legacy and felt a certain amount of pride in saying I met him.


For so many of us, Bernie was the brains, Fred was the soul, but Joyce will always be the heart."



Only in Chicago.


Copyright 2013 by SheilaTGTG55 

Views: 57

Comment by JMac1949 Today on June 21, 2013 at 8:29am

Second City reached out across generations and the world to tickle the funny bones of millions. My contact with that crew was through the irascible Joel Bloom, who ran Bloom's General Store in Downtown LA. He was a pioneering community activist who helped shape the downtown Los Angeles arts district and was its unofficial mayor, with his shoebox-sized general store serving as the area's town hall. After a long battle with cancer he died in 2007 at 59.
R&R RIP ;-(

Comment by Arthur James on June 21, 2013 at 8:53am


Good Memories . . .

Farmers wanted to try out for fill-in movie positions.

We all went to Harper Ferry, West Virginia for auditions.

I played (not in God's and Generals - Civil War Movie,

John Brown in audition.

I was blindfolded and?

I was getting pushed.

I walked up the steps.

On the scaffolding this:


What a beautiful country.

I've never been here before.

This neck of the woods is lovely."

Then, as the (editor) crew roped me:


"What a beautiful day to (die) pass away."


I got a fill in Rich Man lave Owner Position.
those Tw weeks were great, and no hacker.




O, my

Whatever . . 

It was silly movie.

We sure ate good.

I no want to be a

silly movie star.

No blink or you

want see me.

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on June 21, 2013 at 10:14am

This is as delightful a post as I have seen here. Will 'take it with me' a good while, Sheila.

Comment by Sheila Luecht on June 21, 2013 at 11:41am

Thanks all, for the memories, yours, mine and ours! Jmac, Art and Jon. Art, loved that poetry!

Comment by Sheila Luecht on June 21, 2013 at 11:51am

Wow, I had some typos in there. I fixed what I noticed. Sorry about that...

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on June 21, 2013 at 1:44pm

How wonderful this is, Sheila!  


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