14 Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy took home Emmys in 2020 for their work on Schitt’s Creek. Martin Short recently co-hosted SNL with Steve Martin. And Joe Flaherty and Robin Duke have trained new generations of comedians as faculty at Humber College. 

13 SCTV picked up 15 Emmy nominations, including two wins for outstanding writing in a variety or music program in 1982 and 1983.

12 Born on the Second City stage, Edward Mayhoff Grimley was one of Martin Short’s most popular characters: an excitable geek with a spiky cowlick. Short took the character to SNL during his brief tenure in the 1984-85 season.

11 In a short film, Rick Moranis played Woody Allen trying to take advantage of tax shelter subsidies for Canadian film and television productions. He took his Allen impression to SCTV when he joined the cast.

10 Robin Duke would later appear on Saturday Night Live between 1981 and 1984.

9 SCTV’s original cast included Joe Flaherty, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, John Candy, Dave Thomas, Andrea Martin and Harold Ramis.

8 Comedy director Del Close was something of a guru for Second City performers. His methods aimed to elevate improv to high art and stressed values like honesty, trust and careful observation.

7 Sahlins sold Alexander the rights to Second City Toronto for $1. In 2020, Alexander stepped down as CEO and co-owner of the company on both sides of the border. The Financial Times estimates that he sold it for $50 million. 

6 The popular Toronto new wave band, fronted by Carole Pope, was known for performing in full S&M gear. They’d later play their 1980 hit, “High School Confidential,” a song of teenage lesbian romance, on SCTV.

5 A 1972 mounting of the musical Godspell at the Royal Alexandra Theatre featured soon-to-be Second City members Martin Short, Eugene Levy, Gerry Salsburg, Jayne Eastwood and Andrea Martin, plus Victor Garber. Paul Shaffer, the production’s musical director, would end up as David Letterman’s band-leader. Howard Shore, who played saxophone, would become an Oscar–winning film composer.

4 Second City Toronto’s first show, directed by Joe Flaherty, featured Brian Doyle-Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner, Gerry Salsburg, Valri Bromfield and Jayne Eastwood.

3 Brian Doyle-Murray, the older brother of Bill Murray, was a member of Chicago’s Second City company in the early 1970s.

2 Bernie Sahlins, a Chicago theatre director and producer, co-founded Second City with improv director Paul Sills and filmmaker Howard Alk.

1 Founded in 1959, Second City popularized the art of long-form comedic improvisation, which thrives on a two-word ethos: “Yes, and…” Performers were encouraged to follow the lead of their fellow players, embracing the chaos as they wrote live comedy in real-time.