“Don’t quit your day job”: Chicago’s Funny Firm in 1993

Chicago has long been known as a city of comedy. It’s where improv comedy was born, and has helped start the careers of countless comedians. Of course, despite all the successes, not everyone becomes a legend.

In 1993, Chicago Slices videographer Skip Blumberg visited a comedy class at the Funny Firm. Among Funny Firm’s defining features was its comedy school, where students could enroll in classes geared around developing their comedic voice. In this video, Skip talks to some of Funny Firm’s students. None of the students interviewed that day would end up making it big, not even the star pupil George Pollack. In fact, Funny Firm itself soon proved unable to live up to the legendary greats and closed its doors for good a few years later.

But the resulting footage is a glimpse at a lesser known side of Chicago’s comedy scene, where small upstarts with big ideas give it a go despite the odds. And even if they failed, they at least went back to their old day jobs just a little bit funnier.

You can also watch some of the greats who got their start in Chicago over at mediaburn.org. In this previously unseen outtake from “TVTV Goes To The Super Bowl,” Bill Murray and his brother Brian Doyle Murray improvise on location in Miami in 1976. In another segment that made it to broadcast, Bill provides color commentary while Christopher Guest interviews CBS Sportscasters playing their own game of “Super Bowl IX 1/2.”

 

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