Laughter fuels interest for Second City comedian

by KACI LIVINGSTON//Staff Writer

When starting out life uninterested in sports, there are many different routes to take. Greg Ott’s path was comedy.  

Starting his life surrounded by an athletic group of friends, Ott found his niche by making people laugh. Starting at The Second City while attending high school, he obtained a scholarship and continued his studies.

Opening its door in December 1959, The Second City began its journey to become the first ever on-going improv group in Chicago, Ill. The theater eventually expanded into three companies and a second resident company. Greg is an ensemble member of the BlueCo. US Touring Company.

As being part of the traveling troupe, Ott has performed thousands of shows, including countless times on Norwegian Cruise Line ships with Second City. All of these shows mean it is a necessity to travel, which can put one in some in unexpected places. Waking up in Anchorage, Alaska and eating reindeer sausage is one of those unexpected times. That is exactly what Ott found himself doing early one day last week.

He also is featured in shows at the Annoyance Theater, which, according to Ott, is the, “best comedy theater outside of Second City.” Many of the other comedians for the company also perform at Annoyance Theater.

With having so many shows, it has to be hard to pick a favorite, but two are at the top of favorites for Ott. “Free Speech! (While Supplies Last)” is a comical take on the electoral hilarity. Second City states that it is also a comedy “must see,” “featuring political satire from Second City stars like Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert and Keegan-Michael Key.”

If someone writes a book and lyrics for a musical, it must be favored by the writer himself, right? His other favorite show is “Big Sausage Pizza,” a musical he wrote. “Big Sausage Pizza” is a story of a struggling pizza shop in the ‘90s that develops a “risqué revenue stream,” told through song.

Many great comedians come from Second City, such as Steve Carell, Chris Farley and Aidy Bryant. It is no surprise that both of Ott’s favorites are former cast members who both continued on to “Saturday Night Live.” Appreciating simple jokes and a setup that is the same as the punch line, Norm Macdonald and Jason Sudeikis take the cake at being a comedian’s favorite comedians.

When talking about the future of his comedy career, Ott says he has always been interested in late night TV, but considers himself lucky enough to have been doing comedy as long as he has and still getting paid for it.

Ott recently made a stop in Lubbock to perform in the “Best of Second City,” on Nov. 11, at Texas Tech University’s Allen Theatre.

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