FOUNDER OF SECOND CITY ETC & SECOND CITY TRAINING CENTER
Jeff Michalski has taught all forms of improvisation for over 20 years, as well as developed his own long-form techniques. He has performed across the United States, Canada, and Ireland in theatres and nightclubs and has directed Second City companies in Chicago, Los Angeles, Kilkenny, and Toronto. Founder of the Second City ETC, he also helped create the Second City Training Program in Chicago and Los Angeles. As a producer, director and performer, he has worked with Dan Castellaneta, Chris Farley, Amy Sedaris, Mike Myers, Steven Colbert, Ryan Stiles, and many more.
Here’s how that happened: Jeff Michalski worked in comedy clubs across the country with the Original Comedy Ranger and was a member of the Groundling in Los Angeles before settling with the Chicago Second City in 1980. During his years with the Second City, Mr. Michalski studied with Paul Sills and his historic Story Theatre. While traveling the country with Second City’s National Touring Company he continued training with Second City founder Paul Sills, and artistic directors Del Close, Fred Kaz and Bernie Sahlins.
In 1984 Michalski and his wife, Jane Morris, founded theSecond City ETC. His directorial debut , “Cows on Ice” made the ETC an instant hit and was followed by the even larger success of “Mirrors at the Border”. His achievements brought him to the Second City Toronto where he was nominated for a Dora Award for his direction of “Who’s Tory Now”; Michalski continued as director and Artistic Director of the ETC until 1988 when his success in Chicago led him to be chosen as director of the premiere production of the Second City in Santa Monica, also a critical success.
While still in Chicago with the ETC, Michalski also helped found the Second City Training Center, a comprehensive training program from which the next generation of Second City players are chosen. He also founded the Second City Training Program in Santa Monica.
Mr. Michalski and Ms. Morris founded the Upfront Comedy Showcase in 1990, and The Comedy Underground in Santa Monica in 1998. He is currently teaching people from all walks of life to improvise at the fanaticSalon in Culver City Mr. Michalski’s production credits include many Second City shows and Michael Moore’s “TV Nation”. Jeff has also written for comedians and television shows including Emo Phillips and “Exit 57”. He has also been a director of the Cats’ Laugh International Comedy Festival in Kilkenny, Ireland.
“I have worked with Jeff Michalski both in improvised and scripted works. And I have been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to sit in some of his workshops and improv classes. Jeff's enthusiasm and obvious love of improv makes it almost impossible to leave the class without being inspired and with great respect for the craft. Watching him throughout the years, remembering some this simple but effective methods, certainly served me well when I was on "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" Anyone who has Jeff as a teacher has distinct advantage over anyone else.” — Colin Mochrie, Whose Line Is It Anyway?
“I love Jeff Michalski. He gets it and shares so many great nuggets of wisdom to help you improvise better. Ways to get out of your head and play more honest."” — Jay Sukow, teacher at Second City
“I have known Jeff Michalski for over 20 years and have worked with him in many capacities. He has directed me in improvisation and sketch and I have written and performed with him. He is uniquely qualified to teach improvisation because of his experience, knowledge and passion for it. He personifies principles like ‘make the other person look good’. He is a treat to watch and learn from. Time with Jeff is well spent.” — Dave Pasquesi, TJ & Dave
“It was the best improv class I have ever taken, hands down. I learned so much in such a short time--if only every class was taught that efficiently.” — Alicia Cressey, improviser at Second City
“I'm still under the influence of the last workshop. It is mind and soul boggling.” — Amy Levi, symphony musician.
“I am a workshop addict and have taken many great workshops with some of the greatest names in improv. This workshop was game changing. Just when I thought I had heard every perspective there was on improv, Jeff came in and gave me a set of tools that made my work instantly funnier, better acted and smarter. At the same time it made it easier and for the first time made me feel that the improv I was doing was important.” — Dan Abrams, writer/producer.