RIP: Joyce Sloane, The Second City’s maternal influence (1930-2011)

JoycesloaneMy condolences go out to the entire Second City family, as their maternal leader for almost all of its first 50 years, Joyce Sloane, died last night. She was 80.

The official notice from The Second City on Sloane's passing :

We are heartbroken to let you know that Joyce Sloane passed away last night. The loss is immeasurable for her family, our theatre and the many communities that she touched with her generosity and amazing spirit. Our thoughts and prayers are with Cheryl and Sasha.

Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, February 8th at 11:00am at Anshe Emet Synagogue, 3760 N. Pine Grove. At 12:00pm, Second City will host a luncheon and open house followed by a memorial service at 1:30pm.

Andrew Alexander
Executive Producer of The Second City

On its Twitter feed, The Second City added: "The loss is monumental but her legacy carries on forever in the work of the artists of whom she was so proud."

As the Chicago Tribune noted today, Sloane had retired as producer emeritus but had held just about every title you could think of at the venerale Chicago improv/sketch comedy company. And in doing so, she shepherded the careers of many great comedians during their beginnings. John Belushi. Gilda Radner. So many others.

"Everybody who comes to Second City has issues," said Tim Kazurinsky. "She was the mother to the largest dysfunctional family in the world. Second City was like marine boot-camp, but over in this corner there was little Jewish mother. It's hard to imagine the void."

Time Out Chicago has been collecting other quotes via Facebook and Twitter.

On Twitter, NiaVardalos wrote: "Friend+mentor, Second City Prod Joyce Sloane, has passed away. She taught us to be tough, that there's no crying in comedy. Except today."

UPDATED: On Feb. 7, WTTW revisited a 2005 interview with Sloane in which she shared stories about John Belushi, Bill Murray and more.


Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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