Second City today announced a gala roast of comedian/actor/Second City alum George Wendt to benefit Gilda’s Club Chicago and The Second City Alumni Fund. The evening of comedy, slated for Sept. 9, and titled “I Can’t Believe They Wendt There: The Roast of George Wendt” will be hosted by comedian and “Saturday Night Live” alum Jason Sudeikis.
Joining Sudeikis (a veteran of the Annoyance Theater and ImprovOlympic, and a nephew of Wendt) will be comedians Bob Odenkirk, David Koechner and Betty Thomas. More of the lineup will be named later.
Wendt, a Chicago native, is famously known for his role as the beer-chugging accountant Norm Peterson from the hit TV series “Cheers.” He also occasionally appeared as Bob Swerski, brother to one of the ultimate Chicago sports fans (“Da Bears”) in a series of “Bill Swerski’s Super Fans” sketches on “SNL.”
His film credits include “Fletch,” “Forever Young” and “Somewhere in Time.” Among his stage credits are the Broadway musical “Hairspray” and the drama (alongside Second City alum Tim Kazurinsky) “Funnyman,” which had its world premiere at Northlight Theatre in 2015. Other TV credits include the short-lived “The George Wendt Show,” “Hot in Cleveland,” “Family Guy” and “Modern Men.”
“We’re looking forward to an incredibly special evening that brings back the long-lost art of the Dean Martin-era celebrity roast,” said Andrew Alexander, CEO/Executive Producer of The Second City, in today’s official announcement. “It’s been a few years since George has returned to his old stomping grounds here at Second City, and he’s a saint of a guy for letting us put him in the hot seat for two incredible causes. We are thrilled to be able to partner with Gilda’s Club Chicago again for this tremendous opportunity to impact the lives of those who are battling cancer, their support circles, and also the members of our own Second City family who are up against the most challenging of circumstances.”
Gilda’s Club is now a network of nationwide cancer patient support centers, originally established in the early 1990s in memory of “SNL” alum Gilda Radner, who passed away in 1989 after battling ovarian cancer, and who famously said that “having cancer gave her membership in an elite club she’d rather not belong to.” The Second City Alumni Fund was established by alumni of the legendary improv center to “provide financial assistance to alums with critical health and financial challenges,” according to the announcement.
The Wendt roasting, toasting and fundraising will take place at Second City’s mainstage, 1616 N. Wells. Tickets (tax-deductible) start at $1,000. Visit www.secondcity.com