Life After CHS: Fran Bixby Trains for Second City


Kirsten Bisconer

Fran Bixby performing with Shakespeare Troupe during her time at CHS.

Summer Miller, Staff Writer

Herd after High School: Fran Bixby trains for Second City!

Fran Bixby is a CHS alumnus in the class of 2018 and Mrs. Bixby’s daughter. She attended Muhlenberg college and graduated in May of 2022 with a degree in Theater, and is currently enrolled in a program that teaches her the basics of improv and writing for Second City. 

Second City is a Chicago-based improv troupe that tours nationwide. Their shows have multiple acts, with the first part being sketch comedy. The sketch comedy they perform is made through improv, so they will create a scene, tweak it, and perform it again for a live audience. The second part is a live improv set where they invent everything they are performing  based on audience suggestions. 

Fran is completing this program through Second City and the Columbia College of Chicago, which makes her eligible to audition for the touring group. She had to submit a series of essays and letters of recommendation to the college, and gained valuable experience for the program in the improv troupe, Damsels in Excess, at Muhlenberg as well.

Her day-to-day training inside the program is vigorous. She takes  five classes, four days a week, with about ten other people in her cohort and twenty people total enrolled in the program. She takes classes in improv, writing, history, movement, and acting. 

The best advice Fran can give about writing humor effectively is to “roundtable it.” Essentially what that means is to peer review. Peer review and getting feedback from professors is integral to the humor writing process as it allows different eyes to see the same joke and the likelihood of it being funnier increases. 

Fran put herself out there and took an unorthodox route after college. Comedy is a nebulous industry, and she is taking a risk to do what she loves. Her advice to anyone looking to take the unbeaten path after high school is to, “Take classes, keep learning. Make sure you’re paying attention to the people around you. And bring your own unique perspectives to your work!