Lincoln-Way West student writes, directs and performs at Second City
Thursday, August 16, 2018

Every Saturday for nearly a decade, Lincoln-Way West Junior Cooper Lyke has trekked to downtown Chicago to “do” what he loves: comedy.

“I used to watch all the old SNL [Saturday Night Live] shows with my parents when I was young,” says Lyke. “We started looking for comedy classes, but all the acting classes were filled up in my town, so I started taking classes at Second City. I started at eight years old, so I’ve been doing this for more than half of my life.”

Lyke took improv and sketch classes until age 11, when he auditioned for Second City’s Youth & Teen Ensemble: a 50 minute show performed by those enrolled in Second City’s highest level kid/teen classes. Lyke’s admission to the group made him one of the youngest to perform, where he wrote, produced and acted alongside high school students.

Every six months, auditions for the Youth & Teen Ensemble are held, and every six months since he was 11, Lyke has been selected to participate. “The Ensemble is every Saturday in the city. I’ve only missed one Saturday,” says Lyke. As a member, Lyke writes “a few sketches every month” and averages about eight sketches that are chosen to be performed in each show. He spends much of his time outside of school working on his writing, traveling downtown and crafting new sketches in the writers’ room.

On June 3 and June 10, 2018, Lyke was tasked with an even bigger responsibility—a responsibility that many adults would find intimidating: writing and performing an entire set with his castmates. Despite a bit of nervousness, both performances of “I’m Not Mad…I’m Just Disappointed” sold out.

“I guess I have a dark, unique sense of humor,” says Lyke. “I think people gravitate toward it. I like the randomness and the creativity and that everyone gets to inject their own personal viewpoint,” he says.

Lyke hopes to continue his practice of comedy and creativity beyond high school. “I want to be a writer and director,” he says. “Not necessarily just of comedy, but I definitely want to go to film school.” Lyke intends on continuing to perform at Second City throughout high school, and hopefully beyond.