Nothing has changed except everything.

Those words - uttered by the Second City troupe during its opening number - were not only profound, but fitting.

The company demonstrated as much during its 50th anniversary tour show Thursday night at the Lied Center for Performing Arts.

Skits and jokes about politics, relationships and religion are still as funny as ever. It's the people performing them who have changed.

While there was no Tina Fey or Stephen Colbert, the players who were on stage were just as talented and funny performing some of the same sketches as their famous predecessors.

The touring company - Ryan Archibald, Ross Bryant, Megan Hovde Wilkins, Dana Quercioli and Edgar Blackmon - especially excelled at improvisation.

The thing about improv is that it's hit and miss. When it hits, it's often a home run. That's why it's so fun. It's so unpredictable and so spontaneous.

The troupe performed three funny improv bits, including one with Wilkins as a 13-year-old boy with divorced parents that included audience members.

The funniest improv scene featured Wilkins and Quercioli reminiscing about a man - a son to one and a boyfriend to the other. They would tell their story, with the audience shouting out words to fill in the blanks.

The result, of course, was often crude and hilarious, with jokes ranging from politician John Edwards to lyrics from show tunes.

The evening ended with more improv - a send-off of sorts for company member Wilkins, who is leaving the tour after the Lincoln performances.

The pint-sized Wilkins grew up in Omaha, and the troupe "improvised" what her life was like as a teen based on her Q&A with the audience.

You could tell the troupe had as much fun making up its routine about Wilkins as the audience did watching it.

Who could have guessed they could come up with so many short jokes?

Reach Jeff Korbelik at 473-7213 or jkorbelik@journalstar.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/jeffkorbelik.

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