Jan 19, 2023 - News

Michael Lehrer, comedian and Second City alumnus, dies at 44

Photo of three men on stage performing a sketch.

Michael Lehrer (left) performs a sketch as a member of The Second City. Photo courtesy of Beth Kligerman

Comedian and Second City alumnus Michael Lehrer died Tuesday after a long battle with ALS. He was 44.

Context: Lehrer was diagnosed with ALS in 2017, and his health had since deteriorated. He was most recently bedridden with motor function difficulties.

  • He moved from Austin, Texas, to Portland, Oregon, last week to voluntarily end his life under the Death with Dignity Act.
  • "My life led here no matter how I lived it," Michael recently posted. "It's simply bad luck."

Driving the news: When news broke that Michael was voluntarily ending his life, tributes and memories poured in on social media, giving the beloved entertainer a "living wake."

What they're saying: Former Second City producer Beth Kligerman visited Michael last weekend in Portland. "I can't say how we felt being together, but I can say it was good to be with him," Kligerman tells Axios.

  • "He was super funny up until his last moments."
Photo of a man in a wheelchair performing live on stage.
Lehrer on stage for the "Letters from Santa" benefit in 2019. Photo courtesy of John Abbott for Poverty Alleviation Charities

Flashback: Lehrer toured with The Second City, performing on stages in Las Vegas, New York and Atlanta, and was an ensemble member on the Second City ETC.

  • In his last Second City performance, he got a tattoo live on stage.

💭 Justin's thought bubble: I performed with Michael Lehrer on stages in Chicago. He was a talented free thinker who tested the boundaries of the craft. My heart breaks for his family and for the comedy community that loved him so much. F*** ALS.


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