On January 17, renowned comedian and Second City graduate Michael Lehrer died of complications from ALS. He was 44 years old when he died. Chrissie Mayr, a comedian, paid tribute to him on Facebook by uploading two photos, the first of her standing with Lehrer and the second of a group photo on the set of Kill Tony. Chrissie stated:
“Shocked to hear of Michael Lehrer’s death. I met him in Los Angeles over three years ago, but what a shining light he is. Incredibly humorous, charming, happy and just memorable. Take it easy my friend.”
Angie McMahon, another comic, showed her grief by publishing a lengthy post with Lehrer’s photo, noting that they first met while having dinner at Piper’s Alley and that Lehrer was performing ETC concerts at the time. McMahon said Lehrer used her theater for rehearsals and that she met his son Colin when Michael visited them over the summer. She went on to say:
“One night we were both playing solo acts at the IO and he wanted to go first so he could see me. We were jumping around and walking in the little green room for what seemed like forever, just performing pieces and getting each other to laugh.”
McMahon concluded the piece by praising Lehrer as a gifted, witty and strange person. She went on to say that she would always miss him. Despite having ALS, Lehrer continued to perform in a wheelchair for many years. So no plans have yet been established for a monument. A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to seek funds for his son Colin and has already made $15,900.
Twitter users applaud
Over the years, Michael Lehrer has built a reputation as a flawless comic. As word of his death spread, Twitter was flooded with tributes:
Michael Lehrer achieved and created what has never been done before and perhaps never will be again. We will feel his absence, but we are left with inspiration for what the human spirit can do. We were all very lucky to have him. We love you forever Michael pic.twitter.com/puc4hndOfb
— #KILLTONY (@KILLTONY) 19 January 2023
“Where did all the wasted ice bucket money go?”
RIP legend Michael Lehrer pic.twitter.com/88FLTxaAFW
— CaptainDoubleDown (@CaptDoubledown) 19 January 2023
Michael Lehrer was known for his appearances on a variety of occasions.
Michael was a member of The Second City, which also featured Chris Witaske and Tawny Newsome. His performance in the New Faces of Comedy program at the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal received positive praise from the audience. He created several sketch revues such as Sky’s The Limit and traveled with The Second City Touring Company. He later became a member of BTN’s Big Ten Tailgate and Sports Action Team. Additionally, he performed with the Brooklyn Brewery Comedy Tour, iO Chicago and Chicago Underground Comedy.
After being diagnosed with the degenerative condition in 2017, he continued to perform despite voice problems, making frequent appearances on the Kill Tony podcast from 2019 to 2022. One of the podcast’s hosts, Joe Rogan, said on Instagram that Michael’s steadfastness in relationships to face the disease was inspiring. Despite his difficulty speaking on stage, the audience praised him. Although no comprehensive information on his educational history is available, he graduated from Columbia College. He also attended a few shows with his pal Seth Weitberg, and according to Weitberg, Michael performed shirtless on most occasions while cracking jokes.