• Aidy Bryant, Tim Robinson, and Cecily Strong, aka Knuckleheads

Tim Robinson, Cecily Strong, and Aidy Bryant were ripped untimely from Second City’s womb last fall, and spirited off to be amusing for SNL. The departure was so swift and secretive, they say, that they didn’t get to make their goodbyes to the people and places that loomed large in their Chicago lives. So that was the first thing they did on taking the stage Thursday, for the opening of a three-night stand at Up Comedy Club.

Strong bid farewell and thanks to the thief who stole her car. Bryant will miss the gay black teens who always look like they’re having so much fun, hanging out at the corner of Halsted and Belmont. And Robinson reminisced fondly about the two homeless guys who had sex under his porch, in view of his little son. Good times.

The show itself demonstrated why Lorne Michaels felt compelled to steal the three of them away, black-ops-style. Performing as Knuckleheads, under the aegis of TBS’s Just for Laughs comedy fest, they spun out 90 minutes of character riffs, sketches, and improvisations that were never less than engaging and occasionally much more than funny.