Four Star Family Fun

Think the upcoming Four Star Comedy Fest at Navy Pier is just for grown ups? Think again.

The inaugural fest, scheduled for October 6, is a daylong event that features free improv workshops for kids and families.

“I love that they’re doing stuff for families,” says Evanston resident Tim Kazurinsky, a well-known comedian/actor/writer and Saturday Night Live alum who is hosting the event along with local improv expert Jimmy Carrane.

“For us, the whole theme of the festival is that we want to expose more people to improvisation,” says Carrane, “not only in performance, but actually doing it.”

Given Chicago is the birthplace of improvisation, both Carrane and Kazurinsky are excited to host the festival locally, which will include local and national acts. In fact, Wilmette’s Actors Training Center will be hand to work with kids and families. The kids workshops are geared toward those in 3rd – 12th grade.

The best part about this entertaining afternoon opportunity? Improv isn’t just for the stage—it’s a fun way to engage your kids in an improtant life skill.

“(Consider) the skills in conversation,” says Kazurinsky. “You have to give and take give and take—it’s two people keeping a ball in the air, that’s what a conversation is.”

“I’m really excited about the workshops as I am the performances,” says Carrane. “I see so many benefits from it. I wish I had been exposed to this as a kid. Not all kids are going to go study at Second City, but if you have this skill, it’s going to help you with college interviews and job interviews. There are so many benefits to improv.”

Of course, the festival does include comedy—beginning at 5 p.m., Carrane will host his podcast, Improv Nerd, live with guest and improv icon Charna Halpern. At 6 p.m., Kazurinsky takes over as host in Navy Pier’s Grand Ballroom for several hours of live improve from groups including Baby Wants Candy, Improvised Shakespeare Co., Cook County Social Club and Uncle’s Brother, featuring former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Tim Meadows.

The evening performances require a ticket, but the afternoon activities, such as the workshops, and Carrane’s podcast performance are free.  For more information about tickets, please visit the website or Facebook.