A legendary improv team that studied extensively with Del Close while at ImprovOlympic in Chicago. The Family was the house team at IO for a time. With Del, they experimented and developed several forms including The Movie, The Deconstruction. They were the first group to play fast with tag-outs and edits. It's been said "As Jazz Freddy was slow, The Family was fast."
They were the ImprovOlympic house team which performed regularly on Friday and Saturday nights when iO was still at the Wrigleyside bar. They created two shows with Del Close as their director, Three Mad Rituals and Dynamite Fun Nest. They also created a format/show called The Living Room which was made into a television pilot.
The team had different line ups over time. Their line up just before and during Three Mad Rituals was Matt Besser, Ian Roberts, Neil Flynn, Miles Stroth, Adam McKay, and Ali Farahnakian. These six performers is the line up that most people think of who remember the Family.
However, they did have other members both before and after this show. For instance, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler appeared with them in the Living Room. And Pete Hulne was a member when they were still doing Harold, before Three Mad Rituals.
Original name was The Victim's Family. The team name was changed to "The Family" after original member Rick Roman was killed in a car accident.
Where Are They Now
The members of The Family continue to be successful actors, writers, improv instructors, theater founders and missionaries of what they learned from Del:
- Matt Besser, Ian Roberts, and (originally) Adam McKay, went on to form the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater and write and perform in various TV show and films.
- Miles Stroth founded The Miles Stroth Workshop in Los Angeles. As the theater grew in popularity, it evolved into and rebranded as The Pack Theater.
- Adam McKay was head-writer for Saturday Night Live and then went on to write and direct films with his partner Will Ferrell, who both created the comedy website Funny Or Die.
- Ali Farahnakian opened The Peoples Improv Theater, aka The PIT, in New York City