It’s been a very bad month for improvisation and comedy in general. Now comes word that the great Fred Kaz, Second City’s legendary jazzman, has passed away. Many were aware that the time was drawing near for the 8 1/2 fingered piano man, but it’s still a huge loss. Fred was an institution when I first started studying there, and remained so even after he retired in the late 80s. I didn’t know him well, just enough to say hi whenever I ran into him, but he was very generous with his time when I was writing my Del Close biography. And an interesting coincidence: until I read his obituary, I didn’t realize that Fred and Del were born just a week apart back in 1934. The world of improvisation doesn’t have many icons left, so it hurts even more to lose one of Fred’s stature.
A mutual friend who preferred to remain anonymous wrote something that I thought should be passed along, so here it is. Good night, Captain.
What Would Fred Want?