Jon Stewart, John Oliver, Josh Gad, Ana Gasteyer, and Kristen Schaal ... all hilarious comedians, but on May 20th they were performing stories written by kids! No, they aren't in desperate need of new material, they were helping out at the benefit for "Story Pirates," a group that promotes literacy as a vital part of childhood education.
Kristen Schaal from Toy Story 3 is a founding member of "Story Pirates," but The Daily Show host Jon Stewart took the program to the next level when, after attending a "Story Pirates" show in 2008, went on CNN's Larry King Live and talked about it. Now their programs are in over 100 schools around the country. In Stewart's words, “The Story Pirates give kids a love of creative writing and a confidence in that ability that they can't get anywhere else."
Saturday Night Live alum Ana Gasteyer calls the group "entrepreneurial for all the right reasons," and Schaal says quite simply, "If you can help people and show them a new point of view, might as well." Community and The Daily Show star John Oliver was invited to a "Story Pirates" show that Schaal was performing in, and he loved it ... since then, "whenever they want me to do something, I'm in." He'll be playing Vanity Smurf in The Smurfs, and jokes that "It's a very complicated role, and I think I'll be providing a bit of darkness to an otherwise deep character...I'm sure it will be weird." And it's been a great year for Josh Gad - he's Tony Award nominated for The Book of Mormon and is starring in the new comedy She Wants Me with Hillary Duff and Charlie Sheen, but the most life-changing event of all - he's a new father, and that's what got him involved with "Story Pirates."
He wants his daughter to have the same opportunities with art that he had growing up, "because without art, I don't think we are what we can be." No word yet on a movie version of The Book of Mormon, but Gad says "if the right number comes up, they'll answer that call." For more information on "Story Pirates" go to http://storypirates.org.