Stand Up & Learn


About the Program

Stand Up & Learn is the Nantucket Comedy Festival's 501(c)(3) nonprofit comedy education program. It empowers youth ages 8-18 to build self-confidence through learning to write and perform original stand-up comedy. This art form provides a wealth of skills that can be applied to the real world, including storytelling, creative writing, interpersonal communication and public speaking.

SULDreamlandStand Up & Learn is presented as a three-day workshop by Kevin Flynn, a professional comedian and executive director of the Nantucket Comedy Festival. Since the 2007 inception of Stand Up & Learn, the program has been offered year-round and has reached over 250 island children. Stand Up & Learn consists of a series of lessons that teach students the stand-up comedy writing process by "finding the funny" in their own life stories. Each student begins by choosing a humorous moment from his or her life, and then shaping it into an entertaining vignette, dotted with jokes and well-timed punch lines. With help from their expert instructors, the kids fine-tune and practice their stories. After going through the program, students get the chance to perform their original comedy material in front of a live audience at the Nantucket Comedy Festival, and throughout the year at the Dreamland Theater.

With your help, Stand Up & Learn has grown leaps and bounds since last year, and we draw ever closer to our goal of developing a formal curriculum. Over the past year, the Nantucket Comedy Festival has worked with numerous curriculum specialists to help hone and enrich Stand Up & Learn's lessons and program. These educators are formalizing the great work that has already been done, and crafting a program that can be taught by many more teachers.

Every child deserves the chance to build self-confidence and become acquainted with his or her unique abilities. Stand Up & Learn's dynamic road to such achievements has proven successful year after year. Proceeds from the Nantucket Comedy Festival mark a great starting point for holding year-round Stand Up & Learn workshops, but there remains a greater need for support. To get involved or to become a financial supporter of Stand Up & Learn, please contact Thank you for being an important part of the kids' journeys!


Created and hosted by professional comedian Kevin Flynn, with the help of nationally known author and educator Michael DiSpezio and award-winning producer A. Dean Bell, the instructional videos teach students to analyze everything from the psychology of humor in What’s So Funny? (lesson #3), to the subtleties of pace and timing in Telling Stories (lesson #18). The course topics offer students the opportunity to practice an assortment of communication skills essential both on and off stage. Each of Stand Up and Learn’s twenty lessons reinforces the elements of comedy as they relate to real life. Some skills include:

• LEARN about the psychology of humor, and what makes something funny
• APPLY creative writing skills to comedy
• EXPLORE the art of story telling
• ANALYZE performance clips to understand what makes effective comedy
• WORK in cooperative team environments
• CREATE original material from personal experiences and distilled from current events
• PERFORM an original routine in front of an audience
• LEARN to deal with hecklers

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