Fifteen years ago comedian Kevin Flynn saw the need to inspire Nantucket’s youth after a rash of teen suicides here in 2007. Knowing there is healing power in laughter, he spearheaded an educational program designed to teach students how to perform stand-up, and he provided comedy lessons. Flynn’s program, called Stand Up & Learn™, is now a nationally-acclaimed comedy education program for youth ages 8 to 18 that uses laughter to empower, engage, and inspire. In order to perpetuate the good work of the nascent Stand Up & Learn™ program, he reached out to friends in the comedy world and to organize a fundraiser: the annual Nantucket Comedy Festival.
This Wednesday, July 13, the Nantucket Comedy Festival opens it’s 14th year with the world premiere of Nantucket Nights: A Filmed Special Featuring Don Gavin showing in the Dreamland Theatre. Gavin, the Godfather of Boston Comedy, filmed his first ever television special here on Nantucket last Christmas Stroll. Watch the hilarious final edit, plus live opening comedy by Boston comic and festival favorite, Jimmy Dunn. After the special, there will be a live Q & A with Don Gavin, Jimmy Dunn, Director Dan Driscoll and Comedy Festival Executive Director, Kevin Flynn. You don’t want to miss this comedy legend in action!
Comedy Festival 2022 continues on Thursday at 8 pm with the ever-popular Ladies’ Night. Nationally headlining comediennes Tammy Pescatelli, Marla Schultz, Bernadette Pauley and Carolyn Plummer bring their lively talents to the Dreamland Stage for a hilarious evening designed for both for ladies and for gentlemen, so make it a date night or bring your friends.
Friday, July 15, local Nantucket kids who have taken Stand Up & LearnTM workshops perform their original stand-up sets on stage in the White Heron Theatre at 5 pm. Professional comics will be on hand to give notes to these up-andcoming future comics. This show is a free, family-friendly, and fun for all ages. At 8 pm, the fun moves back to the Dreamland Theatre as Comedy Fest performers ease into a Night of Southern Comfort for a decidedly adult-only show, featuring some of the top comedians from the South: Ron Bullard, Tony Esposito, and KarenMorgan. Rounding off the evening, local comic and musician Brian Glowacki’s band Perfect Day will play Southern music, and, add to the laughs as the festival celebrates the life of comedian Vic Henley.
Boston vs New York Comedy SmACKdown ends the 2022 Nantucket Comedy Festival on a high note on Saturday, July 16 when comedians from Boston and New York face-off. Emmy Award Winner Bob Ley from ESPN will once again officiate and keep the game (relatively) clean as these comics swing for the fences. Jay Whittaker, Brad Mastrangelo, and Paul D’Angelo are here for Boston; and for New York: Al Ducharme, Marla Schultz and Alex Babbitt. This show always sells out, so buy your tickets now!
“Every year, the Nantucket Comedy Festival brings together an amazing group of talented comedians who come to the island in order to raise funds for our children’s charity Stand Up & LearnTM,” says Founder and Executive Director Kevin Flynn. “We are all so grateful to have made it through the last two difficult years, and we are so happy to be back at full capacity again.”
Tickets and Patron Passes may be purchased at Nantucketcomedy.com.
The Nantucket Comedy Festival is a non-profit organization that uses comedy to empower, engage, and inspire through its annual festival and the year-round Stand Up & LearnTM workshops for students. Their vision is a community connected by laughter.