|According to the Divine Miss M (Bette Midler), “You gotta laugh a little, cry a little and let the clouds roll by a little.” According to Bette, that’s the glory of love. Of course, if she were to spend a few days on our little island paradise, she would likely agree that’s also the glory of Nantucket. Summertime offers residents and visitors a wide array of social and entertainment options. Stop by the new Dreamland Theater to take in a tear-jerker, slide onto a bench on Centre Street after dinner to listen to a little light jazz coming from the Hostetler Gallery or attend one of the Nantucket Comedy Festival events to tickle your funny bone. That’s exactly what my husband Dan and I did this past Saturday night.
Brian Regan, along with his brother Dennis, was the headline act for the final performance of the Fifth Annual 3 day festival that is quickly becoming a Nantucket “can’t miss” event. The tent on Jetties Beach was bursting with enthusiastic attendees, anxious to spend a Nantucket summer night sharing a few good laughs. We all got more than we bargained for. I don’t remember the last time I laughed so hard. By the end of the evening, my mouth hurt, my side ached and the exhaustion from the busy work-week had dissipated. The laughs continued as the evening spilled over to a post dinner neighborhood “after party” where we gathered with a few friends to toast the evening and recap the hilarious stories. Yes, some jokes really are just as funny the second time around.
What is it about laughter that soothes your soul and energizes your psyche? It just feels good to laugh doesn’t it? Even a bad day, some crummy circumstances or an encounter with a demanding fellow human being all seem brighter if you can find the humor in it all. I’m one of the lucky ones. I go to work every day in a workplace filled with laughter. I’m married to a guy who makes me laugh multiple times a day – at him, myself and life in general. My children and granddaughter are all genuinely funny people. I think that’s why I was particularly moved by the focus of the Comedy Festival on Saturday night. The proceeds from the 3 day event all go to benefit Stand up & Learn (formerly ProjACK Comedy). It’s a 6 week comedy workshop created by the festival co-founder Kevin Flynn, intended to help children of all ages learn self-esteem, self-expression and self-confidence through standup comedy. The project, that got its start in the Nantucket Public Schools, has been so successful that it’s now in 5 schools nationwide and growing each year. What an amazing opportunity for young people to learn how to bring laughter and joy to others through their own self-expression.
The Comedy Festival has drawn to a close for this year, but it’s not too early to begin making plans to attend one of the events next summer or offer support to the organization now by volunteering or making a donation. In the meantime, spend the remaining summer weeks on Nantucket tapping in to your own inner “funny guy” (or gal as it were). Attend one of the local Improv events, organize a post-dinner party game of charades or simply let your hair down and allow your co-workers, friends or family to see you being a little bit silly. Charlie Chaplin once said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.”
Laugh a little!