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Beginning 11/3. Graduation Show 12/15.

The Comedy Boot Camp Program is managed by Michael Quinn, a retired combat veteran. The goal of this class is for participants to experience personal growth and self-confidence by making an investment in themselves. We are much more than a classroom – we are an inclusive community that facilitates a safe space for veterans to make lasting connection.

This program is designed for those who want to learn the art of stand-up comedy, as humor and laughter opens one’s mindset to invite positive social exchanges. Participants will gain confident public speaking skills, creativity, writing skills, resilience, a sense of purpose and a feeling of belonging. The John F. Gority Academy for Veterans does this through the restorative power of comedy, storytelling, and creative expression.

Participants will learn:

To be present. Comedians see things differently than the average person. You will learn to pay attention to the mundane stuff that most gloss over. Everything that happens to you and the experiences you have had will have the potential of becoming part of your act.

Don’t take life too seriously. You will learn that your day-to-day is about finding those moments that make you and hopefully others laugh.

Tell great stories. You will learn to be a great storyteller because stories will become the heart and soul of your bit. You will learn how to recount those memories to a live audience in a creative way that holds their attention and maximizes your humor.

Failure. It is a regular part of life, and you will learn how to embrace it and learn from it. We can either choose to let it get us down and throw us off our game or we can learn from it and improve. The next time that you fail, you will look to comedians as your shield and inspiration.

Community. Just like in the military you will develop a sense of camaraderie not only with those learning with you in your class but also from the network of comedians that you will experience. Whatever your day job may be you need to learn to develop networks of great relationships. That means getting to know the right people and other movers and shakers in your work and in your community.

Think on your feet. Most stand-up comics have a sharp wit. Comedians learn to be quick on their feet and can say things that make any situation funny.

Learn to write. Stand-up comics develop and hone their material by writing it down before they perform on stage. While delivery of that material will ultimately drive laughter, the material needs to be soldi and writing is the process that makes it happen. Writing effectively is one of life’s most valuable skills.

About Mike Quinn

Mike Quinn

Mike is a 20 year Army veteran with many overseas assignments including Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Germany and Hawaii (hey somebody had to do it). Since retiring from his 20 year Army career Mike has volunteered for multiple veterans support organizations and has worked to make a positive impact in the veteran community, something he is excited to continue doing through his role at ArtsAltoona. 

Mike is a certified scuba instructor, an avid outdoorsman and has a passion for hiking and exploring. Mike started his comedy career on the hard hitting streets of the Pittsburgh comedy scene performing at numerous establishments around the city to include the Pittsburgh Improv. 

Mike has 3 children, 2 grandchildren and has volunteered as Boy Scout leader for many years. Mike enjoys teaching and entertaining children.