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School Assemblies and Family Nights
School assemblies don t have to be either educational OR fun -- they can be BOTH...which is why Joe Gandelman & Friends visit some schools year after year after year. Another reason: students AND teachers ask for him to come back.

The key reason: Joe s famous Learning Through Laughter® technique which mixes entertainment and information so kids laugh and learn and retain. It has been repeatedly proven that students retain key points when principals have quizzed students after Joe s shows on the theme and specific information.

In a Sept. 2011 through May 2012 tour he did thematic school assemblies at 260 schools of all grade levels across the country -- sometimes more than one show at a single school.

All shows are carefully geared EACH AGE GROUP. There are always several programs to choose from and if your school has a special theme, he can adapt it for you at no additional expense. The most popular assemblies are:

Secrets of Ventriloquism: The assembly that others tried to copy (even down to using almost the same title) but have not been able to duplicate, various school officials say. Students see a highly educational and entertaining fast-paced show mixing comedy, music, interaction and info about ventriloquism and puppetry "secrets." At one point, student volunteers (and occasionally an enthusiastic principal or teacher) don wigs and must lip sync a rock oldie while Joe "throws" his voice into them.

Anti-drug show: Contains all the entertainment and and some of the information of Secrets except crucial statistical and anecdotal anti-drug information is also presented throughout. Kids laugh at the funny stuff, listen to the serious stuff -- and remember important points and info. Also includes anti-tobacco, anti-alcohol, anti-gang points. Over the years, these presentations have been funded by schools, PTAs and federal grants.

Anti-tobacco show: Developed at the request of a Northern California school district, this program is crammed with memorable anecdotal and statistical anti-tobacco (cigars, pipes, cigarette AND chewing tobacco) information, all neatly framed within the context of a time-and-audience-tested FUN show. All the elements of Secrets included.

Character & Respect: All the elements of Secrets is also included in this character reinforcing program. Developed at the request of a Portland, Oregon school.

Pro-Reading: The joy and importance of reading books (and on computers) stressed throughout. Joe Gandelman is an avid, fervent reader and his lifelong love for books and reading comes across -- which is why he is also popular at libraries around the state. All the elements of Secrets included.

Cultural diversity: All the elements of Secrets. Joe draws on his experience working and living as a reporter in Asia and Europe, and working as a US-Mexico border reporter to stress the importance, beauty, and cultural enrichment aspects of diversity. He will touch on his visits to various countries (India, Bangladesh, Iran, Spain, Italy, Greece, England, Israel, Mexico, France, Israel and Afghanistan). Anecdotal and statistical info included. All the elements of Secrets included, too.

Respect=No Teasing/No Bullying: One of Joe's most popular, frequently rebooked themes. It defines teasing and bullying (including in 21st century terms), explains teasing/bully's impact on the victim and aggressor, stresses the importance of making good choices, stresses the meaning and fact of consquences and underscores zero tolerance for bullying. (This has been highly popular at all levels, including middle and junior high schools).

Endangered Species: Explains the concept, the dangers and what students can do to help out.

It's Cool To Stay In School: The importance of staying in school stressed throughout.

Water Conservation And Protection: Specific ways students can help conserve water, how water is wasted, how it is protected.

Be Careful Of Strangers: A safety message inserted throughout.

Joe Gandelman Motivational Speaker: Joe will mix parts of his show with a presentation about goal setting, the importance of education, persistence, research, reading and networking -- drawing on and pointing to his experiences as a college student, graduate student, freelance journalist overseas on two continents, staff reporter on two American newspapers, entertainer, and prominent "blogger" on the Internet. Ideal for junior and high schools

Mixed themes: Your school can ask for several themes within one show. No extra charge.

Bilingual (Spanish) versions of these programs are available on request.

JOE BUILDS LIBRARIES: His acclaimed book Super-Simplified Ventriloquism (a $9.95 value -- see BOOKS & TAPES on this website) is donated to every school and library he visits.

  1. PROVEN SHOWS: His shows have been kid-tested in schools countless other venues from coast to coast.
  2. PROVEN TEACHING TECHNIQUES: His carefully-developed Learning Through Laughter® technique packages information in highly retainable -- and entertaining -- form. Several school principals quizzed students afterwards about Joe s main points and were astounded by the large amount of specific information retained. His system works.
  3. A UNIQUE BACKGROUND: Joe was a journalist for nearly 20 years abroad and in the US He news stories had to be entertaining enough to "hook" readers and present information in a concise, interesting form. He uses these same techniques in scripting and structuring school programs for elementary, junior, middle and high schools.
  4. CUSTOMIZED ASSEMBLIES AT NO EXTRA CHARGE: Joe actually enjoys customizing and has constructed his program in a way that he can easily alter it to fit your school s special theme, if you need one.
  5. HIGH REBOOK RATE: Joe is asked back A LOT. Several schools have him do their assemblies every single year.
  6. AN ANTI-DRUG/ANTI-TOBACCO MESSAGE THAT S FOR REAL: Joe has been vehemently actively anti-drug since his college days. His highly popular antidrug show (WARNING: Red Ribbon Week fills up FAST) is crammed with not only laughs but hard-hitting anecdotal and statistical information. His anti-drug/anti-tobacco show is NOT a marketing ploy -- it s his PASSION.
  7. HE HAS WORKED CLOSELY WITH YOUTHS: As a foster parent, mentor, and Big Brother, Joe worked closely with a numerous at-risk youths. In 1990, the late Maryland ventriloquist Arty Freda pressed for and got Joe designation as an Honorary Kentucky Colonel for his work with at-risk, ailing and physically challenged youths.
  8. PROFESSIONAL ENTERTAINMENT SEGMENTS: All entertainment segments reflect constant fine-tuning by Joe during thousands of performances, plus additional help from comedy writers and a comedy coach. He also makes changes based on audience feedback so the program is constantly getting funnier.
  9. EDUCATIONAL PORTIONS ARE SOLID: Joe uses his journalistic research techniques to zero in on each assembly theme s most crucial aspects. The tip of the research iceberg appears in each show. He constantly seeks feedback from educators, parents, kids and experts (such as law enforcement officials on the anti-drug show). Feedback shapes the next show.
  10. THEY ALL ENJOY THE SHOW: Joe has countless letters from parents, teachers and students. One theme: everyone who saw the show enjoyed it. As a result, word-of-mouth advertising is strong. Another consequence: he does a high school assembly as easily as an elementary school assembly.
  11. THE ORIGINAL NON-THEMATIC SHOW FITS ANY OCCASION: Schools use his original "Secrets of Ventriloquism" show -- crammed with characters, laughs, interaction and ventriloquism/puppetry facts -- as a regular assembly or family night. It is his most requested program.
  12. NO COMPLEX FORMULAS FOR HIS FAMILY NIGHTS: A flat rate. No accountants or special computer software needed to figure out what Joe s family night costs you! No complex payment formulas.
Read a Minnesota newspaper's'report on Joe's anti-bullying program at a local school:

"Mr. Joe is very personable and has good interaction with the students."
--Lincoln Christian School, Tulsa, OK

"Students were engaged and enjoyed the whole performance. Job well done."
--Izard Co Cons Elementary School, Violet Hill, AR

"Great message."
--Lakewood Elementary School, Norwalk IA

"We all enjoyed it. Very student friendly."
--Washington Elementary School, Boise, ID

"Joe’s attitude and presentation were both very good! He worked very well with the audience age level."
--Northside Elementary School, Nebraska City, NE

"Our student thoroughly enjoyed the excellent performance. A great variety of puppets! Audience participation! The message of good character building was also included and well done. We would have him back in the future."
--Arts Council, Hill City, KS

"Took time to talk to one of my children when he was afraid of one of the puppets."
--Center Elementary School, Clearfield, PA

"Students as well as staff and teachers really enjoyed the assembly! Students learned fun things about ventriloquists and staff said they enjoyed the laughs."
---Bernalillo Elementary School, Bernalillo, NM

"Although the focus of the assembly was changed last month, he did a good job engaging the students and kept their interest throughout the program."
--Audrey Clark Elementary, Long Branch, NJ

"Kids loved the program!"
--Farmersville Elementary School, Mount Vernon, IN

"Kids loved it. Thanks!"
--Au Gres-Sims Elementary, Au Gres, MI

"Had a great message on bullying. Really engaged the students."
--Sweeney Elementary School, Willimantic, CT

"Enjoyed by all students and staff!"
--Hodgesville Elementary School, Buckhanon, WV

Want to know more? Click here to send Joe an email at
(Click on any of the shows listed below for more info.)
Corporate Shows
Fairs & Festivals
School Assemblies and Family Nights
Anti-Bullying Program
Adult Private Parties and Group Shows
Children's/Family Private Parties, Shows
Scout Troups
Learn from Joe
What people have said ...


"You and your "family" were a great hit with the kids AND staff. I especially want to thank you for your workshops throughout the day. Our students were so impressed, especially our Jr. High wing." --Hayfork Elementary School, Hayfork, CA

"I was extremely pleased with the assemblies (K-2 and 3-6). Mr. Gandelman was entertaining for all groups including our teachers. He spoke concerning alcohol, drug and tobacco abuse. He was funny and serious. He did an excellent job educating students with a clear message appropriate for each audience. My own children thought the assembly was great, too!" --PTA, Marie Curie Elementary School, San Diego, Ca

"We ve used Mr. Gandelman several times. The programs were excellent. Mr. Gandelman is a true professional with a strong affinity with his audiences. His programs are wonderful for Red Ribbon Week and can be adapted (with advance notice) to different themes. --Caesar Chavez School. Coachella, CA. (Bilingual show for lower grades)

"Our students were absolutely delighted with the show. Teacher s comments were "Best assembly we ve had all year...I m ready to start bake sales, if I have to, so we can get him back next year!" --Mammoth Elementary School, San Manuel, AZ

"A wonderful program! Everyone -- students and teachers alike -- thoroughly enjoyed it! Parents commented the following day that your program was the topic of conversation at the dinner table that night."" --St. Cornelius School, Long Beach, CA

"Our students, especially since 95 percent of them are English-language learners, were able to enjoy your presentation as active participants. Your style is both entertaining and educational." --Chualar Elementary, Chualar, CA

"The students were completely enthralled (in your assemblies) to promote drug, alcohol and tobacco abuse prevention. By humorously weaving the theme throughout your presentation, students are more likely to internalize your message." --Luther Burbank School, Santa Rosa, CA

"It was obvious that Mr. Gandelman was enjoying what he was doing -- and equally as obvious that our children enjoyed his visit and assemblies." --Lindo Park School, Lakeside, CA

"We would like to recommend your assembly program to other elementary schools especially for the unique way you tie anti-smoking and anti-drug material to your humorous presentation. We also appreciated the skill in which you adapted the level of your presentation to our age groups

"Our teachers relaxed with the laughter and our students loved the participation. Thank you for a talented, well-crafted, educational day!" --Mission Park School, Salinas, Ca

"I never HEARD such laughter! Your positive rapport with students is rare among visiting performers!" --Jack s Valley Elementary, Minden, NV

"Both students and staff found his performance highly entertaining and extremely informative. Mr. Gandelman brought out a variety of (dummies and puppets) to entertain the children, each of which had its own unique personality and sense of humor. He performed three assemblies for students ranging in grade levels from kindergarten through junior high and did an excellent job adjusting each program to best suit the ages for which he was performing. It was a pleasure having him visit our school!" --Carlton Hills School, Santee, CA (elementary and middle school age)

"The children never took their eyes off you! My students immediately went to the puppets in the classroom to imitate you." --McKinley Elementary, Redlands, CA

"We were so delighted! I have been telling principals of all our district s schools to book one of your assemblies!" --John C. Fremont School, Merced, Ca

"A dream come true! This show is definitely a TEN!" --Grenada Elementary School District, Grenada, CA

"Joe Gandelman performed at our school with a great reception. Students and teachers alike enjoyed the program. The puppets were fun, the students were engaged throughout the performance, which included a clear no-use tobacco message. I would recommend Joe for your school assembly." --John Tyler Elementary School, Stockton, CA


Joe Gandelman's Friends were brought into Princeton, Indiana by Broomfield Elementary School to do school assemblies on an anti-tobacco grant. Here are comments from the teacher who set it up and excerpts from a small portion of student testimonial letters about the presentation (last names not used for security reasons).
  • "On behalf of Brumfield Elementary School, we would like to thank Joe Gandelman for his wonderful show! His presentation was not only entertaining but educational. Our staff was impressed by Joe s ability to send such a strong message in a manner that really seemed to reach our students."
  • "...I must admit that booking someone that I had learned about from the Internet scared me a bit. Yet our principal contacted some of Joe s posted references, and he heard nothing but good things."
"Brumfield Elementary School operates on a tight budget. However, Mr. Gandelman was more than willing to work within our grant budget guidelines to make our show happen. Joe even went above the call of duty...(He) performed three anti-tobacco shows...and then he conducted three small 'meet and greet' shows for selected students who wanted to learn more about his talent. Our school cannot thank Joe enough." --Mary W., 4th/5th grade teacher, Brumfield Elementary School, Princeton, Indiana


As part of Brumfield s anti-tobacco grant, students were asked by their teachers to write comments about the program. Here are some excerpts from the many written comments:

"(Your program) was entertaining and I think you are a great influence on kids my age, younger and older. I truly believe you help stop the increase of tobacco (use) with kids my age and older." -- Mollie

"You taught us in a fun way." -- Alicia

"Thank you for telling us about tobacco. I told my brother about it. Then he told his friends. You did good with the puppets." -- Nick

"I loved the jokes...I just wish my Mom could have seen it. She has been a smoker since she was in her late teens and she s now in her early 30 s. To tell you the truth I almost cried. So I wanted to tell you, THANK YOU!" --Kailee

"The show was very good, it was funny and educational." --Craig

"I learned so much from Joe Gandelman. He is really amazing. He showed me what can really happen to people who smoke -- not just lung cancer (but) lip cancer and all others. (The assembly) told me cigarettes don t just harm the people that smoke them but the people around them."

"It wasn t about the dummies or the jokes or the songs -- it was showing us what smoking can do to your body. So I made a choice. Did I really want that to happen to me? I don t think so. One thing is for sure. I ll never smoke." -- Dominic

"I really learned a lot about ventriloquism and no (on) tobacco. My parents smoke but I don t want to because it is a nasty habit and it s hard to quit...I liked the show. I will say no to tobacco." -- Jessica

"I learned a lot about smoking and chewing tobacco and how it can give you cancer. And about how it can kill you. And I really liked your show out of the whole year the best. And I hope you ll be back next year." -- Sarah

"You were great! I liked it all...You taught me a lot..." -- Tyler

"I liked how (Joe) informed us about how we can get sick and even die from using ANY kind of tobacco including pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco, cigarettes and cigars. From hearing that I will never use any of those. I also like how (Joe) incorporated the idea of ventriloquism into his act. He didn t just use puppets and dummies he also used people. His act was educational and fun at the same time." -- Arik

"I really loved everything about it...I would like Joe the ventriloquist to come to Brumfield Elementary again and again." -- Danielle

"You taught me not to smoke when I get older. I do not want to have anything that has to do with tobacco...(because) I do not want to get any kind of cancer." -- Che

"You are one of the coolest people I know. I want to be a ventriloquist just like you...I laughed through the whole thing. And I was lucky to be picked to see you after lunch (at the workshop). I will keep practicing until I get it right." -- Keenan

"You taught the kids lots of interesting facts. You re a cool dude." -- Adam

"Today we went to a program called the anti-tobacco show. It was fun! The guy who did the ventriloquism is Joe Gandelman. I hope he does a lot more shows at our school! He does cool stuff. Every since I was little I wanted to do something like that." -- Keely


"I especially enjoyed watching some of our rougher students become involved with your performance. They began by laughing quietly in the rear of the room and slowly worked their way to the foot of the stage to be closer to your act. Your ability to successfully include both staff and students in your skits made the performance even more meaningful for our students." --Gavilan View Middle School, Salinas, Ca

"I admit I was a bit apprehensive about using a ventriloquist to entertain junior high school-age students, however, you had no problem keeping their attention with your contemporary themes and audience participation. Judging by the laughter I heard throughout the show I would say it was a great success. I ve received many positive comments -- and have since seen several students trying out the techniques your taught them." --Buena Park Jr. High School, Buena Park, CA

"Excellent Students and staff learned, and laughed and experienced a message presented in a novel format. Mr. Gandelman established instant rapport with the audience. It s obvious that Joe has invested a great deal of time in perfecting his presentation and continues to adjust to meet his varied audiences needs." --Mesa Verde Middle School, Poway, CA

"Terrific assembly. You taught, entertained and involved our 7th and 8th graders. Many teachers and students expressed their delight with your informative and humorous approach." --Wilson Jr. High School, El Centro, CA


"I recommend Joe Gandelman and his teaching of ventriloquism to promote the theme of anti-drugs and building self-esteem. Mr. Gandelman performed for our 310 students in grades 7-12 in an assembly and taught our students how to be ventriloquists in the process.

"After the assembly, Mr. Gandelman stayed all day and taught our 7th and 8th grade reading classes how ventriloquists use the dummies and throw their voices. At the end of the day, our 11th and 12th grade Theater Arts students were also taught the art of ventriloquism and showmanship.

"Not only did our student body of 310 junior high and high school students learn about the tragedy of drugs, but they also learned the hands on experience how ventriloquists operate and perform. He does an outstanding job of entertaining -- and teaching -- our kids." --Ganado Jr. High-Senior High, Ganado, TX (FOOTNOTE: Many of those high school students turned out to see Joe that weekend at a nearby fair)

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