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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.  All of Joe Gandelman’s school shows feature a BIG cast of characters, interaction and his famous Learning Through Laughter® technique which seamlessly mixes entertainment, an important theme and information so kids laugh, learn and retain.  (See school testimonials at the bottom of the page.)

Joe, John Raven & Kids

Joe and his pal John Raven entertain some kids

More than 26 years of school shows

For more than 26 years, Joe Gandelman and his friends have performed at schools throughout the country, which included two special tours of schools throughout US and in Canada.  All shows are carefully adjusted to EACH AGE GROUP.  Some schools have use the show for a mixed K – 12 audiences.

Just pick, mix or customize (for free) your school theme.

There are several themes to choose, but schools can also request mixed themes or adapt a school’s customized, requested theme at NO extra cost. The most popular assemblies are:

Secrets of Ventriloquism: Students see a highly educational and entertaining fast-paced show mixing comedy, interaction and info about ventriloquism and puppetry “secrets.” Some students get up and try a dummy.

Joel the Troll talks to kids

Joel the Troll talks to kids

Respect=No Teasing/No Bullying: The most popular theme. It defines teasing and bullying , explains teasing/bully’s impact on the victim and aggressor, stresses the importance of making good choices, stresses the meaning and fact of consequences and underscores zero tolerance for bullying — and for cyber bullying. Cyber bulling also covered. READ MORE HERE

Anti-drug show: Good decisions, good actions, good choices and the importance of making healthy choices. Schools differ on how to approach the theme so each school is consulted so Joe can include any of its preferred points. Content varies with grade level. Often combined (at school request) with anti-tobacco and anti alcohol.

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, chewing tobacco, and updated to include electronic cigs) information, all neatly framed within the context of a FUN show

Joe, John and an audience member chat at a school assembly

All of Joe Gandelman’s shows feature a BIG cast of characters, interaction and his famous Learning Through Laughter® technique.
Click here to learn more about Joe and the work he does.

Pro-Reading: The joy and importance of reading books (and on computers) stressed throughout. Joe Gandelman is an avid, fervent reader and writer and his lifelong love for books and reading comes across — which is why this program is booked heavily at libraries and schools throughtout California. This show is often combined with the Family Nights show for an amazing event.

Cultural diversity: 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 of Ventriloquism are included in this popular show.

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. Internet safety is included, with a stronger message for middle-school students and warning also about cyberbullying.

PRE-TEST ASSEMBLY: A show that helps prepare kids for the important state testing. Topics include the importance of following directions, getting to bed early, having a good breakfast, realizing you already know the material and will do well, and not to get stuck on trying to answer one problem. School can also mix in its own suggested tips. (Joe Gandelman has a B.A. degree from Colgate University and a masters degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.)

Other requested themes have include Internet safety,  nutrition, the importance of doing homework, and help on fundraisers.

Family nights (Recommended): The full hour program with the show and the 15 minute how to do ventriloquism segment, using student volunteers.

Special Motivational Program: 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. Used by some junior and high schools.

Joe and friends pose at school

Joe’s friends pose for a picture.


“Very entertaining, engaging, timely and important message and literacy connected.”

– Mother Teresa Catholic School, Russell, ON, CANADA
“Delivered a tailored message to our school. Joe took the “sticking our necks out for kids” and used it in his message. Outstanding!”

– Mill Stream Elementary School, Norridgewock, ME
“The students were enthralled and entertained. Thank you for a fun morning and for incorporating our anti-bullying and reading messages into your program.”

– Kenyon-Wanamingo Elementary School, Wanamingo, MN
“A big heart with a focus on the students! Joe exceeded our expectations with meeting the needs of the students and being flexible to reschedule due to some inclement weather. A great communicator with administration and won the hearts of the students! I highly recommend him.”

– Jamestown Elementary School, Jamestown, CA
“We’ve had Joe several times at our school to perform at our character assemblies. He is very professional, always arrives on time and always puts on a good show.”

– Casa Blanca Community School, Bapchule, AZ
“Joe performed two outstanding shows to top off our Red Ribbon Week activities. Our students, many of whom had never seen a ventriloquist, loved him and his “friends”. A hit with our kindergartners was the spinning head! Joe infused the anti-drug theme into the program with personal messages that young students could understand. Joe, thank you for traveling hundreds of miles to bring laughter to hundreds of kids!”

– Tuba City Boarding School, Tuba City, AZ
“The assembly was fantastic! One staff member said, ‘He should have an act in Vegas!’ The kids laughed the whole time—it was the perfect combination of teaching important concepts (diversity, tolerance, and respect) dashed with a good dose of humor. Thank you!”

– Braly Elementary, Sunnyvale, CA
“The students were enthralled and entertained. Thank you for a fun morning and for incorporating our anti-bullying and reading messages into your program.”

– Kenyon-Wanamingo Elementary School, Wanamingo, MN
“Our middle school students loved this assembly. The message about bullying is a very good one! He did the message with laugher and positivity. Thank you!”

– Wind Gap Middle School, Pen Argyl, PA
“Mr. Gandelman was entertaining for all groups including our teachers. He did an excellent job educating students with a clear message appropriate for each audience.”

– PTA, Marie Curie Elementary School, San Diego, CA
“We’ve used Mr. Gandelman several times. Mr. Gandelman is a true professional with a strong affinity with his audiences.”

– Caesar Chavez School. Coachella, CA. (Bilingual show for lower grades)
“I 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.”

– Gavilan View Middle School, Salinas, CA
“Joe took our ‘Sticking our necks out for kids’ and used it in his message. Outstanding!”

– Mill Stream Elementary School, Norridewock, ME
“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 recommend Joe Gandelman and his anti-drugs, building self-esteem program. Mr. Gandelman performed for our 310 7-12 graders an stayed all day and taught our 7th and 8th grade classes ventriloquism, and later our 11th and 12th grade Theater Arts students . He does an outstanding job of entertaining — and teaching — our kids.”

– Ganado Jr. High-Senior High, Ganado, TX
“The show was a perfect fit! The wide variety of puppet characters and different voices had them laughing and entertained them the whole time.”

– P.S. 276, Brooklyn, NY
Joe Speaks for a Young Volunteer at a School Assembly

Joe Speaks for a Young Volunteer

“I told him that I wanted the kids excited about reading and have fun. Mr. Gandelman’s assemblies did that and more. If the assemblies could motivate one student to read and to do research, then I would have accomplished my objective. After he left, a student approached me and was so excited about what Gandelman did with his characters. The student wanted to learn about ventriloquism. He wanted to read! And that’s what I wanted!”

– School Program facilitator, Bradley Elementary School, San Bernardino, CA
“It’s not easy to keep both parent and students entertained for an entire hour family night, but that’s exactly what Joe Gandelman did. He had an entire auditorium mesmerized . Every time he brought out a new puppet, the kids roared . He also stuck around after and talked to kids about the behind the scenes of puppetry.”

– Clearview Elementary, Chula Vista, 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
“My whole class and myself agree that you are our favorite performer/assembly/visitor of the whole year. Show makes us all laugh so hard, especially me! I laughed so hard I cried, for two years in a row now! As we walked out of the assembly today, I had at least 5 students come up to me and say they wish they could stay and listen to you all day(me too)!”

– Fifth grade teacher, Oak Elementary, Huntington Beach, CA
“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
“By far the best show we have had at our school!”

– John R. Lawrence Elementary School, Archdale, NC
“Good message. Enjoyed by students and faculty alike!”

– Mt. Hall Elementary School, Bonners Ferry, ID
“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
“The students were so engaged and LOVED your jokes. [The] Head of the Lower School, was delighted with your program, too. The teachers loved watching their students become involved. Thanks again!”

– The Alexander Dawson School, Las Vegas, NV 89135
“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
“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 retain.”

– Luther Burbank School, Santa Rosa, CA
“I never HEARD such laughter! Your positive rapport with students is rare among visiting performers!”

– Jack s Valley Elementary, Minden, NV
“Your act was very entertaining for all of the kids and the teachers. Many students and teachers have commented that yours was one of the best assemblies that we have had. We will be talking to teachers and parents at other school sites recommending you to their schools.”

– Gardnerville Elementary, Gardnerville, NV

Student feedback from a special anti-tobacco  elementary school  program in Brumfield, Indiana:

“(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
“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
“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 liked how (Joe) informed us about how we can get sick and from using ANY kind of tobacco including chewing tobacco. 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
“You taught us a lot of things. You’re a cool dude.”

– Adam

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