The Claremont Colleges Comedic Storytelling

Next show November 7th, get your tickets here


“Comedic Storytelling was a worthwhile event for everyone to attend. How often do we get to connect as a larger 5C community in such an authentic and fun way? Hearing people’s stories and experiences through their lenses in a format that made the audience laugh.”

“It’s important to feel connected to those around us. Taking a moment to enjoy the event as a staff member of the 5Cs was also invaluable.”

“I think people need to take a moment away from their studies and work to connect with each other and this was an awesome opportunity for that.”

“I’m not going to lie, I probably wouldn’t have attended had my friend not invited me, but I’m so glad I did. “

“Thought provoking stories that also happened to be funny.”

“Performers so comfortable on stage it did not feel like debut or first-time for any of them. Bravo!’,”

“I had an amazing time watching stand up”

“I’d like to hear more stories!”

“I wish I was as good as the student comedians to tell stories!” 

“The show left me feeling impressed and joyous” 

“Inspiring, fun, and carefree!” 


Student Testimonials

“I had never had much interest in standup before, but after listening to Johnathan and Shamani and writing my own set I realized how much fun it was. Within a month I went from a total beginner to performing my own set in an actual show. The whole class was a great experience that let me be myself.”

“The Comedic Storytelling program was a really fun and empowering experience led by wonderfully supportive teachers.”

“Professors Jonathan Aragon and Shamini Dias are masters of their crafts!”

“I feel a strong connection to my cohort and the professionals who lead the class.”

“I now feel very optimistic and confident””I am energized”

“I feel Happy and proud!”

“I am feeling fulfilled and eager to challenge myself in other ways”

“It has taught me to see things through and finish what I start, no matter how uncomfortable, awkward, and cringe it may be.”

“I truly felt like I could be seeing one of my classmates with a Netflix stand-up special!” 

“Performing for a group of students and friends gave me a chance to show them a side of me that I don’t normally show others.”

“It was fun and memorable – I’m a staff member!”

“Enhanced my experiences with the Claremont colleges.”

“It made the end of my college experience a lot more exciting to look forward to. It also gave me an actual opportunity to try and pursue a passion I’ve been thinking about for a long time but never had the chance to try.”

“It has taught me to see things through and finish what I start, no matter how uncomfortable, awkward, and cringe it may be.”

“It’s always nice to be surrounded by funny people. I enjoyed the diverse perspectives of multiple instructors who gave insight to how storytelling, theatre/acting, and movement play a role in stand-up comedy. 

“This class introduced me to standup and made me realize how much I enjoyed performing. I wouldn’t have ever tried it otherwise.”

“I realized I’m not as stage shy as I previously thought.”

“It’s been a great experience and has made me feel like a part of the 5C community.”

“It definitely got me out of my comfort zone. I think it was just nice to do something personal for myself, especially something as bold and brave as this. I’m really happy with how it went.”

“Encouraged risk taking.”

“It’s made me feel capable and interested me in similar future opportunities.”

“It’s prompted me to consider other ways in which I can challenge myself and step out of my comfort zone.”

“Got me back on the stage for the first time in a long time – but with a new creative outlet!”~ Feedback from my students 

~ Class of Spring 2023



How to be funny: Comedic storytelling class has multiple benefits

September 28th, 2023

A person standing on a stage with a microphone

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Claremont McKenna College student Bertha Tobas shares her story at The Motley Coffeehouse in April as

part of the Claremont Colleges Comedic Storytelling course. Image/courtesy of Jonathan Aragon


by Andrew Alonzo |


Professor Jonathan Aragon’s Claremont Colleges  Comedic Storytelling   course aims to impart a critical comedic principle: how to tell a funny story.


Aragon began hosting the free and open to the public course Tuesday at 130 E. Seventh St., Claremont. The class, which is offered through  The Hive , a Claremont Colleges hub that hosts courses not typically offered through regular curriculum, will continue over three consecutive Tuesdays. More info is at, search “Claremont Colleges Comedic Storytelling.”


The course is facilitated by Aragon, Professor of Transdisciplinary Studies at CGU  Shamini Dias , and actor  Bryan Truong , from last semester’s course. Students will workshop a story ahead of an October 24 showcase at The Motley Coffeehouse on the Scripps College campus.

“I encourage them to have that sense of bravery and step into that because vulnerability, it’s usually the last thing we want to give, but it’s the first thing other people want in us,” Aragon said. “And through the vulnerability, that’s where the connections happen with the audience, because the audience can identify with the human experience in that way.”


The course is meant to promote social emotional learning and empowerment, “So you can take a negative and present it in a comedic way,” Aragon said. “You turn it into a positive. “It’s also an opportunity to sort of reflect and explore your own past or something you’re vulnerable about. And then by sharing it openly with others using humor, it re-frames that experience in your mind.”


Students will also learn how to craft a story that captures an audience’s attention and taps their emotions. With over a decade in the entertainment industry as a comic and academic experience with CGU, Aragon is hoping to share what he knows about blending comedy with education for amateurs. “If you tell a true personal story, you can never bomb. Even if the jokes don’t land, people are still going to be super engaged in the story that you’re telling,” he said. “You have to understand others just as much as you understand yourself. And then you have to know how to read a room too. It’s not just how you understand the story or what’s funny to you, but how do you explain it in a way that others cannot only understand it, but relate to it. “You don’t just pick a joke to tell because it’s funny. You pick a joke that’s going to help other people too. Right now, I don’t really critique what they choose to say because I want them to have that freedom, but I do teach them something that is going to be some kind of message at the end that’s going to help other people.”


Aragon is hoping the idea will get some legs. “There’s nothing like this in colleges right now,” he said. “We have theater in the colleges, we have maybe speech, public speaking classes. When you do comedy, when you do storytelling instead of comedy and you’re only saying things that are true, you are putting yourself out there. It’s great for comedy, but it’s also great if you got to do a research talk. Human beings connect to storytelling. “Doing community storytelling is not watching television, it’s all about the magic of the moment.”


For more information, visit e or .


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