‘I Want You Laughing With Me’

Mr. Whelehan Reminisces About Stand-Up Comedy Experience

Mr. Whelehan has a special talent that many people in this school don’t even know about: Stand-up comedy.  Mr. Whelehan is a theology teacher and 1996 graduate of McQuaid Jesuit, but unbeknownst to many, his skills extend well beyond the classroom.

Mr. Whelehan stands outside his classroom. The pinnacle of his stand-up comedy career was opening for David Spade in college. (Aidan Hanna ’23)

Mr. Whelehan spends lots of time in class joking with students and making theology upbeat and interesting. Come to find out, this skill was developed over a lifetime of practice.

Mr. Whelehan is an alumnus of Loyola University Chicago where he started his stand-up comedy career. After some persuasion from his friends, he agreed to write his first couple minutes of stand-up comedy for a student competition.

“And that went well, I won that competition,” he said. After winning this competition multiple times, Loyola Chicago made him the opener for the biggest show of his career: David Spade.

“That was a natural high unlike I have ever felt; 10,000 people laughing with you and cheering with you. That was awesome,” Mr. Whelehan said.

Mr. Whelehan may have started officially doing stand-up in college, but his love for comedy began at a much younger age.

“Growing up as a chubby, awkward, nice guy, I wasn’t a bully, but I got bullied. I used comedy as a defense mechanism,” he said. “I don’t want you laughing at me. I want you to laugh with me.” 

Comedians inspire other comedians. Mr. Whelehan remarked that Robin Williams was his favorite comedian. “I loved Robin Williams. He was franetic, he was energetic,” he said.

Mr. Whelehan continued to do local stand-up comedy shows in Chicago and Rochester for a while before stopping due to kids and grad school, but he has not lost his love for comedy. His students spoke on his ability to make the classroom fun.

“Mr. Whelehan is always ready to make your day better by making you laugh,” said Matei Jucan ‘23.

“Mr. Whelehan brightens up the classroom with his jokes and quick wit,” added Quinn Considine ‘23.