Laughter is the best medicine for Kelli Dunham, RN, BSN, a NYC-based nurse, comedian, and writer who has been performing comedy as a nursing side gig for 25 years to help nurses deal with the profession’s stress.

Dunham’s latest show she wrote and is performing in is called Second Helping: Two Dead Lovers, Dead Funny. Dunham will be performing in NYC, on the Lower East Side’s Caveat on May 18th at 4 pm (with a virtual option May 18th).

The show is part stand-up comedy, part sit-down tragedy, with love and body fluids in the cracks in between. A hilarious queer tragicomedy about death, grief, nuns behaving badly, exploding knee replacements, and the limitations of bootstraps.

“Second Helping is…a love letter to the power of community. This show is a must-see for anyone who’s ever hesitated before asking for help” -Bechdel Theatre.” Second Helping is drop-dead funny” –Go Magazine.

Get Your Tickets

Caveat is at 21A Clinton Street, New York, NY.
Tickets are $15 (early bird, one week before the event), $18, or $23 at the door.
Livestream is $8 and is available for ten days after the event.
Get tickets here.
Admission includes a zine and a special commemorative coloring sheet.
Running time for the opening act and Second Helping is 80 minutes.

Dunham’s sister, who is also a nurse, is opening for her, making it a two-nurse comedy show! She plans to perform the show in Philadelphia and is doing a Midwest tour this summer.

On the surface, the show is about losing partners to cancer, but the actual theme is about learning how to ask for and accept help. “We’re excellent at helping other people but not very good at accepting help,” says Dunham. She says all the clinical instructors she’s talked with have agreed that helping nursing students figure out how and when to ask for help is one of their biggest and most challenging tasks on the hospital floor.

Dunham says she just returned from Hiram College in Ohio, where she performed Second Helping for a group of nursing students. Afterward, they had a two-hour discussion. “They really identified with the theme,” she says.

Dunham is the author of How to Survive and Maybe Even Love Nursing School (FA Davis), the best-selling puberty guides The Boy’s Body Book and The Girl’s Body Book (Cidermill Press), and a collection of hilarious tragicomic essays, Freak of Nurture (Topside Press). Dunham also does some per diem home health.


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