How the Potty Trained Us: Stand-up Comedy & Talk

Friday, April 12, 2019 - 6:30pm

How the Potty Trained Us

Stand-up Comedy & TED Talk

Location: Plymouth State University - Hyde Hall, Room #220 (Highland Avenue, Plymouth, NH 03264)

What if the solution to climate change, world peace, and self-love was the one thing no one wanted to talk about?

From communal Roman toilets to the Queen who banished the bowel movement, Shawn "The Puru" Shafner unearths the origins of our dis-ease. In this stand-up comedy / lecture / character-shifting solo play, Shafner exposes how current sanitary practices threaten our health, environment, and 40% of the world still living without safe toilets - and invites us to get our sh*t together before it hits the fan. So take the plunge, join a revolution pushing for change from the bottom up! 

How the Potty Trained Us is 70 minutes of stand-up comedy, one-man show and TED talk.  Potty... diagnoses our cultural poop shame, deconstructs its psychological / sociological / historical origins, and demonstrates alternate paradigms through time. It then summarizes some of the challenges wrought by modern sanitation and ideas of "waste."

During this show, Shawn will also cover the importance of proper sanitation practices for optimal watershed health and what the SLA is doing to minimize water quality impacts and keep the Squam Lakes clean! From home septic system care and storm water runoff to SLA's use of self-contained Clivus compost systems on Moon & Bowman Islands, this is a topic that is sure to engage! To learn more about preventing water pollution on Squam Lake, please read about it in our 50 Ways to Care for Squam Lake!

This show is in partnership with Plymouth State University's Office of Environmental Sustainability. Plymouth State University’s efforts on sustainability are anchored in a commitment to educate students about a sustainable lifestyle, to study and care for the environment, and to promote sustainability to the campus community and the world beyond. 

This show is intended for adult audiences ages 14 & up. The Squam Lakes Association is dedicated to conserving for the public benefit the natural beauty, peaceful character and resources of the Squam Lakes Watershed. In collaboration with local and state partners the SLA promotes the protection, careful use and shared enjoyment of the lakes, mountains, forests, open spaces and wildlife of the Squam Lakes Region. For more information about this show, please contact the SLA (603) 968-7336. No registration is necessary to attend. 


"Shafner wants a global movement and, given his natural charm and bottomless capacity for scatological puns, he might just get one." - Time Out New York


About Shawn:

Shawn Shafner is an artist, educator and activist. Creator of The People's Own Organic Power Project (, he has catalyzed conversation about sustainable sanitation from NYC's largest wastewater treatment plant to the United Nations. Shawn's solo show An Inconvenient Poop was a Time Out NY Critic’s Pick and won him the 2015 NY International Fringe Festival Award for Overall Excellence in Solo Performance. Other major POOP works include the feature documentary Flush, family musical Innie / Outie, and monthly episodes of SHHH: The Poopcast (aka Shit and Shame with Shawn). His new show, Assume the Throne, is currently touring living rooms across the USA.

Shawn was a 2005 Spielberg Fellow, 2014-15 LABA Fellow, 2014-15 iLAND/LMCC resident (featured in their book, A Field Guide to iLANDing), 2017 Global Social Impact House fellow through UPenn's Center for Social Impact Strategy, a 2017 Performing Arts Legacy Fellow, 2018 National Fellow through the Environmental Leaders Program, and is a member of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Foundation's ROI Community.

Outside of The POOP Project, Shawn pursues work that invites human interaction and connection. Community-based projects include The Clap (with Laura Silver), art walks for Jane's Walks NYC and Elastic City (featured in their forthcoming book), and Latch/Attach commissioned by the World Policy Institute and Fourth Arts Block and exhibited at Cooper Union. An accomplished theatre artist, Shawn's performances have graced New York Stages from Madison Square Garden to Joe's Pub, and venues around the world including the Institute for Contemporary Art in London, and Harpa Concert Hall in Iceland. He has sung with the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center alongside Marisa Michelson's Constellation Chor (of whom he is a founding member), and spent the summer of 2017 in residence at the Art Monastery Project, directing a new play about white supremacy. Shawn teaches movement through the lineage of acclaimed choreographer Tamar Rogoff, tells original stories for young children and their families, develops arts-integrated curriculum, and is devoted to manifesting a world of creativity, mindfulness and joy.