David Naster is a serious comedian. I say that after seeing him perform/talk three times on our one-week cruise to Alaska. On Tuesday he did a stand up routine that was very funny and enjoyable. On Thursday he talked about the power of humor to heal and to help us through hard times.
Using true stories to make his points â€“ Naster illustrated how to laugh through sadness and fear. Because he made jokes about himself and not poke fun at other people at their expense, I found his talk admirable as well as enjoyable. On Saturday he gave a workshop on writing his own books on humor. This was my favorite, because as a freelance writer, I love to find out how other people approach their writing. His is from the perspective of a delivering a powerful punch line, and while I am not a comedian, I do enjoy jokes with a powerful punch line.
David Naster’s First Book subtitled “Through Tough Times”
If you go to his website, www.naster.com, the statement next to his picture says, â€œYou Just Have to Laugh.â€ Below that is his essay entitled â€œHUMOR is Freedom,â€ and because I think this is a valuable idea, I have reprinted his essay below with Davidâ€™s permission. (At the end of the first paragraph he uses the word JOY, which is my theme for 2010, so his essay fits in perfectly with my website!)
Our freedom to find humor and laugh at the world is being negotiated by the terminally miserable. Such people attempt to dictate what we canâ€™t say and canâ€™t do. These emotionally crippled people have lost the ability to find joy.
The truth is, nobody can take away the freedom of thinking funny. Enjoying the absurdity of lifeâ€™s incongruities is the only weapon we have against the paralysis of our emotions. When we laugh during turbulent times the uphill road isnâ€™t as steep because emotions arenâ€™t weighing us down.
Just as an airplane hits turbulence, so does our life. The captainâ€™s job is to find smoother air. A pilot doesnâ€™t question why the air is turbulent or let emotions fly the plane. The mission is to find an altitude that works.
Laughter gets us there. Humor keeps us there.Â Â David
Second book- same title but with a focus on the health care professions, subtitled, “When Work Gets Tough”
If you click on his BIO page you will find this information about his first two books and his new book, Is There Laugh After Death?Â You Just Have To Laugh through Tough Times andÂ When Work Gets TOUGH â€“ You Just Have To Laugh were voted â€œBest Humorâ€ award of 2007 and 2008Â by The Association of Applied TherapeuticÂ His newest book, Is there Laugh after Death?, is a sincere and groundbreaking approach of offering humor in grief. The stories are hysterical and help heal a grieving soul. David is also making a documentary film. This excerpt is from the website:
This hysterical and heartwarming film is centered on David Nasterâ€™s,Â You Just Have To LaughÂ live presentation.Â The greatest thing about this film â€“ it makes you laugh, as people prove itâ€™s okay to laugh at the stuff you thought you â€˜could neverâ€™ or â€˜should everâ€™ laugh at.
David’s Newest Book
The best endorsement I can give for David and his books happened at the end of his workshop. An older man came up to buy his book on laughter in the helping profession. He shared with David that he had just lost his second child.Â Without hesitation, David grabbed his new book on laughter after death and gave it to the man as a gift. I knew then and there that not only was David Naster a comedian and a writer, but also a genuinely compassionate human being. In Yiddish the word for that is mensch. And David is a wonderful example of a funny mensch.
If you go to Davidâ€™s website, www.naster.com, you can see video clips of his performances and also order his books directly for $20.00 from The Laugh Store. Sign up for his newsletter or bookmark his website. I just did!