05: TOM LEOPOLD ON COMEDY AND THE PATH TO GOD


Some “comic types” are bitter, cynical human beings once they leave the stage.

Not Tom Leopold.

There’s an unutterable sweetness about the A-list comedy writer (Seinfeld, Will and Grace, Cheers, for starters) — a native kindness one doesn’t normally associate with those who inhabit New York City for any stretch of time. Leopold has collaborated with the funniest of funny Americans: Larry David, Christopher Guest, Chevy Chase, Billy Crystal, Lucille Ball, Bob Hope, and Steve Allen.

In short, Tom Leopold is very very old man.

But he was kind enough to drop value bombs and insights in this interview. One thing I love about Tom’s m.o. as a scribe is he has written material for people across the political spectrum, from Democrat Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz to Republican Vice President Mike Pence.

Raised in a non-practicing Jewish home, Tom and his Catholic wife Barbara went through an exceedingly difficult time when one of their two daughters, Gussie for short, became seriously ill with an eating disorder. During her hospital stay in Arizona, things got real for Tom and he prayed from the heart for the first time.

He shares the main lines of the story in our interview, but let’s just say that Christ the Man of Sorrows—who understands all there is to know about the mystery of suffering—gave him the gift of faith and he became a Catholic. And yes, there are some bizarre, and funny, twists to the story.

As you might expect, that chapter in his life became fodder for his one-man show, A Comedy Writer Finds God, in which he extracts a ton of sweet out of the bitter while strumming ably on his guitar. (Owing to his severely advance age, he doesn’t dance; otherwise he’d be a triple threat.)

Too many believers are afraid to laugh at the things of faith—the human foible side of the Church, the at-times absurdity of life, and the incongruities that make you scratch your head.

Lucky for us, Tom Leopold begs to differ. Bring him to your next conference by clicking here www.tomleopold or on Facebook.

 

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