Richard Simmons Rocks

Monday July 13th, 2009 – Chicago, IL

As I was thinking about what I wanted to accomplish in my life I thought of other people who have done something similar to what I want to do. Rodney Dangerfield pulled off his biggest successes much later in life than most people do. So did Willie Nelson. I’ll be one of those stories too should I happen to finally hit something big. I’ve sure put in my time.

George Clinton was the mastermind of a huge group of musicians that had record deals with several companies and at his peak he was a creative and money machine. He still is a respected and influential force in music even now. He achieved success on his own terms.

Those people have always had my admiration and respect but I was looking through the list of recent celebrity birthdays and yesterday included Richard Simmons. I know people already think I’m crazy but I think that guy is an unheralded American hero. I’m a fan.

Richard Simmons has had unbelievable success. He’s branded himself and transformed into an American institution. Yes, he gets bashed by the media left and right but he’s been great about taking a joke and has never whined or complained at least not that I’ve heard.

He has carved a niche for himself and in my opinion he deserves to be rich but what I’m most impressed by is his kindness to his fans. He has by and large a group of followers no other person has approached the way he has. He helps hurting people build self esteem.

Sure, everyone wants to be a sex machine and in perfect shape but that privilege is only reserved for too small a group for too small a time. The biological clock ticks for only so long and then it’s over. Richard Simmons has helped millions get their self esteem back.

Some of those people never had it at all. I’ve watched his infomercials over the years on the road when I couldn’t sleep after a show and he never failed to keep me interested with his compassion for all those people. I really think the guy cares and wants to help others.

If he’s scamming the public then I respect his acting ability but something about the guy really strikes a positive chord with me. I don’t care if someone is gay or straight or tall or short or Chinese or Bolivian, I care if they have a good heart. I think Richard Simmons is a great humanitarian and I’ll bet there are a whole lot of people who will agree with me.

I want to leave a similar legacy with my comedy classes. Yes, I love to perform and it’s a total rush when it goes correctly during a show but being able to have people come and tell me my class helped them live a life’s dream is right up there with any stage thrill I’ve ever had. Being a part of helping someone else achieve something is a wonderful feeling.

People make fun of Richard Simmons all the time but not me. I think he’s built a super life and not only is he doing good things the people he helps are able to transform into an exciting life they may never have experienced before. What’s wrong with that? I will be a  winner in life if I’m half as successful as that guy. He‘s a hero. Happy birthday Richard.


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