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The Idle American
"Phunny Physician Leaves 'Em in Stitches..."
Wednesday, May 4, 2011 • Posted May 4, 2011

Brad Nieder,

MD, faced directional decisions for his life when this century was just a baby. He’d completed 21 years of formal education, including degrees from Stanford and the University of Colorado Medical School, then an emergency medicine internship in Virginia.

Immersed in emergency room medicine, he somehow couldn’t stay "dunked." He pondered baseballer Yogi Berra’s mind-bending advice about forks in the road, as well as poet Robert Frost’s views about the road not taken.

After all, he’d straddled two career paths—medicine and humor—for about a decade. He made a big decision in 2002. Berra would say that he "took the fork"; Frost would offer him congratulations for following his heart….

* * * * *

Now then.

What would loved ones think of his decision to pursue a career in, uh, "alternative medicine?" Six eyes—in sockets of his fianceé, Sara, and his parents, anesthesiologist and Mrs. Bob Nieder—rolled.

After all, his folks had invested much in him, and Sara admitted thoughts of her soon-to-be hubby becoming a neurosurgeon.

He thinks he and his wife are "coming out even" on expectations. "She told me she could cook."….

* * * * *

The healthy

humorist is what Nieder yearned to be. After all, that’s alternative medicine, isn’t it?

Whatever. He wanted to induce laughter instead of labor, dreaming of making "auditorium calls" instead of house calls and prescribing laughter through stand-up comedy for that which ails us. At first, his decision seemed about as feasible as pregnant pole-vaulting.

He hammered away, emphasizing freedom from traditional entanglements with malpractice insurance, burgeoning alphabet-taxing medical abbreviations and weary hours logged in futile attempts to keep pace, never mind getting ahead….

* * * * *

Now, almost

a decade after his pronouncement, he’s doing well by all measures. Speaking to dozens of audiences annually (largely to health care professionals across the land) Dr. Nieder offers original humor—and delivery—equal to Jerry Seinfeld’s.

He finds new humor topics in life’s everyday wrinkles. With the verbal precision of a surgeon, he flashes engaging smiles, throws in leg kicks as needed and gestures with animation during remarks that flow steadily, like an unhurried river.

He has Paul Harvey kind of timing, with humor twists like the late radio personality’s "rest of the story." His verbal vignettes feature clever why-didn’t-we-think-of-that twists.…

* * * * *

Dr. Nieder’s

healthy humor pitch is indeed timely, what with heightening problems of widening bodies, not to mention such unexpected disruptions as wildfires, tsunamis, airliners that become convertibles in midflight and budgets at all levels in red ink. His banter is balm-like in a world cluttered with sharp-edged adjectives like "beleaguered, besmirched, bemoaned, belittled and, yes, even befuddled."

At the recent Hunt Regional Healthcare Foundation Gala, the Denver humorist entertained an audience of some 400 persons in Commerce.

As emcee for the event, I watched his work up close. But my contributions were comparable to a Broadway stagehand raising the curtain. Both get things going….

* * * * *

A majority

of the audience laughed off a pound or two, except, as Nieder explained, a few stone-faced guys in the back "who were only hurting themselves."

Back in Denver, he has no bigger fans than his wife and parents.

That this third generation Nieder became a physician didn’t surprise his folks. They never dreamed, however, that his "medicine" might be more akin to Dr. Seuss than Dr. Oz….

* * * * *

The healthy humorist

is to contemporary life what Johnny Appleseed was to pioneers more than two centuries ago.

One audience at a time, he prescribes practical pointers, buoyed by research, that laughter is good medicine.

He and platform colleagues have collaborated to write a delightful book, Humor Me.

His website, healthyhumorist.com, has much more information, and he’s all over YouTube.….

* * * * *

When introduced

to the Hunt County group, he was greeted by a prolonged "AHHHH," as if a giant depressor flattened all tongues. (Audience followed instructions well!)

In his opening remarks, he confessed that his announced topic, Laughter is the Best Medicine, should be revised. He admitted that it should be followed by "unless" provisos, such as "unless you have an infection. Or you’re having a heart attack, or you’re recovering from surgery, or you have ‘giggle incontinence.’ So, laughter is about the fifth or sixth best medicine." One fan, impressed with Nieder’s recitation of his lengthy fitness poem, credited him with a photogenic memory. Avoiding the temptation to ask if she might have meant "photographic," he said that maybe it won’t be necessary for him to get his MRI’s retouched.

Yeah, he’s a modern day Johnny Appleseed, and his healthy humor regimen trumps an apple a day. And around 2040, if son Isaac, 3, or daughter Molly, 1, decides to work in the circus, join an aquatic team to perform with whales or to sell sea shells, their dad should smile and pray as they follow their dreams….

* * * * *

Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Metroplex. Send inquiries/emails to: newbury@speakerdoc.com. Phone: 817-447-3872. Website: www.speakerdoc.com

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