Humor: A Catalyst To Change Challenges Into Learning Experiences

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San Francisco Bay Area's Brian Copeland, multi-talented writer, actor and comedian, discusses overcoming life's obstacles by taking control at the Catholics@Work breakfast event to be held at Crow Canyon Country Club, 711 Silver Lake Drive, Danville, CA 94526 on Tuesday, November 13, 2007.

Brian Copeland, the multi-talented writer, actor and comedian, will be the featured speaker at the Catholics@Work breakfast event to be held at Crow Canyon Country Club, 711 Silver Lake Drive, Danville, CA 94526 on Tuesday, November 13, 2007. A full buffet breakfast is served starting at 7:00 a.m. (Mass is offered at 6:30 a.m. at the same location.) Cost is $20 for members and $25 for non-members. To register visit http://www.catholicsatwork.org/EventDesc.aspx.

Escaping an abusive husband/father, Copeland's mother moved the family to San Leandro in 1972, a middle-income suburb of Oakland, CA, that was 99.99 percent white, and according to the 1971 documentary "Suburban Wall," a city with a concerted effort to maintain the town's racial makeup. Living in this environment was a challenge for an 8-year-old black boy, who was in effect, the only one of his kind in this hostile environment. Copeland spent his childhood trying to fit in -- dodging fists and racial slurs -- using humor to survive.

"I used to get beaten up every day," Brian Copeland said. "I was never a fighter. But, if they were laughing they couldn't throw a punch."

The constant reinforcement of Christian values from his mother and grandmother provided Copeland a filter to assess the hostile environment, and give him the courage to act on his beliefs. This value structure has become part of the way he approaches everyday life, and has served him well in the development of his career as a comedian and talk show host. Copeland provides entertainment, using laughter as the carrier for delivering thought-provoking social commentary steeped in values.

"The way to overcome challenges is to turn them into something else so you can get control of it; this is only possible if you have a strong foundation in values to keep you focused and on track," Copeland stated. "Think of problems and life obstacles as hecklers. Let them have their say, then use a little verbal judo to flip them around to something you can control."

"Everyone should hear Copeland speak," said Alison Yount, president of Catholics@Work. "You will get the sense that Christian values are character steroids."

Copeland currently hosts a top-rated talk radio program Sunday mornings on KGO in San Francisco. He has been the opening act for diverse artists such as Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, Dionne Warwick, Donna Summer, Peabo Bryson, Al Jarreau, Ringo Starr, Manhattan Transfer, James Brown, Rick Springfield, Lionel Richie, George Benson, Etta James, Smokey Robinson, The Temptations and the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.

Copeland's one man show, "NOT A GENUINE BLACK MAN", is the longest running solo show in San Francisco history, with acclaimed runs in Los Angeles and Off Broadway. The show is being performed at the Dean Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek through November, and "GENUINE" is currently in development as a feature film and television series. A book based on the show was published last year by Hyperion, is a national bestseller and Cal State East Bay has made it required reading for all incoming freshmen this year.

Copeland makes his feature film debut in Rob Reiner's new movie, "The Bucket List", starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. Copeland's role is as Freeman's son in the movie, which opens on Christmas Day 2007.

About Catholics@Work
Catholics@Work is committed to fostering fellowship and connectivity among Catholics facing the realities of life in today's workplace environment. The monthly breakfast gatherings are a unique opportunity for Catholics to:

  •     grow in their understanding of the Catholic faith,
  •     be encouraged to apply the principals of their faith in the everyday workplace,
  •     and, to network with other Catholic business professionals.

The breakfast series is held at Crow Canyon Country Club, Danville, California, on the second Tuesday of the month nine times per year (February-June, September-December). The event starts with a buffet breakfast followed by a speaker or panel discussion and runs from 7:00-8:30 a.m. The event offers a great way to network with people who look for purpose and leadership in their lives. There is time prior to the beginning of each speaker's presentation to interact with other attendees, to share faith, and business and personal information. Mass is offered at 6:30 a.m. for those who wish to attend before breakfast at the same location. Managed by Catholic business professionals, Catholics@Work breakfast events are open to all, regardless of faith or occupation, who want to explore the issues of actively living one's beliefs in the workplace.

For more information visit http://www.catholicsatwork.org or call +1 925-389-0704.

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B.K. MARSH-WETHERELL
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