Linda Richman is not feeling at all like buttah. The mother-in-law of comic actor Mike Myers, who immortalized her on Saturday Night Live as a big-haired, gaudy-clothed, yenta talk-show host with an intense Barbra Streisand fixation, is getting over the flu. But that won't stop her from chatting about her life, which hasn't always gone as smooth as the yellow artery-clogging substance. Before she hit the big time, Richman experienced a slew of sadness. She lost her father when she was eight years old, watched her mother deteriorate mentally, suffered through a 30-year marriage to a compulsive gambler, barricaded herself at home for eleven years, and then endured the death of her son in a car accident. The result of all that trauma: something almost as grueling, a book, I'd Rather Laugh: How to Be Happy When Life Has Other Plans for You. Actually the work only took her eight months.
This Saturday and Sunday, Richman, an Aventura resident, will discuss the way she used humor to bring herself back from the brink as a featured speaker at Wise Women Weekend, an Oprah-esque stress-relieving two days filled with self-help seminars on subjects such as past lives, dream interpretation, hormone health, effective communication, and proper breathing. In its third year, the annual event benefits the Victims Services Center, a local agency that aids victims and witnesses of violent crimes.
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Grit and wit intact, Richman advises those who feel hopeless that there are always options. "You will laugh again," she assures, adding that people should try to take each day lightly. "Don't you know that life is a joke and that you're the butt of the joke?" she asks. "What's to take it seriously? There are times in life that are so dark and so dreary that you take yourself so seriously, until you really look at the situation, when you distance yourself and go: What was that about? What was I thinking?'"