Locals pen book on laughter

A Throggs Neck father-daughter duo have written a new feel good book on the healing power of laughter.

Building on scientific research and anecdotal evidence in 23-plus interviews with diverse groups of people, including well-known comedians, faith leaders, and medical doctors, their book A Smile, a Grin, a Laugh, That’s Life is now on sale through the website justlaugh.org, and through Amazon.com.

“The aim of the book is not only to bring a smile to people’s faces, but also to have them face life with a renewed sense of hope that a healthier, happier life is within reach,” according to the book’s synopsis. “This should help the reader put things in their proper perspective, especially in times of dispair.”

Throggs Neck resident John Galasso co-wrote the book with his daughter Victoria Galasso, a Pelham Bay middle school teacher and recent Boston College grad.

“This book is about raising awareness that laughter can help us, we just have to let it,” said Victoria.

It features a forward, along with a “backward”, from legendary comedian Pat Cooper, as well as a special section on Norman Cousins and a star-studded line of interviews on the positive effects on laughter with well-known and everyday people.

“We just feel that everything is so negative, and that there is a need for more positive projects,” said John, adding the laughter is good for people physically, emotional, and spiritually.

The idea for the book came about from an educational documentary film co-author John produced a few years ago that dealt with a similar theme, he said.

Host of interviews

Among the interviews on how laughter has helped in people’s lives are the likes of televangelist and author Joel Osteen; radio personality and clinical psychologist Judy Kuriansky; radio host Valerie Smaldone; comedian Jackie “the Joke Man” Martling; magician Lance Burton; and Chris Costello, daughter of Lou Costello of the comedy duo Abbot & Costello.

“Everyone interviewed gave their perspective on the power of laughter through stories, testimonials, and jokes,” said John. “Everybody said that laughter had a pivotal role in their lives and careers.”

Being authors of a book is a first for both John and Victoria, but Victoria has published articles and John is a contributing editor for Back in the Bronx magazine.

“It was a really nice experience because not too many people get to write a book with someone they are friends with, let alone, their dad,” said Victoria. “It is something we will always have.”

Research was done before the interviews and they both already knew about the medical advantages of laughter going into writing the book, she said, but the process of interviewing really drove the idea home.

“We heard story after story of the people that we interviewed,” said Victoria. “Everyone said that laughter helped them in some, way shape, or another.”

For more information, visit justlaugh.org or the book’s Facebook page.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 742–3393. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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