Casper’s Loss is Also His Gain

Photo by Joe Ahlquist


Jerry Casper is stretched thin these days, even though he doesn’t have a lot on his plate. Oh sure, there’s this upcoming comedy show he’s performing Friday and Saturday at the Rochester Repertory Theatre to keep him busy. But the fact that he literally has less on his plate is the reason for this show.

“I’ve lost 75 pounds since the end of August last year,” Casper said. That’s why his Rep show is titled, “Less of Me … More for You.” The show will be a mix of humor and storytelling, along with some improv with Casper’s longtime partners in comedy crime, Greg Miller and Nick Mezacapa.

The weight loss, Casper said, led to a rebirth of interest in his art and his life. “It re-sparked my creativity,” he said. “I started writing again. I started rethinking the way I approach life. In the process of losing weight, I gained new insight into my art.”

Casper, who is director of theater at Rochester Community & Technical College, has been a frequent presence as well on local stages. He’s a teacher and director at RCTC, and an actor, largely in comedy roles, at community theaters. He has also performed improv shows now and again with Miller and Mezacapa.

“Less of Me…,”  though, will be something different. There’s a serious side to what Casper wants to present.

He lost an older brother to cancer a few years ago. In the aftermath, Casper said, he was struck by how positive and upbeat his brother had always been, even when facing death.

“I call it the Kip Principle,” Casper said of his brother’s positive-thinking habits. Casper wondered if he could he adopt that principle to his own life.  “I wasn’t feeling well,” he said.  “My attitude was bad. I thought ‘I’m going to feel bad and die.’ I wanted to change.”

The weight loss, which Casper did with the help of an online program and plenty of positive thinking, has reversed all that. The question now, he said, is whether he can keep the weight off and continue on an upward path.

“I’ve been here before where I’ve lost weight and ballooned back out,” Casper said.

“Less of Me…” will include tales of his battles with weight and attitude. “I use a lot of comedy, but also a lot of heartfelt storytelling,” he said. “It’s all new material,” he said. “The show ended up being about loss and gain.”

Tom Weber, Post-Bulletin   May 29, 2019

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