Comedian, magician helps others overcome adversity through memoir

Jeff Smith

There’s nothing funny about the afflictions facing Jeff Smith, but that doesn’t keeping him from using humor to spread hope and inspiration.

Afflicted with complete blindness, life-threatening colitis, crippling rheumatoid arthritis, severe stuttering and a life expectancy of 13 years, Smith, 56, has overcome insurmountable odds.

Smith is a magician, comedian and motivational speaker, known as Amazing Jeffo, who has performed for hundreds of thousands of people and given hope and inspiration through his story. He will be performing at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 20, at Central Park Amphitheater during ArtBlast. Admission is free.

His new book, “Seeing Light in the Darkness: A Story of Surviving Affliction with Laughter and Grace” chronicles the story that has encouraged many.

“People see the joy and sense of humor I have and they start to look at their own problems differently,” Smith said.

His message is simple: Adversity doesn’t have to be defeating. He aims to give hope for others to persevere through life’s crises. He encourages others to see their circumstances as purposeful and not coincidental.

“Being created so different from the mainstream has given me a sense of precious uniqueness,” Smith said. “A disability, or any adversity, does not define you, it only describes you.”

His comedic approach onstage is reflected throughout the pages of his book.

“My life tickles my funny bone. God’s sense of humor has taken someone blind, disabled and verbally dis-fluent and set him on the path to be a magician and motivational speaker!” Smith writes.

Amazing Jeffo lives in Minnesota with his wife, Devon.

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