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David Roche, Inspirational Humorist. You'll remember more than his face. He'll open your eyes. He'll touch your heart
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Rave reviews

Enthusiastic endorsements of David’s keynote presentations

The media buzz about David’s on-stage performances

Principals, teachers and students rave about David

Appreciation from workshop participants

Close-up photo of David on stage

Keynote endorsements

“The standing ovation said it all! We want you back to keynote at our annual conference of the Western Association of Chamber Executives next year.”
Valerie Boyle, CEO
Fremont Chamber of Commerce (CA)
“The 10th anniversary of our annual retreat was the most powerful we have ever had. People were inspired, brought to tears, and then back to laughter. We will never forget David’s message, and were re-inspired to do the good work they do every day. David is truly a wonderful human being, and someone you are fortunate to come across maybe once in your lifetime.”
Chris Pepin
Howard Community Services
Burlington, VT
“What a beautiful message you brought to our members. It fit so beautifully with our celebration of Pride Day for our profession. Your words and experiences were delivered with grace, warmth, humor and dignity. Thank you for making our event so special.”
Sharon Hilke
Executive Director
California Association of Licensed Investigators
“Thank you for the terrific program that you presented. You approached what is a difficult and sensitive topic with grace and humility. You truly reached our diverse audience and stimulated a conversation in the question and answer session that followed. Your humor was outstanding – folks were delighted to have the mirth mixed in with the educational message. Please feel free to use this as a strong recommendation for any organization that may consider your program. You were outstanding!”
Jim Kole
Clarion University, Pennsylvania Chair
President’s Commission on Disabilities
“The attendees were very enthusiastic in their praise. I am pleased to recommend you highly.”
Monica Bezore
Sales Support and Marketing Manager
Office Depot, Northern California
“What a moving experience you created for conference participants! You touched each and every person in the audience. You truly gave us each a moment of grace.”
Julie Jordan Brown
American Anaplastology Association
“Your message rang so true and was so insightful that we want you to speak at our Congresses in Detroit and Philadelphia.”
Alan Breslau
Society for Burn Survivors
“Your presence was instrumental in making our first annual convention a success. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and continues coming in four months later.”
Pat Boyd
Rebus Institute
“The success (of the annual NORD Patient-Family Conference) is directly attributed to your involvement. We have received very positive reviews from all those who attended.”
Laura Hughes
National Organization for Rare Disorders
“You are a true hero. You have no powers, but you have a heart of gold. You may have no gadgets, but you have a strong will. You may have no sidekicks, but you have friends like me who will always be with you, backing you up, supporting you, every day, always.”
Andrew Perry, 12
Written for David and presented at About Face USA 2006 conference
Las Vegas, NV

On-stage accolades

The Church of 80% Sincerity

“What’s most striking, and finally moving, is the way he both draws attention to his disfigurement and makes the audience see beyond it as well.”
Steven Winn
San Francisco Chronicle
“When a person tells a story with tremendous honesty and humor, we all share in the delight of what great theatre is. David Roche can’t be missed!”
Anthony Edwards
Actor and Director
“In laughing at himself, David Roche tricks us into laughing at ourselves, and thus disarmed, we dare to challenge our fears and assumptions.”
Bonnie Sherr Klein
Award-winning documentary filmmaker and author

“David Roche is a funny man.”
Evan White
“. . . a very funny man!”
Emerald Yeh
“. . . an extremely funny man!”
Harriet Swift
Oakland Tribune
“Extremely funny. . . moving. . . he’s hilarious...”
Mari Coates
SF Weekly
“Everyone watching gets happy because he's secretly giving instruction on how this could happen for them, too, this militant self-acceptance. He lost the great big outward thing, the good-looking package, and the real parts endured. They shine through like crazy, the brilliant mind and humor, the depth of generosity, the intense blue eyes, those beautiful hands. … There was thunderous applause, and he bowed shyly, ducking his head and then looking up, beaming at us all. He holds his palms up as if about to give a benediction. His hands caught the light like those of the youngest child there.”
Anne Lamott
Plan B>

“One might expect his act to provide a window into the lives of those unfortunate individuals who suffer through life under the weight of some physical curse. In reality, his performance accomplishes something much different. Roche cuts through the inevitable feelings of pity and tension with a keen sense of humor. Roche miraculously turns his painful subject matter – the vicious taunts of his childhood, the loving denial of his family – into a mesmerizing comedy performance.”
Chris Gaal
Bloomington Voice (IN)
“David Roche is a theater pioneer, a major contributor to the emerging culture of disability. His groundbreaking work is helping to create and define a much-needed disability aesthetic in the arts. He gives voice to people who have been hidden and shamed, people who have been named freak or monster and been made invisible by a society that worships shallow beauty. David cuts into the deep heart of difficult matters with embracing and insightful humor, grace and charm. He is a truly gifted communicator. His disability, facial disfigurement, is the strength and driving force behind his work. In his one-man show, The Church of 80% Sincerity, he weaves childhood memories, scars, dreams, desires and every day human experiences into a funny, moving and absolutely mesmerizing evening of theater.”
Cheryl Marie Wade
Playwright and poet
Disability Rag
“David Roche’s The Church of 80% Sincerity is a powerful and richly humorous one-man show that should be seen on college campuses throughout the country. The response at UCLA was enthusiastically positive. We would love to have him back anytime!”
Kathy Molini
Executive Director
Office for Students with Disabilities, UCLA
“Your one-man show should be on the ‘must see’ list of anyone who cares about quality theater. We can’t wait to have you back here at the JCC.”
Matt Biers-Ariel
Marin Osher Jewish Community Center
“The best humor grows out of dark, loamy soil. It has deep, deep roots. Those roots enable David Roche to make us howl with laughter one second and weep the next. His comedic genius – for that’s what it is – cannot be reproduced in words alone, because he’s fashioned it from exquisite timing, vocal nuance, body language, all the traditional tools of the comic actor, to which he adds another tool, his experience of being feared and shunned because of his appearance. It’s the mixture of comic technique combined with a deeply examined life that makes his ‘material’ irresistibly human – because his material is himself.”
Bob Guter
Other performances

“Another highlight is Frank, Maria’s husband, as played by David Roche. Frank and a boy named Edmund (James Marks) play out a gay flirtation, interesting mainly because of Roche, who has a speech impediment. His tufted gray hair, comic bugged eyes and lumpy tuberous cheeks – malformed by a birth defect – dampen his voice and make him look like one of those critics on The Muppet Show. But Roche can be a compelling actor in spite of the impediment, honest and funny, and his lack of pretense is just what a soliloquy in Act 2 (and frankly the whole play) needs. He sits and talks about mortality and love while Arabic music plays and his boyfriend Edmund sleeps. It’s the only moment of honest feeling in the show.”
Michael Scott Moore
SF Weekly (from review of Summertime)

A+ in schools

“We’ve had dozens of speakers here over the years, but none have sparked such overwhelmingly powerful responses from our students as did David and Marlena. Their message is joyous and uplifting – our kids (and faculty) loved them.”
Blair Fisher
Dean of Students, Middle School
The Walker School, Marietta, GA

“You certainly helped me get my school year off to a great
start! You were wonderful...the best whole school speaker Drake has
seen in 15 years! And I get all the bonus points for finding you!”
Kendall Galli, Leadership teacher
Sir Francis Drake High School
San Anselmo, CA
“Love at Second Sight resonates with everyone – kids and adults alike. With humor and sensitivity, David and Marlena show us all how to live our lives dealing with those things that make us each feel different or ‘less than.’ I wish I could mandate this performance for everyone. It is that inspiring and important.”
Lisa Pavlovsky
Director, Beyond Borders Diversity Program

“David and Marlena brought sunshine to an institution of darkness. My life and the lives of my students have forever been touched.”
Sheridan L. Gold
Teacher, Juvenile Hall, Marin County, CA
“I have always pictured my hero to be strong and beautiful, but this week I have found two new heroes! And they are both strong and beautiful, not just on the outside! Thank you!”
Chara Krangle
Student, Roberts Creek Elementary School, B.C.

“Thank you! The kids were involved, conscious and moved by your honesty and passion, giving me hope, optimism and pleasure in thinking about the future.”
Whitney Hoyt
Principal, Mill Valley Middle School (CA)
“It was easy to detect from the attentive silence, bursts of laughter and thoughtful questions that you struck a resonant chord within our students. We could not ask for more.”
Larry Enos
Principal, Lagunitas Middle School (CA)
“Rarely have we seen them so attentive. . . But the real power of your speeches came afterwards. Both teachers and students kept talking about it, told their friends in younger grades, and showed more understanding about other problems such as racism.”
Jane Realon, Principal
Sherri Patterson, Counselor
Tomales Elementary School (CA)
“I could see that you had the students’ and teachers’ full and avid attention. Teachers reported that they received a lot of meaningful feedback about your presentation. You are giving all of us a unique and terrific gift.”
Diane Ray
Diversity Committee, Kent Middle School (CA)
“I have heard so many students talking about your presentations. We had wonderful homeroom discussions! Students were clear on your messages and saw how to relate it to their own lives.”
Linda Sheppard
Principal, Miller Creek School
San Rafael, CA

“Thank you for such a wonderful performance. You truly touched the hearts and minds of our students and faculty. Thank you, thank you!
Jennifer Winkel
Dean of Students, Laguna Blanca School
Santa Barbara, CA

Anonymous letters from students

“I’m just like you. I never had a girlfriend yet. You are a good person because you talk from the heart. Sometimes I speak from the heart, too.”
“My disability is my speech. Your visit inspired me, now I don’t care about what people call me any more.”
“I thank you for coming to our school and teaching everyone how to accept themselves and others. Many of us students really didn’t understand each other and shrugged each other off because of their differences. I myself learned a lot from your experiences and stories. I never learned to accept people besides one I know. Now I have more friends and also learned to accept myself. I also found out that life is worth living. Sure you can go through your ups and down but that’s all part of a learning experience that can share with others. I truly learned a lot from your visit.”
“Thank you for coming to my school, and giving a great speech for all of us. I know you must be busy giving speeches to other people about self-esteem. So, I wish you the best of luck! We need more people like you in the world to be better role models for people dealing with bullying.”
“You are a very inspiring person. I just want to thank you for coming to speak at my school. It was a true pleasure and joy to hear your story. You showed me that even though everyone might not understand you if you’re different it’s not your fault. You let everyone in the audience know that life is too short to care about what others think. Also you let people realize that no one is exactly the same. Every individual has a quality that makes them unique and different.
You are a great and entertaining speaker. Thank you for giving me some of your wisdom.”

Storytelling workshops and classes

“Your workshop is the richest, most stimulating, most revelatory experience I've ever had – bar none!”
Neshama Franklin
Storyteller, Librarian

“I'm a beginning storyteller, but David, Jo Anne and Terri provide a cushion of wisdom and compassion that allows anyone's creative genius to peer through the curtains of fear.”
Mark Pereira
Vice President, EWS, Inc.
“Your workshop enlightens on many levels: Watching other storytellers, giving audience reactions, listening to others, discovering your own potential, and finding unplanned but appropriate things coming out of your mouth. And finally, the ultimate: watching the video of your own performance, seeing yourself, as Burns puts it, ‘as others see you.’ Well worthwhile!”
Kate Frankel
Editor, StoryLine
Storytelling Association of Alta, CA


The Church of 80% Sincerity
The Church of
80% Sincerity

by David Roche
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