Get acquainted with David Osmond …
David Osmond’s charm can easily penetrate the coldest of winters and make you feel warm inside. His spirit and attitude in life is contagious! As part of The Osmonds 2nd Generation, David has continued in his family’s legacy and performed in multiple avenues and stages, whether it be singing, acting, hosting, etc.
When you first meet David, you wonder if he’s for real because he truly is so, so nice. Then you realize, it’s all genuine, and the world is that much better of a place.
But despite his incredibly warm presence, David suffers from severe pain, every day. Diagnosed with MS, he feels pain constantly. He somehow manages to keep pushing through it and lives his miraculous life everyday. Hope you enjoy this discussion between David Osmond and our host Charan Prabhakar!
All about David Osmond
You’ve undoubtedly heard of the Osmond family before, with brother and sister duo Donnie and Marie soaring in popularity in the 1970s. But it was another Osmond brother, Alan, who became the father to The Osmonds 2nd Generation, a band that includes David.
But David has never lived in the shadow of his famous family. Instead, he has worked to pave his own way in the industry. As a result, he has been known as the “Osmond Backstreet Boy,” as well as an extremely talented singer, actor, host, and more.
What really stands out about David Osmond, however, goes far beyond his natural talent. He is one of the most charming and nicest individuals you could possibly hope to meet!
Far too often, celebrities aren’t what people expect them to be. That isn’t the case when it comes to David Osmond. He has the talent to shine on stage and behind the microphone—and the genuine kindness to back it up.
But there is another side of David that threatens his talent every day. David lives with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) like his father before him. That means dealing with severe pain every day. But that hasn’t stopped him on his life journey, and it certainly hasn’t taken away any of his warmth.
David’s MS Story
David was diagnosed with MS when he was just 26 years old. Now, at 32, David has decided to use his talents and his large platform to educate others on what it’s like to live with MS and help those who are struggling with it to find hope in their everyday lives.
David first noticed his MS symptoms while performing, and it first affected his vision. It escalated quickly, causing extreme pain in his limbs. At one point, he even had to periodically use a wheelchair to get around.
While David first simply tried to cope with his MS, he has since taken more active steps to treat it and manage it on a daily basis while encouraging others with the condition to do the same. In 2019, David teamed up with Novartis Pharmaceuticals for their “Our Voice in Song” campaign, which was designed to encourage people living with MS to share their stories and how they manage their pain.
David has also created the song “I Can Do This” to help motivate those struggling with MS, as well as the people in their lives supporting them. People who have MS often need all the motivation they can get—sometimes even to simply get out of bed in the morning. David has become such an inspiration and light to so many people, including family members and friends of someone with MS.
What Is David Doing Today?
Aside from being a hands-on advocate for MS treatment and management, David Osmond is still very much involved in the entertainment industry. Not only does he have a successful solo career as a singing artist, but he is the frontman for The Osmonds 2nd Generation. His talents help many people to feel as though they are taking a step back in time to see the original Osmonds performing. Because of his talent, David has performed in 17 countries across the world.
David is also no stranger to the small screen. He appeared in the eighth season of American Idol, and since 2017 he has hosted a reboot of the children’s variety show “Wonderama.”
Again, it would be impossible to talk about David without continually bringing up his kind nature. It is wonderful to see him on a children’s program, knowing that his smiles and nice attitude are genuine.
David Osmond has an incredibly interesting story, not only thanks to the family he was born into but because of his health condition and how he has managed to overcome it in such a tough, cutthroat industry. All the while, he has been able to do it with a smile on his face and without changing who he really is, as a person. That is a breath of fresh air within the entertainment industry and something you certainly don’t see with every celebrity.
If you’re interested in learning more about Multiple Sclerosis, be sure to check out the MS Foundation for more information. David speaks frequently about MS and does whatever he possibly can to help survivors. But it takes more than just one man to find a cure for the disease. Any donations you might be able to give would benefit the foundation, research, and treatment options.
David Osmond Podcast Transcript
Charan: Okay [crosstalk 00:01:30] we are rolling. We are rolling with Mr. David Osmond.
David: Finally. Oh, I thought we were having this 20 minute conversation-
Charan: We were. It was amazing.
David: So fill all the people in that weren’t a part of the conversation we just had. What did we talk about?
Charan: Oh man, well, we first talked about where our lives are going, and pretty much we wrapped everything up by the time I [crosstalk 00:01:50]
David: We had a good cry. We got some good therapy out.
David: Thanks for everybody for joining us. [crosstalk 00:01:55] It’s been awesome. Thank you, Charan.
Charan: Thank you. Thank you, David, for joining us.
David: See you, guys.
Charan: Yeah, we’ll see you guys later. It’s been great. You know what, though? Actually, hang on. Since we’re rolling now, maybe let’s just do a recap, like a quick little recap [crosstalk 00:02:09] talked about. But, dude, it’s crazy because we’ve been buddies for a while. I’m trying to figure out-
David: A couple of weeks, yeah.
Charan: A good couple weeks, and-
David: We haven’t actually met. We’ve been in quarantine since …
Charan: Since [crosstalk 00:02:25]
David: Five years ago.
Charan: Since five years ago.
David: Seems like it. Dude, I was thinking about this as we were going to have our conversation. I can’t remember the first time you and I met. [crosstalk 00:02:36]
Charan: Neither can I, dude. Neither can I. I actually think it must’ve been some sort of reunion at Donny’s house or something, I think-
David: I think it was. I think it was.
Charan: I’m friends with your brothers. I work with your brother, Doug. I’m friends with Nathan. I’m friends with Scott, and I’m trying to think. Somehow or other, we must’ve crossed paths, and we have attempted to do some stuff together. I don’t know. I don’t know.
David: We have been friends forever, since pre-existent time. But seriously, I have to ask you because I still slaughter this, even though we’re good friends. I still don’t know how to say your last name right.
David: Is it [Prabakakakarwee 00:03:23]?
Charan: That’s probably-
David: Probably I got it wrong.
Charan: That’s it.
Charan: Prabhakar. Prabhakar. It’s so [crosstalk 00:03:32]
Charan: … unless it’s-
David: No, it’s awesome. Prabhakar. I’m sorry. I had to ask.
Charan: No, it’s all good.
David: There’s one and only Charan. Everybody just knows Charan, and Charan P.
Charan: Charan P. That’s all. There’s one Charan, and there’s one Charan P, as it turns out.
Charan: Dude, no, but we have been buddies for a while, but it’s crazy. We can also go a span of a few years without ever seeing each other, and then all of a sudden, we randomly [crosstalk 00:04:04]
David: We certainly try, don’t we?
Charan: We try. We try.
David: It’s magnetism, man. You can’t keep us apart.
Charan: No, it has to come back.
David: Seriously, man. You are such a good friend. You’ve always been that way, since day one, since Donny’s house. Seriously, my brother from another mother, man. You’re such a good dude. I love the things you’re working on. That’s one of the things we were talking about is all these different projects that were going on, been working on, stuff that we’ve even crossed paths on similar projects. Obviously, you’ve been acting, boy, your whole life. But that’s your forte. You’re doing a ton of stuff, projects that way. What are you working on?
Charan: Well, honestly, man, it’s kind of crazy, right? During quarantine, it’s been a weird process of trying to figure out, okay, where do I need to focus my energy on and all that stuff? Truth be told, I haven’t nailed exactly the path I need to go down. There’s a couple of TV shows that I’ve been producing, and the reason why I even moved back from LA to Utah was so I can produce my own shows.
Charan: I think LA taught me a lot of lessons about how crews work and how TV runs, and I loved it. It was awesome. I’m like, “This is amazing. I want to do more TV.” But I realized as I was … I remember being on a premiere party of one of the shows I was in. Just being there and feeling the energy of the people, I remember thinking, “I’ve got to create my own TV show.” I have to. I have to create my show. My heart was there, and my mind was there, and I’m like, “All right. How do I do this?”
Charan: So I moved back to Utah to create my own show. So I’ve got two pilots that I’m working on right now. I’ve got a kids’ show called “Let’s Get Epic,” and then I’ve got a family-friendly show you were a part of. You went to set and saw it. “Pen Pals.”
David: That’s right.
Charan: So that’s one done.
David: It’s great, dude.
David: Did it get released, or are you still working on that? If it hasn’t, you guys have to see it. It’s a great concept, and you kill it, man.
Charan: Thanks, man.
David: It’s really funny.
Charan: Yeah, a lot of fun. A lot of fun. It is out online for people to watch the pilot. Yeah, right now, we’re trying to … of course, everything’s kind of shut down, but we were in the process of shopping it around to studios and trying to figure out the right process of attaching our showrunner and a production company to help take it to the networks, and that’s a whole other world that I’m not even familiar with. So I was in the process of learning that when all of this kind of went down. So [crosstalk 00:06:36]
David: You know what’s interesting, though? Because of this, in the last 30 days of just insane madness, “Vanity Fair” did a great article about our industry, in particular, whether it’s music or film, television, production, entertainment, it’ll never be the same. It’s going to be totally evolved and turned upside down. Even doing stuff like this, we’re getting used to this form of being able to see each other in our elements, in our living rooms. We can look at Diane Sawyer from her kitchen table [crosstalk 00:07:05] totally cool with it.
David: Some of the things we talked about before we started coming was doing good projects, things that inspire and promote, especially for kids and family. I love … I don’t know if you’ve seen this, this week. Is it John Krasinski from “The Office”?
Charan: I just saw it today, dude. I saw it today. “Some Good News.”
David: “Something Good News?” [crosstalk 00:07:23] Oh, my gosh, dude. That’s awesome.
Charan: So good.
David: It’s perfect. It’s simple production. It took a lot of elements. You turn, a lot of editing, and there’s good writing, and people submitting stories and stuff. But I think we’re craving that, and we don’t mind that it’s a little bit raw. I think it’s even better. [crosstalk 00:07:39] So the show’s you’re doing, there’s going to be a lot of new things coming up because of the climate of the industry right now.
Charan: Well, the thing I love about it is, like with “Some Good News,” it’s so authentic, and it just feels so real, right?
Charan: I love that. I think that’s what people really want. They want to see that authenticity because people can connect with that. I love the fact that we’re kind of going a little bit lower budget in the quality because [crosstalk 00:08:11]
David: It helps out our bottom line, that’s for sure.
Charan: It helps with our bottom line, man. [crosstalk 00:08:14] Yeah, exactly.
Charan: Dude, ever since I’ve known you, you’ve always had a million projects that you were doing at the same time. I never knew how you did all the stuff that you did. You were listing off, like, four separate projects that were so awesome. So let’s go ahead and talk about each of those.
David: I think it’s ADD, a little bit. A little bit of “Squirrel!” going on in my life. This is really, I think, the case. I grew up in show biz. My dad was in entertainment. I just assumed every kid’s dad was a singer and traveled and performed, and it was just nothing different. So I did the same. I grew up singing since I was just a little kid. On stage, performing, it was just my life. So that’s kind of my foundation. I think it always will be there in different regards.
David: But the one thing about show business and entertainment is as soon as that curtain goes down, you’re immediately unemployed. So it is gig to gig to gig, and if that gig starts to … if you can’t keep that curtain up, boy, you’re starving. So I think maybe having all these different projects and things is a way to just put irons in the fire and also, passion projects, things that I love and am interested in.
David: Some things totally just bomb. They just don’t work out. Some things continue, and you have a good time. So still in that vein, still working and creating like you are, on show ideas, concepts for music projects, and just creation. Music’s my foundation. Film, television—entertainment’s yours—and I think we just got to collaborate. We got to create something together.
Charan: We got to collaborate, man.
David: What do you say?
David Osmond Talks About “Wonderama”
Charan: What I love is you’re expanding your horizon because, in fact, if you all don’t know this, you’re the host of a show called “Wonderama,” which, apparently, you’re just killing it.
David: Thanks, man.
Charan: Let’s talk a little bit about that for a second because how many seasons have you done already?
David: We’ve had four seasons. There’s four seasons we’ve done. But we’ve worked on it for over five years. “Wonderama.” It’s before my time, before your time. But it’s a show, dude, that was on television dating back to the early 50s. So it was one of the longest running television programs in history, on for almost 30 years in the 50s, the 60s, and the 70s. It was a huge show, like “Mr. Rogers” was. It was a kids’ program. You have 100 kids plus in the audience every episode.
David: It used to be a three-hour … you’ll appreciate this one. Three-hour live children’s program every Saturday.
David: Three hours, dude. But it wasn’t like television that it is right now. It’s not like “SpongeBob” or “Simpsons” or even reality shows where it’s just chopped up really fast, and it’s a lot of things flashing at you. Boy, they’d turn the camera on, and it would sit stagnant while the host would do jumping jack exercises with the kids for five minutes.
Charan: Oh, my gosh.
David: You’d think it’d be boring television, but you look back at some of those episodes, and they’re totally engaging. They still made a huge impact on those kids, and now those kids are all adults having their own kids and even grandkids. So we brought the brand of Wonderama back years ago. It originated in New York. It was filmed in New York, so that’s where we do it. We film in New York, and we’re going on four [crosstalk 00:11:30]
Charan: How did you get involved in the project? Did someone just contact you and say, “Hey, we want you to be a part of this,” or how does that-
David: I got to give props to my uncle, my Uncle Jimmy, who’s the youngest of the original Osmonds, and he got contacted by a guy named Chuck Armstrong who’s my fellow executive producer on the show. He had got the rights to the show, and he wants to bring it back, and they were talking about different hosts. He got connected to my Uncle Jimmy to kind of brainstorm different hosts across the country. Jimmy made the pitch for me and just said, “You know who you need to talk to, is my nephew. He’d be perfect for this.”
David: I’m so glad he did. I went up and met my buddy Chuck, and we sat down and started brainstorming ideas about what the show could be. He was telling me about the history of this show, “Wonderama.” I was blowing my mind. I’m like, “I’ve never heard of this.” We connected, we did some screen tests and some testings with kid audiences, and it just connected. We started filming in New York years ago, and we’re on every single weekend, 52 weeks a year. We have tons of episodes done, and we’re in syndication, so in about 100 million households across the country, and every single weekend, locally.
David: This is my wife, by the way. Say hi.
Valerie Osmond: Hi.
David: We’re putting the band back together.
Charan: Oh, my gosh. We should.
David: We’re about ready to do a concert.
Charan: Yeah, I want to join the band. This is great.
David: She plays the bass. [crosstalk 00:12:48] How cool is that?
Charan: That’s fantastic. I love it.
David: It’s super cool. It sounds amazing. [crosstalk 00:12:53] have a beautiful voice.
David: For the show “Wonderama,” though, it really didn’t hit home until I went to New York, and we were doing some on-the-street segments, and I was meeting certain people, and as soon as I said the word “Wonderama,” these adults, they would just light up like a light bulb and go, “Dude, did you say ‘Wonderama’? That was my childhood,” and they’d freak out. I’m going, “What? This is crazy.”
David: One case in point, I remember going and interviewing one of the winners of “America’s Got Talent,” years ago, and there were these two huge twin brother bodyguards in front of the door, and we came with a film crew, and we were supposed to meet her and do a quick interview. They stopped us all, intimidated-like, and they said, “Who are you guys with? What do you want?” Like, “Well, we’re with ‘Wonderama.’ We’re here to interview Jackie Evancho.”
David: They’re like, “What?” They just stopped us. They didn’t care about anything else. They just said, “Did you say ‘Wonderama’?” Then these two huge dudes, massive, like The Rock, they just turned into butter. They’re like, “Oh, my gosh.” They’re like, “I learned to tie my shoes on ‘Wonderama.'”
David: “Wasn’t I telling you today?” He’s like, “Dude, I was telling you just this morning. I was tying my shoes and telling you about ‘Wonderama.'”
David: So there’s this brand that’s really powerful, and we’re bringing back to kids nowadays that same magic. It’s a live studio audience of about 100 kids. We bring in dance groups from all over the world, all over the country, singing groups. We’ll do cooking segments with a master chef junior. We’ll do science experiments with these genius kids, and we’ll blow stuff up. A lot of messy games and prizes like circle of pies, where there’s pies in the face, and we’re just making a huge mess, kind of like Nickelodeon stuff. [crosstalk 00:14:36]
David: It’s cool, man, and I get to be like the big brother. None of our guests are ever usually over 18. They’re all young, and they’re kids entertaining kids. I love to be along for the ride.
David: So one thing that’s really cool right now, you can also stream it on Amazon Prime. You can go Facebook Live, Instagram, all that stuff. But Amazon also just picked us up as a select few shows that are out there, like PBS shows and some of their original content. They put us for the next three months in front of their paywall, meaning that if you don’t even have an Amazon Prime account or anything, you can still go, and you can watch our seasons for free on Amazon Prime.
David: I think moms at home are begging for more content-
Charan: For sure.
David: … for entertaining kids in a fun way. So some cool stuff happening that way.
Charan: That’s awesome. So you’re doing that show. That’s good because that shows more of your, I guess, acting side, right? You’re being more in front of the TV and hosting and having [crosstalk 00:15:36]
David: Yeah. I guess so. But dude, as far as acting, that’s your wheelhouse. I just get to be the big six-year-old that I am. I get to blow stuff up and play games and dance and watch these talented kids just blow your mind. It’s really cool, man.
Charan: Wow, man. Well, I’m stoked to check it out. Yeah. This is awesome. I’m sure there’s going to be tons of people going on [crosstalk 00:15:59]
David: Check it out. Let me know what you think. Let us know what you want to see because we’re actually in the discussions right now. Our next season, we usually film throughout the summer, well, it’s in New York. Things have changed, obviously, so we may have a whole new format to the show coming this next year. It may be like this. We may be going live to some Irish dancers in Ireland. You know what I mean? Who knows what we’re going to do.
Charan: Yeah, I like that.
David: It’s going to be really cool. We’re kind of just formulating what the show’s going to be and how we can adapt to the culture now. But check out WonderamaTV.com. You can stream everything.
Charan: [crosstalk 00:16:38] dot com.
David: Check it out. Let us know your ideas, man. I guarantee you’ve got a billion ideas. We should brainstorm.
David Osmond Talks About His Music
Charan: Yeah. My mind is always going in a million different directions with that type of stuff. So absolutely, I will totally check it out. So you’re doing that. Now you have a bunch of other stuff you’re doing in the world of music, as well. You were talking about some stuff you’re doing with Marie [Osmond], and then what were some of the other things you were saying?
David: With my Aunt Marie, she’s busy. She’s super cool.
Charan: Of course.
David: And always has a packed schedule. She and Donny had their show in Vegas for 11 plus years. They wrapped that. They closed that up, and now she’s hosting “The Talk” on CBS.
Charan: What I love about Marie is she was always so busy, and yet she would still find time to invite me over for Sunday dinner.
David: That’s right. You know Marie as well. That’s right.
Charan: I do. I do. Yeah. She’s great. She’s amazing.
David: In fact, maybe it was through Marie that we met, and my cousin Steven.
Charan: Yeah, maybe, because I work with Steven. Yeah. That could’ve been what it was.
David: Yeah. It’s a small-
Charan: Small world.
David: Small Utah world. A small world. But yeah, so my Aunt Marie, when she’s not filming that, she gets a lot of chances to go out and do what’s called these symphonic shows-
David: … which are really cool. So she’s got a full philharmonic symphony. She invites me to come be a guest singer with her to sing some duets with her or do songs with the orchestra, and it is so fun. So on the weekends, when she’s not … occasionally, we’re able to go out and do those performances, which is so fun for me, and I’m honored to share that stage with her.
David: Unfortunately, because of the climate, a lot of our shows over the next while have been postponed, canceled. We’ll have to have new dates on those for the next little while. So that happens.
David: But on the personal music front, I teamed up with my buddy Caleb Chapman. I think you know Caleb as well.
Charan: Not super familiar, but yeah.
David: He has the Caleb Chapman Soundhouse, and it’s a school. He’s had it for over two decades, of training kids, a stomping ground for kids to learn music in a really cool way, not just become great musicians but performers.
David: So we teamed up. Caleb and I teamed up, and we started a band. It’s a total big band. It’s Frank Sinatra, it’s Michael Bublé, it’s [crosstalk 00:18:59]
Charan: A cool orchestra [crosstalk 00:19:01]
David: It’s American songbook, full … we call it the Osmond Chapman Orchestra.
Charan: Love it.
David: OCO. We’ve started recording some music. We wrote original songs, fresh arrangements to some of the classics like from Sinatra, Bobby Darin. But we’ll also do Bruno Mars and Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley. We’ll do great songs but to a big band arrangement, and it’s a 16-piece, full, legitimate big band. It’s saxophones, trombones, bass drums, keys, guitars, tuxedos, and it’s awesome.
David: So the project, we have a brand new album that’s going to be released. This summer, we were planning on getting it out there next month. Delayed a little bit because of the craziness.
Charan: Of course.
David: But it’s going to be distributed through Sony and some great friends of ours, Club 44 Records. Keep an eye out for that. [crosstalk 00:19:52] I’ll post about it. It’s so fun.
Charan: Send some links over my way, even, when you’re done with that because I’d love to listen. You’re just such a fantastic performer in all aspects. I came to that little concert that you were singing at.
David: That was fun, dude. I was so sick.
Charan: I remember when you were [crosstalk 00:20:11] sick. You were tired. But when you went on stage, I could never even tell. I’m like, “How is he doing this? How does he have the power to just perform and be super happy,” and then you’d walk offstage, and you’re like, “Dude,” I think you’re going to-
David: “I’m going to throw up.”
Charan: Oh, man.
David: It’s because I think I’m genetically predisposed to smiling. It’s just in the blood, man.
Charan: Wow. You’ve got it, man. You got this incredible charm.
David: I sleep with hangers in my mouth. That’s how I do it.
Charan: Well, whatever you’re doing, it’s working. It’s fantastic.
David: Thanks, man. [crosstalk 00:20:42] Well, you know how it is. The show must go on. [crosstalk 00:20:44] I guarantee you’ve been on set, and you’re just sick as a dog, and you’re just like, “We’ve got to this done. Daylight’s a-burning, man.” It’s your one chance. You got to do it.
Charan: I’ve done episode … or, not even an episode. It was a movie I was working on, and I remember being really sick. I’m the main actor. I have to have tons and tons of energy, 17 hours days, and somehow you get through it. You want to die when you’re done, but yeah, you just kind of … there’s a mental shift that goes on that’s like, “All right. They said, “Action.” Now I got to do my energy, and [crosstalk 00:21:16]
David: It’s tough, man. What have you found? Your industry’s a little bit different than mine, as far as acting.
David: What’s the part that most people may not realize about your industry and what makes it … I don’t know. It’s worth the sacrifice, but what is the biggest sacrifice in what you do?
Charan: Oh, man. Well, I think people say, they’re like, “Oh, wow. You’re an actor. It’s so glamorous,” and stuff. But honestly, I like acting because I like to act. That’s my thing. I really enjoy acting. But if you’re trying to go in for the fame or the glamor, or you have a certain type of expectations, you may be disappointed because you get on set, and you realize it’s not that glorious.
Charan: Some days are just really hot. Some days you’re really tired. Some days you just don’t want to be there, whereas sometimes, if you’re in a play, and you’re on stage, you have months and months of rehearsals, and then you go and you do it, and it can be very electrifying, and you have that instant gratification of how people are responding. Or, if you’re singing on stage, same type of thing. Instant gratification.
Charan: On a film, you don’t really get that instant gratification. Here’s something that was quite difficult, was I spent … oh, man. There was the movie that I was working on. It was one that I was producing, so raising all this funding for it, making [crosstalk 00:22:52] spending just countless hours acting and acting and acting, and then after that, editing and editing and editing, taking forever, doing all this stuff to finally create this product, and you put it out in the world, and nothing happened. No one saw it. Nothing happened.
David: Blood, sweat, tears, just [crosstalk 00:23:14] ignored.
Charan: Yeah. You’re completely ignored. It’s very emotionally … it’s not damaging, but it’s just very degrading. It’s very exhausting. You’re like, “Wow. What was the point of all of that?” But it made me realize the joy you really have to take to be in the journey, not in some final destination.
David: That’s cool.
Charan: Like, “I need this to happen in order for me to feel validated and successful,” and all that stuff. I will say that even though that movie monetarily didn’t do well, the memories I made with my friends making that movie-
David: Priceless, man.
Charan: Priceless. Totally priceless, and I wouldn’t trade it.
David: You gain so much knowledge on what works, what doesn’t work, what you want to do next time. Sometimes just timing of things is just everything.
Charan: Yeah, exactly.
David: I don’t know if I completely agree with it, but I remember years ago, when I had a stint on “American Idol,” I had a chance to meet a guy named Barry Manilow, and he spoke to all of us, and he said that his secret to success was this. He goes, “There’s no luck in success.” I think there is timing. I believe there is. Some things have to line up. But he goes, “There’s no luck in success. The definition of success is preparation meets opportunity, and if you’re prepared, and the opportunity comes, boom. You’re ready for it.”
David: I think everything you’re doing, what you’ve learned from those experiences, you’re that much more prepared when that opportunity comes and the phone call happens, you can jump and be ready for it. I think that’s half the battle, is just showing up and being prepared to execute when you need to.
Charan: Absolutely. That’s the thing. You just have to keep on creating. You have to keep on doing things. But I really believe that you have to find your joy. You have to find your joy in doing what you’re creating because I think what is worse than having none of your dreams come true is having all of your dreams come true only to realize you’re not happy.
Charan: I think that would be much worse because now you realize, “Oh, my gosh. I put so much time and energy into something that I never wanted in the first place.” A lot of times people kind of go down this path of not really doing what they love but doing what they feel like, “Oh, well, people are saying I should do it. So I should do it.” Then at the very end, you’re like, “I’m not satisfied with [crosstalk 00:25:50]
David: Yeah, you have to love what you do.
David: Do what you love, love what you do. It’s a cliché. It’s a bumper sticker. But, man, at the end of the day, and especially when you’re on long sets like that, or you’re on tour … it sounds so glamorous. “Wow, you had a European tour. You’re all over the world.” Uh-uh (negative). What I saw was the inside of an airport and the inside of a hotel, and they all look the same, and then I saw the stage, and then you just hit it and quit it, and then you’re just so tired, and your energy just depleted, and you got to go to a lot of cool places, but you never got to see a lot of cool places.
David: It is the work, the business of that show. Show biz [crosstalk 00:26:32] it takes a lot.
David Osmond Talks About Living with MS
Charan: It takes a lot, absolutely. But the thing, as well, I really … man, and maybe people don’t know this about you, but you do all these things that you do while experiencing chronic pain. I know it’s not something you advertise all the time, but I know you and I both felt a little comfortable talking about this.
Charan: How long ago has it been that you started feeling this pain? Because you experience MS, correct? Is that right?
David: Yeah. Multiple sclerosis, MS. Yeah. Thanks, man. I appreciate it. It’s something that I live with on a daily basis, and it’s been since … diagnosis was 2006. So 14 …
Charan: 14 years.
David: 14 years. The symptoms have been longer than that, since Christmas Eve 2005, is when the pain actually started. I vividly remember it. I was actually dating my wife, at the time, and I remember doing a performance that night and went home, and I took my shoes off, and I turned to Valerie, and I said, “Honey, my feet … something’s wrong here. Something’s wrong because my feet feel like they’re being crushed by a steamroller, like I’m being just run over, smashed, and it’s just this pain, and I can’t stop it.” I just kind of brushed it off. “Oh, I’m tired. I didn’t get any sleep.”
David: So it was the beginnings of living with what’s called multiple sclerosis, and it’s an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system. The immune system begins to attack the brain and the spine, specifically what’s called the myelin. That’s the fatty tissue, the little rubber coating, so to speak, over your nerves. It damages it. It causes sclerosis and scarring, and it short-circuits your system to where all of a sudden, your brain says, “Hey, move your finger,” and that signal that goes down the spine to your finger, it stops. It gets cut off, so it stops you from moving.
David: It could be other symptoms. It could be optic. It could stop you from seeing, from breathing, from your organs functioning the way they need to, from the pain sensories. So right now, I have this burning, crushing pain, and I don’t know what else to call it but pain, but these hot, burning towels wrapped around my body, and they’re just tightening, just tightening every second, right now. It’s from my toes all the way up to about right here. It’s constant.
Charan: The top part, you don’t feel it as much. But the bottom, it’s like you feel it.
David: It’s pretty tight right now. It’s burning right now. It’s pretty aggressive all over. Right about thighs and down, it gets even more intense. It is constant. So there’s that element. Other things that come with … fatigue, cognitive dissonance. Sometimes, after relapses, because it’s a progressive disease … I have a form of MS called relapsing remitting, where the immune system goes onto attack. It just attacks the brain, and it’s really active. It’s active disease, and it’s causing a lot of damage and swelling and inflammation. Boy, it could cause a lot of problems.
David: Then it goes into a period of dormancy, remission. Then it spikes and goes on this rollercoaster. I live with that constantly. Funny, we were talking about this, even. I just had a followup appointment with my neurologist. I do that periodically, occasionally. I’m in the hospital every four weeks to do infusion therapy, MRIs and such, and I just had an MRI. So I had a Zoom meeting with my neurologist yesterday to talk about latest scans, what’s going on in my brain, what are they seeing, is it progressing, how’s the therapy that I’m on doing, my diet, my prayer and meditation, all the lifestyle things that I do, where am I at?
David: Fortunately, I am living a miracle, Charan, and I think you know that.
David: But at the beginnings of that pain, years ago, it quickly moved up my legs. It hit my hands, my eyesight started to diminish, and I quickly went into a wheelchair. A lot of people didn’t see me in that phase. I have only a few pictures of it. But I couldn’t move a thing from the chest down. The fact that I’m walking, that I’m moving … not great. I hide it pretty good. I have my issues in balance and stuff like that. But the fact that I’m moving in general and able to do a kids’ TV show, hosting a kids’ TV show, to perform with my band, to be on stage, that is truly a miracle. I don’t take that lightly.
David: It’s not all peaches and roses. I have my moments, certainly. But I also recognize how blessed I am, and I see people around me that have MS that are going through horrific things, and all of us, we all go through our own trials, our own level of stuff. These are the cards I’ve been dealt, and so hopefully, I can wear it with a smile and do my best, and certainly, just because I have MS, it also means that my family, that my wife, my kids, they live with MS, too. It’s not always rose-colored glasses.
Charan: Yeah. Well, I’ll tell you, I was shocked when you told me that you had MS because you just exude so much joy all the time. You seem to live a very relaxed, pain-free life. But yet to know that you’re going through chronic pain all the time, that would just be so difficult.
David: Thanks, man. If you see a little bit of lines and grimacing, I’m really trying to listen to you. Sometimes I’m just gritting my teeth, or I’m just zoning out. But yeah, I think I do put on a face sometimes, and I do hide it. I don’t know.
David: This is one thing I know I’ve learned. Well, I’ve learned a lot of things. But every single neurologist and every doctor I’ve ever met, and I sit on the board with great foundations for this. So I meet a lot of brilliant minds, so smarter than I, but they tell me this one thing. They say, “David, when I diagnose someone with MS or with cancer or diabetes or …” I mean, there’s the gamut. People usually always go one of two ways, and if they have a negative, dark disposition already, their outlook goes that way, and you can almost predict it because of that.
David: The power of thought, the power of mind, and then, those that have a positive disposition, those that fight, that just keep trying, that keep trying to smile, trying to find something to laugh at every single day, they always do better. Maybe not perfect. They may not be doing the things they want to do completely. I pick up a game of one-on-one basketball between the two of us, you’re going to know pretty quick something’s wrong with this dude, as far as control. But if I could hedge my bet and force a smile sometimes and do that much better, why not? What have I to lose?
Charan: Well, I’ll tell you what, man. It’s so interesting because there’s a lot of people right now during times of uncertainty, they come across unexpected sickness, it’s a tough time for people to live. Yet, I see people like you that are constantly creating such positive media and content in the world despite the pain that you’ve been going through for, gosh, 15 years. You’re still fighting the good fight, and you’re still creating positive outlooks and stuff. You mentioned something about-
David: I’ll tell you this much. Where much is given, much is required, and man, I stand on the shoulders of giants. My beautiful wife, my wonderful kids, I have everything to live for and to set a bar for them. Part of the story … you also know this. You know my dad. My dad has MS. He has the same disease, a different form of it. He has what’s called primary progressive MS, but he’s had that since I was just a little kid, and his mantra that he’s always lived by, and for him … it sounds like a bumper sticker, but it’s not. It’s a way of life, was this. He told me when I was kid. He said, “David, I may have MS, yes. But MS does not have me.”
David: Maybe that’s a stubborn attitude to have, like, “I’m going to do this.” But maybe there’s power in that. Maybe there’s power in just keep fighting, keep pushing. So I have a lot to live up to, especially for my kids, and hopefully set an example. I fall short of the mark a lot, but I just got to keep trying.
Charan: What’s beautiful about it is it’s almost as if saying … I don’t know how to explain it. Sometimes, when people create, they create just because they want to create. Forget about the outcome. You create because that’s just who you are. Right? You’re a creator. That’s what I see about you. I see you as just a fighter. That’s just what you do. It’s not like, “I’m going to fight with the expectation of one day all of this is going to go away.” You fight because that’s what you do, and you have this positive spirit in you. It’s such an inspiration for everybody, especially myself. When I see what you’re doing, it’s just so awesome.
David: Thanks, dude. We all help each other. If you believe it, I do, we’re truly brothers and sisters. We’re in this fight together. This life is so fast. It’s fleeting. You can see the rings on the tree when I look at my kids. I was just talking to someone else just yesterday about how fast our kids are growing up, how fast we’re growing up and getting old. It’s the blink of an eye, man. Hurry up and be happy.
Charan: Yeah, exactly. I guess this is kind of a way to end this conversation, but I appreciate so much of it. You mentioned something about how when the doctors treated people, those that have a negative outlook go even more negative, and those that have a positive outlook go even more positive when something challenging like this happens, right?
David: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
David Osmond Talks About Finding Hope in Difficult Circumstances
Charan: What would be your advice to help people have a positive outlook if their outlook is kind of negative right now? What do you think that they can do to look for the optimism and the joy when the circumstances seem extremely uncertain?
David: That’s the million-dollar question. I’ll tell you this much. Having something like this is a constant, almost water-torture reminder, that’s burning, crushing. It reminds me constantly of the mortality of things and how fragile we are, and it also helps you to look outward. Every single day, practically every day of my life, I meet someone or come across someone or hear a story of someone that’s going through certain circumstances that I can’t even fathom, I could never imagine trading places with, and to see them go through that and to fight and put a smile on …
David: It’s not the disease, it’s not the challenge, that gets you down. But it’s the lack of hope. So it’s finding something to have hope with and on. Sometimes, you become what you think about. What our surroundings are, what your village is, can be a big influence that way. So try to surround yourself with positive influences and people. If there’s negative influences and just Debbie Downers, if there’s just a negative approach to things, find the light. Find those that lift you up, and you, by osmosis, gravitate towards that and become … so find your village.
David: Hang onto hope. Know that if you’re going through the hardest time of your life right now that it’s going to change. Things always change. They will evolve. They may not go in the ways that you want them, but it will change. So look for that and expect that.
David: Also, on the flip side, if you’re going through the best time of your life, recognize that life changes fast, as it has. I mean, look at our world. Just overnight, it’s crazy. We’re in a different place. So expect that, prepare for it mentally, and hang onto hope. Find things that give you that strong foundation, and also, look outward. I think in giving and in being charitable and loving, there is power in that, no matter what theology or what faith you have. That is truth, and as you give, you receive. There’s a lot of hope to be had when you look outward.
Charan: Yeah. I love that, man. Gosh, it’s just wherever you put your attention to grows, right? Finding the things that you can be hopeful for, and yeah, just reaching outside of yourself and serving and getting outside of your thoughts, it’s so important. Yeah. I think that’s a great message to end on, man.
David: I’ve said this little tidbit before, but I think it’s a really powerful one. There was a moment when I was in my wheelchair, and I was at my parents’ house. This was years ago. I was dating Valerie at the time. We knew we wanted to get married. We knew we wanted a family. I remember this family gathering, and as I sat there in the chair, I looked over at my brother, and he was wrestling on the floor with his son. It was just that cute Hallmark moment of a father and son, and I remember watching it. I was smiling like this. It was cute.
David: I was by myself just in my thoughts, and then that change happened in my thoughts. Everything I saw turned dark, and I hated [inaudible 00:41:31] and it was like it was mocking me. I thought, “I’ll never have that. That will never be me.” The burning question was, “Why? Why did this happen to me?” On what we’re talking about, the flip side of that, what I learned is I can’t ask that question anymore, “Why did this happen to me?” negatively, unless you make sure you ask the same question for everything positive, good, loving, warm, that happens in your life. “Why did this happen to me?”
David: As you start to scale those, man, my cup overflows. I’m blessed beyond measure, better than I deserve.
Charan: Yeah, that’s a great way of putting it. Right? Asking yourself, “Hey, why are all these good things happening to me?” And being authentic about it because that is true. I’ve seen that in my life. Sometimes I joke about this with some of my friends. But I tell them that I suffer from excessive joy. I’m like, “I don’t know what to do about it.”
David: You kind of have that perma-grin. You have that way of [crosstalk 00:42:45]
Charan: Well, sometimes, I do. I just find myself just overflowing with happiness for no reason, and people are like, “Wait. Why are you so happy?” I’m like, “I have no idea. I just am. Sorry.”
David: You’ve got that wit, that humor. Finding something to laugh at. I love that. I find health in laughter and comedy. We can laugh at ourselves.
Charan: Laugh at ourselves, man. That’s one of the reasons why I do comedy and why I’ve created … a lot of the content that I have tends to be very lighthearted, tends to be … a friend of mine who watched the two pilots that I did says, “Dude, just watching those shows made me happy.” I’m like, “That’s a perfect way to describe it, dude.” I want to make content that just makes people happy. Right?
David: Well, full circle to the “Something Good News,” the John Krasinski, it’s like, I want to see something that’s uplifting. There’s so much negativity out there. It’s nice and refreshing to hear something positive. Surround yourself with that as much as you can.
Charan: Absolutely. Well, David, honestly, thank you so much, man, for taking the time and chatting.
David: It took me a while to finally get on here. [crosstalk 00:43:59] get set up to come do this. I’m sorry.
Charan: Don’t worry. No. It was perfect. It was amazing. You know what? It was worth the wait. It was worth the wait, for sure.
David: Thanks. Well, any time. Any time, and seriously, we need to collab and do some stuff together.
David: All right?
Charan: I would love that. So yeah, let’s-
David: I’ll act. You sing.
Charan: Dude, that sounds great. It sounds like a real winning combination. It’s going to be amazing.
David: I’ll pretend to act. You pretend to sing.
Charan: Okay. That sounds even better.
David: All right, dude.
Charan: [crosstalk 00:44:26] man.
David: Well, thanks, man.
Charan: Thanks again for chatting, okay?
David: Any time.
Charan: All right. Take care. Okay.
David: Any time.
Charan: Thanks so much for listening to the Lemonade Stand podcast, and we hope you enjoyed this episode. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast on whatever platform you use to be alerted when we release new episodes. We’d also love to hear your feedback in the reviews, and if you or someone you know has an awesome Lemonade Stand Story, please reach out to us on social media, and let us know. Thanks so much, and have a great day.