|For most of us, stand up comedy would be extremely stressful. For Ted Morris DVM, its a walk in the park compared to what vets deal with every day.|
Being a vet can be funny, but Ted Morris has made a career out of it. As far as we can ascertain (but correct us if we’re wrong) he’s the world’s first veterinarian:comedian. It's not an elective offered in any vet school I know, although veterinary schools are increasingly encouraging graduates to diversify. Ted works in Toronto, Canada, and lives with a three-legged dog Beatrix. He had a few moments between shifts and shows to reveal how he juggles both roles, and which is more stressful.
You’re a veterinarian and a comedian. Which happened first?
Student veterinarian happened first. I hit my first stage at the end of 2nd year of vet school. I was a comedy hobbyist for years before I realized I could potentially do it for a living.
Which job is more stressful?
Vet. Hands down. Comedy can be stressful (especially when you are first starting out) but at the end of the day nothing will die if I bomb on stage (other than my inner child!) and I only have to last an hour at most.
Would you ever pick one job over the other, and why?
Comedy, hands down. I got very burned out after 12 years of vet work and don't think it’s sustainable for me for the long run. I’m not interested in owning my practice, so there’s only so much growth to my career. Stand-up doesn’t pay the greatest all the time, and work can be hit and miss but I can’t NOT perform. I’m looking to branch more into writing, acting and voice work but ultimately I think I’m a performer with a weird day job, rather than a vet with a weird night job.
How do you juggle your identity between being a serious professional and a comic? Is there ever any conflict?
It’s starting to get confusing! I do things on TV and the radio as both a comedian AND a veterinarian so when clients say “I heard you on the radio!” I always have to ask what the context was. Most of my clients love that I do stand-up, and I’ve even gained a lot of clients who watched my shows. The only time it got awkward was when I was doing some jokes about euthanasia and looked down to see a client of mine…we’d just had a big talk about the quality of life of her ancient dog just the day before.
Do you live with any non-human animals? Can you tell us a bit about them?
I live with my giant American boyfriend of 16 years who shows up in a lot of my comedy act. Every joke I’ve ever told on stage started with him laughing at something I said. So if anyone is offended by my material you can blame him. He’s an illustrator and oddly enough mostly draws cartoon cats even though he’s deathly allergic to them.
Favourite vet joke?
To tell to vets? “My sister got mastitis and asked me for advice. I had no idea what to tell her. I don’t know…put a red tag around your neck and milk you last?” It’s the only bit of large animal medicine I remember!
Any advice you’d like to share with veterinarians and future veterinarians? Or aspiring comedians?
Work hard to be the best you can be. If people are angry at you, counter it with kindness because it’s usually not about you. No single job will make or break your career. People are dumb and that isn’t going to change so figure out how to deal with it without driving yourself crazy!