Saturday, June 11, 2016

Interview with Ted Morris DVM: veterinarian and comedian

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 were wrong) hes the worlds 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.
Youre 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 its sustainable for me for the long run. Im not interested in owning my practice, so theres only so much growth to my career. Stand-up doesnt pay the greatest all the time, and work can be hit and miss but I cant NOT perform. Im looking to branch more into writing, acting and voice work but ultimately I think Im 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?

Its 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 Ive 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 minewed 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 Ive ever told on stage started with him laughing at something I said. So if anyone is offended by my material you can blame him. Hes an illustrator and oddly enough mostly draws cartoon cats even though hes 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 dont knowput a red tag around your neck and milk you last? Its the only bit of large animal medicine I remember!

Any advice youd 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 its usually not about you. No single job will make or break your career. People are dumb and that isnt going to change so figure out how to deal with it without driving yourself crazy!

Thanks Ted for your time. You can follow Ted on twitter @dogtorted, check out his comedy site here or his veterinary blog here.