Comedy doctors: proving laughter is the best medicine
- Brian Donaldson
- 18 November 2013
Harry Hill and Phil Hammond are among those who straddle the worlds of comedy and medicine
Just what is it about the medical profession that gets the comedy juices flowing? TV history is resplendent with hospital-based sitcoms from Only When I Laugh to Scrubs, Green Wing to Getting On, and Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace to Let the Blood Run Free (meanwhile, Comedy Central has just announced plans to produce a pilot episode of a student sitcom called Medics).
Of course, the medical revue has a long and distinguished past and the likes of The Goodies’ Graeme Garden and Monty Python’s Graham Chapman began the trend of those with qualifications in medicine turning to laughter for a career. Later notable instances have included the Amateur Transplants duo, Harry Hill, Simon Brodkin (who courted some controversy by ‘browning up’ as Dr Omprakash) and Paul Sinha, while Phil Hammond is now here with a touring show entitled Games to Play with Your Doctor, happily deciding to keep that job title in his stage name. His own stab at a medical sitcom, Polyoaks, has successfully aired on Radio 4.
But you don’t need to have been an actual bona fide stethoscope-wearer at some point to know that corporeal matters can be very funny indeed. Toby Williams is responsible for one of the most visceral doctorly creations in recent times with his intensely realistic performance as monstrous medic George Ryegold having ticked ribs and sent shivers down the spine over a few Fringes. And Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee Mike Wozniak first gained attention with a show about pain in the penile region with such wince-worthy detail that could only have come from long hours studying some pretty sick journals.
Dr Phil Hammond appears at The Stand, Edinburgh, Sun 1 Dec & The Stand, Glasgow, Mon 2 Dec.