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Is Laughter the best medicine? We attempt to answer this and other pressing questions in Doctor Vs Comedian. Dr Asif Doja is a pediatric neurologist and Ali Hassan is a stand up comedian and actor (CBC‘s Laugh Out Loud, Designated Survivor, Goon) who are each fascinated by what the other one does. In each episode, Asif picks a topic for Ali from comedy and entertainment and questions Ali about it. Then Ali picks a topic from medicine and health and grills Asif on that subject. We talk about ...
 
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Today the guys discuss the life and career of Gary Shandling (1:25). They discuss his early life and how his brother’s death, a car accident and him crossing a comedy picket line were formative experiences for him. They discuss Shandling’s eventual appearance on ‘The Tonight Show’ and then the development of his groundbreaking sitcom “It’s Garry Sh…
 
Today we have a special food themed episode! First, the guys discuss Ali’s other podcast, ‘This Podcast is Delicious’ with Ali’s co-host Marco Timpano (0:52). They discuss Marco’s background and how he ended up podcasting. They then discuss how Ali and Marco met and the genesis for their podcast. They discuss how it used to be called ‘Eat and Drink…
 
Today on a special episode, the guys don’t cover a medical topic and only discuss an entertainment one: the rise and fall of the WWE’s Vince McMahon (2:51). Even if you don’t like wrestling, or actively hate it, this episode is a fascinating listen. The guys start off by discussing why professional wrestling has continued to be popular over the yea…
 
Today, the guys discuss the career of the legendary A-lister Brad Pitt (1:21). They talk about his early life and roles. Then they discuss his philanthropy and personal life. Later the guys each list their 3 favourite Brad Pitt roles. Then Ali asks Asif about prosopagnosia, which Brad Pitt diagnosed himself with (33:24). Asif defines what it is (es…
 
Today Ali and Asif discuss the legendary soundtrack from the movie ‘Singles’ which was released 30 years ago (0:57). The guys start off by discussing the movie ‘Singles’, Cameron Crowe and how the movie potentially influenced the creation of ‘Friends’. The guys then go through each song on the album and give their thoughts on each track. They highl…
 
Today Ali and Asif present a special episode on all things Canada. They start off by Ali hosting the Canada Day celebrations in the Nation’s capital (1:02). Then they each discuss their favourite Canadian entertainment, including their favourite musicians, movies and TV shows (15:26). Then Ali asks Asif about the Canadian discovery of insulin (40:0…
 
Today, after a digression about the hotel Ali is staying in for his comedy tour, Asif asks Ali about diversity in comedy (2:07). Specifically, Asif asks Ali about the diversity and comedy course he is teaching at Queen’s University. They discuss what compelled Ali to “pitch” the course to his department. Ali discusses how he discusses in the course…
 
We had so much listener interest in a Justin Bieber and Ramsay Hunt syndrome episode that we decided to release this episode early. Our next regular episode will come out on July 1. Pop superstar Justin Bieber recently was diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt syndrome. Today the guys chat about Justin Bieber and then later discuss what exactly is Ramsay Hunt…
 
Today, Asif and Ali discuss the new Disney Plus / Marvel TV show Ms. Marvel (0:53).. The guys start off by discussing the pronunciation of ‘Kamala’ in the show and highlight how she is the first South Asian and Muslim hero to headline her own show. They discuss the history of the character and the key individuals involved in her creation, G. Willow…
 
Today, Ali and Asif discuss the life and career of the legendary comedian George Carlin and the recent HBO documentary on his life ‘American Dream’ (0:56). They discuss the importance of George Carlin, his background and his early influences. They also discuss how George Carlin re-invented himself several times in his career and his “7 words you ca…
 
On this episode, the guys discuss the classic Canadian comedy crew, the Kids in the Hall (1:19). They discuss the origins of the group and how Lorne Michaels gave them their big break with their show on HBO and CBC. Ali then discusses his interactions with each member of the troupe (he has met them all!). They discuss the success of the ‘Kids in th…
 
On this episode, the guys discuss the new television show Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (1:17). They start off by discussing their memories of watching Star Trek: The Original Series and list their favourite episodes. Then Asif let’s the cat out of the bag and announces that Ali has an upcoming role in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. Ali talks about…
 
(Our apologies about the quality of the sound on Asif’s track). Today, Ai and Asif discuss the history of comic book superhero Batman (0:55). They reminisce about the Batman TV show from the 1960’s and then speak about Tim Burton’s reimagining of the character in 1989 and the influence of Frank Miller’s ‘The Dark Knight Returns”. They discuss the c…
 
Today Ali and Asif discuss the celebrated and award winning movie, Jane Campion’s ‘The Power of the Dog’ (1:12). They discuss the amazing cinematography and the performances by Benedict Cumberbatch, Jesse Plemons, Kirsten Dunst and Kodi Smit-McPhee. At 16:32, spoilers for the movie and Asif’s opinions on the movie follow. In brief, Asif liked ¾ of …
 
Today on a special episode the guys interview superstar comedian Maz Jobrani. Maz discusses his early life, how he became interested in performing, and how he went to university originally to study political science. He then discusses being ‘political’ in comedy and how being Persian influences his comedy. The guys then discuss Maz’s ‘Tai Chi’ appr…
 
Today on a special episode the guys interview the El-Salomons – Jess Salomon and Eman El-Husseini. They discuss how they developed their joint comedy act (via a New Yorker style comic) and whether they prefer performing solo or together. Asif then asks Eman and Jess about performing with Patton Oswalt. Then they get into how the pair became involve…
 
The guys start off the episode by discussing the career of Gilbert Gottfried and the recent documentary ‘Gilbert’ (00:51). They discuss how he often kept his private life out of the public eye, prior to the documentary. They discuss some things they did not know about him including his relationship with his wife and kids and his reputation amongst …
 
It's Doctor Vs Comedian Vs Dave Merheje (also a comedian)! On a special episode the guys interview actor and comedian Dave Merheje, star of the critically acclaimed Hulu series ‘Ramy’. They discuss Dave growing up in Windsor, Ontario and the influence of different cities on his comedy. Then they discuss how Dave developed his unique stand-up style …
 
Given his recent aphasia diagnosis, the guys reflect on the career of actor Bruce Willis (1:19). The guys talk about his career highlights including ‘Moonlighting’, ‘Die Hard’, ‘12 Monkeys’ and ‘The 6th Sense’. Then Ali asks Asif about aphasia (10:59). Asif reviews the main different types (Broca’s, Wernicke’s, conduction and global), the areas of …
 
Due to the events occurring at the Oscars, Ali and Asif decided to record an emergency podcast. The guys recap the joke told by Chris Rock and the ensuing slap from Will Smith. Then Ali discusses various ‘defenses’ that have been given for Will Smith’s actions. Asif then takes a digression to discuss alopecia areata (16:11), the disease which Will …
 
In this special episode, the guys preview the 95th Annual Academy Awards Preview, taking place on March 27, 2022 (no medical topic this episode). The guys start off by discussing the major controversy this year about the Academy leaving off certain categories on the televised show. They then talk about the minor controversy regarding how the earwor…
 
Today Asif asks Ali about his involvement with Canada Reads, which returns on March 28, 2022 (4:43). After a brief digression about the band Genesis, Ali discusses the genesis of Canada Reads. He talks about how it was developed by the CBC and how the guests and books are selected. He then discusses notable guests and books and how he became involv…
 
Today, based on two listeners’ suggestions, Ali and Asif discuss ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ and Trichotillomania. Asif admits to only having watched the pilot of ‘Mrs Maisel’ (2:26) and as such, Ali gives Asif a sales pitch on why the show should be watched. After a brief digression about TV shows that they were exposed to on airline flights, Ali …
 
Content Warning: Sexual Assault Today, the guys discuss the new documentary series ‘We Need to Talk About Cosby” (1:12). They discuss director W. Kamau Bell and the reasons why he chose to make the series. They discuss how the documentary highlights the Bill Cosby’s accomplishments including his stand up comedy, his revolutionary role in ‘I Spy’, h…
 
The guys start off the episode by discussing Ali and his family recently contracting Covid-19. Then they switch up the format by first discussing the history of opioids, the interplay between pharma and medicine in the marketing of opioids and the rise of Purdue pharma (5:29). They then talk about the opioid crisis, the rise of oxycontin and fentan…
 
It’s our 50th episode! To celebrate this, Asif asks Ali about his top 3 favorite comedy specials (1:31). Ali picks Dave Chapelle’s ‘Killing Them Softly’, Wanda Sykes’ Im’a Be Me’ and Eddie Izzard’s ‘Dress to Kill’ and discusses what makes these specials so good. Then Ali asks Asif about the biological basis of why we develop laughter (32:04). Asif …
 
To start the episode, Ali asks Asif about 2 movies he saw recently - Spider-Man: No Way Home and The Matrix Resurrections. Short story: one was good nostalgia and the other reminded him of the “member berries” from South Park. Then, Asif asks Ali about how comedians create personas for comedy (7:28). Ali also discusses how podcasts and twitter have…
 
Today on a very special episode, Ali and Asif interview superstar podcaster Dr. Sydnee McElroy (Sawbones, Still Buffering). In their wide ranging conversation they discuss how she got started in podcasting with her husband, Justin McElroy, and how they developed the wildly successful podcast ‘Sawbones’. Then they discuss the evolution of her other …
 
The guys start out discussing the recent snowstorms in North America, the politeness (or lack thereof) of Torontonians, Ali’s toothache and leaving your phone number with bakeries. Then the guys discuss the recent deaths of Louie Anderson and Bob Saget. They start by discussing the legendary Louie Anderson (5:40) his acting on shows such as ‘Basket…
 
Today on a special episode, the guys discuss the case of Mike Ward, who was accused of breaching the limits of free speech when he mocked a disabled singer named Jeremy Gabriel (“Petit Jeremy")...a case that went all the way up to the Supreme Court of Canada. They are joined by their special guest comedian and lawyer Jess Salomon (The Tonight Show,…
 
To start the episode, Ali talks about his new CBC show out now “Run the Burbs” and Ali’s appearance on “Family Feud Canada”. Betty White would have been 100 years old on Jan 17, 2022, so to commemorate this, the guys go over her life and career (7:36). They discuss her roles in “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”, “The Golden Girls” and her devotion to civ…
 
Today, Ali and Asif discuss the career of the great Kal Penn (1:46). They discuss his early career all the way up to the release of his memoir, ‘You Can’t Be Serious”. They discuss his famous roles in ‘American Desi’, ‘Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle’, ‘Van Wilder’, ‘The Namesake’, ‘House’ and ‘Designated Survivor’. They discuss Kal coming out …
 
As a year-end treat, the guys go over their favourite entertainment from 2021… and decide to omit the big 2021 medical topic, since people are likely tired of talking about the Covid-19 pandemic. Ali starts off by talking about his favourite books he read last year (1:44). Then Asif discusses new music he got into in 2021. The guys then compare not…
 
Today, Ali and Asif each list their top albums from one of the greatest years for music, 1991 (2:01). The guys go over their top albums, their honourable mentions and their lowlights of that year. Then, Ali asks Asif why the music from our youth connects so much with us (47:59). Asif discusses the research by Daniel Levitin on music and the brain a…
 
In response to a listener's question, the guys attempt to answer the questions: “What does it mean to be funny?” and “What does it mean to be healthy?”. After a brief digression about humour in rats, Ali discusses how ‘funny’ laughter and active listening are intricately linked (2:21). He outlines the 4 major concepts that people find amusement in:…
 
The guys start off this episode with Asif reviewing Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2:40). Then Asif asks Ali about his thoughts on Larry David, ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ and cringe comedy (12:16). Ali talks about the influence of Ricky Gervais (The Office) and Sacha Baron Cohen (Da Ali G Show) on cringe comedy. After an aside about the new…
 
The guys start off the episode with Asif discussing the problems faced by men after trying on their suits after 18 months of the Covid-19 pandemic (1:18). The guys then compare two albums released in the fall of 1991, Soundgarden’s ‘Badmotorfinger’ and U2’s ‘Achtung Baby’ (3:15). They start off by discussing ‘Badmotorfinger’ and the amazing product…
 
The guys start off the episodes by discussing Ali’s recent attendance at a Toronto Maple Leafs game and his ‘Sophie’s Choice’ of needing to choose whether to cheer for Toronto or the Boston Bruins (1:40). Asif then discusses his thoughts on the recent movie by Denis Villeneuve ‘Dune”. Then Asif asks Ali about Kumail Nanjiani and his thoughts on his…
 
Today, the guys switch things around by discussing the medical topic first -- Tics and Tourette Syndrome (1:02). Asif discusses what the symptoms of Tourette Syndrome are, how you diagnose it and what causes it. He also talks about other commonly associated conditions and why you often do NOT need to treat tics. Then Ali and Asif discuss Tourette S…
 
On today’s episode, after a brief discussion of Jerry Seinfeld’s “Is this Anything?”, Ali discusses how he and other comedians come up with material (2:21). He talks about writing out jokes, practicing them at open mics and refining them over time. He then talks about what happens when you recommend a joke to a comic. Then, Asif discusses the healt…
 
Today, in honour of the 30th anniversary of the release of Guns N’ Roses’ ‘Use Your Illusion 1 and 2’ and Metallica’s ‘Black Album’, the guys debate which album is better (and yes, we know UYI is 2 albums -- we’re counting them as one…) (1:41). Ali starts off by recounting the story of how he attended the infamous Metallica/Guns N’ Roses concert in…
 
Today, the guys discuss the hit Netflix Show ‘Squid Game’ (1:13) and the influence of Korea on popular culture (BTS, ‘Parasite’) . They talk about how it was developed by writer/director Hwang Dong-hyuk, Netflix and Ted Sarandos. They discuss how it became a global phenomenon and how it’s ‘The Prisoner’ and ‘The Hunger Games’. They mention the exce…
 
Today, Asif asks Ali about the controversial origins of stand up comedy (1:05). Ali explains that stand up comedy evolved from vaudeville and that vaudeville itself evolved from minstrel shows. With respect to minstrel shows, Ali specifically references Thomas Dartmouth Rice's blatantly racist song-and-dance number, "Jump Jim Crow". He also discuss…
 
Today, the guys start off the pod with a bit of banter about ‘banter’. Then, in honour of ‘Seinfeld’ being released on Netflix this month, Asif and Ali discuss their thoughts and memories of the sitcom. Then they both debate their top 5 ‘Seinfeld’ episodes of all time. Then Ali asks Asif about body odour, and the guys use the ‘Seinfeld’ episode “Th…
 
Today, the guys start off the pod by discussing 2 new television shows: Sandra Oh in ‘The Chair’ and FX’s ‘Y: The Last Man’ (0:43). Then Asif asks Ali about what life is really like on television and movie sets (8:53). Ali talks about the first set he was on and how he learned the “rules” of being on set. Ali then talks about the food on sets inclu…
 
Today, the guys start off by discussing the recently departed Norm Macdonald (1:00). They talk about his unique comic voice and the tremendous respect Ali and other comics had for him. Then, since both albums were released 30 years ago this month, the guys debate which album is better: Nirvana’s Nevermind’ or Pearl Jam’s ‘Ten (8:09)’. During their …
 
To start the show, the guys discuss the sometimes murky issue of copyright claims on YouTube (1:30). Then the guys preview the upcoming 73rd annual Emmy awards and their picks in various categories (7:03). Then, Ali asks Asif about the academic publishing and why Asif feels the whole system of academic publishing needs to be fixed (29:39). He discu…
 
The guys start with a serious debate about whether ‘drums’ or ‘flats’ are the better chicken wings (00:50). Ali then discusses life on the road as a comedian (5:11), including tips on how to get started in comedy touring. Then, Asif discusses the influence of the pharmaceutical industry on the prescribing habits of doctors (29:36). He discusses his…
 
In this episode, Ali and Asif discuss the surging rates of eating disorders during the Covid-19 pandemic, with Adolescent Medicine and Eating Disorders expert Dr. Megan Harrison (who also happens to be Asif’s wife). Dr. Harrison discusses what eating disorders are and how adolescents develop them. Dr. Harrison also discusses how eating disorders ar…
 
To start the episode the guys give their thoughts on two recent summer movies; Asif talks about “The Suicide Squad” and Ali reviews “The Green Knight” (2:00). Then the guys talk about the 40th anniversary of one of the greatest summer movies of all time, ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ (18:55). The guys start off by talking about their personal connectio…
 
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