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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 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…
 
To start the episode, Ali’s recounts a recent Drive-in comedy show he did with Shaun Majumder (1:03). Then Asif asks about the course Ali teaches at Queen’s University and whether you can “teach funny” (7:38). Ali then talks about various exercises he used with his students to develop their comedic skills. Ali then discusses various books on the hi…
 
In this very special episode, Ali and Asif interview ophthalmologist, comedian and social media sensation Dr. Will Flannary aka Dr. Glaucomflecken. In their hilarious and wide ranging chat they discuss: His comedic influences How he got started doing stand up and how he transitioned to social media His philosophy of comedy, ‘punching up’ and why on…
 
Today, after playing a clip of Will Ferrell ‘heckling’ Jimmy Fallon on the tonight show (1:52), Ali discusses heckling in comedy (2:25). He discusses the different types of interruptions that can occur and the ‘dangers’ of crowd work and a crazy story from Sudbury, Ontario. Then Asif discusses the idea of ‘difficult” parents in pediatrics (24:39)--…
 
In this episode, Asif starts things off by discussing how he finally got around to seeing Zach Snyder’s Justice League (1:00) and they compare the viewing experience to Christopher Nolan’s Tenet. The guys then discuss clowns in comedy as well as hospital clowns. First, Ali discusses the different types of clowns and the history of clowning (4:59). …
 
On today’s episode the guys first off start talking about last week’s Emmy nominations, including the surprises and snubs (00:54). Then Asif asks Ali about his thoughts on ‘Ted Lasso’ (5:16). The guys talk about the development of the show and praise the performances of the cast, particularly Jason Sudeikis and Hannah Waddingham. They then talk abo…
 
On today’s episode, the guys start off by reminiscing about the career of the acclaimed director Richard Donner (1:07). They talk about his classic films including ‘Superman’, ‘The Goonies’, ‘Scrooged’, ‘Lethal Weapon’, as well as the not so classic ‘16 Blocks’ (featuring a classically bad vocal choice by Mos Def). Then Asif asks Ali about his thou…
 
On today’s episode, Ali updates us on his filming of Hudson and Rex in Newfoundland (00:54).Then Asif asks Ali about his thoughts on Bo Burnham’s new netflix special ‘Inside’ (3:56). The guys talk about Bo Burnham’s rise to fame via the internet and the response to his special, both good and bad. They compare the response to the special to Hannah G…
 
On today’s episode, Ali joins us on location in Newfoundland, and talks about filming the television show 'Hudson and Rex' (00:50). Asif asks Ali about his thoughts on the new HBO show ‘Hacks’. They discuss the premise of the show (young writer coming up with jokes for an aging comedian), comedians getting jokes written for them, and aging comics. …
 
On this special episode, Ali and Asif are joined by physician, OB/GYN, pain medicine specialist, blogger, podcaster and writer Dr. Jen Gunter. Topics discussed include: Asif and Dr. Gunter discussing attending Western University and Joe Kool’s Dr. Gunter’s past battles with Gweneth Paltrow and Goop A tangent about coffee enemas and the British mili…
 
In this Episode, the guys discuss whether comedy can affect change (2:36). Ali discusses the Satire Paradox (Malcolm Gladwell) and whether laughter and social protest are friends or foes, including examples such as All in the Family, and Sarah Palin and Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live. He then talks about how Trump affected late night talk show…
 
In today’s episodes the guys discuss the Academy Award Winning movie “Another Round” (4:11). Ali starts out first by discussing his (tenuous) connection to star Mads Mikkelsen. He then discussed the development of the movie by director Thomas Vinterberg and the influence of his late daughter Ida on the film. They also talk about the influence of th…
 
On this episode, after a brief interlude about McDonald’s Orange Drink, the guys discuss the legendary Canadian band, the Tragically Hip (2:50). They discuss the Hip’s new EP and their upcoming appearance at the 2021 Juno awards with Feist. They discuss the history of the band and their relationship to them, including Ali’s story of stage diving at…
 
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