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These emergency room doctors prove laughter is best medicine

05-Jun-2017 09:40 pm

Did you hear the one about the emergency room doctors who moonlight as singing comedians?

No, it's not a joke.

Dr. Eugene Turgeon told CBC's Up North that he and a group of doctors from the Sault Ste. Marie hospital decided to take their careers from the ER to the big stage after they discovered a shared sense of humour amid the daily grind.

"There's a lot of stress in emergency, but also a lot of gallows humour," Turgeon said.

The group calls themselves "The Comedics," and they use their act to raise money for charity.

"Initially we were just content to [perform] within the department," Turgeon said. "But then we found we could tickle the funny bone of an audience, then we found we could figuratively at least pick their pockets for a good cause."

Drawing material from what they know

The group takes their material—  a stand-up act set to music—  from what they see and experience in emergency.


"We've done songs about the discomfort about having a mammogram, or what's involved with a vasectomy," Turgeon said.

People relate just as much to the punch lines as they do more serious messages, Turgeon said.

"We did a serious song, the Highway of Heroes, a tribute to fallen soldiers," he said. "I asked someone after the [performance] which song touched them the most. I expected them to say Highway of Heroes, but they said, it was a song called Senior's Moments."

"They were living with parents that had Alzheimer's. Even that funny song hit a chord."

Best medicine: here's proof

Although Turgeon said the group would likely perform together without the prospects of being on stage, he's pleased that recent medical research is backing up their belief that laughter is the best medicine.

"Social laughter in groups releases endorphins, which go to the area of the brain like opioids, and give general feelings of wellness," Turgeon said. "Laughter is of course contagious, you can spread this feeling over a large group quickly."



Vasectomy by the Comedics

(sung to the tune of the Beatles' Yesterday)



A surgeon took the goods away from me

And though I should be feeling more carefree

Oh, I grieve my vasectomy

Suddenly I'm not half the man I used to be

There more like ornaments upon a tree

Oh, I grieve my vasectomy

Why they had to go I don't know She wouldn't say I said something wrong

Now they're gone Like Yesterday


Love was such an easy game for me

Now that I'm firing blanks it's plain to see

That I grieve

my vasectomy

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