The Comic Doc. How Humor Can Break Down Barriers and Strengthen Relationships with Dr. Vien Phommachanh

What is the significance of laughter in medicine? In this episode of the Building Us podcast, hosts Erik Garcia, CFP®, and Dr. Matt Morris, LPC, LMFT, are joined by Dr. Vien Phommachanh, Otolaryngologist (Ear, Nose, & Throat Doctor) by day and standup comedian by night in Southwest Florida. Dr. Vien talks about his careers in both medicine and comedy and how being a comedian has helped him to be a better physician.

Episode Highlights:

  • Erik introduces Dr. Vien Phommachanh. (5:08)
  • Vien mentions that he’s the #1 one ranked Laotian ENT doctor-comedian in Southwest Florida. (5:53)
  • Vien shares that Laos is the least industrialized country in Asia and also, the most bombed country in the history of the world. (8:01)
  • Vien mentions that laughing is his mechanism to make himself a better person, and a better doctor. (12:12)
  • Vien thinks that doctors have to be organic as people. (24:06)
  • Vien mentions that there’s a value in switching gears emotionally. Because if you’re feeling heavy on the serious side, it affects you. (24:57)
  • Vien shares that if you’re overly invested and emotional, you’re letting that side in. But if you’re in a risky professional environment, you run the risk of being manipulated or hurt. (28:17)
  • In Vien’s opinion, being organic, real, sincere, and invested in the well being of my patients, has given him an advantage in being a physician. (28:44)
  • Vien mentions that if you’re looking for something to criticize somebody about, you’re wasting your life. Get a job and be productive in society. (41:15)
  • Vien shares that arts have always been a reflection of society, and society is always imperfect, there are points to laugh at, and points to change. (42:47)
  • Vien shares a story about a comedian who made a joke immediately after the death of a celebrity. (42:46)
  • Vien thinks that dad jokes are fundamental to the existence of fatherhood. (59:42)

Key Quotes:

  • “You can’t laugh and worry at the same time. Like, it’s physically impossible. So, with medicine, I’m always on the brink of crying. So, why not laugh it off? Laughing is close to crying in terms of its catharsis.” – Dr. Vien Phommachanh
  • “I think now and then, just letting the human side come through reminds you that you’re sincere, reminds people that you’re there as a person, and as a physician, I think that’s a valuable tool, like being able to laugh at something.” – Dr. Vien Phommachanh
  • “I don’t push a lot of buttons. I don’t walk the line that much, there are comics that want to be edgy, they want to distinguish themselves, and a lot of people don’t have an interesting story, they grew up in a culture that isn’t that unique.” – Dr. Vien Phommachanh

Resources Mentioned:

About Erik Garcia

Hi there, I'm Erik. How you manage your money and other resources impacts practically every aspect of your life. I help individuals and families invest plan for a more secure and predictable financial future. Thanks for taking time on my site!

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