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AUDIO - HSP #241 - Jimmy Earll
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VIDEO - HSP #241 - Jimmy Earll
Two successful dentists talk about breaking the ice with patients, and how their comedy has changed their practices for the better.
• Solo private practice in the Sacramento area
• Started stand up comedy 2007.
• Performed on the Vegas strip (Mandalay Bay, Bally's, Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas Hilton and the Rio)
• Performed for a Prince in Saudi Arabia, opening for Edwin San Juan.
• Was in the 2009 San Francisco Comedy Competition, Las Vegas World Series of Comedy.
• Performed in close to 70 comedy clubs around the world and have worked with Carlos Mencia, JoKoy and Norm McDonald
Howard: It is a huge honor for me tonight to be sitting here at the Tempe Improv talking to one of my role models and idols.
Jimmy: What? What?
Howard: You are. I'm an amateur comedian. I've done twenty ...
Jimmy: Okay. You're saying this but I am sitting across from the great Doctor ... Come on.
Howard: No. I'm only a legend in my own mind.
Jimmy: Thank you so much. Seriously. This is amazing.
Howard: You're the only dentist ...
Jimmy: Yeah. Let go of my hand.
Howard: Who gets paid to fly around the country to do comedy.
Jimmy: To set the record straight, I am a middle. I'm not a headliner. Yeah. I do get paid. I do clubs around the country. It's a lot of fun.
Howard: Everybody watching the show is a dentist. You're talking to thousands of dentists. You care if they You Tube you?
Jimmy: No. Some of them just maybe no kids around.
Howard: Right, right, right.
Jimmy: That's the only ...
Howard: These places aren't rated G.
Jimmy: Right. I know some G stuff.
Howard: What's funny is the G rated comedian, the legend Bill Cosby turned out to be a psycho path.
Jimmy: X-rated type of ...
Howard: I just heard that they're not going to move Bill Cosby's Hollywood star. He likes it when you don't move.
Jimmy: That's good. They're going to put the explicit read on our podcast.
Howard: The reason I wanted to chase you down is not just because my own interests. I live vigorously through you. Seeing you come in and out of town and all this stuff. I like to do this as a hobby all the way back to when I was in college. I remember the first time I lectured in LA, I went and did the open mic at the place on Sunset Boulevard.
Jimmy: It's a natural [inaudible 00:01:47] for you. This is what you do. For you to lecture and then do stand up, it can't be that much of a stretch.
Howard: Yeah, yeah.
Jimmy: You're so animated so it makes sense.
Howard: The lecturing gets you over the stage fright.
Jimmy: Right, right.
Howard: The stage fright is just realizing that if you pretend that you really like the audience and you really are there because you want to be their friend, then they don't intimidate you.
Jimmy: I think the key to is ice breaking. You have to be the master of ice breaking when you go to those cold rooms. That's most of the battle in stand up. Reading that crowd, ice breaker. Not to dirty, not to clean. Get them on your side. This is what you do.
Howard: I think the funniest thing about ... The reason I wanted to also get you on here is because we always talk dentistry, fixing teeth. Sometimes we talk about the business of dentistry but we never really get into dentists and their hobbies.
Howard: Dentists have suffered with higher rates of suicide. They've had higher rates of ... I can't say they have higher rates of addiction because the addiction evidence says that about eighteen percent of them have addiction issues during their career. That's about what the general public has.
Howard: Unlike anesthesiologists have a thirty eight percent addiction rate.
Jimmy: I'm nodding like I know what he's talking about. I have no idea about the stats.
Howard: On dental [inaudible 00:03:15] about every three or four years we like to have an issue with a lot of addiction stuff.
Jimmy: Okay. Yeah, sure.
Howard: I wanted to talk to you because I think the dentists that are happiest and healthy are not only like you where you've been married twenty five years. You got two children, seventeen and nineteen. You have hobbies.
Howard: I think that what's also the most funny about you is I've been saying for years that I think a dentist could double their income if they got a weekend job as a bartender and just learned how to talk to drunk people at a bar. It seems like everybody that's happy, healthy, and successful in dentistry can talk to patients.
Jimmy: Yeah. It's amazing what humor can do to the doctor/patient relationship obviously. They come in so apprehensive and so high strung. Just a small little, funny little comment you can just see the shoulders just relax. Yeah. It is very useful in my every day to day procedures. My dental day, it really does come in handy. It really does. For the record, I suck at golf. Horrible at golf. I'm scared of heights so I can't do my pilot license. This is what I do. This is my hobby.
Howard: Yeah. I don't recommend dentist and their airplanes. I've seen the airplane data safety.
Howard: Doctors are the highest wreck rate.
Howard: They have the money to go buy an airplane but they treat it like a car.
Howard: They just run and jump into there and do the walk around. They don't do everything a pilot would normally do.
Jimmy: Hmm. Interesting.
Howard: You know why I quit doing golf was actually because when I would go golfing with dentists, they would be so stressed out. They would throw their clubs. They would cuss. They would curse. The final straw was in Maui at the end of a round, the dentist missed the putt and threw his whole clubs into the fountain.
Jimmy: That really does actually happen.
Howard: I thought to myself, "God." Dentistry is pretty stressful. Giving someone a shot is stressful. I want my hobby to be fun.
Jimmy: Fun. Right.
Howard: I just don't want a hobby where everybody is using profanity.
Jimmy: Right. I've been lucky. I'm a full time dentist. I've been lucky enough to be opening for comics. Edward San Juan invited me to open for him in Saudi Arabia. I've opened for Rex Navarrete at Mandalay Bay. I've kind of been lucky that way. I get to visit fun places and do the comedy. You're right. You do need a stress release. This is perfect for me.
Howard: How many cities have you seen doing this hobby of yours?
Jimmy: I go to Vegas quit a bit. I've been on Planet Hollywood, casino, Mandalay Bay, Ballys. Doing the whole Vegas thing is really fun and interesting working over there. I did that run in Saudi. One of my favorite clubs is actually the club in Tuscan, Laff's Café. One of my favorite clubs around the country, great club. Do the clubs here in Arizona and Northern California. I've done some clubs in Canada. It's taken me places, definitely.
Howard: I always thought regarding the law of unintended consequences, I never knew when I started accepting speaking invitations that twenty five years later I would of seen every major cities and continents. It's really been a real rewarding thing that I didn't plan.
Jimmy: Sure. It's amazing.
Howard: I didn't set out to see ... It's really fun seeing the whole planet earth.
Jimmy: I remember trying to get you to join me here at the Tempe Improv. How long have I been working on you? At least a year.
Jimmy: "I can't Jimmy. I'm heading to Australia this weekend. I can't. I'm going to Vancouver."
Howard: I think dentists are funny about comedy. It's so funny how you go in your garage and have poker game with dentists. Their drinking and the jokes are so creative. I went on fishing trips. Even Missionary dentists trips. The humor, the jokes. They just hit the bottom of the barrel all night long.
Howard: Then you go to their dental conference with the same dentists the next day and say the word fart and there all cringing in their seat. It really makes you realize that humans are social animals and the context and the environment of where they're standing at that moment totally affects there whole thinking.
Jimmy: Yeah. It does. You got to give it to them, they do have to be professional. I get it. I think it's good to have one side where you can just let lose and do your thing, have fun, but I think it's really important to be professional with your patients. That's why I try like I was telling you earlier, try not to mix the two worlds. That's why I go by a different name on stage. I really try to keep dentistry and comedy separate. I think that's very important. I try to respect the profession. A lot of patients put their trust in me. I take that very seriously.
Howard: Do you feel that being a professional dentist, physician, lawyer, that some of our extracurricular activities are taboo like stand up comedy? I know I used to do pole dancing in Bally. I was afraid my patients would see me. I stopped when I started bending the poles.
Jimmy: What was your stage name? Cinnamon?
Howard: Root Canal, huh? Root Canal. Here he is Root Canal and his little [crosstalk 00:09:07].
Jimmy: [crosstalk 00:09:07] stage. Put your hands together for Howard "Cinnamon".
Howard: I like the concept you said about ice breaking. I do think stand up is the most brutal art form. If you're doing a movie they might take thirty takes for a scene.
Howard: When you're doing a play on Broadway, you have all these props and other people.
Howard: Stand up, it's just you and a mic. You have to get instant ice breaker, instant likability.
Jimmy: There's days that doesn't always work though. I had this gig in Northern California. It was for a group of women called The Seroptimist. I can talk about it. I feel better about it. I'm just going to be open. It was a forty minute set. I was three years in comedy. They were going to pay me twelve hundred dollars. I went on and absolutely bombed. Bombed. Here's the poor lady writing out the check. I am not even exaggerating. This is what she did. "Do you want all of it?" "Do I want all of it? Yes." I think she was going to give me like half of her paycheck. Just the way she looked at me and that question just tore me. Tore me in two. There's a huge learning curve with stand up. I'm sure you know.
Howard: It's the same with dental lectures. I've lectured ... I quit counting after a thousand or fifteen hundred, something like that. I've had some horrendous bombs. I think you always learn the most from the root canal that failed, the crown that fell off.
Howard: The lecture that bombed. You sit there and think what happened? You actually learn more. I think Malcolm Goldridge deal that no one becomes a master until they've done something for ten years or ten thousand hours. I think you have to bomb as a speaker, you have to bomb as a ...
Jimmy: Yeah. You're right.
Howard: For some take aways for the dentists listening, I hope a lot of them are learning this and might want to lecture at their local study club or their State meeting, or whatever. They always say fear of public speaking is huge. People say they would rather die than public speak but I've never been at a funeral and heard someone say, "At least he's not public speaking right now." There's a lot of people out there that lecture to study clubs, State meetings, lecture in dentistry, what advice would you give them to get over stage fright?
Jimmy: The important thing is be yourself. Don't be someone your not. If you can't come up with some funny little thing really quick, just be yourself. It will come. I think what happens is we try to be someone that we're not. That's when I start bombing. I noticed if you keep it really ... Talk about your kids and things that actually hurts you, that's when you connect with the audience, when you keep it organic. That's where I am with my comedy now. I'm not one to premise, set up punch line. I talk to the crowd now. When they bring something up, that triggers a thought, then boom. I come up and just talk about it. I think that's the important thing. Be yourself. Don't try to be someone you're not when you're talking to people. I think that's the big thing.
Howard: Connecting with the audience.
Jimmy: Connect with the audience, right.
Howard: What I learned through the hard way of falling down is twice early on when I started lecturing in ninety, back then airplanes didn't have the tags for the baggage and twice in the first five years I'm traveling comfortable in sweats and carry on and they lost my luggage. Back then we had big carousals ...
Jimmy: Is this your pole days?
Howard: We lost the luggage back when we had the big carousal of thirty five milometer slides. I didn't have my suit. I'm sitting there thinking, "Oh my God. I'm getting paid. I have a bunch of people. I don't have any of my slides and I don't have a suit." I literally showed up in Nike tennis shoes, sweats, and a sweatshirt. The person bringing me in said, "What are you going to do?" I said, "The show must go on." I was nervous wreck. I had no slide. I had no presentation. I'm sitting here with no notes.
Howard: Every time that happened I almost crapped my pants and died before it started. It was always the best seminar.
Jimmy: Best seminar. That's awesome. Yeah.
Howard: That's what stand up is. You're not up here with power points.
Howard: You're not showing pictures. You and I in a few minutes are just going to be right here with a microphone.
Howard: No props. No power points. I would say to all public speakers, everyone that's joining the toast masters who wants to be a dental lecturer, every single thing that a stand up comedian doesn't have is a crutch. You don't want power point. You don't want notes. You don't want everything ... All the speakers that aim for that, what does every dentist tell you about every speaker at the ADA Convention?
Howard: Boring. Boring. They just sit there and look at the clock. They're getting their little credits.
Howard: Just connect.
Jimmy: Connect. Exactly. Hopefully I can connect a little bit better with this crowd tonight than I did with your sons. I don't think I ... They laughed once at my silliness.
Howard: Do we have to get off the stage?
Jimmy: I think so.
Howard: Is that the guy? My last take away question is the most relevant to our viewers who aren't going to be public speaking, aren't going to be giving dental seminars, they're just walking into the [inaudible 00:14:55]. You talked about ice breakers. You talked about connecting. As a full time professional dentist for twenty years and a full time comedian for years, what's some tips to walk into the operator y and break the ice?
Jimmy: What's the first thing they say when you walk in? I hate the?
Jimmy: No. The other one is I hate the shot. I just come up and say, "Well I have run awards." They go, "You have?" "No, I really haven't." Just that little exchange relaxes them. You see the shoulders. "Okay. I feel just a little something."
Howard: I tell them, "Do you know I've been voted the world's greatest dentist?" They go, "Really?" I say, "Yeah. Just Google fake dental facts."
Jimmy: His was better than mine. Give it to him.
Howard: Thanks for coming out here and talking about breaking the ice.
Jimmy: No problem.
Howard: To dentist out there, I have said for twenty five years you could probably double your income if you got a part time job on the weekends as a bartender learning how to talk to drunk people at a bar or joining toast masters.
Howard: Or just doing stand up comedy you can start on open mic night.
Jimmy: Every town has them. You're right.
Howard: I still think I beat a dead horse all the time. I sound redundant but the best clinical skills never lead to that happy, healthiest office. It's the best people skills.
Jimmy: People skills, sure. It's an honor. Seriously.
Howard: I tell my jokes tonight. People always ask me how many people work for you at your dental office? I say, "About half." Did you know ninety nine percent of all the employees in dentistry are woman? Oddly enough we have the highest suicide rate.
Jimmy: Oh. There you go.
Howard: On that note, Jimmy Earl. Thank you so much buddy.
Jimmy: Thank you.