Dr Jason Leong
THEN Doctor NOW Comedian
Many would think that upon becoming a doctor you’re set for life – money, prosperity and happiness would come naturally. Besides, who in their right mind would leave such a noble profession, let alone for a small (but growing) and uncertain industry like comedy? Well, Jason Leong did it, and he’s been quite successful at it too.
When Jason first started dipping his toes in comedy he was still a doctor. In fact, for his very first performance – a five-minute slot at Time Out KL’s Comedy Thursday [which has been discontinued] – he drove all the way from Penang where he was based at the time to KL to perform his show. As he started to gain more attention, Jason had to make a choice. ‘Bureaucracy and inhuman work conditions’ according to Jason were among the reasons he left medicine – as well as for ‘the chance to be godlike rock stars’.
Ever since leaving his job, the local funnyman has reached new heights – he recently represented Malaysia for Laugh Factory’s Funniest Person in the World and has performed on stages all over the world. He said the biggest challenge for him was getting used to rejection – something he wasn’t used to back when he was practising medicine. ‘I had to develop a thick skin and push through. It was a mindset change that was most needed,’ he said.
However, being a doctor wasn’t a complete waste of time. Apart from helping people out, it taught him some skills that helped in being a good comedian, especially in developing an empathy and connection with the audience. And when asked for his advice to budding comedians, Jason’s answer was emphatic: ‘Please don’t do it, because I don’t want competition.’