SEP 2013

EyeWorld is the official news magazine of the American Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgery.

Issue link: https://digital.eyeworld.org/i/176967

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Page 95 of 98

September 2013 EW IN OTHER NEWS 93 Doctor practices humor in improv comedy group by Erin L. Boyle EyeWorld Senior Staff Writer Bryan Crum, MD B y day, Bryan Crum, MD, is a general ophthalmologist, treating many cataract and lid cases. By night and by weekend, he is an amateur comedian, performing improvisational skits with an improv comedy troupe. The two practices—medicine, comedy—are in harmony in Dr. Crum's life, because the one helps the other, he said. "All of medicine tends to be pretty serious, and my patients enjoy the fact that occasionally, I will lighten the atmosphere by having a joke or a comeback to something that they're talking about," said Dr. Crum, Shasta Eye Medical Group, Redding, Calif. "It's certainly something I have to be careful with in that if they are feeling serious or anxious, I don't make light of things, but usually I can read when a patient is going to be OK with that sort of interaction." "I think a lot of my patients appreciate it, especially ones who have known me for a while and know that I can be a very serious doctor when it's time to take care of their eyes, but then I can also help them have fun," he said. How he started Dr. Crum said he alternated between being seen as a comedian and an athlete in school, but decided to pursue medicine. Five years ago, he became interested in improv comedy through the television show Whose Line Is It Anyway? "Several people told me, 'You would be right for that kind of thing.' I found out that there was a group in my town that did improv comedy, and I went and auditioned for them and was cast in the group," he said. He workshops with the group, known as the Redding Improv Players, once a week; once a month, the group hosts a performance. At those performances, a host chooses five Dr. Crum (right) and a fellow improv troupe member play out an improv comedy scene. Source: Bryan Crum, MD members from their group of about 12 to perform "games" with particular quirks or types of scenarios in front of an audience. No one knows who will perform from month to month, which heightens the excitement when selected, Dr. Crum said. "There's a delicious anticipation and anxiety that comes with standing on the stage and not knowing if you're going to completely bomb or get a huge reaction. Not knowing that really keeps the excitement of the performance up," he said. He said to participate in improv comedy, a person has to be willing to commit to the idea of taking part in an improvisational, spontaneous experience, where anything might happen. "As you do it more and more often, you find that you look stupid less and less often, but I still get plenty of chances to say, 'Well, that was dumb.' When someone endows you with a quirk, and you have to start singing a song while someone else is playing, trying to carry a tune and make up words and be a character all at the same time, [that's] a real challenge," he said. Patient reaction His patients appreciate his comedy hobby, he said, and have even attended his performances. Some have expressed surprise at how silly he is onstage versus how he is when in the office with them, discussing their eye health. continued on page 94 PLAN AHEAD FOR NEXT YEAR YEAR HOUSI NG IS NOW OPE N HOUSING NOW OPEN www.WinterUpdate.org www.WinterUpdate.org 2014 2014 APRIL 25–29 APRIL 25–29 BOSTON www.AS C R S.org www.ASCRS.org

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