In the world of comedy, they say that laughter is the best medicine, and for Dr. Jason Leong, this couldn’t be more true.
Up until 2010, Jason Leong’s life had followed the typical Asian narrative.
He had been a straight-laced kid, never earning anything less than an A in his exams. He secured a scholarship to pursue Medicine and eventually became a doctor in Malaysia.
Despite his initial success, the harsh reality of the workforce hit Jason hard. As a junior doctor, he endured grueling 36-hour shifts at least six times a month, with 100-hour workweeks becoming the norm. Sleep deprivation, constant hunger, overwhelming stress, and meager pay plunged him into the lowest point of his life. But things were about to change.
One day, he stumbled upon an opportunity for a monthly open mic show in Kuala Lumpur, the first of its kind in Malaysia. His wife encouraged him to try out. So he took 2 days off from work, drove 4 hours to the venue, and performed his first 5-minute standup. He left the stage saying to himself, “I want to do this forever.”
In 2011, Jason transferred to Kuala Lumpur and did regular gigs while being a full-time doctor. He loved being a doctor by day and a comedian by night, but it was still a lot of work for him. So in 2014, he made the big leap and did a not very Asian thing.
He quit being a doctor.
Having experience in the medical field not only informs Jason’s comedy, but it also makes his style a bit more unique. “The rigors of being a doctor made me all the more grateful to be able to tell jokes for a living,” he said.
At first, Jason didn’t tell his parents that he quit his job as a doctor. His parents now know of his career shift and support his journey wholeheartedly, with his mother saying, “If this comedy thing doesn’t work out, at least you have something to fall back on.”
Jason’s comedy has since blossomed with two successful Netflix specials, “Hashtag Blessed” and “Ride With Caution.”
He boasts a portfolio of five solo one-hour specials, having graced stages at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, featured on Comedy Central and Just For Laughs in Montreal, and won at the 7th Annual International Hong Kong Comedy Competition.
Jason is set to perform his solo show BRAIN DRAIN in Los Angeles on September 29 and San Francisco on October 4.
“Making a move to my passion and the arts is something that has allowed me to find real meaning in my work. I hope to inspire others within the Asian community to take the same risks and reach their real potential,” Jason shared with Asian Hustle Network.
CONNECT WITH JASON
Facebook: Dr. Jason Leong