For about two years, Dr. Jeffrey A. Tipton, medical director at CareMore in Cerritos, has found the perfect balance between healing and humor, while providing health services to seniors by day and occasionally performing stand-up comedy by night.
No, Tipton isn’t your everyday medical coordinator and provider. He’s as adept at dispensing advice to seniors about preventative medicine as he is in front of a raucous crowd at a nightclub during a performance.
“There are a lot of similarities between medicine and humor,” said Tipton. “During both, the objective is to make sure the patient or audience member feels better afterward. Whether it is through healing or laughter.”
Tipton couldn’t exactly recall the moment when he became interested in medicine, but he vividly remembered when the art of comedy peaked his interest.
Labeling himself a “former class clown,” Tipton said his elementary school class was his first testing ground and provided an audience for his first foray into the difficult task of making others laugh.
“I was a cool class clown, the kind that didn’t get kicked out of class,” said Tipton.
As evidenced by his medical degree, Tipton isn't strictly about hi-jinks and knee-slapping laughs. While sharing jokes and performing skits with friends and family, he practiced and honed his other “art.”
“There’s a common thread between being a comedian and being a doctor,” he said. “Medicine and providing health care is an art just like comedy. You have to feel out the patient or audience and adjust your routine by gauging their reaction. Everybody’s different.”
Tipton, who has performed at venues such as Khoury’s Restaurant in Long Beach and the famed Comedy Store on the Sunset Strip, makes a commute daily from his West L.A. home to the CareMore office in Cerritos.
Because of his “longish hours,” Tipton says he’s only able to perform stand-up once a month, typically on weekends. However, throughout the course of a day, CareMore employees and seniors who walk into his office may be in for a few laughs after some light-hearted ribbing by the doctor.
And usually, they’re OK with it.
“You know, dealing with the profession that we’re in, you can either laugh or cry because situations can be pretty grim,” said Tipton.
“I choose to laugh. I just try to bring a calm to the situation for not only our patients, but for us (employees). Humor’s a great coping mechanism and everyone‘s a good sport about it for the most part,” he continued.
But this doctor isn't just comfortable on stage, he's also at ease behind the scenes as well. He regularly produces comedy shows for children and younger comedians and hopes to find venues locally to host comedy showcases.
Along with helping up and coming comics gain exposure, Tipton has begun extending care to seniors. He and his colleague Erika Tigno, QM nurse specialist, recently started the CareMore Foundation. Tipton said that through the Foundation, he provides and delivers meals for seniors.
“The happiest people on earth are those who give back,” he said.
“It’s nice to see people smile and re-energized," he added."If I can cause that by bringing them back from illness or by doing comedy, I’m OK with that.”
Tipton does not currently have any scheduled performances, but encourages those interested in checking out his comedy to find him on Facebook.