We’ve all heard those rags to riches stories of comedians and actors who’ve worked downright brutal jobs before making it big. But leaving a lucrative career path or prominent position to pursue comedy shows just how much these comedians must really love it. They either had or were on their way to great success, but being the funniest person in the office just wasn’t enough.
The age old joke, “I’m not a doctor, I just play one on TV” cannot be said by Ken Jeong. We all remember his breakout role as Dr. Kuni in Knocked Up, but he was (and still is) a licensed physician who actually cites that role as the tipping point into a full time comedy career. For Demetri Martin, his wandering eye was quite literal as The Comedy Cellar was right across the street from his classes at NYU Law School. Those are just a couple of the 15 comedians who ditched the rat race for the full time funnies.
Ken Jeong quit his medical practice to pursue comedic acting
Demetri Martin dropped out of law school to pursue comedy
Lisa Kudrow left biology research for acting.
Greg Giraldo earned a degree from Harvard Law School.
Lisa Lampanelli was a highly educated copy editor.
James Franco was a math wiz.
One eye on surgery, and one on acting.
Ron Shock lived many lives before comedy
Ali Wong was a Fulbright scholar.
John Krasinski didn’t plan on acting.
David Duchovny was an ivy league poet.
Edward Norton was a consultant for a non-profit.
Lewis Black began as a playwright and artistic director.