15 Smart Folks Who Gave Up the Rat Race for Comedy

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15 Smart Folks Who Gave Up the Rat Race for Comedy

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

CRACKED Ken Jeong is still a licensed physician. A doctor specializing in internal medicine by day, comedian by night, Jeong booked a slew of bit parts in TV and film before his role in Knocked Up caused him to fully transition into comedy.

NPR

Demetri Martin dropped out of law school to pursue comedy

CRACKED Demetri Martin left NYU Law School for The Comedy Cellar. After turning down Harvard twice, and leaving Yale for a full scholarship to NYU Law, Martin saw the Comedy Cellar right across the street, dropped out and never looked back.

Boston

One eye on surgery, and one on acting.

CRACKED Gulla A Award James Woods was almost an eye surgeon. With a reported IQ of 184, James Woods got a full scholarship to MIT, but his love of acting had him drop out one semester before graduating into his intended field of eye surgery.

Sociosite

Ali Wong was a Fulbright scholar.

CRACKED Ali Wong leaned heavily into cultural diplomacy. She was an Asian-American major at the University of California who graduated summa cum laude, and studied as a Fulbright Scholar in Vietnam before ever trying stand-up.

Tatler Asia

David Duchovny was an ivy league poet.

CRACKED David Duchovny was an aspiring poet at Yale. With a В.А in English from Princeton and a master's from Yale, he planned to be a poet and novelist before abandoning his Ph.D studies after booking a beer commercial.

NPR 

Edward Norton was a consultant for a non-profit.

CRACKED Edward Norton consulted for the Enterprise Foundation in Japan. After studying history at Yale, he moved to Osaka, Japan to consult for his grandfather's non-profit - which helped provide affordable housing.

Business Insider

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