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Comedians that make us smile!

For years, comedians and dentists have shared one common trait... the ability to make us smile!

Comedians that make us smile

As far back as the ancient Greeks, comedians have taken the common routine of life and turned it into comedy and farce. Dentistry especially has provided one of the richest veins of material for stand-up, skits, situation comedies and even books. It seems everyone remembers a favorite comedy routine about visiting a dentist: toothaches, drills, shots ñ practically anything dental — whose memories still bring a smile or chuckle.

Maybe it's old-fashioned nervousness or anxiety people may have about seeing the dentist, or the somewhat unbelievable notion that something as small as a tooth can cause such a big ache. Or, maybe it's just because one of the best-known anesthesics is commonly known as "laughing gas."

Whatever the reason, our favorite comedians often draw from dentistry with hilarious takes, that drown us in tears of laughter. Don't get us wrong, dentists don't take their profession or their mission lightly. But it's always good for the soul to take a lighthearted look at ourselves and what we do once in awhile, to help us empathize in seeing things from a patient's point of view.

So, in the spirit of good humor and of course smiling, here's a sampling from some of our favorite comedians and their take on dentistry. We can't guarantee that generous doses of these comedians will necessarily improve your dental health, but they will certainly improve your mental health.

Tim Conway

Tim Conway

Tim Conway has perfected his loveable, bumbling "everyman persona" before delighted audiences for five decades. While many remember him as the naive Ensign Parker on McCale's Navy, most readily identify him with The Carol Burnett Show. While on this 70ís hit variety show he created numerous characters that not only left the audience doubled over, but his cast mates as well.

In one classic skit, Conway played a clumsy dentist attempting to administer Novocaine to his patient, fellow cast member Harvey Korman. Over the course of the skit he managed to numb his own hand, his leg and his face. Somehow, though, he figured out how to maneuver his temporarily palsied limbs and even succeeded in swatting a fly with his numbed hand. The only body part he didnít seem to be able to numb was his patient's, Harvey Kormanís mouth, but he did succeed in cracking him up.

The Three Stooges

The Three Stooges (Moe, Larry, Shemp/Curly) were best known for their extreme physical slapstick. Moe, their bossy leader, tries to whip (and slap and punch and eye-gouge) his dimwitted cohorts into line from one disaster to another.

In one memorable short, the window-cleaning trio is mistaken for dentists by a patient with a terrible toothache. Curly applies the anesthetic (a large wooden mallet), and Moe, now the self-proclaimed "sturgeon," pulls the offending tooth. Panicking, the Stooges stuff a glob of cement into the patient's mouth that hardens before they can get the tooth back in. The dentist and their boss enter just as they are blasting (yes, blasting!) the cement out of the patient's mouth. They make their escape out the window onto a scaffold as the charge detonates. The result? The patient wakes up to find his toothache cured. The Stooges, though, aren't so lucky as their scaffold lands on top of a police officer — and the chase continues.

Mr. Bean

Mr. Bean, British comedian Rowan Atkinson's Chaplin-like character, always has a unique way of dealing with the trifles of everyday life. "A child in a grown man's body," Mr. Bean applies an eccentric spin on nearly everything — sometimes with disastrous results and with nary a word spoken.

In one of the half-hour television episodes produced in the 1990s, Mr. Bean arrives at his dentist after a late start. The dentist makes the mistake of turning his back and leaving an anesthesia syringe within Mr. Bean's reach. Mr. Bean proceeds to play with it, and then quickly hides it by his side when the dentist returns.

When the dentist hits a sensitive spot in his mouth, Mr. Bean reacts by accidentally jabbing the dentist in the leg with the needle. This starts a chain of events that leaves the dentist incapacitated and Mr. Beanís dental care in the hands of — Mr. Bean. The resulting hilarity could easily be used as a warning against self-dentistry.

Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen Degeneres

Ellen DeGeneres took up the oral hygiene torch with gusto in her 2003 book, The Funny Thing Is... Her advice is passionate, straightforward — and hilarious:

"Hygiene is important anyway, as we all know. So take your time and brush, then floss. Flossing is key. You must floss. Don't even think for a second that you can get away with not flossing. Always floss. I can't stress it enough. If you get nothing else from this book, I hope you not only think to yourself 'I must floss,' but pass it along to loved ones and acquaintances — floss, floss, floss. Now, what was I saying?"

She further writes that one of the things she does upon rising in the morning (after checking off "get up" on her list of daily tasks) is measure the remaining floss on her roll. DeGeneres seems obsessed with floss — as all of us should be, or so she advises.

No wonder she won a "Flossy" in 2004 from the National Flossing Council for extolling the virtues of good oral hygiene. Not resting on her laurels, she continued her crusade at Tulane University's 2006 commencement ceremonies. She made her surprise entrance wearing a bathrobe: "I heard everyone was going to be in robes." And, she left this gem of wisdom with the graduates: "Remember to exfoliate, moisturize, exercise and floss."

Rodney Dangerfield

Rodney Dangerfield

For a man who "got no respect," the late Rodney Dangerfield was one of America's most popular comedians during the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties. The former aluminum siding salesman introduced his self-deprecating persona on The Ed Sullivan Show, and from there became a regular act on such venues as the Las Vegas strip and The Tonight Show. With popping-wide eyes, Dangerfield would nervously tug on his tie and tell his audience how absolutely no one — wife, kids, parents and, yes, numerous members of the healthcare profession — treated him with respect.

In one gag, he tells his audience how he asked his doctor what was wrong with him because when he looked in the mirror he felt like throwing up. The doctor said, "I don't know but your eyesight is perfect."

As you would expect, Dangerfield's dentist must have shared the same clinic space with his other doctors: "I saw my dentist, too. Another beauty. I said to him, 'Doc, look at my teeth. They're all getting yellow.' He told me to wear a brown necktie."

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