Laughter: The Medicine That Has a '$0 Copay and Unlimited Refills' at This Funny Man's Pharmacy
We get to know Maurice Shaw, the famous YouTube pharmacist comedian.
Maurice Shaw is a pharmacist/comedian who sees the funny side of pharmacy life. A pharmacy manager, he attended Chicago State University College of Pharmacy, and completed a Community Pharmacy PGY1 residency with the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. He also makes hilarious videos portraying what pharmacists go through every day, from complaining customers to disorderly technicians. Maurice was happy to talk to Pharmacy Times about his videos.
Q-How did you get into comedy? Did comedy come before pharmacy or did all the pharmacy situations make you want to be a comedian?
A-I went to an open mic to try telling jokes because people said I was funny. I tried a few jokes out but once they found out I was a pharmacist they said I should focus on doing stand-up comedy on pharmacy. The comedy started my first year of pharmacy school. Pharmacy made me a better comedian, and comedy made me a better pharmacist. It helped me with my communication skills and talking to customers, and my fellow employees.
Q-Tell us about your first day ever as a pharmacist.
A-My first day as a pharmacist, I was doing my residency and as I was walking to the bathroom a guy asked me if the steaks were still on sale. I was so confused until I realized he thought I was a butcher!
Also, when I first started working, we were short a tech and behind, so I told the store manager I was staying an extra 30 minutes to catch up. Well, he forgot and locked me in the store. The alarm system went off, and it was so loud my ears hurt. Then, the phone started ringing. I answer it, and the security company asks me what I am doing in the store. I asked them, "Do you ask that to all criminals who break in?" They called the store manager, but he didn't want to come let me out since he wasn't the one who locked me in. I had to wait an hour for the assistant manager to let me out. After that, I was told by upper management that they felt I had the dedication to be an excellent pharmacy manager, and I have been one ever since.
Q-Do you get recognized when you are out and about?
A-I get recognized a lot from technicians and other pharmacists. I had another pharmacist come and take a picture or when I transfer a prescription they say, “Are you the YouTube guy?”
Q-What has the feedback been like? I imagine pharmacy employees everywhere love your videos!
A-Feedback has been great! I get messages daily from people who have watched my videos on YouTube. A few technicians have commented they want to work at my pharmacy. Pharmacy can be stressful. I just try and find the humor in it and hopefully people like it.
Q-On the other hand, there are always critics. Do you ever get any negative feedback and how do you deal with it?
A- I have gotten some negative feedback from doctors on my video about how patients leave the doctor's office. They don't like it that I point out how they tell the patient their prescription will be ready as soon as they get to the pharmacy. It doesn't bother me. Pharmacy has taught me how to not take things personally. When patients yell at me, I assume it is because they are sick and frustrated after being in the hospital or doctors office for a very long time. In stand-up comedy, you also have critics or some people who may not find your jokes funny.
Q-What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you at work?
A-An older woman came to the pharmacy counter and she said, “can you help me with my blood pressure machine, every time I take it at home, it reads 120/80, but it is high at the doctors office.” So I look at the machine and I ask the lady where are the batteries - the machine is missing batteries. She replied: "I never put any batteries in I push the button and it gives me a reading." That's when I flipped her machine over and I realized that she never took the display sticker off the front of the machine.
Q-What is your favorite part about being a pharmacist? Least favorite?
A-My favorite part of being a pharmacist is being able to make my patients laugh. Every time I give a flu shot, I tell customers jokes and they usually leave laughing. Anytime I can make a customer laugh, I feel it builds not only my customer service, but I personal relationships with my customers, as well. Laughter is medicine that has a $0 copay and unlimited refills at my pharmacy.
My least favorite part of being a pharmacist is the long hours and the 45 hours a week I work as pharmacy manager. Long time to stand on my feet!
Q-Where do you film your videos? Is that a real pharmacy?
A-I film in my basement and I use a green screen to make it look like its a real pharmacy.
Q-Your opening song is so catchy! How did you come up with it?
A-The opening song I found on Zedge, an app, and it's my phone ring tone!
Q-I love your celebrity impersonations and costumes. How do you think of ideas? What celebrities will we see in the future?
A-Sometimes I see a celebrity in a sassy role and think he or she make a great pharmacist.
I plan on doing a Chris Rock impersonation next.
Q-Which video was your favorite to make and why?
A-My favorite is how patients run to a pharmacy saying that the doctor said it would be ready is what I hear a lot. Plus I love the scene where I put 50 staples in the prescription bag!
Q-My favorite video is ‘what it's like to be a pharmacy technician.’ Every single scenario was right on point. Jamal is hilarious! Have you worked with a lot of techs like this?
A-I've worked with technicians in some rough neighborhoods, and they were kind of sassy so I learned from them.
Q-I also loved the video where the customer was complaining over the $2 copay! I once had a customer who made her doctor write 7 prescriptions on one paper, insisting that we would only charge her one copay because it was on one paper. Tell us a funny copay story that happened to you.
A-It wasn't funny at the time, but I had a lady who started yelling at me because I wouldn't price match the street price of Norco.
Q-I also loved ‘how patients run to the pharmacy after leaving the doctors office.’ So realistic! Problems with every single Rx, dealing with the doctor, dealing with the insurance, you finally get everything through and then, the patient doesn't want it!! The final kicker is when your supervisor comes in and asks how "we" can speed things up. It is so real!! It is so funny how pharmacy staffs deal with the same exact situations all over the country every day. Do you feel a solidarity with your fellow pharmacists?
A-I love it when pharmacists reply ‘right on’ on every point I made in the videos. it's like I have a bond with pharmacists I have never met!
Q-Who are the people in the videos that play the customers? Are they your coworkers or friends?
A-The people in videos are paid green screen actors.
Q-Do you have any pharmacy related New Year resolutions you would like to share?
A-Stop grabbing OTC items for people in drive thru, stop staying late or coming early, stop putting 10 extra staples in patients prescription bags, stop ordering specific manufacturer of fluticasone for a customer.
Thank you Maurice, for your time!
You can find Maurice (RxComedy) on https://www.mauriceshaw.com/, and YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJxgBb1L7sUcwLwZdsyimtg
For information on another of my favorite pharmacy pages, which frequently features Maurice-http://www.pharmacytimes.com/contributor/karen-berger/2017/12/a-behind-the-scenes-look-at-one-of-the-best-pharmacy-pages-on-social-media
Who are your favorite pharmacy characters on social media? Email me at email@example.com