In This Episode
Abdul dissects why our society makes it so hard for people with mental illness to get care. Then he interviews comedian and performer Wayne Brady about his experience with mental health and what he thinks it will take to end the stigma around mental illness.
Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: The Delta variant is responsible for a 35% increase in COVID cases over the past two weeks. New evidence reveals that it’s better able to evade immune responses in people who have been infected before, though vaccines remain effective in full doses. The CDC releases new guidance for getting kids back to school in the fall. And a new report shows that U.S. cancer deaths decreased between 2014 and 2018 but the number of new cancer cases increased. This is America Dissected. I’m your host, Dr. Abdul El-Sayed.
Before I get started today, I want to note that we’ll be talking about mental illness and our conversation will touch on suicide. If you or someone you know is struggling, please get help. The suicide prevention hotline is available 24/7 at 1 800 273 8255. Again, that number is 800 273 8255. I’ll never forget the moment I heard that Robin Williams had died by suicide. I’d never associated him with sadness. I remember watching Mork and Mindy reruns on Nick at Nite, or Miss Doubtfire, even a stand up sets. He was beloved around the world. And yet he suffered inside. And that’s the thing about depression. It systematically shuts us away from the people we love and who love us. It lies to us, telling us we’re not worth it, that the people around us would be better without us. That we deserve our sadness, our loneliness, our pain. Robin Williams’ passing is a reminder that depression is a liar, and that our society aids and abets its lies through stigmatization. We sweep depression under the rug as if it doesn’t exist. We tell people that theirs is a struggle to be struggled alone. After all, who else do you see struggling? By pushing people into their own dark corners, we tell them they don’t belong. And if it can happen to someone with the fame, fortune, and fun of Robin Williams, it can happen to anyone. Last week on the show, we talked about mental health and the social justice movement needed to take on the marginalization and stigmatization of serious mental illness. I interviewed Dr. Ashwin Vasan, President at Fountain House, about how building a social justice movement for mental health can tackle stigma. Their work is critical, but stigma is fundamentally a cultural phenomenon. And culture is all about narrative. It’s about the stories we tell ourselves about who we are and who we want to be. And if stigma is embedded in our culture, we’re telling ourselves that we’re not allowed to be depressed, and if we are depressed, we should never show it. Stigma robs us of the permission to suffer openly and because we have to be open to heal, it robs us of our opportunities to heal too. It’s rare that people change our culture. It’s such a powerful force that it’s easier to just go along with it. And changing something as profound as the stigma of mental illness is doubly hard because it requires someone to be open in their most closed moment. So today, we’re building on last week’s conversation. We’re visited by a voice who has a lot of experience making and changing culture. As a performer, he’s occupied some of America’s biggest stages. And I’m sure you’ve laughed at his joke or impersonation or wit at some point in your life. I have. But today we’re talking about the courage he had to be open in a moment when he could have been closed. We’ll talk to comedian and performer Wayne Brady about his mental health journey, stigma, and what we need to change our culture, after the break.
Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: All right! Um, can you introduce yourself with the tape? Although you don’t really need an introduction, but, you know, this is par for the course here.
Wayne Brady: Of course, I’m Wayne Brady,
Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, narrating: I remember watching Wayne Brady on Whose Line is it Anyway as a kid. And no matter whose line it was, we really wanted it to be Wayne’s line. His wit, obvious talent and charisma made him magnetic. In 2014, he decided to speak publicly about his experience with depression. I don’t have to tell you this, but performers don’t always go public with their experiences. After all, when you’re in the public eye, you’re open to a lot of criticism, which makes the decision to seek help and be public about it much harder and more courageous. That’s because when someone like Wayne Brady, whose public persona is so much about making people smile and laugh, chooses to be so open about his experience with depression, it offers permission for others to do the same. I’m really glad he agreed to come on the show to share his perspective on mental health, stigma and recovery, because it’s one we all need to hear.
Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: All right. Well, let’s get started. Can you, can you tell us a little bit about your pathway and your journey toward becoming a performer?
Wayne Brady: Let’s see, I started performing when I was, I think I knew I always wanted to perform, it was just innate, and I grew up watching uh, my grandmother that raised me, she wanted me to watch a lot of PBS because she wasn’t happy with a lot of the programing that she deemed unintelligent programing. So I grew up watching a lot of black and white TV, a lot of old black and white movies, a lot of old MGM movie musicals, a lot of like Sammy Davis Jr., The Rat Pack specials, old comedy teams. So, I grew up with a very broad sense, yet very specific sense of what I thought was a) good because of the talent that it took to do it, b) what was funny. And then even musically, I pulled from all these different palettes that I don’t think I would have been exposed to had I not been forced to listen to show tunes and Motown and The Rat Pack and, you know, jazz and country. And she made me listen to the widest variety of things, even while still holding on to the integrity of who our family was as a family from the US Virgin Islands as Black people in this country. So that influenced a lot of who I became as a performer, knowing that I had a love for so many things, but I kept that to myself. So I never sing, dance, act, did anything for anybody until my junior year of high school. So I spent a lot of my time in my room watching all those programs, watching The Carol Burnett Show, watching Flip Wilson, watching old sitcoms, writing down things, reading Shakespeare, trying to do voices to all the characters that I read. I took all that and it marinated, so that by the time that I was able to step on stage in my junior year, I was ready to go.
Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: What uh, what ultimately got you to come out of your shell?
Wayne Brady: Because I was in ROTC and one of the guys that was in ROTC with me, he had a role in a school play. And, you know, it’s that old thing of whether you’re a jock or you’re in ROTC or, everybody in exhibiting the toxic masculinity would make fun of, oh, you know, those guys over in the drama department, sissies, ha ha. Just like stupid things that come out of your mouth when you’re an uninformed teenager. But I knew that even though they were all saying that stuff around me, I desperately wanted to be one of those kids, but I didn’t want to look different than any of the other kids. So when Keith dropped out, that was my opportunity because he dropped out and said, hey, I’ve got this one character, it’s got two lines, and I had to be in it, it’d be funny, who wants to take my place. And I jumped at the chance to say: oh yeah, I’ll do it or whatever, I’m sure it’ll be stupid, and then I can just watch all the stupid kids be stupid, ha ha, ha, right, guys? Inwardly it was the happiest that I’d ever been and I couldn’t wait to walk into the theater and my life changed as soon as I walked in that room. It’s like an after-school special. I walked in the room and met the drama teacher who would later become one of my best friends for my entire life, Karen [Regario], who, she gave me my first break on stage and introduced me to the world of theater. And so that jump-started my entire journey.
Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: Wow. You said a couple of things that are really germane to our conversation today that I want to pick apart a little bit and ask if you share a bit more. One is, is that a lot of what you did before you ever performed was cultivated a certain taste, a certain standard for what is what you call what is good. Right? And I think that is one standard. And then you also talked a little bit about what kept you off stage for so much of your childhood, which was the standard that other people had for you, and who you ought to be as a young man in a space where toxic masculinity shapes so much of what it means to present, and to be. One of the things that you’ve been really open about has been some of your struggle with mental illness. And that’s uncommon because in some respects, that admission to yourself and others is about standards. Right? And we set a certain set of standards about who you’re allowed to be in the world that sometimes enforces a stigma that the world creates on ourselves, right? And so it doesn’t meet our own standard for ourselves or our standard that the world has for us. And I wanted to ask if that experience of sort of cultivating a sense of what the standard was in yourself or what the standard was about how you’d show up among your friends, how that that shaped the choices you made about being public and/or dealing with your own struggles with mental health.
Wayne Brady: Well, even to begin to address that question, I have to start at the point of how you talk about the standards that are set. And Lord knows, you know, growing up, growing up is hard. Well, living is hard. Life is hard. Being an adult is hard. Every single journey has its set of challenges. We all know the challenges of being a teenager and we all know the challenges of growing up. My set of challenges, that same childhood that I just talked about, about being the kid that watched black and white TV, PBS, knew all this different music, read all these different things, blah, blah, blah, those are some of the things that partially set me aside from some of my peers from the earliest time that I can remember growing up in my neighborhood of Tangelo Park, growing up in an in an all-Black neighborhood. We lock ourselves—and this is part of a bigger conversation that I won’t even bother getting into now—but I find that because of the construct of of race, we lock ourselves, know no matter which race you are, into certain paradigms. And either we lock ourselves in, or other people lock them in for us. I happened to grow up in a neighborhood where that toxic masculinity was rampant, where the worst thing that a dude could call you growing up is you are someone’s bitch. Or to say, you know, to call you the F word or to de-, to emasculate you, to say, oh, you’re like a woman if you do that, well, you’re gay if you do that. So those are things that you learn from the time that you can listen and you take things in. So I already knew that for Wayne that the things that I liked were already different, and using the scientific method, I had certain experiments which proved to me, if I say this and I say that, I’m going to get into a fight. Or they’re going to talk about me. So therefore I’m going to talk a certain way, I’m going to address things a certain way, and I need to be a certain way in order to not be other. And when you’re Black, when you’re living in the hood, you’re already other’ed, so to be other’ed by the people that look like you, that’s a pretty amazing experience. So I dealt with that a lot growing up. So by the time that I hit junior, that I was a junior, all of my decisions about not letting people know what I can do was based on the fact that if I open my mouth, they’re going to laugh at me, they’re going to say that I’m ugly, they’re going to say that I’m stupid, they’re going to say all of these things that I can count off on my hands—so I’m going to keep this to myself. So my journey with mental illness, and I feel like a lot of people, the traumas that you have started at that point, because I learned a very unhealthy way of dealing with emotion. I learned an unhealthy way of sexualization. I learned an unhealthy way of self-love, what I equated love with, I would learn an unhealthy way of being in relationships. All of those things started at that point, and they only got better/worse once I became an adult and I was all already acting and now I can be who I wanted to be. So I’ve got this thing. So now I’m Wayne, I’m doing this thing. But I’m still, but I still haven’t addressed any of the issues. I’ve just left them to the side or tamped them down. And that’s cool when you’re 19. And then I’m 21. Then I’m 25, and I didn’t really truly deal with the death of my father, who didn’t raise me, but was all always in my life. But you have that figure. So then I’m 30. Then, then I’ve got a child. Then I’ve got success. Then I still haven’t dealt with these things. There comes a certain point when all of that catches up with you. Mine happened to be when I was I would say about 36, 37. It all caught up to me. Not to mention that the actual chemical piece that we each carry where I know now that that I have it in me, that an imbalance that causes me to feel a certain way and act a certain way. All of that caught up with me. Decades of not dealing, decades of letting it pile pile up, thinking that I can just run or later in life throw money at a situation—all that caught up to me. And I had a choice at that point. And I also witnessed one of my idols, Robin Williams, take his own life—well, not witness, but you know what I mean. Robin was someone who growing up, watching all those shows and watching Mork and Mindy and watching this guy talk a mile—
Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: He was a master.
Wayne Brady: —mile a minute and do characters, I was like. And being a classically trained actor, being able to do both sides of the coin, I was like: that’s who I’m going to be, that’s the thing. So fast forward, I’ve already worked with Robin. I know him and his family. I’ve met them. They’re amazing people. Robin leaves us and I think to myself Robin Williams is arguably one of the most recognizable people on planet Earth. He has made millions of people laugh, so by that reasoning, he could never want for money. Shouldn’t he be happy? If he had all of that going for him, if Robin wasn’t happy, what chance do I have? What chance do I have in this world without seeking help? And the answer was no chance. So I knew that for my daughter, I knew that for my ex-wife, I knew that for my grandmother that I take care of, for the people that that I love, I needed to be very honest and look myself in the face in the mirror and get that help that was needed. There was no more running to be done because the only place left to run at that point is is further into the darkness.
Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: And that’s a really courageous thing, though, to face that down and say I’m going to get that help. Right? Because for as many people as get help, a lot of folks choose to keep trying to run. What was it like for you that moment where you decided, you know what, I need help and I’m going to get help for my challenges right now? What was that like? What was that experience? And what was the, what was the response to that, that you had to yourself, and also that the people in your life had to you?
Wayne Brady: It was nothing like what I made up. Part of what you learn in a therapeutic setting is, is instead of saying when you’re talking to someone is this thing is a fact, you should say, well, I make up that this is how this is going to happen. Well, that’s exactly what I did. I made up in my mind what everyone was going to say if I showed that weakness. I was going to be fired. CBS wouldn’t want me to work on the show. People would call me crazy. My family wouldn’t understand. I would let people down. What ended up happening? My ex-wife, who to this day is still my best friend, and we’re business partners, and we share our daughter, she was the one immediately she said: I’m here and I’m never going anywhere and there’s nothing that you can say that would possibly make me leave. To my friends, to some of my coworkers, specifically, like Jonathan Mangum, my co-host at Let’s Make a Deal, I talked to them, and I talked to Jonathan and a couple of producers that are dear friends. They said, OK, how can we help? What do you need? There wasn’t a soul, once I went public, I started doing this initiative with Glenn Close and I was part of her ad campaign. People responded to that: thank you, Wayne, thanks for saying something. I thought I would hear nothing but you’re a fraud, you’re crazy, you’re worthless—all of those things that you tell yourself, I thought that they would be mimicked and mirrored in other people’s voices in response to me. Instead it was nothing but love. And I have to say—I’m not going to pat myself on the back and say that I’m the first, because I’m surely not—but I will say when I started speaking out about mental illness, I want to say, let’s say it’s been seven years, right? Less than a decade—speaking out about your mental health wasn’t the thing. Not in show business and especially not in the world. And being a sports personality or a celebrity or an actor or whatnot, you never wanted your personal life—unless you were a reality star—you never wanted your personal life to be so conflated with your on screen persona that you would lose people because they make your mind up, because they make their mind up about you. So no one was doing that. Now I’m happy to see that we have a place where you constantly have people saying, saying, hey, this is how I feel, and checking in on people. And even, you know, the Britney piece of it. People finally coming around to going, oh, maybe when that young lady was speaking her truth and going through things and we all jumped on this ‘she’s crazy, she’s rich, she should shut up” train, maybe everybody should just look at that, that all of the business being complicit in that. Because it’s real. When people are hurting, it’s real. So now we live in a space where people can talk about things, where kids are taking therapy. Where teenagers in high school, they know things that I didn’t learn until I was 40. So I’m happy that I came out about that stuff at that point. And I’m not going to lie, there are probably more things that I can be more honest about when I am finished dealing with them with myself. But I started that journey.
Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: What’s your message to people who are in that place that you were in before you decided to get help? What’s your message to them about why they should?
Wayne Brady: Secrets, and the secrets that we keep that are self-harming, secrets thrive in the dark. So even if it’s one person, talk. When I referred to the darkness, I’m talking about, when you just that’s how I look at it, is I know the feeling of when I just clam up and I’m not going to talk about anything and I’m just going to do my thing and put on my happy face. That’s the darkness to me. Because I refuse to speak. Talk to one person. Never buy into the, to the lie—I’ll call it a blatant lie— of you’re not worthy of help. Of oh, I can take care of this myself. The road is littered with people who could take care of it by themselves. Whether it’s therapy, whether it’s group therapy—which I find, I’ve been out of group therapy for a couple of years now, and I’m getting ready to go back in it. Because there was nothing greater to me than my men’s group meeting of being able to stand in front of 20 other guys and being naked and open and saying this is my truth and being able to help other people. Whether it’s therapy, you need to talk. You cannot do this on your own. I truly believe that. And that’s not a condemnation of your strength. It’s not saying that you’re weak. To me, it’s actually stronger to be able to go, whew, this is what I’ve got. Just the breath of saying that it’s one of the hardest things that I’ve done in my life. I was a quivering, crying mess the first time that I shared with the therapist what was going on with me, the first time that I looked Mandy in her eyes and told her, the first time that I shared with my daughter what was going on with me. Because then if you share, then you get rid of shame. And shame is the other thing. Please, don’t bask in shame. That horrible. I’m even thinking about it right now. Feeling shameful is one of the most self-damning places that we can find ourselves, is just sitting in that shame and, oh, I deserve it, I’m not going to talk to anybody. And you cover yourself in it. That’s one of the, that’s the worst thing that you can do. So speaking helps you get rid of that, in my opinion.
Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: Now, one of the things that you’ve done, is the burdens that you have as a, as a public person who’s recognizable are immense. And one of the things you’ve done by speaking your truth and seeking help is you’ve contributed to a permission structure which allows others to do the same. We’ve come a long way in our culture, in our society, on the stigma of mental illness and the stigma of substance use. But we haven’t come nearly far enough. And in particular, there is a profound inequity in which communities where truths can be shared, and in which communities they can’t. And I come from a immigrant background, my parents immigrated to this country and, you know, in a lot of our communities, there’s still a profound stigma. And I know having served as the health commissioner Detroit, that there’s a profound stigma when it comes to mental illness in the predominantly Black city where I served. What will it take for us to keep pushing on the bound of that stigma, keep creating permission for people to be their whole selves and to get the help that they need? What is, what is the work in front of us?
Wayne Brady: It’s going to take, in my opinion, once again, it’s going to take the Black community, the African-American community, it’s going to take us, first off, getting rid of the old, I call it the crazy Uncle Willy syndrome. Where everybody got a crazy Uncle Willy, look at him over there, that’s just crazy Uncle Willy. Well, talk to Uncle Willie first. Don’t call him crazy. Take him seriously, because we tend to deflect that, or look at someone in our community with that as an anomaly. As like, well that’s well that’s not us, that’s just, you know, that. And then when we think about therapy, we have to normalize therapy, but we also have to make therapy in some of these communities, you have to make therapy readily available and economically available. Because the thing that I would hear when I’m growing up is is first off, Black people don’t have time to be mentally ill. We already have all this other stuff to deal with. So that’s a white person thing. Shrinks for white people. We don’t need them. That is wrong. And that mindset needs to be broken. So we need to have the therapy and the space available so that we can say to our new generation, our young brothers and sisters, and say, hey, you feel this way? Talk. This is OK to talk. It’s all right to go to this person and talk. I think that by beginning that conversation within our community, that’s how it starts. You normalize that like you normalize every other behavior that that we think of as part of our thing. Well just like people like to say, incorrectly and stereotypically, oh, Black people dance, Black people this, Black people that. Well, you know what? I would like the new stereotype to be Black people take care of their mental health. That’s a stereotype that I’d like to have catch on. So we can start there by making those programs and initiatives readily available so that excuse of well, I can’t talk to anybody because it’s not there for me—let’s take that out of the equation.
Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: I appreciate that you, the point that you made about access. Right? Because that is, that is the other piece of it. And, you know, even when it is available, it usually is not available in the spaces and in the context and in the times that people can access it. And that comes down to a fundamental brokenness of our health care system, and the fact that we’ve sort of decapitated our health care system—we care about everything from the neck down. The problem is, if you ever cut off the head off anything, it usually doesn’t live very long, and we ought to put the head back on our health care system. I want to ask you, as we, as we think about where we go from here, there is a lot in this moment really focused on the pandemic and as we, hopefully, start to emerge from the physical pandemic, there is going to be a consequence of the trauma that we all experienced over the past 15 months. And we got a choice as a society about whether or not we want to acknowledge that and engage it, or we want to continue to brush it under the rug and pretend like it’s just 2019 in 2021. And I’m wondering in your mind, as someone who has been very public about your mental illness and about what we need to do as a society to take this on, what would you like for us in the culture to start doing better as we emerge from this moment to really capture the opportunity that exists in front of us to deal with what we’ve all just come through?
Wayne Brady: I think the most simple route to that in my mind, because there’s a lot to unpack for us as a culture will, as there’s a love for the world to unpack, but specifically the US, the way that we handled COVID, the things that COVID unearthed, it’s shone a light on a lot of things, on a lot of inequities, a lot of socio-economic problems, a lot of racial strife. All it took was this one sickness to show us all of these things that we know that have been wrong. But it’s like: here it is! It’s there for everyone to see. There’s so much unpacking to do with that. I’d say that the one thing that we all can do to start unpacking that trauma is empathy. Empathy can help us no matter what culture you’re a part of, no matter what race you’re part of, no matter what gender, no matter—just for your fellow human. And it sounds so easy, right? It’s just, oh, I just have to show empathy to somebody. That, by the looks of things—and by the last year and a half, especially by the last four years we had—that has become the hardest thing for us as Americans to share. Whether it is somebody who was riding the pro-Trump train hard and telling Mexicans to go back to where they came from, and yelling at Black people—hell, I just, on my phone last night, I just saw this thing of that guy, I’m sure that you’ve seen it, that dude in New Jersey that is getting his comeuppance, I hope right now, but the fact that we live in 2021 and someone can stand on their yard and yell those things at somebody that they would have yelled in the ’50s, he feels emboldened to do that because we had a man in office who made it OK to do that. And once the pandemic happened, then it was even worse. So I think for us to just start, we just need empathy. That’s the only way we are all going to listen to each other and help. And if we feel for each other, then we can ask each other what each other needs and then we can start building. We can’t deal with the trauma of the pandemic if we can’t be open to one another first.
Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: I really appreciate that point. And I think there’s a profound amount of empathy in what you’ve chosen to do with your own experience, and the fact that you’re giving people the opportunity to see themselves in you and to see the ability to have an experience that allows them to heal. The beautiful thing about the work that you do in making people laugh is that it requires you to put yourself in their shoes and ask what they might find to be funny. And I think that comes with also asking what might make them feel sad and what might make them feel content and fulfilled. And I think if we brought a little bit more of that attitude to the discussions we have, be that politically or socially or culturally, I think we’d have the opportunity to build systems that actually did sustain people and empower people and supply them with the things that we all collectively need and that we need together. So, Wayne, thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience with the world and to share it with us, and to remind us that if we had the will to put ourselves in other people’s shoes, perhaps this place would be a kinder place to live. That was Wayne Brady. He is well known via his performances and his comedy. We were grateful to have had you on the show today. Thank you so much.
Wayne Brady: Thanks for having me, sir.
Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: As usual, here’s what I’m watching right now. The Delta variant continues its rampage across the world. Overall, COVID-19 mortality crossed to four million people this week, driven by cases across countries in Africa, Asia and South America. In the US, Delta has led to a 35% increase in case rate, mainly in communities where vaccinations are low.
[news clip] At Mercy Hospital in Springfield, Missouri, the number of COVID patients breaking a record this week. Now a call for more physicians, as doctors say the highly-contagious coronavirus strain is driving the increase.
Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: Delta is changing the conversation about COVID. This variant is up to 60% more transmissible. Worse, it’s figured out how to evade the natural immunity we get from having had the virus. So for all those folks saying that they’re good and don’t need a vaccine because they’ve already had COVID? Guess again. One dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines isn’t enough either. It takes a full two doses to achieve real immunity. That’s prompted several public health officials to call on people to put their masks back on, even vaccinated people. To understand why, remember that COVID transmission is a numbers game. Getting everyone to put their masks back on means that unvaccinated people won’t continue to be able to freeride as vaccinated. And for people who are vaccinated and are far less likely to get ill or transmit COVID, that likelihood goes down even further, reducing Delta’s spread. In other news, the CDC released new guidance last week emphasizing the importance of getting kids back in school come what may. The key recommendation, as you might expect, is to get kids who are eligible, vaccinated. Only about a third of kids between 12 and 17 who are eligible now, have been vaccinated. Though there’s been no authorization for children younger than 12, trials are underway. Vaccinated kids and adults will be able to go maskless on school premises, though masks will be required for unvaccinated people, students and teachers. I couldn’t agree more with the CDC’s recommendation to get kids back to school. Though actions necessitated to end the 2019-2020 school year early and lean on virtual learning for 2020 and 2021, the long-term consequences for our kids have been devastating, ranging from reduced learning to spiking mental illness. What’s critical now is to make it as safe as possible. Get the kids their shots and let’s get them back in the classroom safely.
And to finish with some good news today, a new report showed that cancer deaths were down between 2014 and 2018, though cancer diagnoses were up. That might sound counterintuitive. After all, if cases of cancer are up, why are fewer people dying of it? Well, it’s probably not that cancer cases are up, but that more of the cancer that exists is getting diagnosed and getting diagnosed early, when doctors can do something about them. You know why? Health care access. Keep in mind that these data are from as early as 2014. That was just a few years after the passing of the Affordable Care Act, when millions of people got access to health insurance and therefore to a doctor who could diagnose and treat their cancer. It turns out that giving more people health care, saves lives. Who would have thought? Now let’s get all the way there: Medicare for all folks!
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Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: America Dissected is a product of Crooked Media. Our producer is Austin Fisher. Our associate producer is Olivier Martinez. Veronica Simonetti mixes and masters the show. Production support from Tara Terpstra, Lyra Smith, and Ari Schwartz. The theme song is Taka Asuzawa and Alex Sugiura. Our executive producers are Sarah Geismer, Sandy Girard, and me: Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, your host. Thanks for listening.