Robert Picardo made the most out of his role as the Emergency Medical Hologram aboard Voyager. In fact, he took to it so well that his character became one of the most well-liked on the series. But it was in his audition where he broke out one of Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy’s old jokes without even knowing it and started down a path familiar to Star Trek fans.
Picard admitted in an interview he gave for Star Trek Voyager A Celebration that he took a risk when he ad-libbed a line at the end of his scripted lines in his audition. In the scene, everyone has left sickbay, and they have left the EMH up and running. The doctor, who was always annoyed when this happened, announces that someone has failed to terminate his program. Then, after a long look at the executives who were there to observe his audition, he threw in another line.
"I’m a doctor not a nightlight."
The joke went over well even though Picard didn’t know he’d walked into history, and he said he was glad he didn’t know because he wouldn’t have done the joke otherwise. So we’re fortunate he took that risk because Picardo’s “I’m a doctor not a…” one-liners were always good for a chuckle. But they were also a good reminder of the past when Dr. McCoy was tending the patients and keeping the crew of the Enterprise well enough to fight off inhospitable aliens.
Hopefully, DeForest Kelly, who passed away in 1999, had the opportunity to see the continuation of his tradition. It was a perfect homage to the man behind Bones McCoy, and it was fitting that the Doctor, who was often just as curmudgeonly as Bones, would carry on that tradition.