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Science Comedians or Scientist as Comedians
Biologist turned comedian
Brian Mallow at the Science Museum
Norman Goldblatt: Science Laughs
By Mirna Santana
While most people see science as a serious matter, some scientist have discovered the fun about it and how to bring it to the public. Yes, most scientist throw one or two jokes during their talks, yet these three scientists comedians: Lee, Marlow and Goldblatt, have turned science into smart jokes. The way they engage the public may teach us some lessons that can help us teachers engage our students. Science has a stigma as being too serious and 'hard to learn'. This idea has keep many potential scientists away from it. Science for most scientist is a source of joy, independently of whether or not they are comedians.
The combination of science and comedy is a very particular niche. Perhaps not all the jokes sink in for all the people and a basic knowledge of science is required. This type of comedy does well in cities, college campuses, and of course among scientist. If more people start looking at these shows, there would be a lot of lessons to learn and they could enjoy the learning process.
A scientist comedian have a particular craft. It is to be able to synthesize or condense complex matters and explain those issues in a simple ways. They do not need to explain it all. In comedy like in normal conversation the public will interact with the comedian and at times, complete the jokes with their knowledge of science and personal experiences.
My top choices as stand up scientists and comedians are Tim Lee (Biologist) and Brian Malow (former Astronomists), and Norman Goldblatt (Engineer).
Tim Lee is an expert in Oceanography, who upon graduation realized that he was feed up with academic life and needed a change. He thus turned into computers programing. After reading several high profile comedians memoirs, Tim decided to write his own jokes and started as aficionado in open mic events. Today, Tim uses power point presentations as visual complements to his jokes, the same way he would have done as a scientist presenting his subject to the public. Though other comedians approach the subject of science, and there are other scientist who are comedians, Tim's approach is refreshing and captivating for audiences of all ages (who understand a little bit of science).
Brian Malow call himself the Earth's Premiere Science Comedian. He is also an accomplished science video producer and freelance correspondent. I confess that I enjoy his comedy but I think he is even better as video producer. He shows himself as clever and lay back at the same time. His jokes are sort of innocent and very smart. He shows lot of aspects of science from biology to physics and all in between into his shows. He is an aficionado of science fiction and history, which he also integrates in his shows and videos. It is definitively worth to watch him because the laughs are almost guarantee!
Norman Goldblatt is still a scientist conducting research. Being a comedian is a side dish for him. Contrary to Lee, who considers it is more important for a comedian to be funny than to teach-- or Malow, who lectures a bit but by doing so disconnect himself from the audience--Golblatt seems to have a way of helping his audience feel smarter. By all means, that is a quality of all comedians, yet Mr. Goldblatt accomplishes it by making himself very humble. He also introduces the basis of the topics to help people understand the jokes. He does have a very simple and clever way to approach the audience. He makes people appreciate science as one of humanity's most inspiring endevours.
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