Scientist turned comedian – My Bright Club experience

Scientist turned comedian – My Bright Club experience

Since I’ve been blogging and exploring the world of science communication, I never expected to do some of the things I’ve done. Nearly a month ago I performed my first stand-up comedy set. Who would have thought it!

The event was called Bright Club. It’s where researchers become comedians for the evening, something I never imagined I’d be part of, other than in the audience! One of the organisers approached me through my blog and asked if I’d be up for performing. My heart skipped a few beats as I read the message but in a moment of pure madness, I thought I’d be brave and accepted. 

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September 9th: Training session

The reality that I was actually going to attempt comedy on stage hit. We had our first training session. This was a great opportunity to ask questions, get some tips and to meet the other performers. At this point we were two weeks out. I had two weeks to make a script, and most importantly, make it funny. No pressure.

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Brainstorming ideas

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September 16th: Rehearsals

With one week to go it was rehearsal time. In my head the jokes I planned to say were funny, but were they to other people?! Thankfully I got some laughs which put me at ease. We all shared tips on how to improve the content/wording of our sets so I came away with some worthwhile changes. It was definitely a boost for us all. So a few tweaks, and time to practice with my pretend microphone.

Practicex4

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September 22nd: The day of Bright Club Southampton #9

At 5.30pm we all rocked up at the venue to do a mic test and settle down for the evening. Not going to lie, the nerves started to kick in!

After the first researcher performed, I was second to take to the stage. My set was titled “A PhD: The trials & tribulations“. I spoke about my research, the moment I was asked to perform, my failings in trying to inspire the younger generation and what being cooped up alone in the lab for 18 hours a day does to you. I wrapped the set up with my top 5 tips for surviving a PhD. They may not be tips you were expecting, you’ll just have to click the image below and watch it for yourself to find out!

My set

My jokes were well received and getting the first lot of laughs calmed my nerves. My aim was to get one laugh and I accomplished that, so I was one happy girl. The audience were fantastic, and I had lots of support from my friends who came to watch. Of course the event attracted other researchers, but what was awesome is that many members of the audience were outside the world of STEM from all sorts of career backgrounds. People’s friends and partners came to watch, and members of the public got involved too.

I signed up to something totally out of my comfort zone, I put myself out there, I accomplished the task, and celebrated with a gin. Happy days.

Can science and comedy go hand-in-hand? Could comedy be a useful tool in engaging more of the public with research? Would you consider giving stand-up comedy a go?

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All the other researchers did an awesome job talking about climate change to being a stem cell detective, from the internet to embracing your weird identity! You can watch their sets by heading over to Bright Club Southampton YouTube channel, as well as all previous performances. Keep up-to-date on upcoming performances and new podcast episodes by following the Bright Club Southampton Facebook page.

Thank you to Nikhil and Dave from Bright Club Southampton for asking me to perform, it was a fantastic experience!

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