What happens when you take five scientists and a historian and make them to do stand-up comedy? The answer is, of course, Bright Club! And tonight Bright Club Manchester will present The Big One – a round-up of the best performers for one evening only!
Bright club is the “thinking person’s variety show” and involves music and comedy with an academic twist. Come for the laughs, stay for the accidental learning of interesting things. The Big One is a special edition of Bright Club especially for the amazing Manchester Science Festival. It takes some of the best Bright Clubbers from the recent past and puts them all on one stage for your intellectual delectation.
What does it take to perform at Bright Club? The first characteristic needed by our performers is expertise in their field, whether that is forensic science, cell biology, history, psychology or neuroscience. The second is they have to have a passion for communicating science. They say “no, we don’t want our research to stay locked away behind a journal pay wall or buried in a dusty library. We want everyone to know about it”. The third, and possible most important, is that they have to be slightly nuts. They have to think that standing up and telling jokes in front of 200 people is a good idea (at least at the time they agreed to do it).
The training for Bright Club is gruelling, not unlike some of Sarita Robinson’s experiences as her alter ego, Dr Survival. Well, maybe a little different. No one’s life was at risk while they were put under huge amounts of stress but still, y’know, it did get a bit tense when the biscuits nearly ran out. The exact details of this mysterious training are a highly-guarded secret. We neither confirm nor deny that it involves sitting around, drinking tea, ignoring emails and thinking funny thoughts. Some performers have been rumoured to have so much fun at the training day that they completely forget they have to do a performance a couple of weeks later.
Who are these amusing academics, these side-splitting scientists and humorous historians, who have been trained within an inch of their life to become a crack team of wise-crackers?
Your funny bone will be tickled, although hopefully not by Forensic Scientist Cat Tennick, as she has a bit of a history regarding bones. She doesn’t have the nickname Dr Stabby for nothing.
You’ll also learn what might happen to the performers as they deal with the terrifying prospect of stand-up comedy. Sarita Robinson, better known as Dr Survival, can tell you how the stressful experience could affect their biochemistry.
There will be facts, there will be laughs, there will be puns. Most of the puns are likely to be provided by cell biologist Ben Stutchbury, who can’t resist a good (or bad) innuendo.
If you’ve ever wondered what a neuroscientist does, here’s your chance to find out. Lisa Heaney, will be addressing some bogus beliefs about the brain. Her first experience of Bright Club was so exciting that she did the whole thing again a week later at Science Showoff. Now she’s back as an (almost) seasoned performer to put right some neuroscience wrongs.
If you are a bozo when it comes to the ozone, Sophie Haslett will put you straight on any atmospheric debate. Aerosol Soph is an atmospheric chemist who was head hunted for her first Bright Club. She couldn’t say no the first time (she’s too polite), but after channelling her inner comedy goddess she didn’t hesitate to say yes to The Big One.
Last, but by no means least, we have historian Jessica van Horssen. She’s on board to make sure science is kept in check. Jess will tell us all about how scientists get things wrong, albeit almost 100 years after they do so. To her, doing stand-up about her research is like climbing Everest: incredibly challenging but equally exhilarating (minus the sore legs, of course).
This blog post is by Sarita Robinson, Jessica van Horssen and Lisa Heaney.
Come and see them tonight (29th Oct) as families have been abandoned, PhD writing has been postponed and student advisors ignored in order to bring you the best that Bright Club has to offer.
For more information and tickets for tongight's Bright Club event, go to
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