so a science comedian walks into a lab…

January 2, 2011

A neutron walks into a bar and orders a drink. The bartender pours him one and the neutron asks how much he owes. The bartender replies, “for you, no charge.” Yes, you’ve just been hit with a nerd joke, and no, they’re not just confined to labs and grad schools. As it so turns out, there’s actually such a profession as a science comedian and it’s this geek’s task to come up with scientifically based puns and punch lines to entertain the typical audience of scientists and well informed laypeople. One such science comedian is Brian Malow, and he actually manages to weave jokes that can generally survive peer review into a full, working routine. Here’s his effort with nerdy blank-walks-into-a-bar jokes involving biology and physics at Bay Area’s Wonderfest…

I don’t know about you, but even though some of these jokes were a little too literal for my taste, I’d prefer this routine over the typical comic you’ll see on TV, complaining about how much of a loser he or she is for being a comedian, cracking jokes about a supposedly dysfunctional family to visit every holiday season, and trying as hard as possible to make politics funny. Don’t get me wrong, we certainly need variety in our humor and a full on science lecture at every comedy club would get really old, really fast, but wouldn’t it be nice if our typical bits of entertainment required at least a little scientific knowledge rather than being really good with old movies or music, as well as our seeming obligation to laugh at stereotypical relationship jokes?

[ thanks to Maria M. for the post idea ]

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  • LOL! Thanks for posting that.

    Nerd jokes rule, even if they only rule a small segment of the population. :-)

    I trust that you watch “The Big Bang Theory,” which goes to great lengths to work in scientifically valid nerd humor.

  • Great article on Brian. He has been one of my favorite comedians for over 20 years.

    I recently had an opportunity to interview him when he appeared in Sacramento, CA. If you would like to watch Brian’s interview, it is at:

    Thanks for supporting “geek comedy” on your site!

    Steven Bloom