Meet The Comedians Bringing A Sense Of Humor To Science

How do you integrate science into standup comedy? Comedians Chuck Nice, Kasha Patel, and Kyle Marian Viterbo tell us how.

three images side by side, each of different people. from left to right: a woman on stage smiling, pointing, and holding a microphone, a woman smiling in a lab coat pouring colored liquids from two scientific glasses into a larger glass, and a headshot of a smiling man
From left to right, comedians Kyle Marian, performing climate and health science jokes in New York (Credit: Arin Sang-urai), Kasha Patel, and Chuck Nice.

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A scientist and a comedian walk into a bar—for an interview about the craft of science comedy. Ira talks to comedians Chuck Nice, Kasha Patel, and Kyle Marian Viterbo about their work bringing the joke format to science communication.

While all three have different approaches to science—whether it’s sneaking the knowledge into “regular” jokes, or going straight for the factual jugular—they agree that the practice of stand-up has much in common with the scientific process.

“We normally start with an observation or a question,” says Nice. “The experimentation is the joke itself, seeing whether or not it will get a laugh … you have to tell it in front of an audience. And after that you go, ‘Wow, that sucked. I can’t believe that wasn’t funny.’”

Plus, why comedy can itself be a science, and what good comedy has in common with good (science) communication.

“It’s a long term skillset in playing with, and communicating, and connecting with your audience,” says Viterbo. “To be able to really listen to our audience, which these days we need more of.”

Universe of Art is hosted and produced by D. Peterschmidt, who also wrote the music. The original segment was produced by Christie Taylor. Our show art was illustrated by Abelle Hayford. Support for Science Friday’s science and arts coverage comes from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. 

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Meet the Writers

About D. Peterschmidt

D. Peterschmidt is a producer, host of the podcast Universe of Art, and composes music for Science Friday’s podcasts. Their D&D character is a clumsy bard named Chip Chap Chopman.

About Christie Taylor

Christie Taylor was a producer for Science Friday. Her days involved diligent research, too many phone calls for an introvert, and asking scientists if they have any audio of that narwhal heartbeat.

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