When scientists swap white coats and goggles for the stage and spotlight

PUBLISHED: 15:19 02 October 2019

Michael Conterio, host, talked about life as a scientist. Photo: ARCHANT

Michael Conterio, host, talked about life as a scientist. Photo: ARCHANT

Archant

A night of laughter was brought by professional scientists on September 27 at the Junction in Cambridge.

Riva Riley spoke about domestication and her dog. Photo: ARCHANT.Riva Riley spoke about domestication and her dog. Photo: ARCHANT.

Although the performers are working scientists, they had no trouble in delivering engaging standup comedy.

Michael Conterio, host, talked about his life as a scientist. He said that when people assume he is 'smart' he feels like it is a trap, whichever answer he goes for: "I will be nice and compliment them back and if they say they are a baker I go 'you must be really kneady.'"

The first strong act of the night came from Riva Riley, who spoke about domestication - or, as she would say, used the topic as an excuse to show her dog, Finnie, to others.

On this note, she talked about how her mum cooked scrambled eggs for the dog every morning, which prompted her to complain that 'dogs are hard work because you have to cook them breakfast every morning'. The same mum who never wanted a dog bought him stairs to get onto the bed.

Damian Smith talking about his engineering jobs. Photo: ARCHANTDamian Smith talking about his engineering jobs. Photo: ARCHANT

Damian Smith, a theoretical engineer, 'which means he is an engineer theoretically', was amusing to say the least. His comedy style reminded me a bit of Eddie Izzard with his facial expression and delivery. He spoke about his engineering jobs and got cheered on for his latest one, to which he reacted: "Somebody from work must be here".

He compared his performance as an employee with a slowly-cooling cup of coffee being a more competent employee than he is.

Jonathan Cairns, a statistician, delivered his performance as 'The Amazing Jonathan' and said that his magic-8 ball had answers that science journals did not have: 'I don't know.'

The second half of the show was introduced by another strong series of jokes from Conterio, who covered his head to illustrate protection from laser, which he said is 'also useful when you think about the state of the world at the minute'.

Jonathan Cairns, statistician, delivered his performance as ‘The Amazing Jonathan’. Photo: ARCHANTJonathan Cairns, statistician, delivered his performance as ‘The Amazing Jonathan’. Photo: ARCHANT

Matthew Kemp, a geologist, spoke of his time as an undergraduate student analysing mineral compositions by tasting rocks: 'We were just jumping from rock to rock licking them,' he said. One of the highlights of his performance was when he explained earthquake waves with Zumba moves.

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