Staff Writer Daren Hembrador reviews the science comedian and his education act
By: DAREN HEMBRADOR
The American Chemical Society and STLCC – Meramec’s Chemistry Club hosted science comedian Brian Malow on Wednesday, Feb. 25 and he performed his signature science jokes on stage in the Meramec Theater. Through his jokes, Malow enhances our way of viewing science and helps reprise the importance of a complicated and mysterious subject.
Though born in Chicago, Ill., Brian is influenced more by his childhood in Houston, Texas, and growing up reading science fiction novels from authors such as Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke. He said in one joke how he started his curiosity for science when he asked his parents why the sky was blue, and the mother said “Because I said so.”
Malow’s passion to create and write, plus his love for science — specifically physics and astronomy — prompted him to start his comedy career as he was attending the University of Texas in Austin. He said his path toward scientific comedy was a natural evolution: he himself as a comedian with a huge scientific background, was already telling scientific jokes in an early stage.
After his graduation with a liberal arts degree, he expanded his career through comedy acts in San Francisco, his science videos for The New York Times and his scientific and comedic contributions to the Neil De Grasse Tyson Radio Show. He has also performed for various tech companies such as Apple, Microsoft and Google. Now residing in Raleigh, N.C., Malow works at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science helping researchers communicate science toward a general audience and blogs for Scientific American.
Malow explained how he inspires most of his jokes through simple interactions and observations in life such as talking to a friend or reading a science article. He said that the idea of the joke flourishes as he investigates and records more on the subject at hand and gets in the zone of writing. He also explains the process as mining and sieving through ore until you find a nugget of gold. The analogy goes as well with the right audience to perform his jokes and the necessity of knowing your audience — like testing the water situation.
Malow also reiterated the importance of setting up the facts and pieces for a joke and clarifying the act in order for the audience to understand getting the idea from teaching researchers and developers how to be better communicators.
Malow’s jokes are not only hilarious, but educational as well. His jokes reiterate the importance of science and the numerous connections it has on life from relationships to art and various cultures, such as his bacteria bar jokes to his magnet joke. Not only are the jokes educational, but they strive the audience to sometimes investigate the meaning of the joke, which puts science back in the spotlight.
Malow emphasized the lack of acknowledgement for science and the importance of learning the subject. Overall, Malow’s science comedy acts helps establish the importance and appreciation of science in our daily lives.