“Now, it does add a layer of difficulty,” he notes, “since, unlike other comics, I have to not only be funny but also scientifically accurate. We’ve probably all heard jokes that make no sense, but, among scientists, if your joke is based on a false premise, then it may fall flat, no matter how funny the punch line is.”
So, beyond laughter, Malow likes to scan his scientific audiences to see if anyone is nodding along in with the joke, signaling that the scientific reasoning behind it is sound.
On the plus side, Malow reads about new scientific discoveries every day, so he holds a distinct advantage over other stand-up comedians who talk about their foibles, annoying parents and spouses or other types of observational humor: He never runs out of material.
Nick Zagorski (email@example.com) is a science writer at ASBMB.