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Comedy in public engagement is no joke

Comedy performer, producer and promoter Steve Cross tells Ben Upton how science engagement is moving from learned societies to pub basements.

Steve’s top tips

  • Comedy can be a great help in public engagement as it builds a connection between the researcher and the public.
  • When searching for comedy material, think about how your work affects you personally.
  • Do not think you are going to be a gifted comedian straight away; comedy is a skill that takes a lot of practice.
  • When addressing delicate topics, the targets of any jokes should be people of higher status.

Steve Cross understands that scientists and the general public may have certain misgivings about ‘science comedy’, but he is indignant in its defence: “We’re not cynically slipping science facts in as people do comedy, we’re building relationships between audiences and researchers.”

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