Live Review: Melbourne International Comedy Festival - Tim Lee: Scientist Turned Comedian, Red Bennies Bar (18.04.12)

Science can be defined as the study of the natural world, and comedy is also a study of the natural world with laughs, if the comedian is funny enough. Perhaps both fields are trying to analyse the crazy environment in which we live, by theories, stories, or jokes. Often these two fields stay firmly isolated, but on a Wednesday night in downtown South Yarra at the dimly lit, ambient, burlesque bar, Red Bennies, these two fields intersect; Tim Lee, who has a PhD in Biology, left his scientific career to pursue a career in comedy.

This softly spoken intellectual, also known as “the power point” comedian, uses his background in science, knowledge of scientific formulae and theory to great comedic effect. His scientific training of presenting research has armed him with a sense of ease when presenting on stage using power point, and the lecturer in him comes out, when he asks some audience members sitting at the side to come to the front so they can see his power point slides more clearly. Its Tim’s first time in Oz, and the intimate crowd are well behaved and attentive, much like mature age students studying for a Graduate Diploma. Tim Lee respects his crowd and instead of picking on his audience, he asks our opinion about what to see in Melbourne. Someone responds with “Here”, since Red Bennies is a burlesque bar.

Tim dissects “Chaos Theory”, “Molecular Bonding” likening covalent bonds to the super-force gluing body hair onto to his roommate’s soap and “Effective Population Size” when describing the women to choose from at a party. In his “Final State Diagram” presentation he illustrates the consequences of consuming too many drinks to chuckles of laughter from the punters.

For those who thought that all types of comedy have been explored, think again; Tim Lee provides an original interpretation of comedy, using Science, and not only do punters leave with a smile, but armed with a little more knowledge of science, and learning is always a good thing.