On 12th February, Bright Club put on their researcher-turned-comedian comedy show at the popular Loughborough venue- The Organ Grinder. I willingly agreed to review what I thought would be a typical comedy show, unaware that academics were going to take up the mic. After being enlightened on this matter, I began to feel dubious about the quality of comedy awaiting me and arrived at the event with my reservations. How could comedy possibly be produced from academics’ research topics? The idea conjures up expectations of a mildly cringe-inducing night filled with half-hearted, generous laughs infused with a large dosing of sympathy. As I entered the Organ Grinder, I soon found out, however, that the show had been sold out and that every previous one had been too! My hopes were lifted but were quickly thwarted once more as it took forty two minutes for the show to begin. The ‘keen’ audience I envisioned through hearing ‘sold out’ were barely present when I arrived! However, when the show did begin, I was pleasantly surprised to find it the cause of much hilarity and the small function room filled with genuine laughter for the entire few hours.
The compere of the night- Iszi Lawrence, immediately drew out laughs from the audience members. Her energy and her rapport with the audience began the night with a bang and her interjections between each act were fabulously funny. The researchers who performed were as follows: Matthew Salter, Alexis Alamel, Amita Bhakta, Tim Miles, Chris Thornhill and a ray gun expert- Martin Currie. The research interests were varied, going from human resources, sustainable student housing to tragedy. For a group of non-professionals, each performer knew how to hold a room and there was no indication of nerves and zero ‘tumbleweed moving through barren desert’ moments. They were entertaining, self-deprecating, funny and quite informative in terms of their research. Although very difficult to choose a favourite, Tim Miles was particularly good in his delivery (perhaps due to his research topic: comedy!). Although Tim was my personal favourite, each and every performer deserve commendation.
Although the room was packed with audience members, it should be noted that undergraduates were underrepresented among them. It would be great to see students supporting other members of the university and I encourage everyone to try and attend the next show in the summer. Keeping a consistent record with ticket sales, the show is bound to sell out again! There have been talks of changing the venue to the Town Hall to accommodate larger numbers but researchers are concerned about the added pressure. Regardless of their doubts, they would do well in the Town Hall and ought not to be afraid. Perhaps the change will allow more of us to grab a ticket to learn about research at the university and to enjoy some decent comedy!