Who says science can’t be funny?
Tim Lee always hated the PowerPoint presentations he had to watch in his former life as a scientist. To him, it seemed as if scientists had no interest in making them the slightest bit interesting.
So, when he decided to make a career switch from scientist to comedian, he used those presentations as his main inspiration.
“I liked the idea of parodying that,” said Lee. “That’s basically what most of my act is – a parody of a scientific seminar.”
After earning his PhD in ecology and evolution from UC Davis, Lee decided that wasn’t the career path he wanted to take.
“So I wrote down some jokes and I showed up at a laundromat that had an open mic and I did my first stand-up comedy routine,” said Lee.
He took a very academic approach to his career switch by reading up on books by comics first. His act incorporates scientific phenomenons laid out in a series of PowerPoint slides with jokes scattered throughout.
He says he misses the depth of his previous science career, but points to the rewards that come with being able to make people laugh for a living.
“It’s not the most important thing you can do, but people do kind of come to the show depressed and they leave happy,” he said. “That is, at least, worthwhile.”
Lee is based in California and his show is called Scientist Turned Comedian.