You're Up Next .. the science of comedy examined

Can you teach someone to be funny? Is it wrong to laugh at things that are challenging or upsetting? How can we use humour to help understand and make meaning from current university research? These are the type of questions being asked, and answered, on You’re Up Next, a new podcast from Bright Club Ireland which will be released starting Wednesday, 27th May.

Bright Club Ireland is the well-known science comedy variety night that trains academic researchers to explain their work using stand-up comedy. The podcast series You’re Up Next will be hosted by Dr Jessamyn Fairfield, a lecturer in the School of Physics in NUI Galway and the founder and director of Bright Club Ireland (pictured above). The series is produced by Shaun O’Boyle and Maurice Kelliher.

The five episodes of You’re Up Next will talk about comedy, as well as new ideas of engaging the public with science, research, and academia. Creative approaches and problems are shared from international ‘guest ranters’ including: Dr Shane Bergin of UCD, a noted science education expert; stand-up comedian and former Bright Club coordinator Áine Gallagher; science event producer Hana Ayoob; engagement producer for Science Friday Kyle Marian Viterbo; and Bright Club UK founder Dr Steve Cross. These experts from Ireland, the UK, and the US will not only discuss science comedy, but also themes of equity, access, and who can call themselves a scientist.

Bright Club is supported by Science Foundation Ireland through the SFI Discover Programme, the Community Knowledge Initiative, the Research Office at NUI Galway and the AMBER and CÚRAM SFI Research Centres.

Speaking about You’re Up Next, Dr Ruth Freeman, Director Science for Society, Science Foundation Ireland, said: “Humour is a universal way of communicating and Bright Club’s work is hugely engaging and impactful. Through the medium of comedy, this new podcast will discuss and translate scientific research into meaningful, memorable and engaging material. Science Foundation Ireland are delighted to support ‘You’re Up Next’ and we look forward to exploring the funny side of science.”

Bright Club Ireland has been running events since 2015, led by Dr Fairfield. They have staged over 70 shows in cities across Ireland as well as major comedy and music festivals, training academics with comedic techniques to communicate their research. Currently Bright Club events run every two weeks online.

‘You’re Up Next’ will be available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, and on most podcast platforms, and a preview episode is already available. More information about Bright Club Ireland can be found at www.brightclub.ie, or follow Bright Club Ireland on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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