History, comedy and science connect at FringeArts

Earlier this year at the Philadelphia Science Festival, I teamed up with comedians to dramatize (term used very loosely) real life events from the history of science and medicine. We've done it three years running, and it works like this: I give a monologue on a historical topic, then the improv group does a comedy riff on the crazy historical stories I share. And, I kid you not, people laugh.

Because despite what you think, history, science, and professors are (well, can be) funny.

Members of Asteroid! suffering through Study Hall so that you can fall off your seat laughing: front, Caitlin Weigel (left) and Lora Magaldi; middle, Jessica Ross and AJ Horan; back, Luke Field and Aaron Unice (yep, that's me in between). Photo by Erin Pitts.

Expanding on our popular act from the Science Festival, I am again teaming up with Philly Improv Theater’s Improv House Team "Asteroid!" to create a full hour of spontaneous comedy inspired by brutally honest science. The event – this Thursday through Sunday at the Fringe Festival – is called “Study Hall.” In it, I will exploit every ounce of my tenure to lecture on a wide variety of topics (many not appropriate for kids) and Asteroid! will warp each lesson into outrageous scenes on the spot.

What makes this so funny? Asteroid! member Jessica Ross says that “it's like taking the most interesting class in school and then getting to see the class clowns make fun of it.” For the improv artists, the format is a challenge they enjoy. As Asteroid!’s Lora Magaldi told me: “It's a great way to learn to listen to information because you need to remember as many details as possible and then be able to extract them over the course of the show.” And I can tell you that the whole troupe are true improve/comedy professionals, and it has been a joy to work with them.

So come join the laughs and learning! Tickets are on sale now.

And don't be late to Study Hall!

Study Hall

Asteroid! is Bert Archer, Luke Field, AJ Horan, Brent Knobloch, Lora Magaldi, Jessica Ross, Aaron Unice and Caitlin Weigel joined for Study Hall by Professor Michael Yudell. Directed by Mike Marbach.


Thursday 9/19 @ 7pm

Friday 9/20 @ 7pm

Saturday 9/21 @ 7pm

Sunday 9/22 @ 7pm


Adrienne Theater, 2030 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103


$12 to $15 online.

Read more about The Public's Health.