CERN stand-up stands out from the crowd

The LHComedy event drew a crowd from 105 different countries and became the most watched CERN webcast since the Higgs discovery


Some say that science can't be funny. Tell that to the packed auditorium and almost 10,000 webcast viewers who tuned in on Friday 30 August to watch LHComedy: "CERN After Dark" – a night of science stand-up comedy in the CERN Globe of Science and Innovation. 

Hosted by Helen Keen from BBC4's It is Rocket Science, the event opened to the public and online viewers from around the world.  Six CERN affiliates (Sam Gregson, Alex Brown, Benjamin Frisch, Claire Lee, Hugo Day, Clara Nellist) hit the stage with geek-pop sensation Jonny Berliner, and comedians Pierre Novellie and Lieven Scheire. The collision of particle physics with stand-up comedy brought a new twist to current research and public engagement at the organization.  

"CERN provides opportunities for researchers to reach out to the public in sometimes new, experimental and ambitious ways," says Alex Brown of the Knowledge Transfer Group.  "The idea is that you get researchers to do stand-up comedy and reach an audience that would otherwise not normally go to an academic talk.  So you get a comedy audience to learn a bit of science."

The event caught the attention of UK's The Guardian and Germany's Der Spiegel.  It received remarks on Twitter as being "Geeky, exhilarating, uplifting and, above all, incredibly smart." As physics moves further into popular culture, with shows like The Big Bang Theory and BBC's The Infinite Monkey Cage, it seemed an appropriate evening to celebrate science and comedy together. 

Missed the event? Watch it here