Fortunately, club patrons can check their coats and Ph.D.s at the door - a degree in quantum mechanics won't be required to appreciate the sublime humor of one of the country's few professional stand-up science comedians. Malow's science-infused one-liners can be enjoyed by any audience, with gems like: "I used to be an astronomer, but I got stuck on the day shift," or "I just started reading, 'The Origin of Species.' Don't tell me how it ends!" And when Malow quips that he "attended a magnet school for bipolar students," even English majors will chuckle, subconsciously recalling some distant high school science fact.Malow needs to tour the country - I know I'd go see him. How can you not, with jokes like this?
While his show is very rational and based on hard science, Malow cleverly infuses it with an abstract or surreal comic twist. Like observing that whenever his mother would lose weight, his father would gain weight, and then linking the two by a fundamental law of nature. "It was like the Conservation of Mass within our family," says Malow, adding that "fat can neither be created nor destroyed."Malow is also a photographer and has a Web site - Insect Paparazzi - that showcases his talent. He photographed a species of fly previously not seen in North America (Myatropha florea). "Of course, I found it in Golden Gate Park," he says. "So it may have just been a tourist."
Not all of his audience members are able to see past the literal and understand the humor; apparently he once compared a hot day in Arizona to the surface of Venus.
From the back of the audience, a troubled voice politely reminded him that the solar system's second planet was actually much hotter than the desert state. "Of course I knew that," said Malow. "I was using a comedic device called exaggeration. But I have to be scientifically and literally accurate for these audiences, which is a restriction other comedians don't have."Check out his Web site, which bills him as Earth's premier science comedian (and perhaps the only?). Site links incorporate Greek letters and hexane rings as bullet points, so I automatically am enamored. He also has links to podcasts from appearances on public radio (including one station about pirates!), audio of jokes from performances, a blog (titled Zero Gravity, of course), and other shows he performs (Science Comedy: It's Infectious!; Spontaneous Emissions; and others).
The author of the article is also a chemistry professor and wrote a Q&A in Nature (see it here). As the article says, where else could jokes about naked singularities, entropy or virology be truly appreciated? Indeed.