Sydney Festival Bright Club: Putting a Comedic Spin on Research

12 January 2012

The Famous Spiegeltent
The Famous Spiegeltent

Faculty PhD candidates Mark Sutton and Dominic Santangelo last night took the stage in The Famous Spiegeltent to convey their research as comedy, as part of Sydney Festival.

The first in a series of special events described by Sydney Festival as "the thinking person's variety night", last night's Bright Club aimed to close the gap between the slapstick and the scholarly.

Five University of Sydney academics and researchers were given eight minutes to perform a stand-up routine under the watchful eye of comedian host James O'Laghlin, and to the theme Testosterone.

Dominic Santangelo, a Doctor of Arts student in the Department of Media and Communications garnered many laughs by performing a series of comedic songs about the transition into academia from the world outside the "ivory tower".

"Stand-up comedy sure beats lecturing if you measure success by audible audience appreciation", said Dominic after the performance.

"I must admit that I was worried my style of humour would be a little obtuse for the crowd, but they laughed in all the right places and some of the wrong ones too".

Despite being nervous at his first stand-up gig ever, fellow Arts and Social Sciences PhD candidate Mark Sutton, whose PhD is on American Literature with a focus on Bob Dylan, was happy with the audience reaction.

"The audience was very supportiveā€¦a lot of the biggest laughs came from the most scholarly jokes, which was nice", said Mark. "I was expecting 8 minutes of stony silence so anything above that was a blessing".

Two further Bright Club events are still to come at Sydney Festival, one on January 18th with the theme Sex, and the last on January 25th in the context Earth, Sea, Sky.

Upcoming academics-turned-comedians from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences include Dr Juanita Ruys Feros, who will delve into the demonic emotions of the Middle Ages, Susan Banki on refugees as political activists, and David Cunningham on 17th Century naval officers sitting in parliament.

To purchase tickets to Bright Club #2 click here and for Bright Club #3 click here.

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Contact: Kate Mayor

Phone: 02 9351 2208

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