What the hell is going on at...Bright Club?
A night of amateur comedy can be a daunting prospect for an audience. You never know what you’re going to get, there are no guarantees, and there’s that visceral nails-on-a-chalkboard feeling if things aren’t going to plan. Fortunately, there is none of that at Bright Club. These guys are amateurs, yes, but they’re like the marines of the amateur world; smart, highly trained, and ready for action.
Bright Club is the epitome of smart meets funny. The performers are researchers from Scotland’s universities, taking to the stage to present their research and make you laugh. They are among the best and brightest in their particular fields, but are like newborn foals alone on a stage with a microphone. Some training is provided by professional comedians, and this chance to pick up tips and techniques lets them skip a few steps, providing that polish that tends to come with experience.
Stuart Murphy acts as compere-cum-human shield, encouraging us to get behind the acts and direct all our heckles at him. But there are to be no heckles; this must be the most unanimously supportive comedy audience I will ever encounter in my life. That incomprehensible drunk girl at the front? Not here. That guy who thinks he’s funnier than the comedian? Not here. That person who appreciates how hard it must be and is out to enjoy the show? Got a room full of ‘em.
Tonight’s show isn’t themed, they sometimes are, so we have a good mix of different research topics. Kate Cross gets the ball rolling with sex and peer review, followed by Jon Soares making the tale of a broody but barren woman funny, before Alison Eales ends the first half perfectly assuring us that music, specifically jazz, “is a real subject”. Alan Kelly discusses the merits of computer programming as an aphrodisiac, Rachelle Pascoe-Deslauriers represents for the social sciences, and Gary Dorkin talks about the study of bacteria to end the show on a spermy high.
It almost goes without saying that it helps if you’ve been to university – that’s the evening’s theme, after all – but save for a few targeted jokes the material is surprisingly un-niche. From Geologists to Art students, we can all get on board with sex, music, unemployment, and sperm, right?
The thinking man’s (and woman’s) comedy show, Bright Club have struck it just right. Fresh faces, fresh subjects, the opportunity to see new talent with a level of quality guaranteed, and a bonus set from a professional. You never know, you might just learn something.