Bringing Comedy to Science: the Workshop

Climate change is a lot like my grandpa. Both have a lot of gas.
— Workshop attendee

How exactly do you make science funny?

On May 19, 2018, science communicators in DC participated in a lesson on how to add jokes to their journal articles, punchlines to their press releases, and humor to their headlines. This hands-on workshop explored the underlying mechanisms of joke writing and science communication and how they overlap. Attendees practiced the concepts by reading a press release and identifying funny angles for a story in breakout groups and writing their own punchlines to joke premises. Below is a recap of the event.

This workshop is made possible by funding from the Peggy Girshman Idea Grants from the National Association of Science Writers. Additional support is provided by DC Science Comedy and the D.C. Science Writers Association. Contact dcsciencecomedy@gmail.com for more workshop information.

Scientists are a lot like cats. Both like to play with mice.
— Workshop attendee

Panel Videos

Basis of joke writing: Stand-up comedian and two-time MIT grad Dhaya Lakshminarayanan presents on how she writes jokes.

Science Cartoonist Maki Naro shares his various styles of cartooning and how he incorporates science in his drawings.

Resources

Writing Exercises

This list of science-themed writing exercises will help you find ways to bring humor into your writing. Exercises include fill-in-the-blank, sentence completion, and picking out funny elements in real press releases.