“Science can be fun” sounds like one of those lies we all tell our kids, like “Colored pencils are just as good as crayons” and “Sex can exist without shame.” But standup comic Tim Lee is ready and willing to prove the first of those three axioms -- if only you listen carefully enough. Scientist Turned Comedian, see, easily earns the title Quietest Show in the Fringe: I sat in the front row of the Green Venue and still had to strain to hear the soft-spoken Lee’s routine -- and he was amplified.
It was worth the neck cramp I got from excessive head-tilting. Lee has hit on a winning schtick in which he applies the lessons of his Ph.D. to the most mundane aspects of modern life, then explains it all to us via an uproarious PowerPoint presentation. Charts, graphs and word problems show how various scientific formulas can help solve society’s pressing questions, like how long it takes for the average professional athlete to get divorced and how many more seasons of Jersey Shore we’re going to have to endure. It’s like the SAT you wish you could have taken.
Whenever Lee moves away from the screen and gets autobiographical, the show momentarily dips into C+ comedy-club fodder: His riffs on dating and mating are amusing enough, but I’d rather have heard about the peculiar path that takes one from studying science to doing Thursday sets at The Yuk Hut. As is, the essential self-loathing at the heart of that concept is left implied. The subtext of Scientist Turned Comedian is that Lee is a guy fighting to stay relevant within his culture by dissecting it with tools he’s come to loathe -- while recognizing that anything else he could do with his education, he’d hate even more. Then again, as a theater critic, I may just be projecting.
Tim Lee - Los Angeles, California
Friday 18 May; at 6:00pm in the Green
Saturday 19 May; at 11:45am in the Green
Sunday 20 May; at 2:45pm in the Green
Monday 21 May; at 7:30pm in the Green
Thursday 24 May; at 5:45pm in the Green
Friday 25 May; at 7:00pm in the Green
Saturday 26 May; at 6:30pm in the Green
Price: $11 + Fringe Button (good for entire Fringe)
Discount(s): Military, Seniors