Scientist Turned Comedian

Written and Performed by Tim X Lee
Part of the 2017 FRIGID New York Festival

Off Off Broadway, Solo Show
Runs through 2.25.17
UNDER St. Marks, 94 St. Marks Place


by Taylor Black on 2.20.17


HamiltonTim X Lee in Scientist Turned Comedian.


BOTTOM LINE: A clever use of PowerPoint and smart science jokes told by an amiable, down-to-Earth scientist turned actor and comedian.

Scientist Turned Comedian is a clever piece of stand-up told through scientific topics and PowerPoint comedy. Tim X Lee introduces concepts from the Heisenberg uncertainty principle to electronegativity, demonstrating how these concepts apply to real life with clever graphs and tangential jokes. Anyone who has sat through an academic seminar and longed to spice it up will feel at home with Lee's presentation. As he moves from stories about his life as a traveler, through his experiences as a science PhD, to his latest roles as actor and family man, Lee's mellow and straightforward persona carries the action. The humor is clean and nerdy, with opportunities to learn all kinds of new concepts as the show transitions from science seminar to traditional stand-up routine.

Lee's persona is the highlight of the show. He develops a sincere rapport with the audience in UNDER St. Marks' intimate space, casually riffing off audience members' hometowns and familiarity with his concepts. In between these stories, Lee transitions to PowerPoint demonstrations of a wide variety of scientific concepts, drawn from physics, chemistry, and biology. These bits are funny and informative, if a little formulaic, but Lee's graphs often lead these strange ideas into unexpected places.

The best indication of Scientist Turned Comedian's ideal audience comes from Lee himself. At one point, he mentions that he had to change a slide after multiple audience members pointed out a small (possibly nerdy) correction. Needless to say, nerds of all stripes will feel right at home, but non-scientists will certainly follow the enjoyable demonstration, and perhaps learn something in the process. At the end of a tangent on professional surfing, Lee makes the remark that defines the show: "I've done a lot of research on this." In every topic that comes up in Scientist Turned Comedian, it's clear that Tim X Lee isn't kidding.

(Scientist Turned Comedian plays at UNDER St. Marks, 94 St. Marks Place, through February 25, 2017. The running time is one hour. Performances are Wed 2/15 at 8:50, Sat 2/18 at 7:10, Sun 2/19 at 3:30, Mon 2/20 at 5:30, Thu 2/23 at 10:30, and Sat 2/25 at 2:10. Tickets are $18, $10 for students (half off if you show up in a lab coat) and are available at


Scientist Turned Comedian is written and performed by Tim X Lee.