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Arts & Life

Part 'aha' and part 'ha ha', Stand Up Science comes to Rochester

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What happens when you combine comedy and science?

"Laughing uncontrollably, and then you have that 'aha' moment that just shifts the way you perceive something." 

That's how comedian Shane Mauss describes his "Stand Up Science" show, which makes its Rochester debut this weekend.

Mauss was following a traditional path to comedy success, with appearances on "Conan", "Jimmy Kimmel Live", Comedy Central, Showtime, and the BBC when he found a way to combine both of his passions.

"Something really cool happened halfway through my career called podcasting," Mauss explained. "Podcasting allowed us comedians to kind of really explore more of our natural interests. Rather than always having to cater to an audience of random people, we could focus on the things that most interested us. For me, that was science."

For the past five years. Mauss has been sitting down to talk to scientists about everything from the afterlife to consumer psychology for his weekly podcast "Here We Are".

He got the idea to invite scientists whose work he finds fascinating to take the stage with him in live shows that are - as Mauss likes to say - equal parts 'aha' and 'ha ha.'

While he's having fun and getting his science fix, Mauss believes he's also filling a neglected niche in the entertainment market.

"I find that, especially in areas like the Midwest where I'm from, people who are into more intellectual stuff are really an underserved part of the community in terms of live entertainment," he said.

The two scientists joining Mauss for his Rochester version of "Stand Up Science" are University of Rochester biomedical engineer Ross Maddox and trauma therapist Heather Hargraves.

Maddox will be talking about the science of sound and how people can hear what they need to hear amid the cacophony of noises surrounding them in the course of a normal day.  Hargraves will explain how biofeedback therapy can help people who have experienced trauma.

Click on the LISTEN link above to hear an interview with Shane Mauss.

See "Stand Up Science" at the Photo City Improv at 543 Atlantic Avenue on Sunday, November 24 at 7 p.m.