AIPerformance ArtSkepticism

AI: A Skeptic Walks Into a Bar…

Last night, I got to see a show by Chris Hardwick of Nerdist fame. It was one of the best nights of stand-up comedy I’ve seen in a while, but more pertinent was how he infused his routine with bits of math and skepticism. He had a bit lamenting the surge in ghost-hunting shows on television and at one point sang the numerals of pi to 30 places as he danced seductively over a young woman in the audience.

Mmm. Pertussis.

But I don’t think anything will beat the joy I experienced when I went to Second City for my first time and witnessed a skit involving two parents sitting in a pediatrician’s waiting room. One parent asks the other what he’s there for, and he explains that his child has measles. The first parent opens her mouth to speak, and he interrupts her: “Isn’t there a vaccine for measles? Yes. Why didn’t my child get the vaccine? Because my wife believes Jenny McCarthy and thinks that vaccines cause autism, even though every peer-reviewed medical study says otherwise.” It went on from there. I cheered my head off when it was over (never mind that I was the only one cheering).
Who are some of your favorite critically minded comedians? Heard any good skeptical jokes recently? Why aren’t there any good jokes about skeptics?
The ART Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Mad Art Lab community. Look for it to appear Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 3pm ET.

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Ashley Hamer

Ashley Hamer

Ashley Hamer (aka Smashley) is a saxophonist and writer living in Chicago, where she performs regularly with the funk band FuzZz and jazz ensemble Big Band Boom. She also does standup comedy, sort of, sometimes. Her tenor saxophone's name is Ladybird.


  1. March 18, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    I am quite fond of our own Skeptical comedian and Mad Art Labber the super-awesome, Iszi Lawrence and I love me some Tim Minchin too!

  2. March 18, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Also, a skeptic wouldn’t walk into a bar. They would duck.

    Thank you. I will be here all week.

  3. March 18, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    I love Tim too, and Dara O’Briain, and George Carlin.

  4. March 18, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Of course, I should have mentioned Iszi!

    Also, Myq Kaplan is a wonderfully rational and atheist comedian:

  5. March 18, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    Oh, Smashley…major crush on Chris Hardwick. And reuschelles, Carlin is the master.

    Penn Gillette isn’t exactly a comedian, but he amuses the hell out of me.

  6. March 18, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    Why aren’t there any good jokes about skeptics?

    Because we keep dissecting and debunking the punchlines.

  7. March 18, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    As a Nersist devotee, I’m kind of super jealous of you right now Smashley. I missed the chance to see him when he was last in my neck of the woods.

    As for critically minded comedians, there is none greater than George Carlin in my book. I even got to see him once not too long before he died. He was probably the most incredible performer I have ever seen. Ugh. I miss him.(comedy nerd tears)

    I couldn’t find any jokes about Skeptics that weren’t actually about climate change deniers.

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