Using Humor to Address Serious Topics

Friday, February 12, 2016: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Marshall Ballroom South (Marriott Wardman Park)
There was nothing funny about the 9/11 attacks, but about two weeks afterward, the satirical newspaper The Onion used humor to address the tragic, delicate topic. Headlines like “Hijackers Surprised to Find Themselves in Hell” and “God Angrily Clarifies 'Don't Kill' Rule” received tremendous positive feedback and made this special issue the most commented-on edition of The Onion to date. Humor has the power to engage the public in a positive way with sensitive, complex, or controversial issues -- reflected in science everywhere. This panel highlights communication techniques used by Daily Show writers, science communicators, and stand-up comedians. Attendees will pick up practical tips on using comedic elements to make science more fun and accessible, learn to assess the risks and pitfalls of incorporating humor, and, most importantly, gain inspiration for thinking about communicating science in a more creative way.
Kasha Patel, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Kasha Patel, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Chris Duffy, 90.9 WBUR, Boston's NPR News Station
A Comedian's Guide to Making Science Joyful and Accessible
Brian Malow, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
Beyond the Punch Line
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