“Three professional comedians and incompetent scientists take you through this week in science. Incompetently.”
Matt Kirshen can be credited with dreaming up Probably Science. After hearing Brooks Wheelan and Andy Wood talking about their engineering backgrounds, Matt, who holds a degree in math, “thought it would be fun to (slightly) use [their] science backgrounds and still get to do a comedy podcast.” Andy explains, “and the name gets us off the hook for when our science is less than stellar (although we’ve had moments of genuine insight, if I do say so myself).”
Matt Kirshen and Andy Wood will be bringing Probably Science to the LA Podcast Festival on October 5th for a live show at 12PM.
Probably Science combines comedy with scientific discussion in a weekly podcast run by Matt, Andy, and Brooks, and featuring various special guest with various scientific specialties. Brooks Wheelan has just recently become a cast member on SNL, the podcast is run solely by Matt and Andy, although that doesn’t mean Brooks will disappear from Probably Science for good. “we’re still hoping we can have Brooks Skype in from time to time, and possibly record a show with him out in New York. The show’s format hasn’t changed a ton, but we do miss what Brooks brought to the dynamic — he definitely shakes things up.”
The show is discussion-based and has a tendency to flow with whatever guests and science news they have that week. “It’s a pretty loose show,” Andy says of the format, “we’re flexible with when and where we record, so when Matt comes through with an incredible guest at the last minute we can take advantage, which happens a surprising amount of the time. Content-wise, we often just prep science news stories an hour or two before recording (if at all), but sometimes we’ll have themed episodes with actual scientists or authors, and Matt and I try to do more research for those.”
Bringing scientists or authors onto the show tends to provide for memorable and fascinating episodes. According to Andy, “some of my favorite topics have come from the areas of expertise of our scientist and author guests: We got to talk about theoretical cosmology with Dr. Sean Carroll, black holes with Dr. Janna Levin, the science of comedy with Dr. Peter McGraw and the science of elite athletics with Sports Illustrated journalist and author of The Sports Gene, David Epstein. Both Matt and I read his book in advance — we highly recommend it, by the way!”
As to their live performance at noon on Saturday, Andy says, “We’re looking forward to it — we don’t get to do live shows often, and it’s a much more exciting way to record. The format might be less science news-heavy and more focused on the projects that our guests have worked on, and I’m hoping we’ll be able to work in an audience Q&A.” The Probably Science team will be joined by special guest Rhys Darby, so fans can certainly look forward to a lot of comedy–and maybe even a bit of science.
I asked Andy which podcasts he’s personally excited to see at the LA Podcast Festival, and he listed off Welcome to Night Vale, The Dana Gould Hour, Fitzdog Radio, WTF with Marc Maron, Pop My Culture‘s TGIF reunion show before adding “there are too many to name!”
Come see all of these podcasts and more at the LA Podcast Festival, which begins on Friday October 4th and runs until Sunday October 6th!