Loughborough academics preparing to perform at the Nottingham Comedy Festival

A Loughborough University professor and a PhD student will be swapping learning, lectures and graphs for performing, hecklers and laughs when they take to the stage at next month’s Nottingham Comedy Festival.

Professor John Arnold, of the School of Business and Economics (SBE), and Harry Sanders, of Geography and Environment, will appear at the Barley Twist pub, in Carrington Street, during November.

Experienced stand-up comedian Harry will perform EnvironMental – an exploration of the darker side of environmental science, on Monday, November 4.

While Prof Arnold – whose research interests include career choice and personal development – will use 35 years of academic experience to entertain the audience with his show, In a class-room of his own, on Thursday, November 7.

Harry, who is studying the impact of invasive species on British waterways, said: “I've always been a fan of comedy, but I got a bit fed up with watching TV comics just taking easy jokes.

“So, around four years ago, I gave myself the task of writing my first set as a summer project to channel my inner David Mitchell and Rhod Gilbert… and it's gone from there.

“In the last few years, and this year particularly, climate change and the environment have become much more widely recognised and are notable, divisive talking points.

“I've tried to take hardcore, peer-reviewed science and turn it into a comedy show.

“It draws upon my offbeat and slightly dark take on hot topics such as microplastics, intensive farming, climate change and invasive species – the basis of my PhD.

“I wanted to take this opportunity to challenge received wisdom and give the audience something to laugh about, something to think about, and a well-considered reference list.”

Comedians Harry Sanders (left) and Professor John Arnold

Prof Arnold, who performs as Professor John, was a finalist in the 2019 Leicester Comedy Festival silver stand-up competition – aimed at comedians aged over 55.

He has gigged in various locations around the UK, and tackles subjects including ageing, sex, business and education.

He said: “I've been around long enough to see most management fads come around at least twice and have gruesome experience of bosses implementing them.

“No names mentioned in my show, tempting though it is, but university life has a delicious absurdity especially these days, and the wider public seem to enjoy hearing about it - unless they happen to be paying student fees of course.

“An upbringing in a family of pedants, two contrasting marriages and families, an ageing body and mind, and a partner who is wickedly perceptive, all add hugely to the material I can draw on.

“Whether I do it amusingly is a different matter of course.”

Both shows are being performed at Barley Twist, Carrington Street, near Nottingham Station.

Tickets are £5 in advance, or Pay What You Want on the door.

To book, visit: Harry or John


Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 19/157

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