Science had come a long way in terms of pop culture creditability. After decades of well-meaning-yet-stuffy attempts at making this crucial discipline interesting to the general public, shows like The Big Bang Theory and The Infinite Monkey Cage hit upon a formula. Make ‘em laugh and if that fails, wheel on the explosions.
The Festival of the Spoken Nerd is a team of three comedians who are also all about the nerdy love of maths, spreadsheets, physics and puns. Their latest show, Full Frontal Nerdity, is unashamedly nerdy, as the title suggests. It’s for those of us who tend to laugh straight away at XKCD cartoons or have a collection of puns based around the word ion. The main attraction is their 100-minute long show, which is a mix of stand-up comedy, practical demonstrations and the odd song or two.
The show can be broken down by performer. Helen Arney’s act seems to mostly consist of sweetly sarcastic songs with a vague scientific basis; some more involved than others. Though they seem a little strained at times, the songs also have lovely accompanying footage and are rather fun. Certainly fans of the likes of Jonathan Coulton or The Doubleclicks will enjoy these pieces quite a lot. Matt Parker’s act seem mostly based around maths, spreadsheets and the fact that the performer’s persona is that of a total dork. He fills the stage with the nervous energy of someone who knows some terribly important things about the world but can’t quite explain it all to you. This, combined with some rather silly practical demonstrations, makes for more than a few good laughs.
Steve Mould has a similar sort of act, though his focus is more on interesting natural phenomena. The most laid back of the three, he also happens to have a genuine scientific discovery named after him, a fact that he mines for as many laughs as he can get. His laconic wit and strong presence holds the other two together, rounding off the act quite nicely. The Festival of the Spoken Nerd is often at its funniest when they’re bickering between each other, again, to great comedic effect.
The DVD set comes with a booklet (which is nicely packed with jokes and references to the show) and an additional disc with mockumentaries and music videos. These are a nice bonus and make an already strong product almost unmissable.
If you like nerd humour, or you know someone who does, you should take a look at Festival of the Spoken Nerd: Full Frontal Nerdity. It’s great fun for geeks.
Special Features: 85-minutes of extras (inc. ‘Backstage Nerdity’, ‘The Mould Effect Effect’, music videos and science features) / Subtitles (inc. Klingon and Binary) / Director’s Commentary / Director’s Commentary of Director’s Commentary / American Language Soundtrack / Slightly Safer for Schools Soundtrack / 20-page booklet
INFO: FESTIVAL OF THE SPOKEN NERD: FULL FRONTAL NERDITY / CERT: 12 / STARRING: MATT PARKER, STEVE MOULD, HELEN ARNEY / RELEASE DATE: JULY 1ST