This review of Scientist Turned Comedian at Under St. Mark's Theater was written by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and published in Volume X, Issue 7 (2017) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!
Scientist Turned Comedian
Written & Performed by Tim X. Lee
Under St. Mark's Theater
94 St. Mark's Place
New York, New York 10009
Tim Lee graduated Magna Cum Laude from UC San Diego with honors in Biology. Dr. Lee obtained his Ph.D. in Ecology & Evolution from UC Davis. He spent years developing simulation and analytical models of population dynamics and worked as a biologist for the National Marine Fisheries Administration trying to save the California Sea Lion from extinction. Believe it or not, this work bored him to tears but when he tried comedy for the first time, his tears stopped. As he says, "I used to give talks in front of smart people who tried to take apart my logic. Now I give talks in front of drunk people who try to take apart my jokes." He explains, "geniuses type bits into a computer and say 'that's funny' while comedians throw bits at the audience, and when they don't laugh, I tell them, come on, that's funny!" Besides performing stand up comedy throughout the United States, Tim X. Lee is currently featured on Beasts Behaving Badly on Discovery Family, and How Do They Do It on Science Channel. His act supposedly has "the seal of approval."
Dr. Lee is not as young or energetic as you might observe him to be in YouTube videos. His comedic timing is off and the high level of professionalism you might expect for an entry into the Frigid Festival was lacking. He is entering middle age and has developed a bit of a gut. On the positive side, he is still quite good-looking, well-dressed, and has some very funny material - half provided in monologues and the other half presented in PowerPoint presentations. There is no particular theme to Scientist Turns Comedian but he sometimes uses graphs to highlight the insightful observations he is trying to relay to the audience. For example, he uses a bar graph to show that when stopped by the police and asked how many drinks a person has had, "one" is the number one answer, but way off on the other end of the chart, there is one person who answers "nine." He says, "that is because that driver was too drunk to realize who he was talking to." He also used a slide to illustrate that the probability of your using a dirty Porta Potty is at the point your "desperation" overtakes your "disgust." Recognizing he has put on a few pounds, he admits he has put himself on an organic diet. He reports, "I eat a lot less when the food is very...expensive."
To give you a few more examples of his humor, he says, "My Uncle Bert says "Deviled Eggs & Angel Food Cake are opposites." The Google Search "How do I dispose of a Dead Body?" shows the perpetrator of the crime was "a poor planner." He believes "if you could buy your babies on Amazon, there would be a lot of returns." He recently had a fight with his insurance company that had authorized a medical procedure but then didn't pay for it. The insurance company's response was, "We authorized it but never said we'd pay." He noted that passwords usually require an uppercase letter, a lowercase letter, a number, and a special character. He explained that "special characters are any characters with an extra chromosome." He admires Starbucks for their decision to pay for college degrees for all their employees but he fears the fine-print will only allow them to obtain Humanities Degrees "so they will come back to work for them."
I am glad I went to see Tim X. Lee. If he organizes his material better and perks up a bit (perhaps with a coffee from Starbucks), I can imagine his future shows have the potential to be crowd-pleasers. Mr. Lee is from Southern California so I recommend you catch him while he is performing in New York City. Scientist Turned Comedian can be seen at Under St. Mark's Theater on Thursday, February 23, 2017 at 10:30 p.m. and on Saturday, February 25, 2017 at 2:10 p.m. Tickets cost $18.00 ($10.00 for students & half off if you show up in a lab coat). To purchase tickets, visit www.FrigidNewYork.info. For more information about Tim X. Lee, visit www.ScientistTurnedComedian.com.