Comedy Modern Problems in Science Bloomsbury Theatre, London
'I found my mind wandering from time to time - much as it used to during double physics at school'
Friday 22 March 1996
Dick Costolo, Phil Granchi and Rich Fulcher are from Chicago, always touted as the home of improv. They say they dreamt up the show "to finally have some fun with the mountains of useless information we all learnt in school". On Wednesday night they certainly had fun. They revealed that last week in Australia they bore out the contention that "beer is God" - "this wasn't difficult to prove". They then spent the next 45 minutes of the show using chalk, talk and rocket science to verify the proposition from the audience that "Michael Jackson invented Teflon".
They ranged pell-mell over such diverse topics as the mysteries of time travel, Ancient Egypt and Arid Extra Dry. It is to be hoped that Jacko's lawyers weren't watching when they ended with a not entirely scientific analysis of the singer's legal affairs.
In the second half, they invited more propositions from the audience, who got right into the spirit of things. Fulcher was asked to explain Charles and Diana's split in ornithological terms: "Di is a plover," he began, "and Charles is a..." "Great tit," shouted out a waggish heckler.
It is undoubtedly clever stuff. When Fulcher was asked to reply to the question, "Did Tina Turner invent stamps?", he replied without batting an eyelid, "What have stamps got to do with it?" Costolo, a ringer for another eminent scientist, Dr Greene from ER, made a convincing stab at the role of an eccentric professor of chaos theory: "If the world would just stop expanding," he shrieked, "we could all find our car keys." And how many other stand-ups could casually drop in a gag about Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle - Fulcher claimed he had seen some graffiti in the loo that read, "Heisenberg might have been here." This is not the sort of line you'd expect to hear on a comedy circuit apparently obsessed with whimsical jokes about Chopper bikes and Thunderbirds.
By its nature, every night is different; but on Wednesday, with so much diffuse and occasionally incomprehensible information coming at me, I found my mind wandering from time to time - much as it used to during double physics at school. There was more to admire than to laugh at.
Staggering out under the influence of random-information overload, I spotted Rory Bremner in the bar and couldn't help yearning for some of his tightly scripted discipline.
n Ends tomorrow. Booking: 0171-388 8822
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros
Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awardsTheatre
Grace DentChannel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
Better Call Saul creator Peter Gould on the creative concerns of a prequel, season 2 and the mind-numbing realities of the small courts
Britain's Got Talent 2015: RSPCA investigating Marc Metral's miming dog after cruelty complaints
Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens trailer: The most extreme fan reactions on Twitter
Doctor Who film will definitely happen, leaked Sony emails reveal
The Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer has leaked – watch
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a white stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
Russian warships in English Channel 'to conduct anti-aircraft and anti-submarine military drills'