Q&A with Allen Saakyan and Kevin Whittinghill, host for Eureka! May 2nd Comedy Event at Hero City

Eureka! is excited to be hosting the brilliant neuroscientist Dr. Vivienne Ming, who will be giving a talk on Artificial Intelligence, behavioral economics, and the human brain! This special Eureka! show is sponsored by the co-working space Hero City at Draper University.
Dr. Ming was named one of 10 Women to Watch in Tech in 2013 by Inc. Magazine. She co-founded Socos, where machine learning and cognitive neuroscience combine to maximize students’ life outcomes. Vivienne is also a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley’s Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience, where she pursues her research in neuroprosthetics.
Joining her and hosts Allen Saakyan and Kevin Whittinghill will be the hilarious comedy stylings of Joey Avery (Fox TV) and Dhaya Lakshminarayanan (Moth StorySLAM).
Hero City at Draper University in downtown San Mateo is a unique co-working space with a vibrant culture and eclectic community of bold people with world changing ideas.

Hero City: How did you come up with the idea of the Eureka! Science Comedy Show?

Allen Saakyan (host): Kevin Whittinghill (co-host) and I were inspired by science communicator Neil deGrasse Tyson’s show Star Talk to create a live stage show that taught science using humor and interactivity. Our show is a combination of a talk show, a game show, and a quiz show.

Hero City: What is the funniest/strangest thing that has happened during one of your shows?

Allen & Kevin: We had UC Berkeley Physicist Dr. Holger Muller do a live reading on stage during one of our shows of a toddler’s book called “Baby Loves Quarks.” It was hilariously simple yet enlightening.

Hero City: Who typically attends your shows?

Allen & Kevin: We’ve had the very young and very old attend our shows but our main demographic is typically educated 20–30 somethings who live in or around San Francisco. Many are hardcore science nerds and others are just interested in learning and having a fun time.

Hero City: How do you think tech companies can set themselves apart with a unique “brand” though comedy? Groupon as an example.

Allen & Kevin: We think the days of stodgy, boring branding of tech companies is long over. Early adopters of tech are often young or at least hip and savvy and want information communicated to them in a way that’s a fit for their sensibilities — fun, quirky, and silly. In much the same way we try to make scientific concepts memorable by fusing them with humor, tech companies should follow the same lead. Who would you rather hang out with at a party? The person cracking jokes about their new product or the person going on about lines of code?

Hero City: If each of your cast members had a super power, what would they be?

Allen: My super power would be a constant analysis of how much damage the anthropocene is truly causing to Earth along with the ability to recreate our Sun’s nuclear fusion in a safe and sustainable way on Earth for free energy forever. Kevin’s super power is much more modest: the ability to materialize the perfect cup of coffee at any moment. When he’s fully caffeinated he can leap buildings in a single bound and crack jokes about concepts like the universe’s dark matter.

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Allen and Kevin will join us at Hero City in downtown San Mateo at 7 PM on Tuesday May 2nd for their Eureka! Comedy show featuring the brilliant neuroscientist Dr. Vivienne Ming, who will be giving a talk on Artificial Intelligence, behavioral economics, and the human brain. Click here to learn more.

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