Loughborough University: Laughably intelligent – two academics reveal the lighter side of learning at the Leicester Comedy Festival

Professor John Arnold (pictured left) and Dr Harry Sanders will perform Who Let the Dons Out? at the Needle and Pin, in the Rushes, Loughborough, on Thursday, February 8, at 8pm and then Kayal, in Granby Street, Leicester, on February 6, at 3.30pm.

The pair are both experienced stand-ups, and proudly advertise that this is ‘the only comedy show with a reading list’.

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

The ageing, terminally pedantic psychology academic (his words), said: “Psychology, as an academic subject – and academia in general – have plenty of the absurd about them. This absurdity spills over into our everyday lives and laughing is the only healthy response.

“If you think academics are strange, nerdy people inhabiting a mysterious closed world, this will give you all the proof you need.”

Geographer Dr Sanders, who completed his PhD in 2021, now works at Canterbury Christ Church University, and bases his comedy on the darker side of environmental science, including climate change, plastic pollution, intensive farming, and invasive species.

He said: “Climate change is a key issue that society urgently needs to tackle. Although it’s a deadly serious subject, what better way to communicate the issues than by laughter?”.

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