Will Science Kill Us All? Comedians Jono Zalay and Joe Zimmerman Speculate

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It’s no secret that podcasts, shows, and conversations combining science with comedy are big this year, but isn’t the only one covering the place where scientists and comedians meet.  Amy Hawthorne talked with comedians and about their show, their podcast, and how they thing the world will end.  


Jono Zalay and Joe Zimmerman share a lot, including the same initials. The two met at the Asheville Comedy Festival while Joe still lived there and Jono was a Bostonian, then reconnected when they both transplanted to New York. They now run a weekly comedy show called Hot Crowd in Brooklyn with comedians Taylor Ketchum and Maria Heinegg and a weekly science-themed podcast with co-host Raj Sivaraman.

Jono and Raj both have science backgrounds, so I asked Jono how a nice, good scientist ended up becoming a comedian and he replied, “I was never a good scientist. Raj is the real nerd.”

“Yeah, Raj is the one who does the homework and actually reads the studies we discuss each week.” added Joe, “And I don’t have any science background, so I’m just the regular guy asking dumb questions.”

So I asked the nerds to comment on the most pressing question in all of science, How Is The World Going To End?

“I think scientists are going to end the world, because they’re just like, ‘Yeah, let’s find out how this works!’ Oppenheimer admitted after testing the atom bomb that he had no idea if it was going to blow a hole in the planet or not”  Joe said. Here were some of their collective thoughts on 5 ways science might possibly send us all out with a bang.

1.  The Bigger Bomb.  So, we split the atom and then inside those particles are quarks and inside those are a string and once someone figures out how to cut that string…. whoooo, goodbye.

2.  The Particle Collider.  (aka the blob theory) We’re gonna keep colliding these particles and it’ll turn into some element that turns into the blob and eats everybody.

3.  A Supervirus. We could definitely create something that spreads like zombies, or a super strain of Ebola that gets loose accidentally. Or one year something’s going to go terribly wrong with the flu shot.

4.  Artificial Intelligence.  Yeah, that’s gonna do it definitely. The robot uprising, for sure. You know that movie Terminator? The script was written by somebody who came from the future to tell the truth about the end.

5.  Time Travel.  But if time travel happens in the future and somebody came back to kill us, we’d already be dead, right?


Jono & Joe’s show Hot Crowd takes place weekly on Wednesdays at 8 pm at Over The Eight Bar in Williamsburg. Upcoming guests include , and Paul Hooper. Universe City Podcast is available on iTunes.

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Watch Joe Z in his Comedy Central episode of The Half Hour .

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Amy E Hawthorne is a New York by way of LA comedy journalist and founder of ComedyGroupie.com. She's also a produced numerous stand-up shows, got a paycheck and a drinking problem from The Comedy Store and is convinced that the Big Avocado lobby are the ones who really pull the strings in this country.