Don't miss Krishna Reddy at Tampa's Side Splitters for one last comedy show Saturday, Sept. 22

Reddy returns to Tampa tonight.

click to enlarge Krishna Reddy will open for Mike E. Winfield this weekend at Side Splitters. - Kyle Marian
Kyle Marian
Krishna Reddy will open for Mike E. Winfield this weekend at Side Splitters.

Stand-up comedy isn't rocket science. It isn't microbiology and cell science, either. If it was, however, Krishna Reddy would have that last part covered. 

A couple of years ago, Reddy was a local grad student who also did stand-up in his (limited) spare time. Now he lives in New York, armed with a PhD and working as a postdoctoral researcher, conducting experiments and analyzing data. Yet he still performs stand-up and hosts a podcast called Jest Tube, where he combines his two main interests.  

Catch Reddy Saturday, Sept. 22, at Tampa's Side Splitters, where he'll open for Mike E. Winfield. But first: We asked him about famous Krishnas, protein evolution and why he's still telling jokes.

Krishna Reddy is also the name of a famous sculptor and printmaker. He died just a few weeks ago at age 93. Tell us how you plan to live up to the name with your art.

Oh, wow, what a huge loss. I came to know about him because he dominates the Google results for "Krishna Reddy," and it always bummed me out. He created his own lane in printmaking.

With that said, let’s not forget the most famous "Krishna," the Hindu god. So even though I have a PhD, I still ain’t shit compared to that. 

Your Linkedin page says your current focus is on "protein evolution and engineering." Could you explain that to us in English?

We, as humans, have defining characteristics: Two arms and two legs, opposable thumbs, other stuff for no good reason like male nipples and hair in weird places. That comes from millions of years of evolution, and scientists can use that information to figure out how and why we got these traits. 

(Editor's Note: At this point, Reddy went into a complex description of his work that included the phrase "glutamate transporters."  Just know that he does really important stuff.)

What's a typical work day like for you?   

Most of my time revolves around either planning experiments, doing experiments or analyzing the data. Other than that, it's like a lot of office jobs: I go to a lot of meetings and conferences, surf the internet more than I should, and look out constantly for free pastries. 

Is there anything about your career where a comedy background has helped you? Do you ever use the scientific part of your brain when doing comedy?

Giving a scientific talk requires a lot of the same core skills as stand-up, like how to tell a story, and how to write and speak clearly and concisely.    

On the flip side, writing a joke is basically using the scientific method. You come up with an idea you think is funny (hypothesis), write a joke and test it in front of an audience (experiment), see if an audience thinks it's funny (results), then tweak it until it's consistent (conclusions).

Wow, way to distill something as fun as comedy to its most boring essence, nerd.

You have a successful career, but you're still traveling and doing stand-up. It can't be the money, so what motivates you to keep writing and performing? 

Look, I only have one life to live if this reincarnation thing doesn’t work out as advertised. I’ve got this skill set as a comedic writer and performer, and if I don’t fully explore this part of me, I’m doing a disservice to myself. 

Plus, I get to do something as fun as stand-up comedy in a city as great as Tampa. Once you add in golf, Cuban sandwiches and cigars? It’s better than vacation. 

Hypothetical: Netflix offers you your own special and tour. The catch is you have to walk away from all things science for 18 months. What do you do? 

Take the tour, no question. Not because I like comedy more than science, but I’ve always thought that part of living life to its fullest is being willing to go wherever opportunity takes you. 

With that said, if Netflix is smart at all, they’ll let me take science along for the ride. Bill Nye can’t live forever!


Krishna Reddy | Side Splitters, 12938 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa | $10-$12 (discount with promo code KRISHNA). Buy Side Splitters comedy tickets for Krishna Reddy.

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