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Cambridge radio show 'You're the Expert' lets you laugh and learn

A live radio show that awkwardly fuses academia and comedy is gaining traction in Cambridge, and is expected to draw a crowd Tuesday at The Oberon Theater.

Producer and Host Chris Duffy, center, leads a panel of comedians and academics in a recent taping of "You're the Expert." Photo: Richie Moriarty Producer and Host Chris Duffy, center, leads a panel of comedians and academics in a recent taping of "You're the Expert." Photo: Richie Moriarty

A live radio show that awkwardly fuses academia and comedy is gaining traction in Cambridge, and is expected to draw a crowd at The Oberon Theater Tuesday night.

Each month, Chris Duffy, producer and host of "You're the Expert," tracks down an expert in an obscure academic field - easy enough in Cambridge - then leads a panel of comedians as they try to guess what he or she does all day. The hope is not only to generate a few laughs, but to send the audience home with a little more knowledge.

"I love comedy. It's really fun, but every so often, the subject matter is trivial; sort of meaningless. I wanted to come up with a way to use comedy as a platform for people to learn something," said Duffy.

The show features comedians like Myq Kaplan (Comedy Central, Letterman, Conan) and Micah Sherman (Comedy Central, NYC's PIT Theater) as well as local standups and improvisers from ImprovBoston. They give it their best shot, but often fail to nail down the expert's area of expertise.

"We know what the words (in the expert's title) mean, maybe, but not put together in that order," said Kaplan, who is based in New York city. "It would be less funny if it were easier to guess. It brings people together in ignorance and joy. It's like watching a magic show – you don’t know whats going on, but its fun."

The experts typically come from local colleges and universities, although some are scientists working in obscure fields, like chiropterology - the study of bats.

“Every single person who comes on show said they have had a good time, and they often recommend another guest,” said Duffy, adding that the spotlight sometimes makes the experts squirm.

“They are always super nervous at first, but once they realize the joke is on us, not on them, they get comfortable.”

Tuesday's show is set for 8 p.m. at The Oberon Theater. Tickets are $15. Shows are available at theexpertshow.com.

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
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