Science Meets Satire: Bonnie Tangey’s Stand-Up Act “Lab meat”

Bonnie Tangey is not your typical scientist. By day, she pioneers the future of food with lab-grown meat; by night, she captivates audiences with her sharp wit at comedy clubs – breaking glass ceilings in both STEM and stand-up.

This month, Tangey is bringing her blend of science and comedy to the stage at the Sydney Comedy Festival with her show “Lab Meat.”

“Cultured meat certainly sounds a bit better than lab-grown meat, but it doesn’t sell tickets!” said Tangey, referencing the product she develops, which is now commercially available in Singapore, and, hopefully, soon, Australia. 

“We just take a little biopsy, get the cells out of it, and then grow the cells up in these big tanks, like you see in a brewery.”

Tangey’s dual roles have placed her in a unique position in both the scientific and comedy worlds, fields where women have historically been underrepresented. However, these days, Tangey says that’s changing. 

“Comedy has changed a lot for the better,” she said. “I’m very rarely now the only woman on the lineup. So that’s taken a lot of the pressure off to be funny because if you’re the only one, then you kind of representing all of them.”

While science, in general, is male-dominated, Tangey’s field of biology is more female-dominated.

“I think that there are probably a lot more women getting into it because we found out that lab coats have pockets!”

Tangey’s line of work also has serious potential to reduce the harm to animals and the environment caused by intensive agriculture. It’s also quite a novel technology.

“We can also grow meat from any animals,” she said. “You can grow meat from Galapagos tortoise or David Attenborough.”

Bonnie Tangey will perform at Manning Bar from Wednesday, May 15th, to Sunday, May 19th. Tickets for “Lab Meat” are available online here.

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