In what seems like another life now, I used to host a topical panel show on BBC Radio Wales called, “What’s The Story?”.
It was produced by Ruth Jones’ production company, Tidy Productions.
Essentially, it involved 5 us sitting around a table for two days a week, going through the newspapers and talking rubbish to each other.
Out of this, we’d hope to coming up with, what we thought were, funny gags or ideas for the show.
The show was then recorded, in front of a live audience, on a Thursday night and broadcast on the Friday and Saturday.
One of the best gag writers on the team was Dean Burnett.
Dean has an interesting background, he’s a doctor of neuroscience, a lecturer, a tutor and comedian who writes the science / humour blog ‘Brain Flapping’ for the Guardian.
He’s a lovely guy and currently lives in Cardiff with his wife and son.
Here are 6 things that make Dean happy?
What’s the last thing that made you laugh?
The last thing that made me laugh, aside from the various bumblings my son does, was a piece in the Daily Mash entitled, “Tattoos must reflect owners’ averageness”, about by my mate Nick Pettigrew.
What’s your favourite book?
My favourite book, being a sci-fi nerd, is probably David Brin’s ‘Kiln People’, about a weird future where people can make fully conscious clay copies of themselves, sort of like disposable clones.
It’s a very upbeat portrayal of the future for a change, written in very interesting ‘multiple first person perspective’ style, and creates and explores a completely new field of science.
What your favourite film?
Although my wife and I have a guilty pleasure in ‘The Associate’, a little known Whoopi Goldberg vehicle from the 90s based around Wall Street.
It’s utterly ludicrous, but all the better for it.
What are you grateful for today?
Today I’m grateful, as with nearly every day, for my wife and baby son.
It sounds corny, but I genuinely think I’m a very lucky person who’s achieved / obtained a lot of things, but would give all that up for them, no worries.
It’s seen as uncool or cheesy to express fondness for those close to you, apparently. Screw that.
Who do you think is inspirational?
A lot of my in-laws are inspirational.
My wife is Indian, and a lot of her family conform to the ‘came to this country with nothing, worked extremely hard and made a success of themselves’ mould.
Hence I strongly object to the knee-jerk immigrant bashing people like to indulge in these days.
In terms of famous people, I’m going to say someone like Brian Blessed is a big inspiration.
All that he’s done, all the charity work he does, and is still a larger-than-life character that people find very entertaining.
Anyone who gets an entire round on QI dedicated to them is cool in my book.
What one event has been the most memorable / most enjoyable in your life?
Not sure if it’s an ‘event’ or several over a very short space of time, but in July 2011 I officially became a doctor, found a decent job after 18 months unemployed and found out I was going to be a dad, all within about a 3 day period.
Hard to forget something that intense.
Is there something that’s happened to you, which at the time was seemingly negative but eventually turned out to be positive?
I was once semi-fooled into doing an interview for a local paper which made it look like I was in agreement with some bogus science nonsense, accompanied with a ridiculous photo of me splashing in puddles.
At the time it was terribly embarrassing and seemed to do serious damage to my hopes of being a respected neuroscientist, but since then I’ve used that event and the anecdotes that resulted to further my science-humour writing, and now I have my own Guardian blog and am regularly asked to do talks, articles etc. so it all worked out in the end.
You can read Dean’s, “Brain Flapping” blog here: brain-flapping
Dean’s Twitter is: @garwboy
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