Circus Bar 17b Allen Street, Wellington

13/05/2022 - 14/05/2022

Production Details

The Science of Getting High is a unique show by the self-described World’s Dumbest Doctor Jonathan Falconer that combines the fun of stand-up comedy with the captivating neuroscience of altered states and illusions that illustrate the difference between our perception of the world and reality.

Since 2013, Jonathan’s been featured on shows all across the U.S., New Zealand, Germany, and Australia, and has recently performed alongside some of New Zealand’s biggest comedy icons, including Ben Hurley and Urzila Carlson. He has performed at the Idaho Laugh Fest and the Golden Spike Comedy Festival.

He has also been featured on Radio New Zealand and recently won the 2020 Mount Maunganui Comedy Competition and Best Comedian at the Dunedin Comedy Awards in 2020 and 2021. He also hosts a wildly unpopular Youtube show about drugs called The Science of Getting High.

4 shows just SOLD OUT at the 2022 Dunedin Fringe Festival so get tickets early!

Featuring Wellington comic Aaron Barber!

General Admission: $17.00 ea ($16.00 + $1.00 fees)
Restrictions:  R18

Aaron Barbier as Jonathan Falconer

Theatre , Street theatre , Comedy ,

Refreshing take on stand-up will get you high

Review by Wesley Hollis 14th May 2022

It’s Friday the 13th – but far from being an unlucky day. I have the pleasure of kick-starting my weekend with The Science of Getting High, starring Jonathan Falconer and performed at Wellington’s Circus Bar. The show focuses on the fascinating, if at times controversial, topic of drugs and getting high. Jonathan has a PhD in pharmaceutics and a couple of comedy awards under his belt, so this promises to be an opportunity to learn as well as have a few laughs.

The night’s opening act is Danny Sewell. I enjoy Danny’s dry, understated sense of humour and his ability to laugh at himself. I feel encouraged to laugh at myself too as he pokes fun at the audience. He does some crowd work, chatting to us about drugs and warming us up for the main act. There are many interesting confessions and conversations which unite the crowd and start to break down the barrier between audience and the stage. By the time Danny has finished his set the audience is in a good mood and ready for a fun night.

Jonathan Falconer is up next and the main feature begins. A laptop and a projector screen has been set up, but the first half of the show is dedicated to stand-up comedy without any visual aids. Personally, I would have liked to have seen more content come up on screen throughout the night rather than being concentrated at the end.

Jonathan picks up the audience interaction where Danny left off and encourages contributions from several key audience members, which become a significant part of the show. He tells stories from his life, including instances where he was under the influence of psychoactive drugs and how these affected his experience. Though parts of the evening are slow, his storytelling ability is a strong point and the jokes that do land are hard hitting. It is clear that Jonathan is a talented comedian with a fascinating way of looking at the world.

During the second half of the show, Jonathan further demonstrates his knowledge on the subject of drugs and their influence on the human brain, aided with screen-projected optical illusions, diagrams and videos. This is an eye-opening education. I especially enjoy the optical illusions and finding out how substances can affect our perception.

Much of the tone during the second half is serious and aspects of the technical talk seem to go over people’s heads. However, punchlines and stories help to break these serious parts up and keep people connected to the material. The show wraps up with a particularly strong story, and I leave the show intrigued and entertained. Anybody who is a fan of Jonathan’s work, especially his science talks, would do well to check out his YouTube channel Science of Getting High for more content.

Overall, The Science of Getting High is a refreshing take on a stand-up show. The point of difference is Jonathan’s passion for, and knowledge of, psychoactive substances. The drug talk throughout is open and frank, and while this enhances the show it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. This experience will be relatable for many, and worth attending even if you’ve never done drugs. Come along with an open mind and you will be richly rewarded.

Who needs drugs? This show will get you high.


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council