Stand-up economist comes to Columbia

Seattle professor, YouTube star to perform after Economics Open House

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday Where: Leadership Hall

When economics professor Jeff Milyo heard his colleague rave about an econ cartoon guide, he knew he needed the guide’s author to come to Columbia.

“I reached out to him to see if he could swing out here,” says Milyo, who organized this week’s 2013 Economics Undergraduate Open House. “My colleague thought his guide and presentations were well done.”

The author is Yoram Bauman, a professor-turned-comedian wielding a Ph.D. in economics.

“I think it’s fair to say economics does not have a reputation of being everybody’s favorite class,” Bauman says. “Maybe they’ll learn a little bit, but they’ll have fun.”

Bauman’s visit to MU is another stop on his current tour, during which he is mainly performing at universities to educate students both young and old.

“You think about the fact that, especially with all the resources on the internet, anybody can learn about economics,” Bauman says. “I feel like I provide some of that motivational component and kind of an accessibility.”

When Bauman worked at the University of Washington, he taught environmental economics. Although comedy is now his full-time job, he doesn’t forget his teaching background.

“(In my show,) I talk about using the tools of economics and the power of capitalism to protect the environment,” he says.

Bauman’s career in comedy skyrocketed when his 2007 video “Principles of economics, translated” garnered more than a million hits on YouTube. When he performs at MU, he’ll be pulling out both the jokes that made him famous and new material.

“It’s just something that (looks) fun and interesting and different,” Milyo says. “It should be an enjoyable hour.”

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