'MythBusters' Jamie Hyneman talks 'Behind the Myths,' live experiments, behind-the-scenes conflict and more
Over the years, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman of the Discovery Channel series MythBusters have blown up a whole bunch of stuff in the name of pop science, most of it in super-slow-motion.
But the buildup to every big boom is loaded with science lessons for curious fans of all ages — skepticism, creative problem solving, research methodology and much more. This week's season premiere, for example, took on an Internet-inspired myth from the film Titanic -- could Jack and Rose have both survived on that floating plank of wood? -- all while tackling buoyancy, cube roots and the construction of an artificial circulatory system.
Now MythBusters is moving off the small screen and onto the big stage, with a live tour, "MythBusters: Behind the Myths," that hits the USF Sun Dome at 8 p.m. Saturday. (Tickets are $38-$200; click here for details.)
For Hyneman and Savage, "Behind the Myths" goes steps beyond their smaller tours and speaking engagements by including audience members in live experiments -- a key component to why this tour works.
"One of the main reasons for success on the show is that we're not a demonstration show. We're an experimentation show," Hyneman says by phone from his San Francisco workshop. "That poses a problem when you're doing this kind of thing, because if you have an experiment, by definition, you don't really know what the results are going to be, or why do it?
"If we're doing a tour that is to be true to the spirit of the show, we have to take that same kind of approach, and that's what we've done. We've just set it up so that we know a reasonable range of outcomes, so we aren't put in a situation where we're facing 1,000 people or more and saying, 'Well, uh, sorry, that didn't work.' "
Click here for more of our interview with Jamie Hyneman, including how, in the early days of MythBusters, producers would try harder to pit him and Savage against one another.
Photograph by Robert Fujioka Studios Inc.