MythBusters: Behind the Myths

Saturday afternoon, my wife and I went to see the Mythbusters: Behind the Myths show in East Lansing. I’ve been a fan of the show for many years, so I jumped at the chance to see Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman in person.

I didn’t know what to expect walking in. I figured it would be vaguely like the show, but with more audience participation and fewer explosions (since theaters tend to get cranky about using C4 on stage).

While I was right about the audience participation, there was no actual busting of myths. Instead, the show seemed to be one part Q&A, one part video clips, and five parts, “Hey look at this neat stuff we made with SCIENCE!”

And you know what? That’s pretty awesome.

Think about it. Adam and Jamie packed an auditorium and spent two solid hours showing everyone how great it was to ask questions and build things and make mistakes and learn and think. They received a standing ovation at the end for making science cool.

I’ve watched the show enough that some things were familiar. I’ve seen what interleaved phone books can do, and I had seen most of the video clips before. But the majority of the show was new. I don’t want to spoil things for anyone who might be planning to see the show, but I’ll tell you this much: if Jamie Hyneman challenges you to a paintball showdown, run as fast and as far as you can. Then keep running.

The most interesting part, to me, was probably the Q&A sessions. It was fun to see them both off-script. As you might have guessed, Adam was the more energetic (manic?) of the two, but they both seemed to be genuinely enjoying what they were doing, which was fun to watch.

A few highlights:

  • Question from the audience: Is Jamie the Lorax?
  • Learning how the show got started, and getting a peek at Jamie’s killer robot.
  • The behind-the-scenes stories. “The insurance company has decided this is too dangerous, and they won’t let Adam do the stunt. So Tory’s going to do it instead.”

We didn’t take our kids because we weren’t sure they’d enjoy it, and my son doesn’t do “sit still” very well, but now I kind of wish we had. I think it’s a great show for kids, and they brought several children up on stage to help out, which was fun.

Bonus Achievement: I’ve now been retweeted by a MythBuster.