I bought the tickets so long ago, it was almost a bit of surprise when the Mythbusters: Behind the Myths Tour rolled into Toronto on Thursday. We arrived downtown Toronto in record time (thanks to Andrew for driving), and while we had enough time to kill with a pint, C’est What was packed and had other ideas.
The audience was a heartening cross-section of people, with a generous helping of nerd, not surprisingly. It was cool to see that the male/female split was pretty much even, and there were lots of kids. We also saw a number of folks who couldn’t possibly have been anything but professors. Some epic beards, too. 🙂 (And, we think, Ed Robertson from Barenaked Ladies.)
Of all the things Adam promised in the pre-show video, the only one we didn’t get was beachballs. I’m ok with that. There was science, gadgets, stories, stunts, and, of course, pranks, largely played on enthusiastic audience members. They distribute a bunch of waivers on chairs before the show, and if you get one and sign it, you can be selected as an on-stage volunteer. Felt bad for the waiver-holders who were back farther than about 10 or 15 rows from the stage, since they were never getting called on.
The show was extremely family friendly, which isn’t terribly surprising, and many of the volunteers from the audience were kids. We had the distinct suspicion that Adam would have preferred something a little more “late nite”, which would have enabled swearing and more ridiculous stunts, but after Obama himself gives you kudos on getting kids jazzed about STEM, you know on which side your bread is buttered.
There’s plenty of content on YouTube from the shows — amusingly, the venue strictly prohibited recording or photography, but Jamie and Adam welcomed it, long as you kept the flash off. Plenty of photos and commentary on Twitter, too. Those gents definitely understand the value of smartphone ubiquity.
They did experiments and pranks with depth perception, friction, bikes and water balloons, a bed of nails, carnival feats of strength, and catching an arrow. (Apparently an Australian ninja corrected them after they “busted” that myth on the show.) They showed behind the scenes footage from the set and shows, and a number of their favourite explosions. Man, Adam LOVES him some explosions. And sometimes Jamies even smiles.
Both of them sat out and did Q&A at points during the show while things were readied backstage. The infamous cannonball incident came up, unsurprisingly, but Jamie answered in excellent diversionary fashion. The best question of the night came from a kid who asked about “that time they blew up a car for no reason”. The answer to why was, of course, because they could.
All in all, a very entertaining couple of hours. They’re born showmen (Adam more so), who know very well how to harness the enthusiasm (and social media proliferation capabilities) of an audience, and what better way to develop a love and learning of science than by doing crazy experiments and blowing things up?