Every scientist who writes a popular-level book harbors a secret (or maybe not-so-secret) ambition: to be invited on the Colbert Report. Not only because Stephen Colbert is a funny guy, and it’s a good way to sell books — although there is that. The truth is that Colbert (and the Daily Show) love talking to scientists. The sad part of that truth is that more people are exposed to real scientists doing cutting-edge research by watching Comedy Central than by watching, shall we say, certain channels you might have thought more appropriate venues for such conversations. But the happy part is that Colbert and Jon Stewart help bring some fun to science, and expose it to an audience it might not otherwise reach.
So, mark your calendars: I’m going to be on Colbert on Wednesday, March 3. (Scheduled to be, anyway — updates as events warrant.) I have a book to sell, not that I would have turned down the opportunity otherwise.
The precedents are pretty formidable — below the fold I’ve put some of Colbert’s recent interviews with some famous physics/astronomy types. Two things seem immediately obvious: (1) for scientists, these folks are very good at doing entertaining interviews, and (2) Stephen Colbert is an amazingly good interviewer, managing to mix topical jokes and his usual schtick with some really good questions, and more than a bit of real background knowledge. I think this is going to take some preparation.
Anyone want to venture some guesses as to what questions he might ask? Every little bit of anticipation helps.
(Note on above link to the Onion: “Punkin Chunkin,” “Manhunter,” and “Heavy Metal Taskforce” are all real Science Channel shows. “Extreme Gravity” is, as far as I can tell, not.)
Neil deGrasse Tyson