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October 24, 2014

5 Questions With: Adam Savage & Jamie Hyneman from 'MythBusters'

by Maggie Furlong, posted Apr 8th 2009 6:01AM
"I suppose if you go home and you get extremely drunk and you watch television that is kind of stupid, it might be fun. But I look at shows like 'American Idol' and I go, 'What?'"

With more than 1,900 experiments, 650 explosions, 600 myths tested and the glorious obliteration of 75-plus vehicles, Discovery Channel's 'MythBusters' asks the big, unanswered questions ... and then dares to prove or disprove them through extremely watchable scientific experimentation.

In their seventh season (premieres Wed., April 8 at 9PM ET), Adam Savage, Jamie Hyneman and the gang kick things off with a two-hour Demolition Derby-themed disaster special, and then tackle urban legends ranging from the danger of banana peels and double-dipping to the usefulness of duct tape and the plausibility of James Bond's tux staying perfectly dry under a scuba suit.

AOL TV caught up with Adam and Jamie separately to compare their individual takes on a few topics -- see what they had to say about running out of myths to bust, what they deem their partner's geekiest quality and which one of them wouldn't be caught dead Twittering ... or watching 'American Idol.' -- By Maggie Furlong


With more than 1,900 experiments, 650 explosions, 600 myths tested and the glorious obliteration of 75-plus vehicles, Discovery Channel's 'MythBusters' asks the big, unanswered questions ... and then dares to prove or disprove them through extremely watchable scientific experimentation.

In their seventh season (premieres Wed., April 8 at 9PM ET), Adam Savage, Jamie Hyneman and the gang kick things off with a two-hour Demolition Derby-themed disaster special, and then tackle urban legends ranging from the danger of banana peels and double-dipping to the usefulness of duct tape and the plausibility of James Bond's tux staying perfectly dry under a scuba suit.

AOL TV caught up with Adam and Jamie separately to compare their individual takes on a few topics -- see what they had to say about running out of myths to bust, what they deem their partner's geekiest quality and which one of them wouldn't be caught dead Twittering ... or watching 'American Idol.' -- By Maggie Furlong



1. You're heading into season 7 -- is it possible to run out of myths to bust?
Adam: No, no! [Laughs] Not at all. Even still, right now, on my list of things I'd like to try are 30 things -- just on my personal list. I know that when we go sit down with Discovery to go over the list of stories for series 7, we've got probably 150 things to go over, and we only need 65 or so for a season. So, we've got plenty of material.

Jamie: Well ... no, actually. If we were having to stick with the definition of an urban legend then I suppose so, but we're not. For us, what makes the show work is that Adam and I are different characters, to be sure, but the one thing we have in common is that we're really just curious about everything. We're intensely curious about stuff. We can go into pretty much any subject that you want or any particular "I wonder if ..." situation and we'll find something that gets us all excited because we're able to explore. There's virtually an unlimited amount of stuff that way. A lot of the stories that we're doing now are where we are going off in tangents. There may be something that kind of falls within a description of an urban legend or a myth and then we find something interesting in the process of exploring that, that actually is a lot deeper, and off we go. There's no end in sight as far as that goes.

2. Fans love that you guys are willing to test anything, and you're also willing to battle things out ... is it as fun as it looks?
Adam:
You know, I've said this at a lot of speaking engagements -- one of my favorite things about our show is that we say when we're wrong. We'll actually go back and do a second episode that says, "That previous episode you saw? We totally screwed it up." Wouldn't you love to be watching the History Channel someday and they post some public service announcement that says, "Hey, all those Nostradamus documentaries we've made? All bullsh--!" [Laughs]

Jamie: We always figure it out somehow or other, but it's not easy. It does require a lot of work, and it's physically hard work. Anything that you see going on ... we've been heavily involved with the concept of it, if not entirely. After complaining bitterly about it, we finally got help cleaning up [laughs], which is often a tall order when you understand what we do. When it comes down to actually building things, it's pretty much us. We've got a thousand holes to drill sometimes, and we'll drill a bunch of them and have other people helping us, but there's rarely ever a kind of situation where we show up and it's all done for us. We've seen things, and we know things that nobody else knows. [Laughs] It's been one hell of an education for us. There is no other line of work that I can think of that would compare to this. We're just out there exploring the world at large, anything that strikes our curiosity. And yes, we have to get it on film, we have to show up on time and work hard, but it just is absolutely wonderful. We're tickled pink.

3. Your panel at Comic-Con this past year kind of solidified your place in the geek world. What would you say is the other person's geekiest quality?
Adam:
Wow, what is [Jamie's] geekiest quality? [Laughs] Well, I was going to say disdain for social niceties. At the same time, if you met him, you'd find him quite nice. Quite pleasant, even. There is a disdain for social niceties that I think speaks of a good true geek. He's gonna say [about me], "Where do I begin?" [Laughs]

Jamie: [Adam's] geekiest quality is, without a doubt, this collector thing -- it seems to center around movie trivia. He's got replicas of 'Hellboy''s pistol, he's got light sabers, he's got masks of just about everything you can imagine, he's got 'Blade Runner' pistols, he's got swords, all the stuff. You've got to have a sword, you know? [Laughs] No adult male is complete unless he has a sword ... or, better yet, several of them. You could describe me as a geek just as well. I, on the other hand, keep tools. There are remnants of films that I've worked on or been associated with the shop, but you won't find me online ordering a light saber. [Laughs] You will find me ordering a new band saw or the latest type of welder or something like that. That's the kind of stuff I collect. While we're both geeks, Adam is Twittering everyday, and it'll be a cold day in hell when you see me Twittering anything. As if I don't have enough to do. You see people wandering around with their iPhones and Blackberrys, not paying any attention to the world around them and they're seriously recording their littlest "what's going on right now." You gotta have your own Facebook page, gotta be LinkedIn and have MySpaces and whatever else that there is now.





4. So over the years, what has been the myth that you've busted that fans have responded to the most?
Adam:
Well, it's funny -- everybody's favorite really seems to be the cement truck, which is one of the three or four largest explosions we've done. We blew up the cement truck with 800 pounds of AMFO, which is basically diesel fuel and fertilizer. It was by far the most gratuitous explosion we've ever done. We filmed the episode without that explosion and when they were looking at the cut, they were like, "This sucks -- we need a big explosion in the end. Go blow that thing up!" There are a lot of people who can't wrap their heads around certain results of ours that are controversial, like airplane on a conveyer belt. When I first suggested that story, Jamie's response was, "Why would we do that? It's f---ing stupid." And I was like, "Dude, let me show you the 2-inch thick pile of vitriol that I printed off the Internet of people arguing this back and forth. This is absolutely territory we have to go to and do it as big as we possibly can." And there was actually a little bit of a snafu -- it was on the Discovery schedule for airing and it didn't air, and when that happened, people went nuts and screamed that there was some conspiracy. They called Jamie's shop overnight repeatedly, cursing into his answering machine. And so then, two months later it finally aired, and the general response from people who thought that the plane wouldn't take off, when the plane did take off was, "Well, they did it wrong because the plane took off and that's different than what I thought was going to happen." [Laughs] I can't help those people.

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Jamie: That's a really hard question, because there's something for everybody on the show, and it's always a different thing. There's a certain strata of our fans that will, if you say, blow up the cement truck, they cheer. Then there are others that are similar to us that like to talk about the lead balloon. That's what we enjoy -- the problem solving. What's the favorite thing? I guess we're known for the explosions, so that's probably the thing we get the most feedback about, but that's just, like, I'm in the grocery store and some burly guy sees me across the aisle and goes thumbs up and says, "Blow sh-- up!" I'm like, "Okay, cool." But there are a lot of other people out there -- or at least I would like to think there are a lot of people out there -- watching it because, unlike 99% of what's on TV, there's thoughtful stuff on it. I just don't get some shows. I suppose if you go home and you get extremely drunk and you watch television that is kind of stupid, it might be fun. But I look at shows like 'American Idol' and I go, "What?" Unless I was stoned, I don't understand why anybody would watch those things. Fortunately, Discovery understood very quickly after we started doing the show: If Jamie and Adam are having fun with something, it makes for good TV, and what's fun for us is using our heads. So, that's what they let us do, and we're delighted that at least a few shows out there are successful for that reason too. Like 'The Simpsons' -- it's a lot more than just a cartoon.

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5. We loved seeing you guys on 'CSI' -- are there any other shows that you would want to guest star on?
Adam: Oh, yeah. Oh God, yeah. I think the first thing I'd love to show up on is 'Big Bang Theory.' I actually moderated their panel at Comic-Con last year. I met Chuck [Lorre, the creator], and one of the writers is a friend of mine. I love that show. The other shows that I watch that I go crazy over are '30 Rock,' 'The Closer' -- can't get enough of 'The Closer,' I love Kyra Sedgwick -- 'Daily Show' and Stephen Colbert. Love 'Heroes.' And I've recently become addicted to 'House.'

Jamie: I like 'How It's Made' and those kinds of things. I don't know about being a guest star on it. As far as TV shows in general ... that's a good question. There's stuff like Jon Stewart's show and 'The Colbert Report,' things like that that I think highly of. But otherwise, I guess 'CSI'-like shows are about it as far as a fictional type of thing that would be considered purely for entertainment.

BONUS: So with Kari Byron pregnant, are you guys trying to make the workplace a little bit safer? And are there any pregnancy myths that need to be busted?
Adam: There were so many creepy Tweet replies when I posted to Twitter that Kari was pregnant. I don't think Kari will be guinea pigging for any pregnancy myths. It was funny, when I got married, one of the first things my wife said was, "We're not letting anyone film our f---ing marriage, okay? I'm not going to do that 'Trading Spaces' kind of marriage thing!" My kids have come by, they've spent time on set. They've actually had some really good times hanging out on set with us, and I'm totally sure that Kari will be bringing her little urchins to the set when they're old enough. It's pretty safe -- Jamie definitely gets nervous when the kids are wandering around all alone, because they always want to pick up the big long things and stab things. You're like, "Don't do that!" And they're like, "I'm on the freaking 'MythBusters' set -- what are you talking about?!" [Laughs]

Jamie: Adam brings his kids by here, and I've read him the riot act -- like, this is not an appropriate place for kids and if they hurt themselves ... I turn around and they're pretty much like Adam -- they're going to be dancing around on top of the tallest ladder they can find. [Laughs] You bring them in here and they get hurt, it's not my problem -- I recommend against it.

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