SF Sketchfest Presents: StarTalk Live!
with Bill Nye The Science Guy & Eugene Mirman
Plus special guests Janet Varney, Ariel Waldman, and Claudia O'Doherty
The Curran Theater
San Francisco, CA
January 12, 2017
Hooray, science! And hooray, podcasts! On January 12, the coveted SF Sketchfest, San Francisco's premiere month-long comedy festival, opened its doors to the public with an insightful, educational, yet hilarious kickoff event. The masses gathered at The Curran Theater, deep in the heart of the city, for a live taping of the beloved StarTalk Live! podcast. The show was hosted by none other than Bill Nye The Science Guy and Eugene Mirman (Bob's Burgers), and included guests Claudia O'Doherty, Janet Varney, and the "guest of honor" for the evening, fitting in the with the scientific theme of the show: Spacehack.org founder Ariel Waldman.
The show lasted about two hours, with ninety minutes dedicated to the podcast taping, and the last thirty minutes set aside for a number of audience questions. The wonderful thing about StarTalk Live is that while it features many laughter-filled moments (much of which is instigated by Mirman), the show proves to be incredibly insightful. It makes you want to learn more about not only the subjects being spoken about, but it provides you with an overall thirst for knowledge surrounding the cosmos. Having moderators like Bill Nye (or Neil deGrasse Tyson, who hosts when Nye does not) puts a great emphasis on why science is so important in today's modern world. To be completely honest, it's more important than ever.
The topic of last night's show surrounded the work that Ms. Waldman does with Spacehack.org, a "directory of ways into space exploration". The bottom line is that Waldman's work encourages those who both are and aren't involved in the scientific community to come together and help aid in the exploration of space and what lies within our universe. Just one glimpse at the website alone is fascinating, and hearing her talk about it and how she started the program is enthralling. Comments from the panel of comedians only made it more enjoyable. Varney, O'Doherty, and Mirman were valuable guests, bringing not only their curiosity to the table, but well-executed comedic timing and big laughs.
The biggest thing you can take away from this event is just how willing the scientific community is to collaborate and let people into its doors. It's a community that is truly about bringing people together, utilizing other peoples' skill sets in order to help unlock the mysteries of the universe. Waldman isn't even a scientist (she's an artist) yet she has still worked with the NASA-AMES Research Center, has become the global director of Science Hack Day, co-authored a "congressionally-requested National Academy of Sciences study on the future of human spaceflight", and has authored a book called "What's It Like In Space?", in which she spoke with astronauts about their space travel experiences.
This was truly the perfect event to kick off this month long comedy festival. You can't get any better than science and comedy in the same package. Let's hope they continue the tradition and bring StarTalk! back next year.
Bill Nye The Science Guy
For more information about SF Sketchfest, visit www.sfsketchfest.com/schedule.
This has been another Shameless Promotion.