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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Your Ass is deGrasse, Sucker

(Hi-ho, science fans! This week’s entry over at Secondhand SCIENCE is all about Australopithecus. Because once you go hominid, you never go… uh… bominid?

I don’t know. I thought I had a real head of steam there, and then it all fell apart. Just like it did for Australopithecus!

Yeah? You see what I did there? I brought it back around. That’s not just a save. That’s science. Go check it out.)

Speaking of science-y sorts of things, I’d like to devote the rest of tonight’s space to a sketch I’ve been thinking about concerning scientist-about-town Neil deGrasse Tyson. Cosmos only has a couple of episodes left, and it got me thinking:

What’s an astrophysicist with a taste of television stardom likely to do next?

“Yeah, that’s right. Science folk.”

Here’s a first draft of my idea, which I hope to work into a show I’ll be performing in at ImprovBoston in June.

(Technically, this is cheating a little, since the show is about current events and we write it all the week before.

I don’t care. The Cosmos finale lines up nicely with our show date, so I know it’s coming. And dammit, I’d like to have at least one script with a development time longer than 48 hours. So here it is. Have at it.)

Smarter Than Neil?

[NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON stands to one side of three game show contestants: CARL, VICKI and STEPHEN HAWKING.]

NEIL

Hello, I’m Neil deGrasse Tyson. With my popular show Cosmos wrapping up, I wanted another vehicle to bring science to the masses. So I worked with Fox to come up with the next hit game show: Are You Smarter Than a Famous Astrophysicist? Let’s meet our contestants.

CARL

I’m Carl. I’m from Wichita, Kansas, and we don’t much like your kind ’round those parts.

NEIL

Surely you don’t mean…

CARL

Yeah, that’s right. Science folk.

VICKI

I’m Vicki from Chattanooga, and I’m just here to save your heathen viewers’ souls from eternal damnation. Move along.

STEPHEN

(in robotic voice, without moving)

Hello. I’m Stephen Hawking. Pop culture space science was my thing first. Step off, poser.

NEIL

All right, this should be interesting. The first question is for Carl. Would you describe humanity’s contribution to climate change as a big blunder for our species, or as our hugest blunder in all of history?

CARL

Pffftt. There you go, making crap piles out of cowpies. Mister, the earth has warmed up and cooled down before. It’s the natural order of things, and our e-missions ain’t nothin’ to blame for it.

NEIL

I see. Say, Carl, have you ever had a nosebleed before, out of the blue?

CARL

Well, sure. Once or twice, I guess.

NEIL

Right, it’s happened before. So if I were to punch you in the nose, any blood wouldn’t be my fault. It’s just the natural order of things, right?

[Carl sputters, confused. When Neil starts to walk past him, Carl flinches and covers his nose.]

NEIL

Fool, please.

[Neil walks past Carl to Vicki.]

NEIL

Hi, Vicki. Here’s your question: after the last mass extinction event 66 million years ago-

VICKI

Now just hold it right there. I don’t want to hear any more of that nonsense. All right-thinking people know the last global disaster — the _only_ global disaster — was the great flood four thousand years ago. So I don’t believe in any of your… science.

NEIL

Fair enough. Do you believe in salmon?

VICKI

Salmon? Like, the fish?

NEIL

Precisely. If there was a planet-wide flood — and one wooden boat with nine hundred thousand pairs of insects, plus a few lizards and cats — where were the salmon?

VICKI

Well, in the water. Obviously.

NEIL

The oceans are full of salt; salmon spawn in fresh water. Where’s the salmon love, Vicki?

[Vicki opens and closes her mouth, but can’t find the words.]

NEIL

Well, that’s really more of a goldfish face. But keep trying.

[Neil moves on to Stephen Hawking.]

STEPHEN

Oh, Neil. You might have the brain to best these yokels, but now you’ve met your match. Ask me anything, cowboy. I’m here to school you on national TV, punk.

NEIL

Stephen, it’s an honor. Actually, I wanted to invite you to duke it out with me on the next show I’ve decided to do.

STEPHEN

You’re on, mister. Where shall I embarrass you? Nova? Mythbusters? The Big Bang Theory?

NEIL

Actually, it’s Dancing with the Stars.

STEPHEN

You bastard. Get bent.

NEIL

That’s the plan, Stephen. That’s the plan.

[Neil walks back to his spot beside the contestants.]

NEIL

That’s all the time we have for now. But tune in next week, when I ask a flat-earther, a crystal healer and a “medium” who “channels” the “ghost” of Carl Sagan: are you smarter than a famous astrophysicist?

[Beat. The contestants look expectantly at Neil, who confidently shakes his head.]

NEIL

No. No, you are not.

[Contestants protest. Neil smiles. Fade to BLACK.]

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