Comedy and Cars with Jay Leno

Neil deGrasse Tyson rubbing Jay Leno's ‘Geek Underbelly.’ Credit: Brandon Royal

Podcast only - To watch this episode, visit the National Geographic Channel.

To activate exclusive, ad-free All-Access content, click here.

For All-Access contacts, pricing, refund policy and other important information, click here.

Listen On

You Can Also Listen On

About This Episode

Nobody would deny that Jay Leno, the legendary host of The Tonight Show, is an expert about two things: comedy, and cars. In this episode of StarTalk, our host, Neil deGrasse Tyson, dives into both, with a little help from his in-studio guest, engineer Bill Nye the Science Guy, and comic co-host Matt Kirshen. First up, Jay shares one of his earliest memories rocking the house (an apartment in the Bronx) when he was just 4 or 5. Then he tells Neil a joke and explains why it works: “It’s like a verbal form of magic.” Next, you’ll hear Neil, Matt and Bill debate whether there is a formula to comedy, and why some jokes are still funny no matter how often you hear them. Explore the impact of political correctness and the increasing level of social sensitivity on the business of comedy. Then the conversation turns to whether millennials are smarter than either older or younger demographic cohorts, and Mona Chalabi stops by to add some hard data to the discussion. Turning to cars, you’ll find out what it was like when Neil took a 165 mph joyride in Jay Leno’s 245mph “Ecojet” super car that runs on alternative fuel. Review the history of the automobile, including why electric cars didn’t catch on even though NYC had charging stations every 10 blocks in 1908, and find out why cars, which are responsible for so much pollution today, were once the solution to “horse pollution.” You’ll also hear about the time Neil and Bill took a selfie with former President Barack Obama at the White House, and how Neil almost blew the moment. Plus, in a StarTalk first, gear head Bill introduces his own “Nye in the City” segment, where he gets under an exotic car to “turn some wrenches” and talk about the future of cars and why bow ties are safer than neck ties when working around rotating machinery.

NOTE: All-Access subscribers can listen to Neil’s extended interview with Jay here.

In This Episode

Music in This Episode

Episode Topics

  • Miles Herrbach

    I saw the episode on Nat geo and they edited some parts out. This has more content.

    • Miles, that won’t always be the case, but it’s nice when we’re able to do it for the podcast, isn’t it?

      • Miles Herrbach

        Yeah, it’s cool to hear the whole thing. I really would like to go to a taping with the audience ticket lottery.

Music in This Episode