Brandon Royal’s photo of Neil deGrasse Tyson and Stephen Colbert.
Brandon Royal’s photo of Neil deGrasse Tyson and Stephen Colbert.

The Truthiness, with Stephen Colbert

Neil deGrasse Tyson and Stephen Colbert. Photo Credit: Brandon Royal.

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About This Episode

On this episode of StarTalk Radio, we uncover the truthiness and nothing but the truthiness. We feel the science at you. Neil deGrasse Tyson sits down with returning guest Stephen Colbert, host of The Late Show, to explore how he deconstructs the world around us using satire and science. In-studio, Neil is joined by comic co-host Adam Conover, host of Adam Ruins Everything, and Sophia McClennen, PhD. author of Colbert’s America: Satire and Democracy, to discuss Colbert’s influence on our society. To start, Neil and Stephen settle a quarrel over their past positions on Time’s “The Most Influential People” list. Adam and Sophia break down why Stephen’s speech at the 2006 White House Correspondents’ Dinner thrust him into the national spotlight. You’ll hear about Colbert’s relationship with social media and how he rallied his fan base to take part in citizen satire. We also talk about the many things he’s had named after him, including the treadmill aboard the International Space Station – the Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill (COLBERT). Find out about Stephen’s love for science and how it evolved into interviewing many scientists on The Colbert Report, as well as how he developed his sense of humor at an early age. Back in studio, Sophia helps us understand what truthiness actually means and Adam leads us in a game of “True, Truthy, or False.” Discover why satire can teach us more about the news than the news itself and how it helps us connect feelings to facts. Bill Nye stops by to celebrate Stephen’s inclusion of science in entertainment. We also explore Stephen’s religious upbringing and his continued faith, and Rev. James Martin, SJ stops by to show us how faith and reason can co-exist. Rev. Martin also shows us how humor links to spirituality, including sharing some examples of humor embedded in sacred religious texts. Stephen explains why a fear of knowledge is a sign of weakness and we discuss why science can help us combat misinformation. All that, plus Neil gives us his thoughts on why comedy can help us understand our society like nothing else.    

NOTE: All-Access subscribers can listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: The Truthiness, with Stephen Colbert.

In This Episode

  • Host

    Neil deGrasse Tyson

    Neil deGrasse Tyson
    Astrophysicist
  • Co-Host

    Adam Conover

    Adam Conover
    Comedian
  • Guest

    Stephen Colbert

    Stephen Colbert
    Host of The Late Show, with Stephen Colbert
  • Guest

    Sophia McClennen

    Sophia McClennen, PhD
    Author of Colbert’s America: Satire and Democracy
  • Guest

    Bill Nye the Science Guy

    Bill Nye
    The Science Guy
  • Guest

    Rev. James Martin

    Rev. James Martin, SJ
    Jesuit Priest, editor-at-large of America, The National Catholic Review, author of Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity

Music in This Episode

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Music in This Episode