Funny video of Neil Degreasse Tyson praising Isaac Newton



Wait, so it is funny to laugh at people who sound drunk? Or just black scientists who sound drunk? I don’t get it. Apart from that, we are trying hard to promote the image of scientists that are making a positive impact in science awareness in America. The last thing we need is a drunk NGT propagating its way around the internet. I’d be more careful about post things like this.

Since this site appears to have some arbitrary 3-comment limit to this thread, I will edit this comment and add this here:

Casualness and jocularity do not project the image of scientific depth and expertise. NGT is not primarily on TV to entertain people, he serves a much larger role as an authority on critical thinking and a steward of the level of mental rigor present in our national culture. If NGT by chance would ever appear too casual to the public, if he appears to have too much time on his hands to offer commentary about goofy videos made of him, then the respect that he gets from the public as “the answer guy” at the cutting edge of science, and the respect he gets from the scientific community as the best “representative” for what scientists are can too easily fade away…no matter how cool NGT appears. At the end of the day, science isn’t about silliness, nor entertainment, and NGT has a mission impossible level of serious work to do. His image as a serious guy needs to prevail for a long time here. Careful not to forget that.


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Tyson’s eloquence shines through the temporal distortion, and this is a large part of the video’s appeal. He’ll be the first one to laugh. His ‘mind blown’ gesture at 2:40 is brilliant.


If anything, I’d say BoingBoing has done more to increase my interest in science over the years I’ve been reading… I think you’re reaching in criticizing BoingBoing on this one…


I’m afraid I have to agree with the others, Brian. NdGT is currently THE face of science and, I think, has been hugely successful in his quest to make science interesting, accessible, and humorous to a vast cross-section of global society. To anyone who has seen or heard him (and that’s a helluva lot of people), the suggestion that he might be in need of some coffee or a nap is hysterical. The man is a perpetual dynamo. There are always detractors, but I’m pretty sure Neil’s are few. If you want to pick on something, I’d choose boing’s spelling his name as Degreasse instead of deGrasse.
P.S. to MarkDow - Totally agree, the ‘mind blown’ at 2:40 in the slomo (or 1:32 in the normal - is epic.


Pretty sure we already had this conversation:

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Unclench a little, you’re gonna rupture.


All of the above said (and I’m going with MarkDow et al) though NdGT’s expressionism is both welcome and understandable, I do wonder if the ‘couple of months’ isn’t a bit of an exaggeration. It’s unlikely he wasn’t already thinking about it.

Newton, I mean.

Calculus, I mean.

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That was a typo in the headline that lasted about 45 seconds. Unfortunately it made it over to the auto-generated thread here.


I thought the comedy was in the idea of some one sounding actually intelligent while drunk/high. Obviously this is him slowed down digitally and not actually inebriated, but it struck me as kind of meta comedy that way–like “and this is what I think I sound like” etc.


Just slowing down Mr. Tyson’s thought processes to that of normal human beings…


You might have to be a scientist to appreciate that scientists sometimes just don’t enjoy this kind of humor about their image or the image of other scientists.

Scientists that have slurred speech and need coffee are not intrinsically funny to me (a scientist), and the way that it is portrayed in this video seems more like a borderline portrayal of someone whom is drunk, not sleep deprived, Sleep-deprived people don’t really slur endlessly during a conversation, but drunk people do, just like this, actually. Sleep deprived people are, if you think about it, usually the exact opposite, they are usually overly-excited because they have ingested a lot of caffeine in order to stay up late. It is actually common in academics to see someone overly-excited in lab because they are going through an all-nighter, and then the next day, they crash instantly when they first sit down. Likewise, in 20 years of academic life, not once have I seen someone slur speech like this when speaking because they were tired.

The ambiguity between being intoxicated and being sleepy in this video is further problematic here because of the other popular association people commonly make with NGT and the crass joking reference to Billy D. Williams…and so now enter the awkward jokes about him drinking too many Colt 45’s. I’d rather not see that become the next meme. Get it now?

I therefore still think that, while I understand where you are coming from (you just wanted to have a laugh together), as a matter of opinion, you could be a little more sensitive here, and so your criticisms of my comment have not swayed me to find humor in this.

Scientists are often very serious about their public image and the image of other scientists, and that certainly won’t change. While NGT happens to be a cool guy, and can take a joke is, of course, and he would probably be fine hanging out with you guys in the peanut gallery here, I think my concern stands that someone could use this to mock him in a negative way, as a drunk black man (I’m sure some racist creationist would just love to do that), and, I’d just rather not risk that by posting this to the public.

By the way, I will abbreviate Neil’s name as NGT and not NdGT, if you don’t mind, switching case is too much effort, and the information content is equal here. :slight_smile:

Have a nice day.



I was joking by the way, your post was incredibly un-badass like. I just wanted to use the meme which comes from this very video.

Just another example of why you have to remain skeptical of videos you see online.

Clever editing can be used to create any impression or mood, for any video, even without photoshopping tricks.

that’s quite alright, i have a sense of humor :slight_smile:

I thought the comedy was in the idea of some one sounding actually intelligent while drunk/high. Obviously this is him slowed down digitally and not actually inebriated, but it struck me as kind of meta comedy that way--like "and this is what I think I sound like" etc.

Exactly. Mind-blowing revelations about the nature of the universe is one of the best parts of being stoned out of your gourd. It’s wonderful to see Mr. DeGrasse Tyson finally relate them in a way we can truly understand.

Unfortunately, no-one else does.
Apart from this guy:

might be funnier than you.

I lost patience with the slowed down version, went directly to the normal speed one. And realized that most of the time when I hear someone talk in black colloquial speech patterns, it’s usually in an anti-intellectual context. Making fun of people who take themselves too seriously. But here he is, admitting to awe at what Isaac Newton did at 26. Which is something that seems to transcend race entirely.

If Barack Obama can help us get used to a black voice of political authority, and Neil deGrasse Tyson can help us get used to a black voice of intellectual authority, I think (hope) we’re well on our way to hearing black voices the same way we hear white newsreader voice.

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Clearly, what this discussion needs is a video of Brian Cox under the same conditions. You’ll need the html5 player. Click on the gear, and select 0.25x for the drunk Cox, and 0.5x for the stoned Cox.

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