Kari Elizabeth Byron is an American television host and artist, best known for her featured role on the Discovery Channel show MythBusters.
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UPDATE: It's been 90 minutes and I have to step away for a little bit, but this has really been fun so I'll come back later today to answer more questions. Feel free to keep asking.
Hi, reddit, it's Kari Byron, TV host, builder, artist and mom. My new show, White Rabbit Project, with Tory Belleci and Grant Imahara, has been streaming on Netflix since Friday, and I'm REALLY excited about it. Ask me about that, MythBusters, working in TV, being a mom, whatever you want.
This is my first AMA without Grant and Tory, and it's a little scary, so please be patient with me!
I think it's awesome that you were working on the show while pregnant. Were there any difficulties or challenges during filming?
It wasn't always easy. All day on my feet at the bomb range was exhausting. I used to catch naps in cars or under my desk or hiding in the prop area. It was harder after she was born because I missed her.
So, how long did it take you to decide to go back in front of the camera with those two other lunatics? (All appropriate affection should be implied with that label)
It was a no brainer. Love working with my boys.
Who is an unsung hero of a show you've worked on?
Anyone who has to get the permits for the weird stuff we want to pull off. On Mythbusters we has a woman named Linda Wolkavitch that got us the bomb range and a 747 and the rocket sled. She could talk people into anything!
I'm about halfway through White Rabbit Project and am loving it so far!
What's the funniest moment that happened during filming that didn't make it into the show?
We had to edit the Mind Control scene down for time. The craziness and hilarity was off the charts. I got more and more tipsy and more and more sadistic. There was a moment that the cameraman couldn't hold the camera because he was laughing. The producer in a ball trying to stop laughing. It was the best!
If you had Elon Musk's money what would you do with it?
Become the Dark Knight
What's the scariest moment you've had while filming? Thanks for doing the AMA!
When we found out about the cannonball incident. Before we knew what happened, I was terrified.
Any chance we can get some outtakes from that scene? That was so funny!
I hope! We should publish an extended version. Hopefully the suits are reading this.
What insiders-only question can we ask /u/mistersavage the next time that filthy karmawhore shows up for an IAMA?
And how are you going to wash that permanent ink off of your hand on the first try? Mythbusting minds want to know!
It stayed for days and I wash my hands a lot!
Hey Kari, I've been a fan ever since I watched my first episode of Mythbusters! What was your biggest THIS IS CRAZY moment on the show? Good luck on the new show :)
Sitting in a helicopter about to drop a car in the desert while the boys remote control another car from another helicopter!
After the diner scene from episode 1, how many days was it until Tori spoke to you again?
He is a good sport. We ate dinner for real later.
Kari how is your baby and was it hard working on set pregnant?
She is 7! It is hard being pregnant no matter what but on set it was insane.
What was your favourite myth to bust?
How do you enjoy parenthood?
How does it feel to have a huge following of guys and girls wanting to explore science because of mythbusters?
Who was the best to work with?
Who was the worst to work with?
What is your favorite form of explosive?
That is a hard choice but good old black powder is my current love.
White Rabbit Project has more emphasis on the story telling part than making projects or demonstrations. Do you like more this sort of concept for TV than just showing the process of building things?
I hope for more building and interaction if we get another crack at this. I like making stuff and I think it is easier than talking to the camera.
Hello Kari! First of all thank you for being such an inspiration for many people, including me. Here's my question: if you had an unlimited supply of duct tape and a whole lot of time.. what would you probably build?
Maybe a giant yurt on a mountain top...with a hammock.
First, HUGE fan and thank you for doing this. Love all your shows and your ability to translate science and thought into something entertaining. Loving WRP so far!!
Any chance that you'll once again do a spread like you did for FHM Magazine?
Ha! I never say never but I didn't enjoy the photoshopping they did. I thought I looked better before they altered the pictures.
Huge fan since your start on MB. I know you have answered many questions before and I am sure they get repetitive. I would like to know if you prefer the Netflix model of releasing all of the episodes at once or would you rather have a weekly show where the episode can sit with people to have that interaction and perhaps look at things a bit differently. So do you think some things will get lost in the midst of the show with it all being released at once?
I am a binge watcher myself. I have no self control when I like something. I have to get behind Netflix on this one.
OK, so you're aware, of course, that Reddit and the nerd community at large think you're the sexiest woman alive. How do you feel about that, and in what ways has it been a positive/negative in your life?
Thanks. blushing. Who doesn't like a compliment?
What did you do before Mythbusters? How did that help you get on the show? What advice can you give young women who may look up to you as a role model for bringing science and engineering into a more approachable avenue?
Before Mythbusters I tried a million jobs. I was trying to break into special effects and prop making when I got the internship with Jamie. The only advice I can give women is to stay tough and help each other out. Women tend to cannibalize. We need to network instead.
Hiya Kari, loved what we've seen so far of the show! As Ann Arborites we instantly recognized the locations from the mind-control segment :D
Have to ask - was your incredible enjoyment torturing Tory payback for a specific thing he did in the past, or just general (very funny) megalomania?
We have an antagonistic sibling relationship. It is always fun and he is a good sport.
Hi Kari! Big fan of your shows, and can't wait to watch White Rabbit Project.
If Grant built 100 duck sized horses, and Tory constructed a horse sized duck, which would you rather fight, and can we sell tickets for charity?
Grant is more of a super villain. I fear his tiny horses.
Did the episode of Mythbusters where you increased and decreased your bust size (to see if it affected your tips) make you feel uncomfortable? I always wondered what it was like having an entire segment where the camera constantly caught people staring at your chest
The rigs were uncomfortable. Made my back hurt. It didn't feel weird to have men stare at my chest because I looked freakish. I would have stared too.
Hey Kari! While on Mythbusters did you or the team ever get envious of the crazy stuff they were doing on Top Gear like turning cars into Space shuttles, boats, amphibious craft etc?
YES! That show is great.
Obviously during Mythbusters and White Rabbit you take every safety precaution in existence to protect everyone, but was there a time where you still managed to injure yourself while testing a myth, if so what do you think needed to change to prevent the injury? Or was it unavoidable?
Busted my knee not wearing the right shoes on ice. Taking the time to think through the small details is important.
Who would you say is your biggest influence?
Have you directly influenced anyone yourself?(Other than being a great example on TV/media)
My Great Aunt Betty was an inspiration to me. She was light hearted and loved me so much. She was wild and took chances. She was the fun aunt with the best stories.
My kid is little so she still wants to be like me.
Hi! I was wondering how different the production of White Rabbit Project was from other shows you've worked on. Was it the same? Or was it very different? Thanks!
Every show is a new beast. The way we filmed was really different. More cameras, different lighting, but the same insane schedule.
Hey, thanks for doing this!
So, are those bits where you "surprise" one another on the show with horrible experiments (stinky shooting, "please pour the wine") legit? Or do you just cleverly stage them? Are they actual surprises for the other person?
Tory had no idea he was getting hooked up to electrodes for dinner but I think he suspected something was up. And I knew I was headed to the gun range but not what the experiment was. Didn't know about the stink bomb.
What's your favorite app on your phone right now?
Amazon by day. I hate shopping. Netflix by night. ;)
Do you still have the RFID chip in your arm? If so do you use it at all?
Got it taken out right before MB ended.
Hi Kari! Loving TWRP so far! I just saw a promo for a new Mythbusters competition show last night, any knowledge on what that is? Did you guys have any involvement there? Would we maybe see you show up as guest judges or something? :)
Don't have anything to do with that show but the host Kyle is super sweet.
What's something you feel strongly about that not many people know?
I think we need to start eating food that comes from smaller farms and is fished sustainably. Eat locally if possible. I feel like our food has become too processed and it is making us sick. That being said I have a secret love for Taco Bell sauce and can't figure out how to replicate it.
Can you explain the relationship Adam and Jamie have?
Respect for each other's skill set
Whenever you come upon a project or build that you can't seem to wrap your head around, how do you guys push forward and figure it out?
Bonus question: What is the most important tool in the tool bag?
We brainstorm. Everyone from the the intern, PA or producer might have a great idea. I like the diversity of opinion.
Most important tool is my Leatherman. I keep it in my purse. A good multitool is imperative!
Based on everything I've ever read about animals in TV and movies, the answer is poop.
Watch a python bite the animal wrangler right after he took it from Tory's neck. Freaked me out.
How did you get involved in Mythbusters?
I got an internship at M5 and fell into this career!
Hi Kari! this question is very important to me:
favorite pizza toppings?
Cheese! I like a thin crust and red chili flake.
How often do you get recognized in public? Any weird encounters ?
Not a fan of people talking to me through the bathroom stall. I don't like when people hear me pee.
I miss your Travel Channel show!
What was your favorite amusement park? What was your favorite ride?
Thanks for being such a kick ass inspiration for women!
I loved the Wisconsin Dells. Just so huge and crazy. My favorite rollercoaster is still my first love...the Giant Dipper in Santa Cruz. I know it isn;t big but it was my first.
Did you keep any props from Mythbusters and if so which is your favourite?
yes. I have the knife bear claws, a neon sign, pieces of buster, a few tools, a drawer full of random props
Do you have any insights on the gender imbalance in STEM fields--especially the physical sciences? It seems like this issue is getting better, but it's still certainly present.
I think diversity solves problems. I live in Silicon Valley and it doesn't seem like it is getting better but I like that people are really trying.
White Rabbit like Alice in Wonderland or Jefferson Airplane?
Why can't it be both?
Hey, Kari! I can only imagine that going from an art/sculpture student to essentially becoming a science educator/ role model for women in science was scary. Did you ever wish you could go back and get a science degree? What do you say to young women interested in going into science or engineering?
I wish I had several degrees. There is so much to learn and just one lifetime. I love art. I love science. I think they are both exercises in curiosity. I just try to do my best. Teachers and parents are the best role models. I respect anyone following their passion into science.
Hi Kari! White Rabbit Project is a huge sequel in a sense to Mythbusters or maybe because I liked seeing you, Tory and Grant together again.
Anyways, how did the discussion of White Rabbit Project came up and what made you think Netflix was the perfect place to show it?
Also what was your favorite part of the White Rabbit Project to shoot?
Netflix came to the production company and asked for us. I heard people were searching for us and Mythbusters had moved to Hulu. I jumped at the chance to work with the guys again and I liked that WRP wasn't a spin off. We were running out of good myths to test and MB had run it's course.
What would you say was your funniest moment on MB?
Anytime anyone tooted while filming.
What advice do you have for girls aspiring to enter the STEM field?
Stay tough and help each other!
Was it difficult to balance your role in the show and your pregnancy/motherhood?
I think it is hard for any working mom. Not sure how single moms pull it off.
Hi Kari! We met over the summer when I was filming the Women in STEM Roadtrip Documentary.
That day, I forgot to ask you, what is the most influential book you've read? Or a piece or art/literature that totally changed your perspective on the world?
Letters to a Young Poet by Ranier Rilke was something I carried around while traveling and working as a starving artist. Neuromancer made me fall in love with Science Fiction. Cai Guo-Qiang exhibit at the Guggenheim made me breathless. Wangechi Mutu made me want to but more blood and heart into my art. There are so many but these are my gut reaction. Loved meeting you BTW
Hi Kari, was there anything in the White Rabbit Project that was unscripted or ad-lib that made it into the final cut?
Also the Hellcat and Hurracan were they rented cars or were they owned by Tory or another crew member or member of the show?
Not sure where they got those cars but we have some top gear producers working with us. They have great car connections.
Did you marry a nerd?
no. He is more of a geek.
Hey Kari! First off I'd like to thank you and the entire mythbusters team for your years of work. You made me and many other kids feel that we could have a great life with a million opertunities. I spent most of my childhood as a "maker" and was picked on for bringing in cool things to show my teacher, or always having the right answer. I was constantly bullied for who I was, just because it intimidated the other kids, even into my teen years... But honestly, thanks to mythbusters I always had friends who knew exactly how awesome building, science and engineering is, and that will always be with me. (I'm actually a full time prop builder/maker of things now and making a better living doing what I love than any of those bullies are now!)
ANYWAY to my question... I love new show! It feels so good, not a scripted mess like a lot of these kinds of shows. I'm wondering, is that thanks to beyond productions being a part of it? I noticed a lot of the dramatisations are shot in Australia (I think) so I'm assuming they had a big part in the "feel" of the show? If not what has managed to keep the show from feeling so "tacky"? Congratulations and thank you again.
Thank you. Beyond is an Australian company. Good eye;) I think they wanted to keep what made Mythbuster fans like us but make a whole new show. It is still a young project. We listen to the fans. If we get a second crack at this I am listening to what you guys are saying.
What's the best thing to come from the success you've found on MythBusters, the worst?
Best, a career in tv has opened up so many opportunities. I even got to go to the White House. The worst is that I am totally unqualified for any other career. I can wire explosives but I can barely type.
Congratulations on the new show. It is great to see you back on-air.
I have heard that in addition to the awesomeness you display on TV, you are also an amazing artist. Do you have any plans to share your art with the world?
Aw shucks. Thanks. I put my pieces on social media like twitter, instagram and facebook here and there. I did a black powder painting for the Verge the other day. I am currently making a book out of all my monsters that I make. Maybe someone will publish it someday. If you follow me, you can see some of my non tv life.
Would you thank the producers of your new show for me? The format is SO much easier to watch. The old format with the constant re-cap every few minutes telling us what we just watched, and then telling us what we are going to see next, over and over and over, got really old really fast. It also took time that would have been so much better spent with more details of the build or testing process, or even more theory. The new format doesn't assume I'm an inattentive child. Thank you.
That is the beauty of Netflix. No commercials.
Do you know any of the prospective cast on the upcoming Mythbusters reboot?
nope.. Just the host Kyle
What did you study in college and what was your college experience like?
I studied art and film as a major but I almost was a PoliSci major. I think I wasn't ready for college. Should have traveled first. That is where I really grew up.
What's the most complicated thing you've ever had to do for the show?
Honestly making science happen in a tv time is so complicated. Science doesn't always perform.
Is your current career exactly the career you "wanted when you grew up" back when you were a kid?
If not, what was the pivot point in your life that brought you to the career that you do today?
This career didn't exist when I was a kid. I still wish I could make monsters in movies. I have a dream to make a horror comedy. I have a write up on my lap top;) Someday...maybe when I grow up
Hi Kari! I was always a fan of Mythbusters, but the show get much better when the build team was added. Eventually, i become more interested in watching you, Tori and Grant. I couldn't be happier that you guys had your own show picked up. Started watching it last night and it is awesome! I'm so jazzed you guys are back and it's totally focused around you 3. You guys have great chemistry and you make the show really fun. I didn't really have a question in mind when i started typing this, I just sort of wanted to geek out a little bit and tell you how much you 3 mean to me. That said, is there any myth out there that you would never test under any circumstances? Thanks for doing this AMA :)
I feel like we always figured out a way to test anything we wanted. I wouldn't test anything that would harm us...too much.
I too would love to see more of Thrill Factor! Felt like you and Tory only scratched the surface there with the science-related bits that could be touched on.
Tell Travel Channel. That was the best summer job.
What is the most serendipitous moment you've had while filming and or in your career?
My whole career has been serendipitous. How is a weirdo like me on tv?
What experience did you have before joining mythbusters? Who was your favorite person to work with on the cast?
refuse to pick favorites. love all my weirdos