When my pal Ray from the Mount St. Helens Institute approached me in the fall of 2017 with "Do you want to help us produce and promote Bill Nye Live?"
I shouted, "Are you effing kidding me? Doh! Yes."
Work (and many stinky, sweaty months) aside, the show was a total blast.
I ran around backstage losing my sh*t over technical challenges with our screens, interviewed Bill in his green room discussing everything from his shoe size to the possibility of a deadly, ancient bacteria being unearthed during a volcanic blast (it could happen), played Nurd on the Street in the lobby of the famous Arlene Schnitzer concert hall, joined Bill onstage to restore his Keynote presentation to a surprising applause break from the audience (video forthcoming), interviewed rising YouTube star Crazy Aunt Lindsey from The Fab Lab at the after-party, AND closed out the night in the Heathman Hotel lounge eating a delectable IMPOSSIBLE BURGER with Bill and my comrades.
But of all the craziness I experienced, the night's finale happened around 12:45 am in the lounge.
I asked Bill, "Who's your all-time favorite band?"
He said, "Who's YOUR favorite?"
He raised an eyebrow. "What do they sing?"
I squeaked out two quick, absolutely terrible renditions of the opening to Tom Sawyer and the chorus of Fly By Night. While singing the latter, Bill goes, "Ok. I get it." (We all LOL'd)
He then whipped out his iPhone, asked our server for a coffee mug, plopped his phone into the ceramic cup (as a makeshift speaker), and proceeded to play tunes from HIS all-time favorite band, Riders in the Sky.
I had never heard of them before, but their sound was the furthest possible from Rush that you could imagine (unless you compare Rush to Boxcar Willy—a close second in astronomical miles).
We closed out the night with Riders in the Sky's cover of Happy Trails. And, as Bill made his exit, a few of us crooned "Happy trails to you..." Happy trails indeed
As Bill said during the show, "We're all made of stardust."
Bill Nye the Science Guy (and Bill Nye the Genuinely Funny, Easygoing, Humble Dude), is proof that we ARE from the stuff of stars.
Many thanks to my good friend Ray and the ever-patient, creative, gritty, and superstar producer, Sally Custer, for their relentless commitment to making Bill Nye Live possible and for inviting me to share the journey. I'm grateful to have partnered with you on this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
PS. Big thanks to JCCinematography for contributing their time to shoot Nurd on the Street, my green room interview with Bill, and for filming the entire show. Plus, special kudos to Ben Burke for contributing his brainpower and writing savvy to Bill's welcome letter, social, and self-promo video.