Neil deGrasse Tyson believes his show “StarTalk” offers his interviewees an opportunity to show another side of themselves.
“I like to think that in ‘StarTalk,’ a guest has the occasion to reveal his or her inner geek,” Tyson told Variety. “It’s something that may be suppressed in other interview circles, but here it can be manifest without hesitation.”
The second season of “StarTalk” on National Geographic boasts an eclectic lineup of guests, from former President Bill Clinton and “Nightly Show” host Larry Wilmore to musician David Crosby.
“I conduct the interviews not knowing where they will go,” Tyson said. “There’s a thread we can pick up on and we craft what parts of that interview would best serve a science conversation to be developed further in studio with an academic guest.”
He and Wilmore talked about the science of humor and what makes certain people funnier than others; with “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane, he discussed the science behind Stewie Griffin’s multitude of contraptions.
National Geographic saw great promise in “StarTalk,” the first ever weekly late-night talk show based on science — renewing the show for a second season before the first episode of season one even aired.
“Why not be entertained and learn something?” Tyson said. “If we can fulfill the curiosity factor and it satisfies an audience, we may have something unique to offer. That’s an awesome responsibility to do it right and to do it well.”
Season two of “StarTalk” debuts Sunday, Oct. 25 on National Geographic.