I'm Kari Byron, co-host of White Rabbit Project and former co-host of MythBusters. AMA!
UPDATE: Thanks for all the amazing questions, reddit! I had a great time during my first solo AMA. Until my next AMA, you can follow me on Twitter and Facebook (https://twitter.com/KariByron and https://www.facebook.com/therealkaribyron/), and watch me in White Rabbit Project on Netflix (https://www.netflix.com/title/80091245). See you soon!
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.
PROOF PHOTO: https://twitter.com/KariByron/status/808353058631491585
This is my first AMA without Grant and Tory, and it's a little scary, so please be patient with me!
The budget was cut in half and so was the show. It had to end sometime and we landed just fine. Just business no bad blood. I totally would do another show for Discovery.
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.
A Mythbusters episode can typically be cut down to 31 minutes without losing anything. And yes, there's a sub for that
I love the internet for this.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Did you ever have the opportunity to bring Stella to the MythBusters set? It would have been a real treat to see her be a participant in the "taking candy from a baby" myth Adam & Jamie did a little while after you got back from maternity leave. Something tells me she would have given those two fits. ;-)
She was there a few times. I let her watch cartoons under my desk while I did what I had to do. She even had a tiny Mythbusters tee shirt.
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.
If you had Elon Musk's money what would you do with it?
Become the Dark Knight
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?
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.
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.
She's already 7?? Wow.
When is she going to start helping on The White Rabbit Project?
Edit: oh man, had an idea. You should ask her and classmates for myths/ideas. Have like a kindergarten(?) episode where they like help out and stuff. That would be hilarious and adorable (possibly). Or horrifying depending on how many things they want to explode.
Little kids like poop and farts too much. Think it would be a gross episode.
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.
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.
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!
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.
I watched that and it looked like you were being really sadistic with tori
It was the wine.
What is your favorite form of explosive?
That is a hard choice but good old black powder is my current love.
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.
How did you feel about the end of Mythbusters and their last season without you, Grant and Tory?
I will be honest. I didn't watch it. I was trying to reinvent myself and was sad to leave. Once I realized it was really over I got busy trying to make a new opportunities for myself.
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
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!
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.
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.
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 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?
- Anything in the Bahamas
- my whole crew was rad
Could only imagine because they are tricky to work with and/or covered in probably poop.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
When you did the water torture myth on mythbusters, what was going through your head?
I panicked. Don't think it was something we should have tested.
Hey Kari. Huge fan. Thank you so much for mythbusters, it is one of the reasons I went into science (getting my Master's degree in astrophysics this summer)
Just read that you've had the RFID chip removed from your arm near the end of MB. How come you kept it in for so long?
It sucked to remove. It was deep and I had to have it surgically removed. Might not have done it if I realized how hard it would be to get out!
Be Honest. Did you and Tory ever have anything together? You guys have amazing chemistry. Watching you control him at dinner in E1 was some of the funniest stuff I ever saw.
We are great friends. We work well together. As polar opposites in most ways we compliment each other like Mulder and Scully. Just friends. I am married and he has a long time girlfriend.
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.
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!
Hi Kari! this question is very important to me:
favorite pizza toppings?
Cheese! I like a thin crust and red chili flake.
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.
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.
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.
Hello, Kari 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.
Any plans to have Adam or Jamie as guest on White Rabbit Project?
Not so far. I am hoping to have lunch with Jamie once my schedule slow down. Miss the shop.
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 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.
What is one thing (besides your phone, keys, and wallet) that you never leave home without?
I have an antique compass that I wear around my neck.
If all the fruit grew arms and legs and got in a fight, which fruit would win?
Frozen or Tangled?
Watermelon. Size and strength. Frozen.
Hello Kari, simple question. What is your favourite car (and quite possibly why)?
I miss my old Toyota pick up. Never worried about dents or scratches. It served me well and it didn't cost a ton to fix it since my dad could work on it. Not a sexy answer but I am a practical girl
Hello Kari!! Loved watching you three on mythbusters (and you guys were my favorites, please don't tell Jamie and Adam)!! I was so happy when I learned about the "White Rabit Project"!!
If you could change one thing about the concept of the "White Rabit Project", what would you change? Or would you just leave the concept as it is?
Edit : typos
I am sure it will evolve as a concept. I think we need to lose the swearing. Even when it is bleeped I don't think it adds anything. I think we were all just so excited to have total freedom that we didn't know what to do with it. If we get a second season I am sure we will take everything the fans say into account just like we always did on Mythbusters. I always loved that the audience was part of the process and I listen to their suggestions.
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.
What would you say was your funniest moment on MB?
Anytime anyone tooted while filming.
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.
Have you visited the Alameda bomb range or the runway since you left Mythbusters?
The runway has the best flea market once a month. So yes.
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.
Hi, do you eat cheese?
Yes. Love it. Might be addicted. Wish I could quit but I haven't found a substitute.
What's your favorite app on your phone right now?
Amazon by day. I hate shopping. Netflix by night. ;)
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.
Hi Kari! What advice do you have for girls aspiring to enter the STEM field?
Stay tough and help each other!
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
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.
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.
White Rabbit like Alice in Wonderland or Jefferson Airplane?
Why can't it be both?
How did you get involved in Mythbusters?
I got an internship at M5 and fell into this career!
Just started watching the White Rabbit Project, do you have more freedom to test things than on Mythbusters? Anything you always wanted to do but couldn't, and now may have a chance to test?
I wouldn't say we have more freedom in what we test but definitely in the creative process. No sponsors means no one to edit the content and Netflix doesn't give us any notes on what to do. They let us make it and let the audience decide if it is good.
Since it's pretty obvious that WRP in its first season is much more story driven than building/MythBusting type of a thing - how much say do you three have in the process and would you try to change some things for a potential second season?
Just to be clear: I'd watch a lot more seasons if it stayed the way it is right now because you three are super entertaining to watch. But it's no secret that shows have to evolve with running seasons as well.
You have no idea how happy it makes me to see you three back together on TV!
Also can you poke the guys at Netflix to release behind the scenes/goofing around stuff for us a little? You know we want to see more of you mind controlling Tory :D
If I have way, there will be more building and more collaboration. I feel like we are just figuring it out and could really evolve.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
If you could take the job of anyone behind the scenes on your show, whose job would you take?
Their jobs are way harder than mine. I get to do all the fun stuff. I guess the cameraperson. They work so hard but it is really creative. Or maybe the director because I am really bossy.
Kari do you love tacos as much as I do? Crunchy or Soft?
There is a place in the Mission District that make crunchy ones with soft outsides. Layers of both! You don't have to decide. Usually I get the soft ones.
Can you explain the relationship Adam and Jamie have?
Respect for each other's skill set
Hi, I was at DragonCon this past year when you were discussing weird/disgusting pranks Tory and you kept playing on each other on the set of Mythbusters (jar of spit, etc). Are there any similar stories from the WRB set as well?
Not so far. We were so slammed with filming. I am sure the tradition will continue. We love pranks.
My family loves you and really got a kick out of you messing with Tory during dinner/mind control.
Of all of your adventures, has there been one that you think will have a long lasting mark on human kind? Other than your daughter?
Probably not human kind. I just make 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
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?
Do you know any of the prospective cast on the upcoming Mythbusters reboot?
nope.. Just the host Kyle
Did you marry a nerd?
no. He is more of a geek.
I imagine this one can't be answered for legal and/or contractual reasons but... what's the real reason the Build Team didn't return to MythBusters? I mean, we LOVE you three! Glad to have you on WRP!
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