Swamp Talk: The Best of Bill Nye

By Phillip Heilman


Kids, clear your calendars because Bill Nye is coming to Gainesville.

The quirky scientist known best for spouting fun science facts will be speaking at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on Nov. 21 at 7 p.m.

Nye, who is now a comedian, author and panelist among other jobs, is known best for his Emmy Award-winning show, “Bill Nye the Science Guy.”

Growing up, I was never much of a fan of science (hence why I’m writing this post and headed toward a career with words). However, Bill Nye was the one person who could get me absolutely pumped to talk about chemicals, clouds or anything else. Dude was dope.

To commemorate his coming to Gainesville, I have compiled the five things that made “Bill Nye the Science Guy” great.

5. Covers of alternative rock songs

Each episode, the show would take a song, usually alternative rock, and change the words to fit the episode.

Some of the best ones: a “Smells Like Air Pressure” cover of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana; an “ABC’s of machinery” cover of “ABC” by the Jackson 5; and a “Cellular Haze” cover of “Purple Haze” by Jimi Hendrix.

A few times, the bands even came on to produce the cover.

4. Technical difficulties

It’s no surprise Bill was the second celebrity voted off Season 17 of Dancing With the Stars (wait, what? They have made 17 seasons of that show? Someone should do a blog post defending that travesty) because he was super awkward. He was long, lanky and often so stiff-legged he looked like a robot.

So, to play that up, Bill would often have “technical difficulties” such as the time he flicked a tarantula onto the cameraman, causing him to drop the camera.

That bit was always so hysterical to me. You never knew what dumb thing he would be doing next.

3. Bill’s [Quickly-said, generically-termed description of a device] Of Science!

I always had a blast with my elementary school friends when the show would word-vomit some long explanation of what something did, then cap it off with “Of Science!” Nothing is more fun for an immature kid than being able to mock others, and this gave me the perfect opportunity.

The [long-haired-freckled-faced-dinosaropolous] Of Science! was one of my favorites. I somehow still remember that to this day.


The opening intro of “Bill Nye the Science Guy” was an all-time classic. It’s no Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, but it is pretty memorable. But the best part was always when they said BILL! BILL! BILL! BILL! BILL NYE THE SCIENCE GUY!

I was fist-pumping like a Jersey Shore champ in my second grade class. You probably were, too.

1. Now Youuuuuuuu Knowwwwwww

At least once an episode — sometimes twice, I believe — a narrator would ask a “Did You Know That?” question about some randomly obscure science fact that, of course, I never knew (remember, I hate science). The cool part afterward was when they would say, “Nowwwwww you knowwwwwwwww” in a long, deep voice.

Go on. Try it. You remember what I’m talking about.


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