Bill Nye Interview: ‘Bill Nye Saves the World’
“You want to find out how a person feels and I felt really great but I was also very tired,” reveals Bill Nye about his inaugural Emmy win two decades ago. In our recent webchat (watch the exclusive video above), he discusses his first win for “Bill Nye, the Science Guy” back in 1996: “I had difficulty with sleep deprivation. We were shooting 14 hours a day and I was living by myself and doing all that work, but I also had this feeling that I was somebody.” While Nye may have been exhausted, he did get a great experience when he finished his acceptance speech before the clock ran out. As he headed back stage, Dick Clark, then the executive producer of the Daytime Emmys, walked by and gave him a pat on the shoulder and told him, “Good job!”
Nye is looking to gain some more Emmy recognition this year at the primetime version of the ceremony with the third season of his Netflix show, “Bill Nye Saves the World.” On the show Nye explores issues that affect our existence and the science around them with his trademark humor. The show was nominated for two Emmys last year including Best Writing for a Nonfiction Program. Prior to his current show, his previous program was an Emmy juggernaut during the late 1990’s. The show was nominated for 36 Daytime Emmys between 1995 and 2000 and won 19 trophies including seven individual wins for Nye himself.
Prior to being in entertainment, Nye had spent almost a decade working as a scientist for Boeing. But he had always wanted to get into comedy and decided to take a leap. “People don’t regret what they do, they regret what they don’t do. I figured if I didn’t leave right then, I would never do it and you have to do it while you’re young.”
He got an added bit of advice from another creator of an Emmy-winning program, Dr. Carl Sagan. Nye had gone to Cornell when Sagan was a professor there. “I took one class with him,” he explains. “I took a freshman level class as senior for kicks and it changed my life.” At Nye’s 10 year reunion, he made arrangements to meet with Sagan and he imparted some sage wisdom. “He told me, ‘Kids resonate to pure science,’ and I really embraced that.”
Nye also discussed debates he has been having with deniers of scientific issues including climate change and evolution. When debating evolution, Nye explained what he found to be the most frustrating part of his opponents’ arguments. “The argument is pretty thin. The other side has no evidence; just a book written thousands of years ago translated into English that is somehow perceived as a history of the Earth.” Nye elaborates that if a person just believes that it’s one thing, but to try to teach that as scientific fact is where Nye believes that people need to be called out.