List of MythBusters cast members

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This is a list of cast members of the television series MythBusters on the Discovery Channel. In addition to the core cast members, the MythBusters team includes several honorary MythBusters as well as some recurring guests.

Current cast[edit]

Jamie Hyneman[edit]

Main article: Jamie Hyneman

Jamie Hyneman is one a main cast member on MythBusters, along with Adam Savage.[1] His demeanor on the show is calm, logical and no-nonsense, in stark contrast to Savage's more animated, impulsive and energetic persona.[2] Hyneman is often exasperated by Savage's antics and he sometimes argues with him about the best approach to take. The two often have very different ideas for performing experiments and building devices. Hyneman's ideas tend to be more simplified than his co-host's, and he has a philosophy of reducing a solution to its most basic form, wherever possible. This difference has led to numerous competitions between the two presenters when testing myths, such as testing the "Goldfish Memory" myth and the "Levitation Machine" myth.

A distinctive part of his appearance is his dark beret, white long-sleeve button-up shirt over a black T-shirt, no-rim glasses, and occasionally, mirrored sunglasses with side anti-glare guards. This, along with his walrus-style mustache and deep voice, are constant subjects for jokes by co-host Adam Savage and other team members. A sign hanging in his workshop reading "Clean Up or Die", visible in several episodes, expresses his desire to keep the shop clean and tidy.

In the "AC vs. Windows Down" myth, Hyneman revealed a food that he invented (and commonly eats) known as "the 444", a smoothie-like concoction of four fruit, vegetable, and grain servings. Despite skepticism by the rest of the crew, Hyneman described the 444's taste as "quite pleasant".

Adam Savage[edit]

Main article: Adam Savage

Adam Savage has been involved in MythBusters since its creation.[3] Savage's demeanour on MythBusters is animated and energetic, providing a foil to Jamie Hyneman's more reserved straight man persona.[2]

Savage and Hyneman were the only hosts of the show for the first season of MythBusters. Starting with the second season, members of Hyneman's staff were introduced and began to appear regularly in episodes; Kari Byron, Tory Belleci and welder Scottie Chapman appeared in the second season. In the third season, Chapman was replaced by Grant Imahara, a robot builder and model maker. In an interview Savage gave during The Amaz!ng Meeting 5, he expressed an interest in proving natural selection over creationism on MythBusters.

Savage also stated that such an episode is unlikely because MythBusters has a policy against trying to disprove supernatural phenomena.[5]

Former cast[edit]

Former cast are also sometimes referred to as "Honorary MythBusters."

Kari Byron[edit]

Main article: Kari Byron

Kari Byron was a co-host until 2014 with fellow co-hosts of the "Build Team," Tory Belleci and Grant Imahara.[6] She and the others also hosted their own segments. She became involved in the show after persistently showing up at Hyneman's M5 Industries workshop in a desire to get hired by his company. She and the other Build Team members were given a more prominent role beginning with the show's second season. Not having had a long history in show business, Byron at first found it difficult to act naturally with this more visible position but gradually became more accustomed to it.[7]

During the second half of the 2009 season, Byron was on maternity leave and was temporarily replaced by Jessi Combs.[8] Since 2010, Byron has her own show, Head Rush, on the Science Channel, geared towards science education and teens.[9][10]

Byron has also hosted the 2010 and 2011 editions of Large, Dangerous Rocket Ships for the Science Channel. She and Belleci made a guest appearance on the October 3, 2012 episode of the Discovery series Sons of Guns. They test-fired some of the weapons in the Red Jacket shop and watched as the staff re-tested a myth previously busted by the Build Team: that a propane tank could explode if struck by a bullet. On August 21, 2014, it was announced that Byron, along with co-stars Grant Imahara and Tory Belleci, would be leaving MythBusters.

Tory Belleci[edit]

Main article: Tory Belleci

Tory Belleci is often considered, by fellow MythBusters Kari Byron and Grant Imahara, to be more of a daredevil and, as such, often performs the more dangerous stunts when testing a myth.[11] These have included: testing the "Red Flag to a Bull" myth; testing the myth that a human's tongue will instantly stick to a frozen pole, in the "Frozen Tongue" myth; and the "Underwater Blow Dart" myth. One of his more popular stunts, shown several times on the show, was an attempt to jump over a toy wagon on a bicycle; the attempt failed, resulting in Belleci flipping forward and landing on his face. As a result of doing these stunts, he is often involved in comical accidents while testing myths.[12] According to the October 28, 2012 episode of MythBusters, he suffers from acrophobia.

During the "Fall Guys" myth, Belleci fell off a roof, and despite being strapped into a safety harness system, landed in an open window ledge below the drop point, and hurt his leg causing substantial bleeding.[13]

He and Byron made a guest appearance on the October 3, 2012 episode of the Discovery series Sons of Guns. They test-fired some of the weapons in the Red Jacket shop and watched as the staff re-tested a myth previously busted by the Build Team: that a propane tank could explode if struck by a bullet.

On August 21, 2014, it was announced that Belleci, along with co-stars Byron and Imahara, would be leaving MythBusters.

Grant Imahara[edit]

Main article: Grant Imahara

Grant Imahara joined MythBusters on the invitation of friend and occasional employer Jamie Hyneman[14] and former ILM colleague Linda Wolkovitch, who is now an Associate Producer of MythBusters. He joined as the third member of the Build Team, replacing former MythBusters welder Scottie Chapman. His colleagues often, jokingly, refer to him as the geek of the Build Team. He often makes the robots that are needed for the show and otherwise specializes in operating the computers and electronics for the myths. On August 21, 2014, it was announced that Grant, along with co-stars Kari Byron and Tory Belleci, would be leaving MythBusters.[15][16]

Christine Chamberlain[edit]

Christine Chamberlain was a "MythTern" (portmanteau of MythBusters and intern) who joined the MythBusters team as a result of a Discovery Channel contest and was present for the second season of MythBusters.[17] She was injured in some myths[18][19] and argued on screen with Jamie but stayed on the show until season 3.

Scottie Chapman[edit]

Scottie Chapman (born 1971) is a former member of the Build Team who was called the "Mistress of Metal" for her work in welding and metal craft.[20] Notable for her tattoos (which were used for a myth investigation in one episode), she departed after the third season. On her MySpace blog, she revealed that she would not be back as a regular, but appeared in the "Supersize Rocket Car", as well as The Great Ice Debate myth. She also made an appearance in one episode broadcast after her departure that involved an experiment, executed over a number of months, which began when she was with the show, and ended after she had left.

Jessi Combs[edit]

Main article: Jessi Combs

Jessi Combs was a cast member on the Build Team for a short time. Her arrival was announced on July 31, 2009, by the Discovery Channel when co-host Kari Byron went on maternity leave after giving birth to her first child.[21] Byron left the show on the episode "Dumpster Diving" and Combs replaced her on the show. Combs is an American television personality and metal fabricator who appeared from 2005–2008 on the Spike show Xtreme 4x4 which is a part of the Powerblock on Spike. Combs was cast as a co-host of Xtreme 4x4 along with Ian Johnson after an international search which required contestants to send audition videos to Spike. Prior to appearing on Xtreme 4x4 she appeared on the TLC program Overhaulin' as a guest fabricator.

After high school Combs turned down a scholarship to attend an interior design school. In 2004 she graduated from WyoTech in the Collision & Refinishing Core Program at the top of her class. She also took the Street Rod Fabrication and Custom Fabrication and High Performance Powertrain programs.

Jessie Nelson[edit]

Jessie Nelson, or simply Jess, was a "MythTern" (portmanteau of MythBusters and intern). She made her first appearance on MythBusters during the "Archimedes' Death Ray" episode as part of the girls' team on the small scale build-off. She appeared again in the "Whirlpool of Death" myth where she was introduced as a "MythTern." In that episode she assisted Adam with the building of scale models to test the whirlpool, and towards the end of the episode got to hold his hand as he vomited in the whirlpool tank, adding her own memorable quote to MythBusters: "Smells like pizza." She then appeared in the "Mega Movie Myths" episode where she helped find a car for the use with the ejector seat myth; Once again, she was cited as a "MythTern". She also appeared in "Air Cylinder of Death", "Christmas Lights", "Hindenburg Mystery", "Western Myths", "Walking on Water", "Birds in a Truck", "Bifurcated Boat", mixing the non-Newtonian fluid, "Pirate Special", "Special Supersized Myths", and "Superhero Hour".

Staff[edit]

Robert Lee[edit]

Robert Lee (born (1957-09-25)September 25, 1957) is the narrator of the series, who shares the job of explaining experiments and facts with the hosts, often using a copious number of puns and humor. While he did not curse in the earlier episodes, he uses mild profanity in the more recent ones. In some regions—such as the United Kingdom and Scandinavia—he is replaced by Irish and British narrators Robin Banks or Daisy Beaumont. Rufus Hound narrates the version of the show that aired on the BBC.

Eric Haven[edit]

Eric Haven is a former comic book artist who draws the blueprint drawings used to introduce each episode, as was revealed in the 2012 season's "Mailbag Special". He took over the job from the MythBusters (Savage and Hyneman) and the former Build Team (Byron, Belleci, and Imahara).

He has been a researcher for the program for 33 episodes from 2004 to 2005 and served as an associate producer from 2005 until 2012 for 143 episodes. Since the broadcast of Season 13, he has been credited as a producer for the show.[22]

Guests[edit]

Helpers[edit]

Many people have come on the show to provide assistance with the myths.

  • Heather Joseph-Witham, Ph.D.: Heather Joseph-Witham is a folklorist whose extensive research in urban legends, myths, and folklore led her to be tapped for information by the MythBusters team. She appeared on camera in the three pilot episodes and the entire thirteen-episode first season. Joseph-Witham's role on the show was terminated after the third episode of the second season. She received her doctorate from the now defunct Folklore and Mythology Program at UCLA in 1998. She is currently an Associate Professor at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, California.[23]
  • Frank Doyle: Frank Doyle is a retired FBI agent that appeared in the myths "Cement Mix-Up", "Exploding Gas Tank", "Exploding Pants", "Crimes and Myth-Demeanors 2", "Exploding Nitro Patches", "Voice Flame Extinguisher", and others. Frank assisted the MythBusters by helping load a cement truck with 850 pounds of explosives to cause its destruction. He also provided the tracer ammunition for the revisit of the myth that shooting a gas tank can cause it to explode "Car Capers" revisit. He also supervised the making of the explosives for the "Exploding Pants" myth. Doyle has since become somewhat of a regular on the show, helping with many explosives that are used.
  • Erik Gates: Erik Gates was a rocketry expert that appeared in the episodes JATO Chevy, Ming Dynasty Astronaut, Swingset 360, Confederate Rocket, and Salami Rocket. Erik provided rockets and his rocketry expertise in several myths, starting with the very first experiment—the legend of the Jet Assisted Take-Off Chevy Impala. Gates died in a construction accident unrelated to rocketry on December 20, 2009, at the age of 47.[24] The episode Mini Myth Mayhem was dedicated to his memory.
  • Sgt. J. D. Nelson: Sgt. J. D. Nelson is the Alameda County sheriff sergeant and EOD team leader that appeared in the myths Exploding Pants, Dynamite Paint Job, and others. "JD" supervises the use of the Alameda County Sheriff Office's bomb disposal range in Dublin, California for many of the explosives episodes.
  • Lt. Alan Normandy: Lt. Alan Normandy was introduced as Sgt. Alan Normandy, and is now a South San Francisco police lieutenant and court-certified firearms expert that appeared in the myths Blown Away, Finger in a Barrel, Catching a Bullet in Your Teeth, Bullets Fired Up, Mega Movie Myths, Firearms Folklore, Myths Revisited, Exploding Tire of Death, Killer Cigarette Butts, and others. Lt. Alan Normandy frequently assists the MythBusters by supplying modern firearms—including fully automatic weapons—to evaluate myths and legends about guns. A 29-year Police Veteran, Chief Firearms Instructor, former SWAT Officer and Police Sniper, Alan often assists the MythBusters as a Range Safety Officer, and also provides some legal and firearms expertise. A regular guest and often referred to as an "old friend," Alan has been a consultant to the production even before the first episode aired.
  • Dr. Roger Schwenke: Dr. Roger Schwenke is an acoustician for Meyer Sound who appeared in the myths "Does a Duck's Quack Echo?", "Brown Note", "Breaking Glass", and "Sounds Bogus". He was called an Honorary MythBuster by Adam in the "Breaking Glass" myth. He also helped bust the "Does a Duck's Quack Echo?" and brown note myths as well as demonstrating how to shatter glass using only sound waves.
  • Sanjay Singh: Sanjay Singh was an emergency medical technician who appeared in the episodes Poppy Seed Drug Test, Myths Revisited, Exploding Pants, Pirates 2, and others. He worked in Alameda County who was on several episodes of Mythbusters beginning with the third episode until his death in 2010. He provided first aid back up to the show's hosts. The episode Storm Chasing Myths was dedicated to his memory.[25]
  • Dr. Stephen C. Smith: Dr. Stephen C. Smith is an aeronautic engineer that provided expertise on the Concrete Glider episode, the "Plywood Parachute" portion of the Beat the Radar Detector episode, and the formation flying portion of the Toilet Bomb episode.
  • Jaime Vendera: Jaime Vendera is an author, television personality and voice strengthening coach. He appeared on the myth "Breaking Glass".

Celebrities[edit]

In addition, several celebrity guests have been brought in to guest on the show, either for their high level of skill or knowledge in a certain area.

Non-human assistants[edit]

Buster[edit]

Buster is a crash test dummy that plays an important role in many experiments by taking the place of a human subject in the more dangerous myth tests.[26] The first and most recognized of the dummies used in the show, Buster was introduced in the beginning of the first season for the "Exploding Toilet" myth. Adam had purchased the dummy to take the place of Jamie (who had second thoughts about testing the myth because he realized the foam he would be using was flammable), and Jamie gave it its name.

Because of the nature of the situations in which the MythBusters use him, Buster has been subjected to forces and situations that far exceed his original design parameters as an automobile crash test dummy. As a testament to the danger of the tests in which he is used—often resulting in his being broken into pieces, burnt, or otherwise mutilated—Buster has had to be extensively repaired and rebuilt over the course of the series to the point that the episode "Buster Special" was devoted to his being completely redesigned and rebuilt as "Buster 2.0". Buster was designed with quick and simple repair in mind, and boasts improved joints, with a more realistic range of movement, and easily replaceable poplar wood "bones". Poplar was chosen because its shear strength was very similar to human bone, providing an accurate gauge of how bones would react in experiments. Buster's new flesh (with the exception of his face, hands, and feet) is made of a silicone marketed for use in animatronics called Dragon Skin. Buster's original head was retained when he was rebuilt, but it had to be replaced after it was shattered during a mishap on the "Escape Slide Parachute" myth. His original face was retained to fit over his replacement head. They tested Buster 2.0 by dropping him 60 feet (about 20 meters) off a crane while inside a donated Cadillac named Earl.

The MythBusters have at times adapted Buster to fit specialized equipment or give him new functionality. For myths involving holding onto things (such as "Plywood Builder"), his hands are replaced with clamps or quick-release rigs. For myths involving falls (like "Hammer Bridge Drop"), monitoring equipment, such as accelerometers or shock gauges, is installed on or within his body. He was also attached to a pneumatic system at one time so he could punch sharks for the "Shark Punching" myth.

Just before testing the revisited "Jet Taxi" myth, Buster spoke two lines as chosen by fans: "Adam, I am your father," followed by "I wonder if Mike Rowe is hiring," a reference to the host of Discovery's other popular show, Dirty Jobs. In October 2007, the fan site also uploaded a video spoof of Buster's life[27] narrated by Jim Forbes of Behind the Music and starring Tory, Grant, Kari and Adam.

As Grant once noted, there are very few times when Buster is actually used for his original purpose (a crash test dummy) on MythBusters.

Since his introduction on the show (in something of a running joke) the cast refer to Buster as if he were an actual living person, and consider him a full member of the cast in his own right. On several myths that involved long drops or intense forces in which Buster was damaged, Adam and others expressed dismay and concern over Buster having been damaged so extensively, most notably during the "Escape Slide Parachute" myth.

On the "Viewer Special 2" episode, a new Buster was introduced. This Buster is a former crash test dummy provided by Dayton T. Brown, Inc. The new Buster was named "Buster 2.0"—not to be confused with the remodeled "Buster 1.0". The original Buster has been retired. During the James Bond special, Buster was dressed up in a tuxedo when he was used for the exploding propane myth. In most myths involving people, Buster is usually dressed in whatever clothes are relevant to the myth (e.g. a police uniform, farmer's overalls, etc.) to give him more character and an air of faux authenticity.

In more recent episodes, the hosts of the show as well as the narrator appear to have taken up a policy of calling any human-analogue "Buster" (not just the specific crash test dummies given the name). However, this practice is very rarely, if at all, applied to ones that are made out of ballistics gel or ones that are otherwise used to represent human tissue (such as pigs).

Simulaids[edit]

Simulaids are Buster's family of at least four dummies, dubbed "Randy" or "Rescue Randy" (father), "Jane" (mother), "Suzy" (daughter), and an unnamed son. Rescue Randy has also been referred to as "Ted" (for Bus-Ted, Annihila-Ted, Humilia-Ted, and so on). These were added partly because Buster (even after his redesign) was becoming increasingly difficult to repair, and also because not all myths can be accurately tested with Buster due to his size, weight, and other factors. For instance, Suzy (a child dummy) was used to test the myth that a child could go 360 degrees around a swing set. Being representative of an adult man, Buster would not have properly fit the criteria for the myth. The Simulaids were first introduced in the Killer Brace Position myth, primarily because multiple dummies were needed for testing. At least one Simulaid has been destroyed in the course of subsequent experiments (In the "Point Break" trilogy the Simulaid was destroyed when it hit the ground from 4000 feet).

Additionally, a dummy named Ariel (pun on "aerial") was used testing whether a human in a free-fall could propel a six-year-old girl off a seesaw onto a 7-story building.

Ted[edit]

Ted is an extra crash-test dummy used in the show. In addition to this, any full-size human made from ballistics gelatin is usually named Ted, from the last syllable of bus-ted, annihila-ted, exploi-ted.[28] One instance of Ted's use was in the "Train Suction" myth, where he played the unsuspecting commuter.

Deadblow[edit]

Main article: Deadblow

Deadblow, Grant Imahara's battlebot, has been used to aid the MythBusters in various ways, such as measuring vibrations in the ground (for the "Chinese Invasion Alarm" myth) to being a cat decoy (in the "Beat the Guard Dog" myth). Grant temporarily renamed the robot "Blinky" and fitted it with a set of headlights to simulate an oncoming vehicle for the "Driving in the Dark" myth.

Earl[edit]

Earl was a Cadillac donated by MythBusters fan Ben Rillie that had been used in many episodes such as the "Car Capers" myth. Originally destined to be destroyed by the exploding gas tank, its failure to explode allowed Earl to be used to test myths in subsequent episodes. It was finally destroyed when it was dropped nose-down from 60 feet in the air to test the resilience of a remodeled Buster, and to satisfy the cast's promise to Ben that they would do their best to destroy the car.

Sparky[edit]

Sparky was a dog used once on the show. In the "Gunpowder Keg" myth, Jamie took the motor and wheels from an electric wheelchair and fitted it with a metal hood for protection, a remote control, and a stand for a keg of gunpowder. The MythBusters drilled a hole in the keg and lit the ensuing trail of gunpowder on fire to see if the fire would travel up the falling stream of gunpowder and explode the keg. After many trials, the myth was called plausible, and Sparky survived.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "MythBusters Bios - Jamie". Discovery Channel. Retrieved August 24, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Strauss, Gary (January 16, 2008). "'MythBusters' is the stuff of legends, tall tales". USA Today (USA Today). Retrieved 2010-10-07. 
  3. ^ "MythBusters Bios - Adam". Discovery Channel. Retrieved August 24, 2014. 
  4. ^ * Swoopy; Colanduno, Derek (February 13, 2007), Ep. #46 - TAM 5 - Adam Savage, Lori Lipman Brown, and Ben Radford (@0:12:15), Skepticality (Skeptic Magazine), retrieved November 27, 2011 
  5. ^ Swoopy; Colanduno, Derek (July 1, 2008), Ep. #80 - Skeptic Rock Stars: Adam Savage and Neil DeGrasse Tyson (@0:30:00), Skepticality (Skeptic Magazine), retrieved November 27, 2011 
  6. ^ "MythBusters Bios - Kari". Discovery Channel. Retrieved August 24, 2014. 
  7. ^ Mammy, Joe. "The Joe-Mammy.com interview with Kari Byron". Joe-Mammy.com. Retrieved 2010-05-13. 
  8. ^ "Discovery Channel tweet announcing Jessi's addition to the show". July 31, 2009. Retrieved 2010-05-13. 
  9. ^ "'MythBusters' Beauty Kari Byron Talks New Series 'Head Rush'". Tvsquad.com. August 23, 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-24. 
  10. ^ "Kari Byron of ‘Mythbusters’ Hosts ‘Head Rush’ on Science Channel Beginning August 23". Tvbythenumbers.com. June 29, 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-24. 
  11. ^ "MythBusters Bios - Tory". Discovery Channel. Retrieved August 24, 2014. 
  12. ^ Cabera, Marc (October 4, 2010). "The Beat: Local boy paid to blow stuff up". Monterey County Herald. Northern California Network. Retrieved 2010-10-07. 
  13. ^ Snyder, Steven James (March 25, 2010). "Mythbusters: An Appreciation. You Can Bust My Myth Anytime". Techland. Time. Retrieved 2010-10-07. 
  14. ^ Thomas, Christian M. (March 29, 2008). "'Mythbuster' Grant Imahara gives Northeast State audience lowdown on popular show". timesnews.net. Retrieved 4 July 2009. 
  15. ^ "'Mythbusters' Cast Kari Byron, Grant Imahara & Tory Belleci Out". Latino Post. 
  16. ^ "MythBusters Bios - Grant". Discovery Channel. Retrieved August 24, 2014. 
  17. ^ "MythBusters Bios - Christine". Discovery Channel. Retrieved August 24, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Exploding Jawbreaker"
  19. ^ "Ping Pong Salvage"
  20. ^ "MythBusters Bios - Scottie". Discovery Channel. Retrieved August 24, 2014. 
  21. ^ "MythBusters Bios - Jessi". Discovery Channel. Retrieved August 24, 2014. 
  22. ^ Eric Haven - IMDb. Retrieved on 29 August 2013
  23. ^ Heather Joseph-Witham Ph.D
  24. ^ Rochester, Teresa (2009-12-21). "Man killed in accident T.O. businessman". Ventura County Star. Retrieved 2009-12-29. 
  25. ^ "Tonight's new episode is in memory of Sanjay Singh, EMT and Honorary MythBuster.". 
  26. ^ "MythBusters Bios - Buster". Discovery Channel. Retrieved August 24, 2014. 
  27. ^ "Behind the Story"
  28. ^ As explained in the "22,000 Foot Fall" myth.
General references

External links[edit]