Hey, that’s Bill Nye!

Did you know that before he hit it big with a kids’ science show, he was in a small comedy group local to the Seattle region? Here he is, playing a cop in Ballard. If you don’t know, Ballard is a suburb north of Seattle that is infested with people of Scandinavian ancestry.

I think science communicators can greatly benefit from a background in theater or similar performing (which I totally lack, I know, you’ve noticed). So don’t be shy about engaging with any audience on any topic!


  1. Rieux says

    The voice-over (and police dispatch) guy also played a similar role in Nye’s original kids’ science show, didn’t he? That voice sounds very familiar.

  2. birgerjohansson says

    This is so very different from the religious TV/ film stuff we get through ‘God Awful Movies’ and cult film channels at Youtube.

  3. birgerjohansson says

    Ballard: I am speculating, but after people started to move from agriculture to urban work, maybe people from Minnesota and similar regions for some reason tended to go to the northwest, the way black people tended to go to the car factories around Detroit.
    (I admit I am ignorant of the details of 20th century American demographic reshuffling.)

  4. says

    That is correct. People initially moved to Minnesota because that’s where the early Scandinavian communities established themselves, and they wanted to maintain that identity. Then they discovered a place with a better climate and more non-farming job opportunities out west (you know, Minnesota winters are much harsher than what you get in Sweden and Norway) and they moved.
    My grandfather shipped out to the Pacific for WWII, via Seattle. Next thing you knew, he got a job in highway construction in the PNW, he moved his wife and daughter there, and then his wife’s mother (my great-grandmother) left Minnesota, and he brought both of his parents out. Multiple generations made a swift exodus.

  5. justanotherjohn says

    From the excellent local weekly show “Almost Live”. They also did “Ballard Vice”.
    When I lived in Ballard my landlord, Mr. Knutsen, was pretty much exactly like the accordion player’s dad.

  6. crivitz says

    Almost Live and MST3K were two of my favorite shows from Comedy Central back in the early 90s. The entire cast of Almost Live were great performers.

  7. bodach says

    Almost Live! Almost Live! Must see tv back in the day. Now Ballard has been overtaken by yuppies and “engineers” while the old Norskis and Swedes have been priced out.
    (shakes fist at sky)

  8. birgerjohansson says

    One slight disadvantage with the pacific northwest is that in normal years, there is a lot of humidity and rainfall (nearby, you can find bona fide temperate rain forests).
    When planetologist John S Lewis moved there, he solved it by picking a place that is in “rain shadow”, which must have made life easier.

  9. says

    I’m sorry to inform you that, over the last 20 years, Ballard has become gentrified. And although there’s still a significant Scandinavian population, that aspect of Ballard’s character has become more of a historical novelty than its identity.

    And the voiceover guy is Pat Cashman.

  10. birgerjohansson says

    OT Recognising things / pareidoia:
    -The stage at the latest CPAC conference did not look like a swastika. But commenters on Facebook were quick to notice it had a vaguely phallic shape.
    Makes sense when you have a party building a cult of personality around an utter prick.

  11. JoeBuddha says

    Yep. High Fiving White Guys, the Lame List, all the amazing sketches skewering the iconic Seattle neighborhoods (Ticketing the Ballardite for not having his blinker on, etc.) It was our very own SNL, and it was really good.

  12. Thomas Scott says

    Ballard High football cheer:

    Lutefisk ! lutefisk !
    Lefse ! lefse !
    We’re from Ballard
    Ya sure you betcha!

    It’s true, honest

  13. birgerjohansson says

    Do people in the northeast have proper thunderstorms?
    A weather front is passing overhead (north Sweden) and the thunder and lightning are as anemic as a Democratic promise of political action.
    I must assume the migrants brought Thor with them to Minnesota, offering him a role in “American Gods”.