A funny interview with Stephen Hawking

Everybody who interviews Stephen Hawking treats him as a god, and there’s no doubt the man is smart, but this interview, by John Oliver, shows that Hawking has a good sense of humor. Oliver treats Hawking as Stephen Colbert would, with irreverence and a bit of faux solipsism.

This is from Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight” show, and is first of a series of interviews: “People who think good.” It’s well worth watching the whole 7.5-minute interview, especially for the bit about Charlize Theron.

22 Comments

  1. Cara
    Posted June 19, 2014 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    My favorite Hawking is here:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/google/8520033/Stephen-Hawking-tells-Google-philosophy-is-dead.html

    I love this guy.

    • Posted June 19, 2014 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      Well, he certainly got that one right.

      b&

      • Cara
        Posted June 24, 2014 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        Hi Ben,

        Oh dear, here we ho again:

        “I have always had trouble understanding why otherwise smart physicists like Tyson or Hawking seem to neglect both the rich history of interaction between physics and philosophy as well as the fact that they are unconsciously doing philosophy even when they are doing science”

        Read here:

        http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/the-curious-wavefunction/2014/06/23/philosophy-begins-where-physics-ends-and-physics-begins-where-philosophy-ends/

        Thoughts?

        • Posted June 24, 2014 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

          I’ve posted my thoughts on Sean’s bl*g. Ashutosh summarizes his own position thus:

          My take on philosophy and physics is very simple: Philosophy begins where physics ends, and physics begins where philosophy ends. And I believe this applies to all of science.

          The exact same can be said of religion or any other pseudoscience: that it begins where science ends, and the hucksters are always quick to insist that science has no business in their own self-proclaimed domain.

          Indeed, I can’t think of a worse condemnation of philosophy than Ashutosh’s own endorsement.

          Cheers,

          b&

  2. Posted June 19, 2014 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    “Everybody who interviews Stephen Hawking treats him as a god”

    He isn’t one? :-)

    • ladyatheist
      Posted June 19, 2014 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      Only for fundamentalist atheists

  3. Posted June 19, 2014 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Dear Americans,

    I hope John Oliver makes up for the whole Piers Morgan thing.

    Yours,
    The Brits.

    • Posted June 19, 2014 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      I agree with the sentiment, but I think it’s a little overly optimistic. We’re going to have to apologise for quite some time over that one.

      For the record, sorry!

    • Posted June 19, 2014 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      One thing that Piers Morgan did right was he took a strong stand against gun violence in America. He did the right thing where it mattered most.

  4. Andrew
    Posted June 19, 2014 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    “There’s also a universe where you’re funny!”

  5. Posted June 19, 2014 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    I very much enjoy John Oliver on his Sunday night show. Brilliant stuff.

  6. Newish Gnu
    Posted June 19, 2014 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Hawking’s recent autobiography “My Brief Life” (IIRC) displays his humor as well. Droll, witty, understated.

    I recommend the book.

    • Posted June 19, 2014 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      A Brief History of Me?

      /@

      • Newish Gnu
        Posted June 19, 2014 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

        “My Brief History”

        • Posted June 19, 2014 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

          Ah, I was misremembering it as a closer parallel to his most famous (and least read?) book.

          /@

    • ladyatheist
      Posted June 19, 2014 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      Wit is supposed to be a sign of intelligence.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted June 21, 2014 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

        Which would explain the traditional mirth of Creationists?

  7. Posted June 19, 2014 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    My impression was that either Dr. Hawking is a comedy genius (in addition to being a general one), or this was more of a skit than an actual interview.

    • Posted June 19, 2014 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      It takes Stephen a long time to compose his words, so it’s guaranteed that the whole thing was prepared well in advance. Yes, it was definitely a skit, and almost certainly a collaborative affair between the two.

      b&

  8. merilee
    Posted June 19, 2014 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    sub

    • Diane G.
      Posted June 21, 2014 at 12:30 am | Permalink

      sub


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