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Busted: Discovery show hosts reveal truth behind myths

By Jeff Sullivan
On April 25, 2008

04/25/08 - With a nearly full-house yesterday and a line stretching along Ranger Road, Kari Byron and Tory Belleci of "Mythbusters," a Discovery Channel show, discussed their experiences last night in Edwards Auditorium. Amid uproarious laughter, cheering, shouting and even one marriage proposal from the crowd, the two Mythbusters fielded questions from the audience.

Byron and Belleci discussed some of their behind-the-scenes experiences on the show, like when they tried to recreate an ancient siege weapon, called a ballista, using cow tendons and sinew. When they came back from the butcher shop, they were surprised to find that their "tendons" were actually bull genitals.

But that wasn't the only time bovines came up. Byron and Belleci once tried to bust a myth regarding the phrase, "like a bull in a china shop," where they essentially put the myth to the test with real live bulls.

"We set up a china shop inside of a bull pen ... and we let this bull in," Belleci said. "This bull was like this graceful little ballerina, dancing around the shelves and didn't knock anything over."

When asked by University of Rhode Island Police officer Mark Chearino if the team has ever feared for their lives during a taping of the show, the two responded that they always feel very safe on set and that no major injuries have ever occurred.

"We're rarely fearing for our lives, because we actually have insurance, believe it or not," Byron said. "We are insured by the same people that insure Jackass. We have a whole safety form that you have to check all the boxes, 'deadly pathogens,' 'venomous animals,' and we've checked every box at one point or another."

Byron described her first day on the set of the show, when Jamie Hyneman, one of the show's hosts, paid her $100 to take a three-dimensional scan of her backside.

"A hundred bucks? Nobody's going to see this anyway," she said. "Now you Google my name and it's the first thing that comes up."

The two both agreed that while their job is fun, it's a lot of work, consisting of at least 10-hour days and mostly six-day workweeks. But both agreed at the end of the day, it was all worth it.

"[We're] getting paid to blow stuff up," Byron said. "We get to have experiences on a daily basis that people wouldn't have in their entire lifetimes."

Belleci said his interest in fire and explosives was sparked at an early age. He said his dad was the first person to show him how to make a Molotov cocktail. Belleci shared a story from his childhood in which he built what was essentially a homemade flamethrower. Things got a little out of control when he accidentally lit part of his house on fire.

"As I put the gun down, and I don't know what I was thinking, but maybe if I spray more gas it'll douse the flames," he said. "So I sprayed more and the flames got bigger and finally I went and got the hose and put the fire out. But I've been doing this kind of stuff since I was a kid and now, I get paid for it."

Byron and Belleci both agreed the funniest thing that recently happened to them occurred when they were testing a myth that claimed swimming with one's dog attracts sharks more than a person swimming alone.

"We obviously weren't going to throw a dog into the water. Well I like dogs, somebody else wanted to," Byron said, looking at Belleci. "So Grant and I made a robotic dog."

Besides actually looking like a dog, the build team had to replicate every smell of a dog, because sharks rely on scent as their primary hunting technique.

"What makes a dog smell like a dog, like the business card of the dog, [is] anal gland secretion," Kari said. "I brought my dogs in and the vet showed me how to 'express' my dog."

"One thing I'd never want to hear again in my lifetime, and I never thought I would, was 'be generous with the lube,' I mean it's your dog.


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