I’ve been meaning to write about this new late-night talk show on TechTV for awhile now. Have you guys seen Unscrewed with Martin Sargent yet? The comedy is about what you’d expect on a late-night show created and put on by geeks and is probably no worse than what Hairboy and I would produce if we had our own show, but after watching the show for a couple of weeks now I’ve realized that it’s a lot smarter than it first looks.
I’m willing to bet that Martin Sargent himself is a skeptic based on his choice of guests and how he treats them. So far he’s managed to have an amazing selection of nutcases on the show to talk about whatever harebrained ideas they are promoting including Rael who’s the leader of the Raelian cult to Dr. Bruce Goldberg who claims to be a time-traveling dentist. The interviews Martin conducts with these guests are probably the best part of the show because if you pay close attention you can tell that Martin doesn’t believe a word of what these people are saying and he walks a very fine line staying just this side of telling these people what whack jobs they are. He can’t afford to directly challenge them because they’d be less likely to come on the show if they thought it was a hostile environment, but he still manages to do a good job of giving these people enough rope to hang themselves with to anyone who has half a working brain and some critical thinking skills.
The only problem I can see with it is the fact that it’s often subtle enough that a lot of viewers of his show probably don’t catch it. There was a beautiful moment in the interview with Dr. Bruce Goldberg in which Martin showed how silly this guy was with a single question. Goldberg had just finished rambling on about how through the use of hypnotherapy he was able to regress through past lives as well as progress through future lives he hasn’t lived yet when Martin asked him about his opinion of the Raelians. Suddenly the good doctor starts ripping the Raelians as being complete kooks like a seasoned skeptic calling their claims nonsense and totally ridiculous. This from a guy who was just claiming to be able to tell us what life is like in the 35th century!!!
As a skeptic I’m very impressed with Unscrewed in this regard and I think it’s providing a great service that unfortunately will be lost on most folks who watch it. The rest of the show could use some work, but it’s a lot smarter than even it thinks it is and is worth watching just to see how loony people can accept their own outrageous beliefs while poo-pooing the equally ridiculous beliefs of others.