Busting myths

Jamie Hyneman needs to get to work.

The former Columbus resident is slated to be part of a video shoot in a few minutes replicating a YouTube video featuring people firing shrimp out of an air cannon through a cloud of flour, bread crumbs, egg wash and a fireball to cook it all — then somehow landing the flying food on a plate for someone to eat.

Hyneman is uncertain if the diner will be him.

But ho-hum — such is just another day at his M5 Industries office for the San Francisco-based Discovery Channel’s “Mythbusters,” a show that pairs real science with serious craziness to test everything from oddball theories to long-held assumptions.

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And maybe raise a few eyebrows and laughs along the way.

The 58-year-old Hyneman will join forces with show cohost Adam Savage for the live tour, “Mythbusters: Jamie and Adam Unleashed!” stopping at Indianapolis’ Murat Theatre at Old National Centre on April 19.

The tour marks Hyneman’s final live shows on a program that has traveled to arenas in North America, Australia and New Zealand since 2012 and grossed more than $12 million.

He gives away little about the stunts scheduled, other than, “We can’t really use explosives or do car crashes on the stage.”

While Hyneman is considered dry and measured, cohost Savage is extroverted and comfortable before live audiences and studio cameras alike. Savage has said in interviews that he and Hyneman drive each other crazy every day.

“But we have a tremendous amount of respect for one another,” Savage said in an online chat with an audience. “There’s a strength in that respect.”

Hyneman, a Michigan native and 1974 Columbus North High School graduate, remembers his teen years locally as tough enough that he hitchhiked across the country at 14. He also was independent enough that he owned and operated a Columbus pet store from 1974 to 1977 before venturing to Indiana University to study Russian linguistics.

“I was a little headstrong and adventurous,” he said.

Which explains why he worked over the next several years as an animal wrangler, Caribbean boat captain and diver.

Pairing headstrong ways with adventure sounds like a perfect combo for a guy who 13 years ago would be picked for “Mythbusters,” where he has tested:

Whether someone actually could survive a fall from an airplane in a life raft, as depicted in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.” The short answer, via crash-test dummies: no.

Whether a candle can be constructed from people’s earwax. Again, no.

He regularly gets asked to pinpoint the greatest stunt, biggest explosion, you name it. Looking back over nearly 300 programs, to highlight such is impossible.

“We are beyond superlatives,” he said.

He came to the show from a firm specializing in commercial and film special effects, including his expertise and creativity in “Star Wars: Episode I” and “The Matrix Reloaded.” In his success, including the show’s repeated Emmy nominations, he has earned accolades such as an honorary doctorate of engineering from Villanova University, with which he has an ongoing collaborative relationship to help develop new safety concepts for the military.

But all that means little compared to him and Savage serving as inspiration for others.

“I suppose the greatest accomplishment we actually could lay claim to would be encouraging so many young people to become seriously interested in science and engineering,” he said.

Sounds like heady stuff. But his wife, Eileen Walsh, a now-retired longtime science teacher, knows better.

Hyneman breaks into laughter when asked if she is impressed with his scientific sensibilities.

His simple and quiet response: “Uh, no. Oh, we’ve had some impact on science, and she is proud of that.

“But she understands the subject — and she knows that we’ve never any pretense of actually teaching real science.”

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What: The Live Tour, “Mythbusters: Jamie and Adam Unleashed!”

When: 7:30 p.m. April 19

Where: Indianapolis’ Murat Theatre at Old National Centre, 502 N. New Jersey St.

Tickets: 800-745-3000 or oldnationalcentre.com