Bill Nye the Science Guy returns to city that made him a star

Seattleites may remember Bill from his appearances on ‘Almost Live!’ back in the day.

Bill Nye holds up a globe and a glass of water while performing a demonstration at a Water Department Water Treatment Pilot Plant in 2002

Bill Nye once was an assistant at the Pacific Science Center and performed demonstrations at a local water treatment plant.

Photo via Seattle Municipal Archives, No. 149225

Bust out those Bunsen burners. Bill Nye the Science Guy — in case you get him confused with other Bill Nyes — is returning to Seattle, the city where his career began.

Bill will be doing a presentation at McCaw Hall on Tuesday, May 16, about fighting climate change.

Sure, the world may recognize Bill from his acclaimed 90s kids show and tireless environmental advocacy — he was even the subject of a 2017 Netflix documentary. But, not to brag — we knew him way back when.

Almost famous

In the late 70s, Bill came to Seattle from Washington, DC to work at Boeing as a mechanical engineer. But he had even higher aspirations for himself: to be a stand-up comedian.

While working the local club circuit, Bill won a “Steve Martin look alike contest” — yes, really — and caught the attention of John Keister, host of the homegrown sketch show on KING 5, “Almost Live!”

Bill was brought on as a writer on “Almost Live!” and soon found himself in front of the camera by performing experiments and fighting crime as a speedwalking superhero. His wacky, bow-tied Science Guy persona was a hit — even if some demonstrations appeared like they could burn down the set at any second.

Still blowing up

Looking to branch out, Bill pitched a “Bill Nye the Science Guy” spinoff show to Seattle’s PBS affiliate. It aired for the first time in 1993, got nationally syndicated, won 19 Emmy Awards, and helped teach a whole generation of kids about complex topics in a fun, approachable way.

Despite moving back to his original roots in the other Washington, he’s returned to the PNW in recent years to talk about outdoor education as a board member at the Mount St. Helens Institute. Yep, he’s Bill Nye the Volcano Guy, too.

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