Top Gear Thursday: Can Richard Hammond Walk on Water?
Next week, Richard Hammond tries to channel his own inner Ernest Hemingway. No, he’s not going to be writing crisp, clear but enigmatic prose – he’s going to try his hand at bullfighting. Okay, so it’s not the ugly, brutal kind where the two guys gang up against the bull and shove long pointed spears into the poor animal, with buckets of blood everywhere. We know you wouldn’t like that. We wouldn’t like that. Richard wouldn’t like that. No, this is the American kind of bullfighting – rodeo – in which the risk is placed where it properly belongs – squarely on a human being. In this case, Richard. Oh, and we forgot to tell you, he’s a rodeo clown.
Also in next week’s episode, Richard goes to the Hawaiian island of Maui where he tries pro paddle board surfing. As he says, “I will be literally walking on water.”
The all-new episode of Richard Hammond’s Crash Course airs Monday, November 5 at 10/9c.
• Top Gear Live set out to establish a new record for a motorcycle loop-the-loop – and that’s exactly what happened at the Birmingham, England show this week. The record is for a double loop. Autotalk called it “ridiculous” but seemed pretty impressed by the feat anyway.
In case you don’t recall, Top Gear Live set the current double loop-the-loop record for a car this past June in Durban, South Africa.
• Attention, movie fans! Next week, Top Gear will be airing an all-new special about cars and the silver screen. Top Gear at the Movies looks at cinema’s greatest stunts, races and chases on Monday, November 5 at 8:30p/7:30c.
• And on the following Monday – that’s Nov. 12 – in the same time slot, there’s more Top Gear movie madness, this time of the James Bond variety. Richard Hammond will look at a half-century of James Bond cars. He meets Daniel Craig on the set of Skyfall and spends some time with his favorite Bond, Roger Moore, plus he works on designing his own Bond car.
“No action hero is more closely associated with cars than James Bond,” Hammond told Scotland’s Daily Record. “No one can match him when it comes to cars – they have enthralled us for generation after generation.”
• For this week’s episode of Crash Course, Richard Hammond visited New York City. Like many New Yorkers, he took on two jobs. By day, he drove a cab, and at night, like other aspiring showbiz types, he hoped to make it on the stage, specifically the stage of a New York comedy club.
“The thought of jumping up on the very same stage that’s seen modern comedy greats like Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, and Whoopi Goldberg do their thing is more than intimidating!” writes MacKenzie Wilson on the Crash Course website. “It’s downright frightening.”
Richard said that of all the professions he tried in Crash Course, he was perhaps most scared of stand-up comedy.
And all that fear came out when he first met his comedy coach Jim Mendrinos.
Mendrinos had expected that Richard, as a seasoned television presenter, would be immediately comfortable on stage so that the two could dispense with the basics. After all, said Mendrinos, “Getting someone comfortable is the hard part.”
But he found the opposite was true with Richard.
“He was so afraid speaking in front of an audience with that level of expectation that I almost had to start at ground one on, ‘Okay, the audience is your friend. They want you to do well. They’re on your side.’” said Mendrinos, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Comedy Writing.
Richard, however, proved that he had the mind of a comedian.
“I know he feels that he could have done better, and that’s actually the mark of a comic,” Mendrinos told BBC America. “A really great comic will get a standing ovation and notice the four or five things they did wrong. He came up and he wanted to do better. And he not only proved me wrong, but he proved himself wrong. He was a lot better than he thought he was.”
The student ended up inspiring his teacher, who says that, someday, he’d like to try his hand at Richard’s job.
“I would give just about anything to get behind the wheel of a race car, like a Formula One car,” wished Mendrinos, who said racing looks “spectacular and awesomely dangerous at the same time.”
• Perhaps you didn’t think this was possible, but The Hamster is in yet another television series, Richard Hammond’s Miracles of Nature, which is premiering this week on BBC One in the UK. The show aims at explaining the science of biomimetics, which is the study of animal or plants to promote human scientific advances.
“I’m fascinated by science,” Hammond told the Telegraph, “and I’ve made a lot of science shows, but equally by the natural world, and that predates my love of cars and indeed of science.”