Asbestos Stopped Neil deGrasse Tyson From Becoming An Exotic Dancer

Few scientists are bigger than Neil deGrasse Tyson - the American astrophysicist who has gone from studying the stars in the galaxy to hanging out with stars on earth by appearing on shows like 'The Big Bang Theory' and 'The Simpsons.' But like any celebrity, he spent years scraping by, and the pressure to make ends meet made him consider moonlighting as an exotic dancer to supplement his earnings as a teaching assistant in grad school.

"I was in really good shape," Tyson told Pitchfork recently. "I was a performing member of two different dance companies. And one of my fellow dancers, upon hearing of my financial woes, said, 'Come on down?' 'Down to what?' 'Oh, we dance at night at this male strip club. And the women put money in your thing.' I said, 'Alright, I'll have a look.'"

But what he saw at the club turned him off exotic dancing forever.

"I go down there, and they come out dancing with asbestos-lined jockstraps that had been ignited. And they come out shaking and dancing to Jerry Lee Lewis' 'Great Balls of Fire.' In that instant, I said, 'I think I'll be a math tutor.'" 

Check out the full story, plus Tyson's thoughts on the Miss Universe Pageant and GZA of Wu-Tang Clan. 

Banner: Thor Neilsen / Norwegian University of Science and Technology (flickr)

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