Busting out the truth

Belleci will be busting myths at Rider tomorrow night at 8 p.m. in the BLC Theater.By Jeff Frankel

It’s just another day at the office.

From fiery explosions involving tons of dynamite to dangerous stunts with anything imaginable, Tory Belleci of the Discovery Channel’s popular program, Mythbusters, feels right at home doing what he does best — confirming or debunking popular folklore.

“We’re testing the myth about ninjas staying underwater to see how long they can stay under using hollow reeds,” he said after a day of filming at M5 Industries, the Mythbusters’ workshop in San Francisco.

Here’s what he found out: “The longer the reed is, the harder it is to blow.”

Then there was his favorite myth: that bulls charge at the color red. Belleci was forced to wear red while standing in a ring with a bull. Luckily for him, that myth was busted.

Belleci will be appearing tomorrow, at 8 p.m., in the Bart Luedeke Center Theater, where he will explain his job at Mythbusters and even show audience members outtakes never seen on the air.

“What I usually do is give a brief [talk about] how I got into the industry, how I got on Mythbusters [and will show off] real Mythbusters stuff,” he said.

Belleci and another Mythbuster, Grant Imahara, were the two speakers the Student Entertainment Council (SEC) had to choose from, but ultimately, SEC felt Belleci would be the perfect fit, said junior Marie Baker, lectures chair. “We were discussing how Rider needs more weekend programming,” she said. “We figured that in order to get people’s attention for a Saturday night, we’d have to think big.”

After this appearance, Belleci will have his hands full. He and the rest of the Mythbusters — Jamie Hyneman, Adam Savage, Kari Byron, Imahara and even possibly Buster, the crash test dummy — will be heading down to the Bahamas for Discovery Channel’s yearly special Shark Week, to find out if it is safer to be still or thrash around when a shark is near.

And from the looks of it now, Belleci will be the one who has to find out — the hard way — which one is better.

“I’m not that thrilled about that experiment,” he said.

Then again, it’s what he lives for.

“I love living on the edge,” Belleci said. “I love pushing myself physically and mentally.”

While he has never been seriously hurt on the show, he knows the risk of injury is always there.

“Most of the time it’s pretty mellow,” Belleci said. “Then we’re experimenting with things that can kill us. On those days we’re trying to keep it funny for the camera, but if you mess up, someone can get seriously hurt or even killed.”

Growing up, Belleci never thought he would be starring in front of the camera. He was always into off-camera work. Belleci has worked on the Matrix trilogy, Starship Troopers, and two Star Wars films, The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, just to name a few.

“I always wanted to be behind the scenes,” he said. “I never wanted to be on a camera.”

And what would Belleci like to do for his next myth? How about going over Niagara Falls in a barrel?

“That would be cool,” he said. “I doubt Discovery would let us do that.”

Maybe Buster can do that one.

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