Rather than the cool personality that underpinned the Right Stuff in the Apollo era, future astronauts may need to prove they have something very different: the Silly Stuff. An onboard comedian is a proven way to unite teams in stressful situations, research shows.
Good evening everybody, or morning, or, uh, day. I’m not sure what time it is. Hey, who saw that full Earth earlier? Pretty spectacular, wasn’t it? Would you believe I could see my house from here? No? Anyway, who here is from out of town? Everybody? It’s nice to see we’ve got some Russians with us. You guys really know space exploration, don’t you? Would you believe I was at the observation window earlier and saw Sputnik go by? No? Anyway, how about that MIR space station, huh? That thing lasted longer than the Soviet Union! Hey, you guys aren’t with the KGB, are you? If you’re not then maybe you should be. If looks could kill, you know what I mean? No? Well. Looks like somebody set the phasers for stunned. They say in space no one can hear you scream. Or anything else apparently. You know, space is a lot like some restaurants I’ve been in. No atmosphere. Boy, the necks of these jumpsuits are really tight, aren’t they? Is it hot in here or is it just me? It’s just me, then. Yes, thanks, Fritz, for checking to make sure the environmental controls are fine. A big hand for systems engineer Fritz, the most ironically named engineer in the space program! Hey, if you’re not going to applaud for me at least applaud for Fritz. Please? Maybe as an engineer Fritz can explain why whenever I go to the store I always get that one grocery cart with the wobbly wheel. Has anyone else noticed that? No? Well. And like everybody else here Fritz has multiple jobs. For instance in the event of a forced evacuation I’m supposed to stay behind and make sure everyone else gets out safely, and if we find a dark mysterious cave I’m the one who’ll go in first, and if we meet aliens I’m the one they’ll use for rectal probing. What’s the deal with that, anyway? We’re out here to explore Mars and the aliens are out here to explore Uranus. And they call us “astronauts”. Anyway, Fritz, you know, is also in charge of nutrition and meals. When they told me Fritz was in charge of the food and the computers I asked if that meant everything would be sugar coded. Computer code. Okay, so, data doesn’t go over so well. Hey, Fritz, don’t take this personally, but the food really is terrible. And the portions are so small. I’m just kidding about the food being terrible, Fritz. A round of Tang on me for everybody! The food is great, really, once I learned that you have to add water, but now I understand why when I signed up for this they told me I’d probably lose about twelve percent of my body mass. I said, hey, my agent takes more than that. That reminds me, does the space suit make me look fat? And why are there twelve of us but only eleven suits? Has anyone else noticed that? No? Well. Moving right along, hey, I’m not the only entertainment on this ship, I also brought some movies. Let’s see, I brought The Martian, Gravity, Apollo 13, and Alien. Those should be fun. Also the director’s cut of Titanic. This is a three-year trip so that should be enough time to watch almost all of it.
All right, you guys have been great, really, and I’ll let you get back to work. I’ll be here all week and for the next three years. And don’t forget to tip your, uh, Fritz.