Neil deGrasse Tyson Has Been Telling the Same Science Dad Joke on Twitter for Years

And it always kills

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is one of those well-known scientific minds who is constantly bringing a little knowledge to the masses. The scientist can often be found on Twitter, talking about complex topics and explaining how the world works.

Tyson, who has appeared in TV shows including “Cosmos: A Spacetime Adventure” and authored numerous books, is also a bit of a jokester on Twitter. He’s probably best known on the social media network for ruining movies by subjecting them to science and logical thinking, like he did with “Chappaquiddick.”

When it comes to jokes, though, there’s a gag he likes in particular, in fact — this one:

“Just to be clear, if you carefully removed, and laid end-to-end, all the veins, arteries, and capillaries of your body, you will die,” Tyson wrote on Twitter on May 12. It’s a funny dad joke of a gag, subverting that sciencey thing where smart people tell you weird facts about things like the human body that don’t make any real logical sense.

In fact, it’s easy enough to find the real factoid to which Tyson is referring with the joke. The Health section of the website How Stuff Works has a list of weird info about the human body, where you can find the actual trivia about just how long all those capillaries, veins and arteries would be if you pulled them out of your body and laid them end to end:

“If all arteries, veins, and capillaries of the human circulatory system were laid end to end, the total length would be 60,000 miles, or 100,000 km. That’s nearly two and a half times around the Earth!”

The funny thing is, though, that Tyson has been rolling this joke out for years — and it always kills. Twitter user @plantdroid pointed out that Tyson has dropped the dad joke on his Twitter several times before, usually with a year or two between deployments.

And in fact, a quick Twitter search reveals that Tyson has been getting people with his version of “Hello hungry, I’m Neil” since at least 2010.

It’s a good bit of material, and Tyson, being an entertainer as well as a scientist, knows not to go back to the well too often. He also knows how to subvert the expectation of the joke. One day before his latest use of the artery factoid, he primed his audience with a bit of info about billionaire Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

“Not that anybody asked, but @JeffBezos’ 130-Billion dollars, laid end-to-end, can circle Earth 200 times then reach the Moon & back 15 times then, with what’s left over, circle Earth another 8 times,” Tyson wrote.

So now Tyson’s audience expects weird distance facts about things being laid end-to-end that you’d never lay end-to-end — a perfect time to fire off the artery and veins gag. As usual, it killed in 2018, garnering 29,000 retweets and 159,000 likes as of this writing.

If you’re looking for other mainstays of Tyson’s material, keep an eye open for his New Year’s Day tweets about the day’s astronomical insignificance, as Twitter user @lutetiumsodium noted.

Tyson is full of interesting info about the Gregorian calendar, in fact.