Kelly Clarkson was shocked in the Thursday episode of her eponymous talk show to find out that famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson once moonlighted as a professional dancer — and considered becoming a male stripper to make some extra cash while studying at Harvard.
“I was cut and flex — I could do a full split,” he told a hysterical Clarkson.
As deGrasse Tyson explained, “I was still studying astrophysics and I had fellow dancers who were making extra money because I needed money because we weren’t paid much. And one of them said, ‘Why don’t you come down with us?’ Because some of them danced at a strip club, a guy’s strip club.”
“So I went, and I was cut and flex — I could do a full split. So I was, but I went to just investigate, I wanted data first,” the “Kelly Clarkson Show” guest explained of his consideration.
But there was one fiery, red flat that made him change his mind.
“So I go there, I’m watching [the dancers] come out, and they had asbestos-lined jockstraps that had been ignited with lighter fluid, and they came out dancing to Jerry Lee Lewis’ song, ‘Great Balls of Fire,'” deGrasse Tyson said, laughing alongside Clarkson. “Let me just say, I’m embarrassed that only in that moment when I saw their genitals on fire did I say, ‘Maybe I should be a math tutor.'”
The segment picked up with Clarkson expressing surprise that she didn’t know of this secret past time of deGrasse Tyson: “We have been around each other too many times for me not to know that you were a dancer.”
The astrophysicist demurred, apparently embarrassed, saying, “I don’t tell people that.” Clarkson, of course, then pulled up a black and white photo of the astrophysicist in his dancing heyday.
“Look at that chest hair! Out to play!” she shouted. “I had no idea.”
“Kelly, that was 50 pounds ago,” he responded. “If you could measure time by weight accumulated…”
“Were you talking like that to the dancers?” the host teased.
Then deGrassi began opening up a bit, humble bragging that he was “a performing member of three different dance companies in my day — in another day, in a different chapter of my life.”
He added: “There’s nothing like dance shape because you’re strong, you’re limber, you’re flexible — and graceful.”
“Totally, just like me!” Clarkson joked. “Just like me, that’s what I say.”
Watch the full interview clip from “The Kelly Clarkson Show” in the video above.