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Matt Gourely is funnier than given credit for

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Hi guys,

I have to say, Matt makes Conan laugh very hard sometimes, elevating and improvising along with Conan, using a very rich world of reference.

However, while I'm sure Conan appreciates those jokes, I noticed he tends to repeat the joke Matt made, and I'm no expert but I would imagine thats a no-no in improv?

I'm prepared for the bash that's coming gor criticizing Conan in case this gets on air.

P.S. I imagine family guy would one day make a bit about Sona laughing. It would be hilarious.

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Not a reply but I can't spend any more time looking for where to put "listeners' letters."

Scibabe, yes, a female scientist, just posted this long piece on her FB page that mentions Conan as a metaphor  talking about ecology, hippos, & Pablo Escobar. 

Pablo Escobar was a simple man. One of seven children born to a farmer and an elementary school teacher in Colombia, he wanted bigger things in life. He worked his way out of poverty with a local cash crop, rose to the top of his profession, and eventually accomplished his lifelong dream of bringing the hippopotamus to Colombia.

Yeah, I know I left out all the murder  and the kidnapping and the drug-kingpinness of it all, but we need to focus. Running a drug cartel is child’s play. It takes a special breed of asshole to introduce the deadliest large land animal to a new continent. 

Today’s Moment of Science… Pablo’s Hippos.

The hippopotamus is, scientifically speaking, an effing adorable nope. Weighing in at a slim 3,000lbs, the semi-aquatic creature hangs out in riverbanks, swamps, and grasslands. They maintain their powerful physique on a diet of mainly grass, but have been sighted eating the carcasses of animals and dead hippos alike, which is suspected to happen in times of scarcity.

Though baby hippos are vulnerable to attacks from some of the more bitey critters in Africa, adult hippos generally have no known predators.

Well, unless you count humans. 

When Pablo Escobar decided to bring four hippos with him as pets to Colombia, what was the first thing he did as a responsible steward of the Earth? Research the consequences of introducing a new invasive species to a local environment? Make sure that he had a sufficient food source? Perhaps provide hippo vasectomy services or a bucket of hippo sized condoms? 

Nah. He just brought them because having hippos was fucking cool and who in God’s name was gonna tell Pablo Escobar, “hey, a word about your hippos?”

You might be thinking “what’s wrong with a bunch of water horses chilling in Colombia?” As much as hippos look pretty darn adorable, annoy them slightly and they will trample your ass. Hippos typically kill about 500 people in any given year around the globe, landing them on a list of the top ten or so deadliest animals.
When Escobar died and his private zoo was dismantled, officials were left with a question I ponder over coffee every morning: what to do with this dead drug lord’s hippos? Put them in a wildlife reserve? Return them to Africa? Castrate the one male in the bunch and release them far away from civilization to let them live out their days in peace?


They just kinda opened the pen and said “get along now, little hippos, and don’t you hurt nobody.” 

This had consequences.

The hippo population exploded. There are now an estimated 80-100 hippos in Colombia. Looking at growth rates, this is projected to be up to 1,000-1,400 hippos by the year 2040. 

A theory’s been kicked around that this could fill a niche formerly occupied by the now extinct toxodon. On the surface, it seems feasible. They’re two giant herbivorous, semi-aquatic animals, why couldn’t one replace the other? Well, in the approximately 12,000 years since the toxodon last walked this Earth, other animals like the capybaras and manatees have become reliant on the same food sources as the hippos. 

In order for the hippo to “replace” the toxodon, it would have to replace the creatures that have replaced the toxodon. It’s the ecological equivalent of Jay Leno replacing Conan O’Brien because of that niche that was left open by Jay Leno that was already filled by Conan O’Brien. 

Though they’ve become a tourist attraction and defacto town mascot in Puerto Triunfo, Escobar’s former home, they’re measurably not bringing ‘balance’ to shit. Though hippo waste is a useful part of some ecosystems in Africa, in South America it’s lead to algae blooms, declining water oxygen levels in the water supply, and subsequently dead fish.

All because a vasectomy for that one hippo would have been a hassle.

Where are we at with this now? A huge fucking problem with no good answer. No country in Africa wants to take the hippos back because of perceived potential risk. A castration program is happening, but getting up close with a hippo’s family jewels is the kind of dangerous that breaks bones on the regular. 

The best bad solution that keeps coming up is a culling. It will put an end to South America’s hippo woes, but given that their numbers are already in decline worldwide due to poaching, it feels odd to purposefully kill off an entire population of them, “invasive” or not. 

I don’t know what the most right answer is, and unfortunately nobody really does. 

This has been your daily Moment of Science, and a rescinding of my request for a baby hippopotamus for Christmas.

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