Got a question for the mayor?
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh will hold his first Reddit AMA at 2:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon, giving users the opportunity to ask the city’s new executive just about anything.
AMAs—short for “Ask Me Anything”—is a popular question and answer forum on the site, and has featured subjects ranging from pop stars to policymakers.
We compiled a list of some of the site’s most memorable interviews:
1. Barack Obama
The President made a surprise appearance on Reddit last year, which overwhelmed the site’s servers, drew over 24,000 comments and brought the site into the mainstream spotlight.
FifthSurprise: What was the most difficult decision that you had to make during this term? A: The decision to surge our forces in Afghanistan. Any time you send our brave men and women into battle, you know that not everyone will come home safely, and that necessarily weighs heavily on you. The decision did help us blunt the Taliban's momentum, and is allowing us to transition to Afghan lead - so we will have recovered that surge at the end of this month, and will end the war at the end of 2014. But knowing of the heroes that have fallen is something you never forget.
The Mythbusters hosts each held their own AMAs, fielding questions about production and some of the weirdest myths featured on the show.
TheDuskDragon: What myth requested by a fan was so far-fetched and absurd that it was practically laughable? And if you ever find the opportunity to test out the myth, how would you go about busting it? A: Several times we've gotten suggestions that we thought were like that but eventually figured out a way to do them: like punching sharks. The first guy to suggest that (was totally drunk btw) sounded full crazy to me. A year later we were in the Bahamas punching sharks.
3. Daryl Davis
Davis is the author of “Klan-Destine Relationships: A Black Man’s Odyssey in the Ku Klux Klan,” which reflects on his decades-long effort to befriend individual Klansmen and change their racist views.
[deleted]: Were you ever threatened with violence by clan members or physically attacked? A: I interviewed numerous KKK members and neo-Nazis all over the country and continue to do so. Most of them have been very cordial and cooperative. There were some who flat out refused to talk with me. There have been a number of threats, but only a few physically attacked me. RyanRaygun: Can you elaborate more on the attacks? Were you seriously injured? How many people attacked you? Do you bring some sort of weapon to the interviews? A: I was not seriously injured. I've faced knives and guns and of course fists. I've had to physically fight upon occasion, but that is not my first resort. I did not carry any weapons to my interviews. On one occasion, it was only one Klansman who attacked me. On another, it was 3 of them. I won, both physically on the street and legally in court.
4. Snoop Dogg/Lion The legendary MC and prolific stoner answered questions about performing 20 years in the hip-hop industry and fielded a number of jokes about his chemical proclivities.
untouchable_face: Hey Snoop, why do you carry an umbrella? A: fo drizzle
[deleted]: If you could add one course to a student's curriculum, what would it be? A: Course title every university should offer: "How to tell when someone else is full of s***"
6. Bill Murray
The former Ghostbuster-turned-serious-actor took his bemused sense of surrealist humor to Reddit last January.
Janet_Coquette: What is it like being so awesome? A: Well, nothing prepared me for being this awesome. It's kind of a shock. It's kind of a shock to wake up every morning and be bathed in this purple light.
The “Breaking Bad” stars each fielded Redditors questions in separate AMAs last year.
shane33364: Out of everything that's been aired so far, what was your favorite scene? And what was the most important for the character of Jesse do you think? What do you hope to move on to with breaking bad finished? Aaron Paul: I have so many favorites, but the first thing that comes to mind right now is the infamous dinner scene with Mr. and Mrs. White. I think the glass of water became Jesse's security blanket it in a way and I love that about that scene. But there's been so many fun scenes to shoot. So anytime I as Jesse Pinkman can release my pent up anger [toward] Walt is always a good time. So the time that Jesse shows up to Walt's house and thinks that he found on that he poisoned Brock, and he puts a gun to his head. That was a lot of fun.
The NASA astronaut’s AMA is noteworthy for being the site’s first interview conducted from outer space. Hadfield also conducted a pre-orbit Q&A with Redditors.
mcsgwigga: What is the scariest thing you have seen whilst in space? A: I watched a large meteorite burn up between me and Australia, and to think of that hypersonic dumb lump of rock randomly hurtling into us instead sent a shiver up my back.
9. Brooks Brown
The former Columbine High School student narrowly missed the campus’s tragic 1999 shooting after killer Eric Klebold advised him to leave because he “liked [him] now.”
memejob: Why do you think Eric Harris "liked" you? A: If you ever figure it out, let me know - it's a quote that sits in my brain every day that gives me no respite.
10. Louis CK
The famous comic, award-winning FX show “Louie,” sat down with Redditors to promote his 2011 stand-up special “Live at the Beacon Theater.”
mrsbalta: How on earth were you able to gain the incredible amount of authorial control that you have over Louie? Have you had to battle with FX over any particular jokes/concepts/creative choices? A: ...I got it by demanding it and refusing to do the show any other way at all and by having the leverage that I was completely willing to walk away without doing the show and by agreeing to an extremely low budget so that they could offset the risk of giving me this freedom because they are risking less money. I have had conversations with them about very few moments in the show but zero battles.
11. Bear Grylls
The urine-drinking adventurer, best known for his survivalist television show “Man vs. Wild,” told Redditors about some of the weirdest experiences he’s had in the field.
tankengine1: What scenario did you come across while filming that was completely unexpected and really caught you off-guard? A: rockfalls have often caught us out unexpectedly- Ian one of our crew got caught in a nasty one in NZ recently and broke 6 ribs. But he is mending now! Just got to be careful always and look out for each other I guess.
12. Ken Jennings
The 74-time Jeopardy! champion took time off from spending his $2.5 million in winnings to discuss his backstage experiences and game show strategy with Redditors.
krillnasty: What is the most outrageous thing that happened during the filming of the shows? Did Trebek ever snap at anybody? A: I have told this story before, but the security on the show is pretty intense. I totally caused a CTU-like "shutdown" one time by changing my necktie using the wrong mirror--the same one Trebek uses. No contestants allowed back there! I thought it was pretty funny at the time, except for all the crew members who probably got fired over it.
13. Jerry Seinfeld
The world-famous comedian seemed just as comfortable answering Redditor’s questions as he does in a car getting coffee with comedians.
Thinking_is_Free: What is the most bizarre/surreal location that you have been to and been recognized? A: One time, a friend of mine and I decided to drive a 1967 VW Bug from Albuquerque to the Hamptons. I bought the car on eBay for $5,000 and flew to Albuquerque and my friend flew from LA, and we decided to do that for something fun to do (this, by the way, is the actual original inspiration for Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, the year was 2000 and I did this with my friend Barry Marder, who you may know as the author of "Letters From a Nut" by Ted L. Nancy). ANYWAY, so one time we stopped in this tiny town and somewhere in the Midwest whose name escapes me at the moment, and the town was honestly no more than 2 blocks long, and we are walking on this little sidewalk that they had, and there was a guy there, walking past us, and I was wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses, and the guy says as we walk by "Hey Jerry" and kept walking. And that, to this day, so blows my mind that not only was he NOT SURPRISED that i was in this town, population 115, but that I just walked by him, he recognized me and he felt the need to say anything more than "hi." Not "what the hell are you doing here." I'm sure that guy is out there, somewhere. Probably on reddit.
Not all of the AMAs are with well-known figures—one McDonald’s employee aired the fast food company’s dirty laundry in a revealing interview:
PulsingQuasar: What is your most revolting experience of the last five years of working there? A: Every few months, the restaurant undergoes an inspection from a McOpCo consultant. This is called an FOR. Before the FOR, the owner gets everyone to clean, paint,, brush up on their skills/habits, etc. On one of these occasions, I was tasked with cleaning behind the vats and the grills. The accumulation of grease, dropped, rotting meat and chicken products that were festering underneath was enough to give me nightmares. The grease was pooled on the floor and there were grease stalagmites on the ground. Trapped in the burnt and encrusted filth were hundreds of flies.
Still need a Q&A fix? Here’s a list of Reddit’s most highly upvoted AMAs of all time.Caesar can be reached at Christopher.Caesar@globe.com or via Twitter @ChrisCaesar.