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June 16, 2014 12:20 PM

Stephen Hawking, probably because of the whole “smartest man alive” thing, doesn’t have much of a reputation as a comedian. Which is inaccurate: He has frequently guest-starred on The Simpsons and has a much better sense of humor than your average world-changing theoretical physicist.

The latest case in point? This clip, from John Oliver‘s new HBO show, Last Week Tonight, in which Hawking not only proves himself ably game to deal with Oliver’s bantering, but also gets in a few jabs at his host.

Hawking’s most earnest and interesting digression was a discussion of his own favorite physics concept: imaginary time, which he said people think of as ” Something you have in dreams, or when you’re up against a deadline. But it’s a well-defined concept. Imaginary time is like another direction in space.” However, he noted it’s the one part of his work science fiction writers haven’t glommed onto, because “they don’t understand it.” (#SmartestManAliveProblems)

Other topics discussed include: black holes, robots, and the possible existence of a universe where Charlize Theron would go on a date with Oliver.

(Spoiler alert: There isn’t one.)

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