SHOCK VALUE

BODY HACK’S TODD SAMP­SON ON WHY CON­FRONTING MO­MENTS SHOULDN’T BE CENSORED

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - SALLY COATES

The TV per­son­al­ity pushes him­self to greater ex­tremes in Body Hack 2.0, in­clud­ing a scrape with death after sam­pling poi­son from a frog

Todd Samp­son’s syn­op­sis for Body Hack 2.0 claims he is an “ad­ven­turer and hu­man guinea pig”, but the hu­man part is yet to be proven.

The things this mere mor­tal’s body with­stands seem down­right im­pos­si­ble.

This sea­son he ex­plores a tribe of In­dian holy men who tor­ture them­selves to find en­light­en­ment, joins the Iraqi Special Forces in the mid­dle of the war against ISIS, trains as a Kung Fu mas­ter, fights fires with Wash­ing­ton fire­fight­ers, ac­cli­ma­tises with the Kaza­khs of Mon­go­lia and in­gests scary sub­stances with an Ama­zo­nian tribe, where he nearly dies.

“There’s some­thing funny about the fact that it wasn’t the Iraqi war that nearly killed me, it was Ker­mit the frog – frog poi­son­ing,” he says.

“Ba­si­cally they cap­ture this unique, brightly coloured fe­male frog and that frog sweat is like a mir­a­cle drug.

“We pulled its toes gen­tly and it started to sweat. They scoop the sweat off, put it in a ma­son jar and the chief spits in the jar and mixes it up.

“They pulled a stick out of the fire, burnt three holes in my arm and put the poi­son in the holes.

“I was kind of in and out of con­scious­ness and for a mo­ment I thought ‘uh oh we’ve gone too far, it’s too late’.”

While the ex­pe­ri­ence typ­i­cally in­volves purg­ing and sick­ness, Todd re­acted in a way that no­body had seen be­fore, mean­ing no­body knew how to help him.

“Right be­fore I did it a lit­tle tiny boy did it, and he’s vom­it­ing, vom­it­ing, vom­it­ing as I was get­ting ready,” he says.

“I didn’t vomit but I had re­ally un­be­liev­able hot flush­ing, dizzi­ness, ir­reg­u­lar heart­beat.

“I don’t travel with paramedics so there’s no med­i­cal peo­ple other than our own knowl­edge. In this case we had a lo­cal doc­tor with us, he had never seen this be­fore.

“He pan­icked and wanted to stick adren­a­line in my leg.

“I’m not go­ing to say much but I sleep for a lit­tle bit but then I go hunt­ing in the black­ness of the Ama­zon.

“Un­for­tu­nately it’s me that spots what we kill.

“I felt so bad, but I was so height­ened from the drug. I could hear ev­ery­thing, smell things.”

But it’s not just phys­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ences that chal­lenge Todd and spur his grap­ple with hu­man­ity.

Some­times he en­coun­ters things that wreak havoc on the mind, that are too real to show.

“On the way to Mo­sul in Iraq we stopped at a transition camp, al­most like a transition camp,” he be­gins.

“I met a young girl who wanted to talk to me, so I in­ter­viewed her with a trans­la­tor and we rolled the cam­era. She told me that her fa­ther’s head had been chopped off by ISIS and her mother was stoned to death.

“I’m chok­ing back tears be­cause I have a young daugh­ter, I could see hate and hurt in her face. “The re­al­ity of war. “I didn’t put it in the show be­cause I wanted to be re­spect­ful of her and be­cause I felt it was a pri­vate mo­ment. “She’s still in my mind.” It’s mo­ments like those, and most of the oth­ers on Body Hack 2.0 that the av­er­age Joe won’t en­counter, but that’s why it’s so im­por­tant that Todd does.

His work con­veys parts of the world that are beau­ti­ful and parts that are tragic, but they are real, and he be­lieves, shouldn’t be censored.

“The show has some­thing for ev­ery­one,” Todd says.

“Sci­ence, drama, com­edy, shock­ing mo­ments, thought­ful mo­ments I would say to par­ents, my chil­dren 11 and 8 watch all my shows, but that doesn’t mean they’re not go­ing to be chal­lenged.

“It is a use­ful and worth­while con­ver­sa­tion to have. This re­ally is non­main­stream TV on a main­stream net­work. I’m very proud of Chan­nel 10 for air­ing this show.”

Todd Samp­son’s Body Hack 2.0 pre­mieres tonight at 8.30pm on Chan­nel 10 and Win

Ac­cli­ma­tis­ing with the Kaza­khs of Mon­go­lia is just one of the ad­ven­tures Todd Samp­son em­barks upon in Body Hack 2.0.

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