Darwin Awards creator talks stupid deaths

On the eve of famed naturalist Charles Darwin’s birthday, author of the Darwin Awards books and Darwinawards.com founder Wendy Northcutt will make an appearance at the California Academy of Sciences on Thursday. Her six books are a compilation of 600 true stories of how people managed to end their lives.

For those unfamiliar with your books, what are the Darwin Awards? The Darwin Awards honor a very important step in evolution — the dead fish. They are people who eliminate their genes from the gene pool. They are just as important as the fish that learn to grow legs.

How did the Darwin Awards come to life? The first Darwin I ever had was a guy who slept with a gun on his nightstand. I guess he wanted to be safe, so he had a loaded gun on his nightstand next to his phone. In the middle of the night, the phone rang … and he shot himself dead.

What type of tales will you share?
First of all, we’re going to show never-seen-before clips of the first Darwin Awards ceremony ever. I’m going to be interviewed and tell dozens of tales in front of fireworks, and I’m going to have a Hula-Hoop jam.

What is the general reaction to these tales?
They’re usually like, “Oh, my god,” and then they tell me the stupidest thing they’ve ever done.