What’s Your ‘Bacon Number?’ Just Ask Google
CNBC.com News Editor
What’s your "bacon number?" No, not how many slices you’ve eaten today. It’s a new tool Google rolled out to end bar fights everywhere by figuring out how many degrees of separation someone is from — yep, you guessed it — Kevin Bacon.
For any of you kids out there who don’t know the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” this is a play on the John Guare play “Six Degrees of Separation,” where any two people in the world are no more than six acquaintances or links from another person. In this case, it’s within six degrees, or connections, of the actor Kevin Bacon, who has been in so many movies that pretty much anyone in Hollywood can be connected to him within six degrees.
The origins of the game may stem back to a January 1994 interview Bacon did with “Premiere” magazine, where he famously said that he’s worked with pretty much everyone in Hollywood or someone who’s worked with that person. Like many other great technology success stories, the game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” was started by a bunch of college students. Shortly after the Bacon interview aired, three students at Albright College were watching what could arguably be Bacon’s most famous movie, “Footloose,” and came up with the game, which they turned into their own “stupid party trick.” That turned into a board game, a book, a charitable organization and now — a Google tool.
Sure, you might say, this seems ridiculous, given how many real-world problems there are that require computer algorithms. But if you know anything about the Internet, it’s loaded with cute cat videos, Rickrolling, honey badgers who don’t give a ---- and other Internet memes that we spend large quantities of time doing online.
So guess what? Even if you poo-poo the idea as a waste of time, I guarantee you will bacon number somebody once … or 17 times!
Here’s how it works: Go to the Google home page (http://www.google.com) and in the search field, type in the name of a celebrity followed by “bacon number.” Instead of going 'round and 'round with friends about who was in what movie with whom, Google crunches the numbers for you and badda boom, badda LET’S DANCE! it spits out how many degrees of separation the person is from Kevin Bacon — their bacon number.
Consider yourself warned, the first 27 you do, will likely be twos.
Al Pacino is a two: Pacino and Robert Duvall were in “The Godfather.” Duvall and Bacon were in “Jayne Mansfield’s Car.” Denzel Washington — also a two. Washington appeared with Ryan Reynolds in “Safe House” and Reynolds and Bacon were in “R.I.P.D.”
Even CNBC's own Jim Cramer, host of "Mad Money," makes the baconator, clocking in at — you guessed it — a two! He was in "Iron Man" with Jeff Bridges and Jeff Bridges was in "R.I.P.D." with Kevin Bacon.
No matter how hard you try to stump it, it seems to give you two!
Jennifer Grey, who fell off the Hollywood map for more than a decade after the 1987 hit “Dirty Dancing,” is also a two: She was in “Dirty Dancing” with Wayne Knight. Knight and Bacon were in “JFK.”
Gah, I can’t quit you, Bacon Number!
(Yes, both Heath Ledger AND Jake Gyllenhall are twos!)
Ah ha! Krysten Ritter — a relative newcomer to acting, who played Jesse Pinkman’s (Aaron Paul’s) girlfriend on “Breaking Bad” and is now starring in “Don’t Trust the B—in Apt. 23” is also a two! (Paul, incidentally, and his ‘Breaking’ co-star Bryan Cranston are also twos.) Ritter was in “Confessions of a Shopaholic” with John Lithgow and Lithgow appeared with Bacon in “Footloose.”
Charlize Theron WAS a three, but then she appeared with Bacon in “Trapped” and now she’s a one.
Makes you wonder: Do some celebrities intentionally sign on to movies with Bacon just to get their number down?
"Hi, it's your agent. Wondering if you want to do this movie with Kevin Ba--"
It’s almost impossible to crack three in Hollywood — you have to start branching out to other celebrity fields. Even then, it’s not so easy — tennis legend John McEnroe is even a two! He and January Jones were in “Anger Management,” and Jones and Bacon were in “X-Men: First Class.”
At last, triumph! Nelson Mandela is a three: He and McEnroe were in “Arthur Ashe: Citizen of the World,” McEnroe and Jones were in “Anger Management” and — you know the rest.
And finally, the highest number we're able to come up with without assistance — Venus Williams! The tennis star clocks in at a five: She and Roger Federer were in “Wimbledon 2007 Official Film,” Federer and Andy Roddick were in “Wimbledon 2009 Official Film,” Roddick and McEnroe were in “Unstrung,” McEnroe and Jones … aw, you got this by now!
You have to go back to the turn of the century, and in some cases the Civil War, to get bacon numbers higher than five. You see, if this were a bar, we’d already be drunk by now and totally forgotten about the game. But it’s the Internet, where time wasting goes on ad infinitum!
Hey, I wonder what honey badger’s bacon number is?
Aw, you know what? Honey badger don’t give a …
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