Deuterium labeling studies indicate that base-induced intramolecular C-H activation in the agostic complex 2-D proceeds with exclusive removal of a proton from the methyl arm of an iPr substituent on the N-heterocyclic carbene (NHC) ligand. Computational studies show that this alkyl C-H bond activation reaction involves deprotonation of one of the C-H bonds that is geminal to the agostic interaction, rather than the agostic C-H bond itself. The reaction is readily accessible at room temperature, and a computed activation barrier of ?E†calcd = +11.8 kcal/mol is found when the NHC 1,3-diisopropyl-4,5-dimethylimidazol-2-ylidene is employed as the external base. Charge analysis reveals that the geminal hydrogens are in fact more acidic than the agostic proton, consistent with their more facile deprotonation. © 2009 American Chemical Society.