Not My Job: We Quiz Actor Anthony Anderson On Minor League Baseball

Dec 28, 2019

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

You've seen Anthony Anderson on TV and in movies. He hosts the new version of "To Tell The Truth," and he's the father on ABC's award-winning comedy "Black-ish."

BILL KURTIS: Anthony joined us in August, and Peter asked him about joining the long list of beloved TV dads.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

SAGAL: So "Black-ish" is, like, your - you've done so many things, but let's just focus on "Black-ish" because there's a huge tradition of, like, family sitcoms, right? It goes back to - god, I don't know - "Father Knows Best." And is it, like, a burden to be right now America's favorite TV dad?

ANTHONY ANDERSON: No. I just want to get out there - well, we just want to get out there and tell our stories and have fun doing it. And hopefully, it resonates with an audience the way that it has for the past six years.

SAGAL: And do you - do people, like, assume you're wise because you play a TV dad?

ANDERSON: No one would ever assume that I'm wise.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: All right. That's...

ANDERSON: Let's get that straight right now.

SAGAL: All right. That's fine about "Black-ish." I wanted to talk to you about the much more challenging and important thing that you do, which is hosting a game show.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDERSON: Not only hosting a game show but hosting a game show with my mother as my sidekick.

SAGAL: What? What? Nobody told me this. Your mother is your sidekick.

ANDERSON: Yeah. My mother is - Mama Doris. That's my real mother, the woman that birthed me.

SAGAL: Right.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDERSON: And it's funny how it came about. I was doing an episode of "Celebrity Family Feud" with me, my mother, my sister-in-law, my brother and my aunt that's on the show.

PAULA POUNDSTONE: Jesus.

ANDERSON: And the first question is...

(LAUGHTER)

ANDERSON: ...Posed to my mother. Where would a naked magician pull a rabbit out of? And without hesitation, my mother screamed to the heavens, his [expletive], Steve.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: And did...

ADAM BURKE: Wow.

SAGAL: And did Steve Harvey give her one of those five-minute-long burning looks like...

ANDERSON: Burning laugh - production shut down literally for about five minutes.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Right. Just you're all dealing with that.

ANDERSON: Yeah. And after the show, the producers came over to me, said, hey, can we talk to you about your mother?

(LAUGHTER)

ANDERSON: And I said, hey, guys - I told you she was a live wire. I do apologize.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDERSON: And they were, like, no, that's just it. We want your mother to be on your game show with you, "To Tell The Truth." And I was, like, really? And they were, like, yeah, what do you think about it? I said, I think it's great because it gets her off my payroll and puts her onto yours.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Now that she's a celebrity, has it gone to her head? Is, like, she demanding a bigger trailer than yours now or what?

ANDERSON: Demanding a bigger trailer, wants to get paid more than I do. She has an entourage. She has her own personal wig-maker.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Oh, my god. That is amazing.

ANDERSON: She's evolved. She is truly a diva.

SAGAL: We have...

POUNDSTONE: Wait. I have a question. Go back to the magician, the naked magician.

(LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: I don't see any other answer.

(LAUGHTER)

AIDA RODRIGUEZ: Yes.

SAGAL: I was...

POUNDSTONE: I mean...

SAGAL: I was thinking the same thing...

POUNDSTONE: Yeah, I mean...

SAGAL: ...Paula. I was going to let it go, though.

POUNDSTONE: No disrespect to your mother's cleverness, but what other answer is there?

ANDERSON: Neither do I.

POUNDSTONE: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDERSON: And that answer was on the board.

SAGAL: Absolutely. Now, we heard that you are a pretty enthusiastic golfer. And, in fact, you've golfed with President Obama. What was that like?

ANDERSON: That was one of the best rounds of golf I've ever played.

(APPLAUSE)

ANDERSON: President Obama talked a lot of trash. And I'll tell you this. He took all of our money.

SAGAL: Did he really?

(LAUGHTER)

ANDERSON: He's that good of a golfer. It was Chris Paul, myself, Michael Phelps and President Obama. President Obama doesn't hit the ball long off the tee. He hits it about 220, 230 yards. But he hits it straight as an arrow right down the middle of the fairway. And he ended up taking money from all three of us.

SAGAL: I was about to say, you say he took all of your money. You, Chris Paul and Michael Phelps have a lot of money.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDERSON: And President Obama didn't have a problem taking any of it.

SAGAL: No, he wouldn't.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Was he like, you know, so we're going to play - we're going to make this interesting? Is that...

POUNDSTONE: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Was it just, like, that's how you're going to play?

ANDERSON: He kind of suckered us into a bet.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: How so?

ANDERSON: Because we didn't know if we could approach President Obama like that with a bet, so we bet amongst ourselves. And on the third hole, while we were teeing off, Obama was, like, so you guys aren't going to include me into the bet?

(LAUGHTER)

ANDERSON: And we were, like, oh, well, sure, Barack. Come on. Get on board. This is what we're playing for. And he was like, all right. And he commenced to whip our [expletive].

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Wow, what a delight to talk to you, Anthony. But we have invited you here to play a game that this time we're calling...

KURTIS: You've Been Sent Down To Double A.

SAGAL: Your initials are AA, of course, which made us think of double A baseball - that is, the minor league. So we're going to ask you three questions about minor league ball. Answer two correctly, you'll win our prize one of our listeners - the voice of anyone they might like on their answering machine. Bill, who is Anthony Anderson playing for?

KURTIS: Eric Christianson of Anaheim, Calif.

SAGAL: A local - all right. You ready here?

ANDERSON: I'm ready.

SAGAL: All right. Here's your first question. Minor league teams are famous for their promotions, right? One promotion thought up by the West Virginia Power was stopped before it could happen. What was it? A, animal sacrifice night...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: ...In which they were to recreate with a live goat an ancient pagan ritual; B, salute to indoor plumbing night, in which they would close the bathrooms and ask everyone to use port-a-potties instead; or C, wife swap night, in which everybody had the chance to go home with somebody else?

POUNDSTONE: Wow.

ANDERSON: West Virginia - that's definitely wife-swapping.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: You are very certain.

ANDERSON: Yes.

SAGAL: You went for the wrong stereotype. It's indoor plumbing.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: It's salute to indoor plumbing night. They wanted to do this because the idea was you really appreciate indoor plumbing when you don't have access to it. But the health authority shut them down, so they weren't able to.

ANDERSON: All I have to say is you'd really appreciate someone else's wife if you've been married as long as some other people have been.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: All right. Here's your next question. You still have two chances. You can still win this. Something that's never happened before happened at an Atlantic League minor league game. What was it? A, a player swung his bat so hard it came around and hit him in the head so he knocked himself out...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: ...B, a coach was ejected from a game for arguing with a robot umpire; or C, a pop fly was caught and carried away by a seagull, resulting in the first-ever bird-assisted home run?

(LAUGHTER)

ANDERSON: The baseball player swung the bat so hard that he swung around, hit himself in the head and knocked himself out.

SAGAL: Oh, the audience doesn't like that.

UNIDENTIFIED AUDIENCE: B.

SAGAL: I don't know if you can hear, Anthony, but they're all saying it's B.

ANDERSON: I'm going with swung and hit himself in the head and knocked himself out.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: I admire you, sir. But...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: They were right. It was, in fact, B.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: They're trying out this thing where a robot calls balls and strikes. A coach did not like the calls, argued and was thrown out by the human umpire who was monitoring. All right. You have one more chance to get one right. Here we go. Minor League games are known for their shenanigans, but one catcher tried something that cost him his job. What did he do? A, he carved a potato to look like a baseball and threw it to trick a runner while holding onto the real ball to tag him out...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: ...B, he used poison ivy to turn to the opposing pitcher into an actual belly itcher (ph)...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: ...Or C, tired of squatting behind the plate, he dragged a Barcalounger out there and just sat there and challenged them to make him move.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDERSON: I am going to have to go with carved a potato and threw it to get the person out while he held onto the ball.

SAGAL: That's exactly right.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SAGAL: And I just want to say he did this. It worked. He got the guy out. But he was immediately thrown out of the game, and his baseball career was over.

POUNDSTONE: No.

SAGAL: But the potato ball is now preserved in a baseball museum. It was such an amazing thing.

ANDERSON: I love it.

SAGAL: I do, too. Bill, how did Anthony Anderson do on our quiz?

KURTIS: He got 1 out of 3 - that's OK-ish.

(LAUGHTER)

KURTIS: Congratulations, Anthony.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Anthony Anderson has been nominated for an Emmy for best actor in a comedy again for his lead role in ABC's "Black-ish."

Anthony Anderson, what a joy to talk to you. Thanks for joining us on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

POUNDSTONE: Bye, Anthony.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: That's it for our look back at 2019. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.