'Wait Wait' For Aug. 21, 2021: Last Chance To Relax Edition

Aug 21, 2021
Originally published on August 21, 2021 12:08 pm

This week, summer's almost over, so we relax with some soothing moments from past shows. Click the audio link above to hear the whole show.

Ilya S. Savenok / Getty Images for Tibet House

Phoebe Bridgers Plays Not My Job
Musician Phoebe Bridgers answers three questions about feeble bridges - that is, bridges that have done a miserable job at connecting one place to another.

Panel Questions
One Scent Letter

Bluff The Listener
Our panelists read three stories about people enjoying their retirement, only one of which is true.

Jordan Jonas Plays Not My Job
Survival expert Jordan Jonas, winner of the wilderness competition Alone, answers three questions about Burning Man.

Jennifer Lee Plays Not My Job
Jennifer Lee, the writer and director of Frozen, answers three questions about frozen foods.

Owen Wilson Plays Not My Job
Actor Owen Wilson answers three questions about Will's son, specifically, Jaden Smith.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: The following program was taped before an audience of no one.


From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR News quiz. Hey, Jolly Swagman, how about you try Waltzing Ma-Bill-da (ph) with me, Bill Kurtis? And here's your host, who had no idea what I just said but is too scared to admit it, Peter Sagal.


SAGAL: Thank you, Bill. We've already had one week of vacation, but we just weren't able to relax. So we are redoubling our efforts. And we are going to have a lovely restorative week off, or we will die trying.

BILL KURTIS: Instead of chanting a mantra when we need to calm down, we just quietly listen to our favorite segments again and again.

SAGAL: So find your safe space, close your eyes and travel with us back to January of this year when we spoke to singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers.


PHOEBE BRIDGERS: Thank you so much for having me. I love the show with my whole heart.

SAGAL: Oh, you are so nice. You were - out of all the, like, major pop stars, you are the most NPR-ish.

BRIDGERS: Yeah. No, I'm NPR famous for sure. I'm coffee shop famous, too. Like, if I want to talk to a group of only my fans, go into any coffee shop in a college town. That's exactly my demographic. Yeah.

SAGAL: But it has to be, like...

KURTIS: (Laughter).

SAGAL: It has to be, like, an independent coffee shop.

BRIDGERS: No, it's not Starbucks. No, no, no.


BRIDGERS: It's awful because mostly it's when I'm on tour, and I need to use the bathroom.


BRIDGERS: And then I'm, like (laughter)...

SAGAL: Now, the thing usually when I have musicians on the show, I like to help try to define their music for people who may not know them. And what's great about you is you have a very funny Twitter account where you have retweeted people saying things about your music which are hilarious. I love this one because it's so evocative. Phoebe Bridgers is Taylor Swift for women who have crumbs in their bed.

BRIDGERS: (Laughter) Yes.


BRIDGERS: If only I had a healthy relationship with my parents growing up and didn't have crumbs in my bed, who knows? I could have, like, the best music career of all time and be Taylor Swift. It'd be awesome.

SAGAL: I wanted to ask about your origins. You have referenced, shall we say, a less than perfect childhood. So did you start as one of those moody kids who was, like, writing down their feelings in journals and then started putting them to music?

BRIDGERS: I wish. I was pretty attention-seeking and loud. I would go to guitar stores with my mom and just play guitar in the corner. But I would sing really loudly in the store, and she would have to be, like, dude, people don't do that.

SAGAL: (Laughter).

BRIDGERS: This is not your concert at this store, this quiet store right now.

NEGIN FARSAD: (Laughter).

BRIDGERS: So, no, I was very, very loud.

SAGAL: Did you ever busk?

BRIDGERS: Oh, yeah. You know, Pasadena Farmers Market - I was there every weekend in high school playing all sorts of covers. It was a great gig. I'd take, like, a three-hour break and walk around and eat tamales.


FARSAD: Did you ever get, like, a free kale bunch in your hat?

BRIDGERS: Straight up yes. There was a really cute...


BRIDGERS: ...Guy who worked at the produce thing next to me, and he'd always bring me stuff. I got - and it's California, so I got brought, like, herbs and face oil and the weirdest...


BRIDGERS: I got the weirdest stuff in my guitar case.

FARSAD: Tinctures...



SAGAL: That Phoebe - she doesn't have a lot of money, but she smells good, and her face is shiny.

BRIDGERS: I got so many tinctures. Yeah.

SAGAL: One thing I've noticed about your songs is they seem to be about very personal things, right - like, almost like quotidian glimpses of your life. Like...


SAGAL: Your - the biggest hit off the new album is "Kyoto," and it's a song that is about, I was in Kyoto, and I went to the temple, and I got bored. And so I left, and I went to the 7-Eleven. So how do you know when you're just having a day, or how do you know when you're having a day that's a song?

BRIDGERS: I don't really know until, like, two years later. Although I do tweet a lot, and then - and I think about songs almost the same way. Like, sometimes something kind of hyper-specific or poignant will happen to me, and I'll just write it down in my notes on my phone. So then at the end of the year, I just have these random little things that I planned on putting into a song. But sometimes it's just when I'm sitting down and writing, and I accidentally - accidentally something fits that happened.

SAGAL: Has the lockdown affected your songwriting because you can't go anywhere?

BRIDGERS: Yeah, it just doesn't - like, nobody wants to hear about the good things in my life because I've - as - for someone who put a record out in lockdown, I've had a pretty successful album cycle. Nobody wants to hear about that. And nobody wants to hear about the things that everybody else on earth is going through.

SAGAL: Yeah.

BRIDGERS: You know, I feel like I have no unique perspective anymore. I've just been trying to listen to records instead of make them.

SAGAL: You said something, and I'm not sure if you meant that - like, nobody wants to hear happy stuff. And it occurred to me, I've talked to some of your fans, and they're so into how you sing about sadness and depression and stuff like that. Do you ever say to yourself, oh, I can't write about that, that's too happy?

BRIDGERS: No. I think what I get self-conscious of is everything is so mundane that's happy in my life. Like, I haven't found a real way to say something profoundly happy.


BRIDGERS: So I'm working on it. I'm not - I'm definitely not against it.

SAGAL: Do you miss touring? Because you talk a lot about touring.

BRIDGERS: So much. At the beginning of lockdown, I felt like I made a bad genie wish, and I caused it because I complained about touring so much. I'm, like, I don't ever want to tour again. And then this is what happens.

LUKE BURBANK: Great. Thanks a lot, dude.


FARSAD: I was going to say, Phoebe, I'm a comedian, and I'm on the road a lot. And I started to fantasize about, like, different Cinnabons at regional airports, you know? Like, it's gotten to that point.

BRIDGERS: I would eat a entire meal at Hudson News right now, no problem - no problem.


SAGAL: Oh, just have a two pound bag of trail mix - that's all I want right now. Do you - I don't know how to say this - do you have groupies? Do you have, like, obsessive fans who, like, follow you around?

BRIDGERS: Yes, but predominantly very sweet. It's a lot of teenagers who make me friendship bracelets and stuff.


BRIDGERS: So I love it. It's the people who don't like my music very much who talk to me after shows that I hate.

SAGAL: Wait a minute.

BRIDGERS: You know, like, people who are, like, my girlfriend showed me your music, and I hadn't heard you before tonight, and you're pretty good.


BRIDGERS: Like, shut up, man, you know?

SAGAL: (Laughter).

BRIDGERS: Oh, that's my favorite. Or someone coming up to you in public and being, like, man, my girlfriend loves you. Like, cool.


SAGAL: Look, I know that's humiliating. What I get is, oh, my parents are really big fans.

BRIDGERS: Well, it's true, man. It's true. My mom lost her mind when I told her I was going to be on this show...

SAGAL: (Laughter).

BRIDGERS: ...Lost it.

SAGAL: You see what I mean?

FARSAD: (Laughter).

SAGAL: You see what I mean? Well, Phoebe Bridgers, it is a pleasure to talk to you. We have invited you here, though, to play a game we're calling...

KURTIS: Phoebe Bridgers, Meet Feeble Bridges.

BRIDGERS: (Laughter).

SAGAL: So we're going to ask you three questions about feeble bridges - that is, bridges that have fallen over, collapsed or otherwise done a bad job of spanning things. Answer two of them correctly, you'll win our prize for one of our listeners - the voice of anyone they might choose from our show for their voicemail. Bill, who is Phoebe Bridgers playing for?

KURTIS: Julie Norton (ph) of Milwaukee, Wisc.

SAGAL: All right, here's your first question. A bridge collapsed in Nienburg in Saale, Germany, in 1825 during a celebration for a local duke. Why did it collapse? A, because the vibrations of people singing shook it to pieces; B, because somebody thought a really nice present for the duke would be these nifty steel cables that seemed really easy to remove; or C, because the duke, who weighed 370 pounds, demanded to bounce on it.


SAGAL: It is A, Phoebe.


SAGAL: You are exactly right.


SAGAL: They had a group singing happy - well, you know, nineteenth-century German equivalent of "Happy Birthday" - to the duke. And the resonance with their loud voices apparently shook the bridge so much that it fell over.

All right, next question. In 1845, the Yarmouth suspension bridge in Great Britain collapsed after hundreds of people gathered on it to watch which of these? A, the annual floating of the cheeses; B, another bridge, which everybody said was going to collapse any second now, so don't miss it; or C, a clown in a washtub being pulled along by four geese.

BRIDGERS: I'm going to go B. I'm going to go B. I want to live in a world where that happens. It sounds like a Lemony Snicket book.

SAGAL: It does. It does sound like a terrible event. No. In fact, it was C. It was the clown in the washtub being pulled along by four geese.


SAGAL: It was a promotion for a circus that had just come to town. Last question - four years after its construction, there's this $200,000 bridge in the Netherlands that is already falling into disrepair. Why? A, it was built to help squirrels cross the highway safely, but so far, only five squirrels have used it; B, Dutch people would rather just wait for winter and skate across the river; or C, nobody tested the surface for wear from wooden shoes.

BRIDGERS: (Laughter) I think B. That's the most reasonable.

SAGAL: You think B - that rather than drive across the bridge, the Dutch people would rather wait until winter and skate across the bridge.

BRIDGERS: OK, maybe it's A. Maybe it's for squirrels.

SAGAL: It is for squirrels.




SAGAL: They built an entire bridge for squirrels. And in the four years after its construction, only five squirrels have been seen to use it.

BRIDGERS: That is so awesome.

SAGAL: Bill, how did Phoebe Bridgers do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Phoebe won 2 out of 3, and in our book, that's a win.



KURTIS: Congratulations.

SAGAL: Phoebe Bridgers' new album, "Punisher," is up for four Grammys.

Phoebe Bridgers, thank you so much for joining us on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME. You are utterly delightful.

BRIDGERS: Oh, thank you guys so much.

SAGAL: Take care.


BRIDGERS: (Singing) Day off in Kyoto, got bored at the temple, looked around at the 7-Eleven. The band took the speed train...

KURTIS: Here's a moment we loved with our own pod of panelists.

HELEN HONG: Adam, the post office is back. They're coming out with new stamps this summer unlike any we've seen before. What is special about them?

ADAM FELBER: They are, Helen, scratch-and-sniff.

HONG: That is correct.




HONG: Can you believe it? Finally, they came up with something that is going to save the Postal Service.


FELBER: I can't wait to smell Lincoln.


HONG: I was more curious about George Washington's smell, frankly.

HARI KONDABOLU: Are they trying to get children to use the post office? Like, somebody's got to.


PAULA POUNDSTONE: You know, honestly, I thought the old ones were scratch-and-sniff.


POUNDSTONE: I feel like an idiot.

HONG: This is the most bonkers story I've ever heard. Yes, the United States Post Office is issuing scratch-and-sniff stamps because when your business is in financial ruin, what you should do is release a product that costs the same but is way more expensive to produce. They look really fun and will be a big hit among the one remaining man who still sends letters. And I don't know about you, but I definitely trust the company that made licking stamps taste like that to come up with good smells.


POUNDSTONE: I still write letters, and I love to receive letters. And so it's pretty much me and Bed Bath & Beyond keeping the post office going right now.


HONG: (Laughter).


BOBBY PARKER: (Singing) You got to lick them and stick them and send them on their way. I mean, stamps on the letter that I'm sending you today.

SAGAL: When we come back, how not to enjoy your golden years and how to survive when you're all alone, can't go anywhere and have no internet. No, really, it can be done. That's when we come back with more WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME from NPR.

KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR News quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis. And here's your host, a man whose meditation mantra is, man, I really need a better meditation mantra, Peter Sagal.


SAGAL: Thank you, Bill. So we are doing our best to finally relax before we run out of time to relax, which, let me tell you, makes it way harder to relax.

KURTIS: If you need some suggestions on how to spend your free time, we can help. Here's a Bluff The Listener game from last April with Mo Rocca, Negin Farsad and Adam Burke.


INDIRA RANGANATHAN: Hi, this is Indira from Tarrytown.

SAGAL: Oh, I know Tarrytown 'cause I used to travel across the Tappan Zee Bridge back when it was a death trap. What do you do up there?

RANGANATHAN: I'm a voice actor.

SAGAL: How very cool. Couple of questions. What sort of things do you do?

RANGANATHAN: So if you've ever been to a Pandora jewelry conference, you might have heard me. I've done Olay, Pandora jewelry. I've done MGM Resorts. I'm basically naming every audition and job I've ever gotten because they're very few and far between.

SAGAL: Yeah, I understand. Well, it's nice to have you with us, Indira. You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what's Indira's topic?

KURTIS: I Retire.

SAGAL: Retirement, when you can kick back and never again have to talk to your ungrateful producers who frankly, you have been carrying on your back for years, though they will never admit it. Oh, I'm sorry. Anyway, this week we read about someone who is really enjoying the retirement lifestyle. Our panelists are going to tell you about it. Pick the one who's telling the truth - the WAIT WAITer of your choice on your voicemail. You ready to play?

RANGANATHAN: Yes, can't wait.

SAGAL: All right, we'll start with Adam Burke.

ADAM BURKE: On paper, Simon Drayton (ph) is a typical retiree. He likes to get up early, is in bed around 8 p.m. and spends his day with a mixture of easygoing activities - "Murder, She Wrote" reruns on TV, a game of Pinnacle with his fellow residents, maybe a round of bingo before supper. All pretty normal, except for the fact that Drayton is 26 years old...

FARSAD: (Laughter).

BURKE: ...And still a full-time employee of a brand management firm in Manhattan. Drayton is just one of a number of Gen Z individuals who are members of the Early Sunset Retirement Group, a sort of baby boomer cosplay society operating in...

FARSAD: (Laughter).

BURKE: ...Brooklyn, N.Y., that gathers at a special facility to emulate the retirement utopia of their grandparents. One member, 23-year-old Sonal Khan (ph), says the best part is playing mahjong with the other fogeys...


BURKE: ...At Early Sunset. It can get immersive, explains Early Sunset founder Josh Dutton (ph). You'll get these perfectly healthy 20-year-olds complaining about fictitious aches and maladies. It's a bit like a LARP, he said, using an abbreviation for live-action role play or, he adds, LAARP.

SAGAL: Twenty-somethings in Brooklyn pretending to be retirees and really enjoying it. Your next story of someone enjoying their retirement comes from Negin Farsad.

FARSAD: Cheryl and Edward Patton of Hamburg, N.Y., were mystified. They couldn't figure out who was throwing used coffee cups on their front yard. And it didn't just happen once or twice. It happened nearly every day for three years. The Pattons started collecting the offending coffee cups as evidence and actually installed cameras to try to catch the coffee cup perp. But he was good at flinging and evading the cameras. So a bunch of neighbors joined forces, setting up elaborate stakeouts until they finally got a license plate number.

The cops eventually managed to catch him in the act. And it turns out the coffee cups were being tossed by 76-year-old Larry Pope. Apparently, Larry and Cheryl were co-workers before their golden years. And on the job, Larry made it a practice to be constantly annoyed with her. He held on to that annoyance well after his retirement and right into his late 70s, like any healthy person would. At the end of the day, Larry's impressive because he's really broadening the scope of #retirement goals.

SAGAL: A man who decided to spend three years of his retirement taking petty vengeance on an old co-worker he did not like. Your last story of a relaxing retiree comes from Mo Rocca.

MO ROCCA: When Louisa Henry (ph) was a young woman just starting at the Dexter shoe factory in Lawrence, Mass., her life was filled with promise, her cheeks the color of rose tips, her lips like red apples. With her delicate fingers, she attached the shoes eyelets. Her fiance, the strapping Buck Jordan...

BURKE: (Laughter).

ROCCA: ...Cut the tongues for the shoes. Oh, Louisa was happy. But soon Buck went mad from arsenic poisoning and drowned himself in the Merrimack River. The factory closed. And Louisa, in her despair, turned to the only other work she knew, crafting artificial flowers from wax and wire for Lawrence's ladies of fashion to wear. But, eventually, she went blind and the Convent of St. Leo's...

FARSAD: (Laughter).

ROCCA: ...Gave her a room in the basement, which is where Louisa discovered her retirement passion. She feels around for dust bunnies, which she shapes into holiday toys. I turn dust bunnies into toy bunnies, blind old Louisa says meekly.

FARSAD: (Laughter).

ROCCA: Each Christmas, the people of Lawrence, a goodly people, line up to buy these clumps of dust from Louisa. Everyone plays along, even the people with severe allergies.


ROCCA: Because Louisa has had a very hard life. And she deserves to believe that her clumps look like bunnies.


SAGAL: All right, Indira. We read about one of these retirees. From Adam Burke, a 20-something who's not really retired but is enjoying it now anyway at retirement camp in Brooklyn; from Negin, a man who has spent his retirement throwing coffee cups for three years into the yard of an old co-worker; or from Mo, the Dickensian tale...


SAGAL: ...Of the lady from Lawrence, Mass., who spends her golden years making bunnies out of dust bunnies. Which of these is the real story of retirement we found?

RANGANATHAN: I feel like it's Adam's, but I'm going to go with Mo just 'cause I want it to be Mo's, and I know it's not.

SAGAL: You're going to go with Mo. All right.

BURKE: (Laughter).

SAGAL: I admire that. I absolutely admire that. To bring you the correct answer, we spoke to someone involved in this real retirement.

EDWARD PATTON: About three years ago, we began to see a steady procession of cups, one a day. And it would appear it was somebody with an issue with my family.


SAGAL: That was Ed Patton, the man who was on the receiving end of the avalanche of cups that came over his fence once per night for three years. You may even have known this, but Negin had the real answer. Mo, however, in addition...

FARSAD: (Laughter).

SAGAL: ...I think to touching us deeply in our hearts, lied. And of course, you gave him a point.

ROCCA: Indira, I'm going to send you a wax-and-wire flower.


SAGAL: Indira, thank you so much for playing with us. It's a delight to talk to you. We'll listen for you the next time we hear somebody going on about Oil of Olay.

RANGANATHAN: Great. Thank you so much. Thank you so much.

ROCCA: Bye, Indira.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.



FARSAD: Bye, Indira.


SAGAL: Now, let's say you want to go outside, but you're worried about a various variant or, even worse, having to talk to people after a long time without any practice. So why not head off into the wilderness by yourself and see how long you can last?

KURTIS: That's the premise of the competition show "Alone." In March, we spoke to the winner of sixth season, Jordan Jonas, who lived for three months by himself in the Canadian arctic and didn't really want to come back.


JORDAN JONAS: Why, hello. Good to be here.

SAGAL: It's a pleasure to have you here. So for people who don't know the show, I described it. The idea is this is a show that was, I think, originally on the History Channel. And they pick you up, and they just drop you someplace.

JONAS: Yeah, it is. They just dump you off somewhere in the middle of the wilderness.

SAGAL: I imagine, first of all, that the legal disclaimer you have to sign must be the size of an encyclopedia...

JONAS: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Right?

JONAS: Yeah, of course, nobody read that, but we did sign it.

PETER GROSZ: (Laughter).

JONAS: But then they basically just set the helicopter down, give you the boot, and that's it. You have a tap out button when you're ready to quit, and you just try to survive and film it while you're doing it.

SAGAL: What instructions were you given? Were you said, you got to film everything?

JONAS: Oh, yeah, we were given - you know, they give you a quick rundown of the camera's orientation before they send you out so you kind of get the basics. And then, yeah, they tell you every waking moment, you've got to be filming. They give you a few different cameras. You know, if you run out of batteries, they'll do a blind drop where they come set batteries on the shore, and you go pick them up. And, yeah, if they find you're not filming enough, you'll hear from them (laughter).

SAGAL: Really? You're sitting there freezing to death in the wilderness, and somebody knocks on your tent and says, excuse me...

JONAS: It's usually during the medical checks. Yeah. Yeah. (Unintelligible).

SAGAL: And so - and, yeah, you mentioned these medical checks. Like, once a week, they just show up, and they make sure you're not dying.

JONAS: Yeah. Yeah, that's right. They weigh you, make sure you can continue. If you start to have any signs of organ failure (laughter) or anything like that, they might pull you out.

SAGAL: (Laughter).

GROSZ: But it's only once a week, right?

JONAS: That's right. It's, like, roughly - usually more than that, maybe 10 days.

GROSZ: So it's up to you. It's truly just up to you to, like, monitor yourself and know...

JONAS: It really is. They do a really good - it's pretty legit as far as what it's advertised as. They do a good job of - well, it's a good job of just (laughter) leaving you out there.

BRIAN BABYLON: Like, what - how do you know that you're good at that? Like, did you grow up being just a orphan knowing, like, oh yeah? I can live on the streets.

JONAS: (Laughter).

BABYLON: I know. I know this life.

JONAS: Yeah. I've lived for a bunch of years in Siberia with some native nomadic reindeer herding folks.


JONAS: I learned a lot of skills from them.

BABYLON: Wait. You just did that for fun?

JONAS: Yeah. (Laughter) You could call it that, maybe (laughter).

BABYLON: That sounds like the sequel to "The Revenant."

JONAS: (Laughter) "The Revenant" felt very familiar. Yeah (laughter). Yeah, look at that.

SAGAL: Did you, like, casually drop that on your competitors during that orientation...

JONAS: (Laughter).

SAGAL: ...Where you're, just, oh, yeah. I haven't been outside this much since I lived for five years...

JONAS: (Laughter).

SAGAL: ...With nomadic reindeer herders in the far northern taiga.

GROSZ: And they're all, like, I live in Scottsdale.


JONAS: All they had to do is retort with, yeah, but you look pretty skinny, you know?

SAGAL: Yeah.

JONAS: Put me right in my place (laughter).

SAGAL: I got the sense that you really enjoyed yourself out there.

JONAS: I did. I did. Yeah. Honestly, when it ended, I was - I expected it might go twice as long. So I kind of - when it did end, I was kind of asking them if my wife could stay...

SAGAL: Really?


JONAS: ...A little longer out there. It was all set up and got plenty of food.

SAGAL: Well, wait a minute. All right.

GROSZ: (Laughter).

SAGAL: So give us a sense of this. So your wife shows up - because they bring your wife out to say you've won. And you say - what would you show your wife? Give us a tour, if you can...

JONAS: (Laughter).

SAGAL: ...Of your little campsite.

JONAS: Well, I wanted to show her all the things. I showed her what I was using for toilet paper, which was my roll of rabbits' feet. I had a whole stack of rabbits' feet, which I thought was...

SAGAL: From actual rabbits.

JONAS: Well, you want to use all of the animal. So I would eat pretty much everything. But there's not much you can do with all those rabbits' feet, so they...

BABYLON: Jordan, you have to play the lotto, man.

JONAS: (Laughter).

BABYLON: I - immediately.

JONAS: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That was...

SAGAL: I understand. So what else? Continue the tour.

JONAS: Well, I showed her - took her to tour. I had actually saved her a piece of the moose heart that I was really excited to share with her. But by that time...


JONAS: It had dried up to a point that it was completely unappetizing. But the thought counted.

SAGAL: Everybody knows you want to get the moose heart in the first couple of months. So, yeah, that makes sense.

JONAS: Yeah (laughter).

SAGAL: What else - what else around there?

JONAS: Should have known. I showed her the little - the food cache that I made. It was like a little hut on stilts because I knew she'd recognize it from Siberia and find it nostalgic. So we just...

GROSZ: You found the right woman, man. That...

LAURISTON: You really did.

BABYLON: She loves you.

JONAS: Yeah (laughter).


SAGAL: I ask this question for everybody I know. You were alone for 77 days. A lot of us have been dealing with solitude. Do you have any tips for, like, how to deal with being alone most of the day?

JONAS: Well, yeah. You definitely - you want to keep busy doing productive things and not sit there and just wallow in your loneliness. You know, not having a lot of skeletons in your closets helps, so you're not sitting there thinking about all the regrets and things you should have done (laughter).

LAURISTON: What a Zen master.


JONAS: Having good relationships so that you know even if you'll be separated for a while, you can come back and pick right back up.

SAGAL: Did you have to, like, figure out a way to entertain yourself in addition to getting - I mean, you can't just get up, work all day, eat, work all day, sleep.

JONAS: Yeah, yeah. I made a - aside from just running around with my boat trying to hunt things, which was really fun, I would - I made a - you know, made a deck of cards, played some solitaire.

BABYLON: I thought you were going to say you did, like, episodes of "The Office," and you played every character.


JONAS: I did do a lot of dumb skits. I was really hoping some of them would make it on, and a couple of them did. But the one I was hoping the most would make it was the invasion of Normandy. But that didn't make the cut, so...

SAGAL: So, like, tell me how you reenacted the invasion of Normandy by yourself.

JONAS: Well, I had a (laughter) - I was on a beach, fortunately, so I had the beach (laughter).

SAGAL: Yeah, OK.

JONAS: I could put a hat on if I was a German and take it off if I was the American and bounce back and forth between Charlie and Fritz. And we'd fight each other.

LAURISTON: These people are worried about surviving, and Jordan's got a wardrobe...

JONAS: (Laughter).

LAURISTON: ...For his skits.


GROSZ: Yeah, you were thriving, man.

LAURISTON: Literally thriving.

SAGAL: Well, Jordan Jonas, obviously we could talk to you all day, but we have, in fact, asked you here to play a game we're calling...

KURTIS: You'll Wish You Were Alone.

SAGAL: You spent months alone in the wilderness, as we have discussed, so we thought we'd ask you about an experience that happens with a very large gathering of people in the wilderness, namely, Burning Man. Answer 2 out of 3 questions correctly, you'll win our prize for one of our listeners - the voice of anyone they might like on their voicemail. Bill, who is Jordan Jonas playing for?

KURTIS: Heather Walsh of Los Angeles, Calif.

SAGAL: You haven't been to Burning Man. Have you ever burned a man to keep warm?


JONAS: That's a whole different story.

SAGAL: I guess - we won't get into that. All right. First question - Burning Man is this festival, of course, where tens of thousands of people descend on the Nevada desert for a week at the end of the summer. And as you can imagine, sometimes people get hurt. The festival was sued once by a man who injured himself. How? A, he snorted one whole pound of confectioner's sugar because he was convinced it would eventually turn out to be cocaine; B, he claimed his aura was damaged by an ancient spirit who was annoyed by all the electronica music; or C, he walked right into the Burning Man bonfire while it was burning.

JONAS: Which one's the true answer? I'm going to have to go with B.

SAGAL: You're going to go with B, that he claimed his aura was damaged by an ancient spirit.

JONAS: Sounds about right (laughter).

SAGAL: No, it was actually three. This guy decided the cool thing to do would be to walk into the Burning Man bonfire when they burn the man. And he said that the organizers of Burning Man should have prevented him from walking into the burning man at Burning Man while it was burning.

JONAS: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Yeah. All right. That's OK. You've still got two chances. Burning Man is, of course, famous for its committed countercultural vibe, leading to which of these people going there to spread their guru-like wisdom to the masses? A, 89-year-old sexpert Dr. Ruth; B, former Congressman Dennis Kucinich; or C, Fozzie Bear, the Muppet.

JONAS: All right (laughter). I'm hoping Dennis Kucinich wins.

SAGAL: You're right. Dennis Kucinich...


JONAS: All right.


SAGAL: He did. He spoke the same year that anti-tax zealot Grover Norquist spoke. Counterculture for the win. All right. This is fabulous.

JONAS: Pressure's on now.

SAGAL: If you get this one right, you win. Despite the anarchic vibe, every day is packed with organized activities at Burning Man. At the last Burning Man they managed to hold in the desert in 2019, you could do which of these? A, Bob Ross and Chill, where you go to watch old episodes of "The Joy Of Painting" while listening to dance beats; B, an event called This is a Room Full of Balloons, which is, in fact, just a room full of balloons; or C, the Insults Booth, which warns it will make you cry like the pathetic human that you are.

JONAS: I'm going to have to go with A.

SAGAL: Yes, you're right.


SAGAL: Of course, all of them...


SAGAL: ...Were actual events that you could have enjoyed...

JONAS: (Laughter).

SAGAL: ...At 2019 Burning Man. Bill, how did Jordan Jonas do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Two out of 3 - he won our event. Good luck.

SAGAL: Congratulations. Yay.

KURTIS: Congratulations.

SAGAL: That's two huge wins.

JONAS: (Laughter) Yes, really.

SAGAL: Jordan Jonas is a survival expert and the winner of Season 6 of "Alone." You can find out more at jordanjonas.com.

Jordan Jonas, thank you so much for joining us on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME. Congratulations. That was amazing to watch you, man.

JONAS: It's been an honor. Thanks, guys.

SAGAL: Thank you so much for playing.

BABYLON: Good job, man.

LAURISTON: Bye, Jordan.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.

JONAS: Bye, guys.


SAGAL: When we come back, the head of Disney animation and Owen Wilson, who stars in the latest Marvel superhero TV show. It's like having Disney+ without the monthly fee or any visual images. We'll be back in a minute with more of WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME from NPR.

KURTIS: From NPR and Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T, TELL ME the NPR News quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis, and here's your host, the first person to be developing an ulcer from worrying about getting an ulcer, Peter Sagal.


SAGAL: Thank you, Bill. So we're all doing our best to finally get in some quiet time before everything gets loud again. And we find it's useful to think about nice things like Disney movies, right? They tend to be very pleasant.

KURTIS: Except for "The Black Hole." You ever see that? I'm still traumatized.

SAGAL: Jennifer Lee co-wrote and directed a little movie called "Frozen." And once that became the most successful animated movie of all time, Disney made her head of all animation. We spoke to her in December 2019 right before the release of the sequel "Frozen II."


JENNIFER LEE: Thank you. Well, I just have to say, being on this show is actually a highlight of my career because I think, of everything, it's the one that's going to make my ex-husband really jealous.

SAGAL: There you go.

KURTIS: (Laughter).


BURKE: Excellent.

SAGAL: I am so happy to do that for you, given the joy you've given me. But I have to ask you, don't think your, say, winning an Oscar did that?

LEE: (Laughter) I didn't ask him. I was too polite about that.

SAGAL: Really? Now, what's interesting to me. And I say this as a father of daughters who saw a lot of Disney animation before "Frozen" came along, is that we know about the whole thing about the Disney princess and that the beautiful woman, a beautiful girl who's rescued literally by Prince Charming. And the great thing about "Frozen" is it totally subverts that it. Was that your intent? Did you say to yourself when you were given the chance to make this movie, I'm going to completely stick it to all those princes?

LEE: You know, I will say I have to give credit. Chris Buck, my - he's my fellow director on this. The idea of having true love, not be romantic but familial was just something that we thought was fantastic. And to do a film where two sisters or two women are not at odds but are actually trying to support each other, they were just things that we wished we'd had grown up with and we'd never seen. So, you know, there's some fun we had with Hans.

SAGAL: This is a spoiler for those of you with kids who haven't seen the movie more than, say, 600 times.


SAGAL: But Hans, of course, is the guy who's introduced as that - literally the handsome prince who's going to rescue the young heroine. And it turns out he's a cad. And I've never seen that before. Did anybody from Disney - because, of course, this is before the movie was a huge success. Did anybody say to you, oh, we're not sure about this?

LEE: Oh, no, because - I mean, they're now pretty much 50-50 women and men. And every woman said, I've dated that man. We have to...


LEE: We need to warn the girls of the world.

ROCCA: Can I ask? Is your ex-husband named Hans?


SAGAL: Did you ever do any research or - I don't know how you would do it...

LEE: (Laughter) Yes.

SAGAL: ...Into what the core audience the children would want from a sequel to "Frozen," what they would want to see?

LEE: We didn't really in the sense that we felt like if we - we had so many requests of what we should do. If we listened to that, we wouldn't build it in the true way. We did, however, do a lot of research where we went to Finland and Iceland and Norway. We walked on glaciers. We went in deep in the forest. And in fact, we actually took a ship called the Hurtigruten down the fjords of Norway.

SAGAL: The Hurtigruten.

LEE: The Hurtigruten. And oddly enough, while we were there, our team had lunch with Peter Sagal's parents.

SAGAL: What? What?


SAGAL: I had absolutely no idea.


SAGAL: With my parents. They go on cruises. What else do they do? And this is what happens. They come home. And my mother says, we met these people on the boat. They're big fans of yours. That's it.


SAGAL: She doesn't say, oh, they were making "Frozen II." It was very exciting.


SAGAL: I had no - that is amazing.

SAGAL: To ask a more pertinent question. Can you weigh in on this controversy about Olaf's height?

LEE: Oh, gosh. Yes. Apparently, around Twitter, there was some video game that said Olaf was 5'4". And that would put all of the other characters somewhere in the 8-to-10-foot range.

SAGAL: Right.


LEE: And an argument went back-and-forth really trying to convince the world that they were giants. So I think it was a typo. I checked with production. He's 3'5" from frozen toe to tip of his little wooden twigs. So we can put the controversy to rest (laughter).

SAGAL: Please.

ROCCA: Can I ask which "Frozen" character do you think would be the most delicious to eat?


LEE: Well, I mean, I think there's no doubt it would be Olaf.

ROCCA: Right, of course.


ROCCA: That makes - right.

LEE: Yeah. With a little sugar, he'd be just right.


SAGAL: All right. One more question before we get to the game. So obviously, part of the Disney experience is that, for every movie, there's a huge amount of merchandising. And, you know, we all saw it with Elsa and everything with "Frozen." Do you, as the director, the creator of the film, get to approve that stuff, or is that out of your hands?

LEE: Well, we do. The first film We did almost everything, but - they didn't think we would sell that much so...

SAGAL: (Laughter).

LEE: But this one, we actually have a whole team because we can't - there's too many. It's thousands of - from around the world.

ROCCA: I think there should be a line of foods, "Frozen."

BURKE: I think frozen foods is a thing.

ROCCA: It already exists. OK.


SAGAL: Well, Jennifer Lee, it is a pleasure to talk to you. We have asked you here to play the game that we're calling...

KURTIS: Let It Thaw, Let It Thaw.

SAGAL: You made two "Frozen" movies. But what do you know about frozen foods?

ROCCA: Oh, my God. See. I was ahead of the curve.


SAGAL: You were. We're going to ask you three questions about iced cuisine. Answer two out of three correctly. Do that, and you'll win our prize for one of our listeners, a queen Bill Kurtis Halloween costume - no, just actually a voicemail message. Bill, who is Jennifer Lee playing for?

KURTIS: Sarah Reese (ph) of Los Angeles, Calif.

SAGAL: All right. You ready to do this?

LEE: I'm ready.

SAGAL: Here's your first question. There are a lot of frozen foods with celebrity endorsements and tie-ins, including which of these - A, Larry The Cable Guy's official Git-R-Done Grub Biscuit and Sausage Gravy Meal...


SAGAL: ...B, Master P's Frozen Peas, or C, Tom Cruise Diet Dianetics Delights.

LEE: Oh. OK. I want to go with Tom Cruise.

SAGAL: You really want to go for the Tom Cruise...

LEE: You're clearly saying I shouldn't be because you're hesitating.


LEE: The one that I like the most though because it was so long was A.

SAGAL: A, Larry the Cable - you want to go with that one?


SAGAL: That's the one. You got it.


SAGAL: All right, Jennifer. It's very good. Here is your next question.


SAGAL: A huge part of the frozen food business, naturally, is frozen desserts, including which of these, A, the License To Chill, a popsicle in the shape of Daniel Craig's naked torso...


SAGAL: ...B, the Intuit Pie, a more woke ice cream sandwich...


SAGAL: ...Or, C, Frozen Flaming Hot Cheetos?

LEE: Oh, are there those? Because my daughter would love them.


LEE: I'll go with C.

SAGAL: You're going to go with Frozen, Flaming Hot Cheetos. No, in fact, believe it or not, it was License To Chill.

BURKE: What?


SAGAL: They exist. It's a popsicle in the shape of Daniel Craig's naked torso.


SAGAL: All right. The heyday, Jennifer, of frozen food was the 1960s, which was when somebody tried out which of these business ideas - A, Pillsbury Frozen Flour, B, Rent-A-Chicken, which would provide you a mother hen to sit on your frozen food and warm it the natural way...


SAGAL: ...Or C, Tad's 30 Varieties Of Meats? It was a chain restaurant where every table had a microwave for you to cook the frozen food they would bring to you.

LEE: Oh, God.

ROCCA: That sounds neat.

LEE: Oh. All right. I'm going with C.

SAGAL: You're right. You did it.


SAGAL: That was the idea. You go to the restaurant. Microwaves, which they did have - they were very large from our eyes. And they'd bring you frozen food. And you'd stick it in microwave and eat it. The restaurant chain did not last long.

LEE: I'm shocked. I'm shocked.

SAGAL: No. Bill, how did filmmaker Jennifer Lee do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Two out of three for Jennifer Lee.


SAGAL: Congratulations. Jennifer Lee is the chief creative officer of Disney Animation. Her new movie "Frozen II" is in theaters now. Jennifer Lee, thank you so much for joining us on WAIT, WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.


SAGAL: What a pleasure to talk to you. Take care.

LEE: Take care.

SAGAL: Bye. Bye.


IDINA MENZEL: (Singing) Let it go. Let it go. Can't hold it back anymore...

SAGAL: Just last February, we spoke to one of our favorite actors, Owen Wilson, who manages to be perfectly himself while playing a wide variety of roles. I asked him if he knows before a stranger says a word to him which of his movies they love most.


OWEN WILSON: Sometimes, you can kind of if they're going to be sort of like a, you know, maybe a fan of "Armageddon" or "Anaconda," "Bottle Rocket."

SAGAL: I don't know - I guess I do know why this is, but seeing you just makes me happy.

WILSON: Really?

SAGAL: You have that effect, yeah, 'cause I love your movies, like all sane people. And you generally play very charming, lovely people that's great to be around. So I'm sort of having that reaction to you right now.

WILSON: Oh, good. I appreciate that.

SAGAL: Is that what - I was wondering kind of about that. Is that what people expect from you if they meet you, that you'll sort of be goofy and affable and charming in the way you are mostly in the movies?

WILSON: Well, I don't know if I - you know, if that - the scouting reports I'd love to lead off, you know, hopefully pleasant and - yeah.

SAGAL: Is there a kind of role that you'd like to play that you don't get offered because of people - what people think of you or how people sort of picture you?

WILSON: I'm working on this Marvel thing with Tom Hiddleston. And he quoted something the other day. And I was saying, oh, is that Shakespeare? He said, yes, it's from "Hamlet." I said, have you played Hamlet? And he had. And then, you know, because he's such a polite guy, after sort of that, there's a little bit of a pause. And then he said - have you ever played Hamlet? And I thought that was such a nice thing that someone would, you know, believe. I meet a lot of people that, God, love to see him playing Hamlet. That's what we really are missing.

FAITH SALIE: I would love to see you play Hamlet.

SAGAL: I would pay money. I would...

SALIE: I would love to see Owen Wilson do Shakespeare.

WILSON: Well, maybe it's kind of the feedback I need, yeah.

LACI MOSLEY: (Laughter).


SAGAL: Exactly.

GROSZ: Yeah.

SAGAL: I think so. I get the sense that you're somewhat competitive. Is this true?

WILSON: Almost feel like you're, like, setting me up because I literally just got done playing tennis doubles and...

SAGAL: Oh, wow.

WILSON: ...Really competitive and really intense. Like, I really get into competition. So, yeah. You guys heard of pickleball?

SAGAL: Pickleball is like...



SAGAL: It's played on, like, a miniature tennis court of some kind.

WILSON: Yeah. And I started playing just a couple weeks ago. And I felt the first time I walked on the floor, there isn't a steep learning curve. Like, I was already, like, a pretty strong player.

SAGAL: Sure.


SAGAL: You're already elite level. That's a nice feeling, I have to admit.

WILSON: I (unintelligible) didn't feel that.

SALIE: What happens when you lose? How do you feel - how do you react when you lose?

WILSON: I'm not a sore loser. Like, I'm not one of those people that's - there are people that are so competitive. They, like, can't compete because they can't take losing. And I'm the type that - I would rather play somebody who's a little bit better than me and lose because if I do win eventually or, you know, every once in a while, it's so exciting. So I'm not a bad - although, I mean, even as I'm saying it, I guess I have thrown a tennis racket.


SAGAL: Sure. It would make...

GROSZ: And that was during a Scrabble loss.

SAGAL: (Laughter) Just grab the tennis racket from the wall.

MOSLEY: Wait. Owen, do you play with those guys that you were just playing with often? Do you guys have a rivalry?

WILSON: Yeah, we do play quite a bit. And the teams sort of switch. For a while, it was me and this guy Frank (ph) who actually - when he hit a good track, he was playing against me today. And he hit like a winner. And then he yelled out, that's how you pepper a steak.


GROSZ: That's a competitive person.

WILSON: I heard it and immediately was like, OK, this is going to come back in this match. And it definitely did. I ended up saying it four times to him.

SAGAL: So when you hit a winner, you're like, no, that's how you pepper a steak?

WILSON: That's how you pepper a steak.


SAGAL: Well, Owen Wilson, it is really fun to talk to you. But we have, in fact, invited you here to play a game that this time we're calling...

KURTIS: Wilson, Meet Will's Son.

SAGAL: And by that, Owen, we mean Will Smith's son, Jaden Smith. So Jaden, if people are not familiar, is also an actor, as well as a fashion icon and musician. He's a personality. He's an influencer. Answer 2 out of 3 questions correctly about Jaden Smith - you'll win our prize for one of our listeners, the voice of anyone they may choose for their voicemail. Bill, who is Owen Wilson playing for?

KURTIS: Lisa Robinson of Woodstock, Ga.

SAGAL: First question. Now, Jaden is known as a fashion icon. For example, which of these did he wear to the wedding of Kim Kardashian to Kanye West - A, a cloth diaper with an oversized diamond pin; B, a white Batman suit, complete with mask; or C, his very own custom-made Vera Wang wedding gown?

WILSON: Next question.


WILSON: OK. I'm going to say A.

SAGAL: You're going to settle for A, the cloth diaper. No, it was the Batman suit.


SAGAL: Here he is. You can find him - white Batman suit, complete with the armor and the abs.

WILSON: Aw, geez.

SAGAL: All right. You still have two more chances. Not a problem here. Jaden is also known for his provocative and sometimes philosophical Twitter feed. Which of these is a real Twitter thought from Jaden? A, how do we know that our eyes aren't closed all the time, and the inside of our eyelids just look like the world? B, if a cupcake falls from a tree, how far away will it be from down #Jupiter? C, if we're descended from monkeys, how come we don't see them when we look up #Hashtag?

WILSON: Could it be B?

SAGAL: Yes, Owen. It could be B.


SAGAL: Congratulations. That's what it is. We have no idea what he means.

GROSZ: That is bizarre.

SAGAL: It's very strange. But you can get more of these - well, as a matter of fact, we have one more...

GROSZ: Well, he just gained a Twitter follower. I want to hear more things like that.


GROSZ: That sounds very interesting.

SAGAL: So if you get this right, you win. Even though he's an international superstar, Jaden is sometimes himself starstruck. Which of these was a real tweet he once sent about an interaction with a celebrity - A, Doris Day is my musical inspiration, and I know one day she'll call me back; B, I ran into Emo Philips at the mall and touched his hair, and it felt like happiness; or C, I saw Owen Wilson one time from a distance, and we just stared at each other. Then his car drove off.

WILSON: I'm going to have to go with C.

SAGAL: And you'd be right.


SAGAL: That's what he tweeted.

WILSON: There we go. That's unbelievable.

SAGAL: And it was in April 2015. Do you remember locking eyes...

MOSLEY: Locking eyes?

SAGAL: ...With Jaden Smith somewhere before you drove off?

WILSON: Is that who that was?


SAGAL: Bill, how did Owen Wilson do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Two out of three. That's how you pepper a steak, Owen Wilson.


SAGAL: Owen Wilson's new movie "Bliss" is available now on Amazon Prime. It is a head trip and well-worth your time. Watch it. Owen Wilson, thank you so much for joining us.

WILSON: Thank you, guys.

KURTIS: Thanks, Owen.

SAGAL: Take care, Owen. Thank you so much for your time. Bye-bye.

MOSLEY: Bye. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.