'Wait Wait' for Nov. 27, 2021: A Cornucopia of Guests Edition

Nov 27, 2021

It's Thanksgiving! So, we're taking a break to eat an entire serving bowl of stuffing and to relisten to some of our recent guests that we're most thankful for. Click the audio link above to hear the whole show.

Ian Gavan / Getty Images

Stephen Fry Plays Not My Job
Stephen Fry is an actor, comedian, director, and writer whose newest book Troy is the third in his collection of reimagined Greek myths. He's done it all, so we invited him to answer questions about people who've done almost nothing, one-hit wonders.

Panel Questions
What's Your iEmergency?, Making A Murder Tour, Watching Grandpa's Garden Grow

Jennifer Finney Boylan Plays Not My Job
Jennifer Finney Boylan Jennifer Finney Boylan is an author, a columnist for the New York Times, and a professor at Barnard College. Her newest book is called Good Boy: My Life in Seven Dogs so we ask her three questions about hot dogs.

Jen Psaki Plays Not My Job
Jen Psaki, White House press secretary who deals with the press pool all day, answers three questions about swimming pools in politics

Chris Bosh Plays Not My Job
Chris Bosh, NBA all-star, plays a game called "Have a Crisp Nosh!" Three questions about Pringles potato chips.

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

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


BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. Hey, everybody. Join me for a feast celebrating our good fortune in the New World. I'm a Bill-grim, Bill Kurtis. And here is your host, who promised his family that he wouldn't serve roast eel at Thanksgiving, even if it is historically accurate, Peter Sagal.



Thank you, Bill. So it is that time of year when we take a minute to be thankful for all the good things providence has bestowed on us, which, as with the original pilgrims, is mostly really good radio segments.

KURTIS: Lacking modern transmitters, the pilgrims broadcast their shows by standing on Plymouth Rock and shouting.

SAGAL: It is doubtful, though, they had any guests as charming as the British actor, author, TV presenter and all-around know-it-all Stephen Fry, who joined us in July of this year. Here is a special extended version of our chat.


STEPHEN FRY: It's a genuine pleasure. I'm thrilled to be here.

SAGAL: I ask this question of a lot of our guests. Given you do all these different things and have for many years, what is the thing that most people recognize you for, if there is one thing?

FRY: That's a really good question. I mean, I get stopped in the streets in England by, these days, a lot of parents because I did the audiobooks of "Harry Potter." And so there's a whole generation now who heard me reading those stories. In fact, a man yelled at me across the street when I was in London, my children go to bed with you, which...


FRY: ...You don't really want broadcast in too loud a voice (laughter).

MAEVE HIGGINS: (Laughter).

SAGAL: I should explain, by the way, that if people are saying, but wait; Jim Dale did the audiobooks for "Harry Potter" - that was the American version.

FRY: Well, it's a peculiarity of copyright law in the world is that my version of reading the "Harry Potter" books was on sale in Canada and Australia and all around the world, except the United States. Have you ever seen, noticed in books it says this book is not for resale or even loaning in the United States. I said, if I lent this to an American friend, I'd actually be breaking copyright law.

HIGGINS: (Laughter).

FRY: And that's true. I don't know what it is, but at some point in, I guess, the 1940s, as a result of Bretton Woods or one of those, you know, big conferences, it was decided that all copyright should be divided in the English-speaking world between the British and ex-Commonwealth countries, if you want to put it that way, and the United States. So you get your own versions.

SAGAL: You know, I would never dare to give a man of your achievements advice. But it is allowed to when - respond to a comment like, oh, you did the audiobooks in Britain, to just say, yeah, isn't that interesting?

FRY: Yes, that's true.


SAGAL: It can be done. The thing...

FRY: Are you saying I rather overelaborated in my answer?


SAGAL: I mean, it was just an interesting point. It's like, oh, maybe our listeners don't know that he did the books outside of America. We got Jim Dale. And the next thing we know, we're talking about Bretton Woods.

FRY: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Sir...


SAGAL: ...You truly are a Renaissance man. That was amazing.

FRY: A shattering bore is what you mean.



SAGAL: The thing - I myself, of course, in addition to reading your books and seeing you in many films and TV shows, most recently, "It's A Sin," which is amazing - everybody needs to watch it - I am most impressed, of course, by the fact that for many, many years you were the host of a panel news quiz or a panel quiz show, I should say called, "QI." And that...

FRY: That's right.

SAGAL: ...Of course, is the height of - well, I was about to say the entertainment, but really human achievement. "QI" was famous because the questions are very hard, right?

FRY: Yes. You were not supposed to, or expected at least, to know the answers because it was predicated on the idea that the world is full of monstrously deceptive and unlikely truths. I suppose you could say it's like an advanced form of trivia. But it takes trivia seriously...

SAGAL: Right.

FRY: ...Or at least seriously enough to chew and play with it.

SAGAL: And after many years of doing that, you moved on to do interesting and rewarding things. How is that possible? Can you give me any hints?

FRY: (Laughter) Oh, I see. You - you're looking for a way out.

SAGAL: Just - I'm just curious. No, I kid. One of the things - one of the reasons I was very excited to have you on, in addition to my general enthusiasm and fandom for your works, is that we are, as far as I know, the only sort of panel quiz show in America and certainly on the radio.

FRY: Yeah.

SAGAL: But in Britain, it's practically your national sport. There are so many of them. They're also good - I mean, "The News Quiz," your show, "Nevermind The Bollocks" (ph).

FRY: Why is this?

SAGAL: Yeah. And how can we teach America to be as appreciative of this particular genre as you wise people are there?

FRY: It's one of the great mysteries. It's hardly an important thing; it's only about television, after all. But why is it that you are so good at late-night satire of the Jon Stewart or now Stephen Colbert and so on, that kind of thing? We can't do it. Every two or three years, we try and do a late-night weekly program with a satirically minded, clever, fast-talking figure. And it's always embarrassing and duff.

- And I'm not saying that that's the same in America with quiz-type programs. But they have been tried every now and again in America, and usually they don't seem to take. They can be very well-done. It's maybe an audience problem. I don't know what it is.

It's good that we're different, though. You know, when you go down a high street, a main street or a mall anywhere in the world, they're identical. And everybody's...

SAGAL: Yes, it's very distressing.

FRY: ...Sort of put to shame. And so you celebrate places like - I don't know - Asheville, N.C., or whatever where you get - oh, look; there isn't a Starbucks there. There isn't a McDonald's. Wow. This is such a rare thing.

So let's celebrate the difference between the old country and the new country. And let's hope that we don't actually imitate each other but allow ourselves to go on our own very own paths.

SAGAL: That was a wonderful answer. I have forgotten what the question was.

FRY: It was sententious horse-[expletive], and you know it.


SAGAL: You have done so many things - to my knowledge, all of them well - is there anything that you are bad at?

FRY: I am bad at dancing.

SAGAL: Really?

HIGGINS: (Laughter).

FRY: I can't dance. Don't make me. Guilty feet have got no rhythm, etc., etc. But not only that, I hate dancing.

SAGAL: Do you mean, like, social dancing? Like, you're at a party, and people are dancing. Like, oh, I can't watch?

FRY: Yeah. Why are they doing that? Please, will they stop?

KONDABOLU: Is the issue dancing or revelry?

FRY: Revelry, I'm happy with. Revelry's nice. No, it's the actual dancing. I stand there, and I think - I don't know whether I move my hips around, or do I move my feet off the ground, or do I shuffle them? I literally have never been told how to do it.

HIGGINS: But do you ever do anything naturally? Like, if you just hear music and by accident, you, like, your head starts nodding or like your little foot starts tapping? Does that ever happen, or you just freeze up?

FRY: I air conduct.

TOM BODETT: You air conduct?

FRY: That's the closest I get. I air conduct. On my own, I will get very - I love music. It's not that I don't like music.

HIGGINS: Yeah, yeah.

FRY: Or - I want so much to join in the dance, as it were. And I have another half of me that yearns to be aside from the herd, separate.

SAGAL: Right.

FRY: And so...


FRY: ...There's - obviously, I therefore react violently against it. And if I see people dancing, I hate them deeply.


FRY: And I want them to stop.

BODETT: This sounds like a serial killer's last confession.

FRY: (Laughter) More or less, yeah.

SAGAL: Well, Stephen Fry, apparently - this is literally true in your case - we could talk to you all day. But we have invited you here to play a game we are calling.

KURTIS: One-Hit Wonders.

SAGAL: So it occurred to us - this was the thought process - since you do so many things, we'd ask you about people who are famous for doing just one thing - that is, producing one song that topped the charts. Answer three questions about one-hit wonders, and you will win our prize for one of our listeners, the voice of their choice on your voicemail. Bill, who is Stephen Fry playing for?

KURTIS: Siavash Sarrafan (ph) of Baton Rouge, La.

SAGAL: Here is your first question. One of the most famous one-hit wonders, at least here in the United States, was the Halloween novelty song the "Monster Mash" by Bobby Pickett. Now, Bobby Pickett tried to follow it up with another song about a special day just to try to recreate his success - which of these - A, graduation day, B, Nikola Tesla's birthday or C, Boxing Day?

FRY: OK. Did you say Nicholas Tesla's birthday?

SAGAL: Nikola Tesla's birthday.

FRY: Nikola Tesla's birthday - that's surely unlikely. And the first one was...

SAGAL: Graduation day.

FRY: Yes, I'm going to say graduation day.

SAGAL: That's correct.


SAGAL: Lyrics include, it's a time for joy, a time for tears, a time we'll treasure through the years. We'll remember always graduation day.

HIGGINS: Oh, that's making me tear up.



SAGAL: (Unintelligible). All right. You have...

HIGGINS: Beautiful.

SAGAL: ...Two more questions. Another famous one-hit wonder was the band The Champs with their early '60s hit "Tequila." That's the instrumental with just one word, tequila.

BODETT: (Vocalizing) - tequila.

SAGAL: Yes. They never had another hit, even though they tried with follow-up songs like which of these - A, "Hangover," B, "Projectile Vomiting"...


SAGAL: ...Or C, "Too Much Tequila"?

FRY: (Laughter) I would think the last one of those - "Too Much Tequila." That would be - yeah. Would that not be right?

SAGAL: It would be - hold on. Would that not be right?

BODETT: (Laughter).

SAGAL: It would not be incorrect...


SAGAL: ...Sir.

FRY: Another conditionality.

SAGAL: All right. Here's your last question. One famous one-hit wonder was based on a real incident. Was it A, "It's Raining Men," inspired by a construction scaffold collapsing outside the singer's studio...


SAGAL: ...B, "Play That Funky Music, White Boy" (ph), which was actually shouted at the singer at a prior concert or C, "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" was what it sounded like when the singer tried to tell his dentist, I really got to pee?


FRY: I'm going to go for the middle one. I think that was shouted out at a concert.

SAGAL: You're exactly right.


SAGAL: Somebody shouted that at singer Rob Parissi during a concert. And he was like, OK, and wrote the song. Bill, how did Stephen Fry do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Stephen proved that he does know everything. He got them all right.

SAGAL: Stephen Fry's newest book, "Troy," is out now and is quite remarkable. Stephen Fry, so glad to have you on WAIT, WAIT... DON'T TELL ME. Thank you so much for being with us.

FRY: It's honestly - real pleasure. Thank you for asking, Maeve.

HIGGINS: Bye. Thanks.

FRY: Thank you.

HIGGINS: Lots of love.


BOBBY PICKETT: (Singing) Graduation day - graduation, graduation...

SAGAL: When we come back, some bits with our panel so good we had to wait until you really deserved to hear them. And Jennifer Finney Boylan talks dogs and the Kardashians, but not at the same time. That's when we come back with more of 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 is your host, who promises, yes, no eel this year but wants you to know it really is a plentiful and sustainable source of protein. You should look into it. Peter Sagal.


SAGAL: Thank you, Bill. So if this show is our Thanksgiving meal, we've just had the appetizers, and now it is time for the entree. So imagine the entire table hushing as Bill enters carrying a huge covered platter, and then he lifts the lid to reveal...

KURTIS: Questions for our panel that you've never heard before.

SAGAL: Ooh, tasty. We'll start with one from a recent show at the Harris Theater in Chicago. And if it sounds like fun, well, you can join us for future shows at the Harris right here in Chicago. For tickets and information, go to waitwait.npr.org.

Negin, for years, Apple has tried to cut down on people texting on their phones while driving, and it seems like they might have given up because their newest iPhone has a feature that does what?

NEGIN FARSAD: Their new phone, like, berates you?


BOBCAT GOLDTHWAIT: That's just getting your parents.


FARSAD: It tells an operator if you're sentient?


SAGAL: Let me try to put it another way. They've just sort of accepted that people are going to crash their cars. So the phone will do what for you?

FARSAD: Oh, the phone will call 911.

SAGAL: Exactly.



SAGAL: It will detect the crash and call 911.


SAGAL: It's incredibly advanced - right? - 'cause it's, you know...

BRIAN BABYLON: How does it know?

SAGAL: Well, I mean, Siri says, I see you're looking at me. I can tell we're going 80 miles an hour. I'm just going to dial 9 and the first 1 and wait.


SAGAL: It's a shame 'cause Apple users do get all the cool stuff first. When the EMTs arrive, they use the new rose-gold jaws of life.


SAGAL: It's very smart. To answer your question, this is what it does. It knows you're driving 'cause it knows how fast you're moving. It has an accelerometer that'll tell it when there's been a crash. And it calls 911, and it gives the location using GPS. The only problem is that when the ambulance comes, takes you to the Genius Bar...


SAGAL: ...Where they can fix you up but only if you bought Apple Care.

FARSAD: Wait. Has it called 911, and you're - you've just been parallel parking, and it was just emotionally perilous?

SAGAL: It's possible. Siri has a personality, and I imagine she's very sort of, like, judgy.


SAGAL: She's like, it finally happened.



SAGAL: I warned him.

GOLDTHWAIT: Hey, hey, hey, Siri, I can't stop bleeding.


SAGAL: Brian, TV shows have long inspired tours. You know, "Lord Of The Rings" was big for New Zealand. "Sex And The City" tours ruined New York. But now the big trend for travelers is visiting the places where what kind of TV shows are set?

BABYLON: Reality TV shows?

SAGAL: No, not reality TV shows.

BABYLON: OK. What do you mean?

SAGAL: People actually want to go to FBoy Island, you mean? No.

BABYLON: Yeah, I was like, what is - that don't make sense. All right.

CRISTELA ALONZO: I'm doing a (inaudible) next week.


BABYLON: Murder mysteries?



SAGAL: Yes, crime shows.


SAGAL: Very good, Brian.

TOM PAPA: Nice, Brian. Nice.

SAGAL: The Wall Street Journal says people are flocking to the sites where, like, gruesome TV crime shows are set. TV detectives should keep an eye out. Some of these people might be perpetrators returning to the scene of the crime. So the town featured in the Netflix show "Bloodline" in Florida is really big. The hotel from "Twin Peaks" offers a package for fans of the show. And the diner from the very last episode of "The Sopranos" might be on a tour or might not be. It's ambiguous.


ALONZO: I totally get that. I love murder. I think I can kill someone.

PAPA: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Could you murder someone, though, and not get caught?


SAGAL: All right.

PAPA: That was too quick. She answered that way too fast.

SAGAL: You have figured this out. Do you want to walk us through your technique here?

ALONZO: No, because I have - you know, (laughter) I was going to say, I haven't picked who I'm going to kill yet.

SAGAL: You don't want to waste it on us. You're going to use it on an enemy someday.

ALONZO: (Laughter).

PAPA: I've got a great plan. Now I just need someone to really piss me off.

SAGAL: Although I could easily imagine the fictionalization version of the murder you commit, where the detective finally listens to an old episode of WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME...


SAGAL: ...Where you walk everybody through it.

ALONZO: I know.

PAPA: Why is Bill writing this down?


GRATEFUL DEAD: Don't murder me. I beg of you, don't murder me. Please don't murder me.

SAGAL: Hari, last week, Colorado became the second state to legalize a new alternative to burial or cremation. You can now request that what be done with your body after death?

KONDABOLU: There's rotting, just rotting, I guess.

SAGAL: Yeah, just rotting, although that - you wouldn't really have to request that. Nor would it have to be legalized.

KONDABOLU: That's true. That's true.

ROY BLOUNT JR: They're mailing you to somebody who never liked you.

SAGAL: Ooh, that's a better idea than the real answer.

KONDABOLU: Can I get a hint?

SAGAL: You'll spend eternity, or at least the first part of it, surrounded by coffee grounds and eggshells.

KONDABOLU: Wow. Compost.

SAGAL: Yes, compost.


SAGAL: You can be composted after death or before death, if that's your thing. Composting is not just for dirty hippies anymore. Now it's for dead dirty hippies, too. Human composting is now legal in Colorado and Washington. Body composting is a great way to be remembered. Wow, this zucchini tastes a little like grandma.

FAITH SALIE: Oh, gross.

PAPA: Wait. Let's...

SAGAL: No, it's not gross. It's beautiful. It's natural. It's the cycle of life.

SALIE: Cycle of life.


KONDABOLU: Who proposed this legislation? A mobster? Like, why...


KONDABOLU: Who thinks it's...

SAGAL: I mean, I kind of like the idea. I mean, I guess I'd much rather do somebody some good.


SAGAL: But, like, what if I get bought by some, like, backyard gardener like me? And he gets brought home. And he, like, tries to plant tomatoes, but he forgets to water them, and then they die, and then he just goes out and buys tomatoes 'cause who cares? That would be sad.

BLOUNT: I'm going to come back in that case.

SAGAL: Really?

BLOUNT: You're going to hear in the night, (imitating ghost) Peter...

SAGAL: (Laughter).

BLOUNT: (Imitating ghost) You did not respect my body.

How do you like that?

SAGAL: That's another reason not to do it.

BLOUNT: I'm going to work on that, really. I don't think I have it down.

SAGAL: No, it wasn't very scary, Roy.

SALIE: It wasn't. It was kind of adorable.

BLOUNT: It wasn't supposed to be scary. It was supposed to be guilt-inducing.


ARNETT COBB: (Singing) Flower garden baby, what makes your garden grow? Yes, flower garden baby, what makes your garden grow?

SAGAL: Jennifer Finney Boylan is a professor, novelist, author, trans activist and New York Times columnist.

KURTIS: And it won't surprise you to know that when she joined us in May, we ignored all of that and just wanted to know about hanging out with the Kardashians.


JENNIFER FINNEY BOYLAN: I think I'm actually Kardashian-adjacent-adjacent.

SAGAL: Really?

FINNEY BOYLAN: Well, because I think - isn't Caitlyn adjacent? So that would make me...

SAGAL: Well, is Caitlyn - I mean, you have to help me out here. You are part of that world of Hollywood glamour.


SAGAL: You are.

FINNEY BOYLAN: Yeah, it's - I - it's really interesting. I can see - when I'm walking on the streets of New York and someone comes up to me and wants to talk to me...

SAGAL: Yeah.

FINNEY BOYLAN: ...I can tell within about two seconds whether they know me from my New York Times work or whether they're fans of the Kardashians.

SAGAL: Really? And how can you tell?

FINNEY BOYLAN: There's got to be a clever answer to that. I'm sorry...

HIGGINS: I think I know. It's just if they're wearing glasses, it's because they...

FINNEY BOYLAN: Yeah, it must be the glasses. That's it.

FARSAD: They watch the Kardashians with their glasses on. That's what it - you meant to say? Yeah.

HIGGINS: Yeah, with their - exactly.


SAGAL: The other major contribution, I think, to American culture is we have you to blame for all the negronis.

FINNEY BOYLAN: Oh, that's right.


FINNEY BOYLAN: That's right. I wrote a column about negronis the summer before last.

SAGAL: Right.

FINNEY BOYLAN: And it was interesting because the mail that I got from that, about half of it was people who - you know, the negroni was their favorite drink and they wanted to thank me for publicizing it. And the other half was - apparently this is a thing - cocktail writers...


FINNEY BOYLAN: ...Who insisted that I understand that I'd gotten everything wrong.

SAGAL: Really?


SAGAL: Yeah. I've spent some time with cocktail culture people - that's what they call it. They're just drunks, Jenny. They're just drunks.



SAGAL: Yes, they're drinkers.


BODETT: I used to be in a cocktail culture, but we didn't call it that.


SAGAL: You have a new book, "Good Boy: A Life In Seven Dogs," and it is a memoir focused on dogs.

FINNEY BOYLAN: Yeah. Well, and the - well, the thing about dogs is how frequently - I mean, we just - we love our dogs, you know? But sometimes we love them out of all proportion to their qualities, like...

SAGAL: Their merit. Because I was - I have to admit, when I opened up - I mean, the book is called "Good Boy," so when I opened it up, I expected this was going to be heartwarming stories of lovely dog.


SAGAL: These dogs are terrible dogs, it sounds like.

FINNEY BOYLAN: A lot of my dogs were terrible dogs. You know, I had a dog...

SAGAL: Just the worst.

FINNEY BOYLAN: I had a dog that, you know, chewed its paws. I had another dog that - can I say hump on the radio?

SAGAL: You just did.

FINNEY BOYLAN: Yeah. I had a dog that was in love with my grandmother's leg. Yeah, she used to say - she didn't mind it either. She would say, you know, he's got more spunk than your grandpa.


SAGAL: Have - your first book - or at least your first memoir, I'm sorry, because you were a very established novelist before it - was, I believe, the first bestselling memoir by a trans person, certainly in The New York Times bestseller list. That's correct?

FINNEY BOYLAN: Yeah. Supposedly that's true. I mean...

SAGAL: Did you feel that you had this, like, obligation - this was almost 20 years ago now - to sort of - to paraphrase Milton, to explain the ways of trans to men, if you know what I mean? Did you, like...

FINNEY BOYLAN: (Laughter) Well, men in particular. I didn't know who was going to read that book when I wrote that book. If I had anybody in mind, it might've been, like, the members of my mother's bridge club - nice ladies in Philadelphia who were not going to take this news particularly well. And I think it's one of the things that's changed about transgender writing and the way trans people are - feel compelled to, you know, comport ourselves in the media. I'm really proud of that book, "She's Not There." But reading it now, 20 years later, I think I detect a far-off aroma of apology in that book or kind of a sense of, you know, begging to be taken seriously and to be treated with compassion and love. But now I don't know that people feel compelled to do that. I think that we are who we are, and I don't think it's necessary to apologize to anybody.

SAGAL: Right. Well, I mean, not to suck up too much, but one of the reasons it may not be necessary to apologize or explain is because of the success of your book.


SAGAL: But when - as you transitioned, which I know was a gradual process, was there stuff about being a woman that was particularly difficult for you to learn without having had practice for the first 40 years of your life?

FINNEY BOYLAN: Well, a French braid is something that's never going to happen.


SAGAL: Did...



FINNEY BOYLAN: There were a lot of things that people told me about - well, when you're a woman, you have to do, you know, certain things this way. Like, I remember my sister-in-law, whom I love, Susan, did tell me, you're never going to be able to eat baby back ribs again in a restaurant because, you know, you're going to get sauce on your cheeks, and it's going to be messy. And I was like, is that like a federal law, no more baby back ribs?



HIGGINS: It is. But I was told stuff like that, too. I think that happens to all of us. I remember this - a woman I used to babysit for, and she was like, listen; OK? Men love dip, yeah? Men love dip. She was like, this is something you need to know as a woman. And I would, like, collect up these nuggets, you know, so I'd, like, to learn how to be a woman. And then another time, a makeup lady was like, always do a smoky eye because men love smoky eyes.

FINNEY BOYLAN: Oh, the smoky eye. Don't get me started on the smoky eye.

FARSAD: Oh, yeah, the smoky eye. Every woman gets that lecture.

FINNEY BOYLAN: Well, but that's the thing that you see. And I think this happens to men, too, that there's this - there's like - people think there's this set of rules. But really, I think we're all just winging it, all of us, all the time. Although I would say that, in my marriage - you know, and I'm still married. I've been married now for, I think, 33 years. I'm going to get the math wrong. I think it was 12 years as husband and wife and...


FINNEY BOYLAN: Twenty one years? My wife is shouting from the - 20 years - 21 years now. So another thing that is still mine - I am still in charge of changing the light bulbs if a light blows in the house because apparently someone...

BOYLAN: You're taller than I am.



FINNEY BOYLAN: Did you hear that?

SAGAL: I did. I did hear that.

FINNEY BOYLAN: Well, I am...

FARSAD: That's reasonable.

FINNEY BOYLAN: It's not about how tall I am, honey.


SAGAL: Well, Jennifer Finney Boylan, it is an absolute joy to talk to you, but we have asked you here to play a game we're calling...

KURTIS: Try to put ketchup on this dog, and I will end you.

SAGAL: So as we have been discussing, you have written a book about your beloved dog, so we thought we'd ask you about hot dogs.


SAGAL: Answer two out of three questions about hot dogs correctly, you'll win our prize for one of our listeners, the voice of anyone they might choose for their voicemail. Bill, who is Jenny Finney Boylan playing for?

KURTIS: Brandon Yu of San Diego, Calif.

SAGAL: All right. You ready to do this?

FINNEY BOYLAN: OK, Brandon, it's you and me.

SAGAL: All right. First question - one accepted legend is that the hot dog as we know it, a frankfurter in a bun, was invented by a vendor in St. Louis around the turn of the last century once his first idea failed - serving sausages how? A, inside a wrapping of freshly cooked spaghetti; B, with white gloves to protect the eaters hands; or C, stuffed inside a whole roast rabbit?


FINNEY BOYLAN: Wow. I don't know. You know what? Maybe it was the gloves.

SAGAL: You're going to go with gloves. You're right.


SAGAL: That's what he did.


SAGAL: He served them with gloves. And people would walk away with the gloves, so it wasn't working out as a business proposition. So he said, what can I give them that I don't need to be returned? And he came up with a bun.

All right. Here's your next question. In 1968, the baseball player Gates Brown was fined $100 because of an incident with a hot dog. What happened? A, he used the hot dog for a bat, which, while technically not against the rules, just seemed weird; B, as a catcher with famously small hands, he used an uncooked wiener instead of his fingers to call for pitches; or C, he got a hit, but he had to slide into second base, causing the hot dogs he had hidden inside of his jersey to explode, covering him in mustard and ketchup?

FINNEY BOYLAN: Wow. That last image is really nice to think about, but I think it's the third one.

SAGAL: You're going to say it's the third one. You're right.


SAGAL: That's what happened.


FINNEY BOYLAN: Ding, ding, ding, ding.

SAGAL: He had been preparing - he had been eating hotdogs in the dugout. And all of a sudden, he was called up to hit it, and he's like, damn it. So he just put the hot dogs he had prepared into his pockets.


SAGAL: True story. Last question - Nathan's Famous is one of the most popular hot dogs in the world, as I'm sure you know, but when they first opened, people were worried that their very cheap prices meant they were serving low-quality meat. How did Nathan Handwerker, the Nathan of Nathan's Famous, solve this problem? A, they converted their prices to Japanese yen and no one could figure out the price in dollars; B, they hired people to wear lab coats and stand around the building to make it look like doctors from the nearby hospital were ordering hot dogs; or C, they introduced buy-two-get-one Tuesdays, where you would pay for two dogs but only get one?


FINNEY BOYLAN: The second choice sounds the most sensible, the doctors.

SAGAL: That's exactly right.


FINNEY BOYLAN: Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding.

SAGAL: I - no, no, wait a minute. We do the bell around here.


SAGAL: Jeez. Yes, but you are right. You are right. That's, in fact, the case, that they decided that if they make it look like doctors were eating the hot dogs, they had to be healthy.

Bill, how did Jenny Boylan do on our show?

KURTIS: Jenny, it's hard to do, but you got a perfect score.




KURTIS: We're proud of you.

SAGAL: Jennifer Finney Boylan is an author, activist and columnist for The New York Times. Her new book, "Good Boy: A Life In Seven Dogs," is out now. Jenny, what an absolute joy to talk to you. Thank you so much for being on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

FINNEY BOYLAN: Thanks, Peter. Thanks, everybody. It was really fun.

BODETT: Thank you, Jenny.

KURTIS: Thanks, Jenny.

SAGAL: It was really fun. Go have a hot dog. Bye-bye.

KURTIS: Bye-bye.



FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE: (Singing) Leave all your love and your longing behind. You can't carry it with you if you want to survive. The dog days are over. The dog days are done.

SAGAL: When we come back, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki answers our questions with thinly veiled contempt, and NBA superstar Chris Bosh lays out his secrets for success. Step 1 - be better at basketball than any other human being. 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 who admits that, yes, despite his promises, he did serve eel again, but this is a whole new preparation - hardly tastes slimy at all - Peter Sagal.


SAGAL: Thank you, Bill. Our Thanksgiving cornucopia of delicious tidbits is coming to a close, so I hope you saved room for dessert.

KURTIS: Our first dessert course is Jen Psaki, press secretary for the Biden White House. Peter asked her about her technique for dealing with the more unruly White House reporters.


JEN PSAKI: I have a little secret thing I do - maybe not secret because I'm telling all of you. But when reporters are getting really loud or they're starting to ask crazy questions, I just slow down my pace, and I talk very quietly. And I treat them like I'm an orderly, sometimes, at an insane asylum.


PSAKI: Not that they're people in an insane asylum. But sometimes that's all you have to do to cool yourself down inside.

SAGAL: Jen, is it your goal - I mean, you're very good at what you do, and it's very calming and nice to see. But is it your set goal - is just to try not to get on "Dancing With The Stars"?


SAGAL: Whatever you do, that's like, not that, not that. Don't end up there.

PSAKI: Whenever I'm having a low day, I kind of - I have, from time to time, pulled up that picture of Sean Spicer, the video of him shimmying in that shirt.


PSAKI: I've done it from time to time. It's nothing personal, don't wish him ill. But that shirt was pretty amazing. My goal is not to get on "Dancing With The Stars."

KURTIS: There you go.

PSAKI: I can promise you that.

SAGAL: It's true. It wasn't the dancing. It wasn't the stars. It was the puffy sleeves that really...

PSAKI: The sleeves. I mean, I was thinking...


PSAKI: Did your wife see that shirt? Did you wear that shirt knowing what the shirt looked like? But I just wanted to give him advice.

SAGAL: Now, there's been a lot of turmoil with what I'm about to mention, but...

PSAKI: Oh, we're ready. We're ready.

SAGAL: Which instructor does Biden ride with the most for Peloton?

PSAKI: Oh, that's a great question. Yes, sir.

SAGAL: I am a fellow Peloton head.

PSAKI: This is such a good question.

SAGAL: So if you tell me, you're also going to have to give me his screen name.


SAGAL: I'm just letting you know.

PSAKI: I mean, I am not afraid to ask him all sorts of random questions. I have not asked him this. I really want it to be Ally Love.

SAGAL: "Sundays With Love." Come on.

PSAKI: "Sundays With Love." It's just this really - you really get a workout. You get a little spiritual moment. It's everything. I definitely need to know the answer to this. I've wondered the same thing.

JESSI KLEIN: We may need some follow-up with all of your lists.

SAGAL: We should get to ride with him.

PSAKI: (Laughter).

SAGAL: So we noticed - you've been doing this for a while, and you're pretty good at dodging questions you don't want to answer.


SAGAL: So...

PSAKI: That is true.

SAGAL: We wanted to see how you did it. So I'll ask you this. Hey, Jen. We're having this great time Saturday night. We're all going to hang out. We're all going to be playing some foosball in my basement, drinking some, you know, White Claw. Why don't you come over? Can you come over and join us for that on Saturday night?

PSAKI: You know, that's a great offer. I really appreciate it. I'm just going to have to get back to you after the briefing on it. I promise I'll do that.


PSAKI: I do say - it's funny.

SAGAL: Really? That's it - just...

PSAKI: Twitter's had a little fun with me because I say, I'm going to circle back. I'm going to circle back. Now, I will say - and my very hardworking team can confirm I'm obsessed with circling back with reporters and not just saying it but, after the briefing, getting back to them. That is sort of a tic I have that I've got to work on. But often what I'll say - and everybody has their different things - is I will say, I just don't have anything more for you on it. I just don't have anything more for you, which is true. And sometimes that's the truth. That's what you got to say.

KLEIN: That's, like, a great way to get out of a relationship, too. Just - I don't have anything more for you.


PSAKI: I don't have anything more for you.

KLEIN: I just don't.

SAGAL: I'm sorry.

PSAKI: We'll cover it tomorrow. I'll talk to you tomorrow.

KLEIN: Yeah. And I won't be circling back.

SAGAL: Can I circle back?

PSAKI: Yeah. Sometimes you just don't have the answer. And, you know, in there, you're just not going to know the answer to a million and one different questions they may have. And sometimes you just have to follow up with them. And that's OK, too. So I actually do do that. But when I'm not going to tell them any more, I say, I don't have anything more for you on that. So that's my tic.

KLEIN: Use it with boyfriends. Whatever. It's fine.


SAGAL: Do you ever walk off from the podium after a press conference is done and, like, five minutes later, think of the thing you should have said?

PSAKI: Every day.

SAGAL: Yeah.

PSAKI: I mean, every day you walk off, and I say, didn't start a war, A. That's good.


PSAKI: But, you know, every day I meet with my team. They're awesome. And I say, OK, what problems did I cause today?

SAGAL: Right.

PSAKI: What can I clean up today, and what should I say better tomorrow? And that's kind of what I go through. To President Biden's credit, I mean, he kind of - he says, if you mess up, fess up. And if you, you know, don't have the answer, don't make it up. And I follow that.

SAGAL: I have one last question before we get to the game. You have young children, right?

PSAKI: I do.

SAGAL: Yeah. How old, exactly?

PSAKI: Two and a half and 5 1/2.

SAGAL: Two and half and 5 1/2. And I guess the 2 1/2 is the 2 1/2, but does the 5 1/2-year-old know what you do for a living and understands why you have to be at work so much?

PSAKI: Yeah. Well, one, my husband has worked on the Hill for a long time. And we have this book, and it had the Capitol. And this is maybe two years ago. And she would say, Daddy works there. And then she'd say, what do you do again, Mom? I was working in a think tank. It was less exciting to her. But when I took this job, I - you know, I took her out to ice cream. I said, you know, Joe Biden, that very nice man who's going to help heal the country, asked me if I could help him for a while - you know, try to make it 5-year-old terms. And I said, and I'm going to do this. But it's also a sacrifice for you because we're not going to get to spend as much time together. And, you know, in that way, you're helping Joe Biden, too. And you're helping heal the country.

SAGAL: That's pretty good.

PSAKI: And I was really proud of myself. And I was like, does that makes sense? And she said, not really, Mommy.


KLEIN: Did she just say, I don't have anything more for you?

PSAKI: Right.

SAGAL: Circle back.

PSAKI: I don't have anything more for you on that.


SAGAL: Well, Jen Psaki, it is a joy to talk to you, and we feel lucky to do so. But we have, in fact, invited you here to play a game that this time we're calling...

KURTIS: Take a Dip in This Pool.

SAGAL: You deal all day with the press pool. So we thought we'd ask you about actual pools - swimming pools.


SAGAL: Answer three questions about swimming pools in politics, and you will win our prize for one of our listeners, the voice of anyone they choose on their voicemail. Bill, who is White House press secretary Jen Psaki playing for?

KURTIS: Samantha Stewart (ph) of Portland, Ore.

SAGAL: First question. Pools have played an important role in international diplomacy, including which of these? A, to gain the upper hand, Mao Tse-tung scheduled a meeting with Khrushchev in a swimming pool, knowing that Khrushchev could not swim; B, the division of the Ottoman Empire after the first world war was settled by a four-lap swimming race between the British and French prime ministers; or, C, the Paris peace talks to end the Vietnam War took so long because the Vietnamese kept taking long breaks to use the hotel jacuzzi.

PSAKI: I'm going to go A.

SAGAL: You're going to go A. You're exactly right.


SAGAL: That's what happened. There are photographs from that summit between Mao Tse-tung and Khrushchev in the swimming pool in which Khrushchev is wearing floaties.

PSAKI: (Laughter).

SAGAL: All right. You got one right - moving on. Now, as I'm sure you also know, there is a pool in the White House right now, an outdoor swimming pool built by Gerald Ford, who liked to swim laps. Which of these really happened at the White House pool? A, Jimmy Carter converted it into a cistern for rainwater to water the Rose Garden in an ecologically sensitive way; or, B, Barbara Bush was attacked by a swimming rat in the pool, which was killed by her husband, President George H.W. Bush; or, C, Bill Clinton won a cannonball contest by throwing in actual cannonballs he requisitioned from the secretary of the Army.

PSAKI: I want it to be B, so I'm going to go with B.

SAGAL: You're right.


SAGAL: That's right.

PSAKI: All right.

SAGAL: Mrs. Bush said it was the worst thing that happened to her at the White House. OK, last question - pools also played a role in the Cold War. How? A, the CIA came up with a plan to drop chemicals into all Soviet swimming pools to turn them instantly into Jell-O; B, the Soviets proved their superiority by building a nuclear submarine with a swimming pool on board; or, C, the Soviets bugged the swimming pool at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and became convinced a top spy went by the code name Marco Polo.

PSAKI: I'm going to go with C.

SAGAL: You're going to go with C, that the Soviets actually believed there was a Marco Polo because they kept shouting his name.

PSAKI: I'm just going to go with it.

SAGAL: I think you're right. I think you're confident. But, no, it was actually B.


SAGAL: The Soviets built a nuclear missile submarine big enough to have a swimming pool on board.

PSAKI: I just couldn't believe that one, but all right. All right. All right. Two for three - I feel OK about that.

SAGAL: Bill, how did Jen Psaki do on our quiz?

KURTIS: She had already won two, so you have won, Jen.


SAGAL: Congratulations.

PSAKI: All right.

SAGAL: Jen Psaki is the White House press secretary. Jen Psaki, thank you so much for joining us on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

PSAKI: Thank you so much. It was so great talking with all of you.

SAGAL: Take care.

PSAKI: Thank you.

SAGAL: Thanks again. And good luck. We'll see you on the TV.

PSAKI: Thank you.


RED VELVET: (Singing) Hey, hey, you. So what you going to do?

(Singing in Korean) in the swimming pool. Ooh, ooh.

SAGAL: We saved the best for last, literally, in that Chris Bosh is acclaimed as one of the best players to ever lace up his sneakers in the NBA.

KURTIS: When he joined us in June, Peter asked him if it was hard to maintain a low profile in retirement.


CHRIS BOSH: Yeah, I'm pretty tall. I'm pretty tall. I learned...

SAGAL: (Laughter) Yeah. That's what - I was getting at that.

BOSH: Yeah, I learned pretty early that I can't hide. You know...

SAGAL: Yeah.

BOSH: Hide-and-seek was a very limited game for me in my life.

SAGAL: Yeah. So when - do you just brace yourself when you want to go walk down the street? You're like, yes, I'm going to hear from people.

BOSH: Yeah.

SAGAL: It's just what happens.

BOSH: It just is what it is. I know you see me. Hi.


SAGAL: Was it weird going from Toronto, where you, I think, set records that still stand for the Raptors...

BOSH: (Laughter).

SAGAL: ...Down to Miami, where you were one of three superstars? That must have been like Batman joining the Justice League. It was like all of the sudden, there are other superheroes around. It must have been weird.

BOSH: It was. You know what it was like? I'm so glad you used that analogy 'cause I haven't used that before. So it's like, yeah, Batman's with the Justice League. And it's like, yo, let me use my utility belt. Like, no, no, no. Hey, hey, Batman. We don't need you to do that. Go over there (laughter).

SAGAL: Oh, really?

BOSH: We found some - we found that common ground, but come on. You know, a guy in his mid-20s, I want the ball. Give me the ball. And that was just a balance that we had to find in our relationship.


SAGAL: So you're an absolute legend, a Hall of Famer. Did you also binge-watch "The Last Dance"?

BOSH: I wouldn't - I promised myself I will watch it live 'cause, you know, it was the prime of the pandemic, and we were very, very serious about it.

SAGAL: (Laughter).

BOSH: But, oh, I mean, I watched Michael Jordan win that first trophy, and that was the moment when I knew that - that's when I wanted to be a professional basketball player.

SAGAL: Obviously, you didn't play at the same time. Did you ever go play golf with Michael Jordan? You ever spend...


SAGAL: ...Any time with him?

BOSH: No, I'm not a golfer. I tell people I have clubs, but they're clean. I'll get out there. If you want to hit balls in the woods, that's cool. We'll get a mulligan. We'll keep playing. But don't - I'm not the ringer, for sure.

SAGAL: The - what we've heard is one of the reasons Jordan loves to play golf so much is it gives him a place to go out and compete and, frankly, beat people, which he is into.

BOSH: I can see that.

SAGAL: So you don't have any aspect of your life where you get to sort of work that out?

BOSH: I never - it never did anything for me. I'm too much of a competitor, you know? So when we start competing...

SAGAL: Yeah?

BOSH: ...I don't want to be mad. I don't want to feel this. You know, if I'm playing golf with Michael Jordan and we're really - it's a really serious game, it's like, I shouldn't feel this way about Michael Jordan because he beat me. I really should - I had to stop playing fantasy football. It was on Thanksgiving, and I was mad. I said, I shouldn't be like this.

SAGAL: Really?

BOSH: It's - yeah.

SAGAL: You were like at Thanksgiving with your family, and you were like...

BOSH: Yeah. We come from a wonderful family. And then somebody drops a pass, and I'm like, I shouldn't feel this way.


BOSH: And the Cowboys lost. I'm a Dallas fan. I'm like, this isn't it for me. I'm - this is not my lifestyle (laughter).

SAGAL: Well, let's see how competitive you are 'cause, Chris Bosh, it is a joy to talk to you, but we have in fact invited you here to play our game, and we call it...

KURTIS: Chris Bosh, Have A Crisp Nosh.

SAGAL: We're going to ask you three questions about our favorite crisp nosh; that is Pringles potato chips. Answer two out of three questions about the terrifyingly unnatural snack, and you will win our prize for one of our listeners - the voice of anyone they might like on their voicemail. Bill, who is Chris Bosh playing for?

KURTIS: Sam Pittman (ph) of Phoenix, Ariz.

SAGAL: All right. You ready for this?

BOSH: Game on.

SAGAL: All right, first question - Frederic Baur is the man who invented Pringles, is the engineer who came up with a way of manufacturing them. And he was so proud of his invention that he did what - A, he named his two sons sour cream and chive; B, he grew a mustache exactly like the one on that guy in the logo; or C, he had himself buried in a Pringles can?

BOSH: Oh, man. If it were me, I would definitely ask my boys to bury me in a Pringles can.


SAGAL: You're exactly right.


BOSH: (Laughter).


SAGAL: And the level of emotional insight you showed was very impressive. That's exactly right. That's what he asked for.

BOSH: Oh, OK. That's a good one.

SAGAL: He was cremated, and his ashes interred in a Pringles can...

BOSH: Yeah.

SAGAL: ...A real one that his sons went out and bought at a Walgreens. They thought about it...

BOSH: (Laughter) That's reasonable.

SAGAL: ...And they're like, well, it has to be original flavor. So they - presumably they ate the potato chips and then used the can.

BOSH: Oh, man.

SAGAL: Very good.

BOSH: That is amazing.

SAGAL: Now, Pringles are popular because they're so easy to eat. But another snack company is trying to outdo them. What is this new kind of potato chips - A, one-hand chips, which come pre-crushed so you can just essentially drink them out of the bag; B, IV chips, potatoes in a saline solution you just inject directly into your bloodstream; or C, aerosol chips, which you spray in front of your face and then inhale?

BOSH: This is real?

SAGAL: This is real. One of those is real.

BOSH: Oh, my God.

SAGAL: Yeah.

BOSH: What - this is - man, that's getting innovative. I'm going to go with the - I mean, that sounds like an aerosol thing.

SAGAL: You're going to go with the aerosol thing?

BOSH: You know, spray the - yeah, spray the chip in your face.

SAGAL: That is a good idea if anybody out there wants to buy it from us, but no.

BOSH: Yeah?

SAGAL: The answer is one-hand chips. You know how you - like, you finish a bag of potato chips and there's just like...

BOSH: Yeah.

SAGAL: ...The crumbs down there? You just tip it up, just drink down those last few chips?

BOSH: Yeah.

SAGAL: Imagine the entire bag like that. That is the innovation.

BOSH: That's amazing. I wouldn't - you know, that's great.

SAGAL: All right. One last question. You get this right, you win it all. Pringles are popular all over the world. If you're in the right place at the right time, you can try which of these real Pringles flavors - which of these is real - A, blueberry and hazelnut; B, white chocolate peppermint; or C, nightclub?

BOSH: Oh, come on, man. I thought you was going to give me something good, man. Aw. I'm going to have to go with nightclub.

SAGAL: The answer is nightclub...


SAGAL: ...As well as the other two.


SAGAL: Those are all real Pringles flavors.


BOSH: What?


BOSH: Where are they, and I will order a bag right now.

SAGAL: I know.

BOSH: Where are they from? Where can I get...

SAGAL: I don't know, but you...

BOSH: Yes.

SAGAL: ...Can find them online. You can get your night - I don't even know what night - what does a nightclub taste like, cigarette ash and vodka?

CHARLA LAURISTON: Sweat and salt.

BOSH: No, I don't want that one. I don't want nightclub.

SAGAL: (Laughter) No.

BOSH: That's - don't want early 20s taste. That's bad.

SAGAL: (Laughter) Bill, how did Chris Bosh do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Two out of three, which means Chris is a winner.


KURTIS: The legend has it all (laughter).

SAGAL: Add it - one more to the trophy case.

BOSH: It means everything to me.


BOSH: Thank you so much.

SAGAL: I am going to believe you.

BOSH: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Chris Bosh is a two-time NBA champion, 11-time NBA All-Star, an Olympic gold medalist. And his new book, "Letters To A Young Athlete," a thoughtful meditation on what it takes to succeed - I highly recommend it - it is out now. Chris Bosh, thank you so much for joining us. An absolute joy to talk to you.

BOSH: Thank you all. Thank you so much.

SAGAL: That's it for our special Thanksgiving edition, at least until you sneak into the kitchen at midnight to make a sandwich out of the leftover limericks.


SAGAL: Thanks to everybody you heard this week - all of our panelists, all of our guests, of course, Bill Kurtis, the big turkey himself. And thanks to all of you for listening. I'm Peter Sagal. We will be back next week with a whole new show.


SAGAL: This is NPR. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.