Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!

Actress Ana Gasteyer Plays Not My Job

Ana Gasteyer. i i
Fernando Leon/Getty Images
Ana Gasteyer.
Fernando Leon/Getty Images

Ana Gasteyer wrote and performed a sketch on Saturday Night Live about a fake NPR show called Delicious Dish, which recently inspired a Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavor, "Schweddy Balls." Gasteyer has gone on to Broadway and TV, including the ABC comedy Suburgatory. She will perform her own one-woman show at Joe's Pub in New York on April 2.

We'll ask her three questions about Red Bull and the drink's inventor, Thai billionaire Chaleo Yoovidhya, who passed away this week.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

And now, the game where we ask interesting people about something that simply doesn't interest them.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Now, NPR has been around for decades and covered many stories all over the world, but when most people think of NPR, they probably think of our famous show "Delicious Dish."

ANA GASTEYER: Teri and I have been looking forward to having you on the show because we know you're the master of all kinds of Christmas goodies. Tell us about them.

ALEC BALDWIN: Well there are lots of great treats this time of year: zucchini bread, fruitcake. But the thing that I most like to bring out at this time of the year are my balls.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: So I'm sure this will stun you: that's not a show on NPR. That was a sketch on "Saturday Night Live," as performed and written by Ana Gasteyer. Ana has gone on to TV and Broadway and her own one-woman show. Ana Gasteyer, welcome to WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!

GASTEYER: I'm so very happy to be here.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: So the "Delicious Dish," the show that I wish we broadcast, who do you actually base your character on? Was it Steve Inskeep? It was Steve Inskeep wasn't it?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

GASTEYER: It was based on - it was sort of a combination between "The Splendid Table" and a show that was aptly named, a show called "Good Food," on KCRW.

SAGAL: Right. Oh, of course, that station out there in Los Angeles.

GASTEYER: Yeah.

SAGAL: You did this skit with Molly Shannon. Did you guys develop it together? Was it your idea?

GASTEYER: No, it's from The Groundlings. I actually did it when I was still performing at The Groundlings, which is, you know, the improve comedy company in L.A. that I was a part of and it came with me when I went to the show. So Molly was gracious enough to do it and heightened the comedy by being there.

SAGAL: Yes. What's amazing about it is how well you do like a classic public radio personality.

GASTEYER: Oh thanks.

SAGAL: It's amazing, speaking as one. Is there a secret to talking like you're on public radio?

GASTEYER: I think you have to really not worry about anyone interrupting you, ever.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

GASTEYER: And just take your time because you know, it's not commercial, and you don't need to go to a commercial. You don't need to leave, you just need to take your time and explore a subject to the point that people want to weep with boredom.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: So you're a fan then.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

GASTEYER: I'm a big fan.

SAGAL: So that was, of course, the famous Schweddy Balls sketch that Alec Baldwin did with you and Ben and Jerry's put out an ice cream flavor called Schweddy Balls.

GASTEYER: I know. It's very strange. Yeah.

SAGAL: Did you try it?

GASTEYER: Oh yeah, we've got pints and pints of it in the fridge.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

GASTEYER: My parents tried it, which I thought was the funniest thing in the world. My mom called. She said, "Dad laid in a supply of Schweddy Balls."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

GASTEYER: OK, and then she goes, "Zowee is it rich."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

GASTEYER: And this is embarrassing about my parents. They're so sweet and so supportive. They were so excited, they like ran out to Jewel-Osco and loaded up on all of the Schweddy Balls. And they're both violently lactose intolerant.

SAGAL: Oh my god.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

GASTEYER: So it made no sense whatsoever. Of course it was rich, because they were like doubled over from their first ice cream in 15 years, you know.

SAGAL: Right. But it was your work so they enjoyed it.

GASTEYER: Yeah, exactly.

SAGAL: They were having horrible cramps but they were cramps of pride.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

GASTEYER: Exactly.

SAGAL: So a lot of people who've been on "Saturday Night Live" tell awkward stories about their audition, when they first showed up in front of Lorne Michaels. Did you have a story like that?

GASTEYER: It's not that interesting, no.

SAGAL: Fair enough, let's move on.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

GASTEYER: I mean, yeah, you know, it's terrifying. And they don't laugh, it's like it's pretty terrifying.

SAGAL: Did you do any particular characters that we saw later on?

GASTEYER: I did the NPR people.

SAGAL: Really? You got on "Saturday Night Live" by doing that NPR character?

GASTEYER: I mean amongst others, yes. And I did Martha Stewart, which was a last minute kind of decision to do an impression because I wasn't really an impressionist. I just decided I better have some up my sleeve. And then again with the NPR up my sleeve, I pulled out my best Cokie Roberts.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Oh did you? Can you...

GASTEYER: Yeah, if you can imagine, it wasn't like an immediate hit character.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Yeah, well it's also such a cliché. How many impressionists do we see that are constantly going like they do their Jimmy Stewart and they do their Cokie Roberts. Come on.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Can you do Coke Roberts for us now? I've never heard a Cokie Roberts impersonation.

GASTEYER: I bet I can't do it anymore. I mean she has a little bit of - let me try to do it. It's going to be terrible. I'm so bad at spontaneous impressions. I just told I was not an impressionist and here you are putting me on the spot.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: You told me you did a Coke Roberts. You expect to leave that alone?

GASTEYER: Well, I said I pulled it out of my you-know-what.

SAGAL: You still have your you-know-what, look up there and see if it's there.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

GASTEYER: I pulled it out of my marsupial pouch.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

GASTEYER: No, she has a little bit of one of these sort of voices when she's describing things. She has a little bit of a, almost like a Brahman accent, sort of that kind of a thing. I don't remember anything about my audition. It was about 150 years ago.

SAGAL: I understand.

MO ROCCA: But she got to do Celine Dion.

GASTEYER: I did Celine Dion, yes.

ROCCA: That's hilarious.

SAGAL: And of course, topless Martha Stewart.

GASTEYER: Yep.

SAGAL: Out of what sick recess of somebody's mind did that come?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

GASTEYER: You know what, Norm Hiscock, who I wrote that first Martha Stewart with, I'd done the impression and I definitely wanted to do her and when we were kind of going over ideas, he kept saying she's sort of like - she's weirdly attractive in the way that your friend's mom is attractive but in a way that you shouldn't talk about.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

GASTEYER: So we just kept doing that over and over. And then finally he came and he was like "I have an idea. You're not going to like it." Like it was one of those very, like, clean pitches and then we decided to go as - we wanted to make her as uptown as possible but with really cheap black bar across her chest.

SAGAL: Right.

GASTEYER: So it just kind of has like a real cheap quality. And I got to "SNL" and that was one of the first big sketches that I did.

And you know, you go to the rewrite table and you're like pitching jokes and stuff. And I remember, I said well what about like the Harlem Boy's Choir, could they be there? You know, in my mind like ha-ha, ain't that funny? And then like within 24 hours we're shooting it and the Harlem Boy's Choir is there.

SAGAL: So were you...

GASTEYER: And I am topless.

SAGAL: You were actually topless in front of the Harlem Boy's Choir?

GASTEYER: Well I mean virtually, yeah, and it was one of those, like, oh I shouldn't have thought of that or said it out loud.

SAGAL: Yes.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Well now you're doing a one-woman show, a cabaret show called "Elegant Songs from a Handsome Woman."

GASTEYER: Yes. I have a little - I mean, yeah, I wouldn't really call it a one-woman show. I have a little club act.

SAGAL: Yeah.

GASTEYER: I have a band and I stand in front of it and I sing. And I kind of, you know, I have two personalities. I have this kind of crazy comedy lady, you know, that people know and I did these big, these shows on Broadway where I sang, you know, big songs. So I have kind of a Broadway audience and I have kind of a not-Broadway audience.

SAGAL: Do people who know you from "Saturday Night Live," where you were so funny, come and see you do the stuff that's more serious and get...

GASTEYER: And get disappointed?

SAGAL: Yeah.

GASTEYER: I don't know. I think they become confused.

SAGAL: Right.

GASTEYER: But I don't know if disappointment, I mean that's a very parental word isn't it?

SAGAL: Yes, it is.

GASTEYER: I'm really disappointed in you for doing drama.

SAGAL: Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: All right, Ana Gasteyer, we're delighted to have you with us, and we've invited you here to play a game we're calling?

CARL KASELL: I'm sure just one more can will give me those wings.

SAGAL: This week, the world bade a jittery goodbye to Chaleo Yoovidhya. Now he is the Thai billionaire who 30 years ago invented what came to be known all over the world as Red Bull, the energy drink. In his honor, we're going to ask you three questions about him and his product. Get two right and you'll win our prize for one of our listeners. Carl, who is Ana Gasteyer playing for?

KASELL: Ana is playing for Sara Potter of Dallas, Texas.

SAGAL: All right, you ready to play?

GASTEYER: I am.

SAGAL: All right. First question: why is Red Bull called Red Bull? Is it A: one of its key ingredients was originally made from bull bile? B: Red Bull was the mocking nickname that Mr. Yoovidhya was teased with as a child? Or C: Red Bull is an English version of a Thai phase meaning placebo?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

GASTEYER: I am going to go with number three.

SAGAL: You're going to go with number three that Red Bull is an English version of a Thai phrase meaning placebo?

GASTEYER: Uh-huh.

Is that embarrassing to you?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: It's not embarrassing to me. I'm really neutral with it, just so you know.

GASTEYER: All right, then obviously he was teased as a child, because there's a mocking undertone to what you're doing.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: I'm really fascinated with the level of your analysis. It's very perceptive. So can you make a final choice?

GASTEYER: Yeah, I'm going to make a choice for number two, the mocking.

SAGAL: You're going to make choice number two, the mocking nickname.

GASTEYER: The mocking undertone.

SAGAL: Actually it was A, it's actually made from something, Taurine, called Taurine, as in, you know...

GASTEYER: Oh. Well you didn't say Taurine.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Well, it was made...

GASTEYER: Listen buddy, I may be a dummy, buy I took a PSAT prep class.

SAGAL: All right.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Well, it was originally made from bull bile and now they have another way of making it. All right, you have two more choices though.

GASTEYER: Oy.

SAGAL: Oy. An energy drink as powerful as Red Bull does have side effects. It's suspected that a man who did which of these had been drinking a lot of Red Bull beforehand? A: got the first known DUI driving a Zamboni?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: B: tried to deep fry a compact refrigerator? Or C: lied about his visit to an iPad factory in China?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

GASTEYER: I'm just thinking Zamboni sounds like a comedy word, so we're going with Zamboni.

SAGAL: You're right. It was, in fact, the Zamboni.

JESSI KLEIN: Wow.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

GASTEYER: Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: This Minnesota man had mixed Red Bull and vodka and was arrested after parents at a pee-wee hockey game noticed the Zamboni driving erratically around for 25 minutes during what was supposed to be a 10-minute break.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: This is exciting.

GASTEYER: I just have to ask how that was the Red Bull's problem and not the vodka's problem.

SAGAL: Well...

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

GASTEYER: I got to stand up for the Red Bull.

SAGAL: Presumably if it wasn't for the Red Bull, he would have fallen asleep and never would have gotten on the Zamboni. All right...

GASTEYER: Fair enough.

SAGAL: Last question. Red Bull was banned in Germany after authorities said they found what secret ingredient in it? A: American beer? B: cocaine? Or C: fish oil?

GASTEYER: Cocaine.

SAGAL: Yes, cocaine.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: German authorities say they found cocaine in it. Red Bull makers said that no, no, no, we used coca but just for a little flavoring they said.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Carl, how did Ana Gasteyer do on our quiz?

KASELL: Ana, you had two correct answers, so you win for Sara Potter.

SAGAL: Well done.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

GASTEYER: Yay, Sara Potter.

SAGAL: Yay, Sara Potter. Ana Gasteyer will be performing her one-woman show at Joe's Pub in New York on April 2nd. Ana Gasteyer, thank you so much for joining us.

GASTEYER: Thank you so much for having me.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Great to have you.

GASTEYER: Bye.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Copyright © 2012 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
Support comes from: