Singer Erykah Badu Plays Not My Job
CARL KASELL: From NPR and WBEZ-Chicago this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR News quiz. I'm Carl Kasell. And here again is your host, at the Chase Bank Theater in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Thank you, Carl. Before we go on, I just want to remind people that if you really want to see us live, the best way to do it is to attend our Cinecast event on May 2nd. See us live on the screen at a theater near you. Information at WaitWaitTickets.org. Well, we are taking a little spring break this week in a kind of radio dream sequence. We're going back in time to see some people from our past.
KASELL: In February of this year, we took panelist Tom Bodett, Kyrie O'Connor and Paula Poundstone down to Dallas where we met singer Erykah Badu.
SAGAL: I was curious how she took that as her stage name.
ERYKAH BADU: I used to sing jazz cabaret and my scat would be badu, badu, badu, badu. And that's - it stuck.
SAGAL: Wow. And that isn't the only name that you've performed under though, right?
SAGAL: What are the other names you've performed under?
BADU: Erykah Badu, Fat Belly Bella, She-Ill, Manuela Maria Mexico sometimes...
PAULA POUNDSTONE: Are you on the lam?
SAGAL: And what's your favorite?
TOM BODETT: But she'll get better?
BADU: She-ill is like she's dope.
BADU: She's fresh.
BADU: She's cool.
SAGAL: I haven't understood a word you've said.
SAGAL: Yeah. So your music is not what I would think of, being an ignorant person not from here, as Texas music. I hear some soul, I hear some blues, I hear some hip-hop.
SAGAL: But you have done a lot of other things as well as sing. You like...for example, we know that you, like, dabbled in comedy, or you still do, right?
BADU: I do. I'm doing it now.
SAGAL: You're doing comedy?
POUNDSTONE: Right now.
SAGAL: You're like, right now.
BADU: I'm dabbling.
SAGAL: You're dabbling. You used to work for the comedian Steve Harvey, right?
BADU: I did. I was his - I started out as a waitress at his club. He had a club years and years ago called Steve Harvey's Comedy House. Then I kind of snuck my way backstage and I made up a role so I could keep going on stage doing stuff.
BADU: And he just kind of gave in at one point and he allowed me to write and share ideas with him.
SAGAL: Right. So you were writing jokes for Steve Harvey?
BADU: Well, it's really one joke that he used. You know, all the other stuff, I don't know what happened to it.
BADU: I think that stuff went to Chris Rock.
SAGAL: I understand.
BADU: But there was one joke that we wrote, where we had these cue cards and we would write this really long word and put it up on an easel and have the audience try to pronounce the word.
BADU: And what we explained is that this word is actually a phrase that black people use that you wouldn't understand.
BADU: And if you understand it, you win a prize.
BADU: Yeah. One of them was ou-from-way-from, oufromwayfrom.
SAGAL: I wouldn't win that prize.
BADU: And if they didn't get it right, then I would get a chance to put in a sentence.
SAGAL: So can you put that in a sentence?
BADU: Get oufromwayfrom round them cars.
SAGAL: That's pretty good. So you've made some great videos in your time. And there's one video for your song, "Window Seat," kind of a controversial. Can you describe it for those who have not seen it?
BADU: "Window Seat."
BADU: Well, I pull up to Dealey Plaza at a parking meter, and I get out and I have some clothes on. And I put some money in a meter. And as I get closer and closer to the spot where J.F. Kennedy was assassinated - God rest his soul - I was nude by that time.
SAGAL: You just take - yeah, I've watched it a couple times.
POUNDSTONE: Did anybody say get ou' from way from that grassy knoll?
BADU: Yeah, they said a lot of stuff.
SAGAL: Yeah. You got in trouble as much for, I guess, being naked in public or for some sort of perceived disrespect but also because you didn't ask anybody if you could do this, right? You just showed up and did it.
BADU: It was a guerilla-style video. We shot guerilla style. You know, that means there's one camera. There's, you know, one direction. We walk and after I'm totally nude, we run.
BADU: I would have gotten away quicker, but the minivan pulled up on the wrong side of the street. So I had to actually run around the...
SAGAL: So you're running...
SAGAL: So you had to do a lap? You had to do a lap around Dealey Plaza naked?
SAGAL: I love this. I love this. You have children and you told the story about how you wanted to let your kids know what you were going to do before you did it.
BADU: I did. And I just wanted their, you know, support and love. Because, you know, their mom's a celebrity and there could be a chance that they could be asked questions or teased or anything. And my son, who's the oldest, told me, if people ask me anything I'll just say my mother was having fun.
SAGAL: There you go. That's great.
BADU: My mom's a good guy. She's a good guy.
BADU: My youngest daughter said, "I want a cookie."
SAGAL: There you go. Well, Erykah Badu, it is a pleasure to talk to you, and we have asked you here to play a game that this time we're calling...
KASELL: .Tall, Courtly Newscaster with Deep, Resonant Voice and Comforting Manner Seeks Same.
SAGAL: It is Valentine's Day next week, and if you don't have a date, don't worry, there's help for everybody out there, and I mean everybody. Buzzfeed just posted a list of 50 dating sites...
(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)
SAGAL: ...for very specific types of people. We're going to ask you three questions about the wide world of specialized dating.
SAGAL: Get two out of three right, you'll win a prize for one of our listeners. Carl, who's Erykah Badu playing for?
KASELL: Erykah is playing for Ginger Lehrfeld of Dallas, Texas.
SAGAL: There you go, a local.
SAGAL: Which of these - first, are you ready to do this?
BADU: I'm ready.
SAGAL: Here we go. Which of these is a real dating site for someone who wants to make sure their partner shares their favorite enthusiasm? Is it, A, MorrisDanceLoverLovers.org. B, FarmersOnly.com, or C, BeMyLittlePony.com?
BADU: I think Farmers Only.
SAGAL: Farmers Only?
SAGAL: You're right. FarmersOnly.com.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: Now you might think to yourself Farmers Only, that sounds dry. But no, FarmersOnly.com has its own jingle. Listen to this.
(SOUNDBITE OF FARMERS ONLY JINGLE)
SAGAL: There you go.
SAGAL: Farmers, you know what to do. All right, that was very good. Next question: there was one site that struck us as admirable for its honesty in its presentation. What is it?
SAGAL: Was it A: Someone to listen, which hooks up the self-involved with the shy?
SAGAL: B: The Ugly Bug Ball, for ugly people. Or C: the dating site of really, really, really old people, called CarbonDating.com?
BADU: I like that.
SAGAL: You do? I do, too, I have to tell you.
BADU: What's the second one?
SAGAL: The second one was the Ugly Bug Ball for ugly people.
BADU: I'd go with that.
SAGAL: All right, you're going with the Ugly Bug Ball. You're right, of course, the Ugly Bug Ball.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: Is the site. It's slogan: real dating for real people.
SAGAL: So don't you laugh. Here we go. You're doing really well here, Erykah.
BADU: I am.
SAGAL: So, there's a website, of course, for cat fanciers who want to date other cat fanciers.
SAGAL: You know there'd be one.
SAGAL: But what is it called? Is it called A: Purrsonals?
SAGAL: B: Fur Always? Or C: The Cat House?
BADU: Cat lovers' site.
SAGAL: Cat lovers' site.
SAGAL: Of course, it was, Purrsonals.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: Carl, how did Erykah Badu do on our quiz?
KASELL: Well, she was purrfect.
SAGAL: Oh, I bet she was.
KASELL: She had three correct answers, so she wins for Ginger Lehrfeld. Congratulations.
BADU: Congratulations, Ginger. Thanks.
SAGAL: Erykah Badu's latest album is "New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh." Erykah Badu, what a pleasure. Thank you so much for joining us.
BADU: Thank you so much.
SAGAL: Erykah Badu, ladies and gentlemen.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
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.