Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!

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PETER SAGAL, Host:

And now, the game where we invite highly fabulous people on to do something highly ordinary. It's a game called Not My Job. A lot of people claim to be drag queens, but the queen of them all, the Drag Empress, if you will, is the fabulous RuPaul. His book, "Workin' It" is now out in paperback. Season two of his show "RuPaul's Drag U" premiers June 20th on Logo. RuPaul, welcome to WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: You are, without question, the most famous, the most successful, the most glamorous drag queen ever. How did you start? How did you get there?

RUPAUL: With a pair of high heels and a dream, darling.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: I bet. So where and when was this? You did not grow up in a glamorous setting I know.

RUPAUL: Well, actually, San Diego in the 60s was kind of a Republican glamorous, if you will.

SAGAL: I won't, but go on.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

RUPAUL: I'm from San Diego, but I grew up reading magazines about Andy Warhol and I wanted to move to New York and create a star for myself.

SAGAL: When you were a kid and you wanted to be famous, did you consider anything else? Did you consider being a rock star, being an author? But you were like, no...

PJ O: Politics?

SAGAL: Yeah, for example.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

RUPAUL: Well, it's funny you say that, because every time I bat my false eyelashes, it's a political statement, you know. I started out in rock bands, and this is during the reggae 80s and we were trying to be just outrageous. So drag became this thing, the last taboo in our culture, so we started doing it. And the reaction I got was wow, mamma, you got something going on there.

SAGAL: Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

RUPAUL: So I thought, OK, yeah, let's do it.

SAGAL: You have your second TV show. In other words, there was "RuPaul's Drag Race," a competition of drag queens. But now you have "Drag U," and could you tell me the premise of that?

RUPAUL: Yeah, well "Drag U" is for biological women to come and find their drag avatar. Women, everyday women, basically looking for the Superman to their Clark Kent or the Wonder Woman to their Diana Prince.

SAGAL: Right. So let's say then - let's try me, here I am.

CHARLIE PIERCE: Oh lord.

SAGAL: I know, no, seriously.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: So here I am, a mild-mannered public radio host, how would I begin to bring out my inner...

ROURKE: Start with a wig.

SAGAL: Yeah, all right, fine.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Don't listen to them. They're negative Nellies RuPaul.

ROXANNE ROBERTS: Heels, heels.

SAGAL: No, no, I'm not...

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Those are the obvious things. How do I bring out my inner diva?

RUPAUL: Peter, the truth is that you do bring out your inner diva on this radio show.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: I do.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

ROURKE: RuPaul, we have often thought but we never had the guts to say it.

SAGAL: Right.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: So all this time it's been a drag act. I did not know. Now you're known for having developed your own vocabulary over the years. We've got a few of your terms here. We'll go through them. What, for example, is a glamazon?

RUPAUL: A glamazon is someone who's taken a love of beauty and life and listen, you know, depending on the weather or how my blood sugar at any time, you know, I can be more outspoken than other times, but it's a conscious decision to live life with a fierce determination.

SAGAL: OK, I have some more RuPaul terms here I wanted definitions for. Shilarious?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

RUPAUL: Well listen, you know, drag queens always love a portmanteau of combining words and making something new, because this whole world is shilarious, you know. And so you have to contain yourself with words. Shilarious is just something that is a really hooty kiki funny item.

SAGAL: All right.

RUPAUL: Shilarious, shilarious.

SAGAL: Let me see if I can pronounce this one correctly Shante? Does that make sense?

RUPAUL: Yeah, Shante is sort of a bastardization of Ashanti(ph) from French, you know.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: So it's just something you say when you're happy to meet somebody but you don't have a lot of time?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: I have a question for you though, is it a burden to be RuPaul, fabulously glamorous drag queen? Do you ever just want to throw on a t-shirt and jeans and go out to the store to get a quart of milk, or can you not do that because it'll show up in the tabloids?

RUPAUL: No, no, no, the truth is when I'm not working, when I'm not being paid, I'm wearing some fabulous suit or something gorgeous. Listen, if I'm going to be on this planet, I'm going to make the most of it. I'm going to wear gorgeous clothes. I'm going to dance. I'm going to laugh. Otherwise, I don't want to be here.

SAGAL: So you have like a universal no schmatta policy? You never just throw on whatever you got lying around to shuffle down the street in your flip flops like I do?

RUPAUL: Well, listen, there have been times when I've done that, but the truth is I know that my life is so much better, it's so much more enriched if I make the effort, if I actually celebrate with gladitude the fact that I get to be on this gorgeous planet.

SAGAL: I have seen you dressed in I guess what you might call male drag, really nice Italian suits. You're a very good looking man. Is that a requirement to be a very good looking woman as a drag queen?

RUPAUL: What are you doing after the show, honey?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: I'll text you.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: So you've been doing this for a long time. Do you think you're going to keep it up? Are you going to still do it when you have to drag with support hose and gray wigs?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

RUPAUL: You know, the audience will basically let you know when it's time to go home.

SAGAL: I guess so.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Well, we are so delighted to have you with us, RuPaul. And we have asked you here to play a game we're calling?

CARL KASELL, Host:

Gentlemen, start your engines.

SAGAL: That, as you know, is how you start a drag race. It's how you used to start your show, "RuPaul's Drag Race." But since you do that kind of drag race, we thought we'd ask you about the other kind. Answer three questions about drag racing, the ones with cars, and you'll win our prize for one of our listeners, Carl's voice on their home voicemail. Carl, who is RuPaul playing for?

KASELL: RuPaul is playing for Bill Boas of Tampa, Florida.

SAGAL: All right. You ready to play?

RUPAUL: Yes.

SAGAL: All right, here's your first question. Lots of different cars at drag races. Lots of different classes of cars. An event might have these different cars. Is it A: diggers, floppers, and doorslammers? B: elephants, shrews, and weasels? Or C: mini maxis, mega minis, and maxi tinies?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

RUPAUL: I will say C.

SAGAL: You're going to go for C: mini maxis, mega minis, and maxi tinies? It was actually A: diggers, floppers, and doorslammers. Diggers are the, you know, the rail drag races that you think of. Floppers are funny cars. And doorslammers are stock cars. See, now you know that.

ROURKE: I'll be darned.

SAGAL: All right, two more questions. Dragsters require a lot of specialized equipment around the engines. In fact, each car must have one piece of equipment known in drag racing circles as what? A: the spittoon? B: the puke can? Or C: the zamboni?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

RUPAUL: Well, OK, I'm going to say B.

SAGAL: You're going to go for B, the puke can?

RUPAUL: Yeah.

SAGAL: You are right. That is what it is.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SAGAL: It's the puke can.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: It's an overflow container for the radiator, you see. They used to use real beer cans and now they don't, but they still call it a puke can. So this is exciting. You got one right with one to go. You get this last one right, you'll win our prize.

F: a motorized beer cooler? B: a segway? Or C: an Amish horse and buggy?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

RUPAUL: I'm going to say A, a motorized beer cooler.

SAGAL: Now, in order to drag race a motorized beer cooler, you'd have to pull up at a stoplight next to another guy who happens to be sitting on top of a motorized beer cooler.

RUPAUL: Yes.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: I'm not saying it's impossible.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: It could happen. But the real question is how likely you think that would be?

ROBERTS: What are the options, Peter?

SAGAL: The other options, well I'm glad you asked, Roxanne. The other options were segway.

ROBERTS: Yes.

SAGAL: Or an Amish horse and buggy.

RUPAUL: Well I do know that there are Amish people in Ohio.

SAGAL: Yes.

RUPAUL: So I'm going to go with that one.

SAGAL: You are?

RUPAUL: Yes.

SAGAL: You're right. It was the Amish horse and buggy.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Jacob Eaber was apparently racing another horse and buggy to church, of course, when he tried to pass and clipped a car coming the other way and got arrested. This is what I want to know. You know, everybody knows that when you're drag racing a car and you're stopped at the light, looking at each other, you race the engine. Right, you go, vroom, vroom, vroom. What do you do when you're getting ready to drag race your horse and buggy?

ROURKE: You goose the horse.

SAGAL: And it goes, neigh.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

PIERCE: No, but the really cool thing, Peter, is at the end of the race where the parachute pops out of the back of the buggy.

SAGAL: Oh great.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Carl, how did RuPaul do on our quiz?

KASELL: Peter, RuPaul had two correct answers, and that's enough to win for Bill Boas.

SAGAL: Well done, sir.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

ROURKE: Oh congratulations.

PIERCE: Dare we say fabulous.

SAGAL: That was fabulous.

ROURKE: And he wasn't far off with the beer, because there was somebody arrested for speeding on a motorized beer cooler in Ohio.

SAGAL: That's true. That's true. But there...

ROURKE: A friend of mine in Ohio sent me the newspaper clipping.

PIERCE: He was just in a hurry to get a good seat for the Amish drag racing.

ROURKE: Exactly.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

PIERCE: You know what the infield is like at those things.

SAGAL: Oh my god.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: So I got to ask you this, RuPaul, how was your experience on WAIT WAIT stacked up with all the other many things you've done?

RUPAUL: Well, this I think is absolutely by far the most incredible experience in my life.

SAGAL: There you go.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: That's a man who's unafraid of enthusiasm.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Season two of "RuPaul's Drag U" premiers June 20th on the Logo channel. RuPaul, thank you so much for joining us on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME! What a pleasure to talk to you.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Take care.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!