Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!

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PETER SAGAL, Host:

And now, the game where we ask interesting people about things that do not interest them. It's called Not My Job. Simon Pegg is living every nerd's dream. And no, I don't mean the one about someday feeling the touch of a woman.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: I mean the one where you grow up watching "Star Wars" and "Star Trek" and horror movies and then you start making your own movies. And then one day, you're playing Scotty in the new version of "Star Trek" and starring in Steven Spielberg's new movie. Simon Pegg has a new book out. It's called "Nerd Do Well." Simon Pegg, welcome to WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME! What a thrill to have you.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SIMON PEGG: Thank you very much. It's nice to be here.

SAGAL: So you're living the dream, right? Nerd to star of nerd culture?

PEGG: I guess so, yeah. I mean, yeah, it sounds awfully self-aggrandizing to say that, but yeah, I can't help but be quite pleased.

SAGAL: I know, it's worked out pretty well.

PEGG: Yeah.

SAGAL: So when you were growing up, you write about how much, for example, you loved "Star Wars." And you tell a story about how you kissed your picture of Princess Leia ever night before going to bed.

PEGG: I did, very sort of chivalrously. There was no clingliness and it wasn't like a big snog, which is, you know, like a French kiss. I just used to plant a small peck on her lips every night before bed.

FAITH SALIE: Aw.

MO ROCCA: That's really sweet.

SAGAL: Sort of like the one she gives Luke in the first film, of course.

LUKE BURBANK: Thank God, too, because we find some stuff out about that relationship.

SAGAL: Yeah, I know.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

PEGG: Yeah. It's not like I was kissing my sister. That would be weird.

SAGAL: That'd be awful.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: And I love the story you tell. You were at a comic convention in 2004. Your own movie, "Sean of the Dead," which I can say with confidence, is the funniest zombie movie ever made.

PEGG: Thank you.

SAGAL: You were there.

PEGG: Eat that, "Zombieland.

SAGAL: Yeah, I know, exactly.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: And I love the story that you were like signing autographs for fans of your movie and you got up and you ran over to stand in the line to get an autograph from Carrie Fisher.

PEGG: I did. I wandered over and lined up and waited about an hour and I came face to face with her. And I told her that story, that I would kiss her picture before bed every night. And she sort of looked at me with a slightly worried look in her eye.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

PEGG: And she said, "do you feel better for telling me that?"

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

PEGG: I just said, yes, thank you, and I walked away.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SALIE: Have you ever actually been starstruck?

PEGG: You know, I had another "Star Wars" experience. At Comic Con last year, I'd just gone off from my own panel. It had gone very well. The perfect time to meet someone I admired and be like, you know, I'm clearly an industrial professional and not just a fan. And I bumped into Harrison Ford coming from the stairs. But instead of sort of like introducing myself as a fellow movie actor and artist, I giggled and just ran away.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: And understand that, like, "Star Wars" played an important role. I mean you were under anesthesia and "Star Wars" somehow brought you out of this.

PEGG: Yes, my mom has it on a list of things to do in case I ever go into a coma.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

PEGG: I was in a hospital. I was having a birthmark removed when I was a kid. I had a little mark on my head. And I was under anesthetic and somebody was watching "Star Wars" on the ward, and the sound of R2D2 screaming brought me out of my anesthetic.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: I know this is difficult for you, but you write about a lot of personal things in your book and this is one of them, and it's a bit of a trauma. I wanted to talk to you about the "Star Wars" prequels.

PEGG: Okay.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: They were hard for you.

PEGG: I think they were hard for a lot of people.

SAGAL: They were.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Yeah, I know. So this was just.

SALIE: Jar Jar Binks.

SAGAL: You'd grown up with "Star Wars." You'd wrote your thesis about it. And you go to the theater, as I'm sure, like say, for example, I did, so excited and there you are.

ROCCA: Peter, I feel like you're living vicariously through Simon now.

SAGAL: I am.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SALIE: This is like listening to you being in therapy right now.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: No, I think we're doing good work here and I think we need to let Simon talk.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

ROCCA: How did that make the both of you feel?

PEGG: Oh god, don't.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: All right. Okay, what would you say if George Lucas called you and asked you if you would consider the young Jar Jar Binks in another prequel?

PEGG: There aren't curse words bad enough for what I would say.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SALIE: Simon, you sound like such a normal guy, but you're in all these amazing movies. Do you ever have like a movie star diva moment?

PEGG: I killed a bunch of people.

SAGAL: Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: And he got away with it. Why? Because he's a movie star. They can do that. They get like, what, five kills before they get in trouble. I think it's like a thing they do.

PEGG: I can't wait for number five.

SAGAL: Your book is called "Nerd Do Well." Is there anything out there that's too nerdy even for you? Have you ever met somebody who's in some culture or subculture so weird you're like "oh my god, that's just too strange?"

PEGG: Babylon 5.

SAGAL: Really?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: You draw the line at Babylon 5?

PEGG: You can be nerdy about lots of things. You know, you can be nerdy about food and football and all sorts. You know, there are sports nerds that I don't understand.

SAGAL: Right. What's the point with sports? They never fly, for example. That seems always disappointing to me.

PEGG: Well, with the Canucks, you know those people cared a lot. So much that they destroyed their own city.

SAGAL: Right. You don't see "Star Wars" fans rioting because the rebels lost the battle of the ice planet of Hoth, do you?

PEGG: You should have been in the theater I was in when the "Phantom Menace" was on. Believe me, there was...

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Well, Simon Pegg, we're delighted to have you with us. We have asked you here to play?

CARL KASELL, Host:

And he makes a poke check while head deeking in the crease.

SAGAL: You have no idea what Carl's talking about most likely, because he's talking about hockey. This is a sport that's a bit like soccer, played with sticks on ice. And this week they had a big game of some sort. So we thought we would ask you three questions about this very well and interesting sport, which has fans all over the world, including outside Canada.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

PEGG: I'm going to ace this. I went to one game once. This is going to be - you just picked the wrong subject. I'm going to know everything.

SAGAL: You went to a hockey game once.

PEGG: Yeah, Tom Cruise took me to a hockey game. How about that?

ROCCA: Oh wow.

SAGAL: Wait a minute.

ROCCA: You dropped something.

BURBANK: Yeah, don't hit your foot.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Tom Cruise took you to a hockey game?

PEGG: Yeah.

SAGAL: Did he just call you up out of the blue and say let's go see some hockey? How did that come about?

PEGG: No, we were doing "Mission Impossible" in Canada and the Canucks were playing, so we went to see them. And it was a lot of fun. I can't understand anything that happened that night because it was confusing and there were lots of men fighting and it was cold.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

PEGG: I still don't get it though.

SAGAL: Well that's okay, because if you get two questions right, you will win our prize for one of our listeners, Carl's voice on their voicemail. Carl, who is Simon Pegg playing for?

KASELL: Simon is playing for Joseph Trebing of Manassas, Virginia.

PEGG: Joseph.

SAGAL: Hey.

PEGG: Hey.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Here's your first question, Simon. Hockey goes back quite a long way. Back in 1916, in fact, there was a Canadian hockey team with the official name of what? A: the Edmonton Swastikas. B: the Toronto Foaming Mooses? Or C: the Vancouver Fungi?

PEGG: I know this.

SAGAL: All right.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: If you want to take a second to call Tom Cruise, you can. I'm sure he'll know.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

PEGG: I'm going to go with B.

SAGAL: You're going to go with B, the Toronto Foaming Mooses?

PEGG: Yeah.

ROCCA: No.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: It was actually the Edmonton Swastikas.

ROCCA: Yes.

SALIE: Really?

SAGAL: Did you know?

SALIE: How did you know that?

ROCCA: No, the reason I knew that is because it would be really nasty for you to entrap someone into saying something like that if it weren't the answer. Like, you know what I mean?

SAGAL: No, no.

ROCCA: It would be really nasty if he had said like oh, the Edmonton Swastikas. Then we would have all been like "why did you think that?" It's the wrong answer.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

ROCCA: So it had to be the right answer.

SAGAL: You're right, I wouldn't be that mean. But yes, it was the Edmonton Swastikas. It was a girl's hockey team. And I want you to picture 1916, all these nice proper Canadian girls sitting there with their hockey sticks and their sweaters with swastikas on them. Because we all know, until it was ruined by some people we won't mention, the swastika was actually a perfectly acceptable symbol and used all over the world. So, you know, just funny crosses, no biggie.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: All right, you have two more chances here.

ROCCA: It's very hard to goose step in ice skates.

SAGAL: It is. This is your second question. The winner of the Stanley Cup gets to keep the trophy for a year. So, for example, the Boston Bruins, who just won, each member of their team will carry it around with them for a period of time.

PEGG: Yeah.

SAGAL: After his team won the cup in 1996, one member of the Colorado Avalanche used it to do what? A: brew beer. B: baptize his daughter right in it. Or C: catch rain from a leaking roof in his house.

ROCCA: Oh, I hope it's B. Oh sorry, I'm not playing. Sorry.

SALIE: Me too.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

PEGG: I can't get those sexy Nazi skaters out of my head.

SAGAL: I know, it's terrible.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

PEGG: It's B. I'm going with B.

SAGAL: Your right. He baptized his daughter.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SALIE: Yay.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

PEGG: Yeah.

SAGAL: To our knowledge, two hockey players to date have used it to baptize their children. The last question, if you get this right, you'll win it all. Hockey is enjoyed by a few isolated enthusiasts in most of the world, but it is quite popular in Canada.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: In fact, it's so popular in Canada that one of these things is now true. A: hospitals in British Columbia had to stop surgeons from talking about hockey during surgery. B: the number one first name give to baby boys in the year 1987 was Gretzky. Little Gretzky McKenzie. Or C: a law was passed making body checking in grocery stores illegal.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

PEGG: I'm going to go with A.

SAGAL: A, hospitals in British Columbia can't let the surgeons talk about hockey?

PEGG: Yeah.

SAGAL: You're right. That's the problem.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

ROCCA: Yes.

SALIE: Wow.

SAGAL: They found out that surgeons were talking about hockey too much. They were getting distracted. So they had to stop. Congratulations. Carl, how did Simon Pegg do on our quiz?

KASELL: He had two correct answers, Peter. That's good enough to win for Joseph Trebing. Congratulations, Simon.

PEGG: Yay.

SAGAL: Yay.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Simon Pegg is a writer, actor and author of the new book, "Nerd Do Well." Simon Pegg, thank you so much for playing our game.

PEGG: Thank you, guys. Thank you very much.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Thank you, Simon.

SALIE: Bye, Simon.

SAGAL: Great to talk to you, take care.

PEGG: Thank you. Bye.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!