Not My Job: We Ask Actor June Squibb About Squids Squibb was a professional actor for 60 years before landing her first Oscar nomination — at the age of 84 — for her role in the movie Nebraska. Her latest film is Love the Coopers.

Not My Job: We Ask Actor June Squibb About Squids

Not My Job: We Ask Actor June Squibb About Squids

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Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images
June Squibb poses for a portrait during the 19th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards on Jan. 16, 2014, in Santa Monica, Calif.
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

June Squibb was a professional actor for 60 years before landing her first Oscar nomination — at the age of 84 — for her role in the movie Nebraska. Her latest film is Love the Coopers.

We've invited her to play a game called "Horrible, tentacled monsters of the deep" — three questions about squids.

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

And now the game where people labor for decades to spend 10 minutes doing something they could manage while playing "Candy Crush" - It's Not My Job. So June Squibb was a professional actor for 60 years before landing her first Oscar nomination at the age of 84 for the role of Bruce Dern's beleaguered wife in the movie "Nebraska." She has spent the year since flitting about town, squiring beautiful young men into all the hot nightclubs and lighting up the tabloids with her passionate affairs or, God, we sure hope so.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: June Squibb, welcome to WAIT WAIT ...DON'T TELL ME.

(APPLAUSE)

JUNE SQUIBB: Thank you (laughter).

(APPLAUSE)

SQUIBB: That sounds good to me. I wish that was all happening.

SAGAL: Now, come on, you're in the best position. You can be, like, a Hollywood grand cougar.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: It would be awesome. I really want to establish that, before everybody saw you in this movie "Nebraska" and you got the Oscar nomination, you had been working as an actor for decades. You started as a Broadway performer, right?

SQUIBB: Yeah, I started onstage in New York, and I did Broadway and off-Broadway. I did cabaret and stock. Anything you could do, I did it.

SAGAL: I found out you were in the original production of "Gypsy" with...

SQUIBB: Yes.

SAGAL: ...Ethel Merman...

SQUIBB: Right.

SAGAL: ...Which is part of theater legend. And you were right there.

SQUIBB: Oh, God, yes. The original was wonderful. It was wonderful to hear the music every night.

SAGAL: I can imagine. And you played a stripper in that.

SQUIBB: I played the stripper Electra with the light bulbs going.

SAGAL: Oh, how nice.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Did you, in fact, strip?

SQUIBB: No, we each had our own little thing. When I bumped, the lights went off, off of my - of the front of me and then my behind.

(LAUGHTER)

BRIAN BABYLON: When you say you bumped...

SQUIBB: Uh-huh?

BABYLON: Talk about that a little bit more.

(LAUGHTER)

SQUIBB: A bump and a grind.

BABYLON: Yeah.

SQUIBB: And so, you know, you would grind, and then you'd bump.

(LAUGHTER)

SQUIBB: And the lights would go off as you bumped.

SAGAL: Yeah.

BABYLON: All right, OK.

SAGAL: Sounds good.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Now, we heard that you have - you say of yourself that you held the title of dirtiest mouth on Broadway.

SQUIBB: (Laughter).

SAGAL: This has nothing to do with your hygiene. Is that true?

SQUIBB: Yes, I was. I didn't even know it. I just was talking. But, you know...

(LAUGHTER)

SQUIBB: I said [expletive] a lot.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Oh, like, give me a - use it in a sentence.

(LAUGHTER)

SQUIBB: Well, I use it now when I make a mistake or if I forget something when I'm working. I'll just say, oh, [expletive].

(LAUGHTER)

BABYLON: Or maybe she was, like, you call that a bump? [Expletive].

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Yeah.

SQUIBB: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

BABYLON: Yeah.

SQUIBB: That's very good.

SAGAL: That's great.

BABYLON: Thank you.

SAGAL: So you did all these shows and all of these films. And then - OK, so you do the movie "Nebraska," in which you play Bruce Dern's very put upon wife.

SQUIBB: Right.

SAGAL: And you get nominated for an Oscar. So that means, of course, in our culture, you're instantly famous. You're in the magazines. People are taking - what was that like after just a 60-year apprenticeship in the business?

SQUIBB: Well, it was wonderful. I mean, it was all new, certainly. And I had great help, though, from the studio. That helped tremendously, that there was someone there telling me this is the best thing to do here.

SAGAL: Do you throw your weight around now that you're an Oscar nominee because you put in your time? Have you said...

SQUIBB: Yeah.

SAGAL: Have you said at any time in the last year - don't you know who I am, for example.

(LAUGHTER)

SQUIBB: (Laughter) I've never said that.

SAGAL: You should.

SQUIBB: But I called - what I found out, my friends call and use my name to get into restaurants.

SAGAL: Hey.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: I'm with June Squibb's entourage, they say.

SQUIBB: Right. No, they say, I would like a table for five. And I just want to tell you that June Squibb's going to be with us.

SAGAL: And are you, in fact, with them?

SQUIBB: Yes. Oh, yeah.

SAGAL: Oh, that's no fun. Well, I know you're a big "Game Of Thrones" fan.

SQUIBB: Yes.

SAGAL: Do think you can land a little part on there and just play somebody for five minutes before they're murdered?

(LAUGHTER)

SQUIBB: Right (laughter). Well, I would love to do that. I just think that's the best show in the world.

SAGAL: It's pretty good.

SQUIBB: Yeah.

SAGAL: I mean, they're always killing off people.

SQUIBB: Yeah.

SAGAL: They could probably use somebody like you.

SQUIBB: They could very easily have me on and then just kill me off.

SAGAL: Do you have any - if you were allowed to do a cameo, do you have any way that you'd like to be killed?

SQUIBB: I guess with a sword.

SAGAL: Yeah?

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: That's a classic way. I would like to be eaten by a dragon, as I think I've said.

SQUIBB: Well, that or put on fire by a dragon.

SAGAL: Oh, even better.

(LAUGHTER)

BABYLON: So as a actor, if you read the script and they're just like, OK, you're in "Game Of Thrones," and they're going to have you die in your sleep, that would be a letdown, huh?

SQUIBB: Yeah.

SAGAL: Yeah, you don't want to live on that show. Well, June Squibb, we are so delighted to talk you. We've asked you here to play a game we're calling...

BILL KURTIS: Horrible Tentacled Monsters Of The Deep.

SAGAL: You're June Squibb.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: What do you know about squids...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: ...Is the question.

SQUIBB: Squid?

SAGAL: Yes, squids. You know, the terrible monsters that dream of our destruction in the inky depths. We're going to ask you three questions about squids or squid.

SQUIBB: OK.

SAGAL: Squids? Get two right, you'll win our prize for one of our listeners. Bill, who is actress June Squibb playing for?

KURTIS: Sam Boeschen of St. Helena, Calif.

SAGAL: All right, here's your first question. The giant squid was just a myth until the first specimen was photographed by a Newfoundland preacher in 1873. But he posed this dead squid in an odd way. How? Was it A - like one of his French girls...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: B - in his bathroom; or C - attacking a model ship to make it look even bigger?

SQUIBB: Attacking a model ship to make it look even bigger.

SAGAL: That's your choice?

SQUIBB: Yeah.

SAGAL: No, it was actually in his bathroom.

SQUIBB: Oh, really?

SAGAL: Because, you know, if you want to display a giant, dead squid, what better choice than to hang it from your shower curtains?

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Which is what he did. And he took a picture. Two more chances, here we go.

SQUIBB: Uh-huh.

SAGAL: The mating habits of squids are quite unusual. Which of these is true? A - they're the only species in nature known to tell the truth in their online dating profiles...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: B - female squid avoid unwanted male advances by wearing fake testicles.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Or C - male squid will imitate octopuses just to better their odds.

(LAUGHTER)

SQUIBB: I would say the second one.

SAGAL: The one with the testicles?

SQUIBB: Uh-huh.

SAGAL: You're right.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL, APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Very good. They have - it's like a deep sea version of truck nuts. The way it works is...

SQUIBB: Right.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: ...The female squid have these cells they can manipulate to look like testicles if they don't want the male squid to pay them any more attention. So they're basically relying on the male squid gay panic.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: One more question - if you get this you win. We don't know a lot about squids. There are a lot of them that we don't know anything about. In fact, one entirely new species of squid - giant squid - was discovered just in 2001. And this squid has something never before seen in any other squid. What is it? A - elbows...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: ...B - a fine singing voice; or C - a taste for human flesh.

SQUIBB: A singing voice.

SAGAL: Now...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Wouldn't you need - and this is - I'm not a biologist - some sort of mouth? Because they have beaks, but they don't really have mouths.

SQUIBB: Oh, then it would be taste for human flesh.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: You're going to choose a taste for human flesh?

(LAUGHTER)

SQUIBB: Yes.

SAGAL: All right. I - I...

(LAUGHTER)

BABYLON: Can I just say...

SQUIBB: If you tell me elbows...

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: All right. I'm not going to say. I'm going to give you one last chance to pick. Is it elbows, a fine singing voice or a taste for human flesh?

SQUIBB: I guess taste for human flesh.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: I like the way you think. And I don't want to dissuade you, but it is, in fact, elbows.

SQUIBB: It is?

SAGAL: These - it's elbows. These squid have tentacles that have these weird right angles in them that look like elbows.

SQUIBB: Like elbows?

SAGAL: Yeah, they also have big fins like elephant ears if you want to make your nightmare tonight accurate.

SQUIBB: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Bill, how did June Squibb do on our quiz about squids?

KURTIS: She got one right and two wrong.

SAGAL: Ah, well. I'm sorry, June. But on the other hand, you can still walk around Hollywood and say, don't you know who I am?

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: June Squibb stars in the new movie "Love The Coopers." June Squibb, thank you so much for joining us on WAIT WAIT ...DON'T TELL ME.

SQUIBB: Thank you.

SAGAL: Thank you so much.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SAGAL: In just a minute, Bill grabs a bag of Funyuns for our Listener Limerick Challenge. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to join us on the air. We'll be back in a minute with more of WAIT WAIT ...DON'T TELL ME from NPR.

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