Not My Job With Neil Patrick Harris: Doogie Howser Gets Quizzed On Doggie Houses "Wait Wait Junior" is a special edition of Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! made just for kids. We've invited Neil Patrick Harris, who became a TV star as a teen, to play a game called "Welcome home, Fido."
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Not My Job With Neil Patrick Harris: Doogie Howser Gets Quizzed On Doggie Houses

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Not My Job With Neil Patrick Harris: Doogie Howser Gets Quizzed On Doggie Houses

Not My Job With Neil Patrick Harris: Doogie Howser Gets Quizzed On Doggie Houses

Not My Job With Neil Patrick Harris: Doogie Howser Gets Quizzed On Doggie Houses

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Neil Patrick Harris, shown above in 1989, starred in the ABC TV series Doogie Howser, M.D. Nick Ut/AP hide caption

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Nick Ut/AP

Neil Patrick Harris, shown above in 1989, starred in the ABC TV series Doogie Howser, M.D.

Nick Ut/AP

Wait Wait Junior is a special edition of Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! that was made with our young listeners in mind. We've invited Neil Patrick Harris, who spent his teen years playing boy-genius doctor Doogie Howser, to play a game called "Welcome home, Fido" — three questions about doggie houses.

Harris stars as Count Olaf on A Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix, and he's the host of NBC's Genius Junior. The second installment of his book series The Magic Misfits comes out in September.

Click the audio link above to see how he does.


And now the game where we ask people we like about things they don't necessarily like 'cause they don't know anything about them. It's called Not My Job. Neil Patrick Harris spent his teenage years being a TV star as "Doogie Howser, M.D." We assume he means that he'll spend his 50s goofing around and playing video games and drinking Mountain Dew. Neil Patrick Harris, welcome back to WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.



SAGAL: I have a bunch of questions here from the kids who want to ask you things. But I have a question. You're doing a new show called "Genius Junior."

HARRIS: Indeed I am.

SAGAL: And I watched it. And it's a quiz show with, like, these incredibly smart young kids.

HARRIS: Who do the most remarkable things. We went around America and found, I think, 24- or 30-something kids that were between the ages of 8 and 12 with strong, high intellects. And we paired them up into two teams of three, and we challenged them with all kinds of unbelievable things.

SAGAL: Does it make you, though, kind of increasingly disappointed in your own normal children?

HARRIS: Oh, my normal children are just idiots, apparently.

SAGAL: Apparently. They can't do anything.

PAULA POUNDSTONE: Well, I always felt that Doogie Howser kind of messed up the curve.

SAGAL: Because your kids weren't, like, brilliant surgeons at the age of - what - how old was Doogie Howser, 15?

HARRIS: Doogie was, yeah, 15 when that show started. And if I'm not mistaken, he was kind of the first blogger.

SAGAL: Was he really?

HARRIS: He ended every episode kind of at the computer, and he typed in some thing that he thought was intriguing to combine the A story and the B story. And he'd give a little smile and finish it off.

MAZ JOBRANI: Was he inspired by a real-life 14-year-old that became a doctor?

POUNDSTONE: (Sneezes).

HARRIS: God bless you.

POUNDSTONE: Sorry. Doog, I was hoping you could take a look. I've had this cough.


SAGAL: Well, this is good because we have some questions for you. And we asked our audience, or the kids in the audience, to write down some questions. And here's one from Sebastian. He's aged 4. How old is your doctor?

HARRIS: That's a great question, Sebastian. My doctor is certainly older than Doogie. I think he's probably in his early 40s.

SAGAL: Right.

POUNDSTONE: I love it that Sebastian assumes you have a doctor. Like, I don't have a regular doctor. You know what I do? When I take a cat to the vet...


POUNDSTONE: ...I ask the vet questions as if I'm asking about an animal at home.


JOBRANI: So that's your doctor.

POUNDSTONE: Yeah. I'll say, like, when my dog Ramona does pushups, she makes a moaning noise. Do you think her rib could be pulling away from her muscles?


SAGAL: My favorite role of yours, Neil, is a recent one. It's Count Olaf in the Netflix series "Series Of Unfortunate Events." And that's also true...


SAGAL: Yeah. The kids here love it. And Emma, who is age 9, wants to ask, how do you get your eyebrows, hair and beard like that when you play Count Olaf?

HARRIS: Oh, that's a great question. I actually have to spend every morning a couple hours before everyone else arrives in a prosthetics, special effects makeup trailer. And so I get a fake nose, fake eye, fake forehead and add all these different splotches and capillaries that make me look really horrible. And then I go to another trailer where all the hairpieces are. So I get a two-piece wig, then three pieces of a monobrow - two eyebrows plus the middle part - two mutton chops on the side and a little goatee at the bottom.

SAGAL: Right.

HARRIS: So it takes a good two hours all in.


HARRIS: But I look nothing like myself, and I can be an awful person and shout at children.

SAGAL: That's fun. Do you enjoy shouting at children when you get to play Count Olaf? Is that fun? It looks fun.

HARRIS: It's the best job ever.

SAGAL: I understand.


SAGAL: And Finn, also a big fan of you in that role, wants to know if you really have that eye tattoo on your ankle.

HARRIS: You know what, Finn? In the first couple episodes of season one, I had - I was required to have this eye tattoo. Count Olaf is known for it. And they made this temporary tattoo that they would attach and apply with alcohol. And I thought, why don't I just get one? And so between seasons one and two, I went and got the actual tattoo on my ankle, so I have it forever.

SAGAL: Wow. That's really great. I didn't know that. That's commitment to the role.



SAGAL: Well, Neil Patrick Harris, we are always so thrilled to talk to you. And this time, we've invited you here to play a game that we're calling...

BILL KURTIS: Welcome home, Fido.

SAGAL: So you played Doogie Howser, M.D., so we thought we'd ask you about doggy houses.


SAGAL: Answer two of these questions correctly and you will win our prize for one of our listeners. Bill, who is Neil Patrick Harris playing for?

KURTIS: Ryan Riley (ph) of Elmhurst, Ill.

SAGAL: All right. I'm guessing Ryan is here. So here's your first question. Now there is a doghouse in the town of San Anselmo, Calif., that is very unusual. Why? A, it is heated by its very own miniature nuclear reactor; B, it was designed by the most famous architect in American history, Frank Lloyd Wright, or C, it is the size of a 20-room mansion?

HARRIS: What? OK, well, I laughed at the answer A 'cause that just seems dangerous.

SAGAL: Nuclear reactor.

HARRIS: Nuclear reactor.


HARRIS: I'm going to go with Frank Lloyd Wright, B.

SAGAL: And you're right, Neil. That's what happened.


HARRIS: (Screaming) Yes.

SAGAL: It's a great story.


SAGAL: And the kids in the audience will appreciate this. So Frank Lloyd Wright built a house for a couple out in California, and the couple's son, a kid, said, Mr. Wright, would you build me a doghouse to go with the house? And Frank Lloyd Wright wrote back and said, ask me next year. I'm busy now. And he wrote back next year. He said, it's next year. Will you do it? And Frank Lloyd Wright said, yes. And he designed their doghouse, and you can go see it in San Anselmo.

Here's your next question. Some inventors have come up, of course, as you might expect, with a high-tech doghouse. It's called the Pet Pavilion. It's made of metal and glass. It's got computers controlling temperature and everything else. But there's one big problem with it. What is it? A, it has an echoing effect, making any barking eight times as loud...

HARRIS: Oh, wow.

SAGAL: ...B, the electronics, as sensitive as they are, are ruined by dog farts...


SAGAL: ...Or C, when a dog is inside it, it looks like you're microwaving it?


HARRIS: (Laughter) I'm going to go with A.

SAGAL: You're going to go with A, the echoing effect?

HARRIS: Yes, Sir.

SAGAL: No, it was actually the microwave. This is the problem.

HARRIS: Really?

SAGAL: Well, imagine it. It's a glass box with metal on the sides. It's got buttons for controlling. And imagine your dog inside it, looking out at you with a look in its face saying, don't push the popcorn button.


SAGAL: Everything's fine, Neil, because you have one more chance to win it all for our young friend.

HARRIS: All right, Ryan.

SAGAL: Last question. The Samsung company - they wanted to make their own high-tech doghouse. They surveyed dog owners about what features it should have, and 18 percent said the one thing their dog needed in their doghouse was what? A, a fully functional robot to take it for walks and pick up after it; B, a speaker that constantly whispers, who's a good dog, who's a good dog...


SAGAL: ...Or C, a hot tub?


HARRIS: Those are my choices?

SAGAL: Those are your choices.


HARRIS: I - maybe the hot tub?

SAGAL: Is that your choice? You're right. Yes, it's the hot tub.

HARRIS: (Screaming) Yes.

POUNDSTONE: There you go.


SAGAL: Although...


SAGAL: ...It's called a hydrotherapy spa for your dog.


SAGAL: Yeah.

HARRIS: Right. A warm tub.

SAGAL: Exactly. Bill, how did Neil Patrick Harris do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Two out of three, you're a winner.

SAGAL: That's great.


SAGAL: That means you're two for two on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.


SAGAL: Neil Patrick Harris stars as Count Olaf on Netflix's "A Series Of Unfortunate Events," and he's the host of NBC's "Genius Junior," and he's the author of the book series "The Magic Misfits." The second story comes out in September. That's, like, a tiny portion of what he's done. Neil Patrick Harris, thank you so much for joining us today on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.



HARRIS: (Singing) Look away, look away. Look away, look away.

SAGAL: When we come back, we speak to adults like Aubrey Plaza and CIA analyst John Nixon. We'll be back in a minute with more of WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME from NPR.

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