Not My Job: We Quiz SNL's Cecily Strong On Saturday Morning Cartoons
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
And now the game where we while away the hours with even more trivial trivia than we usually trifle with. It's called Not My Job. Cecily Strong grew up here in Chicago and became a star at Second City and Improv Olympic until she left for New York and "Saturday Night Live," where she's been a cast member since 2012. She went on to headline the White House Correspondents Dinner. But I'm sure wherever she went, she always missed Chicago, so we're happy to welcome her back.
Cecily Strong, welcome to WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.
(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE SOUND EFFECT)
CECILY STRONG: I'm so happy to be here. Thank you for having me.
SAGAL: So I'm actually kind of excited because you grew up in the same town where I live just outside Chicago.
SAGAL: And when you were growing up here, did you, like, know, like, I'm going to be on "Saturday Night Live" someday? I'm going to be an Emmy-nominated comedian.
STRONG: No. I think those are things I would never have even said out loud. I mean, maybe up until I was 12. And then when you're 12, you learn self-doubt.
MAEVE HIGGINS: (Laughter).
STRONG: And that stays then for the rest of your life, maybe.
SAGAL: Right. Right. You actually - when you were performing with Second City, they sent you off on one of those cruises, right?
STRONG: They did. Yeah, yeah. I was on a Norwegian cruise for four months.
SAGAL: Four months.
BILL KURTIS: Wow.
SAGAL: I was on a cruise once, but they let me off after a week. What is it like for four months?
STRONG: It was really exciting for the first couple months. And it was also my first, like, paying comedy job.
STRONG: And then by the third month, it started to feel like, oh, wait, am I being held prisoner?
MO ROCCA: Cecily, did you have any romance on the high seas?
STRONG: No. I didn't.
STRONG: And you know what? If I did have romance on the high seas, I think I'd be a troubled person today - or more troubled.
HIGGINS: The way you said no so quickly was, like, your lawyer had told you to say no. Like, you had been accused of something on that boat.
STRONG: I'm being deposed.
HIGGINS: No. No, sir. No matter what he says, no matter what those three guys say, I didn't do anything to them.
ROCCA: I feel like all these questions are to determine if we're going to co-sign Cecily's lease.
SAGAL: So you're doing comedy in Chicago. And then one day, presumably, you get that call from New York that Lorne Michaels wants you to come audition. I'm told that everybody is asked to do a character. Did you do any of the one of the characters we've now seen you do on the show when you went in for the audition?
STRONG: I don't think so. I mean, all my characters were, like, 10 seconds long.
ROCCA: Peter, aren't we going to talk to Cecily about you-know-who?
SAGAL: About Melania?
ROCCA: No, that the Internet exploded this week because of Kimberly Guilfoyle.
ROCCA: Everyone's saying that Cecily Strong has to be Kimberly...
SAGAL: Oh, right. Of course. That's natural. Have you been getting those calls? We talked about Ms. Guilfoyle earlier on and her big, shouty performance at the RNC. And apparently...
SAGAL: ...As Mo says, everybody's, like...
STRONG: I'll tell you what. I've never been more flattered to feel like, OK, I really - I've got the brand now of, like, a lunatic brunette maniac.
SAGAL: Yeah, that - you own that niche. I'll say that.
ROCCA: But is it going to be hard, Cecily, for you to differentiate between Jeanine Pirro and Kimberly Guilfoyle? Because this is - I mean, this is a big deal. Like, Bette Midler, all these people were tweeting, like, Cecily Strong has to be Kimberly...
STRONG: I feel like I have to because Bette Midler said it. And when Bette Midler says do something, you do it.
SAGAL: Absolutely. That's how I got this job.
STRONG: (Laughter) Congrats.
ROCCA: Cecily, is there someone out there that you kind of hope gets in trouble because you'd really love to play that person?
STRONG: You know, I think, like, these people find me. But Kimberly Guilfoyle...
STRONG: ...I would love to get into my life. You know, they just - it's stuff like that. You never know when it's going to hit, when someone's going to go viral for yelling in a Walmart or something.
HIGGINS: If only more white ladies just, like, went off, you know?
SAGAL: Maybe that's what's behind the wave.
STRONG: I know. I wish they would. They're just so shy. I wish white women would feel free to yell in public.
SAGAL: I have to ask you one last thing, which is, you've done fake commercials for "Saturday Night Live," but you've done real commercials for Triscuits, right?
STRONG: I have.
SAGAL: We were told, though, that they used a hand model. You, like, had hand doubles for Triscuits.
STRONG: Yeah, I think so.
SAGAL: Is there something wrong with your hands? Were you hurt that they didn't use your own hands holding up the Triscuits?
STRONG: No. Listen, honey, when you get to a certain level of fame...
STRONG: ...You don't stay for the hand shots.
SAGAL: They do the coverage, and they're like, we need the hands. You're like, I'll be in my trailer.
SAGAL: And they bring in the hand double.
STRONG: Me and my hangnails will be in my trailer.
SAGAL: Well, Cecily Strong, we are delighted to talk to you, and we have invited you here today to play a game that this time we're calling...
KURTIS: Saturday Morning Taped.
SAGAL: So us olds remember back in the day, before Nickelodeon and the Cartoon Network, if you wanted to watch a kid's cartoon, you had to wait until Saturday morning, when all three networks - that's right, all three of them - would broadcast cartoons. So we're going to ask you three questions about Saturday morning kids' shows from back in the day.
STRONG: Oh, God.
SAGAL: If you get two right, you'll win our prize for one of our listeners. Bill, who is Cecily Strong playing for?
KURTIS: Randy Lee of Portland, Ore.
SAGAL: Here's your first question, Cecily. The idea of making popular toys into kids' TV shows didn't start with the Transformers. Which of these was a real Saturday morning cartoon based on a beloved toy? Was it, A, "Operation," in which a goofy surgeon removed a different foreign object from people's bodies every week, B, "Rubik, The Amazing Cube," in which a magical Rubik's Cube sprouts legs and fights bad guys, or C, "The Flying Frisbee Fun Hour," in which a sentient Frisbee ends up in an adventure every time somebody throws it badly, and it ends up someplace it wasn't supposed to go?
STRONG: I'm going to go with Rubik's, I think.
SAGAL: "Rubik, The Amazing Cube." You're right.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: It's really something. You can find at least the trailer for it, the credits for it on YouTube. All right. Second question - "The Smurfs" was a classic Saturday morning cartoon with a whole line of merchandise to go with it, of course, including a breakfast cereal. Unfortunately, Smurfberry Crunch had to change its recipe when parents noted what? A, one of the ingredients was codeine, B, it was turning kids' poop blue, or C, it could explode when exposed to milk?
STRONG: Oh, well, it's got to be blue poop.
SAGAL: You're right. Absolutely...
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: ...It was blue poop.
STRONG: Parents won't stand for that.
SAGAL: That's actually what happened. Parents - you know, pediatricians started reporting panicked calls from parents, so they had to find out what was causing it. And it wasn't the only cereal to turn poop a frightening color according to the article we read in Smithsonian Magazine, which makes this whole topic officially classy.
SAGAL: All right, last question. Let's see if you can be perfect.
SAGAL: In the '90s, there was a trend for creating animated kids' shows about real comedians, including which of these? A, "Camp Candy," in which John Candy runs a children's summer camp that strangely seems to run all year, B, "Life With Louie," in which an animated Louie Anderson deals with his father's hilarious abuse about his weight;, or C, "Little Rosey," in which Roseanne Barr appears as an obnoxious, grating and, let's face it, probably racist young version of herself.
ROCCA: I was so hoping that one of the choices would be "Andrew Dice Claymation."
STRONG: I watched "The Louie Show." The Louie one was real, unless I've lost my mind.
SAGAL: Well, you're right. The Louie one was real...
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: ...But so were the other two. They were all real.
STRONG: OK. I...
SAGAL: Those were all kids' tv shows.
STRONG: I was wondering if you were throwing that at me - throwing that blue poop ringer. Yeah.
SAGAL: I was. You're very clever. Bill, how did Cecily Strong do on our quiz?
KURTIS: Cecily, you have joined an elite group that has gotten them all right.
(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE SOUND EFFECT)
KURTIS: You're fantastic.
SAGAL: Cecily Strong is an actress and comedian whose work on "Saturday Night Live" just earned her an Emmy nomination for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy.
Cecily, thank you so much for joining us.
STRONG: Thank you so much.
SAGAL: Thank you, Cecily. Take care, and good luck at the Emmys.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SHE'S MY SATURDAY NIGHT SPECIAL")
WAYNE NEWTON: (Singing) When a Saturday night rolls around, she's mine. She's mine, she's my Saturday night special. She's my Saturday night...
SAGAL: In just a minute, as Kimberly Guilfoyle said, the best is yet to come. It's 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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