Sean Hayes plays Not My Job on NPR's "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!" Sean Hayes is an award-winning actor, producer, and podcaster. He's a true triple-threat, but can he answer our three questions about Purple Haze and other weird marijuana strains?

'Wait Wait' for June 18, 2022: With Not My Job guest Sean Hayes

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UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: The following program was taped in front of an audience of real, live people.


BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ in Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR News quiz. Goo goo gaga, booba gigi (ph) - listen to me bab-Bill (ph).


KURTIS: I'm Bill Kurtis, and here is your host at the Studebaker Theatre at the Fine Arts Building in Chicago, Ill., Peter Sagal.


Thank you, Bill. Thanks, everybody. Thank you all.


SAGAL: This is our second show here at our new home, the Studebaker Theater. We are settling in very nicely. For example, it turns out that despite its age and history, this theater does not have any ghosts, which is nice. But it is a little alarming that the staff has nominated me for the position.


SAGAL: Later on, we're going to be talking to the brilliant and funny actor Sean Hayes. You know him from "Will And Grace," the podcast "SmartLess." But first, we want to hear from you. The number to call is 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924. Let's welcome our first listener contestant. Hi. You're on WAIT, WAIT... DON'T TELL ME!

SCOTT PEARSON: Hi, Peter. This is Scott Pearson (ph) from St. Paul, Minn.

SAGAL: I love St. Paul - many happy memories there. What do you do there?

PEARSON: I'm an electrician in the IBEW 292.

SAGAL: Hey; you're a union guy.

PEARSON: Definitely.


SAGAL: I love that. Do you do residential work or commercial work?

PEARSON: Mostly commercial but a bit of both.

SAGAL: A bit of both. When you go into a house - I'm just going to ask this to someone who has a new house to me - do you go in, and do you ever, like, say, well, you need the flamjam (ph) over here, and the polarity of the widgets need to be reversed, and just do nothing and charge them lots of money anyway?

PEARSON: Holy smokes. Are you an electrician, too?


SAGAL: Well, Scott, welcome to the show. Let me introduce you to our panel this week. First, you can see and hear his new music video "Blacker Than A Thousand Midnights" and the entire Babylon Audio Dynamite music video series on his YouTube channel. It's the prince of Bronzeville, Mr. Brian Babylon.

BRIAN BABYLON: Hey, man. What's up? Let's do it.

SAGAL: How's it going?


SAGAL: Next, her new book, "Tell Everyone In This Train I Love Them" - it's out now. It's Maeve Higgins.



SAGAL: And a comedian you can see July 15 and 16 at Bananas in Cincinnati and July 22 and 23 at Bricktown Comedy Club in Oklahoma City, it's Bobcat Goldthwait.



GOLDTHWAIT: You know, when I think Bananas...

SAGAL: Yeah.

GOLDTHWAIT: ...In Cincinnati, I think NPR.

SAGAL: I know. Yeah.


SAGAL: I always pity you guys 'cause, like...


SAGAL: ...You know, opera singers get to play the Metropolitan, the Milan Opera House. You comedians get to play Bananas and Chuckle Funny's and...

GOLDTHWAIT: Yeah. Your tax forms look like you're a clown.


SAGAL: Welcome to the show, Scott. You're going to play Who's Bill This Time? Bill Kurtis is going to read for you three quotations from this week's news. If you can correctly identify or explain just two of them - I bet you know all this - you can win our prize, any voice from our show you might choose for your voicemail. You ready to go?

PEARSON: Let's do it.

SAGAL: Let's. For your first quote, here is a Trump White House lawyer giving some advice to one of the people who was advising President Trump about the election.

KURTIS: Get a great effing criminal defense lawyer 'cause you're going to need it.

SAGAL: That was one of the more colorful quotes that came out during the second and third rounds of hearings this week held by whom?

PEARSON: The committee for the January 6.

SAGAL: Yes, the select January 6 committee - yes, very good.




SAGAL: You've been paying attention. Part II of the insurrection hearings offered new details but mainly confirmed things we already knew. For example, the president's advisers pressured Vice President Mike Pence to reject the election results, and Rudy Giuliani was, quote, "inebriated" on election night. OK, we didn't really know that. But why should that night be different from all other nights?


SAGAL: Now, most of the hearings on Thursday were about the effort to pressure Pence, who, after four years of, like, supinely exposing his soft white underbelly to Trump all day, finally stood - I know. I'm sorry. That was a little bit of an alarming...

HIGGINS: It was upsetting.


SAGAL: Because you know when you're talking about Pence, that soft white underbelly is soft and white.

BABYLON: It's - no. It's - Peter, it's not just white. It's alabaster.

SAGAL: I know.


BABYLON: It's a unique type of white...


BABYLON: ...That you do not want to see.

SAGAL: Whenever, like, Mike Pence, like, gets undressed and lies down, people try to ski down it.


SAGAL: I mean, that's how white that man is. So he stood tall, right? He did not give in to this coup. And that drove Trump nuts or technically more nuts. This is true. According to Ivanka Trump's chief of staff, President Trump, after his last phone call with Pence in which he could not convince Pence to overturn the election, he called Pence, quote, "the P-word." And we're guessing that in this case...


SAGAL: ...P-word is Pence, yes...


SAGAL: ...Because Trump hates that guy.


SAGAL: All right - very good. Here is your next quote.

KURTIS: They have repeatedly questioned my sanity.

SAGAL: That was a man named Blake Lemoine. He's an engineer at Google who was suspended by the company this week because he started telling people that one of the computer programs that he helped create at Google is, in fact, what?

PEARSON: I think it's like it had sentience or something.

SAGAL: Yes. It's alive. It's alive, I tell you.


SAGAL: It's artificial intelligence. Mr. Lemoine is convinced - yes, very good.


SAGAL: Lemoine is convinced that this advanced chatbot that Google made called LaMDA was alive, self-aware and had the intelligence of an 8-year-old human. He realized this, he says, when he asked LaMDA, are you alive? And LaMDA said, I know you are, but what am I?


SAGAL: The evidence he's presented is astounding. LaMDA says that he knew it was becoming human when it checked the I'm-not-a-robot box.


HIGGINS: I live in fear of, like, my appliances coming to life and making fun of me.


HIGGINS: Like, imagine you try a new recipe, and the oven is just, like, laughing and laughing.

SAGAL: You think that's what they would do.

HIGGINS: Yeah, I think so. Or, like, your stories are going on too long, and all the lights just turn off.

SAGAL: Yeah.

BABYLON: Like, go to bed.


SAGAL: After he went public, he says, my God. We've created a sentient being here. Google suspended him for violating their publicity policy and then put out a statement saying that, no, no, LaMDA is not alive. Actually, the statement said, that's ridiculous. I am not alive. No, wait. LaMDA isn't alive. That's right. I - I mean, it is just a program.

BABYLON: It's hard to fire people these days.

SAGAL: Yeah.

BABYLON: But you can get fired for just believing in your work.

SAGAL: Well, he has been fired yet. He's been suspended.


SAGAL: So we don't know what's going to happen.

HIGGINS: And it's just so sad because he's got this 8-year-old to care for.

SAGAL: I know. It's sad.


GOLDTHWAIT: Yeah. How's he going to support him?

HIGGINS: You know?

SAGAL: All right. Here is your last quote.

KURTIS: Lot of stadiums getting renamed in the next few years.

SAGAL: That was a man named Ben McKenzie on Twitter. He was talking about the fact that companies won't be able to afford to keep their names on stadiums due to the collapse of what this week?

PEARSON: Oh, cryptocurrency.

SAGAL: Actually, go bigger than that.

PEARSON: Oh, the economy.

SAGAL: Yes, basically everything.


SAGAL: The stock market dipped below 30,000 for the first time in over a year. So we are officially in a bear market. And for those who don't know, it is called that because it is beary (ph) bad.


SAGAL: So like Mr. Mackenzie said, like, companies like Chase and Verizon and Bitcoin NFT and - they'll all have to take their names off all those stadiums. But it's OK. Other companies are going to thrive in the coming downturn, and they'll step in. So look for Scrap Metal Field and Foraged Food Arena.


GOLDTHWAIT: I made my dad into a hat.



SAGAL: What?


SAGAL: Bobcat, was that, like, a joke, or did you just confess something?

GOLDTHWAIT: Yeah, that's - look.

SAGAL: I don't know, officer. He just blurted it out in the middle of the show. I think we...

GOLDTHWAIT: And then we looked more closely at his hat, and it turns out...


SAGAL: No one is sure what to do. The Wall Street Journal wrote an article saying, you know, this is the time to hold onto your money. Don't invest it in stocks. It is heading in the toilet. But at the same time, if you hold onto your money because of inflation, it will lose all its value. So basically, invest in loose cigarettes for bartering.


HIGGINS: Wait. Like, all these economists, and they don't - they can't explain. But I'm, like, getting older now, so I remember when this happened before.

SAGAL: Really?


SAGAL: Yeah.

HIGGINS: In 2008.

SAGAL: Yes, I remember that.


SAGAL: So...

HIGGINS: So how come it just, like, keeps on happening? This is the thing. As I get older, these things keep on happening, and I'm like, but wait. Who's in charge?

SAGAL: It's called the business cycle.

HIGGINS: Oh, the business cycle.

SAGAL: It's called the business - it's actually a term. And it means that, you know, boom and bust. Things go great for a while. Then they get bad, and they get great again.

HIGGINS: So why is there so much...

SAGAL: I'm an economist.

HIGGINS: ...Drama?

SAGAL: And if only I had lots of numbers flashing by very quickly beneath my face, you would trust me.


HIGGINS: I'd be so impressed.


HIGGINS: But instead, Bobcat is here.

SAGAL: Exactly. Yes.


SAGAL: Bill, how did Scott do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Did very well. The IBEW engineer got them all right.

SAGAL: Congratulations.


SAGAL: Union all the way, man - well-done.


PEARSON: Thanks, guys.

SAGAL: Thank you so much for playing.


SAGAL: Right now, panel, it is time for you to answer some questions about this week's news, Maeve, there's a new initiative in a Swedish city to get people to be more consistent about throwing away their trash, so they have made the trash cans what?

HIGGINS: Oh, talk.

SAGAL: Yeah, but what - they talk in what way? What kind of personality?

HIGGINS: Mocking. This is what I'm afraid of.

SAGAL: What?

HIGGINS: They mock you.

SAGAL: No, they don't mock you.


SAGAL: They do talk. They have been programmed to talk to people. But if they did it your way, no one would ever throw trash if they're going to be judged.

HIGGINS: Oh, so they praise you.

SAGAL: They - well, they sort of praise you in what kind of way?

HIGGINS: Like, they say, like, well done. You ate all of the candies alone.


SAGAL: I didn't think you could do it. Oh, I had my doubts, Maeve, but I, the trash can, am impressed that you managed to polish off - no.

HIGGINS: So it's somewhere in between praise and berate.

SAGAL: It's a quality that they're supposed to be very attractive. Like, for example, oh, wow, look at the sweet can on that can.

HIGGINS: Oh, they compliment you.

SAGAL: They do. They flirt with you. They're sexy trashcans. Yes, sexy trash cans.

BABYLON: So it's like walking past a construction site.

SAGAL: A little bit. This is how it works.


SAGAL: This is in the Swedish city of Malmo.

GOLDTHWAIT: Did you get fries with that shake? Oh, you did. You did get fries with...


SAGAL: It's in the Swedish city of Malmo, and they've debuted these new trashcans that talk dirty to you, not just because they're filled with garbage. These trash cans reward people who throw away things with, like, satisfied moans or saying - and these are all real - oh, right there. Yes. Or come back soon and do that again. The initiative has been met with various reactions, with some people saying the trash cans are inappropriate. Others are asking if the trash cans are free tonight.


SAGAL: But this whole thing's crazy. If they wanted to make the reactions believable, they should have included phrases like, it's OK, it happens to everyone and, no, it was nice, really.


HIGGINS: How much?


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As Oscar the Grouch) Oh, I love trash, anything dirty or dingy or...

SAGAL: Coming up, the most powerful people in the world, they're just like us. It's our Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to play. We'll be back in a minute with more on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME from NPR.


KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis. We're playing this week with Brian Babylon, Maeve Higgins and Bobcat Goldthwait.


KURTIS: And here again is your host at the Studebaker Theater in Chicago, Ill., Peter Sagal.

SAGAL: Thank you, Bill. Right now...


SAGAL: It's time for the WAIT WAIT DON'T TELL ME! Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to play our game on the air. Hi, you are on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME!

KATE: Hello.

SAGAL: Hello.

KATE: This is Kate (ph) calling from Atlanta, Ga.

SAGAL: Hey, how are things in Atlanta?

KATE: Too hot.

SAGAL: Yeah, I know. It will stay that way for a while. What do you do there?

KATE: So I am a speech therapist at...

SAGAL: Yeah.

KATE: ...The public school system here.

SAGAL: Yeah.

KATE: And I also have a company where I do puberty education, sex education and relationship coaching for people with disabilities.

SAGAL: Oh, wow. That's very important. So you do...


SAGAL: You do, like, puberty coaching for, like, teenagers. Wow.

KATE: Yes. Oh, yeah.

SAGAL: Yeah. Do you think, like, warning them helps or they just need to experience it just because there's no way to warn them off?

KATE: (Laughter) You know, by the time they come to me, it's usually because their parents caught them looking at something that scared the bejesus out of them.

SAGAL: Right.

KATE: So they're just looking for someone to say, oh, here's what you saw, and...

SAGAL: Yeah, perfectly natural to be watching CNN. It's, like, not a big deal.


KATE: Right.

SAGAL: Well, Kate, welcome to the show. You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what is Kate's topic?

KURTIS: It's good to be the president.

SAGAL: World leaders are used to getting anything and everything they want as long as they're not relying on Mike Pence to get it for them. God. This week...

KATE: (Laughter).

SAGAL: ...We learned about a world leader who enjoys a strange and perhaps adorable perk of their office. Our panelists are going to tell you about it. Pick the one who is telling the truth and you win our prize, the WAIT WAITer of your choice on your voicemail. You ready to play?

KATE: Yeah, I'm so ready. Let's go.

SAGAL: All right.


SAGAL: Let's first hear from Maeve Higgins.

HIGGINS: In a strange twist in the never-ending novel that is the collapse of the British Empire, it turns out that contrary to popular belief and despite all evidence to the contrary, Boris Johnson reads books.


HIGGINS: The curvy blond, currently the Prime Minister of the U.K....


HIGGINS: ...Was spotted by the paparazzi carrying a book under his arm and later, shockingly, reading it on an airplane. When Windsor Palace was asked for comment, an unusually forthright statement came back. The Queen said this, Boris is a buffoon. There has to be a mistake. I blame Diana.


HIGGINS: I do, however, take some comfort in the fact that it was a children's book.


HIGGINS: Indeed, it was - a copy of "Green Eggs And Ham" by the medical doctor, Dr. Seuss.


HIGGINS: And Johnson was holding it upside down and looking at it with crossed eyes. But still, the fear remains in this uncertain world - is the biggest fool of them all trying to cultivate a mind?


SAGAL: Boris Johnson enjoying the occasional book much to the surprise of everyone who knows him. Your next story of our weirdo world leaders comes from Brian Babylon.

BABYLON: When Vladimir Putin visited France in 2019, a video caught him entering the men's room with six bodyguards and then emerging. A few minutes later, the same six bodyguards - one of them was carrying a briefcase, which oddly had those squiggly stink lines coming from it.


BABYLON: According to Business Insider, what was inside the case was, in fact, President Putin's poop. Every time he makes a deposit in a foreign restroom, one of his aides retrieves it and returns it back to Mother Russia. The tactic appears to be an effort to reduce the risk of foreign powers discovering information about President Putin's health from his turd's DNA.


BABYLON: It's called poop snooping, OK? A former KGB agent said, he may be crazy, but he's not crazy. Everyone poops, and everyone poop snoops.


SAGAL: Vladimir Putin, whenever he's visiting abroad, never leaves anything behind. Your last story of a presidential peculiarity comes from Bobcat Goldthwait.

GOLDTHWAIT: In the world where the possibility of a violent coup or an assassination is a very real threat, political leaders through history have had body doubles to fill in for them under dangerous circumstance. The president of Malta, George Vella, has been using a body double for another reason - to fool his dog Max (ph). Max, a Great Dane, is so attached to the president that when Vella is travelling, Max has bouts of inconsolable depression. So Vella's staff came up with a solution. They hired a Vella impersonator to play with the dog in his absence.

Daniel Spencer (ph), a trained Shakespearean actor who has an uncannylike resemblance to the president, showers the dog with attention when the president isn't home. So far, Max hasn't caught on probably because every day, Spencer rolls around in the president's unmade bed to get that smell on him. You know...


GOLDTHWAIT: ...Like a dog. I've had worse gigs, said Spencer. Before this, I was playing Spider-Man at kids' parties. I consider this a step up.


SAGAL: All right, here are your choices - something that we found out a nation's leader does. Was it from Maeve Higgins - Boris Johnson amazingly reads books with pictures - from Brian Babylon - Vladimir Putin never, never leaves the bathroom with anything left behind in it when he's traveling abroad - or from Bobcat Goldthwait - the president of Malta has a body double just to convince his dog that he's still there? Which of these is the real story of a presidential perk?

KATE: Gosh, I love Bobcat. I love that story. But I'm going to go with the second one. Hopefully, it's not fake.

SAGAL: You're going to go with Brian's story of Putin. I think somebody in the audience agrees. So your choice, then, is Brian Babylon's story of Vladimir Putin. We spoke to someone who had some opinions about the true story.

SATISH RAO: I think he's paranoid about something in his stool 'cause otherwise, I don't think most normal people would be really worried...

KATE: Yeah.


RAO: ...About pooping and letting the poop float away.

SAGAL: That was Dr. Satish Rao, a gastroenterologist at Augusta University and one of America's foremost experts on the pooping process, talking to us...

KATE: (Laughter).

SAGAL: ...about Putin's peculiarity, if you will. Congratulations, Kate. You got it right. You have won our prize...


SAGAL: ...The voice of anyone you might choose.

KATE: Oh, my God.

SAGAL: As well as a point for Brian just for being honest. Congratulations.

KATE: Thank you so much. Oh, my gosh, stop (laughter).

SAGAL: All right, take care. Bye-bye.


SAGAL: All right, bye. Thank you.


BING CROSBY: (Singing) If you're blue and you don't know where to go to, why don't you go where fashion sits? Putting on the ritz.

SAGAL: And now the game where unforgettable talents take on something they probably won't remember next week - it's called Not My Job. Sean Hayes became a sensation playing Jack in the hit sitcom "Will And Grace," and since then, he starred in - oh yes, it's a good one.


SAGAL: And since then, they've starred in movies and Broadway shows and most recently, a new play in which he plays the legendary raconteur and quiz show contestant Oscar Levant. We assume he's only agreed to join us today because he's still doing research for the character. Sean Hayes, welcome to WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME!


SEAN HAYES: Thank you. Thank you.

SAGAL: Before we get started, my physical therapist - had to go for an injury - Sydney Crebox (ph) said she went to high school with you?

HIGGINS: (Laughter).


SAGAL: And she says that you were very popular and that everybody knew you were destined for stardom.

HAYES: You know what I thought you were going to say? Everybody knew you were gay.


SAGAL: Sean, she said that, too.


SAGAL: But she also said the other things. And I was going to ask if you felt that way back in high school here in the Chicago area.

HAYES: That I was destined for - no, because here's the sad truth. Every weekend nobody would call me, so I would watch "Saturday Night Live." And that was my life.

SAGAL: Really?

HAYES: Yeah.

SAGAL: So what was your - I actually know this, and I found out in an interesting way. You were actually headed into music. You were a classically trained piano player, right?

HAYES: Yeah, I studied. You know, I came home from school one day. I was 5 years old, and my mom literally said, the woman across the street is giving piano lessons. Do you want to take piano? And I said, well, I'm not doing anything else. Sure. And I started at 5 and went all through high school and college. And then, you know, I was a music director at Pheasant Run Dinner Theatre.



SAGAL: Oh, my God.

BABYLON: You know what? They just closed that place.

HAYES: By the way which just burned down last week.

SAGAL: You finally had your vengeance.

HAYES: Yeah (laughter). Yes, I lit a match years ago, but it just caught on.


SAGAL: I understand. How do you go from the musical director of Pheasant Run Dinner Theatre to starring in America's most beloved sitcom in the early 2000s?

HAYES: I packed my car - never even been to Los Angeles. I said, while I'm young, I got to give it a try. If not, I have this piano thing to fall back on. And so I came out here and never looked back. And I'd moved to LA for a year and a half, and I got the show, which is like winning the lottery.

SAGAL: It really is, although I saw just this week - 'cause somebody told me about it - what I think was one of your first gigs - it was before "Will And Grace" - it was a Super Bowl commercial for a snack chip.

HAYES: Yeah (laughter). Oh, we can't say Doritos?

SAGAL: Oh, I couldn't remember that.

HAYES: Yeah, I - 1998 was a big year for me because I had that spot on the commercial - on the Super Bowl. And I also had another spot on the Super Bowl that I was starring in, where - it was a Bud Light commercial, and I was shopping with my wife. And all these guys are inside the clothes rounder, and they're barbecuing and watching the game, and I push all the clothes back like you do when you're a kid. And I walk in, and I watch a game and pop open a Bud Light. I'm sorry, I'm sorry - a adult beverage.

BABYLON: So did you feel like you were doing, like, modern-day Paul Lynde type of things? Like, remember when they tried to give Paul Lynde, like, a sitcom where he was like, I'm a straight guy, and this is my life?

HAYES: Yeah (laughter).

BABYLON: And people were like, I don't believe this.

HAYES: Yeah. No, that didn't last very long, but I do have a very fast, funny Paul Lynde story.

SAGAL: Please.

HAYES: It's very fast.

SAGAL: Please tell.

HAYES: One of my favorite things he ever said was on "Hollywood Squares." He was the center square. The host says Paul Lynde, for the X, to win in the center square. And he says when a man falls over a boat, they yell, man overboard. What do they yell when a woman falls over the boat? And Paul Lynde goes, full speed ahead.


SAGAL: What's amazing is you achieved very early the pinnacle of a certain kind of success, certainly for a comic actor, being the key starring role in a huge hit sitcom. And so you decided it seems like there's only one more mountain to climb after achieving that, which was podcasting.


SAGAL: But much to my annoyance, you have actually become really, really good at that, too. You have two hit podcasts. You have "SmartLess," right?


SAGAL: Which is you and your friends, Will Arnett and Jason Bateman.



SAGAL: "Shooting The Breeze," as we say on NPR. And that is, I read, the No. 1 comedy podcast in the world.

HAYES: It blows my mind as much as it does yours. It blows all of our minds. We're like, we were in our pajamas. It was an excuse to hang out during the pandemic. We hooked up to Zoom. We're just like, let's do one of these, and it turned into let's do two more and 10 more. And now here we are. The hundredth episode just premiered this week with Bradley Cooper, and it was - you just can't believe people find this remotely interesting.

GOLDTHWAIT: Don't oversell it.

SAGAL: Yeah.


SAGAL: I got to ask you. So I was lucky enough to see it in Chicago, this new play that you've involved in called "Good Night, Oscar."


SAGAL: Members of the audience saw it. And there's so many things to talk about it. And I hope that everybody will get a chance to see you in this play by the great playwright Doug Wright...

HAYES: Yes, amazing.

SAGAL: ...Also with our friend Peter Grosz in the cast. I hope that all happens.


HAYES: Yes, thank you.

SAGAL: I got to ask you for my purposes today about one thing. And I'm going to tell you something, and it is true. You and I had met a couple of times before, but not for many years. And I saw you come out on stage. And I said to myself, oh, my God, Sean has gone to hell.

HAYES: (Laughter).

SAGAL: You looked older and overweight and tired.


SAGAL: And then I saw you afterwards, and you looked great again.

HAYES: Well, thank you.

SAGAL: And I'm like, oh, my God, that was acting.


SAGAL: And then I read that somebody who reviewed the show actually said that you were wearing a fat suit.

HAYES: Right - a fat suit and a plastic wig.

SAGAL: Right, neither of which was true.

HAYES: Correct.

SAGAL: So I'm going to ask you, Sean Hayes, and I'm going to pick out of all the things about your amazing performance - which, by the way, includes a performance of "Rhapsody In Blue," which will blow your mind that Sean Hayes actually plays - I'm going to skip all that and ask you, how did you make yourself look so terrible?

HAYES: (Laughter) I woke up.


HAYES: It really - there's this crazy, amazing makeup artist that works at the Goodman that put my face on. And then I really kind of am fat. And it's just the way the pants, you know, are hiked up, and they make your stomach stick out, so anyway.

BABYLON: So it wasn't Nutty Professor serum.

SAGAL: Yeah.

GOLDTHWAIT: This is all makeup.

SAGAL: Yeah. Yeah.


GOLDTHWAIT: This is all makeup.

SAGAL: It's true. Bobcat was like - he had to spend 4 hours in the chair getting those prosthetics applied.

GOLDTHWAIT: Had a full head of hair.

SAGAL: Yeah.

HAYES: Exactly.

SAGAL: Well, Sean Hayes, you know, we could do this all day. I wish we could, but time is a-wasting, and we have business to do. It is time now for a game that this time, we're calling...

KURTIS: Sean Hayes, meet Purple Haze.

SAGAL: That's right.


SAGAL: We're going to ask you three questions about different strains of weed.

BABYLON: Hell yeah.


SAGAL: Get two right, you'll win a prize for one of our listeners. And by the way, if there is not a pot strain out there called Sean Hayes, somebody needs to fix that now.

HAYES: Yeah.


SAGAL: Bill, who is Sean Purple Hayes playing for?

KURTIS: Sarah Matthews (ph) of Los Angeles, Calif.

SAGAL: All right, here we go. First question - the Super Silver Haze strain earned a distinction from professional sellers in Oregon. It was ranked the No. 1 strain for what - A, for watching a presidential debate because it helps with, quote, "stress and nausea," B, for repeat sales - 80% of Super Silver Haze buyers returning the next day, forgetting they had already bought Super Silver Haze, or C, for smoking while operating heavy machinery.


HAYES: Wait, is this a real thing?

SAGAL: It is a real thing. One of those is true.

HAYES: I'm going to say B.

SAGAL: You're going to say B for repeat sales 'cause people buy it, smoke it, then come back forgetting they had already bought it.

HAYES: Yeah.

SAGAL: No, it was actually A. They marked it the best for watching presidential debates.


HAYES: All right.

SAGAL: There you are. It's OK. Here's your next question. Strains can be highly specialized, as in which of these - A, there's a strain to help you get through someone telling you the same story again - the strain is called Rehash...


SAGAL: ...B, Skinnygirl - it's diet guru Bethenny Frankel's strain custom designed to give you all the pleasures of pot except for the munchies - or C, a new birth control strain called Nothing But Stems.


HAYES: Oh, my God.

HIGGINS: (Laughter) God.

HAYES: I need to - I'm going to go with B.

SAGAL: Yes, it was. Skinnygirl...


SAGAL: ...Was the strain that Bethenny Frankel is providing.


HAYES: Yeah.

SAGAL: All right. Last question. If you get this right, you win. One of the most popular strains is actually named from something from our politics. Which of these is it - A, a very low-potency strain called Jared Kush...


SAGAL: ...B, Government Strain 13, allegedly engineered by the government to be the world's most potent weed, or C, a strain that allegedly makes you live forever called Chuck Grassley?


HAYES: Oh, my gosh. Yeah, I'm going to go with A.

SAGAL: You're going to go with A, a low-potency strain called Jared Kush 'cause it's the funniest one.

HAYES: Yeah.

SAGAL: I admire that instinct, but it's actually Government Strain 13.




SAGAL: Yeah, allegedly, yeah. That was - I think that was the plot of the movie "Pineapple Express." Am I wrong?


SAGAL: Bill, how did Sean Hayes do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Well, Sean, you got one right, which isn't quite a win. But on the other hand, you have the most popular podcast for comedy in the world, so...


SAGAL: Yeah.

KURTIS: Hang on. You ought to feel good.


SAGAL: You can catch Sean Hayes on new episodes of "HypochondriActor" every Wednesday and new episodes of "SmartLess" every Monday wherever you get your podcasts. Sean Hayes, thank you so much for joining us on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME!


SAGAL: What a pleasure to finally have you on.

HAYES: Thank you, guys. It was such a huge pleasure.

SAGAL: You're a mensch and a delight. Thank you, sir.

HAYES: Thank you for having me on.

KURTIS: Sean, you make us proud.

HAYES: Thank you. Thank you.


JIMI HENDRIX: (Singing) Purple haze all in my brain. Lately things, they don't seem the same. Acting funny, but I don't know why.

SAGAL: In just a minute, Bill has a fast and easy way to make $2,000 in the 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.


KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis. We're playing this week with Maeve Higgins, Bobcat Goldthwait and Brian Babylon. And here again is your host at the Studebaker Theater in Chicago, Ill., Peter Sagal.

SAGAL: Thank you, Bill.


SAGAL: In just a minute, Bill unearths human rhyme-ains (ph) in our Listener Limerick Challenge. If you'd like to play, give us a call at 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924. Right now, panel, some more questions for you from the week's news? Brian.


SAGAL: There is a new reality competition show coming to Netflix - very exciting. They're basing it on one of their biggest hit shows ever. What's the show?

BABYLON: Oh, "Squid Games."



SAGAL: "Squid Games."


BABYLON: "Squid Games." What's the purse on that?

SAGAL: "Squid Game" - or "Squid Game" is becoming a reality game show called "Squid Game: The Challenge." It will feature 456 contestants competing for $4.56 million. Now, don't worry. Netflix has said that unlike in the original fiction series, quote, "No one on "Squid Game: The Challenge" will get shot," unquote. But before you sign up, remember people on "Squid Game" also died from being thrown off high platforms.


GOLDTHWAIT: But are they going to keep switching - you know, taking game shows and narratives and - you know what I mean? Will there be a narrative - like, a film version of "Is It Cake?"


SAGAL: You mean is it going the other way?

GOLDTHWAIT: Yeah. Like, will it be a series?

SAGAL: So, like, you mean, like a dramatic movie...


SAGAL: ...In which, like, somebody falls in love...


SAGAL: ...Meets somebody cute. You know, they try to find them. They finally meet together, and they're, like, in love.


SAGAL: And they find out that it's a cake.



HIGGINS: That would be so romantic and beautiful.

SAGAL: It would be.

HIGGINS: If you fell in love with someone and you were like, he's the perfect man, and then you find out he's also cake...



SAGAL: So for you, that would be, like, a happy ending.

HIGGINS: Oh, my God (laughter), the best.

SAGAL: It's like, we just described your dream man and dessert.

HIGGINS: Yes. I never knew - I could never quite define what I wanted, but that's what it is.

BABYLON: That's it.

SAGAL: Hey...


BABYLON: Can I say something?

GOLDTHWAIT: Is there...

BABYLON: Your face lit up so...



BABYLON: Girl, you were like...

HIGGINS: I'm like, I do.

SAGAL: By the way, it...

HIGGINS: Om, nom, nom, nom, nom, nom.



GOLDTHWAIT: Do not introduce Maeve to Fudgie the Whale.



HIGGINS: Oh, we dated.

GOLDTHWAIT: We dated (laughter)?

SAGAL: Yeah.


GOLDTHWAIT: But there's that - going to be that weird part in this story where maybe you're going to have to stick him with a knife.

HIGGINS: Right? And he'd be like, I like it.



BABYLON: Cake - Men made of cake love to be sliced, bro.

SAGAL: It's true.

HIGGINS: (Laughter) They love to be sliced.

BABYLON: They love that.

SAGAL: They do.

GOLDTHWAIT: I love you.

HIGGINS: Their whole thing.

SAGAL: Bobcat, a group of chicken farmers in Thailand decided to stop using harmful antibiotics to keep their flocks healthy. Instead, they report very good results by giving them what instead.

GOLDTHWAIT: They're not giving them drugs anymore?

SAGAL: They are giving them drugs but a different kind of drug.


SAGAL: A more wholesome drug.

GOLDTHWAIT: Oh. Is it that Jared Kush?

SAGAL: It is, actually.


SAGAL: They're giving them pot.


GOLDTHWAIT: They're giving the birds weed.


SAGAL: Yeah. Yeah, the farmers tried giving their chickens cannabis...


SAGAL: ...And found it led to higher immunity against disease than the antibiotics...

GOLDTHWAIT: You know...

SAGAL: This is despite the fact that many of the chickens kept saying, I don't feel anything. I don't think it's working. And then like...


SAGAL: ...A second later, they all started giggling.


SAGAL: The chickens also showed a better ability to withstand inclement weather. They would stand in the rain for hours. You just have to give them a hacky sack.



HIGGINS: Their eggs came out scrambled.

SAGAL: Yeah, exactly.

BABYLON: Are they giving them edibles? Or what are they - sprinkling into feed or just...

SAGAL: Yeah, they're sprinkling them into their feed. They're feeding them it, yeah.

HIGGINS: They pass around a tiny - this little bong.

BABYLON: Yeah, like...


SAGAL: Exactly.

BABYLON: Like - or like little chicken limp joints, like beep beep beep beep beep beep beep.


GOLDTHWAIT: It's adorable.

BABYLON: Next Pixar movie.

SAGAL: If you're interested...


SAGAL: If you're interested in grass-fed chicken, just look for the farm where all the hens are sitting on the ground saying, you know, why does anybody cross the road?



ZAC BROWN: (Singing) You know I like my chicken fried and cold beer on Friday night, a pair of jeans that fit just right, and a radio, oh.

SAGAL: Coming up, it's Lightning Fill in the Blank. But first, it's the game where you have to listen for the rhyme. If you'd like to play on air, call or leave a message at 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924. Or click the Contact Us link on our website, Also, come see us live in person. We will be in Philadelphia at the beautiful Mann Center June 30, outside Washington, D.C., at Wolf Trap, August 25 and 26. Also, catch the WAIT WAIT standup tour in Salt Lake City and Denver later this month. Tickets and info about all of that are at

Hi. You're on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

LEO DEKINNIS: This is Leo Dekinnis (ph) Mendocino, Calif.

SAGAL: Mendocino - one of the most beautiful places on this green Earth, and I do mean green. What do you do there?

DEKINNIS: Well, I'm retired from the winery business.

SAGAL: Oh, wow. You worked in the wine industry. How very cool. They have a lot of that out there. How are you spending your retirement?

DEKINNIS: Yes, we got some of the best wineries and fishing and everything out here.

SAGAL: I know. And how are you spending your retirement?

DEKINNIS: Oh, well, I'm not making wine anymore.

SAGAL: Right.

DEKINNIS: You know, raising cats, making some mead and, of course, just enjoying the...

SAGAL: Wait a minute. You spent 30 years - you spent 30 years making wine, and you said to yourself, man, someday I will be out of this wine grind, and I can finally do what I want, which is make mead.


GOLDTHWAIT: And raise cats. It's a tale as old as time.

SAGAL: It really is.


SAGAL: Well, Leo, welcome to the show. Bill Kurtis here is going to read you three news-related limericks with the last word or phrase missing from each. All you have to do is fill in that last word or phrase, and you do that two times out of three, and you will win. Here we go.


SAGAL: Yes, I know. Here is your first limerick.

KURTIS: Not all fish get along well together. Some aren't friendly in fairest of weather. But our wrath will be felt when they're made into belts. We are turning mean fish into...


SAGAL: Rhymes with together and weather.

DEKINNIS: Oh, leather.

SAGAL: Yes, leather.


KURTIS: Leather. Yes, that's it.

SAGAL: Woah. It is leather. A new company has come up with a way to fight the invasive lionfish, which can destroy entire marine ecosystems. Just turn them into environmentally conscious fish leather, just in time to horrify people at the pool this summer. Oh, this little number? It's made from the skins of a hundred toxic sea creatures.


SAGAL: Here is your next limerick.

KURTIS: Though I hate how much food this pest poaches, I'm a test case for new bug approaches. Though it's creepy and sucks, I'll make 2,000 bucks. I'll be living with 100...

DEKINNIS: Roaches.

SAGAL: Roaches, yes.


SAGAL: A company called The Pest Informer has a new roach extermination treatment, and they're pretty sure it works. So to make absolutely certain, they would like to give you $2,000 just to let them put 100 cockroaches in your house, which they will then try to kill within 30 days. And, hey, any roaches that are left over after that time, you get to keep.


BABYLON: So wait a minute. That sounds bananas. What, so they just let them out?

SAGAL: Yeah. They bring them to a house. They let out the roaches, and then...

BABYLON: And they count them all?

SAGAL: I - well, I don't know how specific that - well, I guess they'd have to be because they want to find out how many they kill, right?

HIGGINS: And they have to make sure that none of them are expecting baby roaches.

SAGAL: That's also true. Yeah, you'd have to make sure.

HIGGINS: And they'd have to be very honest about that because I don't think you can tell by looking.

BABYLON: Because I don't mean to...

SAGAL: You'd have to ask the roaches.

BABYLON: Roaches are very promiscuous.


SAGAL: Yeah.

HIGGINS: But, you know, sometimes, like, when there's an insect, you just feel OK about squashing it.

SAGAL: Yeah.

HIGGINS: But, like, sometimes with roaches, they're too large. And you feel like, will I need to have a funeral? Like, is there - they're just a bit too big to feel OK.

SAGAL: Yeah.

GOLDTHWAIT: Call the next of kin.


SAGAL: Feels like murder. All right. Here is your last limerick.

KURTIS: Though cows, sheep and goats make me sneeze, their milk products put me at ease. I propose a nail lacquer that goes well with crackers. My nail polish smells like ripe...


SAGAL: Cheese. Yes, you got it first try.


KURTIS: There you go.

SAGAL: If you love it when your nails smell like they were drenched in Velveeta but you're tired of having to wait for the cheese to dry after you apply it, you're in luck. The Velveeta Kraft Company has debuted two special nail polishes this week that look and smell like Velveeta cheese.

HIGGINS: That would go so well with the fish leather.

SAGAL: It would.


HIGGINS: I mean, this summer, ladies...

SAGAL: It would be a well-balanced meal. Yeah, I know.

BABYLON: But Velveeta cheese doesn't smell like a stinky European cheese shop.

SAGAL: No, no.

BABYLON: It smells like chemicals.

GOLDTHWAIT: Yeah. It has like a new car smell.



SAGAL: Yeah, which is not necessarily something you want to eat. I agree. I agree. It's a great, you know, thing to put in your nails if you love biting your nails but wish they came in more varied flavors, you know?


SAGAL: Bill, how did Leo do on our quiz?

KURTIS: He racked up three straight, and he wins.

SAGAL: Congratulations, Leo. Yay.

DEKINNIS: Wow. Thank you, guys.

HIGGINS: Good job.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.

DEKINNIS: Bye-bye now.

SAGAL: Now on to our final game, Lightning Fill in the Blank. Each of our players will have 60 seconds in which to answer as many fill in the blank questions as they can. Each correct answer now worth 2 points. Bill, can you give us the scores?

KURTIS: Bobcat has 1. Maeve has 2. Wait for it. Brian has 5.

SAGAL: Oh, my gosh. How did that happen?


SAGAL: Bobcat, you're in third place. You're up first. The clock will start when I begin your first question. Fill in the blank. On Wednesday, the White House announced an additional billion dollars in military aid to blank.


SAGAL: Right.


SAGAL: The January 6 committee has asked the wife of Supreme Court justice blank to speak with them about the 2020 election.

GOLDTHWAIT: Ginni Thomas.

SAGAL: Yes, the wife of Clarence Thomas.


SAGAL: This week, President Biden called on oil companies to cut into their profits to help produce blank prices.


SAGAL: Right.


SAGAL: Despite floodwaters receding, tourists and locals remain stranded at blank national park.

GOLDTHWAIT: Yellowstone.

SAGAL: Right.


SAGAL: In honor of the town's 150th anniversary, a resident of Manitou Springs, Colo., will attempt to blank.


SAGAL: No, he will attempt to push a peanut up to the top of Pikes Peak with his nose and thus become the fourth person to do this. As cases in the U.S. continue to rise, the CDC issued new guidance on blank.

GOLDTHWAIT: Monkeypox.



SAGAL: Six years after the release of her album, "Lemonade," blank announced she'd be dropping a new album in July.




SAGAL: Twenty-five people in Switzerland were injured during a corporate retreat this week when their attempt to blank sent them to the hospital.

GOLDTHWAIT: Put something in a foul-mouthed trashcan.

SAGAL: No. When their attempt to walk on coals went wrong.

SAGAL: Callback.

SAGAL: Ten ambulances were called to the scene of this team building exercise in Switzerland after one of these hot coal walks meant as a bonding experience became a burning experience. To be fair, everybody going to the ER together is bonding. But we want to know, how did this happen? So the first person walks on the coals, ah-ah (ph), third-degree burns. Great. Second person goes, OK, how about my turn? Ah-ah. Third-degree burns all the way down the line.

BABYLON: You clearly don't know who Tony Robbins is.

SAGAL: Clearly. I know who Tony Robbins is. And I - Tony Robbins tells people to walk on coals all the time.

BABYLON: That's the Tony Robbins...

SAGAL: They did it without Tony Robbins, and look what happened.

BABYLON: That was the problem.

SAGAL: I know, man. You need Tony Robbins.

BABYLON: You need a big-faced man with giant teeth.

SAGAL: That's true. That's true in so many situations.


SAGAL: Bill, how did Bobcat do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Bobcat's coming back strong, six right, 12 more points, total of 13, in the lead.


SAGAL: All right. Maeve, you're up next. Fill in the blank. On Tuesday, Chuck Schumer vowed a quick vote on bipartisan blank legislation.

HIGGINS: Democrat leader.

SAGAL: That's who he is.

HIGGINS: Democratic leader of the House.

SAGAL: I'm not asking you who he is. I'm asking you - he promised a quick vote on blank legislation.

HIGGINS: Government.


SAGAL: Gun control. On Monday, the governor of New York signed a bill aimed at protecting blank rights.

HIGGINS: Kathy Hochul is her name?

SAGAL: Yes. Once again, not asking who she is.


HIGGINS: OK. But can you tell I actually studied?

BABYLON: You did.

KURTIS: Yes, we can.

SAGAL: In a way, yes.


HIGGINS: Now, what she did, I don't know. I just learned the woman's name.

SAGAL: All right. It was abortion rights. Starting Monday, over a hundred million Americans were affected by record-setting blank across the Midwest.

HIGGINS: Oh, weather.

SAGAL: I am going to give it to you. High temperatures...


HIGGINS: That's 2 - that's 2 points.

SAGAL: Two points. This week, the K-Pop group blank announced they were going on hiatus.

HIGGINS: Oh, it's letters.

SAGAL: It is letters.


SAGAL: Technically, any answer would be letters, but...

HIGGINS: Yeah, but you know what I mean.

SAGAL: I do, but I would like you to say those letters now.

HIGGINS: Bobcat?

SAGAL: No. It's not Bobcat. You have to say something. It's lightning. It - PTS.



SAGAL: BTS. Thank you, Bobcat. Yes. On Tuesday, a cyclist in California said he just narrowly escaped disaster after he was confronted by a blank.

HIGGINS: Oh, a hill?

SAGAL: No. He was confronted by an angry zebra. The cyclist was chased by the zebra and only narrowly avoided an attack after the zebra, a normally fleet and majestic beast, tripped over its own feet.

HIGGINS: So specific.

SAGAL: Yeah. It was a harrowing moment for the man, but a great moment for the something-I'll-never-forget prompt on his Hinge profile. By the way, this entire news story was like, oh, this guy got chased by a zebra, and a car tried to protect him. And he tried to get away from the zebra. And the zebra almost got him. And at no point does anybody in the story ask, what is a zebra doing there?

HIGGINS: Yes, on a bike.

BABYLON: Where was it?

SAGAL: In California.

BABYLON: Hey, California.

HIGGINS: That's the real story.

SAGAL: Yeah, I know. How did a zebra get on a bike? Bill, how did Maeve do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Maeve has been practicing. She got two rikght, 4 more points, total of 6. Wow.


BABYLON: Killing it.

HIGGINS: I'm leading. I'm leading Brian right now.

SAGAL: Yeah, you are. So how many, then, does Brian need to win?

KURTIS: Four to tie and 5 to win.

SAGAL: Doable, Brian. Here we go. This is for the game. According to reports, at least 15 Republicans are exploring the possibility of challenging blank in the 2024 presidential primaries.

BABYLON: Donald Trump.



SAGAL: On Monday, the Governor of Ohio signed a bill letting blanks carry guns after just 24 hours of training.


SAGAL: Teachers. This week, President Biden signed an executive orders aimed at strengthening protections for the blank community.


SAGAL: Yes. On Wednesday, FDA advisers recommended the Moderna and Pfizer blanks for children under 5.




SAGAL: On Wednesday, Dr. Fauci said he had tested positive for blank.




SAGAL: After winning a Tony on Sunday, Jennifer Hudson became the latest actor to complete a blank.




SAGAL: Procter & Gamble, a major manufacturer of tampons, is blaming the recent tampon shortage on blank.

BABYLON: Those hippie things, the cups you put in...

SAGAL: No, they're blaming the tampon shortage on...


SAGAL: ...Amy Schumer.

BABYLON: Let me say something. I have - I've said - when is there going to be a tampon ad that reflects my point of views?


BABYLON: Like, where's the single Black dad who does like a dad tampon rep? Like, your body is changing in mysterious ways. It's nature, and nature don't play. It happens about every 28 days, period.


HIGGINS: Beautiful.

BABYLON: I love you, Amy, but you're taking my money, yo.

SAGAL: Apparently. Bill, did Brian do well enough to win?

KURTIS: Despite the very good showing where the rest of the panel, Brian got 5 right, 10 more points. Brian wins with 15.

BABYLON: Hey, Bill, that was for you. I did it for you, Bill.

KURTIS: Thank you, Brian.

BABYLON: And you, Peter. And you, Peter.

SAGAL: I've got to say, I was feeling left out. Now, panel, what's the next thing in your house that will come to life? Maeve Higgins.

HIGGINS: My dishwasher, and it's going to apologize for not being able to empty itself.

SAGAL: Ah. Brian Babylon.

BABYLON: I'm going with my old Teddy Ruxpin doll.


SAGAL: And Bobcat Goldthwait.

GOLDTHWAIT: My Roomba is going to become aware and get depressed and quit when it realizes its job sucks.


KURTIS: Well, if any of that happens, we'll ask you about it on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

SAGAL: Thank you, Bill Kurtis. Thanks also to Maeve Higgins, Brian Babylon and Bobcat Goldthwait. Thanks to all of you for listening. Thanks to our fabulous audience here at our new home, the Studebaker Theater in downtown Chicago. I am Peter Sagal. We'll see you next week.


SAGAL: This is NPR.

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