PETER SAGAL, HOST:
From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. I'm the man who makes the NPR wine club sound sexy, Chioke I'Anson.
SAGAL: And here's your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.
SAGAL: Thank you, Chioke.
SAGAL: Thanks, everybody.
SAGAL: Every fall, Congress comes back from their three-month summer break. And then about three weeks later, they take another vacation because you want to ease into the work thing gradually. We feel the same.
CHIOKE I'ANSON: I never worked more than seven minutes a week so it makes sense to me.
SAGAL: So as we recharge our batteries and reconsider every choice we made that got us here, we thought we'd revisit some of the things we did when we were young and eager earlier this year.
Let's start with our conversation with Kate Mulgrew of "Star Trek" and "Orange Is the New Black" fame. I asked her what role she's best known for.
KATE MULGREW: Captain Janeway.
SAGAL: Yeah, I bet. I bet that...
MULGREW: Followed very closely by Red. And sometimes I get the double whammy, which is an absolute neck twister - Red, Captain Janeway. Captain Janeway, Red.
SAGAL: So when you - when they came to you and they said we want you to be the captain on this new "Star Trek" show did you know what you were in for? Did you know...
MULGREW: I had - I had no clue.
SAGAL: Really you...
MULGREW: I certainly - I had no idea that it was going to be as life-changing as it was. Well, just imagine I'd gone from leading a sort of normal life as typically ambitious and forward-leaning young actress in Hollywood raising my two son. And suddenly I'm spouting technobabble, which is absolutely like learning Greek overnight.
MULGREW: Working 18 hours a day in four and a half inch heels.
SAGAL: Wait a minute. I - I can't remember seeing your feet. They made you wear heels on the bridge of the Star...
MULGREW: Because the men were so tall.
MULGREW: And if I had not had those heels, I would have looked like a little cartoon character.
SAGAL: They could have made you decided you were just a particularly short kind of alien.
MULGREW: They could have done that.
SAGAL: They could have done that.
MULGREW: Then Captain Janeway would have been really, really pathetic.
SAGAL: And how do you do - how have you found, I'm sure it continues to this day, your interaction with the fans?
MULGREW: I think the fans, the "Star Trek" fans are the best fans in the world.
MULGREW: Yeah, yeah.
SAGAL: But you never had a moment that it was represented by that classic "Saturday Night Live" sketch with Bill Shatner, get a life. You've never been cornered by these people arguing with you about the way you...
MULGREW: I wouldn't...
SAGAL: ...Stirred the Voyager.
MULGREW: ...I would rather have my hands chopped off than say such things. I mean, it's so rude. And I said that to Bill.
FAITH SALIE: What did he say back to you?
MULGREW: These people have given you your career. Why are you acting as if they haven't? No big secret. And it works both ways - us too, chop, chop.
SAGAL: You lectured William Shatner about how you're not being...
MULGREW: I lecture him all the time, and he only laughs at me.
SAGAL: So then a while ago, you were cast as Red, who is the chef in the kitchen and powerful person.
MULGREW: She was the cook in the beginning.
SAGAL: She was the cook, then she had changed. But - did you - I mean, I imagine there's not a lot of research you can do to be a starship captain.
SAGAL: But did you actually have to do, like, the classic, like, actor research to play that role? Did you go to...
MULGREW: Well, I had audition for the role. We all had to audition. They gave me a very small piece of paper, which was written, this is Galina Red Reznikov. She's been in prison for some time. She's of Russian extraction, but we only want you to tap it.
SAGAL: Tap it.
MULGREW: We're just looking for the slightest flavor of Russia. But that isn't what came out of my mouth.
SAGAL: I wanted to talk about your new book "How To Forget," which is quite a remarkable book. I've been reading it all week. First of all, do...
MULGREW: Have you really?
SAGAL: I really have.
MULGREW: Tell me the truth.
SAGAL: All right. I'm going to tell you the truth.
MULGREW: Make the sign of the cross in front of your viewing audience.
SAGAL: I'm making - it's really - I could make the sign of a cross. It's not going to make much difference.
SAGAL: Seriously. But I - the truth of the matter is, is that a lot of the people we write, we have in the show have written books. And I often make an attempt to read their books. In your case, I actually got quite involved in it. It's beautifully written, and the story is I'm not going to say entertaining as much as deeply involving. The book is about the death of your parents.
SAGAL: And I am told that your book "How To Forget" is the No. 1 best-seller on Amazon under the category dysfunctional families.
MULGREW: Thank you.
MULGREW: That's wonderful to know.
SAGAL: So there's a lot of very intense stuff about your family, about your father, your mother. I know your parents are no longer with us because, as I said, I read the book. But...
MULGREW: I wouldn't have written the book had they still been living.
SAGAL: That is - let me just say that that is obvious.
MULGREW: Right. Good.
SAGAL: Did they live long enough to understand and appreciate how successful you became?
MULGREW: He never saw me act.
SAGAL: Never. Did - he didn't even watch...
MULGREW: He never watched me on television.
SAGAL: He - not even...
MULGREW: Not once.
SAGAL: ...Like, "Star Trek," which is pretty much a guy thing?
MULGREW: He never watched me on "Star Trek." That just confused him.
MULGREW: He seemed to be absolutely perplexed by it. What the hell are you doing up - where are you?
MULGREW: I said, I'm in the Delta Quadrant, Dad. Don't you get it? He said, oh, just go get the vodka. Forget about it. Yeah.
SAGAL: I'm just going to ask you one - about one more thing. The - your first book, your more autobiographical memoir is called "Born With Teeth"...
SAGAL: ...'Cause you were born with teeth.
MULGREW: I was, yes.
SAGAL: What does that mean if the baby is born with a full set of teeth?
MULGREW: That she's a witch.
SAGAL: Are you a witch?
MULGREW: I'm a kind of witch.
SAGAL: Sure. Because I've always wanted to say this and now I can. Ready?
MULGREW: Yeah, I'm ready.
SAGAL: Are you a good witch or a bad witch?
MULGREW: Wow. I've always wanted to say this to you.
SAGAL: Go ahead.
MULGREW: I'll get you, my little pretty, and your little dog, too.
SAGAL: Well, Kate Mulgrew, we are delighted to talk to you. We've invited you here to play a game we're calling....
BILL KURTIS: Red in "Orange Is the New Black" - Meet the Rest of the Spectrum.
SAGAL: So we want to explain the theme. We noticed a lot of color in your recent work so we thought we'd ask you about some other colors that didn't show up in your TV show. Answer 2 out of 3 questions, and you'll win our prize for one of our listeners, the voice of their choice on their voicemail.
Bill, who is Kate Mulgrew playing for?
KURTIS: Sebastian Clarkin (ph) of Fall River, Mass.
SAGAL: All right, you ready to do this? I think you're ready to do this. I get that sense, yeah.
MULGREW: Ready. I'm going to give it a shot. Let's go.
SAGAL: All right. Here's your first question. The nomadic Tuareg people of the Sahara don't have a word for the color purple, which has resulted in some interesting quirks, such as which of these - A, when Tuareg filmmakers did a remake of Prince's "Purple Rain," they had to call it "Rain the Color Of Blue With A Little Red in It"...
SAGAL: ...B, instead of saying turn purple with rage, they say chewing on one's own toes; or C, they refer to purple jelly beans as the ones that are at least better than the black ones.
MULGREW: Definitely B.
SAGAL: Definitely B. It was actually A.
MULGREW: I know it was.
SAGAL: You know it was, yes. That's actually...
MULGREW: I know it was, but it was so obvious I thought I'd just...
SAGAL: Yeah, yeah.
SAGAL: This was actually true. It was reported on NPR. These Tuareg filmmakers made their own remake of "Purple Rain." They called it "Rain The Color Of Blue With A Little Red in It." And, apparently, it's not bad.
All right, your next question. Pantone 448 is the technical name for a brownish color that has what distinction? A, dogs adore it, which is why all dog food is that color; B, it is the color of everything once you turn the lights off; or C, it is the very worst color in the world.
SAGAL: You're right.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: That's what happened.
SAGAL: What happened was an Australian marketing company did a survey. They found out that this shade of brown is the least appealing color in the world. And thus, they then used it for cigarette packaging.
SAGAL: OK, last question. You may think you know all the colors, but you don't. Which of these is a real color - A, fulvous; B, gamboge, or C, smaragdine?
MULGREW: I bet it's A, but I'm going to go with B.
SAGAL: B, gamboge.
SAGAL: You're right, but they're all real colors.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
MULGREW: That's not fair.
SAGAL: It's true.
SAGAL: Fulvous can be described as a brownish yellow. Gamboge is a transparent mustard. And smaragdine is a kind of green.
MULGREW: What do you mean? How can it be mustard if it's transparent?
SAGAL: Well, I think the idea is it's, like, a mustard color, but it's, like, lighter, I think.
MULGREW: Oh, do we have to do colors? Have we finished?
SAGAL: We're not quite finished. We're only finished when Bill gives the score.
So, Bill, how did Kate Mulgrew do on our quiz?
KURTIS: Well, proving gamboge is the new black...
MULGREW: ...Kate got 2 out of 3, so she wins.
MULGREW: I did. Yay. I win (laughter).
SAGAL: Kate Mulgrew stars as Red on "Orange Is the New Black" and is a former starfleet captain onboard Voyager. Her new, very powerful memoir is called "How To Forget."
Kate Mulgrew, what a pleasure to talk to you. Thank you so much...
MULGREW: It's been all mine.
SAGAL: ...For being on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.
MULGREW: Thank you very, very much.
MULGREW: Take care. Bye-bye.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
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