Biden Readies His Coronavirus Task Force; Matt Rogers and 'Haute Dog' : It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders What could a new president mean for the coronavirus pandemic? Sam talks to Ed Yong, staff writer at The Atlantic, about President-elect Joe Biden's coronavirus task force and how much the federal government can do to change the course of the pandemic. Then, Sam chats with comedian Matt Rogers, whose projects this year include competition show Haute Dog on HBO Max, Quibi's Gayme Show and the podcast Las Culturistas (which he hosts with SNL's Bowen Yang). They talk about pop culture and what's giving them joy in 2020.

You can follow us on Twitter @NPRItsBeenAMin and email us at samsanders@npr.org.
NPR logo

Biden's Coronavirus Response, Plus Comedian Matt Rogers

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/934187763/934799372" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Biden's Coronavirus Response, Plus Comedian Matt Rogers

Biden's Coronavirus Response, Plus Comedian Matt Rogers

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/934187763/934799372" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

AUNT BETTY, BYLINE: Hey, y'all. This is Sam's Aunt Betty. This week on the show, how a new administration could change the coronavirus response. All right, let's start the show.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SAM SANDERS, HOST:

Hey, y'all. From NPR, I'm Sam Sanders. You are listening to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE.

Happy weekend. I hope your week was great or at least fine. So as 2020 comes to a close, I'm thinking back on all the big stories of this year - the election, the protests, the recession. So many of those stories have changed over time. But one story, in some very big ways, has not changed that much at all - the pandemic.

Several months into dealing with the coronavirus, in many ways, a lot of it still feels the same - more cases and deaths every day all over the country, more political division about how to handle it and, at least for me, the sinking feeling that there's always more coming. But that storyline could change soon, according to Joe Biden. In January, America gets a new president. And Joe Biden has said he will handle the coronavirus much differently than his predecessor, Donald Trump.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOE BIDEN: I will spare no effort to turn this pandemic around once we're sworn in on January 20 to get our kids back to school safely, our businesses growing and our economy running at full speed again.

SANDERS: As of this statement, President Trump has not conceded the election. But that has not stopped Biden from putting together his own coronavirus task force - a task force that met this past week. And Biden's rolled out a sweeping plan to deal with the coronavirus. He proposes more testing, mass production of PPE, consistent communication from policy leaders, paid sick leave and, with the help of states, some mask mandates.

ED YONG: The moves that he has already announced are very encouraging. The task force has 13 people with actual medical expertise and expertise with epidemics and zero of Biden's relatives, which makes a...

SANDERS: (Laughter).

YONG: ...Welcome change.

SANDERS: That's Ed Yong. He's a staff writer at The Atlantic. He covers science. But for the last few months, he's really just been covering the coronavirus. I talked with Ed about just how much the federal government can do at this point when it comes to coronavirus and what all of this has done to public trust.

YONG: I think one thing that I'm encouraged by with the Biden-Harris plan is that you can see, like, the influences of a lot of different experts coming into play in quite subtle ways. So, you know, there's been this - a lot of the people I've spoken to have noted that one of the big problems this year has - have been people like Trump and others, a lot of the people in the media, who have created this false dichotomy between lockdowns and opening up as if there are only two choices. Like, either you let the virus run free, or you shut everything down like it was in March or, you know, likewise, you have a choice between reopening to save the economy or shutting down to save the health care system. And that's ridiculous. No such dichotomy actually exists.

Like, firstly, you can't save the economy when the virus is running. But also, there are a ton of options in the middle. You know, you can shut down high-risk venues where the virus is more likely to spread - things like bars and restaurants - while offering, like, financial support to keep them afloat. Lindsay Wiley, who's a professor of law and health policy, explained to me back in April, I think, that social distancing shouldn't be thought of as a light switch. Rather, it's a dial that you can move up and down and very...

SANDERS: Yeah.

YONG: ...And fine-tune. And that language of social distancing being a dial and not a light switch is there in the Biden-Harris plan.

SANDERS: Yeah. But - and so, like, I hear you saying it's not a this-or-that choice. But for many people across the country, it's felt like a this-or-that choice because the government support or financial support needed to do some of the things you mentioned hasn't been there. So if we're talking about, you know, where I am in Texas, you know, where people are pretty much wearing their masks but bars and restaurants are still open and full of people, a lot of those business owners have told me, we have to be open because no one's cutting us a check to stay closed.

So, you know, they are making these hard choices that are against the science, in part because unlike in some other developed nations, the federal government hasn't stepped in with enough checks for everyone to just stay home. So, I mean, I understand when people are doing things against the science because they haven't had the help, right?

YONG: Yeah, I agree. And I think that America in many ways has this recurring problem of foisting all the responsibility for crises like this upon individuals. You know, you sort of...

SANDERS: Yeah.

YONG: ...Expect people like you and me, business owners, schools, whatever, to, like, bootstrap their way out of these problems. And my colleague Annie Lowrey at The Atlantic, you know, has written really well about this - about the idea that, like, the government seems to often forget that it is the government and has a role in helping people out. But also, as you say, I understand that businesses don't have a choice here.

And it's the same issue that I raised with, you know, people from poorer communities. Like, you're going to do what you do to survive. And if there are no other options, then, you know, you end up making choices that put other people at risk. And it is the government's responsibility to help provide an alternative between, like, I am going to screw over my community, or I am going to go under.

SANDERS: So, Ed, you know, this question about how the government will help and, you know, what we can expect of businesses and individuals without that help - there's also another question that Biden will face as he takes office, which is, what can he actually do and what can he not do? Can Joe Biden implement a nationwide mask mandate or can he not?

YONG: Well, so there are obviously things that he can't force governors and mayors to do. America does have this federalist system where states and the federal government are meant to sort of act together. And it's not the case that the feds are telling everyone else what to do. But the problem is that so far, the federal aspect has just, you know, not been at the table at all. And only the federal government has the financial resources to pull off some of the moves that need to be pulled off, so things like mass-producing PPE, personal protective equipment, and testing and deploying them at the scale that's required. But then there's also the authority that they bring and their ability to create some sort of coordinated plan.

Now, the states don't necessarily have to follow every aspect of that. But it does make a difference to have that plan in place that everyone can look to and follow. Like, there has been a national plan. The Trump administration released one, but it's so vague and nebulous that it's basically useless. In one of the pieces from earlier this year - described it as, like, a recipe for cake that just says, make cake...

SANDERS: (Laughter).

YONG: ...Whereas the Biden plans has much more detail in it. It has more thought behind it. And, you know, it's not like Biden can snap his fingers and make everyone kowtow to whatever his plan is. But just the mere - the fact of having that plan and having someone who is talking to the American people every single day, wearing a mask, urging other people to wear a mask, telling people that this is a real problem that the country must unite behind - I don't think it's going to immediately undo, like, a full year of Trump's rhetoric about the virus. But stemming the flow of those lies and the gaslighting from the highest levels of government and replacing it with accurate information - I do think that will make a difference.

SANDERS: You know, some of the strangeness of this response to coronavirus compared to other pandemic responses is that some parts of the federal government have been MIA. I'm talking about, you know, things like the CDC, which is usually the public health messaging arm of the U.S. government. They have been sidelined under the Trump White House. They have been pressured to withdraw certain guidelines. I'm assuming that Biden will want to fortify the CDC, but how hard will it be to build those places back up and build trust back into these institutions?

YONG: Yeah, there's a lot to unpack there. I think you're right that the CDC has absolutely been silenced in a truly appalling way. You know, if you have a pandemic sweeping through your country, you probably want the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention...

SANDERS: Yeah.

YONG: ...To, like, control...

SANDERS: To be talking to me.

YONG: Yes. You know, the clue's in the name. They really are there to control and prevent disease.

SANDERS: (Laughter) Yeah.

YONG: And they do a pretty good job of it. The sidelining of the CDC, the interference with their publications, with their messaging has been appalling and really demoralizing for health care workers and, indeed, for people within the CDC.

So can Biden change that? I think he absolutely can. You know, I would assume that he would appoint a different director. And I think that a lot can be done by just allowing the CDC to actually do its job.

SANDERS: Yeah, I mean, hopefully. I will say, though, my trust was damaged. And, you know, I am a journalist who was supposed to be above this fray, but I'm still angry and hurt over the back-and-forth that existed in this country over whether or not you should be wearing masks. And I still remember when the federal government was telling me, no, don't do it; they don't matter.

YONG: Yeah.

SANDERS: And that still burns me up. There are other folks that feel the same way I do. I mean, how deep is this lack of trust right now? It feels like it's pretty deep.

YONG: Yeah, I think that there are issues of distrust that will linger beyond the next administration. And I think that a lot of public health organizations, including the CDC and the WHO, did lose trust because of messaging problems around things like masks. Like, both of those organizations advised people not to wear masks and then rapidly flipped.

And I think that it is difficult to undo that. Like, and I think that it shows how carefully that messaging needs to be done. Like, you need to - you know, I will grant them that the evidence around masks has been clarified and has changed over the course of the year. But that's why you need to embrace uncertainty and convey that to people early on.

SANDERS: Yeah. Yeah. My last question for you and for our listeners will be, is there one part of this story - this pandemic storyline that gives you hope, something for us to hold on to as we close this conversation (laughter)?

YONG: We can do this. Other countries have brought the pandemic to heel. Some of them have done it twice. We have the rapid diagnostic tests to deploy. We are getting more protective equipment to health care workers. People showed in the spring that they can flatten the curve even when they have a government working against them and telling them all the wrong things. We need to once again flatten the curve. We need to give health care workers, who - I really can't stress this enough - are going to burn out very shortly. We need to give them breathing room to get through the rest of this year and the start of this next year.

The way I phrase it to other people is this. A vaccine is imminent. A better administration is imminent. Those things will come. The choices we make over the next couple of weeks will decide how many of us are still alive to enjoy those changes next year.

SANDERS: How are you taking care of yourself these days? You are covering this stuff in depth every day, in the weeds on pandemic and stuff all the time. What is Ed doing to not think about all this stuff?

YONG: You know what's been great? "The Queen's Gambit" has been great - really enjoyed that.

SANDERS: This is the one about chess?

YONG: Just - right, yup, you know?

SANDERS: Can I watch a TV show about chess, and I don't even know how to play chess, Ed?

YONG: Turns out you really can.

SANDERS: OK, OK.

YONG: I would highly recommend it. There's something about just watching hypercompetent people win at things.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

YONG: Feels very cathartic to me right now.

SANDERS: I'm going to watch this show. Ed told me to.

YONG: All right.

SANDERS: Thank you, sir. I appreciate it.

YONG: Yeah, no worries.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SANDERS: All right, listeners, stay with us. Coming up, some joy. I talk with comedian Matt Rogers. He has a new dog makeover show on HBO Max. Yes, a makeover show for dogs. I told you, pure joy. Stay with us.

You know, I think these last few weeks, with the pandemic and the election cycle and, honestly, all of 2020 - it's made me tired. And so in my free time after work, all I want to do is see and hear and watch and read fun stuff, uplifting stuff, stuff that makes me laugh. So to help you with that, I'm happy to introduce my next guest, who makes very fun stuff for a living. He's also very fun himself. He literally breaks into song on the regular when he speaks. Matt Rogers.

MATT ROGERS: Hi.

SANDERS: How are you?

ROGERS: Thank you so much for having me. So good. I mean, I'm so excited to be on the show.

SANDERS: Yeah, it's good to have you here.

So Matt does a lot. He hosts a dog makeover show - I know, a dog makeover show - on HBO Max called "Haute Dog" - H-A-U-T-E.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "HAUTE DOG")

ROGERS: Welcome to the world's most adorable dog grooming competition with treats.

SANDERS: And on Quibi, he hosted a game show called "Gayme Show" - G-A-Y-M-E...

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "GAYME SHOW")

ROGERS: It's [expletive] go time, baby.

SANDERS: ...Where straight people face off to become, quote, "Queen of the Straights." Also, Matt is just as obsessed with pop culture as I am, which you will hear in this interview. So let's get to it. We brought Matt on to talk about the joy he puts out in the world with his TV shows and his podcast, "Las Culturistas." We also discussed how he's getting through 2020 as well.

We got to start with your HBO Max show "Haute Dog." It is cute.

ROGERS: Got to start there.

SANDERS: Yeah.

ROGERS: I mean, just for everyone that doesn't exactly know what it is, it's like a dog grooming competition show, like we said. It's sort of like "Chopped" or "Nailed It," but with dogs.

SANDERS: (Laughter) But with dog grooming.

ROGERS: They're incredible dog groomers from all over the country. And we shot this during COVID, safely. We didn't have one positive COVID result.

SANDERS: Snaps, snaps (snapping).

ROGERS: And we shot for 2 1/2 weeks - truly, snaps for that.

SANDERS: Yeah.

ROGERS: And, yeah, it was just like a really great excuse to show off this trade that I feel like, you know, everyone knows about.

SANDERS: A thing, yeah.

ROGERS: And many people are even getting their dogs groomed as we speak. But I feel like no one really appreciates or understands the hard work, time and effort that goes into becoming really, really, really great at this. Everyone's got a smile on their face the whole time. And you really - as a viewer, you root for everyone, which is so cool.

SANDERS: Oh, yeah. I also love how, like, the happiest characters on the show are the dogs 'cause they're just getting attention the whole time. Someone's petting them, bathing them, fluffing them the whole show.

ROGERS: Yeah. You know, as the host, I get to sort of meet and play with them beforehand so they can get used to me because, like, in the very beginning of the show, I have to hand the dog over to the groomer. So I sort of get to roll on the ground in my couture garments.

SANDERS: (Laughter) I love it. I hope you get to keep the outfits.

ROGERS: Yeah. And I hope the value of my life increases.

SANDERS: Both. We're hoping for both. We're hoping for both.

ROGERS: (Laughter) No, I do not get to keep a single [expletive] thing (laughter). It wasn't like that.

SANDERS: I'm about to call HBO. That's not fair. Who else could pull those looks off but you?

ROGERS: Well, that's kind. But the thing is, I was like, can I even keep this one shoe? What about one shoelace? They were like, no.

SANDERS: (Laughter). This show - we've already said it's joyful. It's uplifting. And I'm noticing a trend in just reality TV recently. Like, a lot more reality shows on TV are nice - "Great British Bake Off," obviously, but I could go on.

ROGERS: That's so interesting because I just watched "Selling Sunset," and it was not that (laughter).

SANDERS: Touche, touche (laughter).

ROGERS: The mean reality shows are still out there. You just won't find them on HBO Max under the name "Haute Dog."

SANDERS: (Laughter) But do you think that there's a larger trend towards a more just nice programming, like your show, especially in a year where everything just seems bad?

ROGERS: You know what? I think that people are hungrier for this than they realize. You know what I mean? It's like when you drink water and you haven't in three days and you can sort of feel it as it goes down hit every organ, and you're like, oh, my God.

SANDERS: I needed that.

ROGERS: Like, I can feel my skin feeling better. It's like when you watch a show like this where there's no snark - you know what I mean? Like...

SANDERS: (Laughter) Yeah.

ROGERS: ...It's a celebration all around 'cause, honestly, a lot of the reality shows that I'm seeing and that I'm watching are still that sort of cutthroat energy, whether it's competitive or otherwise. You know, I really got into "Survivor" this year, which, like, really took over my year. And they just had their 40th season.

SANDERS: Oh, I've listened to you talk about "Survivor" on your podcast. And this is a wonderful segue...

ROGERS: I know.

SANDERS: ...'Cause I want to talk about your podcast, which also brings me joy. It is called "Las Culturistas." You host it with another friend of the show, Bowen Yang. Tell folks what that show's about.

ROGERS: Really, if you boil it down, it's me and Bowen Yang, who are best friends. We've been best friends for about 10 years. And it started because we really just wanted to get in a room together for 90 minutes...

SANDERS: (Laughter).

ROGERS: ...And have, like, a scheduled playtime. So we were like, we'll talk about pop culture, because Bowen and I could talk about that all the doo-dah day. And then we created these little segments. We have a segment called "I Don't Think So, Honey!" which is a one-minute segment where you rail against something in pop culture that you just hate.

(SOUNDBITE OF PODCAST, "LAS CULTURISTAS")

BOWEN YANG: Matt Rogers - "I Don't Think So, Honey!" His time starts now.

ROGERS: I don't think so, honey, when your things are freezing in the refrigerator. OK?

YANG: Oh.

ROGERS: I'm sorry, honey, but the last I checked, things are supposed to freeze in the freezer, mama.

YANG: Oh.

ROGERS: We've settled on this thing that I think does define what the podcast is, which is, every episode, if we have a guest, we ask them, what was the culture that made you say culture was for you? And what that means is, you know, if you were to look back in time and really examine your life, like, how did culture that surrounded you make you you? And, honestly, we just sort of thought of it as a goofy question.

SANDERS: But it's illuminating.

ROGERS: That's another thing is, you know, while we have a segment called "I Don't Think So, Honey!" which is inherently negative - I like to think of it as more cathartic because it speaks truth to power.

SANDERS: (Laughter) Yes.

ROGERS: It's all these things that make the podcast, like, yet another positive space, I think.

SANDERS: Yes, yes. So I also want to talk about another part of your career that you have been very outspoken about, and I appreciate that. You had a show on Quibi for a while called "Gayme Show."

ROGERS: Yeah.

SANDERS: G-A-Y-M-E.

ROGERS: Yeah (laughter).

SANDERS: First, tell folks about the conceit of that show. And let's talk about Quibi for a bit.

ROGERS: So "Gayme Show" is...

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "GAYME SHOW")

ROGERS: This is "Gayme Show," where we take two straight contestants and put them head to head to see which one of them will be named honorarily...

DAVE MIZZONI AND MATT ROGERS: ...Gay as...

(SOUNDBITE OF EXPLOSION)

DAVE MIZZONI: Release them.

ROGERS: It came out of a live show that we were doing. Like, I really liked that it put these straight dudes in the role of minority. You know what I mean?

SANDERS: Yeah, yeah.

ROGERS: Like, I kind of liked that it flipped it on its head. It felt disruptive. Like, for example, just asking them, who is Dua Lipa...

SANDERS: (Laughter).

ROGERS: ...And watching them not know and watching hundreds of gay people, queer people, women who get it in the crowd scream at the stage, I thought it was a blast.

SANDERS: Yeah.

ROGERS: And so it finally got to the point where we were like, maybe we have a show on our hands here. And we sold it to Quibi.

SANDERS: Yeah. And so it's on Quibi. I see it. It's fun. But then, as we all know, Quibi, the quick bites, you know, short streaming service - it got canceled. And what I appreciated about you and the aftermath of that cancellation is that you tweeted very candidly about what it means. You didn't regret it. You said, I got that Quibi money.

ROGERS: (Laughter).

SANDERS: I own the show. It's my idea. I will move forward. It was wonderful to see you in that mode and not be in the mode that a lot of creators, I think, are in where they are constantly depending on whatever platform for their lives. And I don't know. I just appreciated you saying, listen, Quibi; you're not - Matt Rogers going to Matt Rogers.

ROGERS: Baby, yes.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

ROGERS: Well, here's the deal. Like, it's just important to have some sort of positivity going forward. I also know that you can't put all your eggs in one basket...

SANDERS: Come on.

ROGERS: ...In this business. You know what I mean?

SANDERS: Yeah.

ROGERS: Ultimately, our show was well received. It was very well received. So I'm just really excited about the future of the project. And also, guess what.

SANDERS: Yeah.

ROGERS: If no one else wants it, onto the next. And I thought...

SANDERS: Yeah.

ROGERS: ...That was a good opportunity to tell people out there who are in the entertainment industry who might be frustrated, you got to just keep going. Mourn the thing, see what you can do with it and then move on because, like...

SANDERS: Come on.

ROGERS: ...Truly, that's part of being creative...

SANDERS: Yeah.

ROGERS: ...Is continuing to create. I'll never stop. That's the thing. I'll never [expletive] stop.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

ROGERS: My parents, like - they were like, we believe in you with this.

SANDERS: I love that.

ROGERS: And I know I'm in the seriously lucky minority that's got that. But I never, ever, ever planned for anything else, and I just won't. In terms of it, quote-unquote, "failing," whether it was circumstances beyond everyone's control or it just was never going to work, it didn't work. And that happens.

SANDERS: That happens.

ROGERS: And it's OK.

SANDERS: It's OK.

ROGERS: Yeah.

SANDERS: Yes. Well, Matt Rogers, we're going to take a quick, little break. But when we come back, we're going to play my favorite game. It's called Who Said That?

ROGERS: I would love to play. You consider it your favorite game, and so I'm really interested.

SANDERS: There we go. I appreciate that.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SANDERS: You're listening to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE from NPR. I'm your host, Sam Sanders, here with a really great guest. Matt Rogers, you tell folks who you are. You give them your bio real quick.

ROGERS: Oh, baby. You might know me as a comedian, podcast host. I host a show on HBO Max called "Haute Dog." I - you know, I'm out there. And, yeah (laughter).

SANDERS: Yeah.

ROGERS: And you're going to keep seeing me.

SANDERS: That's right.

ROGERS: I swear to God, I'll never go away.

SANDERS: Never (laughter). I love it. So every Friday on the show, I play a game called Who Said That?

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA")

KANDI BURRUSS: Who had been saying that?

PORSHA WILLIAMS: Who said that?

KENYA MOORE: Who said that?

SANDERS: All right, so Who Said That is quite simple. I share a quote from the week of news. You got to tell me who said it.

ROGERS: OK.

SANDERS: With that, here's the first quote. Tell me who said it. "I was walking down the street one day, and I thought, I can't smell a damn thing. And you start to panic 'cause by then, people were just starting to talk about this as a symptom. And I start sniffing flowers - nothing. And then you get more and more desperate. I started sniffing garbage cans. And then you want to sniff strangers' armpits because you can't smell anything. I eventually went home and sprayed my wife's Chanel No. 5 directly into my face." Who said that?

ROGERS: Orlando Bloom.

(SOUNDBITE OF BUZZER)

SANDERS: (Laughter) That would be amazing if he did. It's actually...

ROGERS: I just felt like - I felt like, you know what? Who's, like, a laugh away from a tear kind of crazy, and whose wife would probably have Chanel? And, also, the sniffing of it all, I was thinking of daisies. And so I just - I landed here on the father of Daisy Bloom, Orlando Bloom. Am I right?

SANDERS: Unfortunately, no. But I will say, to give you a hint, it is one of the stars of "The Undoing."

ROGERS: Hugh Grant.

SANDERS: Yes.

(SOUNDBITE OF VICTORY TUNE)

SANDERS: Did you see this clip?

ROGERS: 'Cause he COVID, right?

SANDERS: He had COVID, yeah. So Hugh Grant - he's recovered from COVID now. He's also one of the stars of HBO's "The Undoing" with Nicole Kidman. But he was on "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" this week to promote that show, and he was talking about his experience with COVID.

ROGERS: Yeah.

SANDERS: And he said he really got scared and knew that it was COVID when he couldn't smell anymore.

ROGERS: Right.

SANDERS: And this man - imagine seeing Hugh Grant walking down the street, sniffing garbage cans to see if he has COVID. I can't.

ROGERS: Honestly, is it weird that I can kind of picture it?

SANDERS: (Laughter).

ROGERS: 'Cause I know he's had some rough times.

SANDERS: (Laughter) Yes.

ROGERS: You know what I mean? It wouldn't be the worst thing he sniffed.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

ROGERS: Let's just say that. OK?

SANDERS: You right. You right. You right.

ROGERS: Darling.

SANDERS: All right, you got one point.

ROGERS: (Laughter).

SANDERS: Hugh Grant, hope you're doing OK.

ROGERS: I hope so, too. You're fantastic on "The Undoing" so far. So hopefully, you're...

SANDERS: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.

ROGERS: Hopefully, somewhere you're not undone, but done.

SANDERS: (Laughter) Next quote - "to be fair, Angel was the right boyfriend for Buffy coming into her power. Spike..."

ROGERS: Stacey Abrams.

(SOUNDBITE OF VICTORY TUNE)

SANDERS: Oh, yes. Yes.

ROGERS: Yeah.

SANDERS: That was what this quote is about.

ROGERS: Obsessed with her and her "Buffy" fandom. And also love that she's just, like, a relentless nerd.

SANDERS: Oh, my God. It's so great, yes. So this quote came from Twitter on Monday. Stacey Abrams, former candidate for governor in Georgia, former Georgia House rep and currently the leader of a massive voting push in Georgia that helped flip that state to blue - she says on top of politics, she can talk about pop culture. She was giving her thoughts on "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" and Angel.

ROGERS: I got to tell you, she is actually a dream guest for the pod.

SANDERS: Let's manifest it.

ROGERS: Bowen and I would roll out the red carpet. Listen; we have a lot of listeners in Atlanta and all throughout Georgia.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

ROGERS: We actually had a really - we had a really fun live show in Atlanta. We did an "I Don't Think So, Honey!" live in Atlanta. And how much would you die to hear Stacey Abrams' "I Don't Think So, Honey!"

SANDERS: Oh, my God. It would be amazing.

ROGERS: I mean...

SANDERS: I mean. I mean.

ROGERS: That would be #IMean.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: Fun fact, she...

ROGERS: (Unintelligible) blast. Stacey, come.

SANDERS: Yes, Stacey. Stacey, if you hear this. So fun fact, Stacey Abrams is also a writer. She's written eight romance novels, and her pen name is Selena Montgomery.

ROGERS: I'm obsessed with her. Like, she...

SANDERS: We stan a multifaceted queen.

ROGERS: Selena Montgomery? Come on.

SANDERS: It's amazing.

ROGERS: That's how you create a name. Selena Montgomery? Come on now.

SANDERS: Yes. All right, here is the last quote. This one is a doozy.

ROGERS: OK.

SANDERS: It is, "Cazzie, come on. Your ancestors survived the Holocaust." Who said that?

ROGERS: Larry David?

(SOUNDBITE OF VICTORY TUNE)

SANDERS: Yes, yes.

ROGERS: Yeah, 'cause his daughter is Cazzie David.

SANDERS: Yeah. So Cazzie David was profiled in the Los Angeles Times. And in this profile, she talks about how she had a really nasty breakup with Pete Davidson of "SNL" fame. And she's mourning this breakup, mourning this breakup. And her father, Larry David of "Seinfeld" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm" fame, perhaps one of the world's most famous Jews - he says to Cazzie, girl, we survived the Holocaust; you can get over Pete Davidson (laughter).

ROGERS: You know what's funny?

SANDERS: What?

ROGERS: I could hear him. Obviously, I knew 'cause Cazzie. But, like, he's got such a specific voice. I just helped my friend do an audition tape for "Curb Your Enthusiasm." And it's all improv, right?

SANDERS: Yeah.

ROGERS: So she wanted someone that can improvise. So I got to improvise as Larry David...

SANDERS: Stop it.

ROGERS: ...Like, in this tape with her. And I was, like, loving it. He's so fun 'cause he just plays status all the time. He's just always yelling at people and, like, making something out of nothing.

SANDERS: Oh, yeah.

ROGERS: So I just - it was really fun to step into those shoes.

SANDERS: Yes. Well, so then you have to now deliver that line in your Larry David voice.

ROGERS: OK. Can you give it to me one more time?

SANDERS: Cazzie, come on. Your ancestors survived the Holocaust.

ROGERS: All right. It would be something like - it would be something like, (imitating Larry David) Cazzie, come on. Your ancestors survived the Holocaust.

SANDERS: (Laughter) That's it. That's it.

ROGERS: Like sort of like - you know what I mean? - like loudest guy in a steakhouse vibes.

SANDERS: The loudest guy in a steakhouse.

ROGERS: You know what I mean?

SANDERS: That's Larry David, yes, yes. Matt, I am happy to say that you won the game. How does it feel?

ROGERS: It feels fantastic.

SANDERS: Thank you so much for coming on the show. This was a high point for me. I had so much fun. In the spirit of the show, I know that you sometimes just spontaneously burst into song. Will you sing us to break with whatever is on your spirit right now?

ROGERS: I sure will. And you know what's in my spirit right now? For some reason, there is this Barbra Streisand song...

SANDERS: OK.

ROGERS: ...That's in my head.

SANDERS: OK.

ROGERS: And it's a duet that she did a long time ago with Bryan Adams.

SANDERS: Wow.

ROGERS: And it's called "I Finally Found Someone," and I'm going to sing it.

SANDERS: Do it.

ROGERS: OK?

SANDERS: Yes. Go.

ROGERS: I don't know why this is in my head, but it is.

SANDERS: OK. Let's hear it.

ROGERS: It goes like this. (Singing) This is it. Oh, I finally found someone, someone to share my life. I finally found the one to be with every night. 'Cause whatever I do, it's just got to be you. My life has just begun. I finally found someone. (Laughter).

SANDERS: Listen.

ROGERS: That was full-out.

SANDERS: That was full-out. Oh, my God.

ROGERS: It was really in a key that was too high. I was kind of doing Barbra's key, and, like, it's like when you get a third through something and you're like, nope, started too high.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: It was beautiful. Oh, my goodness.

ROGERS: It was shouting, but thanks (laughter).

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

AUNT BETTY: Now it's time to end the show as we always do. Every week, listeners share the best thing that happened to them all week. We encourage folks to brag, and they do. Let's hear a few of those submissions.

HAROLD: Hey, Sam. This is Harold (ph) in Carson City, Nev. The best part of my week was that we got our first snow of the season here. It's been a very long and very dry summer and fall, and I really look forward to the changing of the seasons. And so it's been rejuvenating to see snow on the mountains again.

MOLLY: Hey, Sam. It's Molly (ph) from Grand Forks, N.D., and the best part of my week was receiving news that two of my absolute favorite people welcomed their new baby boy and my godson into the world. And I'm reminded that amid this collective pain that we're in of 2020, there is still reason to celebrate. There is joy and new life.

FRANCES DONOVAN: Hi, Sam. This is Frances Donovan (ph) in Boston, Mass., and the best thing that happened to me this week is that my partner of 12 years and I celebrated the one-month anniversary of our marriage.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: A couple weeks ago, I finished my Ph.D., and because of COVID and the election, there just wasn't a whole lot of bandwidth for celebration. But, you know, the best part of my week was that my wife bought me an ice cream cake and put in just the most intense candle. And my wife sang to me, happy Ph.D. day to you, and it just meant everything to me.

RYAN: Hi. My name is Ryan (ph), and I'm from East Jordan, Mich. This week, I was pulling my boat, taking it to storage for the winter, and there was this guy behind me who obviously wanted to pass me. So when I could, I pulled off to the side of the road. And as he passed me, he slowed down, and he looked at me, and he smiled, and he flashed me the peace sign. And my reaction kind of surprised me because I got choked up. And I think it's probably that just this little gesture of politeness between strangers and the fact that I could see a smiling face that wasn't hidden behind a mask reminded me of different times. And I choose to believe that there are less dark and kinder times ahead. So to that guy in the old beat-up black BMW, even though you don't know it, thanks for giving me the best part of my week.

MOLLY: Love your show.

DONOVAN: I really enjoy it. It helps me get through difficult news weeks. Take care. Bye-bye.

SANDERS: Wow. Little gestures can mean so much. Thanks to all those folks who shared their best things this week. I really appreciate it. It cheered my heart.

Listeners, you can be a part of this segment, too. At any point throughout any week, just record your voice sharing the best part of your week, and then send that voice file to me at samsanders@npr.org - samsanders@npr.org.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SANDERS: All right, this week, the show was produced by Jinae West, Anjuli Sastry and Andrea Gutierrez. Our intern is Star McCown. Our fearless editor is Jordana Hochman. Our director of programming is Steve Nelson, and our big boss is NPR's VP of programming, Anya Grundmann.

Before we go, got to ask you a favor. If you like this show, and I hope you do, help us out. Spread the word about IT'S BEEN A MINUTE. The best way for shows like this one to get new listeners is through word of mouth. So tell your friends you listen, and see if they will, too. Also, feel free to leave us a podcast review on Apple Podcasts.

Listeners, till next time, be good to yourselves. Stay safe. I'm Sam Sanders. We'll talk soon.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Copyright © 2020 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.