OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:
Our first two guests are writers for "Late Night With Seth Meyers," and you may know them from other places. Ben Warheit played an awful Wall Street guy in the Joaquin Phoenix movie "Joker." Jeff Wright is known for making hilarious online video sketches where he plays all the characters. Ben, Jeff - hello.
BEN WARHEIT: Hi.
JEFF WRIGHT: What it do?
EISENBERG: Jeff, you make all these amazing videos on TikTok and Instagram.
EISENBERG: I don't know how many you've made over the years. I don't know if you keep track.
WRIGHT: I've made a lot of videos and a lot of bad videos.
WRIGHT: But I only post the good stuff. I only post the good stuff
EISENBERG: Oh, really? There is a pile, a pile of all of the ones...
WRIGHT: Oh, yeah.
EISENBERG: Oh, wow.
WRIGHT: I think that's the real talent. I think knowing what not to post is the talent or...
JONATHAN COULTON, BYLINE: That's a good point.
EISENBERG: Ben, am I right in saying that, you know, way before you entered - obviously, the writing for "Late Night," and you were creating tons of content still and videos - that you were in school - you majored in neuroscience?
WARHEIT: Yeah, yeah. That's right.
WARHEIT: I did like doing the research and - but I found research to be really slow, ultimately.
WARHEIT: Being in the lab and you're, like, asking one very, very specific question that takes several years to get a possible answer.
EISENBERG: Yeah. In addition to having a background in science, you also act, including one of my favorite films because I found it so chilling - "Joker." You were - yeah.
EISENBERG: And you said that was your favorite experience. Why was it your favorite?
WARHEIT: I felt like working on that, I was just learning a lot very, very quickly. Like, for instance, I wasn't supposed to be doing the stunt where I got killed - spoiler alert.
WARHEIT: There was supposed to be a stunt double who got shot and falls and, like, is falling on the concrete and crawling and blah, blah, blah, because that's technically a stunt. The stunt double shows up to set, and he's wearing a different suit than I am. And I think technically, like, you know, they didn't know how they would - maybe they would have to delay a day or something like that.
EISENBERG: And that's huge amounts of money and inconvenience. Like, you're ruining everything.
WARHEIT: Yeah, the suits were - it was, like, a custom suit. So, like, it wasn't like they could just, like - I don't know...
WRIGHT: Go to...
WARHEIT: ...Put on a different one.
WRIGHT: ...Men's Wearhouse.
WARHEIT: I was like, I can do this. Like, I can fall and, you know, do the stunt. And I was a child gymnast. Like, I know how to do that stuff.
EISENBERG: Another thing you can do - another thing?
WARHEIT: Oh, I can - yeah, I can still - actually, I just...
WRIGHT: Ben can do a backflip.
WARHEIT: I just tested this the other day.
WARHEIT: I can still do it. Yeah.
WARHEIT: Then we just tried doing it.
WARHEIT: And I'm running away from Joaquin, and he's firing a gun at me. And I'm like - they decided, like, on the day of the set. They were, like, maybe you've already been shot in the, like, butt once, and what does that look like? And I was like, I haven't, like, prepped running with a bullet in my butt.
WARHEIT: But let's try. Let's try it. And then after Joaquin comes and, like, empties the gun into the back of me and runs up the stairs and it's dead quiet, there would be - they'd yell, cut. And then I'd get up, and then me and Todd and Joaquin would go watch playback and be like, well, how did that look? Did that look right? I don't think that's how you'd run if you had a bullet - and you're like, no, I do. That's exactly how it is. And I'm like...
WARHEIT: And I was just - felt like I was, like, learning so lightning fast. Ultimately, at the end of it, I felt like it really paid off. And, like, after I wrapped, Joaquin pulled me aside and said some really nice things to me. It was very encouraging.
COULTON: Aww (ph).
EISENBERG: That's awesome.
WRIGHT: He said, hey, man; I like the way you died. Like, the way...
WARHEIT: He was like, I would like to offer you $10,000 to shoot you for real sometime.
EISENBERG: All right, we have a couple great games for you. Are you ready to dive into some games?
EISENBERG: Yes. Excellent. So this first game is called Real or Fake Hallmark Original Movie. We'll describe the plot of a made-for-TV Hallmark original movie, and you just tell us if it's a real movie that actually exists or a fake one that we just made up. All right, Jeff.
EISENBERG: "Chasing Leprechauns" - when an American company wants to build a smelting plant outside a small Irish village, troubleshooter Michael Garrett is dispatched to help. He soon learns the land is protected to ensure the safety of the leprechauns who are believed to live there. Enter Sarah Cavanaugh, a local pixie expert who teaches him about the mystical traditions of Ireland and also about love.
WRIGHT: I've seen that on Disney Channel. That's a real movie.
WRIGHT: I've seen that.
EISENBERG: You've seen it? Yeah, yeah.
WRIGHT: I've seen it.
EISENBERG: Yeah, that's a real one.
COULTON: Is it true you've actually seen that movie?
WRIGHT: I don't know if I've seen that movie, but I've seen two movies that have that same plot.
WRIGHT: And I'm like, that's enough.
WRIGHT: Point is, guys, I got it right. That's the point.
EISENBERG: You got it right. You got it right.
WRIGHT: I got it right.
COULTON: (Laughter) All right, Ben, here is your chance.
WARHEIT: All right.
COULTON: It's called "All In." Having trouble paying her college tuition, Beth Nolans gets a part-time job at the casino and befriends dealer Maureen, who works there to pay off her no good ex-husband Earl's debts. Maureen teaches Beth poker, and when Beth enters the world of competitive poker-playing, she finds herself at the state championships up against none other than Earl, and the stakes are all in.
WARHEIT: It sounds good to me. Like, it sounds - honestly, it sounds airtight. Like - but...
WARHEIT: But, you know, I'm playing...
COULTON: Maybe a little too airtight.
WARHEIT: Maybe I'm playing with the odds here a little bit. Like, maybe I think in Hallmark movies, they're not going to, like, take the time to explain the nuances of poker.
EISENBERG: I love this.
WARHEIT: I think it's going to be a fake.
COULTON: Ben, you are absolutely correct.
COULTON: And I applaud your scientific mind.
WRIGHT: Yep. And it was, like, missing a fairy tale love ending, honestly.
COULTON: Right. There's no magic. There's no magic in there.
EISENBERG: All right, Jeff.
EISENBERG: "The Cabin" - two single-parent families, one with a mom and one with a dad and both with the same last name, Macdougall, attend a festival in Scotland called Mac Fest for people who have the last names starting with Mac. The two families are accidentally assigned to the same cabin, and the mom and the dad can't stand each other until - dot, dot, dot.
WRIGHT: I don't know who remixed the story "Parent Trap," but...
WRIGHT: But I want to say that's real. And if it's not...
EISENBERG: Yep, it's real. It is real. It's totally real.
COULTON: All right, Ben, here's the last one. It's for you - "Sense, Sensibility And Snowmen." After inheriting the family party planning business, Ella tries to prove herself to her sensible sister by taking on a new client less than two weeks before Christmas. The uptight, all-business Mr. Edward Ferris challenges her every step of the way until her charm not only wins him over but also captures his heart.
WARHEIT: Fake show.
COULTON: I'm sorry...
WARHEIT: Fake show.
COULTON: It is real.
WRIGHT: That's a real movie.
COULTON: It's a real show.
WRIGHT: That's a real - that's real. I keep saying real.
COULTON: Jeff's like, obviously that's real.
WRIGHT: Ben, look.
WARHEIT: Oh, don't say it like you know. You didn't know.
WRIGHT: No. But look how - it's Hallmark. The ending...
WARHEIT: "Sense, Sensibility & Snowmen" is the worst...
EISENBERG: I know.
WARHEIT: ...Title of anything ever.
WARHEIT: "Sense, Sensibility & Snowmen" - what were they - were they thinking, like, hey, it's alliteration. That's good enough.
COULTON: Probably that is exactly what they're thinking.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
WARHEIT: More with late-night writers Ben Warheit and Jeff Wright after the break. And later, Kyra Sedgwick talks about goats. I'm not kid-ding (ph).
EISENBERG: Oh, yeah. I'm Ophira Eisenberg, and this is ASK ME ANOTHER from NPR.
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.