Bluff The Listener
BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis. We are playing this week with Alonzo Bodden, Roxanne Roberts and Bobcat Goldthwait.
KURTIS: And here again is your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium home in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Thank you very much, Bill.
SAGAL: Right now it is 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.
CHANDANI SMITH: Hi. This is Chandani. How are you?
SAGAL: I'm fine. Chandani, you say?
SMITH: Chandani, yes.
SAGAL: Yeah. And where are you calling from, Chandani?
SMITH: I'm calling from the Peking Duck House in Chinatown.
SAGAL: You're calling from the Peking Duck House in Chinatown.
SMITH: Yes. I'm having my 23rd birthday party.
SAGAL: That's - wait a minute.
SAGAL: All right.
BOBCAT GOLDTHWAIT: Did you drunk-dial WAIT WAIT?
SAGAL: Right now, you are at your 23rd birthday party.
SMITH: (Laughter) Yes.
SAGAL: So you're at your 23rd birthday party. Are your friends, like, watching you right now on the phone with us?
SAGAL: Well, a big hello to all your friends.
SMITH: Everybody, WAIT WAIT says hello.
SAGAL: All right. Well, Chandani, here's what we're going to do. You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what is Chandani's topic?
KURTIS: Send in the clowns.
SAGAL: Everybody loves a clown, from Pennywise to John Wayne Gacy.
SAGAL: This week, we read about a clown showing up in an unusual place for an unusual purpose. Our panelists are going to tell you about it. Pick the one who's telling the truth, and you'll win our prize - the WAIT WAITer of your choice on your voicemail. You ready to play?
SMITH: Yeah, I'm ready.
SAGAL: First, let's hear from Bobcat Goldthwait.
GOLDTHEWAIT: Peggy Russell (ph) of Leeds, England thought surprising her daughter-in-law Kelly (ph) with a clown at Kelly's nursery-themed baby shower was a fun idea. It was not. What Peggy did not know was that Kelly, who was 7 1/2 months pregnant at the time, suffers from coulrophobia, the persistent and irrational fear of clowns. So when Pooty (ph) the clown entered the party on his unicycle, blowing his bicycle horn, Kelly screamed, broke into tears and tossed a box of diapers at the unsuspecting Pooty's head, knocking him off of his unicycle.
GOLDTHEWAIT: Then Kelly picked up a recently gifted bassinet stroller to beat Pooty with.
GOLDTHEWAIT: And lifting said stroller up caused her to break her water and to go into labor.
GOLDTHEWAIT: While the panicked shower guests looked on, Pooty, whose real name is Aaron Fisher (ph) and whose other job is being a EMT at Leeds Fire Department...
GOLDTHEWAIT: ...Knew exactly what to do and sprung into action. Pooty reassured Kelly that he was just a man in a clown suit, not a murderer or a satanic demon, calmed her down and delivered Kelly's healthy, seven-pound baby boy.
GOLDTHEWAIT: Now Pooty is being herald a hero. Peggy, who booked Pooty for the shower, said, it's funny how things work out. It's actually cheaper to book a clown than to call an ambulance.
GOLDTHEWAIT: Pooty said, the whole time I was delivering the baby, I kept imagining how funny it would be if a whole bunch of babies kept coming out.
SAGAL: Pooty the clown delivers a baby for a woman who is scared of clowns. Your next story of a clown in a new part of town comes from Roxanne Roberts.
ROXANNE ROBERTS: Sex is no laughing matter. But it should be, say Maxine (ph) and Thomas Flint (ph). The Scottish husband and wife marriage counselors who specialize in sexual incompatibility issues told BBC Radio this week that their most popular program is called Clowning Around In Bed. Inspired by a performer at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2011, the Flints began incorporating clowns and their paraphernalia into treatment sessions. Quote, "the biggest obstacle is shame and embarrassment," explained Maxine. This lets patients see how silly sex can be. The doctor started by putting patients in oversized costumes to take the focus off their bodies. To talk about erectile dysfunction, they use underinflated balloons.
ROBERTS: The final assignment - couples must attempt to have sex in the backseat of a tiny clown car.
SAGAL: Clowns in sex therapy in Scotland - and your last story of a clown found outside the big top comes from Alonzo Bodden.
ALONZO BODDEN: Getting fired can be tough, but at least the country of New Zealand has a heart. When called to what they call a redundancy meeting, employees are allowed by law to bring someone with them for emotional support. Most people bring a friend or a spouse. Advertising exec Josh Thompson (ph) brought a clown - an emotional support clown.
BODDEN: He got the email requesting a meeting with management which told him of his legal right to bring a support person. Josh, fearing the worst but hoping for the best, said, quote, "I thought either way, it's best to bring in a professional. So I paid $200 and hired a clown."
BODDEN: Sure enough, he was fired. But the clown did his job. While Josh signed the papers giving him severance, the clown mimed crying big clown tears.
BODDEN: Though Josh did say, quote, "it was rather noisy, him making balloon animals, so we had to tell him to be quiet from time to time." Happily, a picture taken of the redundancy meeting with Josh dressed for business and the clown dressed for clowning went viral. So everybody came out well. Josh got another job in advertising, and presumably, the clown will be getting lots more bookings. Sure - a firing isn't as much fun as a kid's birthday party, said the clown. But with "It Chapter Two" in theaters now, a clown can't be too choosy about work.
SAGAL: All right.
SAGAL: So a clown showed up in person or in spirit in an unusual place, and we found out about it this week. Was it, from Bobcat Goldthwait, Pooty the clown - sent to a baby shower, scares the woman so much he induces labor, and then he helps the delivery? From Roxanne, clowns being used in sex therapy in Scotland just to take, you know, the tension out of the equation? Or from Alonzo, an emotional support clown accompanied a guy in New Zealand as he was getting fired? Which of these is the real story of an unexpected clown in the news?
SMITH: As a millennial, I've got to say the emotional support clown.
SAGAL: You've got to go with the emotional support clown.
SAGAL: OK, Chandani. So your choice is Alonzo's story of the emotional support clown at the firing. Well, we spoke to a reporter who covered the real story.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
SIOBHAN O'GRADY: A man in New Zealand was called into a work meeting and feared he would be laid off, so he hired an emotional support clown...
SAGAL: That's what happened. That was Siobhan O'Grady, a staff writer on the foreign desk at The Washington Post - because democracy dies in darkness...
SAGAL: ...Talking about the emotional support clown in New Zealand. Alonzo was telling the truth. He gets a point. But more importantly, you got it right. You win a prize - call it a birthday present, if you will...
SAGAL: ...The voice of anyone you choose. Congratulations, Chandani.
SMITH: Thank you.
(SOUNDBITE OF SMOKEY ROBINSON AND THE MIRACLES' "TEARS OF A CLOWN") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.