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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 Peter Grosz, Negin Farsad and Adam Felber. And here again is your host from deep in his bean cellar, Peter Sagal.

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

Thank you, Bill. 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're on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

DAVID KRAFT: Hi, Peter. This is David Kraft from St. Paul, Minn.

SAGAL: St. Paul is one of my very favorite places. What do you do there?

KRAFT: I work with middle schoolers who qualify for special ed services.

SAGAL: Oh, you are a saint, doubly so, sir, because just teaching middle school, to me, is an amazing act of service. How are you spending your time since classes are canceled?

KRAFT: Well, we do distance learning. But they're also sending some people to man day care for kids whose parents work in health care. And I'm also still able to donate blood. I'm - I try to donate every week or so.

SAGAL: You know, I've never said this to a listener in 22 years. But, sir, you are too good for this show.

KRAFT: (Laughter).

SAGAL: You should be calling into something classy that rewards your level of service.

ADAM FELBER: Are you, like, also fighting fires and stuff? Like, what else do you do?

KURTIS: (Laughter).

SAGAL: David, it is very nice to have you with us. You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. What's the topic, Bill?

KURTIS: Celebrity parents - they're just like us.

SAGAL: Sure, it seems like celebrity parents have it all figured out - Alec Baldwin, Joan Crawford, Bill Cosby.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: But famous moms and dads - they can make mistakes, too. Our panelists are going to tell you about a celebrity parenting error. 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, David?

KRAFT: I am.

SAGAL: All right. First, let's hear from Adam Felber.

FELBER: First-graders enrolled in Brooklyn's Cavendish School were treated to an unexpected visitor in their virtual Zoom classroom this week when one of the student's dads accidentally showed up in the background and commenced an exercise routine in his underwear. As a special bonus, that dad was beloved actor Paul Giamatti. Yes, things went sideways for 7-year-old Ashley Giamatti (ph) when, unbeknownst to her, her famous dad spread out a mat in the clearly visible next room and began stretching, clad only in a pair of boxer shorts and an undershirt.

Soon, children were laughing, and parents were flocking into view to see what one onlooker described as a bizarre routine that seemed to be part yoga, part tai chi and part modern dance. By the end, said one Cavendish mom, there were a series of deep bends and gyrations better suited for an exotic dance floor, certainly not for a first-grade classroom.

It was around this time that young Ashley turned around, gasped in horror and shouted, Dad, we can all see you. Giamatti has already apologized to his fellow parents, citing the difficulties of families sheltering in place. Embarrassed, he said, please, guys; I was in "Big Momma's House." But Ashley - she may need therapy.

SAGAL: Paul Giamatti doing exercises in his underwear behind his very embarrassed daughter during a Zoom class. Your next story of a mommy mistake comes from Negin Farsad.

NEGIN FARSAD: Kelly Clarkson is a fun mom. She sings, obviously, but she celebrates every occasion with the kind of gusto you would expect from the "From Justin To Kelly" star. And her kid River losing his first tooth was no exception.

The night that River's first tooth fell, he dutifully put it under his pillow and drifted to sleep. Clarkson brought in makeup and costume artists to make her into the tooth fairy's magical assistant, complete with a frilly gown, wings, glitter and an impressive wand. She hired a prop master to beam glowing purple light on his bed and set up a rig that enabled Clarkson to literally float into River's bedroom. She gently wakes her kid up to tell him the tooth fairy is about to arrive, which she decided to do, randomly, in a British accent - hello, little boy.

River woke up totally confused and punches his mother in the face. She falls back and screams in a perfect C sharp, of course. Her wings get caught on the rig, which topples onto a lamp, causing a small fire. In the meantime, the kid is crying, wildly runs into the kitchen and dials 911, telling them that - a lady with wings is trying to steal me and set fire to our house.

Police arrive to find a frazzled Kelly Clarkson with soot on her face and burnt assistant tooth fairy regalia, a frightened makeup person, costume designer and prop master and a 6-year-old kid in hysterics. Of course, Bel Air police are used to breaking up celebrity parties. As one cop put it, you wouldn't believe the costume fetish celebs have, but there's usually a lot of drugs and sometimes an exotic animal. Clarkson explain what happened, thanked the cops and smiled. That's when everyone noticed Kelly Clarkson is missing a tooth because her son had punched it out of her face.

KURTIS: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Kelly Clarkson goes a little bit too far in acting out the role of the tooth fairy for her son. And your last story of a problematic parent comes from Peter Grosz.

PETER GROSZ: Comedian Amy Schumer and her husband Chris Fischer are the proud parents of a beautiful 11-month-old baby boy named Gene David Fischer. But that wasn't always the little guy's name. Schumer revealed on her podcast this week that she changed her son's name after a friend pointed out that the original name, the name they put on his birth certificate last May, might have earned the boy considerable scorn as he reached adolescence.

Little Gene's original middle name, Attell - after comedian and friend Dave Attell - meant that his first two names would be Gene Attell, which sounds more than a little bit like the word genital. Maybe not that much to you, sophisticated NPR listener, but to the merciless sixth-grade boys in little Gene's future, it would've been a veritable gold mine, a teasing perfect storm on par with being the classmate of a kid named Mike Rotch (ph) or Maya Butz (ph) or Anita Wiener (ph).

Schumer weighed many options after realizing her oversight, including changing the boy's name to The Baby Formerly Known As Gene Attell, but then realized she could just change his middle name to David, so that was that. While this was the first recorded celebrity baby name change, many celebrities, of course, alter their own birth names before becoming famous. Cary Grant was born Archibald Leach. Mel Brooks was born Melvyn Kaminsky. Queen Latifah was born Princess Latifah. Benedict Cumberbatch was born Benzedrine Cummerbund. And rapper DaBaby was actually born DaBaby and just forgot to change his name to DaGrownup (ph).

KRAFT: (Laughter).

SAGAL: All right. Here, David, are your choices. From Adam Felber, was it Paul Giamatti broadcasting his exercise routine in his underwear to his daughter's entire class via video link; from Negin Farsad, Kelly Clarkson trying to do a wonderful thing for her son when he lost a tooth and instead losing a tooth herself; or from Peter Grosz, Amy Schumer and her husband realizing that the name they gave their beloved first child sounds a little bit too much like the word genitalia? Which of these was the real story of a celebrity parenting mistake?

KRAFT: They all sound pretty unbelievable, but I think I'm going to have to go with Gene Attell.

SAGAL: Gene Attell, the former name of Amy Schumer's baby. Well, to find out the correct answer, well, please listen to this.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

AMY SCHUMER: It was Gene Attell Fischer, but we realized that we, by accident, named our son Genital.

SAGAL: That was Amy Schumer. She was talking in her own podcast "3 Girls, 1 Keith." Congratulations, David. You got it right. You've earned a point for Peter Grosz. You've won our prize. And Amy Schumer has now renamed her baby after you.

KRAFT: (Laughter).

SAGAL: David, thank you so much for playing. And thank you for every single thing that you do. They're all important and amazing. Thank you so much.

KRAFT: Thanks. Bye.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CALL MY NAME, I'LL BE THERE")

WILSON PICKETT: (Singing) Call my name, and I'll be there. And I'll follow you everywhere. Call my name, and I'll be there, baby. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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