Weird Texas Laws With Matthew McConaughey

Sep 27, 2019
Originally published on September 27, 2019 1:39 pm

As the state's capital, Austin is where Texas's laws are made. Matthew McConaughey guesses which of these Texas laws are real, and which are myths.

Heard on Matthew McConaughey: Commerce And Vanity.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Before our final round, why don't we play another game with our special guest? Let's bring back Matthew McConaughey, everybody.

(CHEERING)

EISENBERG: So, Matthew, because we're in Austin, the state capital, this is obviously the place where Texas laws are made. So if you could make a law for the state of Texas, do you have anything in mind?

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: Yes.

EISENBERG: OK. What would you do?

MCCONAUGHEY: Absolutely. If you happen to hear, after 2 a.m., somebody playing bongos...

(LAUGHTER)

MCCONAUGHEY: ...Next door or on your street or anywhere, don't call the cops. Just go throw a ham over the fence or knock on their door. They're having a good time with themselves. Not harming anybody, just smelling the jasmine blowing through the screen window, celebrating the victory over Nebraska bug-eaters.

(CHEERING)

MCCONAUGHEY: No, that one actually turned out all right.

EISENBERG: Did you say throw a ham? That'd be nice?

MCCONAUGHEY: Well, that's what a neighbor - a great producer, Bob Aaron, who produced Pink Floyd and Kiss and a lot of those albums, when I moved into my first home out in Hollywood, I was having a similar evening that I had here. And this big ham came flying over the wall.

(LAUGHTER)

MCCONAUGHEY: And the next day I had this really long letter about how the last - that night the noise intruded and got in, even though his wife and him had on plugs, it had trespassed into their home. And it was the nicest shut the F up letter I've ever heard in my life. And the next day I took the ham back with a bottle of wine, and he and I've been friends ever since (laughter).

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: This game is all about unusual Texas laws.

MCCONAUGHEY: OK.

EISENBERG: And I'm going to read a Texas law - we'll read Texas laws or a statute or a resolution. You just tell us whether it's really on the books or just a myth.

MCCONAUGHEY: OK.

EISENBERG: All right. Here we go. In Texas, it's illegal to sell your eyeballs. Is that real or fake?

(LAUGHTER)

MCCONAUGHEY: Yeah, sounds true.

EISENBERG: It is true. It is illegal.

MCCONAUGHEY: Whoa. Thank you.

EISENBERG: Yep.

MCCONAUGHEY: It's illegal to sell your eyeballs.

EISENBERG: Can't sell your eyeballs, your kidney, your liver, your heart, your lung, your pancreas, your bones, your skin. But you can sell your hair and your blood.

MCCONAUGHEY: OK.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Yep.

MCCONAUGHEY: I bet you can sell your - I know a few states where I bet you can sell your eyeballs.

(LAUGHTER)

MCCONAUGHEY: So do you.

(LAUGHTER)

JONATHAN COULTON: If you plan to commit a crime, you must send your victim written notice at least 24 hours in advance. Is that real or fake?

MCCONAUGHEY: That's fake.

COULTON: Yeah, but it's a pretty good fake.

MCCONAUGHEY: Thank you.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: If you conduct an experiment that may change the weather in Texas, you must publish a notice in the newspaper at least three weeks in advance.

MCCONAUGHEY: That sounds very - I'm not answering yet, but that sounds very true. Yeah.

EISENBERG: Yeah, that is real.

MCCONAUGHEY: Yeah, yeah. Come on. You're going to change the weather?

EISENBERG: Yes.

MCCONAUGHEY: You're going to play the G-O-D?

(LAUGHTER)

MCCONAUGHEY: All right. All right.

EISENBERG: It dates back to the Civil War, when gunpowder was used to try to create rain clouds to address water shortages.

(LAUGHTER)

MCCONAUGHEY: They played bongos late at night back then, too.

EISENBERG: That's right.

(LAUGHTER)

MCCONAUGHEY: OK.

COULTON: It is illegal to drive barefoot in Texas.

MCCONAUGHEY: That's true.

COULTON: That is fake. It is legal in every state in the union to drive barefoot.

MCCONAUGHEY: See - they got me because I've been told (laughter) - because I drive barefoot a lot.

EISENBERG: Yep.

MCCONAUGHEY: And I've been told many times, you can't do that, man; that's illegal. And I'm like, getting away with another one. But I - it was legal.

EISENBERG: Yep.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Now you can really live it up.

EISENBERG: Yep.

MCCONAUGHEY: Oh, god****. OK.

EISENBERG: Say, I heard on NPR. They'll love that.

MCCONAUGHEY: OK. Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

MCCONAUGHEY: Yeah.

EISENBERG: That's right.

COULTON: This is your last clue.

MCCONAUGHEY: OK (laughter).

COULTON: A House resolution from 1977 declares chili the official Texas state dish, noting that President Lyndon B. Johnson once said chili concocted outside of Texas is a weak, apologetic imitation of the real thing.

(LAUGHTER)

MCCONAUGHEY: LBJ. That's got to - yeah, that sounds very true (laughter).

COULTON: Yeah, that's very true.

EISENBERG: Yeah.

MCCONAUGHEY: Yeah, LBJ.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

EISENBERG: You did great. Matthew serves as the minister of culture for the upcoming University of Texas sports arena. Give it up for Matthew McConaughey, everybody.

MCCONAUGHEY: Thank you.

(APPLAUSE) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.