Not My Job: We Quiz Sarah Paulson Of 'American Horror' On Canadian Horror

Nov 21, 2020
Originally published on November 21, 2020 8:09 am

We've invited Sarah Paulson, who has starred in both American Horror Story and American Crime Story, to play a game called "Canadian Horror Story." Three questions about terrible things that have happened to our neighbors to the north.

Click the audio link above to find out how she does.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

And now the game where people who have paid their dues wonder what it was they paid for. It's called Not My Job. Sarah Paulson starred as Marcia Clark in "American Crime Story," while starring in nine seasons of "American Horror Story," during which she had terrible things done to her. Now she's starring in a movie called "Run," where finally she gets to do some terrible things to someone else. Sarah Paulson, welcome to WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME!

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE SOUND EFFECT)

SARAH PAULSON: Hello. Thank you for having me. I'm excited.

SAGAL: It's very nice to have you. I am an enormous fan. And I'll tell you, I became one instantly because of your performance as Marcia Clark in "American Crime Story: The People Vs. O.J. Simpson," which was awesome. And you were great...

SAGAL: Thank you.

PAULSON: ...As Marcia Clark, so thank you.

PAULSON: Thank you. I appreciate that. I haven't seen it, still haven't seen it.

SAGAL: Do you not watch your own stuff?

PAULSON: I try not to because there's actually nothing more horrifying than watching your face melting on screen.

MO ROCCA: You hate watching your face melt on screen?

PAULSON: I feel like - as I get older, I just feel like it's a runny egg on a wall sliding down.

NEGIN FARSAD: (Laughter).

ROCCA: Have you seen Giuliani recently?

SAGAL: (Laughter) Yeah, speaking of which.

PAULSON: (Laughter) Yes, I have. Like a runny egg sliding down a wall, yes.

(LAUGHTER)

PAULA POUNDSTONE: I just want to tell the listeners that we're on a Zoom, so we can see each other. So I can see Sarah Paulson. She looks fantastic.

ROCCA: Luminous. Luminous.

FARSAD: Luminous.

SAGAL: She really does.

POUNDSTONE: Luminous. Luminous.

PAULSON: It's all this top light you all like to have nowadays.

(LAUGHTER)

FARSAD: She's got, like, a little hair mascara, like, running down her face...

POUNDSTONE: (Laughter).

PAULSON: Yeah.

FARSAD: ...But otherwise, luminous.

POUNDSTONE: No, she doesn't.

ROCCA: What I wouldn't give to be your ring light.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: I kind of get you not wanting to watch yourself perform because I'm watching "American Horror Story: Asylum" right now, and, good Lord, they really put you through the wringer.

PAULSON: It's true.

SAGAL: So how did it work? Like, every year they came to you and said, oh, Sarah, you're going to love this year. This year, you're going to be committed to an insane asylum against your will and then kidnapped by a serial murderer.

PAULSON: And I'm like, sign me right up. Sign me right up. Listen; all I ever wanted was, like, a black tooth and a peg leg. And so, like, if that's the truth about me, then the more - you know, you want to have me be a conjoined twin - I'm, you know, doing all kinds of whack-a-doo - running from clowns, screaming, crying. Mostly it's a lot of screaming and crying.

POUNDSTONE: They put this stuff on ZipRecruiter, and they can't get anybody.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: And then you show up.

(LAUGHTER)

PAULSON: I think that the fans tend to like it, even though they - apparently they've made a bunch of horrifying TikToks of me crying and screaming where I literally sound like the Cowardly Lion. It's like (vocalizing).

(LAUGHTER)

PAULSON: It's just really embarrassing.

SAGAL: Does being - well, frankly, tortured fictionally...

PAULSON: (Laughter) Yes, fictionally.

SAGAL: ...That much actually start to have an effect on your psyche?

PAULSON: For me, it does. I've almost passed out a couple times. They've thrown some salt tablets at me a couple of times (laughter).

SAGAL: Really? It's like, all right, everybody, cut. Break for lunch. Somebody revive Sarah, please. Somebody...

PAULSON: Yeah, it's like, pick Sarah up. Can we get some smelling salts? If you just want to throw her an electrolyte little tablet, I think it will be good to go. And, you know - and I still keep showing up every season. I don't know what's wrong with me.

SAGAL: I remember reading - and this happened to be a scene in "Game of Thrones," and it was just some of the villains being villainous. And the actors were like, we were so insanely villainous to each other during the scene that as soon as they called cut, we all broke into laughter because it was just so over-the-top cruelty. And did you ever - was it ever like that on the set of that show? I mean, so many awful things are being done to each other by each of you that when they call cut, you're like, oh, my God, that was great. Oh, when you stabbed me, I loved that.

PAULSON: Some other people on our set are doing that, but I'm over like, that really hurt.

(LAUGHTER)

PAULSON: You know, it's like - I just take it too far. But there are plenty of pranksters on our sets who, you know, in my opinion, just don't take the work very seriously.

(LAUGHTER)

PAULSON: And if they did take it more seriously and were more dedicated to their craft, they might, too, need to visit a psychiatric institution.

(LAUGHTER)

ROCCA: I want to know, and I'm not - believe me, I'm not putting you on the spot here, but I just want to know - Drew Barrymore has a talk show now. Have you been a guest on it yet?

PAULSON: I haven't, but she's asked me.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: That is a really random question.

PAULSON: No, it's because - he's not random. He's actually asking an informed question because I do an impression of Drew Barrymore and have done it publicly. And so he's asking because...

(LAUGHTER)

ROCCA: And it is amazing.

SAGAL: All right. Until this very moment, I did not know that he Drew Barrymore impression was even possible because I was not aware that Drew Barrymore spoke in such a distinctive way.

PAULSON: What?

POUNDSTONE: (Laughter).

PAULSON: What are you talking about? There's, like, one very, very defining characteristic about her, and that's her lisp.

FARSAD: Lisp.

SAGAL: All right. Show me. Prove it.

PAULSON: Yeah, OK. (Imitating Drew Barrymore) Hi, it's so nice to meet you guys. I'm so excited to be here with you.

(LAUGHTER)

PAULSON: (Imitating Drew Barrymore) Thank you. Thank you so much.

SAGAL: All right. I am proved wrong.

PAULSON: (Imitating Drew Barrymore) Thank you, you guys. I loved being here. This is so wonderful.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: We understand that you actually had a role - it was on "Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip," that Aaron Sorkin show that came and went - in which you played an actor, a performer, whose great skill was imitating a whale.

PAULSON: A dolphin.

SAGAL: A dolphin, excuse me. So you presumably can, in fact, imitate dolphins.

PAULSON: I can try. It's been a long time. Hold on. (Vocalizing).

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: OK, you're going to win an award from Greenpeace for that, their version of the Oscar.

POUNDSTONE: Do Drew Barrymore talking to the dolphin.

SAGAL: (Laughter).

PAULSON: (Imitating Drew Barrymore) I'm just - I'm so excited to meet you. (Vocalizing).

(LAUGHTER)

PAULSON: So actually, didn't she do a movie where she was rescuing a whale from underneath the cracked ice?

ROCCA: I think she did. Yes, I think she did.

PAULSON: I think she did, too.

ROCCA: It's called "Big Miracle."

(LAUGHTER)

ROCCA: And it was with Drew Barrymore and John Krasinski.

PAULSON: Thank you. Did you just Google that?

ROCCA: Sarah, I just know that. Who doesn't?

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: So it has been a delight to talk to you, but, well, you starred in "American Horror Story," so we have asked you here to play a game we're calling...

BILL KURTIS: Canadian Horror Story.

PAULSON: (Laughter).

SAGAL: So horror is a little different in Canada. We're going to ask you about three terrible, awful bad things that happened to our neighbors to the north - brrr. Get two right, you'll win our prize for one of our listeners, the voice of anyone they might choose on their home answering machine. Bill, who is Sarah Paulson playing for?

KURTIS: Paul Brown of Cincinnati, Ohio.

SAGAL: All right. You ready to do this?

PAULSON: I'm a competitive person. Hit me. Go.

SAGAL: All right. Here we go. This is your first Canadian horror story. One of the worst scandals in Canadian political history happened in 1971 when Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau was accused of doing what? Was it A, parking in such a way that he took up two spaces, B, possibly mouthing a dirty word on the House floor, or C, cutting in line at a buffet, saying he didn't have to stand in line again because he was just getting more bread?

(LAUGHTER)

PAULSON: I'm going to go with three.

SAGAL: You're going to go with the fact that you believe there was a scandal because Pierre Trudeau, the father of the current prime minister, cut in line at a buffet saying, I don't got to stand in line; I'm just getting more bread.

PAULSON: Correct.

SAGAL: No, I'm afraid it was B. He...

PAULSON: I thought that was too obvious. Can I do another one?

ROCCA: No, Sarah, Sarah, Sarah. No, Sarah, you don't understand. We're very obvious.

SAGAL: Yes.

PAULSON: OK, good to know. I'll make sure to keep that in mind going forward.

SAGAL: What happened was is, - yes, this whole scandal - and it was a scandal - is known as the fuddle duddle scandal because he maintains that's what he was mouthing.

PAULSON: Fuddle duddle?

SAGAL: Fuddle duddle. He said, yes, I was just, you know, mouthing something, like fuddle duddle.

PAULSON: No, that's not...

SAGAL: Fuddle duddle.

PAULSON: That's - pretty sure that's not what he was mouthing.

SAGAL: Yeah, the Canadians weren't buying it either, let me tell you.

PAULSON: Yeah (laughter).

SAGAL: You have two more chances.

PAULSON: All right.

SAGAL: Don't worry about it.

PAULSON: Come on.

SAGAL: Another terrible thing horrified uncounted numbers of Canadians in 1985 when what happened to them? A, they purchased canned tuna that may have turned bad, B, they paid for a pay-per-view curling event that ended up being about hair curling, or C, they saw "Back To The Future" and believed falsely that somebody had overdubbed Michael J. Fox's Canadian accent with an American one.

ROCCA: Oh, God. C is so good.

PAULSON: I want it to be C so badly.

ROCCA: I do, too.

PAULSON: But I suspect it's A.

SAGAL: And you're right, Sarah.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SAGAL: It was, in fact, A.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE SOUND EFFECT)

SAGAL: This, again, was another huge scandal. People lost their jobs because this tuna that did not pass inspection was canned and sold anyway. And as far as anybody knows, nobody was affected by the bad tuna in any way.

PAULSON: (Laughter) That's the real horror story.

SAGAL: That's the real (vocalizing).

PAULSON: The real (vocalizing).

SAGAL: All right, your last question...

PAULSON: Yes.

SAGAL: A Canadian named David Stupich was convicted for running a criminal enterprise that involved what sinister plot - A, selling grade-B maple syrup that was falsely labeled as grade-A, B, diverting the income from a charity bingo game for his own use, or C, fixing minor league hockey games by slightly melting the ice on one side?

ROCCA: It's not B, though. B is just too grim.

PAULSON: It's funny because I was going to say B.

ROCCA: Oh, God.

SAGAL: Don't listed to Mo. Don't listen to Mo.

PAULSON: B.

ROCCA: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Yes, it's B.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

PAULSON: See, my instincts are good.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE SOUND EFFECT)

PAULSON: Mo...

SAGAL: Her instincts are certainly better than yours.

PAULSON: ...You are leading me the wrong way, sir.

SAGAL: Absolutely. No, it was B. It was known as Bingogate, and he was convicted of this crime and sentenced to two years of having to live with his daughter.

PAULSON: What?

SAGAL: I don't know why that was a punishment, but that was his sentence.

PAULSON: Wow.

SAGAL: Bill, how did Sarah Paulson do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Two out of three, Sarah. That's a win. Nice job.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE SOUND EFFECT)

SAGAL: Yes, indeed.

PAULSON: I love to win. I like to win.

(LAUGHTER)

PAULSON: (Singing) I like to win. I like winning.

(LAUGHTER)

ROCCA: This is the first time our guest has sung her reaction to winning.

SAGAL: It is true. Sarah Paulson is an Emmy-winning actress you can see in the new movie "Run," streaming on Hulu. Sarah Paulson, thank you so much for joining us. You were just delightful.

PAULSON: Thank you so much for having me.

SAGAL: Take care.

PAULSON: Bye.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FLIPPER THEME SONG")

UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: (Singing) They called him flipper, flipper, faster than lighting. No one you see...

SAGAL: In just a minute, our panelists LOL out loud in our Listener Limerick Challenge. Call 1-888-Wait-Wait to join us on the air. We'll be back in a minute with more of WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME from NPR. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.