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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
Fri May 9, 2014
Not My Job: Brat Pack Member Rob Lowe Gets Quizzed On Bratwurst
Originally published on Sat May 10, 2014 10:49 am
Rob Lowe and Peter Sagal are about the same age, and have led very similar lives: They've both made it huge in show business, been staples of the gossip magazines, are known far and wide for their strangely youthful good looks.
Back in the '80s Lowe was part of Hollywood's Brat Pack so we've invited him to answer three questions about some of the lesser known facts of bratwurst.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
And now the game where a long life of success leads to 15 minutes or so of confusion. It's called Not My Job. Now, Rob Lowe and I are about the same age. We've had very similar lives.
SAGAL: We both made it big in show business, been staples of the gossip magazines. We're known far and wide for our strangely youthful good looks. And we both, coincidentally, had a passionate fling with Princess Stephanie of Monaco.
SAGAL: So it's only right that we both end up here together at last. Rob Lowe, welcome to WAIT WAIT ...DON'T TELL ME.
ROB LOWE: Thank you. Good to be here.
SAGAL: Good to be here.
LOWE: Thank you.
SAGAL: So before we get to your new book, I want to ask a question about something from back in the day. Is it true that you used to troll for women on C-SPAN?
LOWE: No, it wasn't C-SPAN. It was MTV.
SAGAL: Well, that makes more sense.
LOWE: Because I - you know, I wasn't necessarily looking for Mensa members...
LOWE: ...At that point in my life.
BRIAN BABYLON: But your beautiful. Why you got to do that? I mean...
BABYLON: ...I don't understand.
TOM BODETT: We can troll MTV all day long.
BODETT: It ain't going nowhere, Brian.
LOWE: Yeah, it was - you know, it was - if I saw an interesting looking girl on the latest, you know, Police video or Kaja Goo Goo extravaganza, I'll take girl in black dress, their one to the right.
LOWE: Yes, exactly.
SAGAL: And did this work for you? Did you call them up - this - hello, I'm Rob Lowe, and I would like to go out with you and they'd all say yes?
LOWE: In all truth, I only did it once. And it did work. And I ended up dating that particular young lady for about a year. So...
SAGAL: Oh, that's nice.
LOWE: I had quite good luck with it...
LOWE: ...And maybe should've gone back to it but never did.
SAGAL: So the C-SPAN thing was just a terrible rumor because I was excited about this.
LOWE: Yes. I did, at one point, watch Fawn Hall testify in the Iran-Contra hearings and I tracked her down. That's sure.
SAGAL: Did you really?
LOWE: Yes, it's true.
SAGAL: So the rest of America was, like, looking at the Iran-Contra hearings going oh, what a terrible extra-constitutional potential crime against this country. And you're like, so she hid it in her underwear, did she?
SAGAL: We need to - and you probably have gone through this before recently. But you recently said something that got picked up about how hard it is for attractive people in Hollywood.
LOWE: Yes, it's a condition that affects worldwide at least 15 or 20 people a year.
SAGAL: I know.
SAGAL: I can imagine all you guys doing one of those 24-hour telefunds to raise money for attractive people.
LOWE: Well - well, we're trying. I've reached out to Zac Efron and Ian Somerhalder and, you know, some of the leaders in this area.
SAGAL: (Laughing) Yeah, I understand - people afflicted.
LOWE: And you know - you know, and it takes an entertainer and a slash journalist of your stature to bring this out of the shadows.
LOWE: So first of all, thank you.
SAGAL: This is NPR. We tell the sad stories.
LOWE: That's (inaudible). I mean, the effects of terminal good-looking-ness is so severe.
SAGAL: It can't be cured I'm told.
LOWE: It can't - only by death or old age.
SAGAL: And I want to give you a chance to be serious if you want to. I mean, did you find - 'cause, let's face it, you're a good-looking fella - that you weren't considered for certain roles that you might have wanted?
LOWE: No, I think what it is is that there is a certain irony when, you know, I will have finished coaching my kids sixth-grade basketball team at the Y and a studio executive will say, this movie we're making about a sixth-grade basketball parent, nobody would look like you so no.
LOWE: And, you know, that's when you go, wait a minute. I actually am in the PTA. What do you mean, you know, PTA dads don't look like me? I'm a PTA dad. So...
JESSI KLEIN: Rob, what time are your PTA meetings?
KLEIN: Cite where, when.
LOWE: You're welcome any time .You're welcome to come by, but they're boring.
KLEIN: All right, I'll just swing by. But, you know...
BABYLON: But, you know what? I would've think - you've been fine for a long time. You've been in Tiger Beat. You was a teen throb. I would think if you were in Tiger Beat, you would've figured out how to be, you know - hey, I'm gorgeous. I look like Tom Brady but in my own way of doing it.
LOWE: Oh, Tom Brady. I like that.
BABYLON: I mean, I don't think you can figure out how to be handsome and still get work, you know, at 50 years old in Hollywood.
SAGAL: One of the things I have admired, especially recently, is that you've played roles that, let's say, go against type or play up the type for laughs. You're hilarious and funny and charming in "Parks and Rec." And your role in "Behind The Candelabra" was scary.
SAGAL: But I want to ask, were there roles, you know, when you were absolutely the leading man, pigeonhole that you would've loved to play, some unattractive roles? Like, for example, you know, Sloth from the "Goonies." Is that a role you would've wanted to do?
SAGAL: Or the kid from "Mask." That would've been awesome for you.
LOWE: Don't laugh. I auditioned for the kids from "Mask." And they're, like, go out into the lobby and put on this stocking cap and cut eye holes and come back in. They literally did that.
SAGAL: They really - they said we want you to - you're auditioning for the role, but your face is so blindingly beautiful...
LOWE: They're like...
SAGAL: ...We cannot conceive of you while looking at your actual face.
LOWE: I had to wear literally, like, the unknown comic bag over my head when I auditioned for that movie. It's an absolutely true story.
SAGAL: That's amazing. So you have a new book out, which I enjoyed. It's called "Love Life."
SAGAL: You tell this story - you talk about how you did this show called "Lyons Den."
SAGAL: It was supposed to be your big follow-up to "West Wing," I think.
SAGAL: And you play this lawyer in this law firm, and the show didn't go well for a variety of reasons. And they canceled it, but they allowed you guys to finish shooting the season so they could sell it on DVD, right?
LOWE: Yeah, this is - so the show is canceled. It's not on the air. It's over.
LOWE: But they say to me, you're still going to make 13 more episodes but nobody's ever going to see them. Maybe we'll release them on DVD in, like, Bratislava.
LOWE: So with that as the backdrop, the writers and I decide, you know what? To hell with it. We're going to burn the bridges. We're going for it. And so we decided to write my character as a sociopathic maniac who was revealed to be a mass murderer.
And Kyle Chandler, right before "Friday Night Lights" is the mentor in the office who is always my rival. He comes in one night while I'm eating in the executive dining room and confronts me on evidence that I might be a mass murderer. I walk up, stab him to death with my steak knife, sit back down, eat my steak, wipe my mouth, go to the balcony and throw myself off. That's the end of the series.
SAGAL: You know, even though I had read that story in your book, a tear came to my eye when I read it.
SAGAL: That's so moving.
LOWE: And this is how little the studio and the network cared about the show. When we told them we were going to write that, they were like that sounds great.
SAGAL: Well, Rob Lowe, it is a delight to talk to you. And we have asked you here to play a game we're calling...
CARL KASELL, BYLINE: Welcome to the BRAT-pack.
SAGAL: You were famously a part of Hollywood's Brat Pack in the '80s. But what do you know about brats? That is, bratwurst, the famous sausage that often comes in packs of six.
SAGAL: We're going to ask you three questions about bratwurst. If you get two right, you'll win our prize for one of our listeners - Carl's voice on their home answering machine. Carl, who is Rob Lowe playing for?
KASELL: He's playing for Lily Alba of San Diego, Ca.
SAGAL: All right. You ready to play?
SAGAL: There are many types of bratwurst available for your very own sausage fest...
SAGAL: ...Including which of these - A, human flesh taste bratwurst, B, gummy worm bratwurst, or, C, wood pulp bratwurst?
LOWE: I'm going with wood pulp bratwurst.
SAGAL: Wood pulp bratwurst sounds good. But it's gummy worm bratwurst. And it's just what it sounds like - a bratwurst with gummy worms in it. I don't know why people want this, but they do.
LOWE: That is disgusting.
SAGAL: It is. Now, if you're a real bratwurst fan, you can go to the Bratwurst Museum in Germany - Thuringer of course - where you can enjoy what attraction at the Bratwurst Museum? A, the Bratwurst Hall of Kings, where they have bratwursts carved to look like every ruling prince of Germany. B, the Bratwurst theater, where you can enjoy a bratwurst-centered romantic comedy. Or C, the gift shop where you can get all your purchases wrapped in a pig intestine just like bratwurst.
LOWE: I'm going to go with the Hall of Kings.
SAGAL: The Hall of Kings, where the ruling princes, the Herrenhausen (ph) done up as carved bratwurst.
LOWE: Yeah, like that. That's intriguing to me.
SAGAL: You've ever tried to carve a bratwurst?
KLEIN: I bet he has.
LOWE: I'm sticking with kings. I'm intrigued. I'd actually fly to Germany to visit a display of totems resembling kings made of bratwurst.
SAGAL: I like your spirit, and I like your bravery. But I wish I could like your answer. It's the Bratwurst theater. According to the Google translation of the museum's website, it is, quote, "authentic, unique, fascinating sausage theater, must have seen."
LOWE: Oh, so that's what they're calling it.
SAGAL: Yes. Last question, bratwursts have been known to show up in the police blotter as - when which of these happened? A, armed robbers stole a truck of bratwurst in Janesville, WI., only to be found lolling around semi-conscious a day later around a greasy barbecue. B, a Des Moines woman was arrested for attacking another woman with a cooked bratwurst as a weapon. Or C, police in Columbus broke up an underground bratwurst ring selling non-USDA approved pirate sausages.
LOWE: Listen, any time the phrase pirate sausage is used...
SAGAL: Oh, yes.
LOWE: ...I'm down.
SAGAL: I wish - I again, I like...
SAGAL: I like your choices. But in fact, it was the Des Moines women who was attacked - she attacked her friend with a bratwurst. She was arrested. They took the victim's greasy, stained blouse as evidence. Carl, how did Rob Lowe do on our quiz?
KASELL: Rather lousy, Peter.
KASELL: Sorry, Rob. No correct answers.
LOWE: I'm sorry. I let everyone down. I cannot tell you how demoralizing this is.
SAGAL: Rob Lowe's autobiography "Love Life" is out now. Rob Lowe, thank you so much for being on our show.
SAGAL: What a pleasure to talk to you.
LOWE: Thank you. Thank you.
SAGAL: In just a minute, Carl rampages across Tokyo. It's the listener limerick challenge. Call 1-888-WAIT WAIT to join us on the air.
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We'll be back in a minute with more of WAIT WAIT ...DON'T TELL ME from NPR. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.