Not My Job: Katy Tur Of NBC News Gets Quizzed On Turducken

Dec 18, 2017
Originally published on December 16, 2017 1:17 pm

When NBC News correspondent Katy Tur was a little girl, her parents pioneered aerial journalism. Flying over Los Angeles in a helicopter, they captured car chases, fires and shootouts – events which often horrified a public who hoped for the best but dared not look away. Maybe that's why Katy's bosses thought she'd be the perfect person to assign to cover the campaign of Donald Trump. Her new book Unbelievable chronicles her time on that beat.

Given her surname Tur, we gave her a quiz about Turducken – the Thanksgiving delicacy of a chicken, shoved into a duck, shoved into a turkey.

Click the audio link above to see how she does.

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When NBC News correspondent Katy Tur was a little girl, her parents pioneered aerial journalism, flying over Los Angeles in their helicopter covering police chases, events which captivated an often horrified public who said they hoped for the best but dared not look away in case there was a fiery crash. Maybe that's why Katy's bosses thought she'd be the perfect person to cover the campaign of Donald Trump.


PESCA: She tells us all about it in her new book. It's "Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat To The Craziest Campaign In American History."

Katy Tur, welcome to WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.


KATY TUR: Thank you so much for having me. I'm really excited to be here.

PESCA: We are excited to have you. Just tell me - growing up as a little girl, your parents weren't just helicopter journalists. I don't know if they were helicopter parents. But they basically invented that niche, didn't they?

TUR: Well, here's the thing. I mean, they weren't helicopter parents in the modern-day version of helicopter parents. They were helicopter parents in the version of, I was playing baseball in the park by my house, and they would hover overhead in the helicopter and cheer me on.

PESCA: Yeah.

TUR: Literally. But no - yeah, they were like - they covered police pursuits, and they covered fires and shootings and anything you could see in Los Angeles from the air. I don't know, they kind of - some of their friends say that they ruined TV - that they made news a bit too much like a reality TV show.

PESCA: And those are their friends.


TUR: Those are their friends.

MO ROCCA: Can I ask - Katy, were they like the the Wallendas of news - like, flying like sort of daredevils?

TUR: They were the Wallendas of news. I'm so glad you made that comparison because I've often thought that, Mo. And I felt like nobody would understand the reference. So good job.


NEGIN FARSAD: And really, nobody does.


PESCA: So this - am I right? - this was your first political campaign, covering Trump?

TUR: Yes - and potentially my only.



PESCA: So that's...

TUR: I'm kidding. I'm kidding. Yeah, no, it was my first.

PESCA: Your first.

TUR: I kind of fell headfirst into it, too, because I was a London correspondent. I was supposed to be covering overseas stuff, and I happened to be visiting when Donald Trump announced. And they needed somebody to cover him. And they weren't going to use a political reporter because it was Donald Trump. So they used who was ever - someone who was just standing around the newsroom. And that was me. And I was just standing there. And they said - Katy, why don't you cover him?

PESCA: Katy, I've heard you say that because you were not a particularly political person, in a way, it really made good sense for you to be put on this beat.

TUR: Yeah, listen, he was a political neophyte. And I was a political neophyte, an outsider covering an outsider. You couldn't have somebody, you know, steeped in Washington politics covering Donald Trump because, at every step, they would say, this is why he can't go on or this is why he's not going to get any votes. With me, when I was out there - I mean, I could see the thousands of people that would show up. And I would go back to the newsroom and I'd say - hey, guys, I mean, people are really taking him seriously. Washington might not be taking him seriously. The political class might not be taking him seriously. But voters in parts of the country are taking him very seriously. I mean, nobody - I was like the bad "Simpsons" meme old man yells at cloud.



TUR: I would call into these morning meetings every day. I mean, up until the very end - up until, like, the day before the election, I would say, he's going to win. He's going to win. And people would say, you're crazy. You've drunk the Kool-Aid. You've got Stockholm syndrome.


TUR: And I would say no.

ROCCA: Cassandra.

TUR: It's real. It's there. They're waiting in the freezing cold. They're justifying, you know, him talking about grabbing women by the you-know-whats. I mean, they're in it.

BODETT: Katy, this is Tom. I have to say, I went to a Trump rally to see, you know, what it was about. It was up in New Hampshire, not far from where I live. So me and a couple friends drove up. And we stood in long lines in freezing cold, just as you described, and went in there and saw it. And my impression of the crowd was that about two thirds of it were people like me who just wanted to see what this was all about. And I went away thinking he won't win a single primary because...

TUR: Which rally were you at?

BODETT: It was just at a school in, like, Claremont, N.H., or something. Were you there?

TUR: I think I was there, yeah.


TUR: You thought two thirds of the crowd was just kind of there to see what was up and not there to secretly cheer him on?

BODETT: Well, that was my impression, which I realize now was totally wrong. I was wrong about everything. And so I...

PESCA: (Laughter).

BODETT: Which is so unusual.


PESCA: No, just - I just have this picture, Tom, of you going, what great performance artists. You guys are so in character.


PESCA: You're not even breaking.


PESCA: So Katy, a lot of the book is about life on the road and how hard it is personally. And one strategy that you divulged is you found a sweater you liked from J. Crew. And you bought it in how many different colors?

TUR: Seventeen different colors.


PESCA: All right, 17 different colors. You mentioned a couple in the book. I think I found that sweater online. Let's go through them. You tell me if you have this sweater in c

TUR: Yes.

PESCA: Misty peri.

TUR: Yes.

PESCA: Heather silver.

TUR: No.

PESCA: Gauguin orange.

TUR: No.

PESCA: Neon persimmon.

TUR: Yes.

PESCA: Lyin' Ted.

TUR: I don't know.

PESCA: Warm Petunia.

TUR: Yes.

PESCA: Neon flamingo.

TUR: No.

BILL KURTIS: Crazy Bernie.


TUR: I don't know (laughter).

ROCCA: Most of these sound like drag queen names.


TUR: No, don't tell everyone my secret.

PESCA: OK. Katy Tur, we have asked you here to play a game that we are calling...

KURTIS: Turducken? I Hardly Know Him.


PESCA: So as you know, your name is Katy Tur. So we're going to ask you about another famous Tur, the turducken, that Thanksgiving miracle of a chicken shoved into a duck shoved into a turkey.


PESCA: Answer two out of three questions about your namesake meat sack...


PESCA: ...And you'll win our prize for one of our listeners, the voice of their favorite WAIT WAIT personality on their voicemail.

Bill, who is Katy Tur playing for?

KURTIS: Lee Bowen of Baltimore, Md.

PESCA: So first, Katy, we're going to ask you about the core of a turducken's being - the soul, if you will - the chicken. Chickens are often associated with romance - of course they are - like when a British man did what for he and his wife's 50th anniversary? A, filled their bed with chickens to remind them of the farm where they met; B, scrambled a diamond necklace into her favorite omelette; or C, ate a 50-year-old can of chicken they've been saving since their wedding day.


TUR: Definitely C.

PESCA: It's correct - definitely C.


PESCA: He ate a 50-year-old...

TUR: They're British, of course.


PESCA: As you know, the 50th anniversary is either the golden anniversary or the poultry-entombed-in-tin anniversary.


PESCA: It's just as romantic.

Next up, Katy, we have a question about the delicious middle layer of a turducken, the duck. Ducks have made a surprising appearance in the world of sports, like in which of these stories from the 1928 Olympics? A, in 1928, duck pluming was a demonstration sport. Whoever plucked a duck the fastest won. B, Australian rower Bobby Pearce stopped halfway through his race to let a family of ducks pass by, and he still won the competition. Or C, in 1928, Lucien Canard was banned from the games for injecting his quads with mallard fat.


TUR: I think it was the guy that let the ducks pass by...

PESCA: Yes, you're right.

TUR: ...And he still won the race.

PESCA: It was B, the...


PESCA: ...Australian rower. He let the ducks pass.


PESCA: Nailed it. And finally, Katy - the capstone, the crown, the MAGA hat topping the turducken, the turkey. Turkey can often show up in surprising places, as in which of these? A - right behind you...


PESCA: ...B - it could show up in prison - and this is because former President Gerald Ford chose not to fully pardon the turkeys on Thanksgiving. He only spared them the death penalty. They still have to do their time. Or C, is it in the Subway cold cut combo, where all three meats - ham, salami and bologna - are actually turkey?

TUR: Oh, my God. I'm going to say in the Subway meat combo.

PESCA: Well, unless a turkey is right behind you, you are correct.


PESCA: All three meats are described as a turkey-based meats.

TUR: Huh.

ROCCA: Turkey-based...


TUR: How do they get away with that?

KURTIS: Mostly turkey.

BODETT: This is a chain where they're asking themselves, is there something cheaper than bologna?


PESCA: And there goes a sponsor.


PESCA: Bill, how did Katy do?

KURTIS: She did perfect. And good job, Katy - 3-0. You're a winner.

TUR: Thank you.


PESCA: 3-0. Katy Tur is a correspondent for NBC News. Her memoir "Unbelievable" is out now. Katy, thank you so much for joining us on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

TUR: Thank you for having me.

ROCCA: Bye, Katy.

TUR: Loved it.

BODETT: Bye, Katy.

PESCA: Thank you, Katy.


PHIL FLAHIVE: (Singing) I want to be your smooth turkey with a tender touch.

PESCA: Up next, it's the most wonderful time of the year in our Listener Limerick Challenge. We'll be back in a minute with more of WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME from NPR. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.