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Not My Job: 'ZooKeeper Rick' Gets Quizzed On Zumba

Aug 25, 2018
Originally published on August 25, 2018 11:21 am
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(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

And now the game where somebody interesting answers questions about things they themselves are not that much interested in. It's called Not My Job. Rick Schwartz is the official animal ambassador for the world famous San Diego Zoo. And because he is an ambassador, he has diplomatic immunity. If he commits a crime on our show, we can only hand him back to the orangutans for punishment there. Rick Schwartz, welcome to WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

RICK SCHWARTZ: Well, thank you for having me.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Now I should say, for the audience listening at home - safely at home, far from here - you are not alone. Can you tell us who you brought with you?

SCHWARTZ: I brought a very beautiful 7-foot red-tailed boa constrictor. Her name is May, and she gets that name because she may or may not bite.

(LAUGHTER)

SCHWARTZ: I showed up with a few other snakes, but this is the only one I could find backstage.

SAGAL: Oh, great.

(LAUGHTER)

SCHWARTZ: So if you see one...

SAGAL: Yes. It's a little hard to talk 'cause I'm - the snake seems to want to get away. The snake seems to be...

(LAUGHTER)

SCHWARTZ: She's just checking things out. You know, I mean, right now, she's just kind of checking out her environment. So it's not that she wants to get away so much as she's like, hey, I'm feeling warm. Her metabolism's up.

SAGAL: Yeah.

SCHWARTZ: I want to check things out.

SAGAL: That really bores me. What I'm interested in is...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: No, because I'm really focused on one thing.

SCHWARTZ: What's that?

SAGAL: Is she hungry?

(LAUGHTER)

SCHWARTZ: She is not hungry.

SAGAL: Yeah.

SCHWARTZ: And if she was...

SAGAL: Yeah.

SCHWARTZ: ...She'd be looking for a rodent 'cause that's what she eats.

SAGAL: Right.

SCHWARTZ: We feed her mice and rats. And so you do not, hopefully, smell like a mouse or a rat. So therefore, even if she was hungry, she'd have no interest in you whatsoever.

ALONZO BODDEN: What if you're completely wrong?

(LAUGHTER)

BODDEN: What if she just decides to wrap her body around your arm and eat Peter? Like...

(LAUGHTER)

SCHWARTZ: That's not how it works. That's not how it works. Luckily, we know. We've been able to observe snakes long enough, we know how it works. She'd actually - if she's going to wrap her body around me really tight, it'd be me she's trying to eat, not Peter.

PAULA POUNDSTONE: So your last words might be, Wikipedia was wrong.

SCHWARTZ: Right. Right.

(LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: Peter...

SAGAL: I note that we're sitting here and calling this enormous snake, she.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

SAGAL: I cannot see any obvious indications...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: ...Of its sex. It does not seem, for example, very empathetic...

SCHWARTZ: Right.

(LAUGHTER)

SCHWARTZ: She likes to give hugs.

SAGAL: ...As a woman might be.

SCHWARTZ: She likes to give hugs.

SAGAL: I'm sure she does.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

SAGAL: How can you tell if this enormous snake is a girl?

SCHWARTZ: Well, it's not uncommon - actually, at the zoo, we have many species that the males and females look alike.

SAGAL: Yeah.

SCHWARTZ: And so it really - it takes some time. And then you basically have to wait and see which bathroom they to go into.

(LAUGHTER)

SCHWARTZ: So I mean, it's...

SAGAL: Yeah.

POUNDSTONE: You know...

SCHWARTZ: They're pretty honest about it.

(APPLAUSE)

POUNDSTONE: I, by the way, want to congratulate the San Diego Zoo on being so much more progressive than human parents by not putting a headband with a flower on it so that everyone knows.

(LAUGHTER, APPLAUSE)

SCHWARTZ: Well, I did - admittedly, I did try to put a little bow, but it...

SAGAL: There you are. Bow on the boa constrictor.

POUNDSTONE: She didn't take to that.

SAGAL: Well, since I want to talk to you about the zoo and your career...

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

SAGAL: ...And I can't in the state of abject terror...

SCHWARTZ: (Laughter).

SAGAL: ...Maybe we should let your snake have a little rest. And then we'll come back and talk to you.

SCHWARTZ: Fair enough. Who wants to hold this till I...

(LAUGHTER)

SCHWARTZ: All right. Let me put this one back. Hopefully we'll find the other four that we misplaced.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: So here you've come out with another, less scary animal. Can you tell me about this one?

SCHWARTZ: Well, this is Rio. And Rio is a...

RIO: Yeah.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah. See, he agrees. He is a double yellow-headed Amazon parrot. He's about 22 years old. And he and I've been working together now for probably 13 years. And it was kind of fun when I first walked in my very first day on the job. He flared up, got all excited, put out his tail feathers and started talking and screaming and whistling. And just because I know bird behavior, I knew that, in his mind, I was his long-lost mate.

SAGAL: So basically, you met this parrot 13 years ago. He said, you're mine. You're my mate.

SCHWARTZ: Right.

SAGAL: And you've been leading him on.

(LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: Ever since.

SCHWARTZ: Yes.

SAGAL: You go home to your family, he thinks you're, like, on some sort of business trip.

SCHWARTZ: Right, exactly.

(LAUGHTER)

SCHWARTZ: I'll text him, you know, I'm at the Holiday Inn. The service, you know...

SAGAL: Oh, it's terrible here. I wish I was home with you.

SCHWARTZ: The flight was late again.

(LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: What did you start out as there?

SCHWARTZ: A part-time keeper.

BODDEN: So when you walk in as the new guy, just a keeper, and Rio just locks on to you, how did the existing ambassador feel...

(LAUGHTER)

SCHWARTZ: There...

BODDEN: ...That there's this new guy moving in on my bird?

SCHWARTZ: There were some people in the department that were a little offended by - that they...

POUNDSTONE: So you ruffled some feathers?

SCHWARTZ: You might say that.

(LAUGHTER)

SCHWARTZ: You might say that, yeah.

POUNDSTONE: Had to be said.

SAGAL: Yeah.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Can I ask Rio a question?

SCHWARTZ: You could, but he probably won't answer unless it is, can you say hello?

SAGAL: I'll try that.

SCHWARTZ: OK.

SAGAL: Rio, can you say hello?

SCHWARTZ: Can you say hello?

RIO: Hello.

SCHWARTZ: There it is.

(LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: Does he say anything other than hello?

SCHWARTZ: Yes, he does.

POUNDSTONE: Will you get him to talk?

SCHWARTZ: He...

RIO: (Squawking).

SCHWARTZ: He says...

RIO: (Squawking).

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: What was that?

SCHWARTZ: He likes to agree with me when I talk. So sometimes, while I'll be in the middle of a presentation, he'll go, yeah. So...

SAGAL: Really?

(LAUGHTER)

SCHWARTZ: He's got a great sense of humor. He does a lot of stuff on his own. The only things we have on cue, though, are the hello, the whistle and the cellphone. And outside of that, he...

SAGAL: The cellphone?

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

SAGAL: He can do a cellphone noise?

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

SAGAL: Let's see.

SCHWARTZ: Can you say hello?

RIO: Hello.

SCHWARTZ: Where's your whistle?

RIO: (Whistles).

SCHWARTZ: Cellphone, cellphone?

RIO: (Imitates beeping).

SCHWARTZ: Good job.

ADAM FELBER: Wow.

(LAUGHTER, APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Well, Rick Schwartz, we have invited you here to play a game that, this time, we're calling...

CARL KASELL, BYLINE: Zooooooo-mba (ph).

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: You work at a zoo.

SCHWARTZ: I do.

SAGAL: But what do you know about Zumba, that Latin music-inspired exercise craze that has swept the nation and then receded and probably been replaced by something else by now? Answer three questions about Zumba and you'll win our prize for one of our listeners, Carl's voice on their voicemail. Carl, who is Rick Schwartz playing for?

KASELL: He's playing for Jack Raymond (ph) of Escondido, Calif.

SAGAL: Now as a...

(CHEERING)

SAGAL: Not far from here.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

SAGAL: Now as a special dispensation...

SCHWARTZ: OK.

SAGAL: ...We will allow you to ask Rio for help.

SCHWARTZ: Oh, good. That'll help.

SAGAL: Rio can help you out. Is he good at quizzes?

SCHWARTZ: No, no.

RIO: (Squawking).

(LAUGHTER)

SCHWARTZ: But, you know, we're a good team.

SAGAL: OK. All right.

SCHWARTZ: We'll figure this out. Right, buddy? We got this.

RIO: (Squawking).

SCHWARTZ: Yeah, I know.

(LAUGHTER)

SCHWARTZ: All right.

SAGAL: Here we go. Here's the first question for you and Rio about Zumba. Zumba consists of a series of moves - exercise moves set to Latin or Caribbean music. Which of these is a real Zumba step? A, the Montezumba's (ph) revenge...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: ...B, the booty circle, or C, the humpy, humpy hippo?

(LAUGHTER)

SCHWARTZ: I've actually seen a humpy, humpy hippo.

(LAUGHTER)

SCHWARTZ: Wasn't a dance move.

SAGAL: No.

(LAUGHTER)

SCHWARTZ: I'm going to go with booty circle. That sounds...

SAGAL: You're right.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SAGAL: Booty circle - you make a circle with your booty.

SCHWARTZ: Right on, Rio. Oh, yeah. Good boy.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Very good. Here's your next question. There are, as in any form of exercise, many variations. Which of these is a real style of Zumba? A, kosher Zumba, which is a variant for Orthodox Jews with sex-segregated classes and dirty lyrics edited out of all the songs; B, country Zumba, in which you dance to Garth Brooks songs in the bed of a pickup truck; or C, classical Zumba, in which you sit there for a while and then nod off?

(LAUGHTER)

SCHWARTZ: That's just mean. Wow.

RIO: (Squawking).

SCHWARTZ: Let's see. I'm going to go with the kosher one. That seems...

SAGAL: The kosher Zumba?

SCHWARTZ: Yeah. I think that seems almost realistic enough, whereas dancing in a pickup truck, not so much. And it seems counterproductive to nod off in a Zumba class.

SAGAL: That's true. You would be right. It was, in fact, kosher Zumba.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SCHWARTZ: See?

FELBER: Really?

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: That's kosher Zumba, it's called.

FELBER: Why call it kosher Zumba when you can call it Jew-mba (ph)?

(LAUGHTER)

SCHWARTZ: It's probably copyrighted, so...

FELBER: Man, that's a missed opportunity.

SAGAL: All right. Let's see if you can go for perfect. Maybe we should just have Rio answer this, OK?

SCHWARTZ: OK, Rio.

SAGAL: One of the most successful Zumba teachers ever was Alexis Wright of Maine. She made over $150,000 in one year. How did she bring in all that cash? A, she taught self-defense Zumba, which taught people to disable attackers with their hips; B, she happens to be a dead ringer for actress Scarlett Johansson, so her classes were known as Sco-Jumba (ph); or C, she was a prostitute?

(LAUGHTER)

SCHWARTZ: Let's go with self-defense with the hips.

SAGAL: That would be fun. No, it was actually prostitution.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: You hadn't heard of the case of the famous Zumba teacher-prostitute?

SCHWARTZ: No, that's brilliant.

SAGAL: It was the scandal of Kennebunk. Carl, how did Rick do on our quiz?

KASELL: Two correct answers, Peter. That's good enough to win for Jack Raymond.

SCHWARTZ: Yay, Jack.

RIO: (Whistling).

SCHWARTZ: Yay.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Rick Schwartz is an ambassador for the San Diego Zoo. Rio is a parrot.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah.

SAGAL: Rick Schwartz and Rio, thank you so much for joining us on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME. Rick Schwartz and Rio, everybody.

(APPLAUSE) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.