Most Active Stories
Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
Fri March 14, 2014
Not My Job: Wing-Suit Explorer Joby Ogwyn Gets Quizzed On Wings (The Band)
Originally published on Sat March 15, 2014 12:55 pm
In May, the Discovery Channel will be broadcasting live as Joby Ogwyn climbs to the summit of Mount Everest, and then jumps off it, descending 10,000 feet in a wing suit.
As this is clearly the last chance we have to talk to him while he's still alive, we've invited him to play a game called "Band on the Run." Three questions about Wings, Paul McCartney's lesser-known band.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
And now the game where we take people who do amazing things and ask them do something nobody will ever remember. In May, the Discovery Channel will be broadcasting live as climber Joby Ogwyn climbs to the summit of Mount Everest and then jumps off it, descending 10,000 feet at least in a wing-suit. As this is clearly the last chance we have to talk to him while he's still alive, Joby Ogwyn, welcome to WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!
SAGAL: So tell us exactly what you're going to do.
JOBY OGWYN: Well, the basic plan is to climb to the top of the world and then change into my wing-suit and jump off the top and fly down and land at base camp.
SAGAL: Right, and how far is that in terms of vertical distance?
OGWYN: It's about 11,000 vertical feet.
SAGAL: Eleven-thousand vertical feet. But it's not straight down, of course.
OGWYN: No, it's not. It's definitely covering some - a few miles of distance, as well.
SAGAL: Right, and you've climbed Mount Everest before, right?
OGWYN: I have. I've climbed it. I've done three expeditions to Everest. I got to the top twice.
SAGAL: But I mean, what happened? Did you get up there and, like, well, this is great, I made it to the summit of Mount Everest. Man, I'm really frustrated I have to walk down? If only there were a quicker way.
SAGAL: Now the wing-suit, I'm trying to remember. I think I saw one of these in a James Bond movie. This is a suit that makes you look vaguely like a high-tech flying squirrel, right?
OGWYN: It can. There's a lot of different kinds of suits, especially now. They've come up with a lot of things. I think if you watch my Everest project, I'll look more like a missile or a rocket than a flying squirrel. But it works really good either way.
SAGAL: You look like a missile? Missiles tend to go straight down. Am I not...?
SAGAL: We had Nik Wallenda on the show, right before he crossed the Grand Canyon on a tightrope. And when he did that, he had a sort of a mantra. He's a religious man, so he thanked Jesus Christ, thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus. Do you have anything like that? Because I was actually - if I had to do something like that, I would have a variation on Nik Wallenda's thing. I would just be like Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ.
SAGAL: Is there something you're going to be saying to yourself as you leap off Mount Everest?
OGWYN: I have a feeling I'll be talking to myself. Whether it actually comes out, you know, of my mouth, I'm not sure, but something pretty close to what Nick was saying, which is, you know, God give me a little help here if you can.
SAGAL: Right. I think - I mean, nothing against anybody's religious faith, but I think God's attitude would be look, you just climbed up that mountain and jumped off. You are on your own, my friend.
SAGAL: Free will.
PAULA POUNDSTONE: I'm an atheist, but I can imagine that God would say: Did I give you wings?
POUNDSTONE: Yeah, I'll help a bird. You go ahead and flap.
SAGAL: So this wing-suit, I mean I know what a parachute does, obviously, it slows you down. The wing-suit allows you to maneuver. But you're still falling at a pretty rapid clip, right?
OGWYN: Sure, you're definitely going down. I mean, eventually you are going to have to land. But now the technology has evolved to the point where you really are flying out further than you are falling, and your glide ratio is much bigger. So you really, you really are Superman when you're up there like that.
CHARLIE PIERCE: Wow.
SAGAL: That sounds pretty cool.
POUNDSTONE: Joby, by the way, you're not Superman when you're up there.
POUNDSTONE: You know, you said you do a lot of work at the higher altitudes, and that can wreak havoc with the brain, can't it, Joby? You're never Superman. That's a made-up character, OK? You're an adventurous, strong man with a suit.
POUNDSTONE: Don't let anybody shoot at you, Joby. Don't do it.
SAGAL: Can you land in the wing-suit, or do you need a parachute to land?
OGWYN: Well, she's probably right. I'm probably more like Batman than Superman.
OGWYN: You know, I do need the equipment.
SAGAL: Yeah. So Joby Ogwyn, we have asked you here to play a game we're calling...
CARL KASELL: Band on the Run.
SAGAL: You have wings, but what do you know about Wings? Wings, of course is the most famous and important band Paul McCartney was ever in.
SAGAL: We're going to ask you three questions about the band Wings. Iff you get two right, you'll win our prize for one of our listeners, Carl's voice on their voicemail. Carl who is Joby Ogwyn playing for?
KASELL: Joby is playing for Kathy Stevens of Clifton, Virginia.
SAGAL: OK, Joby, you ready to play?
OGWYN: I'm ready.
SAGAL: All right. First question. Wings' second album, "Wild Life," got terrible reviews. Rolling Stone magazine suggested that it might be bad because: A, Paul McCartney was hopelessly addicted to marijuana, which the magazine called the true demon weed; B, McCartney made it intentionally bad just to show up John Lennon; or C, the real genius of The Beatles all along had been Ringo Starr?
OGWYN: I'm going to go with A.
SAGAL: You're going to go with A, the Rolling Stones said the problem here is that Paul McCartney is addicted to marijuana, the demon weed, which is why his record stinks?
SAGAL: That's what you're going to go with? No, it was B. The reviewer for Rolling Stone suggested that by making a lot of money selling meaningless pap, McCartney was intentionally showing up John Lennon for insisting that things be good.
SAGAL: All right. I did like how you jumped right in there. So that was good. All right, next question. Joby, you still have a chance to win this. Despite his success with the Beatles, McCartney had trouble finding success with Wings in his home country. The first Wings song to crack the top 10 in England was what: A, a cover of "Mary Had a Little Lamb"; B, three minutes of Paula and Linda McCartney laughing together; or C, a zingy dance mix of John Lennon's single, "Imagine"?
OGWYN: I guess I'm going to go with B on that one.
SAGAL: You're going to, just the first top 10 hit they had was laughing together?
OGWYN: I just like the sound of that.
SAGAL: You do? It was in fact a cover of "Mary Had a Little Lamb."
CINDY SHUPACK: Really?
SAGAL: It was a kids' song that they made rather bouncy, and it went to the top 10 in the U.K. All right, you have one last question here. See if you can stick the landing, as it were. Even though Wings broke up in 1980, Mr. McCartney is still involved with Wings.
In fact, he recently expressed his Wing obsession when he did what: A, paid for a project which would create prosthetic wing tips for those captive birds with clipped wings; B, he intervened in a dispute in Syracuse, New York, about a vegetarian wing dish being allowed in a wing-off; C, commissioned a painting of himself with bright purple angel wings?
OGWYN: Oh man. I'm still reeling from question number two.
SAGAL: Yeah, that was a tough one.
OGWYN: I'll go with the purple angel wings. I guess that's C.
SAGAL: Yeah, that would be C. Is that your choice?
OGWYN: That's my choice.
SAGAL: It was actually B. He intervened in a dispute in Syracuse, New York. The Great Cauliflower Wing Controversy of Syracuse happened when a restaurant offering vegetarian wings was bounced from the annual Wing Walk competition. And Mr. McCartney's vegetarian website, Meatlesss Monday, covered the story. Carl...
OGWYN: I can't believe it.
SAGAL: No, it's true.
POUNDSTONE: I'm shocked myself.
SAGAL: Carl, how did Joby Ogwyn do on our show?
KASELL: Well, he kind of fell short, Peter.
SAGAL: As it were.
KASELL: He needed at least two correct answers to win.
SAGAL: This is not a problem. This obviously, this just shows your focus on your task.
SHUPACK: He's focused on more important things, that's right.
SAGAL: You don't have time for trivia like this.
SHUPACK: Get it out of your head. Forget this quiz.
POUNDSTONE: Wouldn't you hate it, Joby, if you're like, you know, thousands of feet up in the air, and this is what you're thinking about?
SAGAL: Yeah, that would be terrible.
POUNDSTONE: Clear your head, little buddy. Think about the important stuff. I'm going to watch. I'm fascinated.
SAGAL: Because the last thing we want you to do as you stand there on the top of Mount Everest, ready to risk your life on national TV, is say to yourself really, it was "Mary Had a Little Lamb"? I can't believe that.
SAGAL: Joby Ogwyn's Everest jump will air live on the Discovery Channel in May. Joby Ogwyn thank you so much, and good luck, man. We'll be watching.
POUNDSTONE: Good luck, Joby.
SHUPACK: Good luck.
OGWYN: Thank you.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
SAGAL: In just a minute Carl shows off his badonkadonk in our listener limerick challenge. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT, to join us on air.
Support for NPR comes from NPR stations, and: The Economic Development Authority of Fairfax County, Virginia, home to creative people and creative companies at PowerofIdeas.org; Lindamood-Bell Learning Centers, offering a Spring open house, learn more at Lindamood-Bell.com; and Progressive Insurance, with insurance for cars, boats, motorcycles, RVs and commercial vehicles at 1-800-Progressive and Progressive.com.
We'll be back in a minute with more of WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME! from NPR. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.