SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
The "Oh, Hello" show is a theatrical legend. Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland, two men of a certain age in turtlenecks from the Upper West Side of Manhattan, ran an "Oh, Hello" for 138 performances on Broadway a couple of years ago, far longer than the runs of "Hamilton" and the original "Oklahoma" combined and became a Netflix special because, after all, they've got a lot of time to fill there. The characters who were ostensibly created by comedians Nick Kroll and John Mulaney - or maybe that should be created by ostensible comedians Nick Kroll and John Mulaney - have now taken on their most ambitious project - a podcast to investigate the death of a princess, except it rarely does.
(SOUNDBITE OF PODCAST, "OH, HELLO: THE P'DCAST")
JOHN MULANEY: (As George St. Geegland) In 1997, the president, Bill Clinton, was in his office. He had silver hair and was signing papers.
NICK KROLL: (As Gil Faizon) The movie "Titanic" had come out the same year, a grand dame of the sea.
MULANEY: (As George St. Geegland) Leo dies in "Titanic."
KROLL: (As Gil Faizon) He's pretty like Diana.
MULANEY: (As George St. Geegland) So he's the Diana.
KROLL: (As Gil Faizon) He's Diana.
MULANEY: (As George St. Geegland) And Kate Winslet, she's little Dodi Fayed.
SIMON: Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland join us from the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Gentlemen, thanks so much for being with us.
KROLL: (As Gil Faizon) Charmed, I'm sure.
MULANEY: (As George St. Geegland) Pleasure to meet another power man.
SIMON: (Laughter) Well, you're talking about the death of a princess. I've listened to a few episodes, and I've been enthralled, but I am moved to wonder, are there any actual investigation of facts involved or just kind of rumor and innuendo and that sort of stuff?
KROLL: (As Gil Faizon) Well, Scott Simon, first of all, what an honor for us to be on WEEKEND EDITION. When we heard that we were going to be on NPR, we needed CPR because we were so excited to be on the show and also because I had eaten a cashew and it had gotten lodged in my throat, and I actually needed CPR.
MULANEY: (As George St. Geegland) You know, I like to joke that WEEKEND EDITION is like French vanilla creamer. You know, it's just - it's fine.
SIMON: (Laughter) Thank you. You know, I think they're going to start putting that in all the ads, all the PR stuff.
MULANEY: (As George St. Geegland) It makes coffee different is what I'd say about NPR.
KROLL: (As Gil Faizon) But, yes, as we know right now, we live in a post-facts society, you know. Really, what is a fact? What is truth? What is the news? And these are all things that we type all the time randomly into the ether.
SIMON: Well, I mean, I want to pursue this a little bit, you know, because we kind of do that to the point of getting tiresome on this show. But you've got guest stars, like John Oliver, Pete Davidson, Lin-Manuel Miranda. I mean, what would they know about the death of the princess of Wales, or does that matter?
MULANEY: (As George St. Geegland) Well, that's why we interviewed them to find out. What are you talking about? Do you understand what I'm saying? We talked to them to find that out.
SIMON: Yeah, because you don't know that they don't know anything until you ask. I see what you mean.
MULANEY: (As George St. Geegland) And nor do you. But, I mean, does anyone? Does anyone know exactly what Lin-Manuel Miranda, Pete Davidson, John Oliver, what they know about the death, as you keep saying, though we do insist it was more than that, of Princess Diana Spencer of Wales of England?
SIMON: Why are all the episodes of this podcast named after songs from "Oliver" the musical?
KROLL: (As Gil Faizon) Oh.
MULANEY: (As George St. Geegland) Oh, you found an Easter egg. You know, in part, it's because when you think about the life of Diana, she's in England, where "Oliver" took place. So that's enough for me already. But there is more. She was asking the crown basically can I have some more? And in "Oliver," it's porridge.
KROLL: (As Gil Faizon) But in this case, Princess Diana wanted s'mores. She wanted to do, you know, one of these campfires in the backyard, and the queen, she burns her marshmallow and she puts a little Hershey's chocolate and the graham cracker.
MULANEY: (As George St. Geegland) And she also would put the chocolate on the graham cracker first and put it near the fire so she'd have a soft chocolate.
SIMON: And this was a problem in the - I guess in the royal family. This is not how they did things.
MULANEY: (As George St. Geegland) Well, here's what you don't know about the royals and most people don't know. They're very set in their ways. But I'll tell you, "Oliver" and Diana have a lot more in common. They were both pickpockets. They both...
SIMON: Princess Diana was a pickpocket?
KROLL: (As Gil Faizon) Sure. Oh, sure.
MULANEY: (As George St. Geegland) Oh, sure.
KROLL: (As Gil Faizon) Yeah. She lifted a wallet off of three of - three different Queen Elizabeth's corgis said that their wallets were missing after Diana was in the...
SIMON: Why would a corgi carry a wallet, particularly one that lives in Windsor Palace?
MULANEY: (As George St. Geegland) The old joke - the old joke that we all know. Why would the corgi carry the wallet? 'Cause I'm long and low to the ground, brother.
SIMON: Wow. I'm going to chance to ask you a serious question.
MULANEY: (As George St. Geegland) Of course.
KROLL: (As Gil Faizon) Please do. Of course.
SIMON: You are men of a certain age, as we said. And we have learned during this pandemic that older people in our society are especially vulnerable. Are you concerned about older people being dismissed, disregarded in these times?
KROLL: (As Gil Faizon) You know, we believe ourselves, like everybody else's parents, to be invincible. Everybody out there who's listening whose parents are not properly self-isolating, you know, let us be the proxy for those people. And we just want to say we - you know, we've been doing some version of self-isolating for, you know, well on 30, 40 years now. But that doesn't mean we're not going to go to the bodega and mix it up and touch everything and then, you know, put our hands to our lips and fingers and touch your mezuzah and kiss it and work out and go to a 500-person ultra orthodox funeral in Williamsburg. So, you know, we both believe ourselves to be - the need to be protected and also simultaneously invincible.
MULANEY: (As George St. Geegland) We are. And I do have a mask, and I keep it in my pocket, and I touch it with my hands so it's - you know, it's covered in the world, I like to say. And when my daughter or anyone under the age of 70 tells me to put it on, what I like to do is equate the mask with a lack of masculinity. And I equate it with a sort of softness of lifestyle. And I, you know, as a baby boomer, hated the greatest generation until I got a little older. And then I covet them in a fetishistic way. And I try to show my machismo through rolling my eyes at very necessary steps.
SIMON: Well, thank you. I'll just tell anybody listening, of course, to disregard your practical medical advice, but I think they know.
KROLL: (As Gil Faizon) Sure. Sure.
MULANEY: (As George St. Geegland) Sure. Sure.
KROLL: (As Gil Faizon) Oh, of course, absolutely.
SIMON: Your podcast has no sponsors.
KROLL: (As Gil Faizon) It really doesn't.
MULANEY: (As George St. Geegland) Thank you.
SIMON: I do want it understood that you're asking people to make donations, which are important now.
KROLL: (As Gil Faizon) Yes, exactly. Well, we ourselves, George St. Geegland and Gil Faizon, charmed, I'm sure, are not coming close to making donations. But Nick Kroll and John Mulaney are asking the audience to join them in donating to the United Way of NYC, providing incredibly important services to underprivileged and underserved communities in New York City, and Off Their Plate, it connects restaurants who have been struggling during this time providing them with the money to make meals for hospital workers and first responders that are at the front lines of defeating COVID. So that was the goal from Nick and John. George and Gil have done nothing. They've been trying to get some cash out of this any way they can.
MULANEY: (As George St. Geegland) We're what's known as last responders.
SIMON: (Laughter) Sorry. Well, you did manage to snare a spot on our show, though, so you know...
KROLL: (As Gil Faizon) Yeah.
MULANEY: (As George St. Geegland) And what a joy to be in any content.
SIMON: (Laughter) Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland from the Upper West Side of Manhattan, sound an awful lot like Nick Kroll and John Mulaney, if they don't watch themselves. Their podcast, "Oh, Hello," now available. Gentlemen, thanks so much for being with us.
MULANEY: (As George St. Geegland) Stay strong, Scott.
KROLL: (As Gil Faizon) Thanks for having us, Scott Simon. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.