February 24, 2005

Yeah whatever, babe

I'm going to be doing an interview with NPR's Weekend Edition about my Oscar piece. Should air Sunday morning. One thing that always bugs me about radio and TV interviews is the convention of the host saying, "thank you for joining us," and the guest replying either, "thank you for having me" or, "my pleasure." I mean, it's a waste of valuable airtime, and it's just so predictable. So here's my chance to shake things up. How should I reply when Sheilah Kast says, "thank you for joining us"?

Update: Thanks to cthomas in the comments I found this NPR ombud column.

Al Cedolite writes: My crotchety German grandparents taught me that the only proper response to "Thank you" is "You are welcome." But NPR's reporters and most of their interviewees respond to "Thank you" with yet another "Thank you." Doesn't anyone say "You are welcome" anymore?

The "thank you" quadrille is something that irks a number of listeners. My sense is that it signifies a certain equality or equivalence between host and reporter. Often people who are appearing on the programs as experts or guests will respond with "You're welcome," indicating an acknowledgement of duty performed. There must be a scholarly monograph here somewhere...

Almost makes me want to "thank you," just for the pleasure of irking NPR listeners.

Update: Commenter Anno directs our attention to the most recent appearance of the meme -- and a particularly revealing one:

"More significantly, this industry gets one billion people around the world to sit and watch every year. Even those who hate the awards watch anyway, for, try as we might to believe it, anything that gets one billion people to pay attention cannot be shrugged off as inconsequential."

Posted by Daniel Radosh



Say, "You're welcome." NPR's ombudman has been bombarded with people who hate it when "thank you" is replied to with "thank you."

Say "you're welcome" and you'll make at least some people happy.

Alternatively, you could shout, "Bitez-moi," in a Triumph the Insult Comic Dog accent.

Say, "It was the least I could do." It doesn't sound outwardly rude, but it makes you think: What did that mean? Did he want to do more? Less? Is there some cause he's contributing to here? What is he, a big jerk?

"You want to pick up the pace? I've only got a few minutes here."

I don't know if you've seen this already, but at tnr.com there's a new (free) piece bandying about the billion number.


"Don't give me that crap."

What does "You are welcome" even mean? It's always seemed nonsensical to me. You are welcome to what? You are the host, why would I welcome you? It's also kind of arrogant, as if to say, "you should be thanking me because you're lucky to even have me in your presence." That's why people generally say thank you to let the host know that they feel it a privilege to be on the show.

And when she says "thank you for joining us," you should snort and say, "Hey, pimpin' ain't easy."

Oh yeah, a response. How about "Foshizzle"?

Possible reponses to "Thank you for joining us":

1) Say, "Why, are you coming apart?" and then laugh riotously for a full minute.

2) "I'm sorry, who are you exactly?"

3) "Thanks are good, but money is better."

Francis -- they're paying me $150. Maybe that's why everyone says 'thank you' back.

Take a very deep breath, and then howl like a wolf for three uninterrrupted minutes.

"Thank you for joining us."

I think Daniel is right: a super-unctuous, "NO, thank YOU" . . . and then watch the ombudsman column.

In that case, I suggest "Thank you for paying me."

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