Let’s peel back the curtain for a moment.
If I’m honest, asking someone if a hot dog is a sandwich isn’t always an easy thing. Asking Leslie Jordan if a hot dog is a sandwich was easy! I knew he’d be funny, and surprising a funny person can lead to a great answer. Asking Angela Bassett was easy, because she’s so magnificent that my brain shut off and the question just sort of flew out of my mouth against my will. But some people are serious people, and that’s not a dig, it’s just a fact. Asking Andy Samberg that question is not remotely the same experience as asking Paul Giamatti that question.
And then there’s the experience of asking a revered, groundbreaking journalist that question right after she gets done answering another question about which way the Senate will go in November and the influence of corporate money in politics.
Judy Woodruff is the anchor and managing editor of PBS Newshour, and has covered politics and local, national, and international news for more than four decades. She also—aw, hell, take it away, official PBS bio:
She is the recent recipient of the Radcliffe Medal, the Poynter Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism, the Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists and the Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism from Arizona State University. She received the Edward R. Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award in Television from Washington State University, the Gaylord Prize for Excellence in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Oklahoma and the Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in the Media from the University of South Dakota. She was inducted into the Georgia Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame and received the Leonard Zeidenberg First Amendment Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association and the Duke Distinguished Alumni Award, among others.
That’s Judy Woodruff. I’m Allison Shoemaker, and this is “Is a hot dog a sandwich?”
The Takeout: Is a hot dog a sandwich?
Judy Woodruff: Yikes.
[Long, absolutely mortifying pause in which the interviewer briefly considers changing her name and moving to Phoenix or some other place where no one knows her and she’ll never have to think about this moment again.]
JW: No, it’s a hot dog! [A laugh. Interviewer starts breathing again and reconsiders her Phoenix plans.]
TO: Why is it not a sandwich?
JW: Because a sandwich is two pieces of bread with something in the middle, and a hot dog is a hot dog on a bun, and a bun is not a slice of bread.
TO: Okay, so a bun is not a slice of bread, and that’s the important distinction.
JW: You’re looking at someone who ate a hot dog on Saturday, so just three days ago.
TO: So you’re an authority?
JW: I am an authority, and I like mustard and ketchup.