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Not My Job: We Quiz The Host Of 'Mysterious Islands' On Staten Island

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

Finally, there used to be a time when we would fantasize about traveling to other worlds or having superpowers. These days, we just dream about being able to go outside.

BILL KURTIS: Kellee Edwards is living the dream. She's an explorer, scuba diver, adventurer and host of "Mysterious Islands" on the Travel Channel. Peter asked her if she had to give up travel during the pandemic.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

KELLEE EDWARDS: I actually have not because I'm also a pilot. And so I have not been stuck at home because I have capabilities of taking myself where I like to go.

ADAM FELBER: Take me with you. I live right near you.

HELEN HONG: Me, too.

FELBER: Kellee, let's go to Catalina. We'll take a - we'll take the seaplane. We'll scuba dive near the arcade there. Come on.

EDWARDS: You know what's funny? I actually learned to dive in Catalina.

SAGAL: 'Cause you're a diver, too.

EDWARDS: I'm a diver as well. I am a Bond girl, Lara Croft, 007 in real life. So whatever you guys want to do, let's do it.

SAGAL: How did you get interested in being basically an adventurer?

EDWARDS: Well, I started taking road trips with my parents at a very, very young age. And I - when I started to look at the world and watching Nat Geo and Travel Channel and all this, I'm like, oh, I should go to these places.

SAGAL: So there are a lot of us who would just save up the money to get an economy-class ticket. You decided you would actually learn to fly and fly yourself.

EDWARDS: Yes, indeed. And that came about because I saw one man in a small airplane landing at Burbank Airport between Delta and Southwest and JetBlue. And I literally Googled at the gate one-man small aircraft, and General Aviation came up. I had no idea that you didn't have to be a military pilot to become a pilot. And so I came back and took a discovery flight from a Groupon for a hundred bucks and got hooked and sick in the plane - hooked and sick.

SAGAL: Really?

EDWARDS: Yes.

SAGAL: Wait a minute. So the only time I've ever flown myself in a small private plane, General Aviation, I got incredibly sick. And I said to myself, well, that's the end of this for me - never again. And I've stuck to that. But you - the same thing happened to you, and your reaction was, like, OK, great. When you've all cleaned up the vomit, I'm going to learn to fly.

EDWARDS: Let me tell you why. And I'm not crazy, OK? I just have to tell the truth. But I flew over my ex-boyfriend's house, and I snapped a picture from the air, and I sent it to him. And his reaction was priceless. He's like, how did you get this picture? And where are you? And I was like, oh, I just need to be able to do this whenever I feel like it.

(LAUGHTER)

HONG: A, I thought you were going to say, I vomited out the window onto his house.

(LAUGHTER)

HONG: And then, B, I love that your pettiness drove you to learn how to fly an airplane. Girl, you're, like, #Goals.

EDWARDS: Thank you.

FELBER: (Laughter).

SAGAL: I don't know if your adventures have ever called upon survival skills. Do you have any survival skills?

EDWARDS: I do have my Wilderness First Aid certification. I'm going to go get my avalanche training in October back in Colorado. I'm always ready for the apocalypse.

HONG: I literally - I'm literally coming to move in with you.

SAGAL: Yeah.

HONG: I am coming to move in with you because you are Lara Croft.

SAGAL: You really are.

FELBER: Yeah.

SAGAL: You are...

FELBER: My avalanche training was stay the hell away from avalanches.

(LAUGHTER)

JOSH GONDELMAN: I would worry about, like, being with you in the apocalypse because you'd be too good at it, and I'd just be, like, lagging behind out of breath.

EDWARDS: I'd grab you by that collar, and we'd be out of there, OK?

(LAUGHTER)

EDWARDS: Yeah, I tell you. But everyone always says if anything goes wrong, call Kellee. She's going to load up the aircraft. She's going to have all the gear, and we're going to survive. And I say that. So I'm, like, choose your friends wisely. I'm one of those friends. Choose a friend.

SAGAL: I mean, it is humbling to know that you have all these skills for the apocalypse. And in my case, it'd be, like, well, Peter could moderate the discussion at the campfire tonight. That's all I've got.

(LAUGHTER)

GONDELMAN: And my skill - it would be, like, look; I don't - I hope it doesn't come to this, but probably I'm delicious. So...

(LAUGHTER)

GONDELMAN: I'll hold my breath.

SAGAL: I was about to say, in the meeting of your new clan, don't lead with that, Josh.

EDWARDS: Oh, my God.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: You know, you go around, you find out what everybody can contribute.

GONDELMAN: Hi, I'm Josh. I'm delicious.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Can you do the "Cast Away" thing that Tom Hanks did and actually make a fire from, like, sticks if you needed to?

EDWARDS: I absolutely can. And that's definitely one of the skills that you learn. Like, that's 101 survival skills. Like, fire is the most important.

GONDELMAN: Come on, Peter. That's 101 stuff.

SAGAL: This is terrible, Josh. If you and I were marooned together, I wouldn't even be able to boil you.

(LAUGHTER)

GONDELMAN: Although we could use my - the reflection off my giant forehead to call down a plane.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Well, Kellee Edwards, it is an absolute delight to talk to you. But we have actually asked you here today to play a game that this time we're calling...

KURTIS: Welcome to Staten Island.

SAGAL: So you've explored many exotic, remote islands. But what do you know about a pretty normal island right off the wild coast of Eastern New Jersey - Staten Island? Answer 2 out of 3 questions about Staten Island, and you'll win our prize for one of our listeners - the voice of anyone they may choose from our show on their voicemail. Bill, who is Kellee Edwards playing for?

KURTIS: Leah Ross of Orlando, Fla.

SAGAL: All right. Ready to go, Kellee?

EDWARDS: Ready, Freddy.

SAGAL: All right, first question about Staten Island - one of the best reasons to visit Staten Island is no longer there. Every year in the fall, people used to rush to the island for the ritual annual construction of what? A, the world's longest urinal, B, the Bird Man, a huge wooden sculpture of a man flipping Manhattan the bird, or C, a giant bust of Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers based on the myth that Staten Island is the island in the stream?

EDWARDS: I'm going to go with C because, you know, Dolly is a queen, and we're just going to say yes.

SAGAL: You're going to - you're just going to - because I said Dolly Parton, you're just going to go, yes, Dolly Parton.

EDWARDS: Absolutely.

SAGAL: I like that because you're right. She is the queen. But the answer is the world's largest urinal.

EDWARDS: (Laughter) Of course.

SAGAL: It was a trough. It was hundreds of feet long. It was built each year for the start of the New York City Marathon, but sadly, no more. Now they go with port-a-potties, which are duller.

All right. Next question - after months of receiving massive electricity bills in her mailbox, a Staten Island woman figured out the reason. Why? A, like all Staten Island residents, she left her Christmas lights up until August, B, the bills were actually for the electricity pole outside her house, or C, ConEdison was paying tribute to the large Italian population on Staten Island by tallying all bills in lira.

EDWARDS: I'm going to go with she left her Christmas lights on until August.

SAGAL: Do you see - you can see it from the sky, I imagine, as you fly around.

EDWARDS: That's my house.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: No. Actually, the answer, sadly, was B. The bills were for the electricity pole outside her house. They were actually addressed to pole. As the woman said, quote, "you don't write to a pole if you're normal."

EDWARDS: (Laughter).

SAGAL: All right. Last question - though it's not often thought of as a fine dining destination, visitors to Staten Island can enjoy food from which of these restaurants? A, the world's longest buffet, built out of the previously mentioned world's longest urinal, B, Spinnabon (ph), a Cinnabon/cycling gym, or C, Enoteca Maria, which only employs genuine Italian grandmothers as cooks?

EDWARDS: I'm going to go with C.

SAGAL: You're right...

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SAGAL: ...Enoteca Maria.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE SOUND EFFECT)

SAGAL: We presume dessert is them coming out and asking you why you're not married yet.

EDWARDS: Oh, man. I got plenty of those.

SAGAL: Bill, how did Kellee Edwards do on our quiz?

KURTIS: One out of 3 - now, Kellee, you'll be thinking about this on your next flight, so we love having you here. here.

EDWARDS: That was a great roundabout answer.

SAGAL: It really was. It was very positive, I think. Kellee Edwards is an adventurer, a mountaineer, a pilot and scuba diver. You can hear her every Wednesday on her new travel podcast, "Let's Go Together."

Kellee Edwards, thank you so much for being on our quiz.

EDWARDS: Thank you guys for having me. This was so fun.

SAGAL: That's it for our New Year special. Whatever 2021 brings, we hope you'll spend at least part of it with us. We promise it won't get any worse, at least during certain parts of one hour weekly increments.

Thanks to everybody you heard this week - all of our panelists, all of our guests and, of course, Bill Kurtis. And thanks to all of you for listening. Here's to a happy, healthy and better New Year. I'm Peter Sagal, and we'll be back with a new show next week.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SAGAL: This is NPR. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.