[A QUICK VERSION OF THE NANCY THEME PLAYS]
KATHY: We are still in the closet.
TOBIN: Yes. More specifically, we’re still in my closet, recording together in Los Angeles.
KATHY: Yes. A week has definitely passed. [TOBIN CHUCKLES MISCHIEVOUSLY] But we are here, in your nice cozy closet in Los Angeles, where I like to visit you —
KATHY: — and I am jealous every time I come.
TOBIN: You know, you like New York okay, don’t you?
KATHY: I like it — [BEGRUDGINGLY] okay.
TOBIN: It’s gonna be your first winter there, how are you feeling about that?
KATHY: It’s gonna be magical, with, y’know, snow [PAUSE], and ice, and [PAUSE] coats. [LAUGHS]
TOBIN: Wow. The sincerity. The sincerity, dripping in your voice. [LAUGHS]
KATHY: [VOICE CRACKING] It’s gonna be — [PAUSE] great. [BOTH LAUGH]
TOBIN: We’re back here with another little gift for you Nancy listeners, and this one is a doozy.
KATHY: And, uh, what does this gift look like this time?
TOBIN: If I were to describe this gift, I would say it’s a giant box wrapped in our dreams.
KATHY: What does our dream [BEAT] look like?
TOBIN: Uh, glitter and stardust.
KATHY: Okay, sure. But I think, more importantly, when you open this box, inside you find a star. Someone who has appeared in Jurassic Park, [TOBIN EXHALES] Law and Order SVU —
TOBIN: Oh my god.
KATHY: — someone who is in the upcoming Comedy Central show called Awkwafina is Nora from Queens.
TOBIN: Our guest today is mother-fudging BD Wong!
[AUDIENCE CHEERS, AND BOUNCY 50s MUSIC PLAYS]
TOBIN: We got the chance to talk to BD live on stage at Asia Society in New York, and there was so much to talk about. He’s had such an amazing career!
KATHY: Yeah, like when he won the Tony in 1988 for his role in the Broadway play M. Butterfly —
BD: Now, I believe that you would consider this girl to be a deranged idiot, correct? [LAUGHTER] Oh, but [MOCKINGLY, TEASINGLY] because it’s an Oriental who kills herself for a Westerner, ahh, you’ll find it’s beautiful.
TOBIN: He stars as a Chinese opera star who disguises himself in drag to hide his true identity as a spy for the Chinese government.
KATHY: And we also can’t forget he was in Margaret Cho’s groundbreaking sitcom, All-American Girl.
BD: And this is my mute sister, Margaret.
MARGARET: [IN A PAINED FRENCH ACCENT] Bonjour, Tammy. [LAUGHTER]
BD: She’s a French mute. [LAUGHTER] Well, we’re off!
KATHY: It was the first primetime sitcom to feature an all Asian-American cast. BD played Margaret’s older brother on the show.
TOBIN: So, long story short, we had a lot we were curious about when we talked with BD about his career.
[AUDIENCE APPLAUSE AND CHEERING]
KATHY: Which is why we wanted to start by talking about his childhood growing up in San Francisco.
TOBIN: Um, we wanna start by going back to the beginning.
BD: Oh god. Okay.
TOBIN: We all have in common that we are California Asians.
BD: Oh, yeah!
TOBIN: You grew up in San Francisco —
BD: I grew up in San Francisco. Yeah.
TOBIN: Um, growing up, did you feel connected and part of an Asian community?
BD: I did. In some ways I was kind of forced to by my parents, because we moved out to the Sunset District, which is kind of — at the time it was not Asian at all. Like we were among the first families to — to move out there and it removed us from a proximity to Chinatown, that was — I could feel, when I look back on it too, I could feel that my parents were very, very torn about this. They were kids that grew up in Chinatown, San Francisco. They were born and raised in San Francisco. They spoke Chinese. They, um — they were more attached to the root culture than my brothers and I ended up being. And so, it was a big step for them to move out to the Avenues and I could feel them struggling with it. Immediately the first thing that happened was that my younger brother and I did not have to go to Chinese school, which we were thrilled about. [AUDIENCE LAUGHTER]
KATHY: Oh my god, I'm so jealous! [LAUGHS]
BD: Uh, you know, we were off the hook, actually. And — and then um, so as a way of kind of making up for that, my parents sent us to the, to the YMCA in Chinatown every week for a good part of our childhood and early teen years, to be a part of a boys' youth group, which was super, kind of, very geared towards teaching young Chinese American boys about being Chinese — you know, just kind of expose — being in Chinatown and all of that stuff. But was also kind of like the non-gayest thing ever. [AUDIENCE LAUGHTER] So, it was very sports driven. I was super not into that part of it. I didn't respond to any of the activities that ever were brought up. You know —
KATHY: Were you... What were you guys doing?
BD: Playing sports, going — you know, playing basketball. [TOBIN CHUCKLES] Or … I actually was into some of the things, like community service and going to hospitals and stuff like that, other stuff that the other boys didn't like at all. As far as being in San Francisco, you know, I was — I grew up in the 70s. It was, like, kind of a gay fantasy world in some ways, for a kid who was, like, an adolescent kid, in San Francisco when people were exploring all these things, and you could have interaction with gay people who were actually kind of out.
TOBIN AND KATHY: Mhm.
BD: And — and so that formed my understanding of the power of being out and the importance of it. And yet the fear of it, all intertwined.
BD: Completely intertwined.
KATHY: And how did you find your way to acting, and then eventually becoming an actor?
BD: Yes. I — um, this is good — I — I [LAUGHTER] — I mean, I — I was a — a young violin-playing kid and I was allowed by my parents to play the violin. Of all the things that I chose to do that was not, like, academic and the one performance-related thing that they were kind of into, whether it's a stereotypical reason or not, they were in — they were okay with me playing the violin. And I played the violin for many years, from like fourth grade to, uh — uh, tenth grade. And I had private lessons. I was — I took it very serious. Like, I was apparently really good at it. You know, I — I was, and — and it was in tenth grade that, um, a teacher came into my class — like, a math class or something — and said, “We're recruiting kids to play for the school play. The school musical. We're playing — we wanna know — we’re putting together an orchestra for this school musical.”
BD: And uh, I turned to my friend Sherry Samuel, who was a little bit of an actress, and I said, "That's what I'm gonna do. I wanna play for the school musical. That sounds like fun." And she says, "Oh no." [LAUGHING] "The action is not in the orchestra pit. The action is on the stage." And I said, "I was kind of secretly hoping someone would make me go to the tryout instead." And she was going to the tryout, she dragged me there. And it began this relationship with my drama teacher, which opened the doors for me completely. She really saw something in me. She begged me and implored me and demanded that I not squander, um, the potential of my gifts. And she played a big role in this kind of grand negotiation with my parents about my future — about what I would choose to do, even extracurricularly and then later on, uh, you know, going into the professional world.
BD: And, um, that was crucial for me. I had a lot of moxie, but I was — uh, I had a lot of [PAUSE] trepidation about kind of whether being an actor was even viable for lots of reasons that we all know. And — and I wasn't sure about it, and she made me consider it, and she made my parents consider it. And my parents then considered it. Really. They — they came around. My older brother, um, who was nine years — who is nine years older than me, um, became a doctor. And that was kind of like a mixed blessing for me. He was a straight-A student who created a lot of pressure for me because he — he was the Marcia Brady of the family. [AUDIENCE LAUGHS] And — and — and, uh — and — and yet at the same time, he became a doctor and they ticked that box off.
KATHY: I was gonna say! That’s so good!
TOBIN: Oh, and you’re good!
BD: And I was off the hook, kind of. And — I think! I mean, I — I — you’ll have to ask my mom, who will probably have a hilarious recounting of this. [LAUGHTER] And — and — uh, but what her, was perception of this was, but they came around is how — is how I recall it.
BD: And I — I realize this. This is, you know, part of our kind of juju together, our, our interaction and even intergenerationally that this is a thing. I go to colleges and universities and I’m — the biggest question is, “I'm Asian-American, I'm studying this, I don't wanna study this. I wanna do that. What do I do?”
BD: And I'm put in a position where I have to, kind of, uh, say, [HUSH-HUSH] “I want you to do what you wanna do.” [AUDIENCE LAUGHS]
BD: "But your parents paid for you to come here." [MORE LAUGHTER] "And the university paid for me to come and speak to you." So … [STILL MORE LAUGHTER]
TOBIN: Part of education!
BD: But I do encourage them to follow their bliss. Of course! I mean, I'm the example for them in some ways of how that can be all right.
TOBIN: Well, so you had this — arguably your big break, or one of many breaks, is your Tony-winning role in M. Butterfly, which was incredible. Um. [PAUSE] Yeah, go ahead. [AUDIENCE APPLAUDS]
BD: [TEASINGLY] You weren't even born. [AUDIENCE LAUGHTER]
TOBIN: The YouTube clips! The YouTube clips are amazing! [AUDIENCE LAUGHS] Um, but I wanted — [LAUGHS] we wanna ask though, that — you know, there's so many themes in that play around gender and sexuality.
TOBIN: Um, what did it change for you and your understanding of gender and sexuality?
BD: Oh! [STUTTERING] Well, if it didn't change anything in the moment when it was happening, it certainly activated things and it, and in some ways it created tension in myself that I needed to kind of have happened.
BD: Because of all of the stuff about watching television and being very desperate and — and kind of not sure about becoming an actor, I had really weird Asian self-esteem. I didn't want to be Asian. I didn't want to be Asian, and I didn't want to be gay. And those — those — those two things actually were kind of intertwined. I — like, now this is kind of the theme of my college speech is that I — I feel a real parallel between being an ethnic minority and being a gay person because of the way — the negotiations that I had to do in my mind to get over both of those things. Neither of those things I wanted to be. And I think the reason why I didn't wanna be those things because I wanted to be an actor, because being an actor meant those things were not — they didn't go together.
TOBIN AND KATHY: Hmm.
BD: And when I was a kid watching television, I thought, “Well, if you wanna be an actor, that's the actor I wanna be!” Matthew Broderick is who I wanted to be and I would have had an operation to turn me into Matthew Broderick in a heartbeat. [TOBIN LAUGHS]
I would've, I would — if there was GoFundMe at the time, I would have [AUDIENCE LAUGHTER] GoFundedMe a Matthew Broderick nose, and I would have been really happy doing that.
BD: And, but the feelings were that when I went into M. Butterfly, I was very cynical and very, um — uh, kind of — kind of really not in a great place about it. And M. Butterfly kind of overnight … Well, first of all, at the time when I was debating flying myself to New York to audition for the play, I finally read this play and it was the first play I'd ever read that had an Asian guy’s — an Asian person's — Asian writer’s name on the front of the cover.
And I had been struggling over the years to understand what my place was, what my voice would be, what I could, you know, the technique that I was learning from my acting teacher was this idea of philosophy of being a messenger. And I thought, “Well, that's great. I'll be a messenger.” What — what does that really mean? I wasn't 100% sure. And kind of magically, I read this play, and the play had in it all of these things that I felt about being an Asian man — of being an Asian man in the media, about how we're treated that way and what the things that we do in order to compensate for that and — and the trickery of racism and all of that stuff. And I entered into this play that luckily became a big success, and it changed my self esteem about being Asian 'cause we were treated very well. It was a huge success. We, you know, were, uh, given, prizes and stuff like that and I — I thought, “Oh, this is great. I'm super Asian now.” [AUDIENCE LAUGHTER] Like I became Uber, Uber, like. Uber, like, Asian. (Laughing). And — and — and I was thrilled about this. It was really great. And — and if you know, the play is about the 20-year relationship between a French diplomat and a Chinese actress who turns out to be a man. And, um, the kind of, um, world-falling-apart of this French diplomat when he realized that his paramour is — is not, uh, the — uh, the ultimate Chinese stereotypical flower that he thought she was.
And, the irony was that I was, you know, making speeches about “Uber Asian” and I couldn't go to the gay place.
BD: I was, in a way, I was in a play with this other actor and then we were — were ostensibly in a kind of same-sex relationship, actually, technically. And — and, um, I couldn’t — I would steer all conversations away within it. It took me a long time to kind of figure it out. It wasn't until the birth of my son and the subsequent book that got published about him, that I got on board with being gay and came out — like, actually came out for real. Um, beyond my own personal life.
TOBIN: Well, at the same time you've also talked about growing up and watching TV and film and only seeing white faces basically.
BD: Yes. Right. I have to say — and I really don't want to toot my own horn or, like — this is not a self-congratulatory thing. But I — I became so desperate about it, and I remember, I moved to LA, I was living there and I finally met for the first time, after moving to — I first came to New York from San Francisco in — in — well, let’s not say what year. [AUDIENCE LAUGHTER] And — and then I spent a few years here, and then, by circumstances, I ended up in LA. And it was the first time when I was in LA, that I met a community of Asian-American actors. And I met a community, there was a very well established Asian-American theater there, that's still there. And I met these people and I thought, "Oh my gosh, this is what it means to be an Asian actor! There's a thing, it's called an Asian actor, and that's what it looks like and that's what it is, and that's how it interacts with its, other members of its own species, in its natural habitat.” [KATHY LAUGHS]
BD: And I thought, “Oh, I see what this is.” But I realized — I remember, I went to an event of uh — uh, a kind of an advocacy event, an awards — it was at the time when they were to give awards to producers for hiring Asians for various things, you know, it's kind of a media awards kind of thing. And I was standing in the back, I was volunteering — I was new in town, and I was, like, kind of volunteering there. And I remember thinking, “Oh, I see this is what it is. If you want that, if you want that career, you want that success, you have to commit to being an agent in some kind of change of it. It's not working. The system's broken. It hasn't, it didn't work for you as a consumer when you watched TV as a young kid. And so, if that’s — you do the math, it's not gonna change unless somebody like, kind of bangs the door down.” And so, I didn't know what that meant at all. I just knew that it meant I couldn't be passive about it. Like, I —
BD: So, I — I tried to begin to adopt, at a very young age, a way of discussing it, even in the way that we're discussing it now, that, um, a lot of people of my generation were doing at the time —
BD: — and continue to still do. And, um, that’s also a byproduct of this desperation, right? It's like, there’s — there are times when you go, "Why do I have to do this? Why do I have to be so good at talking about this?” Or, “Why — why can't I just act?" Really, is what you wanna do. Um, but at the — by the same token, it's extremely good for you. It feels good. It feels like — I feel like this is part of who I am now, and I don't mind it at all. I think it's kind of great. I like — I like it. I like that I've been forced to become this person.
[NANCY MIDROLL MUSIC PLAYS]
TOBIN: More with BD after the break.
[POST-MIDROLL MUSIC PLAYS]
KATHY: We’re back!
TOBIN: Let’s jump right back into our conversation with mother-fudging BD Wong!
TOBIN: You have this thing about your career. You're in a — in a lot of things that were firsts, right? Or, like, forefront kind of thing. So, like, All-American Girl you were a part of...
BD: Oh, yeah. Right. Yeah.
TOBIN: — which was the Margaret Cho, all-Asian cast TV show.
TOBIN: Um, and also this moment you had in M. Butterfly and you've talked before about the pressure of, like, this thing cannot fail. Have you experienced that a lot in your career?
BD: I — those two times are when I really felt it the most. For All-American Girl, I mean, I would sit around with Margaret and the other actors in the play, and we would feel a — a sense of, kind of, importance or uh … importance isn't the right word because we didn't feel full of ourselves, but we felt, “Oh wow, this is kind of like they’re — they're saying this is the first, the first…" It was 1995 and it was, there had never been an Asian American family on television before, which — let’s — we could talk for an hour about that. Right?
KATHY: [LAUGHS] Yeah.
BD: Um, And so therefore, as a result, you would think, “Okay, so then here you are, you're the first Asian American family. Now what? Uh, go for it, you guys!” You know, like [ALL LAUGH] knock yourselves out! You know? And — and then — and then the … and — and it actually kind of was a self-fulfilling prophecy in some ways. The — the — the criticism about that show was, it was over scrutinized and it was — it didn't last. And it's a shame because of all — you know, it — it — was a perfectly fine show. It could have been way better, but it was a perfectly fine show. It happens though, you know? It's like, you're talking about being the only Asian in the room or something like that. You — you — you — you — you have this sense of pressure when you're the only anything in the room, right? You feel a sense of some kind of pressure to represent or to make — not everyone feels this. Um, uh, arguably it's possible that a lot of Asian people feel this because they're trained to, um, want to do good and want to, um — um, not let people down. Um, and that's a huge blanket statement, but you — we all know what that means. [ALL LAUGH, SOME APPLAUSE]
KATHY: I mean, it's true!
BD: It — it’s — there's truth to it, there's exceptions to every rule. We have to say that, but, um, we all feel that. Some of the bond that I have with some of my Asian friends is that we feel this and that we, it rules our lives. [LAUGHS] I mean, I still — I — I — there are times when I go into Century 21 or something like that and I’m, uh, thinking about, um, what my mother will think about my underwear choices. [AUDIENCE LAUGHS] No, mom won't like that. Don't get — don't get those. If you get those, don't wear them at her house. [ALL LAUGH] No. You know what I'm saying —
BD: — is that, that happens.
BD: You just — you can't help it. [LAUGHS]
KATHY: I mean, us making the show — half the time I just don't want him to be disappointed in me.
BD: Yes. Right.
TOBIN: Yeah. We have, between ourselves, we are each other's disappointed parents. [AUDIENCE LAUGHS]
KATHY: Yeah. 100%.
BD: Well, somebody has to be there by — by — by proxy, right? You have to do you. [LAUGHTER]
TOBIN: Yeah, exactly.
KATHY: Yes! [LAUGHS]
BD: Well, you know, right? Exactly.
KATHY: So you mentioned earlier that you didn't come out publicly until your son was born.
KATHY: Why that moment?
BD: First of all to — to make a public statement about, and come out at the time — this is 2003 — um, was in — in the world of press releases and things that happen, you know, there’s — it's like, “What, what are you trying to do?” “Oh, hello, I'm gay.” And it's like not a real, you know? Ellen needed a whole television show episode in order to do it, and that made sense, right? It was centered around this thing. It was focused on it.
Actually what happened was, I was doing, um, a book tour to go out on the road and talk about this book on The Today Show. And I was gonna go on — on CNN with Anderson Cooper and I was packing my bags to go on this book tour around the country. And I was packing, like, as me, as I usually do at the last minute and kind of harried, and I thought, “Oh wow, you know what? You’re coming out.” You know, because I didn't realize that I was going out there and at this point, my son who had been born through surrogacy, they were gonna be like, “Oh.” I wasn't gonna be able to kind of say, "Oh, um, uh, well he came from, um, you know, uh, my ex-wife?” Or something like that. [AUDIENCE LAUGHS] I wasn't, I had no intention of doing that.
BD: But what I realized that this meant, “Oh, that's like coming out.” And — and it was really, it was positive and joyful and it made me feel good and I was excited about it. But it was — it hit — it was kind of — it was a thing that had — had to actually hit me. 'Cause I was running around doing all this other stuff and I thought, “Oh yes. Okay. Yes. Coming out. All right, let's do it.”
KATHY: Huh. [AUDIENCE LAUGHS]
TOBIN: Yeah. How do you — how do you look back on that moment now? Sort of having become, I would say like an icon of, like, being out and proud?
BD: Yeah. Well, the way that I — the thing that always — I'm always reminded of is that after, right after M. Butterfly, I started becoming a professional speaker. I started getting hired to come and go to a lot of colleges and universities and I loved doing it. Interfacing with the — the students and — and talking to them about all this stuff. And I, eventually, after the book came out, I started, uh, talking about gay stuff too. But in the — before I started talking about gay stuff, I was very controlled. I had this Itoya presentation binder, the kind of with the clear plastic sleeves in it that you put your speech in. [KATHY LAUGHS KNOWINGLY] You know — with the one, I mean. [TOBIN AND AUDIENCE JOIN IN] And I would stand behind the lectern — we don't have one here. And I would stand behind the lectern, and I would read that speech from the beginning to the end and then I would take questions and questions that came up that were uncomfortable for me, I would steer the questions away from my personal life or things like that.
And it wasn't until the book came out that I started infusing, um, the gay part of my story into the — the, um, into the speech, the presentation. And I literally, uh, came out from behind the — the lectern. I — I started using a love. I came out and I realized the first couple of times, “Oh wow, this is what it feels like to be me.” You know, like I'm just talking to people and I'm just kind of saying, and that's how you do it and [MAKES “DAH DAH DAH” NOISE TO IMPLY FURTHER SPEAKING]. Um, just whatever I'm saying, I wasn't in that kind of controlled space anymore and it felt incredibly liberating and, um, extremely satisfying and I was very happy with — with that happening so organically to me.
[A PHONE RINGS IN THE BACKGROUND]
BD: I'll get it! [AUDIENCE CRACKS UP] It's one of those Chinese robocalls. [AUDIENCE LAUGHS HARDER]
KATHY: It's true, it's true.
TOBIN: Oh my god. [INDISTINCT] so much.
BD: The ones that you cannot block.
TOBIN: She tries to talk to them all the time.
KATHY: And they always hang up on me. [ALL LAUGH] Well, once I got as far as being like, "Why are you doing this?”
BD: Oh, you mean you actually talked … You, but the — I get these, like, recorded ones.
KATHY: Yeah. They say “Press one or two” for something. [AUDIENCE LAUGHS] So I always press it.
BD: Oh, they say — I don't understand what they're saying. So ...
TOBIN: Yeah. [AUDIENCE LAUGHS]
KATHY: He was just like, "I don't have a choice. I have to call." And I was like, "Wow, this is sad.” [LAUGHS, TOBIN LAUGHS]
KATHY: Anyways, then he hung up — he hung up on me. [TOBIN AND AUDIENCE LAUGH] Um, [PAUSE] your son is here. We wouldn’t want you to not have the opportunity to embarrass him in any way that you feel like you want to.
BD: Oh! [AUDIENCE LAUGHS, CLAPS]
KATHY: So, if there’s anything that you wanna get out there … Uh, share a story or two …
BD: No. [AUDIENCE LAUGHS, THEN TOBIN]
KATHY: Um …
BD: He would not respond well to that [ALL LAUGH] and trust me when I tell you that I would be the one that would pay. [ALL LAUGH AGAIN] And so I will take this opportunity to say that he is a recent high school graduate and I'm very proud of him.
TOBIN AND KATHY: Oh! [AUDIENCE APPLAUDS]
TOBIN: Okay. I think we have reached the point in our show where we would love to open it up to some audience Q&A.
TOBIN: If anyone has questions [MEANINGFUL PAUSE] for us — or more likely BD … [BOTH LAUGH]
KATHY: It's fine. We're cool with it.
BD: The young man in the blue shirt is actually related to me, so I would —
TOBIN: Oh, I think we have to go there. [SOME AUDIENCE LAUGHTER]
JACKSON WONG: Hi. [AUDIENCE LAUGHS MORE]
TOBIN: Hi. Can you state your name and how you know, the, uh [AUDIENCE LAUGHS] interviewee, please?
JACKSON: Uh, my name is Jackson Wong. I don't, um — I don't know. I just came to this, um, panel [LAUGHTER FROM THE AUDIENCE] to see you two. To see you two. I actually —
BD: Stumbled in off the street, didn't you?
JACKSON: — I’ve never countered this individual before, sitting to the right. But, um, uh, upon some research, your Twitter bio says “BD has no periods.” However, uh, the- your book cover clearly has periods that were intentionally, uh, placed there.
TOBIN: Oh, in your name!
KATHY: [CLICKS TONGUE] Yeah.
JACKSON: So, uh, can you, uh, confirm here tonight, these allegations?
BD: He's referring to the period in my name. [AUDIENCE REACTS WITH LAUGHTER AND SOME SHOCK AND REALIZATION]
TOBIN: Wow, you're just getting read for filth right now by your — !
JACKSON WONG: Yes. Periods in your name. [AUDIENCE LAUGHS]
BD: Did I not warn you? Um, the, um, uh, well — [WITH MOCK SINCERITY] thank you so much for your question.
JACKSON WONG: Of course. [AUDIENCE LAUGHS AND CLAPS] Of course.
BD: And thank you for coming tonight. [AUDIENCE CRACKS UP] Well, um, as I told some random person who asked me this a few days ago — [AUDIENCE LAUGHS, TOBIN IS LOVING IT] uh — uh, there was, um, a time when, uh, I — Oh, you don't even know this! [LAUGHTER] I, uh, after I became BD Wong for, in 1989, I — then I got on SVU and it wasn't until like 2000, it was when you were born that I took the contract on, on Law and Order SVU because I didn't wanna leave New York. And so, um, I stayed on that show for 11 years. And during the course of that show, I had to — uh, my driver's license expired. And so I had to put my real name on the driver's license, and I wanted BD Wong to be on my driver's license, because it had been well established as my name. So I said, "I'm changing my name to BD Wong officially, I'm gonna go to the DMV and I'm gonna get my name."
And at the DMV, they would not allow me to have periods in my name. They were just that DMV weird way about everything. [SOME LAUGHTER] And, and as a matter of fact, the way that my name out was B-comma-D Wong. [AUDIENCE LAUGHS]
KATHY: [LAUGHING] No!
BD: Yeah. And I said, “I'm not gonna B-comma.” [ALL LAUGH] So I'm gonna be BD and I'm gonna take the periods out. And in order to be kind of consistent, I started to tell everyone in the, uh — the credits of new projects that I was on and we — we told SVU and there's a period of time when, which I'm mostly BD with the periods. And then after that is no periods. And when the book came out, it was 2003, and I was still in period mode and I was still having my periods then. [AUDIENCE LAUGHS]
And, um, I — so then it — that's what happened. And I — I … it — it became, I — I changed all the credit cards. I had to go and I had to get mail and bring them to the DMV and get all these credit card companies to redo everything. And now my passport and my driver's license and everything, um, say the same thing. And it is BD without periods. And you know, it’s — it's a nightmare at TSA because they're like, “What is this? What is this?” You know? And there are plenty of times when I go somewhere or something like Alexa will say, "BUED." [LAUGHTER]
[UPBEAT PERCUSSION PLAYS IN THE BACKGROUND]
KATHY: But no regrets. No regrets.
BD: But no regrets.
KATHY: That's good. [TOBIN LAUGHS]
BD: Thank you so much for your question. [TOBIN LAUGHS, AUDIENCE APPLAUDS]
KATHY: I love how hard his son trolled him.
TOBIN: I loved it too. I hope that, if I’m ever a dad, my child will come for me like that. [BOTH LAUGH]
KATHY: My child will never do that.
TOBIN: Oh, that’s true. You will not tolerate that.
KATHY: I will not tolerate it! [TOBIN LAUGHS]
TOBIN: Alright, folks. That is it for this time around. But next week, we have one last gift!
KATHY: And here is a hint. It’s about talking, laughing, loving, breathing —
TOBIN: — fighting, fudging, crying, drinking.
KATHY: Fudging?! [LAUGHS]
TOBIN: I — I don’t know. I’ve been saying “fudging” this whole time.
KATHY: Some of you know exactly what we're talking about, and some of you are confused. But, either way, we'll see you next week!
TOBIN: See ya next time!
[CHILL ELECTRONIC MUSIC PLAYS OUT, THEN NANCY CREDITS MUSIC PLAYS]
TOBIN: Alright, credits!
KATHY: Our staff includes Zakiya Gibbons and Jeremy Bloom.
TOBIN: Special thanks this week to Neel Dhanesha and Rachel Rosado at Asia Society.
KATHY: I'm Kathy Tu.
TOBIN: I'm Tobin Low.
KATHY: And Nancy is a production of WNYC Studios.
[CREDITS MUSIC PLAYS OUT]