Every week on “The Dinner Party Download” we bring in a fascinating culture figure to tell us what’s new in their world and also to answer your etiquette questions (you can check out more each week by subscribing to our podcast). This week it’s “Outlander” star Sam Heughan.
Here’s the gist: Claire, a married English nurse from the 1940s, mysteriously time-travels to 1740s-era Scotland and there falls for Jamie. She ultimately marries him, and now, she has a different husband in each era.
The series the series is currently in its second season on the Starz network. Sam chats with Rico and Brendan about the show and the actor had some fun answering a few of our listeners’ etiquette questions.
Rico Gagliano: Just get your saliva in there, and then it’s too late.
Sam Heughan: Yeah. “How is your pork? Is it all right? The crab cakes are delicious!”
Brendan Francis Newnam: That’s smooth. I like that. You go for the seat, not for the food.
Sam Heughan: Yeah, or just distract them. Distract them, and then just swap them very quickly.
Brendan Francis Newnam: Let’s move to our next question.
Sam Heughan: I hope I’m doing well here.
How to handle haggis
Brendan Francis Newnam: Jeni from L.A. writes: “I’m heading to Scotland for a study abroad program. I have a pretty good suspicion that my host family is going to offer me haggis. I’m not sure I can hack it. How can I politely refuse them? I don’t want to insult them.”
Rico Gagliano: For those who don’t know, you want to tell people what haggis is?
Sam Heughan: Yes. Well, it depends what time of year you go, of course, because if you go out of season, they might not have caught any because they are quite rare, especially during the summer.
Rico Gagliano: You are totally lying about haggis right now.
Brendan Francis Newnam: You’re lying to Jeni. You switched seats with people, you’re lying to Jeni.
Sam Heughan: Sorry, Jeni.
Brendan Francis Newnam: So, haggis is — if I’m remembering correctly — it’s, like, the stomach lining of something stuffed with something.
Sam Heughan: Of a sheep.
Rico Gagliano: It’s a sheep.
Brendan Francis Newnam: Stuffed with grain and oats… offal.
Sam Heughan: Yeah, it would have to be the offal, and the off-cuts, and a lot of pepper. And it’s delicious. So, the haggis: just stuff it down. Just eat it, and you might actually enjoy it.
Brendan Francis Newnam: Yeah, Scottish hot dogs.
Sam Heughan: I don’t know what’s in the hot dog.
Rico Gagliano: We make fun of haggis, and it’s like, what the hell is in a hot dog?
Sam Heughan: Exactly!
Brendan Francis Newnam: All right. Well, there you go, Jeni. Eat it. And… yeah.
Sam Heughan: Enjoy it.
Brendan Francis Newnam: Yes.
What to do when hotel staff is rifling through your bags
Rico Gagliano: Here’s something from Rebecca in North Carolina. Rebecca writes: “You realize that housekeepers at your hotel are rifling through your bags daily. Do you tell the management or just leave more messes for them?” I like that those are your only two options this one is giving you.
Sam Heughan: Yeah. I thought I could leave something like a message for them, maybe.
Brendan Francis Newnam: That’s good. I like the middle ground.
Sam Heughan: Yeah, yeah.
Brendan Francis Newnam: Menacing or just goofy?
Sam Heughan: Just something like, “I’m watching yooooou.”
Brendan Francis Newnam: I think you should maybe play into your type, and maybe start buying bodices, and, like, putting them in your bag and stuff like that.
Sam Heughan: That’s a great idea. Exactly. Plant things that they’re not expecting.
Brendan Francis Newnam: That’s right.
Sam Heughan: Just see how far I can go with it.
Brendan Francis Newnam: That’s right, just totally freak them out, like, I don’t know. What else would we put in there?
Sam Heughan: A lady’s wig.
Rico Gagliano: A cat.
Brendan Francis Newnam: They would never imagine… Keith Richards, you know?
Rico Gagliano: That’s weird.
Sam Heughan: A stuffed monkey. Like, yeah.
Rico Gagliano: Who’d a thunk?
Brendan Francis Newnam: Wow.
Rico Gagliano: By the way, you know that your bag has been rifled through if the bodice is ripped.
Brendan Francis Newnam: I have a question, though, about this. Do you guys…you know, they still put safes in hotel rooms.
Sam Heughan: They do, yes.
Brendan Francis Newnam: I’ve never used one, and I have some sort of valuable stuff. Have you ever used…do you guys use safes?
Rico Gagliano: I have, occasionally.
Sam Heughan: I have used them on occasion.
Brendan Francis Newnam: Dare I ask, like, what you’re putting in it?
Sam Heughan: Well, I…one of my…
Rico Gagliano: He put Keith Richards in there.
Brendan Francis Newnam: Yeah.
Sam Heughan: I’m putting my bodice in there.
Brendan Francis Newnam: Yeah, all right. All right.
Sam Heughan: No, once I went to South Africa, actually, and I was in a very posh hotel, and I left my wallet in my jacket, and then I flew to, like, UK, and then to Brazil, and I landed in Brazil and got a call, and someone had cloned all my cards…
Brendan Francis Newnam: Oh, my goodness.
Sam Heughan: And they’d gone out to the local grocery store and bought, like, some apples and some bananas.
Brendan Francis Newnam: Wow.
Sam Heughan: But nothing…
Brendan Francis Newnam: Nothing major. Yeah, they didn’t buy, like, a Range Rover or anything like that.
Sam Heughan: Yeah, exactly.
Brendan Francis Newnam: That’s funny. And that could only work, like, in a place where people weren’t watching a lot of TV now because otherwise they would be like…
Rico Gagliano: Stealing your identity.
Sam Heughan: Well, they might be surprised and find there’s nothing on the credit card, and actually, it’s maxed out.
Brendan Francis Newnam: Yeah. Like, wow, Starz, it’s not working out.
Rico Gagliano: They’re like, “Man, Sam did not cut a very good deal with his network.” Sam Heughan, thank you so much for telling our audience how to behave.
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Each week you send in your questions about how to behave, and here to answer them this time is Kyle Mooney. You know him as a cast member on "Saturday Night Live," the movie "Zoolander 2," and he's now starring in a film he created with an old writing partner, "Brigsby Bear." He tells our listeners what to do with sneaky party DJs, the best way to eat bacon, and more.
Alan Alda is beloved for starring as "Hawkeye" Pierce on one of the best TV shows of all time, "M*A*S*H." He was a regular on another great show, "The West Wing," and he hosted the PBS series "Scientific American Frontiers" for over a decade. He's also releasing a new book to help us all communicate better. Listen as he tries to solve our listeners' etiquette woes on thankless relatives and more.