A D.C. councilmember, a radio host, and a TV reporter walk into a tattoo parlor. Have you heard this one before?

Mary Cheh, Kojo Nnamdi, and Tom Sherwood gathered Friday afternoon at Fatty’s Tattoos & Piercings on H Street NE to make good on a promise. The trio agreed on-air during an episode of the Kojo Nnamdi Show to get tattoos of the D.C. flag if someone (anyone!) were to donate $3,000 to WAMU 88.5 as part of the station’s fundraising efforts. Shortly after they committed, a 23-year-old named Nick who regularly listens to the show did just that. Cheh, Nnamdi, and Sherwood today each honored their word—on their outside right foot, outside left arm, and inside right arm, respectively.

The promise between Nnamdi and Sherwood to get D.C. flag tattoos goes back several years, when the asking price was $5,000; Cheh joined in the fun in October, when the required donation amount was lowered. Sherwood’s son Peyton, a local restaurant owner who also has a D.C. flag tattoo, served as inspiration for the NBC4 reporter.

“We’re going up, baby!” Sherwood declared when the time came to get the tats on the second floor of Fatty’s. Three artists, including Fatty (aka Matt Jessup) himself, gave the the trio their tattoos, each slightly different. Cheh’s has red hearts where the three stars on the D.C. flag should be; Nnamdi’s is the smallest.

Wise-cracking and banter (of the friendly sort) filled the room.

“Look at that itty-bitty thing!” the councilmember, who was the first to go under the machine, guffawed at the sight of the radio host’s stencil. “Why is Kojo’s so small?” Sherwood asked. (“Size doesn’t matter!” a woman replied.) “Has Kojo passed out yet?” While the NBC reporter cracked wise, Nnamdi was comparatively stoic throughout.

“This reminds me of Civil War surgery,” Cheh said at the beginning of her procedure. “No anesthetic.” (She must have been acting coy: Cheh already has a tattoo on her left foot that says “sweetpea,” an homage to her oldest daughter. Nick—the causative donor—said he lives in Ward 3, which Cheh serves.)

Was the discomfort the worst part? Not for Sherwood. “I was told by my son that I wasn’t supposed to drink” Thursday night because the alcohol could thin one’s blood, or affect the resulting color. “I had a glass of white wine.”

Photos by Andrew Giambrone