Who's Bill This Time
BILL KURTIS: From and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR News quiz. The verdict is in. Michael Cohen, you're Bill-ty (ph).
KURTIS: I'm Bill Kurtis. And here is your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Thank you, Bill. Thank you, everybody.
SAGAL: Thank you so much. We have got a great show for you today. Later on, we're going to be talking to movie director Peter Farrelly, who used to be known for earthy comedies like "There's Something About Mary," but now he's made a movie about the civil rights era called "Green Book" in which racial relations in the United States are solved by a hilarious mishap with some, quote, "hair gel."
SAGAL: There's something about calling in to play our games. Give it a try. The number is 1-888-WAITWAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924. Now let's welcome our first listener contestant. Hi, you are on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.
BEN STREDNAK: Hello, this is Ben Strednak from Stillwater, Okla.
SAGAL: Stillwater, Okla.
STREDNAK: And I'm so thrilled to be on. I can't tell you how nervous and excited I am. And I was at KOSU. There's a local station here.
SAGAL: That's great.
STREDNAK: And I'm a member.
SAGAL: I'm glad to hear it. I'm glad to hear it. Don't be nervous. We usually don't bite. And even if we did, you're on the phone.
STREDNAK: Well, thank you.
SAGAL: I do not know Oklahoma as well as I wished I did. Tell me what Stillwater is like.
STREDNAK: So Stillwater is a college town. And we manufacture a lot of great airplane parts here at Asco Aerospace where I work.
SAGAL: Oh, really, you make airplane parts?
STREDNAK: Oh, we do. We make parts of the tail section and the flaps and...
SAGAL: Do you make the important ones?
STREDNAK: We make the important stuff.
SAGAL: Right. You're not making the seats, in which case I could complain to you.
SAGAL: Well, welcome to the show, Ben. Let me introduce you to our panel this week. First up, a comedian whose new comedy album, "Babylon Ball Z," is now out on iTunes and Amazon. It's Brian Babylon.
SAGAL: Next, the comedian who's the head writer and a performer on "Live From Here," and he has a new book out called "Your Dad Stole My Rake." It's Tom Papa.
SAGAL: And she's a playwright and the senior culture writer with BuzzFeed News. It's a Bim Adewunmi.
SAGAL: So, Ben, welcome to the show. You're going to play Who's Bill This Time. Bill Kurtis is going to read you three quotations from this week's news. If you can correctly identify or explain two of them, you'll win our prize, any voice from our show you might choose on your voicemail. Are you ready to play?
STREDNAK: I am so ready.
SAGAL: All right, your first quote is from the president of the United States.
KURTIS: He is lying. And he's trying to get a reduced sentence for things that have nothing to do with me.
SAGAL: The president said that who was lying when he admitted to lying?
SAGAL: Say again?
SAGAL: Yes, Michael Cohen.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: The president's former personal lawyer pled guilty in federal court, part of an agreement with special prosecutor Robert Mueller. That happened right after a bunch of presidential tweets again calling Mueller's investigation a, quote, "witch hunt." And if it is, man, where are all these witches coming from?
SAGAL: He's gotten convictions or pleas from almost a dozen white-collar criminals. Does Hogwarts run a business school?
BRIAN BABYLON: And that's the whole thing with this guy when he keeps saying - talking about witch hunts. He really disrespects when there were really witch hunts.
BABYLON: You know, like, in the good old Salem days there was some quality witch hunting...
BABYLON: ...Where you got results.
BABYLON: People actually had consequences.
SAGAL: You're saying we should make witch hunts great again.
BABYLON: Well, I'm not - I mean...
BIM ADEWUNMI: Yeah.
SAGAL: So Cohen says he admitted that he lied to Congress and to investigators about The Trump Organization's contact with Russia during the - no, wait. I'm sorry. According to the court papers, it wasn't Trump but, quote, "individual one."
SAGAL: For weird legal reasons, that's what they call Trump, individual one. You know, individual one, who is not named, was a candidate for president in 2016 and lived in a gold tower on Fifth Avenue.
SAGAL: You know, you can see the sign - Individual One Tower.
SAGAL: Are you guys able to follow this? There are some people who think this is, like, the beginning of the end. And then there are some people who are, like, nope, there have been so many convictions and guilty pleas. This isn't going to make any difference whatsoever.
TOM PAPA: It's almost too overwhelming. I get the same feel - like, all of it's coming down. And just like when that article came out about all of the financial dealings that the Trump family had, it was so much information. And everyone just looked at it like it was Stephen Hawking's book and like, I don't get it.
PAPA: He's got to be really happy about being individual number one.
PAPA: I mean, as much as it's all bad news, he's like, that's right, number one.
PAPA: That's right.
SAGAL: All right, your next quote is about a scientific breakthrough that was in the news this week.
KURTIS: As Dr. Frankenstein said, what could possibly go wrong?
SAGAL: That was a comment on a claim from a scientist in China. He says he has created the first designer what?
STREDNAK: Genetically modified human being.
SAGAL: You're right.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: It's true.
SAGAL: A Chinese geneticist says he successfully altered the genome of two baby girls to make them HIV-resistant, not to mention waterproof, shrink proof and dishwasher safe.
SAGAL: And I know a lot of parents of newborns are like, really?
SAGAL: 'Cause that would be awesome. Stick them in there. You turn it on. You get 60 minutes of peace. They come out clean. Anyway, now, if he did this, it would be the first time anybody's admitted to actually changing a human's DNA on purpose which would be shocking but also disappointing 'cause if you're going to do it, do it. I mean, give the baby girls a pair of wings or, like, laser eyes, retractable claws. I mean, however healthy these kids might end up, they're going to be the most boring X-Men ever.
PAPA: How about a baby that doesn't poop?
SAGAL: That would be great. But I'm just imagining the baby's growing sense of dismay.
ADEWUNMI: Yeah, that poor baby.
ADEWUNMI: Can you imagine? Its face would just be, like, the human embodiment of gas.
SAGAL: I know.
ADEWUNMI: Just swelling gently.
SAGAL: It would be terrible.
PAPA: Individual number one.
BABYLON: I don't know. That's - I would want maybe a cashmere or a suede baby, you know?
PAPA: It can't go in the rain.
BABYLON: Well, you know, you just - you can put a treatment on it. A baby that - if you can make its cry sound like a babbling brook, you know?
PAPA: Yeah, can you do - can you modify us now, or you just - you got to...
SAGAL: No, you can't. That's the problem. Don't get excited.
PAPA: You got to be - yeah.
PAPA: 'Cause I got a patch of back hair I'm interested in.
PAPA: You got to be a baby?
BABYLON: Now, here's a question.
PAPA: This is just for babies?
SAGAL: They can't be born yet. They can't be born yet. You have to...
BABYLON: I don't know if you know - I don't know. Is it illegal to do this?
SAGAL: Yes, it is high - well, it's very illegal...
BABYLON: Is it - no, is it moral...
PAPA: It's China. It's China.
SAGAL: All right, your last quote, Ben - Ben, your last quote is a tweet reacting to a group of scientists who were seen in wild celebration this week.
KURTIS: My office is like that when I bring in doughnuts.
SAGAL: The scientists were not celebrating doughnuts. They were celebrating what?
STREDNAK: Landing the probe on Mars that's going to drill down and tell about the Mars quakes.
SAGAL: You are so good. Yes, Ben.
KURTIS: He knows everything.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: That's exactly right.
SAGAL: The InSight Mars probe landed successfully on the red planet. Is there anything better than watching a team of flight engineers at Jet Propulsion Labs get all giddy? There were cheers. There were elaborate handshake rituals. There were awkward hugs from men who had never before touched a human being.
PAPA: I liked catching the YouTube video of Elon Musk just smoking a joint and watching the whole thing by himself.
PAPA: I'm going to do that, too.
SAGAL: He's going to do that. Elon Musk...
ADEWUNMI: I mean...
SAGAL: ...Has actually said he wants to go to Mars and die there.
ADEWUNMI: I mean, who's going to stop him really?
SAGAL: Yeah, I know.
SAGAL: The funny thing is we've been sending all these probes to Mars. We've got, like, I don't know how many of them on the surface. And when you think about it, well, that's what the aliens will do, too, right? I mean, they're not going to show up and get off the spaceship. They're going to do what we're doing. They're going to send probes. They'd appear among us. They'd try to be conspicuous but be able to observe us at close range. Oh, my God. That's what all those Instant Pots are.
SAGAL: Because they came out of nowhere, right? And all of a sudden, they're everywhere.
ADEWUNMI: But they're good aliens.
SAGAL: They're good...
SAGAL: They're helpful aliens.
ADEWUNMI: They're helpful. I mean, imagine turning on a pot, going to work and returning, and your personal alien has cooked you something very tender.
SAGAL: It is nice.
ADEWUNMI: You know, a nice ham hock. How many - can you do that? Exactly.
SAGAL: No, I know.
ADEWUNMI: Good day.
SAGAL: It's true.
PAPA: Your accent is so beautiful that ham hock turned me on.
ADEWUNMI: I also have a rack of lamb.
KURTIS: Well, Bim, we could do it together. I'd like some roast beef.
ADEWUNMI: As ever, Bill, I bow to your superior voice.
ADEWUNMI: But I will say if you bring the roast beef, I'll bring all the trimmings.
BABYLON: You know what? They should just do this for, like, one of those NPR pledge drives.
SAGAL: Yeah, I know.
SAGAL: Bill, how did Ben do on our quiz?
KURTIS: Not only did Ben get every one right, but he taught us.
SAGAL: You did, Ben. Congratulations. You did really well.
STREDNAK: Oh, thanks. Thank you so much.
SAGAL: Thank you.
(APPLAUSE) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.