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Bluff The Listener


Thanks, everybody. Right now...


SAGAL: Right now, it is time for the WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to play our game on the air.

Hi, you are on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

RAY WENNEKER: Oh, this Ray Wenneker. Who's this?


SAGAL: It's a legitimate question. That's Peter Sagal, here, the host of the show.

WENNEKER: Looking forward to be bluffed.

SAGAL: Yes, we're going to bluff you. But tell me a little bit about yourself. Where are you calling from, Ray?

WENNEKER: St. Louis, Mo.

PAULA POUNDSTONE: Oh, there you go.

SAGAL: St. Louis, Mo. I can tell you're legit because you call it that. What do you do there, Ray?

WENNEKER: Well, I am a retired schoolteacher.

SAGAL: That's great.

WENNEKER: And I am currently creating jewelry and giving it to not-for-profit organizations for their fundraisers.

SAGAL: That's awesome.

POUNDSTONE: Yeah, that is awesome.

SAGAL: That's a great thing to do.

WENNEKER: Oh, thanks. Thanks.


SAGAL: Well, it's nice to have you with us, Ray. You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. What's the topic, Bill?

BILL KURTIS: It only took nine minutes.

SAGAL: A lot can happen in nine minutes. You can make nine batches of minute rice. A cat can live nine very short lives. This week, we read about something else that just took nine minutes. Our panelists are going to tell you about it. Pick the one who's telling the truth, you'll win our prize - the voice of the WAIT WAIT-er of your choice on your voicemail. You ready to play?


SAGAL: All right.




SAGAL: I can tell you're impatient. We will get to this. Let's hear first from Peter Grosz.

PETER GROSZ: The Brown Theatre in Louisville, Ky., which describes itself as the Grand Dame of Louisville's artistic community, prides itself on presenting exceptional, theatrical experiences. And on Saturday, the audience was treated to a truly unique event - the single worst performance of the musical "The Wiz" anyone had ever seen. Almost every element of the production was cursed, starting with the costumes. According to one audience member, the show's Dorothy was wearing a dress that was, quote, "clearly from Walmart." Another patron told reporters that the Cowardly Lion's costume didn't include a tail or a mane, and he was missing one of his paws, which he made up for by covering his hand with a black sock. He didn't even look like a lion, reported this budding Ben Brantley (ph). He looked like a dumb sasquatch.

Then there was the crew, which set up for the wrong scene several times, then had to quickly scurry to reset for the correct scene after the lights came up revealing their mistake. On the back wall of the set was an image of a cornfield and a barn projected from a laptop, which lent a nice touch until a notification sent to that laptop kept popping up over the image of the cornfield.


GROSZ: A giant tab asking if you want to download the latest version of Windows 10 kind of takes you out of the reality of being in Kansas - so does the actress playing Dorothy saying she wants to go back to Texas, which is something that also happened during the show. On top of all that, in "The Wiz," Dorothy isn't even from Kansas. She's from Harlem, where you're more likely to see Ted Cruz sitting in a barbershop talking about The O'Jays than you are to see a cornfield and a barn. Suffice to say, there were few friends of Dorothy in Louisville last Saturday night. It did break one box office record, though. People began walking out only nine minutes into the show. A spokesman for the theater declined to say how many angry calls they received, but that's probably because all the phones in the theater were replaced with black socks the staff purchased at Walmart.

SAGAL: A production of "The Wiz" so terrible...


SAGAL: ...That people began demanding refunds after just nine minutes. Your next story of a nine-minute happening comes from Faith Salie.

FAITH SALIE: Simon Wattyl (ph) and Imogene Dickens (ph) had been planning their wedding for years ever since they first met at a Ren Faire in 2015 at the Drench-a-Wench dunk tank.


SALIE: Their wedding guests arrived at Heaver Castle in Kent, England, prepared for a six-hour ceremony of merriment, mead and turkey legs. The groom's cake was to be a savory blackbird pie, but their nuptials didn't turn out as planned. The ceremony opened with a sword fight the bride and groom had been rehearsing for months. All was going swashbucklingly until nine minutes into their duel when Imogen lunged with too much lusty zeal and accidentally sliced off Simon's ring finger. It went flying through the banquet hall, leaving guests on hands and knees frantically searching for the severed digit. It was only when the falconer released his falcon that the finger was retrieved because the bird was really hungry. Simon snatched it from his beak and insisted on racing to the nearest hospital on horseback. Hours later with his ring finger reattached, Simon brought Imogene to meet the wedding party at the local pub where they finally exchanged vows. The groom, cheerfully under the influence of pain meds, toasted his wife - milady makes a nice, clean cut.


SAGAL: A Ren Faire-themed wedding goes south at the nine-minute mark when the groom got his finger cut off. Your last story of something that only took nine minutes comes from Paula Poundstone.

POUNDSTONE: The funeral of John Howard Walsh (ph) came in at a record nine minutes. Have there been other people buried quickly who unfortunately had no one to mourn their loss? Absolutely, says Karen Thompson (ph) of Thompson Mortuary Services. The difference is that Mr. Walsh had a gathering of family and friends. They just didn't have that much to say about him.


POUNDSTONE: John Lamore (ph), Mr. Walsh's co-worker at Iron Mountain document shredding services, spoke at his service. He was a quiet man, he said. He was quiet at work anyway. It was hard to hear over the sound of the shredder. Sometimes he'd yell, that was close.


POUNDSTONE: Or he'd turn off the machine and ask for some scotch tape if he'd made a mistake.


POUNDSTONE: The attendees heard from Mr. Walsh's priest, Father Richard Davin (ph), who said the memorable words he wasn't much of a sinner. I used to occasionally doze off in the confessional. His brother, Tim Walsh, took to the podium to say, he had a wonderful smile, before sidestepping back to his seat. The next speaker was even more brief. He just said, Tim said what I was going to say.


SAGAL: All right.


SAGAL: Three things happened after only nine minutes, but only one of them was real. Was it from Peter Grosz, patrons at a terrible performance of "The Wiz" demanding their money back because of how terrible it was; from Faith Salie, a big Renaissance-themed wedding becomes a disaster during an errant sword fight; and Paula's story of a funeral where nobody had much to say? Which is the real story?

WENNEKER: I think it's No. 1...

SAGAL: You think it was number...

WENNEKER: ...At Brown Theatre because I've been there, and they really put on rotten productions.


SAGAL: You now, they say everybody's a critic. I guess it's true.


SAGAL: All right, Ray. Well, you...


SAGAL: ...You have chosen for your own personal reasons Peter's story of the theater company that put on a production of "The Wiz" so bad it took nine minutes before refunds were demanded. To bring you the real story, we spoke to someone, well, involved in this particular situation.

KORI BLACK: They thought they were coming to see the NBC "Wiz" live. And the 3 o'clock show just went really, really bad.


SAGAL: That was Kori Black, the actress who played Addaperle, the Good Witch of the North in "The Wiz..."

WENNEKER: Oh, fabulous.

SAGAL: ...In this is spectacular production. Congratulations, Ray. You did get it right. You've won our prize. You've earned a point for Peter Grosz simply for telling with real, I think, a sense of learned experience all about a terrible theater production. Thank you so much for playing, Ray. We really appreciate it.


SHANICE WILLIAMS: (As Dorothy, singing) Come on and ease on down, ease on down the road. Come on, ease on down, ease on down the road. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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