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Who's Bill This Time

BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. Forget Bill de Blasio. I'm Bill de Badass-io (ph)...


KURTIS: ...Bill Kurtis. And here is your host at Carnegie Hall in New York, N.Y., Peter Sagal.


Thank you, Bill.


SAGAL: Thank you, everybody. It is so exciting to be here. It has been 10 years since we were last here at Carnegie Hall. But it was worth the wait, especially because all of the people here who told us we could never come back have retired.


SAGAL: Part of the contract you sign when you play Carnegie Hall is you have to be at least 35 percent classy, so we had to bring in a ringer to up our average. Later on, we're going to be talking to the legendary actress Candice Bergen right here on this show.


SAGAL: We could always use a little classiness bump, though. And we know how sophisticated you are, so give us a call. We'll get the credit. The number is 1-888-WAIT-WAIT - that's 1-888-924-8924. Let's welcome our first listener contestant. Hi, you are on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

ROBIN WILSON: Hi. My name is Robin, and I'm calling from Chapel Hill, N.C.

SAGAL: Oh, gosh - well, I love Chapel Hill, and I really love your charming Southern accent.


WILSON: Oh, I know. It's straight from Louisiana.


SAGAL: So they know you're not from there. Where are you actually from, Robin?

WILSON: I grew up near Oxford, England, and I've been living in the South for about 2 1/2 years.

SAGAL: And how do you enjoy it?

WILSON: I like it. The weather's much better here, and people don't complain as much.


SAGAL: They're probably complaining, but they're being subtle about it. So when they say things like, oh, bless your heart, they're actually insulting you.


SAGAL: Robin, welcome to our show. Let me introduce you to our panel this week. First, it's a contributor to "CBS Sunday Morning" and the host of "Science Goes To The Movies" on PBS. It now has its own YouTube channel. It's Faith Salie.


FAITH SALIE: Hello, Robin.

SAGAL: Next, it's a writer and performer who, among many things, plays Mike Pence on "The President Show." It's Peter Grosz.

PETER GROSZ: Hi there.


SAGAL: And finally, it's a comedian performing New Year's Eve at the Nourse Theater in San Francisco and the host of Nobody Listens To Paula Poundstone - you guessed it - it's Paula Poundstone.


SAGAL: Robin, you, of course, are going to play Who's Bill This Time. Bill Kurtis is going to read for you three quotations from the 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. You ready to play?

WILSON: Yes, I am.

SAGAL: Let's do it. Your first quote is from a text a journalist says he got this week.

KURTIS: He spoke to Robert Mueller 19 times, so you can call your mother every now and then.

SAGAL: The journalist says he got that from his mom...


SAGAL: ...The day it was revealed...


SAGAL: ...Who had spoken to Robert Mueller a total of 19 times?

WILSON: Michael Flynn?


SAGAL: That's right, Robin.




SAGAL: I'm so glad that even though you've been in our country such a short time, you've learned all of our felons.


SAGAL: We've been waiting for Robert Mueller to reveal what he's been doing for a year and a half. It's like the world's longest pregnancy. And, this week, Robert Mueller's water broke.


SAGAL: On Tuesday, Robert Mueller filed a motion about former national security adviser Michael Flynn which said, basically, since Flynn has been so incredibly helpful telling us all kinds of things, he shouldn't go to prison. What did he say? We don't know. Most of it was redacted - whole paragraphs blacked out. But you can kind of tell from context - like, quote, and then Mr. Flynn told us that President Donald J. blank...


SAGAL: ...Said blank about how much he blanks Vladimir blank.


SAGAL: And he said the president most certainly collu-blanked (ph).


POUNDSTONE: You know what?

SAGAL: What, Paula?

POUNDSTONE: I'm not much of a conspiracy theorist, but I have a growing belief that Mueller could have been done for a while but that he has an investment in digestive aids.


GROSZ: And he's, like, prolonging...

SAGAL: No, he's, like - basically, he bought a huge stock position in Maalox.

POUNDSTONE: Yeah, exactly.

SAGAL: And he's just trying to increase our tension. Is that what you mean?

POUNDSTONE: And, you know, Senokot and those kinds of...

GROSZ: Senokot (laughter).

POUNDSTONE: I have had...


GROSZ: Wait a second. You are the one who - you're mentioning actual brand names on National Public Radio. Maybe you're in the pocket of big Senokot.


GROSZ: Because I haven't heard somebody say Senokot (laughter) in, like, 30 years.

POUNDSTONE: People do. They say it. You're just not in the room when they say it.

GROSZ: No, you get up there...

SAGAL: On the other hand...


GROSZ: ...Well, obviously...

SAGAL: You have to believe that if NPR actually tried to do a product placement, we'd end up with Senokot.


GROSZ: Oh, my God.


POUNDSTONE: I'm telling you I have such a stomachache from just waiting every day. And, you know, I make the mistake of watching MSNBC. Like, a lot of times in a hotel room when I arrive, I'll put it on. And I tell myself, just while I'm unpacking. And then I just can't turn it off. It's the panels. It's the constant panels.

SAGAL: Oh, the panels. Well, here's the thing, Paula...

POUNDSTONE: Oh, my God. The panels are killing me.

SAGAL: Here's the thing.


SAGAL: So, like I said, this document came out, and everything interesting was redacted. You could not read it. But, like, CNN still invited on 10 panelists. And on there, over a chyron - breaking news - none of these people know anything. And yet, still, they speak.



SAGAL: Well, Robin, your next quote is from Joe Biden.

KURTIS: I'm a gaffe machine.

SAGAL: That was Mr. Biden explaining why he is the most qualified guy around to do what?

WILSON: To become the next president of the United States.

SAGAL: Yes, indeed.


SAGAL: That's what he was talking about.


SAGAL: Just a couple of weeks after the midterms, the race for the White House 2020 is on. So many people are now publicly musing about running that it is easier to just count the people who are - who we know are not running. So far, that is former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and George H.W. Bush.


GROSZ: He couldn't get elected as a Republican today, so he would...

SAGAL: Yeah, I know. Biden will be 78 in 2020. Bernie Sanders...


SAGAL: ...Who is also in it to win it, will be 79. All the people running in the next election will be people who can't actually run.


GROSZ: You know who else is old and is - says that he's going to run is Mike Bloomberg. Bloomberg is 76.


SALIE: He said he's going to run?

GROSZ: Well, why would Mike Bloomberg go to Iowa?


GROSZ: Just to, like...

SAGAL: That's a good point.

GROSZ: ...Hang out and be, like...

SALIE: Good question.

GROSZ: ...You know, I think I might buy some of this place.


SAGAL: What do you have here? You have corn?

GROSZ: Yeah.

SAGAL: I'll buy some corn. Now, speculation has also increased that Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown might be running. Why? And this is true...

POUNDSTONE: Because he's already in Ohio.

SAGAL: It's true. He doesn't have far to go.


SAGAL: But the reason people think he's actually getting ready to run for president - I am not kidding - is because he has finally combed his hair.


SAGAL: Hearing this, Bernie Sanders asked, wait, you can comb it?


SAGAL: Robin, for your last quote, we want you to listen to Bill croon like Bing Crosby.

KURTIS: (Singing) The neighbors might think - say, what's in that drink?

SAGAL: That was a lyric from a song that more and more radio stations are refusing to play this Christmas season. What is the song?

WILSON: "Baby, It's Cold Outside."

SAGAL: "Baby, It's Cold Outside."


SAGAL: Very good, Robin.


SAGAL: The classic holiday duet by Frank Loesser is a conversation between a woman and a man. And the woman keeps saying she wants to go, and the man kind of keeps her from leaving. It seems a little #MeToo-ish. But we're told it's just a product of a different time, when it was entirely innocent for Bing Crosby to sing, it puts the lotion in the basket.


SAGAL: I mean, it is true. You cannot, like, completely apply modern sensibilities to all these classic songs. For example, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is bullied for having a nose of color.


SAGAL: And that ass in the song "Let It Snow" who brings, quote, corn for popping to a Christmas party. Seriously, Cynthia brought two bottles of wine? You bring some seeds. Great. Thank you.


GROSZ: What about "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer?"

SAGAL: Yeah, why is there no (unintelligible) for grandma?


GROSZ: That poor woman. Call an ambulance. Don't write a song.


GROSZ: My God. That's true. There are no good Christmas songs. But every...

POUNDSTONE: There are great...

SALIE: Yes, there are.

POUNDSTONE: ...Christmas songs.

GROSZ: No, I was going to say...

SALIE: What is wrong with you?

GROSZ: What is wrong with me is I was going to say that all Hanukkah songs are perfect...


GROSZ: ...Because there's no social commentary. You're just looking at something spinning, and it falls. And no one picks it up and, like, takes it in a bedroom after it's dizzy and falling.


GROSZ: It's nice, clean Hanukkah fun.



SAGAL: Robin - excuse me - Bill, how did Robin do?

KURTIS: She couldn't have done any better - three in a row.

SAGAL: Congratulations, Robin.


SAGAL: You have fit in well here in America, and you are welcome. Thank you so much for calling.

WILSON: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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