Who's Bill This Time
BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR News quiz. Hey there, vegetarians, put me on your buns. I'm a portobillo (ph)...
KURTIS: ...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. Thank you so much.
SAGAL: We really do have a very exciting show for you today, for me personally. It's such a thrill for me. One of my heroes, William Shatner, is going to join us later to play our games. Like most nerdy kids growing up when I did, I was obsessed with him and have always dreamed of meeting the guy who played the immortal police sergeant T.J. Hooker.
SAGAL: Oh, yeah, back in the day I was a real Hooky (ph).
SAGAL: You can't make fun of me for being a nerd if you're listening to this, so drop the pretense. Give us a call.
SAGAL: 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.
JUSTIN PERRY: Hi, this is Justin Perry calling from Columbia City, Ind.
SAGAL: Columbia City, Ind. - now, I don't know where that is. Where is it?
PERRY: Turns out I don't know where it is, either.
SAGAL: Yet you somehow ended up there. How did that happen?
LUKE BURBANK: Is somebody holding you there, Justin?
HELEN HONG: Blink twice.
SAGAL: Yeah. OK, and what do you do there?
PERRY: I'm a sports editor at the county newspaper.
SAGAL: Oh, really? Does that mean you cover a lot of, like, high school sports?
PERRY: Yeah, just high school sports.
SAGAL: All right. And is that exciting?
PERRY: You know, when I first started out it was exciting, but no.
SAGAL: They keep graduating. What are you going to do?
PERRY: Just staying...
ROY BLOUNT JR: How many years have you been doing that?
PERRY: I've been here for six months. I just graduated (unintelligible).
SAGAL: Oh, it happens to all of us.
HONG: So jaded.
PERRY: It happens.
SAGAL: Well, welcome to the show, Justin. Let me introduce you to our panel this week. First off, it's a humorist and author most recently of "Save Room For Pie." It's Roy Blount Jr.
BLOUNT JR: Hi, Justin. Welcome.
SAGAL: Next, it's a comedian who will be performing at the Boca Black Box in Boca Raton on December 21 and 22 and at Laugh Boston in Boston, Mass., from January 3 through the 5. It's Helen Hong.
HONG: Hi. Hi, Justin.
SAGAL: And finally, the host of the podcast Too Beautiful to Live and the public radio variety show Live Wire, It's Luke Burbank.
SAGAL: Welcome to the show, Justin. You're going to play Who's Bill This Time. Bill Kurtis is going to read for you three quotations from this week's news. If you can correctly identify or explain just two of them, you'll win our prize, any voice from our show you may choose on your voicemail. You ready to play?
PERRY: Yeah, but I first want to apologize that I'm not William Shatner, either.
SAGAL: It's all right.
PERRY: I'm ready to play.
SAGAL: So here is your first quote.
KURTIS: You get into a tinkle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you.
SAGAL: That was very-soon-to-be House Speaker Nancy Pelosi talking about the, quote, "tinkle contest" she had in front of TV cameras with whom this week?
PERRY: Donald Trump.
SAGAL: Yes, Donald Trump.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: The president wanted to show he could work with the pair of people he calls Chuck and Nancy, and the ensued televised meeting was a lot like the movie "Sid And Nancy"...
SAGAL: ...In that everybody in it seemed to be on drugs...
SAGAL: ...Mike Pence especially.
SAGAL: He seemed to have prepared for the meeting by eating fistfuls of Ambien.
SAGAL: Seriously, in this Oval Office meeting, the only person there more uncomfortable and frozen still than Mike Pence was the bust of Martin Luther King.
BURBANK: He definitely ate an edible that got on top of him.
SAGAL: He's sitting there. I didn't know you're not supposed to eat the whole bar.
HONG: He kind of looked like like an elf on a shelf if the elf had irritable bowel syndrome.
SAGAL: So Nancy Pelosi's performance particularly in this meeting impressed people. It looks like she's got a lock on being the next speaker. But what exactly is a tinkle contest? We know what a pissing match is - a tinkle contest?
BURBANK: You obviously were not in a fraternity, Peter.
HONG: I thought that's something that Donald Trump just did with Russian models.
SAGAL: But really - did you watch this? Pelosi was, like, the first person who ever in one of these meetings pushed back on him, told him he wasn't telling the truth, told him to stop doing what he was doing.
SAGAL: Nobody has spanked the president like that since Stormy Daniels.
SAGAL: All right, Justin, here is your next quote.
KURTIS: You make a hundred million dollars a year. You ought to be able to answer that question.
SAGAL: That was Congressman Ted Poe. He was going after the CEO of what company who made his first appearance as a witness before Congress this week?
PERRY: Oh, gosh.
SAGAL: It's the company we're looking for.
PERRY: Is it Google?
SAGAL: It is Google.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: This was a very strange hearing. Imagine your grandfather who asks you how you email a text, multiply him by 20, and give them all subpoena power.
SAGAL: Congress members of both parties went after Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google, who answered their questions with all the fake patience of a guy on the IT helpline.
SAGAL: Yes, sir, I'm sorry my company is undermining democracy, but have you tried rebooting your country?
SAGAL: The real problem, though, is very annoying to the Congress members. They'd start to ask a question, and he being from Google would autocomplete it.
SAGAL: So they'd be like, have you - have I considered what a resource Google is for Americans? Yes, I have.
HONG: I love the exchange where one of the Congress members said, when I Google image the word idiot...
BLOUNT JR: Yeah.
HONG: ...The president's face comes up.
SAGAL: Well, what's interesting...
HONG: And he was like, yeah.
BLOUNT JR: Yeah.
HONG: Pretty much, yeah.
SAGAL: She was like, why is that?
SAGAL: And it was interesting because the hearing was filled with Republicans who were very angry because they perceive liberal bias...
SAGAL: ...In search results. But that person who asked that was Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat from California.
HONG: Yeah. But he gave a very long answer to say that it works.
SAGAL: That's - multiple Congress people demanded Mr. Pichai explain to them how their iPhones did things. He explained that they are made in fact by a different company.
SAGAL: Then it got worse when Lamar Smith asked him how to program his Instant Pot.
BURBANK: He's actually still there, the guy from Google, because they asked him to set up the printer.
SAGAL: All right, here is your last quote.
KURTIS: They should let a dog host. Just put it onstage and see what happens.
SAGAL: That was someone on Twitter commenting on the big issue facing what big awards show?
PERRY: The Academy Awards.
SAGAL: Yes, indeed...
SAGAL: ...The Academy Awards, known as the Oscars. Very good, Justin.
SAGAL: So as I'm sure you know, the Academy picked the comedian Kevin Hart to host next year's Oscars. But then some old homophobic tweets came to light, and he dropped out. The tweets were about how upset he would be if his young son wanted to play with dolls, which is a pretty irresponsible thing to say when you yourself are 10 inches tall.
BURBANK: Well, I guess we know who else won't be hosting the Oscars.
SAGAL: I guess not.
BURBANK: Peter Sagal.
SAGAL: So now - well, apparently, 'cause they couldn't get the man they wanted, there's nobody else in the world who can host it. People are like, well, there are all these talented women. And the Academy said, nope, no host.
SAGAL: Nobody exists in this world who can host the Oscars. And people were like, well, Ellen DeGeneres is pretty talented and maybe Amy Poehler. And the Academy was like, no, we shall spend our days alone.
BURBANK: Are they really going with no host now?
SAGAL: They really are...
SAGAL: ...Considering it. And people are even arguing, saying, do not use a host. It's better without a host. It will save time.
SAGAL: Nobody will say anything dumb that they'll have to apologize for.
BURBANK: That's - you put the award on a Roomba...
BURBANK: ...And you just turn it loose on the stage.
BURBANK: And if you can catch it, you win Best Actor.
SAGAL: Bill, how did Justin do on our quiz?
KURTIS: Justin, you did 2 out of 3, and that's a win.
SAGAL: Congratulations, Justin.
SAGAL: That's great.
PERRY: Oh, thank you.
SAGAL: Take care. Thanks for playing. I hope you find the joy again in the second six months of your job.
SAGAL: Take care.
PERRY: OK, thanks (laughter). Bye.
(SOUNDBITE OF BEASTIE BOYS SONG, "FUNKY BOSS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.