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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. Grab a spoon. You're about to have a big old bowl of Bill-abaisse (ph).

(APPLAUSE)

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.

(CHEERING)

SAGAL: Thanks, everybody. Thank you. We have got a fabulous show today. Later on, we're going to be talking to Alison Roman. She's a cookbook author and home cooking guru. She is known for viral recipes known as the stew, the cookie and the dip. Now, if you're not into viral food, and you prefer bacterial, may we suggest...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: ...Chipotle?

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: We're pretty sure that we can't catch anything from you because you will be on the phone, so give us a call. 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.

TYLER SMITH: Hi. This is Tyler Smith (ph) calling from Wappingers Falls, N.Y.

SAGAL: Wappingers Falls...

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: That's one of those places like, you know, Kankakee that I've always heard of because of the fun name. Where is it?

SMITH: It's in the scenic Hudson Valley, about 90 minutes north of New York City.

SAGAL: I see. And do you have sort of high jinks there in Wappingers Falls?

SMITH: The high jinks usually end up being maybe at the falls, maybe finding some wappingers (ph). You never know.

SAGAL: You never know...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: ...Either, both. Well, Tyler, let me introduce you to our panel this week. First, a comedian who'll be performing at Hyena's in Dallas, Texas, January 30 through February 1 - it's Helen Hong.

HELEN HONG: Hi. Hi, Tyler.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Next, the humorist who'll be appearing with Maeve Higgins, Jordan Carlos and Erin Jackson at Comics on a Mission April 4 at the Latchis Theater in Brattleboro, Vt., Tom Bodett.

(APPLAUSE)

TOM BODETT: Hello, Tyler.

SAGAL: And a contributing writer for The New York Times and author of the book "Maeve In America," it's Maeve Higgins.

MAEVE HIGGINS: Hi.

(CHEERING)

SAGAL: We are all met. Tyler, you are going to play Who's Bill This Time. Bill Kurtis is going to read you three quotations from the week's news. You knew this. If you can correctly identify or explain two of them, you'll win our prize - the voice of anyone you might choose on your voicemail. Are you ready to play?

SMITH: I am.

SAGAL: All right. Here we go. Here is your first quote.

KURTIS: My biggest regret is trusting so much.

SAGAL: That was someone who told the world this week he regrets trusting Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump and apparently a whole bunch of Russian and Ukrainian mobsters.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Who spilled the beans this week?

SMITH: I think it's Lev Parnas.

SAGAL: Very good. You got it...

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SAGAL: ...Lev Parnas.

HONG: Wow.

KURTIS: Pulled it out of the blue there. Good.

SAGAL: Parnas is, of course, a, quote, "associate" of Rudy Giuliani - sort of a henchman No. 1 to Rudy's Penguin.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Parnas was arrested by the feds last year, but this week, he decided to tell everybody everything he knows. He says this was because once everybody knows what he knows, it would be pointless to stop him from talking. It's the first publicity tour ever done in order to not get murdered.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: So the first thing we saw was this whole stack of documents that had come from Parnas, released by the House Intelligence Committee. It included a bunch of handwritten notes on hotel stationery saying things like, "tell Zelenskiy he has to open investigations into Bidens," quote-unquote. That will go down in the annals of evidence along with O.J.'s note to himself - buy a glove to replace the one I dropped at the crime scene.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Did you guys follow Parnas'...

HIGGINS: Yeah. I was so surprised about his, like, hotel note-keeping.

SAGAL: Yeah.

HIGGINS: And I think - it reminded me of when I had a nutritionist, and she wanted me to keep a food diary.

SAGAL: Yeah.

HIGGINS: And I'd be, like, absolutely. I'll remember to do that. And then I would just get different pieces of paper, and write in different pens...

SAGAL: Yeah.

HIGGINS: ...You know? And I would always just obviously just write down, like, leaves or whatever. You know, like, it wasn't true.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Yeah.

HIGGINS: My nutritionist told me I even had to write down when I was sleep-eating.

SAGAL: Really?

HIGGINS: Yeah.

SAGAL: How're you supposed to do that?

HONG: How do you write down if you're sleep-eating?

HIGGINS: I mean, you just find an empty jar of peanut butter next to your bed.

(LAUGHTER)

HONG: There you go.

HIGGINS: Well, I live alone, so...

BODETT: Oh, and then you deduce what happened. I see.

HIGGINS: A little bit of detective work.

SAGAL: Well, anyway...

HIGGINS: (Unintelligible) I figured it out.

SAGAL: Back to the impeachable offenses.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Parnas says that everybody was involved in this scheme - the president, the vice president, William Barr. They even invited Tiffany to blackmail a little country of her own so she wouldn't feel left out.

(LAUGHTER)

HIGGINS: I had to think, who's Tiffany?

SAGAL: I know...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: ...You and the president.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Wait a minute.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: First of all, you know I'm right.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: All right. Here...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: ...Tyler - all right, Tyler. Here is your next quote. It's from presidential candidate Tom Steyer.

KURTIS: I don't want to get in the middle. I just want to say hi to Bernie.

SAGAL: Steyer was explaining why he interrupted Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders having a disagreement after what big event this week?

SMITH: That would be the Democratic debate.

SAGAL: Yes, indeed, Tyler - the Democratic debate...

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SAGAL: ...Very good. It was...

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: ...The last one before the Iowa caucuses, so there was tension in the air as the cast of "Cocoon" took to the debate stage...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: ...In Iowa on Tuesday. Right before the debate, we found out that Bernie Sanders had allegedly told Elizabeth Warren that he did not believe a woman could win the presidency during a private dinner in 2018. She says he did that. He says he didn't. Maybe she just didn't hear him right. If you're having a private dinner with Bernie Sanders, you sit as far away as you can...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: ...To keep him from yelling food onto you.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: But during the debate, Sanders said he didn't say any such thing. That's why afterwards, Warren refused to shake Sanders' hand and accused him of, quote, "calling me a liar on national television." They started having some words right there. And that's when Tom Steyer walked up and could be seen awkwardly trying and failing to get involved. And in a statement, his campaign said, that is not a metaphor.

(LAUGHTER)

HONG: Tom Steyer already looks like a furniture salesman, right? Like, he already has that look - like, hey, come on down to Tom's Tush (ph) Cushions.

(LAUGHTER)

HONG: We're having an 80% off sale. So - and then it was, like, he was getting it - like, they're, like having a super tense moment. He's, like, hey, did I give you guys coupons?

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: The biggest reaction to the debate among Democrats was a kind of stunned dismay. One of these people is going to try to save the world. So Democratic voters just before voting begins are now at that moment like at a restaurant where you just turn over the menu to see if there's anything else you can eat.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: That's why the No. 1 choice in polls in Iowa is, do you have any specials?

(LAUGHTER)

HIGGINS: And Mike Bloomberg is, like, I've got l'escargot (ph).

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Weird. All right, Tyler. Your last quote is from former Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia.

KURTIS: We should have won the bleeping World Series.

SAGAL: Sabathia was reacting to the news that the Yankees' opponent, the Houston Astros that year, did what in 2017?

SMITH: They were stealing signs.

SAGAL: They were cheating, my friend. That's what they were doing. That's right.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SAGAL: Baseball...

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Baseball, many people think, is boring. But you know what everyone can get into? Cheating.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: So if you were watching the 2017 World Series between the Astros and the Dodgers, actually, you might have noticed some people banging garbage cans in the Houston Astros' dugout. And you probably thought, weird time for garbage day. Two bangs meant a breaking ball was coming. No bangs meant a fastball. But the problem wasn't the garbage can. It's how they were stealing the catcher signals. Baseball allows you to steal signs, but with your eyes - not with any technology. You're expected to cheat by the rules.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: No cheating at cheating.

HONG: I know so little about baseball that I read the headline sign stealing scandal...

SAGAL: Yeah.

HIGGINS: And I literally thought it meant the team went out and were stealing street signs.

(LAUGHTER)

HONG: Like, they were, like, going out and being, like, oh, there's Old Town Road, or, oh, there's Route 666.

SAGAL: And doing what, putting them in their dorms?

HONG: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

HONG: Yeah. That's...

HIGGINS: Well, you know, during, like, the Troubles in Northern Ireland, the - just as...

(LAUGHTER)

HIGGINS: ...Since it's a comedy show....

SAGAL: Yeah, OK.

HIGGINS: The women would, like, bang dustbin lids on the ground to warn the IRA that the British soldiers...

SAGAL: Yeah.

HIGGINS: ...Were coming. So when I heard all those dustbin lids, I was, like, do not tell me the British are invading America.

(LAUGHTER)

HIGGINS: Of all the things to happen...

SAGAL: Really?

BODETT: Yes.

HIGGINS: Didn't they - I mean, no, I...

SAGAL: So obviously, they stole this idea of stealing signals from North - the Irish?

HIGGINS: The best at baseball, if you've noticed.

SAGAL: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

HIGGINS: I don't know if you've been watching the World Series, but Ireland always comes in top.

SAGAL: That's true.

(LAUGHTER)

HIGGINS: In the world.

SAGAL: In the world. Bill, how did Tyler do on our quiz?

KURTIS: He did great. Tyler got 3 and 0. He did well.

SAGAL: Congratulations.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Well done, Tyler.

SMITH: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE SIGN")

ACE OF BASE: (Singing, unintelligible) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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