Bluff The Listener
BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis. We're playing this week with Maz Jobrani, Paula Poundstone and Luke Burbank. And here again is your host from the Federal Strategic Toilet Paper Reserve in Chicago, Peter Sagal.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Thank you so much, Bill. Right now, everybody, it's time for the WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME Bluff the Listener game. You can call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to play our game on the air.
Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.
LIZ CALENDINI: Hi. This is Liz Calendini (ph) from Burke, Va.
SAGAL: Burke, Va. - I don't know where that is. What part of Virginia?
CALENDINI: So it's actually, like, 20 minutes outside of D.C. if there's no traffic.
SAGAL: Oh, I see. But I know some people in Virginia who would say that's not really Virginia. That's Northern Virginia.
CALENDINI: Oh, yeah. Well...
SAGAL: To hell with those people. You're in charge now.
CALENDINI: Exactly. We're the cool part of Virginia.
SAGAL: You're the cool part. Liz, it is...
SAGAL: ...Great to have you with us. You're going to play the game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what is Liz's topic?
KURTIS: When do we want it? Now. What do we want? I don't know.
SAGAL: This week, we heard about a piece of art or entertainment being held back under lock and key, and the people are demanding access to it. Is it that episode of "Hannity" where he admits he voted for Hillary? Our panelists are going to tell you. Pick the one who's telling the truth, and you'll win our prize - the WAIT WAITer of your choice on your voicemail. Ready to play?
SAGAL: First up, let's hear from Luke Burbank.
LUKE BURBANK: For over five centuries, art fans have been wondering, what exactly was the Mona Lisa smiling about in da Vinci's classic painting? Well, we may finally have an answer. She was stoned out of her ever-loving mind - at least, according to an article published last week in the Oxford Art Journal by Halley Sadle (ph), a prominent Renaissance scholar.
Her evidence for this - an earlier portrait of the Mona Lisa painted the day before the famous one by DaVinci, which is similar in every way except that in this version, Mona Lisa appears to be holding, as the Italians would say, de gento de marijuana (ph) - a big, old, fat reefer - in her right hand.
According to the research paper, Lisa Gherardini, the Italian noblewoman who we think of as the Mona Lisa, suffered from terrible migraines and only found relief through cannabis. Da Vinci, being a noted inventor, as well as artist, had designed the first indoor grow operation, complete with skylights and a complex system for irrigating the plants. There is speculation that this is why Mona Lisa would hang out in his studio for hours on end, waiting for him to pass the dutchie (ph) 'pon the left side.
PAULA POUNDSTONE: (Laughter).
BURBANK: Now, no one has actually seen the painting where Mona Lisa is holding the joint. Sadle, the art expert, found one mention of it in a diary that was kept by one of Da Vinci's assistants which suggests that the canvas was actually turned around so Da Vinci could paint on the other side. She believes the leading candidate for this masterpiece in the front, party in the back is da Vinci's painting of Saint John the Baptist because of the microscopic cheese crumbs embedded in the paint, indicating the artist may have had the munchies at the time of painting.
SAGAL: A long-lost version of the "Mona Lisa," which might explain what that smile means. Your next story of in-demand media...
MAZ JOBRANI: (Laughter).
SAGAL: ...Comes from Paula Poundstone.
POUNDSTONE: In a fractious world whose inhabitants seem to agree on so little, here's a heartening story of people rising up in solidarity while still not touching to let their calls for the satisfaction of their common desires be heard on social media. Writer-director Ben Mekler recently attempted to view the digital release of the movie "Cats" on his home screen. Partway through, he tweeted his cry for help. Quote, "I desperately need a tell-all book about the making of 'Cats.' It could really help me get through this" - end quote.
Fellow writer Jack Waz responded with a tweet that I, Paula Poundstone, will not be allowed to use the exact term because of broadcast radio restrictions. But I will read part of the controversial term, and you fill in the rest with, what is a golfer aiming his ball towards on a golf course? Here is writer Jack Waz's tweet that started a movement.
Quote, "a visual effects friend of a friend was hired in November to finish some of the 400 effects in the "Cats" movie. His entire job was to remove CGI butt (vocalizing) that had been inserted a few months before - which means somewhere out there, there exists a butt cut of 'Cats'" - end quote. Soon, hashtag #ReleaseTheButt (vocalizing) Cut was trending.
Now that it has been unleashed, this public demand for anatomically correct animated movie animals surely won't stop there. Online pleas of hashtag #WhereAreBuck'sPrivates will follow the home release of "Call Of The Wild," and that of the new "King Kong" will be dogged by hashtag #ReleaseKong'sSchlong.
SAGAL: The probably mythical but much demanded butt (vocalizing) cut of "Cats."
SAGAL: And finally, let's hear about something that people desperately want to see from Maz Jobrani.
JOBRANI: Before George Lucas sold his "Star Wars" franchise to Disney, he had an out-of-the-box idea. What would it be like to do a podcast featuring all of his favorite characters being interviewed by Yoda? And he would call it a yodcast (ph).
Believe it or not, the yodcast happened, and the tapes are hidden somewhere deep in a bunker in Burbank because Disney does not want them to see the light of day. Why, you ask? Interestingly enough, one other out-of-the-box idea Lucas had was to have his golfing buddy Joe Pesci be the voice of Yoda in the yodcasts. As one could imagine, the 10-episode series quickly went from a podcast for all fans to a podcast for adult fans.
The Burbank Gazette was able to obtain some clips of the series where Pesci is heard saying (imitating Joe Pesci) your name - what is? Why am I talking like this? To which the director replies, that's how Yoda talks. He flips his sentences. To which Pesci replies, how about I come over there and flip a couple of sentences up your bippity-blip-blip (ph)? And it goes downhill from there. When he interviews Luke Skywalker...
JOBRANI: ...Pesci is heard saying (imitating Joe Pesci) what's the Force mean to you? What kind of stupid question is that?
JOBRANI: Later, he asked Han Solo, when Chewbacca goes (vocalizing), do you actually understand that crap?
JOBRANI: Although fans are clamoring to have the podcast released, Disney executives denied the tapes even exist. When the Gazette tracked down George Lucas and Joe Pesci on the golf course and asked them, Pesci replied, (imitating Joe Pesci) you better get out of my face before I use the Force to smack you over the head with this golf club.
SAGAL: All right, then. One of these things, Liz, might actually exist. And if it does, people want to see it. Was it, from Luke, a version of the "Mona Lisa" in which she is holding a spliff of some kind; from Paula Poundstone, the butt cut of "Cats"...
SAGAL: ...Which is, I guess, the more anatomically correct version; and from Maz, a Yoda podcast with a very profane Yoda as voiced by Joe Pesci? Which of these really might be out there just tempting the fans?
CALENDINI: (Laughter) Well, I actually know the answer because I want to see the cat butts.
SAGAL: You do - you want to see the cat butts. So...
CALENDINI: Yes. Yes.
SAGAL: So you're choosing Paula's story of the special cut of "Cats" before they erased the cat butts.
CALENDINI: That is correct.
SAGAL: Well, to bring you the real answer, we spoke to someone deeply involved in the real story.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
JACK WAZ: The decision was made to no longer include the butts in the movie "Cats," so a visual effects producer was brought in to erase all the realistic cat butts.
SAGAL: That was Jack Waz, the man behind the movement called #ReleaseThe[expletive]. Congratulations, Liz.
SAGAL: You got it right. You knew it all along.
CALENDINI: (Laughter) Yes.
SAGAL: I hope you are able to see...
SAGAL: ...Idris Elba's fake...
SAGAL: ...Cat butt before you die.
CALENDINI: Thank you.
SAGAL: You also earned a point for Paula, and you've won our prize - the voice of your choice on your voicemail. Thank you so much, Liz, for playing with us today.
CALENDINI: Awesome. Thank you.
SAGAL: Thank you. Take care.
POUNDSTONE: Bye, Liz.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MOONSHADOW")
CAT STEVENS: (Singing) I'm being followed by a moon shadow, moon shadow, moon shadow. Leaping and hopping on a moon shadow, moon shadow, moon shadow. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.