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Who's Bill This Time

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: The following program was taped before an audience of no one.


BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. Don't worry, I'm noncommunica-Bill (ph) - Bill Kurtis. And here is your host from a Jacuzzi filled with hand sanitizer somewhere in Chicago, Peter Sagal.


Thank you, Bill. And thanks to everyone listening at home. This week, we are going old-school. The older members of our audience might remember that for the first seven years of this show, we did it in a studio - the very studio where I now sit, in fact, here at WBEZ in Chicago, with our panelists connecting to us from their own studios around the country.

Now, back then, some people said we were nuts. Why would we do a comedy show hermetically sealed off from any kind of audience? But as it turns out, we were just into social distancing before it was cool.

Later on, we're going to be talking to one of the many people on hiatus from his job because of the crisis, one Stephen Colbert. But now it's time to talk to you. The number to call is 1-888-WAIT-WAIT - that's 1-888-924-8924. Let's welcome our first listener contestant.

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

AMANDA PLUMMER: Hi. This is Amanda Plummer (ph) from Meriden, Conn.

SAGAL: Amanda Plummer - are you...

PLUMMER: Yes, not that Amanda Plummer.

SAGAL: Not that Amanda Plummer. OK. I imagine this comes up a lot...


SAGAL: ...In your daily...

PLUMMER: It used to. When I was in college, I was a theater major, so...



SAGAL: So, Amanda Plummer, of course, is the very well-known actress. She was in "Pulp Fiction," many other things. Christopher Plummer's daughter, right?

PLUMMER: Correct, yeah.

SAGAL: Yeah. I should ask you what you actually do.

PLUMMER: I am a letter carrier.

SAGAL: You are a letter carrier. You, my friend, are a hero. You guys are out there and one of the last connections we have to other people. It's great. Thank you for doing the work...

PLUMMER: That is very true. Yeah.

SAGAL: ...That you do. That's great. Well, welcome to the show, Amanda. Let me introduce you to our panel this week. First up, the host of the daily podcast TBTL, which he's been recording from a tiny room in his house for years - so he's ready for this - and the public radio variety show Live Wire, which he will also now be recording from a tiny room in his house. It's Luke Burbank.

KURTIS: Hey, Luke.

LUKE BURBANK: Amanda, I brought my own sound effects.


BURBANK: Thank you for your service as a mail carrier.

SAGAL: Just imagine lots of people yelling Luke in such a way it sounds like boo.

BURBANK: Hey, I don't mind this no crowd thing. It's kind of nice, actually.

MAZ JOBRANI: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Next, his Back To School With Maz Jobrani podcast is available anywhere podcasts are found. He's doing free Instagram comedy shows nightly to get people through social distancing. It's @mazjobrani. It is - yes, you've figured it out - Maz Jobrani.


JOBRANI: Yes. How are you guys?



JOBRANI: Hi, Amanda.


SAGAL: Finally, it's the comedian who until theaters reopen will be appearing on her website, paulapoundstone.com, where you can find her podcast, Nobody Listens To Paula Poundstone, and an autographed toy for your cat. It's Paula Poundstone.


SAGAL: Welcome to the show, Amanda. You're going to play Who's Bill This Time. Bill Kurtis, sitting right here, is going to read 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 might choose on your voicemail. You ready to play?

PLUMMER: I'm ready.

SAGAL: All right. Here's your first quote. It was written in the sky by a pilot with his flight path this week over Austria.

KURTIS: Stay home.

SAGAL: Why is the sky telling us to stay home?

PLUMMER: Coronavirus.

SAGAL: Oh, yes. You knew. I'm amazed that that news got to you. Yes...


SAGAL: ...The coronavirus. Sitting around staring at your phone has gone from how you procrastinate to how you live. Most employees are now working from home - except, of course, for you. That's resulted in millions of people downloading photos of tastefully decorated homes from Pinterest, then blowing them up into an enormous poster and hanging it behind them for video meetings. Fashion magazines are running features on what concealer to buy to hide the bags under your eyes when you Skype into the office from the toilet.

BURBANK: This has obviously been really bad on a lot of levels, but I can say one silver lining for me is for years, I have been refusing to throw out the New Yorker...


BURBANK: ...Much to the chagrin of my wife. I feel like a half-read New Yorker is like matter - it can't be destroyed. And I am finally having my chance. I pulled out about 120 New Yorkers the other day, stared at them - just said, let's dance, October of 2016.


SAGAL: You'll be relieved...


SAGAL: ...To know, Amanda and everybody...


SAGAL: ...That the federal government is handling this crisis - and I mean that literally. You will be relieved to know it when it happens...

KURTIS: (Laughter).

SAGAL: ...Because so far, it's a clown car jacked up on cinder blocks because somebody stole the wheels. The president should never have fired his pandemic team last year and replaced them with the guys who planned the Fyre Festival. I don't know if you've been watching this, but the president is doing almost daily press conferences which are mostly devoted to him praising himself. He's clearly not socially distancing his face from his own [expletive].

POUNDSTONE: Well, he's not just a - that woman with the scarf stands behind him, and I can tell she's a realtor because...


POUNDSTONE: ...She often has the scarf in, like, a different knot each day, which is one of the things they teach realtors - is a lot of realtors are trained - they take at least one class in the scarf knot book.

JOBRANI: Really?

POUNDSTONE: And yeah, she's obviously...

JOBRANI: Listen. For me, it's been interesting because, well, people keep sending me stuff. I don't know if you guys heard about this one. You're supposed to gargle with hot water. And it's supposed - this is the one that came. It said, if you gargle with hot water, the virus will go in your stomach, and then your stomach acid will kill it. But I'm thinking people doing this with hot water is just going to get burnt tongues and then have to go to the ER with burnt tongues to have them deal with their burnt tongue.

SAGAL: I'm sorry. Do you have the coronavirus? (Vocalizing).


SAGAL: All right, Amanda. Your next quote is from a man who was asked if he was considering ending his campaign for the presidency.

KURTIS: I'm dealing with a bleeping global crisis.

SAGAL: Who is too busy saving the world, apparently, to drop out of his presidential campaign?

PLUMMER: Bernie Sanders.

SAGAL: Bernie Sanders.


SAGAL: At least as of show time, Bernie has not conceded the race, but was, quote, "having conversations with supporters to assess his campaign" - unquote, which is the political equivalent of his campaign is going to go live in a farm upstate. He just won't stop.

BURBANK: (Laughter).

SAGAL: He - Bernie won't stop. Bernie, I know, man. It's just so hard to yell goodbye. So it's all over but the shouting for Joe Biden - or, in his case, the weird, rambling monologue that ends when he says, oh, I'm out of time. Biden swept the three states that had primaries on Tuesday, including Florida, where the Cubans hate Bernie Sanders because of his praise of Castro, and the Jews hate Bernie Sanders because he reminds them of their first husbands.


BURBANK: I don't want to say anything negative about Bernie Sanders because the Bernie bros are intense when they have to go to their jobs. They have literally nothing going on other than yelling at me on Twitter if I say anything negative about that guy.

SAGAL: And yet, at the same time...

BURBANK: Might as well say, good try.

SAGAL: And yet, at the same time, Luke, we're all getting so lonely that we're all going to be tempted just to slag on Bernie just to have a conversation with someone.

BURBANK: (Laughter).

POUNDSTONE: Oh, right - just to have that angry exchange.

BURBANK: I'm, like, one day from that.

SAGAL: Now, Biden - the other big news that Biden made this week was that he promised that he would have a female running mate, which led to Michael Bloomberg briefly considering going full-on "Mrs. Doubtfire."

POUNDSTONE: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Hello. My name is Michelle (ph).

JOBRANI: They asked Bernie if he would do the - if he would commit. And he was, like - it was, (imitating Bernie Sanders) and I will commit 90% that possibly, there'll be a woman vice presidential candidate. I will 90% commit. Yeah, he always throws numbers out, right?

BURBANK: Yeah. You know...

JOBRANI: He said, I kind of will commit.

SAGAL: For a Persian guy, that was a pretty good Bernie Sanders.

JOBRANI: (Imitating Bernie Sanders) I will commit to being 90% good at my impression of Bernie Sanders - not 100%. So if you have any problems with my impression, send them to @petersagal on Twitter.

SAGAL: We're all Semites here. All right, Amanda. Here is your last quote.

KURTIS: Forever a Patriot.

SAGAL: That was from someone who is literally no longer a Patriot. Who is it?

PLUMMER: Oh, it's of the football player Tom Brady.


SAGAL: Tom Brady.


SAGAL: Do your friends in New England know that you don't know that name? Once again, Tom Brady was a national hero. In a time of crisis, he allowed us to interrupt our constant fear with some refreshing hatred. The world's greatest quarterback was loathed by everybody except New England Patriots fans. So he said to himself, now, how do I fix that? He's announced that he'll be leaving the Pats now that his contract is up and reportedly signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for $30 million a season.

That makes sense. A lot of people moved to Florida when they get older. But why was it 30 million? Well, like most people, he said, I wouldn't move to Florida if you gave me $29 million.


JOBRANI: Yeah, I don't know how he keeps going. He's, like, 80 years old or whatever years old.

SAGAL: Nope.

JOBRANI: And he keeps - I mean...


JOBRANI: How old is he, Peter?

SAGAL: Well, he's 42. But he will be, if he starts the season, one of the oldest players ever to play in the NFL. He will try to break the record set by George Blanda, who retired at the age of 48 when he was tackled and disintegrated into a cloud of dust.

POUNDSTONE: (Laughter).

JOBRANI: That's my point exactly. I'm 48, and I swear I try to jog a half an hour. Always three minutes in, I'm always, like, how am I going to get - I can't get past three. I start dreading the next 27 minutes. And I just kind of - I tell myself, you know what? This might be the last run, but I've got to get through it. And I get home, and the joints are hurting. And he's going to go play football at 40-whatever?

POUNDSTONE: Well, you know, I don't want to seem rude, Maz, but in what other way has your life paralleled...


POUNDSTONE: ...Tom Brady? You know, there was stuff that led up to it. Do you see what I'm saying?

SAGAL: Yeah.

POUNDSTONE: He didn't just go out one day and run.

SAGAL: It's true.


SAGAL: He didn't get his first job at quarterback at age 42. That would be impressive, I think. Bill, how did Amanda do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Amanda did great. She made a special delivery and got them all right.

SAGAL: Congratulations, Amanda. Thank you so much for calling. And believe me, I mean it when I say thank you for what you do. It's really important these days.

PLUMMER: Same here. You're welcome.

SAGAL: Take care, Amanda.

(SOUNDBITE OF JOHNNY PEARSON'S "HEAVY ACTION") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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