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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. Got COVID? Don't worry - you're about to get a hot Bill injection. I'm Bill Kurtis.

NEGIN FARSAD: (Laughter).

KURTIS: Here is your host, a man who was actually banned from the Chase Bank Auditorium for reasons having nothing to do with coronavirus, Peter Sagal.



Thank you, Bill. And thanks to the recording of people from a distant, happier time. Thanks to our producer Mike, as always, for those comforting sounds. This is the third month of our new life, and we thought we'd celebrate by talking to famed American figure skater Adam Rippon, a medalist at the 2018 Olympics and now a commentator on the sport. You might say, it's spring. This year's Olympics have been canceled. This makes no sense. To which we might say, what does?

But first, we want to see your short program. Call us up. The number is 1-888-WAIT-WAIT - that's 1-888-924-8924. Now let's welcome our first listener contestant.

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

THOMAS DAUGHTRY: Well, hello. My name is Thomas Daughtry (ph), and I'm from Dallas, Texas.

SAGAL: You are from Dallas, Texas. And you have the accent to prove it, which I just love. Are you from there?

DAUGHTRY: Yes, sir - native born and bred.

SAGAL: What do you do there?

DAUGHTRY: Well, I'm a musician, and I also work for FedEx Freight.

SAGAL: Does that mean you get to continue to work as we need our stuff?

DAUGHTRY: We do what we do. I work the overnight shift, and I actually work a dock. I don't drive.

SAGAL: You ever tempted to just open up a bunch of packages and see what people are buying?

DAUGHTRY: No. No. No. We...

KURTIS: (Laughter).

DAUGHTRY: With the freight end of the business, we're - it's everything from diesel motors to pallets of flour - you name it, we ship it. It's heavy...

SAGAL: Right.

DAUGHTRY: ...Heavy freight.

SAGAL: And it's hard to pick up a big box of diesel motors and shake it to see what's inside.

TOM PAPA: (Laughter).

DAUGHTRY: We use forklifts.


SAGAL: Well, Thomas, it's great to meet you. Welcome to our show. Let me introduce you to our panel this week. First, a comedian and host of the podcast Fake The Nation whose latest audience-less stand-up comedy for TED Talks is on an Internet near you. It's Negin Farsad.


FARSAD: Oh, hello.

SAGAL: Next, a comedian and writer whose new book, "You're Doing Great!: And Other Reasons To Stay Alive," is just out now. It's Tom Papa.


PAPA: Hello.

DAUGHTRY: Big fan.

SAGAL: And you can hear her weekly podcast, Nobody Listens To Paula Poundstone - and she's just released a social justice rap song, "Not My Butterfinger," available for download on her website and at all digital outlets - it's Paula Poundstone.


PAULA POUNDSTONE: Hey, Thomas Daughtry.

DAUGHTRY: Hey, Paula. How're you doing today?


SAGAL: Well, Thomas, welcome to the show. You're going to play Who's Bill This Time. Bill Kurtis is going to read 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. Are you ready to play?

DAUGHTRY: Yes, sir.

SAGAL: All right, Thomas. Your first quote is the governor of Wisconsin.

KURTIS: We're the wild West.

SAGAL: The governor was describing the state of his state after the Wisconsin Supreme Court decreed he had to do what?

DAUGHTRY: To open it.

SAGAL: Yes, to open up...


SAGAL: ...The state...


SAGAL: ...Throw open all the businesses. The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling finally gives people the right there to go wherever they want and do whatever they want, even if - especially if - it kills them. Wisconsinites celebrated the ruling the way they celebrate everything - going out to bars and getting drunk. Many of them were wearing the traditional Wisconsin foam Cheesehead. Oh, no. Wait - that was just big clumps of the virus.


SAGAL: So are you guys here itching to get out of the house and hit the clubs as soon as you possibly can?

PAPA: I was kind of comfortable with being at home. I was starting to feel like spending time with my family. I've got two teenage girls and my wife, and I thought this was - I was actually getting used to it and didn't have any desire to go out. And then I was told that I chew too loudly, and they...

FARSAD: (Laughter).

PAPA: ...Can hear me breathing when they watch TV. And they're demanding I go out.


SAGAL: Well, there you are.

POUNDSTONE: I say hi to people at the grocery store. That's like a club.

SAGAL: Sure. It's very much like a club.

POUNDSTONE: It's an angry club...

SAGAL: Yeah.

POUNDSTONE: But it's a club.

SAGAL: There's liquor. There's a wide variety of appetizers.

POUNDSTONE: I do wish that there was a way of, like, letting people know what your facial expression is underneath the mask.

PAPA: Someone told me, you have to work on smiling with your eyes. They call it smeyes (ph).


PAPA: And I tried it. It's - it does not work in my grocery store.

POUNDSTONE: (Laughter).

PAPA: People (laughter)...

FARSAD: You really look dead in the eyes, Tom. I can assert that.

PAPA: I was really coming in - like, we're coming in hot. And I actually saw them start to weep and...


PAPA: ...And run down the aisle.

FARSAD: If you're not - if you don't have to smile anymore out of, like, you know, societal politesse, you're not going to get the wrinkles. So...


PAPA: (Laughter).

FARSAD: So I feel like that is a silver lining that the skin industry doesn't want you to know about.

SAGAL: So back to Wisconsin. The people there are very happy to be out. They missed the conviviality of drinking in bars, the people, the pickup lines - like, so, come here not once in the last two months?


SAGAL: Do you want to hear a great post-COVID-19 pickup line?



PAPA: Yes.

SAGAL: Well, there's a curve in my pants, and it isn't flattening.

PAPA: (Laughter).


POUNDSTONE: Well, Peter, if you weren't married, you would be scoring...

SAGAL: (Laughter) I know.

POUNDSTONE: ...Right and left.

SAGAL: I would be. They'd be flocking to me.

FARSAD: You just - you could do something like, I got some antibodies. You want my antibodies in you? What? I don't know. I'm just working it out, guys.

SAGAL: You're working it out.

FARSAD: I'm not a...

PAPA: I've got...

FARSAD: ...Pickup artist.

PAPA: I've got antibodies, and I'll put them in anybody.

FARSAD: (Laughter) There it is.

SAGAL: All right, Thomas - here is your next quote.

KURTIS: If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me.

SAGAL: That was a noted freedom fighter and billionaire saying if anyone is arrested when he opened up his car factory, it should have been him. Who is it?

DAUGHTRY: That would be Elon Musk.

SAGAL: That would be Elon Musk.


SAGAL: You're right, sir.


SAGAL: Yes, Elon Musk - an eccentric billionaire who named his new baby X weird letter thing A-12. But he's really been acting strange lately. He decided to reopen his California factory even when local authorities said it's too dangerous. But he, Musk, said that Tesla is an essential business. It is essential that the nation's d-bags get their high-tech golf carts.


FARSAD: Can I just say - get off my chest real quick that...

SAGAL: Please.

FARSAD: I think everything that Elon Musk says and does is just so gauche. He - like, those pickup trucks are really ugly and offensive-looking. Mars - I have no interest. I barely want to go to the suburbs. Like, why would I want to go to Mars? It just - all of everything that he's into I find just offensive.

SAGAL: You're really blowing your chance to be - to bear his next child.


FARSAD: (Laughter).

POUNDSTONE: You really are cooking your own goose there. And, you know, we may have to go to Mars. And right now, you just moved your name down the list, Negin.


SAGAL: Speaking of his baby, do you think it's a coincidence that Musk demanded to be allowed to go back to work one week after the birth of his new baby?


SAGAL: Oh, yeah. I got to go back to work, honey.

PAPA: Yeah. I like how you're all acting like this as a human being we're speaking...


PAPA: There's a reason this organism is trying so hard to get back to Mars.

FARSAD: This is how the machines have taken over.

PAPA: (Laughter).

SAGAL: All right, Thomas - very good. Here is your last quote.

KURTIS: It's a very unsexy fall.

SAGAL: That was an entertainment executive talking about the changes coming to what this fall?


SAGAL: No. You're awfully close. The screen is smaller.

DAUGHTRY: Television, then (laughter).

SAGAL: Yeah - TV networks...


SAGAL: ...TV shows.


SAGAL: We are using up all the TV. It's like a famine, and we've broken into the storehouses to eat the seed corn, except the seed corn is just reality dating shows.


SAGAL: Now, normally at this time in the spring, the TV networks all announce the new shows that will be coming in the fall. But right now, TV production is shut down, so they won't have any new shows. What are they going to do? Well, one thing they're doing is they're - this is true - they're buying TV shows that have already been shown elsewhere and will show them on their network. So for example, tonight on NBC, an old CBS show about the Korean War starring hot, young stud...

POUNDSTONE: (Laughter).

SAGAL: ...Alan Alda.

PAPA: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Some shows, like "The Blacklist," which partially shot their episodes before shutting down - they say they're going to fill in the missing scenes with animation.


SAGAL: It's, like...

PAPA: (Laughter).

SAGAL: So it's, detective, it's time to meet your new partner. (Imitating Bugs Bunny) Eh, what's up, doc?


PAPA: This is like the end of soap operas, when soap operas started to decline, and they had no more money, and they couldn't shoot on sets. They started just shooting them in the dressing rooms (laughter). They would literally just come in a dressing room and shoot a scene. All of a sudden, everything happened within two rooms.

POUNDSTONE: Oh, is that true?

PAPA: That's going to be all of television. Yeah. Yeah.

SAGAL: Well, that's actually - it's interesting you mentioned that because there are two shows around the world that are resuming production, and they're both soap operas - "EastEnders" in England and "Neighbours" in Australia. They're quarantining their casts on set. But they also have new rules. There's no kissing between characters, no fighting, right? And as you write, soap operas are going to have to change in coronavirus time - like, oh, no. It's Phil's (ph) evil twin. No, it's me. I just haven't shaved in two months.


POUNDSTONE: Well, I love it, Tom, that you say when soap operas began to decline.


PAPA: They were big for a while.

POUNDSTONE: Yeah, from those lofty heights.

SAGAL: Bill, how did Thomas do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Thomas did great.

SAGAL: Thank you so much...

KURTIS: Way to go.

SAGAL: ...Thomas. Take care.

DAUGHTRY: Thank you.

POUNDSTONE: Bye, Thomas.

DAUGHTRY: It was my pleasure. Bye, everybody. Thank you.


THE DISPOSABLE HEROES OF HIPHOPRISY: (Singing) Television, the drug of the nation, breeding ignorance and feeding radiation. Oh, television, the drug of the nation, breeding ignorance and feeding radiation. TV, it's satellite links our United States... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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