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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. Get a real job, Sweeney Todd. I'm the Barber of Se-Bill (ph), Bill Kurtis. And here is your host, a man who was just elected mayor of his living room, Peter Sagal.



Thank you so much, Bill. And thanks to this week's fake audience, which is all the bikers who decided to skip the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally as they read the news.

If there's one problem that we're all struggling with now, it's how to let other people know you're happy to see them while you're wearing a mask. Well, later on, we're going to be talking to supermodel Tyra Banks, who's the new host of "Dancing With The Stars" but who also invented the art of smiling with your eyes, or smizing.

There's no need to worry about your dead-eyed look when you call in to play our games. We can't see you. The number is 1-888-WAIT-WAIT - that's 1-888-924-8924.

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

ROTH HEFFLER: Hey. This is Roth (ph).

SAGAL: Hey, Roth. Where are you calling from?

HEFFLER: I'm calling from Atlanta.

SAGAL: Oh, what do you do there?

HEFFLER: Well, I just quit my job a couple weeks ago, actually.

SAGAL: You did.


SAGAL: Yeah. You just wanted to spend more time locked at home with your family.

HEFFLER: Well, I'd have plenty of that - sort of the lockdown. You know, once I...

SAGAL: Yeah.

HEFFLER: ...Stopped having lunch with my coworkers, I realized that the work itself wasn't really sitting for me.

SAGAL: Really? So it turns out that however long you were at this job, what was really keeping you going, inspiring you, was just having lunch with your co-workers.

HEFFLER: Well, I mean, more than that. But, you know...


SAGAL: No, that's great.

JESSI KLEIN: Mostly, then.

SAGAL: It's quite a compliment to your co-workers.

HEFFLER: Yeah, a lot of great guys.

SAGAL: Well, welcome to the show, Roth. Let me introduce you to our panel this week. First, it's a comedian who can be seen on the "5 O'Clock Somewhere News" on Instagram and YouTube. It's Adam Burke.


ADAM BURKE: Hello. Congratulations on your emancipation from your job.

HEFFLER: Thanks.

SAGAL: Next, it's the host of the daily podcast TBTL and the radio show Live Wire. He'll be hosting the Port Townsend Virtual Wooden Boat Festival this very weekend.


SAGAL: It's Luke Burbank.


BURBANK: Hey there, Roth.

HEFFLER: Hey, dude.

SAGAL: And finally, an Emmy-winning writer, as well as the voice of Jessi on the animated hit Netflix show "Big Mouth." And she's the author of The New York Times best-seller "You'll Grow Out Of It." It's Jessi Klein.


KLEIN: Hello, Roth.

HEFFLER: Hey, Jessi. Wow.

SAGAL: Roth, welcome to our show. You're going to start us off with Who's Bill This Time. As I bet you knew, Bill Kurtis is now 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?

HEFFLER: Great, yeah.

SAGAL: Here is your first quote.

KURTIS: However you feel about him, he makes great copy.

SAGAL: That's Eamon Dolan, an editor at Simon and Schuster, talking about all of the books written about whom?

HEFFLER: President Trump.

SAGAL: Exactly.


SAGAL: President Trump, of course.


SAGAL: The president didn't save American manufacturing, but he has saved publishing. According to the New York Times, over the past four years, 1,200 books have been published related to Donald Trump, meaning he did fulfill one of his promises - to murder a hundred million trees.

BURBANK: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Have you guys read any of these books? Because, like everybody else, I just wait to hear what the news is out of any of them.

BURKE: (Laughter).

SAGAL: You know, amazing revelation - the next new book. And then I ignore it otherwise.

BURKE: I read the first Woodward one, which is called "Fear..."


BURKE: ...Not the new one, which is called "Rage." I'm looking forward to his third one, which is just "Ahh (ph) Jesus."


KLEIN: What is the opposite of wanting a book to be made into a movie?


KLEIN: Is it where you wish the material that made the book would just go into a black hole 8 billion galaxies away?

BURKE: (Laughter).

KLEIN: I am not reading these books.

BURKE: You know that old saying, Jessi - isn't it, you know, the book was better than the movie, and the reality was worse than both?

KLEIN: (Laughter).

SAGAL: This is true. We're talking, of course, about this new book, "Rage" by Bob Woodward, in which he reveals that the president confessed to Bob Woodward that he knew how bad the coronavirus was way back when he was telling us it was nothing to worry about. And it's true. A lot of people are going after Bob Woodward for not letting us know this when he found out. They have a point. If only we had known who was president in March, we could have done something.


KLEIN: Guys, if I put 30 Zolofts into a blender with 78 tons of ice cream...


KLEIN: ...Because I honestly can't think of anything I would rather do listening to literally all of these details.

BURKE: I don't know about that, Jessi, but I think you should definitely write a cookbook.


SAGAL: Yeah.

BURBANK: But put Trump somewhere in the title so you can get on the bestseller list.

SAGAL: Well, that's exactly it. All of these books are selling amazingly well. Mary Trump's book - his niece - her book sold more copies than "The Art Of The Deal." So everybody is trying to get in on this. Samin Nosrat is going to publish a new cookbook - "Salt, Fat, Crimes And Misdemeanors."


KLEIN: Mine is going to be called "Feelings And How To Eat Them All Up."


SAGAL: Here is your next quote, Roth.

KURTIS: For the love of God, stop burning things down to tell everyone about your kid's genitals.

SAGAL: That was a woman named Jenna Karvunidis, who happens to be the person who invented a certain kind of party. And now she wants everybody to please stop before they start any more forest fires. What kind of party is it?

HEFFLER: Oh, a gender reveal party.

SAGAL: Exactly - a gender reveal party.


SAGAL: Now...


SAGAL: Back in the day, you'd reveal a baby's gender by waiting till it grew up, joined the workforce, and then you see how much it gets paid. But these days, apparently, parents have these gender reveal parties. Some people make a cake that are blue or pink inside. Some people release blue or pink balloons. And one couple used a, quote, "pyrotechnic device" that started a wildfire that is currently burning down most of the forest east of Los Angeles.

Now, what's weird is, after all that, we don't even know what the gender of the baby is. Congratulations, proud parents. It's a disaster.


KLEIN: I had - I'm going to confess I had - when my baby was gestating...

SAGAL: Yes, that's the term.

KLEIN: I had a gender reveal party where I set off a nuclear bomb...


KLEIN: ...Because it was the only way I could think to let people know I was having a boy. I just couldn't think of another way to do it.

SAGAL: So was the color of the mushroom cloud...


KLEIN: ...Emails. I thought about printing out letters or even calling my friends. And the only thing I could do was to set off a nuclear explosion.


BURBANK: You know, what to me is maybe the most surprising part of this story is that...


BURBANK: ...This is not the first major forest fire...

SAGAL: Right.

BURBANK: ...Started by a gender reveal.

SAGAL: That is - this is at least the second that we've heard of. I mean, this - these disasters are happening so often, they're going to have to add 811 as an emergency number just for the gender reveal disasters.

BURBANK: If you - if Smokey Bear is standing behind you with the shovel held over his head...


BURBANK: ...Like he's going to swing it at you, it's because you lit the forest on fire with your gender reveal. It's, like, where should we do this overly performative thing that's not about the child? I know - dry grasslands.

SAGAL: (Laughter).

BURKE: Is that what happened in Chicago, too? Like, did Mrs. O'Leary have a gender reveal...

SAGAL: Exactly.

BURKE: ...For her cow?

SAGAL: It turns out it was a cow, not a bull. And then the whole city burned up.


SAGAL: Now, listen - as a public service, we're going to give everybody who insists on doing this the best way to reveal your baby's gender. And you can do it without spending any money or causing a massive catastrophe. You can have the one and only Bill Kurtis reveal your baby's gender. So everybody get ready to record. You can use this however you like. Bill.

KURTIS: Hello. I'm Bill Kurtis. It's a baby. Gender is a social construct. Now cut it out with the forest fires, you putzes.

BURKE: (Laughter) Also, a much better slogan for Smokey the Bear - cut it out with the forest fires, you putzes.


KLEIN: Very Yiddish.

SAGAL: All right, Roth. Here is your last quote.

KURTIS: They got tired of keeping up with themselves.

SAGAL: That was the New York Post talking about a reality show that announced it will finally be ending after 20 seasons. What is the show?

HEFFLER: "Keeping The Kardashians" (ph)

SAGAL: "Keeping Up With The Kardashians."


SAGAL: It's a day we thought would never come.


SAGAL: We have finally caught up with the Kardashians.


SAGAL: After 20 seasons, 13 years on TV, we're going to say goodbye to all of them - Kris, Kim, Khloe, Kourtney, Kendall, Karnie (ph), Klem (ph) and Kletus (ph).

BURKE: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Did you guys ever watch this show? Because I never knowingly saw a minute of it.

KLEIN: Well, I can tell you the appeal of the show.

SAGAL: Please.

KLEIN: It used to be before the show that when you ate and/or went to the bathroom, you had nothing to look at.


SAGAL: Oh, I remember those horrible days.

KLEIN: Remember, you would just sit and talk to your people. Now, this show - then there was, like, what if we could fill this with people with the shiniest hair you've ever seen in your lives?


KLEIN: And that's what the show was.

BURBANK: I have to say, though, I want to stand up for the Kardashians a little bit.

SAGAL: Please.

BURBANK: Like, it - there's - it's sort of low-hanging fruit. It's easy to talk about, you know, the show being vapid. I do think they have a lot of genuine affection for each other. I have been roped into watching many an episode of the show, and I find them to actually be more likable than I would have expected. That being said, I think we now can close the book on what it does to a family structure to film everything that happens for 13 years.


BURBANK: And it ain't great. Like, they are the richest disasters on planet Earth at this point...

BURKE: (Laughter).

BURBANK: ...From all of this attention and documentation.

SAGAL: Now, we will admit that it is finally time for them to go. Everything gets a little stale after being on the air that long - incredibly stale. Well, anyway, stay tuned for WAIT WAIT's 23rd anniversary special...


SAGAL: ...In January. Bill, how did Roth do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Roth got us off to a great start, 3 and 0. Thank you, Roth.

SAGAL: Thank you, Roth. And good luck with whatever's next.

HEFFLER: Yeah, thanks so much for having me.

SAGAL: Take care.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.