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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. Chew me up and blow a bub-Bill (ph).


KURTIS: I'm Bill Kurtis. And here's your host at the Chase Bank near his house, cashing a check, Peter Sagal.



Thank you, Bill. And thanks once again to our fake audience, which this week is people who like good candy reacting to the news that the pandemic has stopped the production of Peeps. Later on, we're going to be talking to actor and singer Tituss Burgess, who became famous for his role on the "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" - which, of course, was a TV show about a woman who was not allowed to go outside for 15 years. Remember when that seemed odd?


SAGAL: You don't need to leave your bunker to play our games. Just give us a call. The number is 1-888-WAIT-WAIT - that's 1-888-924-8924. Now let's welcome our first listener contestant. Hi, you are on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

KIMBERLY PEARSON: Hello. This is Kimberly Pearson (ph).

SAGAL: Hi, Kimberly. Where are you calling from?

PEARSON: Arlington, Va.

SAGAL: Ah, Washington, D.C.-adjacent. What do you do there?

PEARSON: I'm a school teacher. I teach sixth grade English.

SAGAL: OK. You know what I'm going to ask. How's it going with the remote schooling?

PEARSON: You know, I have to say it's not so bad. I think we're doing a lot better in the fall than we did in the spring.

SAGAL: That's good. People are used to it.

HARI KONDABOLU: Have there been any cardboard cut-outs?

PEARSON: None yet, but some sock puppets, so...

PJ O'ROURKE: Sock puppets - they're a tough audience - sock puppets are in my experience.


SAGAL: Kimberly, let me introduce you to our panel this week. First up, it's a comedian who co-hosts the podcast Politically Re-Active with W. Kamau Bell, returning for its third season in the first week of October. It's Hari Kondabolu.


KONDABOLU: Hello, Peter. Hello, Kimberly.


SAGAL: Next, his new book is "A Cry From The Far Middle: Dispatches From A Divided Land," the editor-in-chief of American Consequences, a free web magazine about political economy - it's P.J. O'Rourke.


O'ROURKE: Hi, Kimberly.

SAGAL: And the host of the podcast Nobody Listens To Paula Poundstone and the mini-podcast the French Trump Friday News Conference (ph), it's Paula Poundstone.


PEARSON: Hey, Paula.


SAGAL: Kimberly, welcome to the show. You're going to play Who's Bill This Time. Bill Kurtis is going to read you three quotations from this week's news. If you can correctly identify or explain two of them, you'll win our prize - any a voice from our show you might choose on your voicemail. You ready to play?

PEARSON: I'm ready.

SAGAL: All right. Your first quote is a tweet from Joe Biden.

KURTIS: Just to be clear, I am not president.

SAGAL: Biden said that after who took him to task for not implementing a nationwide mask mandate during a voters' town hall?

PEARSON: Let me guess - Donald Trump.




SAGAL: It's a good guess, Kimberly - a very good guess. Now, just like it's not really football season until the first time Tom Brady cheats, it's not election season until the town halls start. Now, President Trump did his on Tuesday. While it's unusual for President Trump to be questioned by people who aren't either Fox News hosts or lawyers deposing him, he did really well. He didn't tell a single voter to go back to your country. Kayleigh McEnany didn't once have to use the shock caller.

POUNDSTONE: (Laughter) I love it that he says, why didn't Joe Biden do something? He actually thinks Joe Biden is president.

SAGAL: I kind of - I think he wishes Joe Biden were president. Then he could, you know, go back to Trump Tower and not have to do any work.

POUNDSTONE: You know what? I don't think he ever wanted to be president. I think the whole thing - in fact, you know, I have a theory. A long time ago, when my son was little, they were going - the school was going to go on some sort of overnight trip or something. And I kept using it as leverage for, you know, behavior issues at home. I would say...


POUNDSTONE: Well, if you don't do the blah, blah, blah then you're not going to get to go on the blah - you know, on the school trip. And he would do something else not good, and then he would do something else not good. And I finally figured out he actually didn't want to go on the school trip.

SAGAL: (Laughter).

POUNDSTONE: And so I'll bet you Trump is every day, like, just impeach me. Just remove me from office. Like, and he still, like, can't get out of there.

O'ROURKE: I personally think that Trump is on Biden's payroll, on his campaign staff payroll, because...

POUNDSTONE: (Laughter).

O'ROURKE: You know, Biden's campaign hasn't really been very lively, but Trump's campaign to get unelected from president has just been ripping along.


SAGAL: Now, Biden did his town hall on Thursday - and this is amazing. The audience was set up as a drive-in theater. They had the questioners, the undecided voters, drive up in their cars. That's true. It turned into a disaster when Biden kept trying to get in the backseat with the questioners.


SAGAL: Now, during their respective town halls, the president lied more than 20 times, and Joe Biden just told one lie, but it went on for 90 minutes.

O'ROURKE: (Laughter).

KONDABOLU: Remember when Joe Biden was the loose cannon?

SAGAL: Yeah.

KONDABOLU: Remember those glory days?

SAGAL: You didn't know what he was going to say next. Oh, yeah. Those were the days. All right. Kimberly, your next quote is from NPR.

KURTIS: It smells basically like death - like the rancid diapers of the spawn of Satan.

SAGAL: This horrible death-smelling gas that we were describing on NPR suggests that there might be life where?

PEARSON: I'm thinking life on Mars.

SAGAL: You're close - the other direction.


SAGAL: Yes...


SAGAL: ...Venus.


PEARSON: Oh, that is...

SAGAL: There might be life on Venus. Don't get excited. They're not coming to save us, and you can't move there. For many years, scientists assumed that there couldn't be life on Venus because it is smothered with incredibly hot gas like Tampa in August, and you know there's nothing happening there. But this week, they announced the discovery of a certain chemical, phosphine, which is only produced on Earth by living organisms. In fact, it's a primary ingredient in penguin poop. So there's only one...

O'ROURKE: (Laughter).

SAGAL: ...Logical explanation, according to science - space penguins.


SAGAL: This explains why the penguins here on Earth don't fly. They have spaceships for that.

O'ROURKE: And we believe in science here.

SAGAL: We do.

POUNDSTONE: Yeah. They're going to put those space penguins on the badge, on the patch for the Space Force.

SAGAL: Sure.

O'ROURKE: Absolutely.

SAGAL: This is all true, by the way. The other main source for phosphine other than penguin poop is farts. And there's a lot more of phosphine in Venus's atmosphere than there is in ours. This may mean that there was once a great civilization on Venus until the fart-pocalypse (ph).


SAGAL: Now, what's weird is, like, OK, possible life on Venus - it's weird we're even talking about this. This is like an Obama's second term story. We don't have time for this now, Venus.

O'ROURKE: Yeah, really. Give us eight months, 10 months, 12 months at least, and then we can talk about...

SAGAL: We'll talk about...


O'ROURKE: ...Penguins and spaceships.

POUNDSTONE: I think my dogs will be happy on Venus because if something smells bad, they can blame the penguins.

SAGAL: That's true. Yes.

O'ROURKE: Also, dogs like it when something smells bad.

POUNDSTONE: Oh, I hadn't even thought about that. Yeah.

O'ROURKE: Yeah. I mean, it may drive everybody else out of the room, but the dog's, like (laughter)...

POUNDSTONE: They don't go, that is gross. They go, that is gross.


SAGAL: Here's your last quote, Kimberly. It's from the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo.

KURTIS: If you want to go knock on your neighbor's door, God bless you.

SAGAL: Governor Cuomo was saying that despite a lot of safety concerns, he was not going to cancel what holiday this year?

PEARSON: I think Columbus Day.

SAGAL: No, not Columbus Day. It's coming up a little after that.

PEARSON: Oh - OK, kids' favorite.


PEARSON: Halloween.

SAGAL: Indeed...


PEARSON: Got it.

SAGAL: ...Halloween.


SAGAL: Now, first, Los Angeles County banned trick-or-treating because of the pandemic. But then they decided to just recommend against it after the backlash. Parents all over were saying, wait. You want us to steal candy from strangers' kids?

POUNDSTONE: (Laughter).

KONDABOLU: Columbus Day wasn't a bad guess, though.


KONDABOLU: That's - that actually was a - that was an old Columbus Day tradition - when you knocked on your neighbor's door, and then you move in and...

O'ROURKE: (Laughter) And give them diseases.

SAGAL: Happy Columbus Day. I've brought you cholera.


SAGAL: Well, anyway, everybody knows you can't have Halloween during a pandemic, especially because it's the time of year when kids are at their most sticky.

POUNDSTONE: Yeah. You don't want to waste your toilet paper anyways.

O'ROURKE: Yeah. TP-ing (ph) is out this year. Yeah.


SAGAL: Yeah.

POUNDSTONE: Absolutely.


POUNDSTONE: Or you just hope that you get hit, you know?


O'ROURKE: Well, there's that, too.

POUNDSTONE: I mean, if somebody...

O'ROURKE: Yeah, this is...

POUNDSTONE: ...Toilet-papers my tree, I'm going out and cutting it off and bringing it in the house.


SAGAL: Now, it's - what's so weird is, like, it's all so fraught with danger now - touching other people, being with other people. Basically, with COVID, with the safest thing you can hope for this Halloween are those apples with razors in them.

KONDABOLU: (Laughter) Why am I laughing?

SAGAL: (Laughter).

O'ROURKE: I know. But it was always a favorite in my neighborhood.

KONDABOLU: Coronavirus, tetanus and a stomachache.

SAGAL: It's the best. Bill, how did Kimberly do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Well, she did very well - got them all right. Congratulations. Thanks for playing.

SAGAL: Kimberly, congratulations. Thank you for doing the good work. And I hope you get to see your kids in person soon.

PEARSON: Thank you so much.

O'ROURKE: Me too.

PEARSON: It's been fun. Thank you.

KURTIS: Bye, Kimberly.