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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. Hey there, foodies - try tipping 20% on this bill - Bill Kurtis. And here he is, a man who wants to know how many roads he needs to walk down before we call him a host. It's Peter Sagal.

NEGIN FARSAD: (Laughter).



Thank you, Bill. And thanks once again to the fake audience. You are the fake wind...

FARSAD: (Laughter).

SAGAL: ...Beneath my wings. If you're like me - first, I'm sorry. I didn't realize I was contagious. Second, you've been cooking a lot more than you used to, and that means you might have used The New York Times cooking site, which is a wonderful place where people from all over the world come together to yell at each other about garlic. Later on, we're going to be talking to Sam Sifton, who created the site.

But first, get into our kitchen. You can stand the heat. The number is 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924. It's now time to welcome our first listener contestant.

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

MEGAN HALL: Hi. This is Megan Hall from Tallahassee, Fla.

SAGAL: Hey, Megan. How are things in Tallahassee?

HALL: They're hot. It's just March, but we're already in shorts.

SAGAL: I'm going to tell you we've been reading so many crazy things about Florida. It seems like things are nuts there, just with people running around and ignoring COVID and then people selling vaccines to the highest bidder and Florida men tattooing their crimes on their faces. Is it, in fact, the apocalypse down in Florida every day?

HALL: It's all true. Yeah, don't come down here.

SAGAL: It's all true. Yes.


SAGAL: Stay away. Well, Megan, we're glad you're joining us. Let me introduce you to our panel this week. First up, she's host of the podcast "Fake The Nation" and the voice of the Mindtaker in the upcoming Adult Swim show "Birdgirl," premiering April 4. It's Negin Farsad.


FARSAD: Hello.

SAGAL: Next, she's the author of the syndicated advice column Ask Amy. Her weekly Asking Amy newsletter is now available on Substack - Amy Dickinson.



SAGAL: And finally, a correspondent for "CBS Sunday Morning" and author of The New York Times best-selling "Mobituaries: Great Lives Worth Reliving." It's Mo Rocca.


MO ROCCA: Hi, Megan. I love your dome.

HALL: Hi, guys.

SAGAL: Do we need to explain what the dome is?

ROCCA: It's the Capitol - Tallahassee's...

SAGAL: Oh, yes.

ROCCA: ...The capital.

SAGAL: Of course. And they have a Capitol dome.


SAGAL: Yes, that makes good sense. Megan, 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 just two of them, you'll win our prize - any voice from our show you might choose on your voicemail. Are you ready to go?

HALL: I'm ready.

SAGAL: All right. Your first quote comes from Forbes magazine.

KURTIS: Soothe your soul. Stage a concert. Pay your estimated taxes.

SAGAL: Those are three suggestions about ways that you can spend your new what?

HALL: Stimulus.

SAGAL: Yes, your stimulus check.


SAGAL: People are already starting to receive their $1,400 stimulus checks, which is amazingly efficient. It was slow going at first. President Biden insisted on signing the checks himself, but he kept writing 1963 in the date line.


SAGAL: It's a - no, it's a free money festival. Americans are going nuts. And they're, like, let's log onto Amazon. They're buying extravagant luxuries like half a month's rent and food.


ROCCA: But in the $1.9 trillion, I mean...


ROCCA: ...Invariably, there is going to be some pork. There's going to be some outlandish expenditures - right?

SAGAL: Right, yes.

ROCCA: ...Things that will raise eyebrows. And I know this sounds kind of crazy, but I was watching "The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg" on Turner Classic Movies, that sung-through French musical with Catherine Deneuve where everything is in, like...

SAGAL: Wait a minute - Mo...

ROCCA: ...Bright colors...

SAGAL: Everybody who listens to our show knows "The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg." Please.


SAGAL: Proceed.

ROCCA: And I was sitting there, and I thought, if in the stimulus package there was money to make an entire American city that colorful - to just repaint it in all those colors - I would go for that.

SAGAL: Really - just a whole new palette.

ROCCA: I would be OK with that.


SAGAL: I'd - why not? You know, it's...

ROCCA: Well, if you're just going to blow money - because some of this money is just going to be blown - do it on something just fabulous like that.

FARSAD: If you're going to blow money, spend it on actual blow.

SAGAL: There you go.


SAGAL: Now, what's - one of the things that's going on - I don't know if you guys have noticed this, but with the passage of the bill and the rising rate of vaccinations, people are already acting as if the pandemic is over. Spring breakers are partying all night in Miami as if COVID is no worse than the diseases they've been giving each other for years.


FARSAD: My first thought is, gosh, you guys, I really miss gonorrhea. You know what I mean?

SAGAL: (Laughter) That's...

FARSAD: Remember the days of just, like, oh, it's just gonorrhea?

SAGAL: Yeah.

FARSAD: You know?

SAGAL: Hey, everybody, let's clap for the clap.

FARSAD: (Laughter).

SAGAL: All right, moving on. Megan, your next quote is about an embattled governor. It may seem like everybody wants him to step down, but he does have one strong supporter left.

KURTIS: He's my son, and I don't like what he's going through.

SAGAL: That was the only supporter of this guy we could find. What governor's mom was that?

HALL: Cuomo.

SAGAL: Andrew Cuomo, yes...


SAGAL: ...Of New York state.


SAGAL: The calls for the impeachment or resignation of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo are getting louder every day. Republicans, Democrats - everybody wants the guy gone. Mr. Governor, you cannot succeed by perennially annoying everyone who knows you. You're not a podcaster.

FARSAD: (Laughter).

SAGAL: His only hope is that people will forget which thing they're angry at him for. Is it the nursing home thing, bungling the coronavirus response, the sexual harassment? He's a triple threat. Seriously, though, he is a predator. Stay away.

ROCCA: He just does not have friends. He was not good at the friend making thing.

SAGAL: No, it is really true that we went, and we looked for someone who was defending him. And the only person we could find was his own mother.

FARSAD: Yeah. Like, why didn't he learn that thing of, like, if you're nice to people, and later on...

SAGAL: Be nice to the people you invite into your office under completely false circumstances on the way up because...

FARSAD: (Laughter).

ROCCA: They won't press charges on the way down.


FARSAD: Right. I love how this - we went from in this pandemic to being - everyone being, like, oh, my God, I'm a Cuomosexual (ph), to, like, oh, no. Cuomo is too sexual.

SAGAL: Yeah, it's really true. It turns out to be short for Cuomo sexual harassment. Yeah. Now, did you guys see that photo that went around of him apparently on the grounds of the governor's mansion?


SAGAL: And he's got this blanket...

FARSAD: (Laughter).

ROCCA: Shawl.

SAGAL: He's hunched over. He's got his blanket over his shoulders, and he's talking into a phone. And he's carrying a bottle. He's drinking something. Some people thought it was liquor, but others say, no, it was a bottle of Saratoga Springs water because even in disgrace, he is still promoting New York products. That's the spirit, governor. Make sure you end up in a genuine New York state prison.

DICKINSON: Remember how we used to laugh at Chris Christie? Like, oh, New Jersey...

SAGAL: Oh, yes.


SAGAL: (Laughter).

DICKINSON: What we wouldn't give.

SAGAL: Now, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has called for Cuomo to step down, which, of course, means Cuomo's support just went up 30% statewide - just a reminder...


SAGAL: ...That Bill de Blasio still sucks. All right. Megan, here is your third quote.

KURTIS: What if we could let people express themselves without regret?

SAGAL: Now, that was an entrepreneur talking about their new product - something that only lasts one year. What is it?

HALL: Oh, I don't...

SAGAL: Usually, these things are permanent.

HALL: A tattoo?

SAGAL: Yes, a tattoo.


SAGAL: Very good.



SAGAL: Now, do you want to get a tattoo, but you're not entirely certain? Well, say hello to the new Ephemeral Tattoo, which after a year vanishes without a trace because sure, you love your mom now, but that could change.

KURTIS: (Laughter).

SAGAL: This is a great opportunity for anyone who's ever wanted to lease a Celtic knot. And it gives you a whole year to find out if that Chinese character really does mean tranquility. On the other hand...

FARSAD: (Laughter).

SAGAL: ...How will you remember when you are old that you used to be dumb?

DICKINSON: But you know what? I might actually be tempted to get a tattoo if I knew it would fade.

SAGAL: Well, that's the thing. I mean, I...


SAGAL: I mean, I'm one of those people who say, oh, I'll get a tattoo someday. Never have done it. I'm too - I don't know - squeamish or nervous, or I'm afraid of offending my parents even in middle age. But this is, like, oh, I can get a tattoo, see if I like it, you know, see what it feels like walking around with it, see when it fades...

FARSAD: This is your chance to get that teardrop you've always...


FARSAD: ...Been wanting.

DICKINSON: (Laughter).

SAGAL: You get the temporary teardrop tattoo when you just wounded him, but he recovers. By the way, this really does defeat the point of tattoos, which is to remember the summer you loved the Red Hot Chili Peppers for the rest of your life.


FARSAD: My mind went more sinister where it was, like, oh, you know, that time where you flirted with Nazism...


FARSAD: ...And then had to turn it into a flower.

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

KURTIS: She did great. She got three right. Good going.

SAGAL: Congratulations, Megan.

HALL: Thank you, guys.

SAGAL: I hope you stay cool during the long Florida summer. And thank you so much for playing.

HALL: Thanks. I had a blast.

SAGAL: Bye-bye, Megan.

(SOUNDBITE OF BUDDY HOLLY SONG, "NOT FADE AWAY") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.