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Who's Bill This Time


BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. The secret's out. I'm the Zodiac Biller, Bill Kurtis. And here is your host, a man who would definitely be going to all sorts of cool parties if we weren't in lockdown, Peter Sagal.



Thank you, Bill. And thanks once again to our fake audience, who this week are the customers at an Applebee's in Racine, Wis., back in 2015, sarcastically applauding a waiter who dropped his tray.

We're very excited about our guest this week. That's astronaut Christina Koch, who returned to Earth in February after a record-setting stay on the International Space Station. We're so grateful she's able to spare some time for us from her main pursuit these days, desperately trying to get back. You're stuck down here with us, though, so you might as well give us a call. The number is 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924. Let's welcome our first listener contestant.

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

JENNIFER MCCONNEL: Hi. Hi, there. This is Jennifer McConnel. I live in South Hampton, N.J.

SAGAL: Now, where is that in New Jersey? I'm from New Jersey, but I don't know.

MCCONNEL: That is in the Pine Barrens.

SAGAL: Oh, yeah, where all the bodies are buried.

MCCONNEL: Exit 6 (laughter).

SAGAL: Exit - yeah. I'm not going to ask you what exit that is because that's not the kind of person I am.

Jennifer, let me introduce you to our panel this week. First, a comedian whose stand-up comedy special "Immigrant" is available for streaming on Netflix, and his podcast "Back To School With Maz Jobrani" is available anywhere podcasts are found. It's Maz Jobrani.


MAZ JOBRANI: Hi, Jennifer.


SAGAL: Next, a humorist and founder of the HatchSpace woodworking shop and school in Brattleboro, Vt., will be handing out prizes on Monday, May 25 - tickets at hatchspace.org. It's Tom Bodett.


TOM BODETT: Hello, Jennifer.


SAGAL: And a writer for the "Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" and co-host of the forthcoming horror movie podcast "Ruined" making her debut on our show. It's Alison Leiby. Hello, Alison.


ALISON LEIBY: Hi. Hello. Hi, Jennifer.

MCCONNEL: Hi, Alison.

SAGAL: Welcome to the show, Jennifer. You're going to play Who's Bill This Time. Bill Kurtis is going to read for 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 for your voicemail. You ready to go?


SAGAL: For your first quote, here's Neil Cavuto of Fox News.

KURTIS: It will kill you.

SAGAL: He was talking about a drug called hydroxychloroquine, which the nation was told to take by whom?

MCCONNEL: By our president, Donald Trump.

SAGAL: Yes, by President Trump.


SAGAL: Very good.


SAGAL: A while ago, the president started trying to push a drug called hydroxychloroquine as a cure for coronavirus, even though patients who took the drug had worse outcomes than both patients who didn't and patients who got out of their hospital beds, said, watch this, and put a lit firecracker in their mouths.

So the president announced at an unrelated event this week that he himself was taking it and then later said that it had kept him healthy. This is a real quote from the president of the United States. Quote, "I tested positively toward negative, right? So no, I tested perfectly this morning, meaning I tested negative, but that's a way of saying it - positively toward the negative." So we can say that the drug at least does not seem to affect the patient's mental capacity.

BODETT: (Laughter).

JOBRANI: He - it blows your mind. Listen. I personally think - because he watches a lot of TV - I think he gets his ideas from infomercials. So I think he's watching infomercials. And as a doctor saying, do hydroxychloroquine - he's like, that's a good idea. Then there was the UV lights and then the disinfectant. Give it a week. He'll be on there going, you want to clean up the coronavirus? Try ShamWow. You just wash it off and throw it in the wash.


BODETT: Right. That's the key.

LEIBY: It's also crazy to take a treatment drug before you have the disease. I mean, that's like when I take Advil before I go out to a bar. Like, it's just anticipating kind of what's happening.

SAGAL: Yeah. You know it's not going to go well.

LEIBY: It's not going to save you.

SAGAL: And look at - you've never gotten coronavirus, so clearly, it prevents coronavirus.

JOBRANI: Yeah. It's all preventative, right? So as you were saying, Alison, it's like I drink before the evening starts just so I...

LEIBY: Right.

JOBRANI: I know I'm going to - I'm not going to get depressed 'cause I'm going to be in a party mood all night long.

LEIBY: Yeah, that's what drinking does when you're alone.

SAGAL: Exactly (laughter). All right. Very good, Jennifer. Here is your next quote.

KURTIS: He was a jerk.

SAGAL: That was a talking head in a hit new ESPN documentary series that wrapped up last Sunday describing the film's subject. Who is this documentary about?

MCCONNEL: Oh, no. ESPN, you said?

SAGAL: Yes, it's a sport thing.

MCCONNEL: I couldn't even...

SAGAL: I'll give you this. His nickname was Air Jerk.

MCCONNEL: Air Jerk - Air Jordan. I mean...


MCCONNEL: Michael Jordan.

SAGAL: It was Michael Jordan.


MCCONNEL: Oh, I did hear about that.


SAGAL: There you go.

MCCONNEL: I feel better.

SAGAL: Yes, "The Last Dance" on ESPN. It was a documentary about Jordan's career in Chicago, a city he loved and was loyal to until the very minute he was allowed to leave. The doc finally settled one of basketball fans' biggest questions - who was the biggest sociopath ever to play the game? Did you guys watch this?

JOBRANI: Yeah, I watched all 10 episodes. I was saying, Peter, that my thing about it is the guy's - Michael Jordan is the best basketball player ever. But as someone who watches - I'm 48 years old. Whenever I watch really good athletes and I'm listening and he's talking about his commitment and he was there and he put in the time, somewhere in the back of my head, I'm going, you know, if I'd have put in the time, I might've been able to do this.

SAGAL: Really? You think?


SAGAL: That's the only difference between you and Michael Jordan - is just determination.

LEIBY: Just time.


JOBRANI: I think I didn't put in enough time.

SAGAL: That's it. That's the problem. That's the problem. Now, a lot of people criticized the documentary. They said Jordan himself was a producer, so it wasn't going to be, like, an honest look at his life, but was amazing is even so, it still makes him look terrible. I mean, the big question the series raises is, do you have to be a jerk to win? Maz.

LEIBY: (Laughter).

JOBRANI: Well, maybe that's - I've been trying to be a jerk, and it's just not working out. I...

SAGAL: You haven't put in the time in your jerkiness. That's the problem.

JOBRANI: I got - you know, I got to work on that a little bit. I will tell you I didn't - like, when I watched it - 'cause when I hear other athletes say - you had guys like Horace Grant talking. You had guys like Scottie Pippen talking. And even Steve Kerr says that, you know, Michael would talk a lot of trash. And I'm thinking to myself, isn't that what athletes do? They talk trash, and they're jerks to one another. But in the end, they're like, we're in battle together. So I didn't leave going, Michael is a absolute jerk more than any other athlete, I think. I mean, are there really sweet athletes?

SAGAL: But was it - I mean, but wasn't it true that during the documentary, 20 years after these things happened, Jordan is sitting there being interviewed, and he's still dissing his competitors from back then? I mean, it's amazing. It just shows what an extraordinary athlete he is because even at the age of 57, he can still carry eight grudges in one hand.

LEIBY: Yeah, I've never related to somebody more. I feel like - yeah.

SAGAL: Really?

LEIBY: Holding - carrying grudges for decades - I mean, I feel like I get...

SAGAL: Really?

LEIBY: I get sports more. No. I'm excited to - I haven't watched it yet. I'm the Michael Jordan of waiting too long to watch something important, so...

SAGAL: (Laughter).

LEIBY: I'll get to it.

SAGAL: The greatest who ever was.

LEIBY: The greatest there ever was. But it's - seeing all the stills and, like, little clips that I have of, like - it's just him by himself on a couch looking at an iPad. And I'm like, oh, at least even Michael Jordan is in quarantine the way the rest of us are, just alone, watching something.

SAGAL: All right. Jennifer, here is your last quote. It's from the honorable governor of Mississippi, who was honoring a group of impressive young people while broadcasting live on Facebook.

KURTIS: Gavin Christopher Davis, Gracie Dawes, Harry Azcrac.

SAGAL: Young Mr. Azcrac was one of the many teenagers in Mississippi and across the country who had to celebrate what virtually?

MCCONNEL: His graduation.



SAGAL: Commencement.


SAGAL: Commencements all over the country have been canceled because of the pandemic, robbing seniors of the chance to sit in the sun, listen to an old guy drone out a list of names and complain about commencement.

So everything went virtual. And in Mississippi, as you heard, the governor went on Facebook Live to read out the names of graduating seniors across the state. And somebody slipped in a little joke. You can watch the governor's reaction as he realizes just a second too late what he had done. First, he's embarrassed. Then he gets really mad and yells, I demand to see Harry Azcrac right now.

BODETT: (Laughter) I mean, that's got to go down the hall of fame of senior pranks, right?

SAGAL: Yeah.

BODETT: I mean, it's a common one. It's funny when - if you can get the vice principal to say it during morning announcements or if maybe even the school board president at an actual graduation in the gym. But to get the governor of your state to do it...

LEIBY: (Laughter).

SAGAL: That's really the highest achievement you can hope for 'cause getting the president to do it these days would be just too easy.

LEIBY: He'd be like, I know that guy - great guy.

BODETT: He'd be like, great guy.

SAGAL: Great guy.

LEIBY: I feel so bad for all of these seniors. But, like, also...

SAGAL: Yeah.

LEIBY: ...Like, a graduation gown is perfect quarantine clothing. It's no waistbands, no...

SAGAL: Yeah, it's loose. It's unconstricting. It's great.

LEIBY: Like, it feels like exactly what you would want to wear at home, and you're like, I just want to wear this out of the house.

SAGAL: Exactly. There have been these virtual commencements all last weekend, all over the country, including some nationally televised events. A lot of people were talking, of course, about President Obama's two speeches, but they only talked about the parts where he seemed to criticize President Trump. But it's a shame because they missed the rest of his speech, which was very - in his fashion - poignant and interesting. Perhaps the most meaningful line was when President Obama said, graduates, go positively toward the negative because the negative is a positive in a certain positive sense.


BODETT: That one stuck with me.

LEIBY: Yeah, I think the diagram of that sentence is just a complete circle.


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

KURTIS: She was positively positive.


KURTIS: She won them all, 3-0.

SAGAL: Congratulations, Jennifer. Well done.

MCCONNEL: All right. Thanks, everybody.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.


JUDY GARLAND: (Singing) I'm just wild about Harry, and Harry's wild about me. The heavenly blisses of his kisses... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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