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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, everybody - come outside and play me, ultimate fris-Bill (ph). I'm Bill Kurtis. And here is your host, coming to you from a hole he dug in his yard he's calling his new office, Peter Sagal.



Thank you, Bill. And thanks, fake audience, which this week are a group of people who are happy, and they know it. Now, a lot of people blame bats for the coronavirus. But imagine how they feel about that. I mean, first, Ben Affleck is cast as Batman, and now this. Later on, we're going to be talking to bat expert Dan Riskin about how things look from, you, know the bats' point of view. Well, metaphorically because bats are blind as - well, you get the idea.


SAGAL: Meanwhile, we want to know how well you've been sensing your surroundings. Give us a call. The number is 1-888-WAIT-WAIT - that's 1-888-924-8924. Now it's time to welcome our first listener contestant.

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

MITCH LONDON: HI. It's Mitch from Austin but calling from Oklahoma.

SAGAL: Oh, why are you in Oklahoma if you're from Austin?

LONDON: Well, I'm up here for the American Association for Nude Recreation's Southwest convention, and I am the current president. And if things go well, I get to remain president.

SAGAL: You are the president of the Southwestern Association for Nude Recreation (ph).

LONDON: Right - for the Southwest region, which includes Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas.

SAGAL: OK. And you're having a convention now in the midst of the pandemic.

LONDON: Yes. We have separation going on - you know, social distancing, and masks are being worn.

TOM PAPA: Where are they wearing the masks?

SAGAL: (Laughter) I was going to ask how you tell each other apart when you can't see your faces, but I actually don't want to ask, so...

ROBERTS: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Basically, I would much rather spend the next hour talking to you about your hobby.

PAPA: (Laughter).

SAGAL: But sadly, we have a job to do, so welcome to our show. Let me introduce you to our panelists this week. First up, a comedian who hosts the podcast Urgent Care and appears on the third season of "Search Party," now on HBO Max. It's Joel Kim Booster.


JOEL KIM BOOSTER: Hello, Mitch. I also want to talk to you off-mic for a couple of hours, I think.

PAPA: (Laughter).

BOOSTER: I'll get your deets (ph) later.

SAGAL: Next, a writer for The Washington Post and the proud owner of two new kittens who think she's staying home all day just to play with them. It's Roxanne Roberts.



SAGAL: And author of the new book "You're Doing Great! And Other Reasons To Stay Alive" and host of the new podcast Breaking Bread With Tom Papa, it's Tom Papa.


PAPA: And I make it, as well.

SAGAL: (Laughter) I have literally never asked this of any listener in the 22 years I've been doing this show, Mitch, but I kind of have to. Are you, in fact, practicing nudity at this moment?

LONDON: Of course.


PAPA: Of course.

SAGAL: Of course. Of course, he is. All right then (laughter).

BOOSTER: This is already the best episode I've ever been on.

SAGAL: It really is. We really finally hit the zenith right here. Well, Mitch, 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. You ready to play?

LONDON: Yes, I am.

SAGAL: All right. Your first quote is from Donald J. Trump, literary critic.

KURTIS: The book, which is getting terrible reviews, is a combination of lies and made-up stories, all intended to make me look bad.

PAPA: (Laughter).

SAGAL: President Trump didn't particularly much care for a new book by whom?

LONDON: Bolton.

SAGAL: Yes, John Bolton.


SAGAL: Now, you may remember John Bolton as the third-worst Bolton there is after Ramsay Bolton, the psychopathic villain from "Game of Thrones," and Michael Bolton. Now John Bolton has published a book which says, among other things, that the president doesn't know where Finland is, constantly offers to do favors for dictators to get them to help him win reelection and, most devastatingly to Trump, that the world's best president mug he keeps on the Resolute desk isn't a real award.


PAPA: I like how it's all lies. It's all made-up. And at the same time, it's all classified, top-secret information that can't be put out there into the world (laughter).

SAGAL: Exactly. What's weird is the book has been printed. It is...

PAPA: Yeah.

SAGAL: ...In bookstores. People have copies. And the DOJ is still trying to stop the publication. Well, they do have legal precedent on their side - the well-known Supreme Court case Horse v. Barn Door.


SAGAL: And I should say that the book is getting terrible reviews not just from the president. The New York Times says it, quote, "toggles between exceedingly tedious and slightly unhinged," unquote. How could John Bolton be such a bad writer? Does his MFA in war-mongering from the Iowa Writers' Workshop mean nothing?


ROBERTS: I think the worst thing is all the "Hamilton" fans who are offended on behalf of the book's title (laughter).

SAGAL: Yes, I...

ROBERTS: It's (laughter) - they think it's unfair.

SAGAL: The book's title - I mean, the book's title, of course, comes from the musical "Hamilton." There's a song, "The Room Where It Happens."

BOOSTER: There's no - like, the only other greater villain than John Bolton in this situation are "Hamilton" fans, OK? Always...

SAGAL: (Laughter).

BOOSTER: ...Always, always, always villains.

PAPA: Do you think Trump actually reads the book, or he just has someone come in and give him the gist?

ROBERTS: No. No. It's a chart.

SAGAL: How would you like to have the job of presidential gist-giver?

PAPA: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Your job is to go in there and summarize all the insulting things the latest book...

PAPA: No, no, no...

SAGAL: ...Says about the president. Go.


PAPA: The room he's talking about is the kitchen. It was just all about you and eating, and it's fine.

ROBERTS: (Laughter).

SAGAL: All right. Very good. Here is your next quote, Mitch.

KURTIS: Today, they ruled I can't be fired for being gay. Challenge accepted.

PAPA: (Laughter).

SAGAL: That was a man on Twitter responding to news that who said this week that you cannot fire someone for being gay?

LONDON: The Supreme Court.

SAGAL: The Supreme Court - yes...


SAGAL: ...Of course.


SAGAL: People looked at the news Monday morning and had this strange, alien feeling. It was happiness.


SAGAL: Gay people across the country raised their arms in the air and shouted, finally - now I can waste my life in a dead-end job like everybody else.

PAPA: (Laughter).

BOOSTER: I'm going to get fired for my bad personality, just like my straight brothers and sisters.

SAGAL: There you go.


ROBERTS: The thing that was so fascinating to me is how surprised conservatives were. I think they had sort of thought that they had the court in the bag now.

SAGAL: Yeah. I mean, it's weird. These guys were hired and placed - I mean, they were grown in tanks, right...


SAGAL: ...To be on...

PAPA: Yeah.

SAGAL: ...The Supreme Court and deliver conservative judgments. And it's like those science fiction movies where computers all of a sudden start rebelling.

BOOSTER: Yeah. Somebody spilled water on Gorsuch and...

SAGAL: Exactly - (imitating electronic buzz).


BOOSTER: ...Short-circuited him.

SAGAL: Now, Justice Gorsuch's - in his opinion, his reasoning was quite simple. If two employees are both attracted to a man, and one of those employees is a woman, and the other is a man, and you fire the man, that's sex discrimination. There you go. Justice Alito's dissent said, wait. This guy we're talking about - how hot is he?


PAPA: My kids heard about the ruling. We were talking about it at dinner. And they were really confused. They're, like, so, wait - you mean you could be mean to them before, and it had to go to the Supreme Court to get people to be nice to them? I'm, like, yeah, that's kind of the way it works.

SAGAL: That's kind of...

PAPA: (Laughter).

SAGAL: That's pretty much it.

BOOSTER: Devastated to learn Tom's kids are 17 and 19...


BOOSTER: And that's just the way they talk.

SAGAL: All right, Mitch. Your last quotes are three separate descriptions of one area.

KURTIS: A totalitarian takeover.

SAGAL: And...

KURTIS: A group of rogue protesters with a stranglehold on the city.

SAGAL: And...

KURTIS: There was an impromptu dodgeball game.

SAGAL: They were describing a place that was called CHAZ - a kind of police-free commune that's being created on the streets of what city?

LONDON: Oh, gosh. I'm thinking - not Philadelphia.

SAGAL: No, not Philadelphia. I'll give it to you. You've already won. It's Seattle. Seattle is where this is happening.


SAGAL: Protesters took over a police precinct in a gentrified section of Seattle, and the police said, fine. We'll just leave. See how you enjoy the misery of not having police around. And it turns out when you take away the police, you get horrible things like movie nights and dodgeball games and really good weed. It was great for a while. But then the drum circles started up, and everybody yelled, fund the police. Fund the police.

PAPA: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Now, first of all, just to be clear, it was called CHAZ - Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone. Now it is called CHOP for Capitol Hill Organized Protest. They had to change the name. You can't call something CHAZ without having an alligator embroidered on it somewhere.


PAPA: Seattle must be a horrible place to be a nudist.

SAGAL: That's all we can - I'm just going to say this for - I think I speak for everybody on this show.

PAPA: (Laughter).

SAGAL: That's all we've been able to think about this entire last seven minutes.

PAPA: I mean, these news stories are cute, but I'm just picturing, where else would you want to be naked?


PAPA: Seattle...

LONDON: Up north.

PAPA: ...Would be horrible.

SAGAL: So, Mitch, are there nudists in Seattle?

LONDON: Oh, there's nudists all over the United States and over the world, for that matter.

BOOSTER: That sounds like a threat.

SAGAL: (Laughter) Well, Bill, how did Mitch do on our quiz?

KURTIS: In complete transparency, he was exposed as a winner.


SAGAL: Congratulations. That was well done, Bill. I - all I can tell you is you have my endorsement. Mitch, thank you so much for joining us. And good luck to you. I hope you have a good conference.

LONDON: Thanks very much.

(SOUNDBITE OF PHARRELL FEAT. NELLY SONG, "BABY") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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