Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Bluff The Listener

BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis. We're playing this week with Paula Poundstone, Maz Jobrani and Maeve Higgins. And here again is your host, a man fresh from his weekly shower, Peter Sagal.



Thank you, Bill. Right now, it's time for the WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to play our game on the air.

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

ELIZABETH: Hi, Peter. This is Elizabeth (ph) calling from Silver Spring, Md.

SAGAL: Silver Spring, Md. - I assume, then, you work for the federal government. I believe that's required of all residents of Silver Spring.

ELIZABETH: (Laughter) Yes, I do.

SAGAL: How are you handling the pandemic? Are you able to work from home? Are you getting out at all? Are you staying sane?

ELIZABETH: Yes. I'm working from home and training to get my 5K time down to 25 minutes.

SAGAL: All right. How's it coming?


ELIZABETH: Twenty-nine so far.

SAGAL: All right. You'll get there.

PAULA POUNDSTONE: Oh, you're almost there.

SAGAL: Keep at it. Well, Elizabeth, it's nice to have you. You're going to play the game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what is Elizabeth's topic?

KURTIS: Summer vacation.

SAGAL: Summer is here, and the time is right for avoiding dancing in the street. But not to worry - our panelists are going to tell you about a brand-new way to have fun in the summer of 2020. Pick the one who's telling the truth, you'll win the WAIT WAITer of your choice on your voicemail. Are you ready to do this?


SAGAL: First, let's hear from Paula Poundstone.

POUNDSTONE: A COVID-19 summer can still be a time to create family memories. Alex Karp's (ph) home COVID-19 cure kits are not only bringing summer fun to families all over the United States, they're also providing hope.

Isaac Newton discovered gravity by accident. An apple fell on the guy's head, says Alex Karp. Any one of us could come up with a cure. It doesn't have to happen in a lab. It could happen in your kitchen or garage or backyard. The kit contains four beakers, a graduated cylinder, an oven mitt, a syringe and an eye wash cup - plus, each kid has three different types of chemicals that come sealed safely in packets.

The Laval (ph) family of Troy, N.Y., got one of the first kits. Our whole family was struggling with depression before we started trying to cure COVID-19. This project really brought us together, though, especially after my husband got burned so badly opening the packet of hydrochloric acid...

MAEVE HIGGINS: (Laughter).

POUNDSTONE: ...Says Suzanna Laval (ph). We're not depressed anymore. We can't wait to get up each morning, change Pierre's (ph) dressing and do another experiment.

HIGGINS: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Fun for the whole family - it's the home COVID-19 cure kit that you can try to find a cure with your kids. Your next story of summer fun comes from Maz Jobrani.

JOBRANI: Remember when summer could mean taking a trip out of town or even out of the country? Sure, it took a lot of effort to get your family to the airport, check them in at the counter, go through security, clear immigration, walk to your gate, wrangle the kids as they run in different directions, finally board the plane and buckle in for a long flight seated in an upright position. But it was all worth it because you were going to an exotic destination. Now, imagine all of that without the exotic destination.

HIGGINS: (Laughter).

JOBRANI: Welcome to summer 2020 at Taipei's Songshan Airport, where travelers are being offered an airport tour called, quote, "Pretend to go Abroad," end quote. Yes, since Taiwan locked down its borders in March because of the coronavirus pandemic, people have been stuck in the country and looking for things to do. The airport, having gone through a series of renovations and expansions in 2019, thought it would be fun to offer tour-takers the chance to be the, quote, "first to experience the new facilities," end quote.

And it worked. In a sign of how desperate people are for entertainment, 7,000 people responded to a Facebook post from the airport's social media team, and 180 people were chosen to enjoy the half-day tour. Part of the tour included boarding a China Airlines flight and just, well, sitting there.

HIGGINS: (Laughter).

JOBRANI: In-flight meals were not provided since the passengers were not really in flight but rather in airport. Given how successful this tour has been, perhaps people will take a page out of Taipei's playbook and apply it to other pretend tours. Cruise line docks could do Pretend to be an Octogenarian tours. Taxi pickup stations could do Pretend to Risk your Life in the Backseat tours. And bus stations could do Pretend to Run Away from your Family tours.

SAGAL: A completely fake airplane flight - a trip to nowhere with all the joys of going to the airport and getting on a plane and then getting right off. Your last story of hot fun in the summertime comes from Maeve Higgins.

HIGGINS: To Palo Alto now, where a startup is coming to the rescue of those of us who can't vacation, stating boldly, don't change your location - change your personality. The company, U Dif Now (ph) completely transforms you inside and out for between seven to 10 days.

Are you shy? Not for this one week in August. You're positively obnoxious. At parties, you usually stand near the food and mutter to the dog, but not anymore. During the U Dif Now vacation, you'll stride up to strangers and tell them problematic jokes with confidence. Then, later, you'll French kiss them - through your masks, of course - dry, but better than nothing.

U Dif Now sends a kit with everything you need to get started - stick-on bangs in a variety of colors, lots of short books so you can say I read a lot and a brand-new food allergy guaranteed to get a conversation going. Take a vacation from yourself. God knows you need it. We all do.

Here's the founder, 19-year-old Adam Rubin (ph). Me personally - I have what's known as a bad personality. But I dress really cool. Like, I hurt my friend's feelings a lot. But what's cool is I wear these tapered pants. So when I take a vacation...

JOBRANI: (Laughter).

HIGGINS: ...From my personality, I just wear these awful cargo shorts, and I'm nice to my friends.

SAGAL: All right. So this summer, if you're bored of being locked in all this time, you can do one of these three things. Is it, from Paula Poundstone, ordering the fun family home COVID-19 cure kit so you can try to save the world while having good together time; from Maz Jobrani, going to the airport and enjoying all the thrills of taking a flight to somewhere while actually going nowhere; or, from Maeve, self-transformation kits - a seven-day journey to a totally new and different you? Which of these is something that somebody is actually doing this summer for fun?

ELIZABETH: I'm going to go with Maz's story about a trip to nowhere.

SAGAL: Maz's story of a trip to nowhere - people who go to an airport just to enjoy the thrill of going through customs and security and getting on a plane. All right. To bring you the correct answer, we spoke to someone involved with the actual real activity.


ZHAOYU CHEN: People cannot travel internationally, so the flight of nowhere...


CHEN: ...Was the chance to simulate a going abroad experience.


SAGAL: That was Zhaoyu Chen (ph). He is the deputy director of the Taipei International Airport (ph), where you can check in anytime you like, but you can never leave. Congratulations, Elizabeth. You got it right, of course. You earned a point for Maz Jobrani. You have won our prize - the voice of your choice on your voicemail. Congratulations, and thanks for playing with us today.

ELIZABETH: Thank you.

POUNDSTONE: Bye, Elizabeth.


POUNDSTONE: Congratulations.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.



THE BYRDS: (Singing) Get your mind off wintertime. You ain't going nowhere. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

KUER is listener-supported public radio. Support this work by making a donation today.