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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. Who needs Ted? How about Bill's excellent adventure? I'm Bill Kurtis. And here is your host, a man who sits quietly all week until I say his name, Peter Sagal.



Thank you, Bill. And thanks once again to our fake audience, which this week is everybody whose cable went out right before 9 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday and stayed out throughout the rest of the week. It really was quite a week. Now, we all expected an October surprise, but we didn't expect it at 11 p.m. on October 1. And when you think about it, it really was more like an October, oh, what a surprise. Later on, we're going to be talking to an expert on dealing with the unexpected with aplomb. That's the British ambassador to the United States, Dame Karen Pierce. But right now, we are very eager to hear you say the appropriate things at a time like this. The number to call is 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924.

Let's welcome our first listener contestant. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

CHRISSY ANDERSON: Hi. This is Chrissy. I'm from Grand Rapids, Mich.

SAGAL: Oh, Michigan. So is it fun these days living in a swing state?

ANDERSON: You know, it is what it is.


SAGAL: There was a time when living in a swing state was like, oh, it's great. The candidates all come here and pay us a lot of attention. And it has become, it is what it is. I completely understand.

Chrissy, let me introduce you to our panel. First, it's a comedian you can see at the Tempe Improv in Arizona, November 12 through the 14. His podcast "Back To School With Maz Jobrani" is available anywhere podcasts are found. It's Maz Jobrani.


MAZ JOBRANI: Hello, there. I hope you're voting.


SAGAL: Next, an Emmy-winning writer as well as the voice of Jessi on the animated hit Netflix show "Big Mouth." She's also the author of The New York Times bestseller "You'll Grow Out Of It." It's Jessi Klein.




SAGAL: And a comedian premiering his new TV pilot "Eye Of The Idea" on November 18 at - it's Brian Babylon.


BRIAN BABYLON: Hey, Chrissy. Grand Rapids in the building.


SAGAL: Welcome to the show, Chrissy. 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?


SAGAL: All right, Chrissy. Here is your first quote.

KURTIS: We will get through this together.

SAGAL: That was the president announcing on Thursday night that he and the first lady both have what?

ANDERSON: Coronavirus.


SAGAL: Yes, that's right.


SAGAL: Now, we absolutely hope that both the president and his wife get well soon, and we do not want to make jokes about him getting sick because it is a very serious disease, despite what you've heard from the president.

KLEIN: Can I just say one thing?

SAGAL: You may, Jessi.

KLEIN: It's so, so important to wear a mask. Goodbye.

KURTIS: (Laughter).


KLEIN: It's so important - I'm just saying. It's just really important to wear a mask.

JOBRANI: As a concerned citizen, I hope that he just takes the time to rest and stays off Twitter till November 4. And things will work out.

KURTIS: (Laughter).

SAGAL: I feel like we need to feel bad for the president. I mean, it's going to be hard for him to just - I don't know - sit around and watch Fox News all day instead of his normal routine...

JOBRANI: (Laughter).

SAGAL: ...Which is pacing back and forth while watching Fox News all day.

KURTIS: (Laughter).

SAGAL: And he's announced - the White House, I should say, has announced that they're going to be canceling or making virtual all of his upcoming campaign appearances, which is another blow to the president 'cause he had - his first idea was to hold a get well soon rally with 20,000 people on Monday.

KLEIN: It's really important to also social distance. You've got to social distance.

KURTIS: (Laughter).

KLEIN: Just trying to say helpful things.

SAGAL: I appreciate it.

JOBRANI: I'm sure he's going to come out and be like, we had the best lockdown, the most tremendous quarantine. It was tremendous.

SAGAL: The most amazing. I keep thinking - and I'm sorry because, you know, we've all been quarantining for months now, but the president famously has sort of refused to do it. Now he has to. What is the Trump quarantine going to look like? Is, like - is Melania going to post pictures of her sourdough starter and Trump will be like, bake news?


KLEIN: Oh, boy. It's also so important to wash your hands.


KLEIN: Those things are really our main tools in fighting this pandemic.

SAGAL: All right, Chrissy. Let's move on to the other earth-shattering story from earlier in the week. Remember, there was an earlier in the week. Your next quote is from actor Mark Hamill.

KURTIS: That was the worst thing I've ever seen. And I was in the "Star Wars" holiday special.

SAGAL: So Mr. Hamill, bless his heart, was reacting to something that everybody ended up regretting watching on Tuesday night. What was it?

ANDERSON: The presidential debate.


SAGAL: It was. Yes.


SAGAL: The first presidential debate of 2020 ended up being one of those epical historic moments. Years from now, people will ask, do you remember where you were when man first walked on Chris Wallace?

KLEIN: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Nobody has seen men talking over each other that much since every Zoom meeting we have been to in the last six months.

KLEIN: (Laughter).

SAGAL: And the insanity of it made all the previous debate brouhahas so quaint. Remember when Al Gore lost the debate because he sighed?

BABYLON: You know what the thing - when I saw the debates, the first thing - and I've been asking myself this - is, when are they going to come out with that Xanax mist?

SAGAL: (Laughter).

BABYLON: Like Xanax but in a mist form you can spritz...

SAGAL: Really?

BABYLON: ...On people just to tone them down, you know?

SAGAL: More subtle than the tranquilizer dart to the neck, you think?

KLEIN: Oh, I thought you were talking about something for us...

SAGAL: (Laughter).

KLEIN: ...Not for them. I was really into this.

BABYLON: But it was like - Chris Wallace was almost like a substitute teacher that couldn't handle a class at an obnoxious boarding school for old guys, you know?


BABYLON: It was...

KLEIN: Old guy boarding school.

BABYLON: Old man boarding school - like, hey, pipe down.

KLEIN: Can I tell you the truth, though?

SAGAL: Please, Jessi.

KLEIN: I did not watch it...

SAGAL: You didn't.

KLEIN: ...Nor will I be watching the other ones, should they happen.

SAGAL: But...

KLEIN: I didn't because obviously...

SAGAL: But you're the kind of person who can drive by a car crash and just keep on going and never slow down. That's just you.

KLEIN: No, I'm good. I need to get where I'm going, and I want to get there right away.

SAGAL: Yeah.

KLEIN: And I will tell you what my counterprogramming was.

SAGAL: What?

KLEIN: I made - I literally made myself a banana split and drank a tequila.



KLEIN: And I'm going to do it again.

SAGAL: According to the ratings, you had a better time than 60 million Americans. So congratulations.

KLEIN: I had such a good time. I put three chocolate chips on top of the whipped cream, and then I ate it. And then I ate the whole bag of chocolate chips.

SAGAL: (Laughter).

KLEIN: And it felt like it was barely touching what I needed to touch.

SAGAL: All the other chocolate chips thought they had escaped, but they didn't realize...

KLEIN: (Laughter).

SAGAL: ...How stressed you were.

KLEIN: No. It was just a mind game.

SAGAL: (Laughter) So Trump's performance at the debate was panned all over the place - Republicans, Democrats, everybody. You have to hand it to him. After the debate, he really needed to change the news cycle somehow. And boy, did he go for the gusto.

BABYLON: (Laughter).

SAGAL: But you have to give Trump some understanding. He was specifically asked to condemn this white supremacist group, the Proud Boys, and he couldn't do it. But give him a break. He's never had the chance to say proud and boys in the same sentence. His boys are Don Jr. and Eric.

BABYLON: Oh (laughter). Don't the Proud Boys sound like a horrible barbershop quartet from the '50s?


KLEIN: It's such a bad name. It really, like - I don't want to help them in any way...


KLEIN: ...But I kind of feel like they need a better name.

JOBRANI: You are spot on 'cause at least on the left, antifa, antifascists - like...

KLEIN: Yeah.

JOBRANI: The right has Proud Boys. And then they got boogaloo - horrible naming.

KLEIN: They both sound like things that Dunkin Donuts almost made and didn't.


BABYLON: But antifa sounds like a old soul singer that didn't make it because Aretha Franklin was better.


JOBRANI: That's Auntie...

BABYLON: Aunt Tifa (ph).

JOBRANI: They got to pronounce it as Aunt Tifa.

BABYLON: Aunt Tifa.

SAGAL: Yeah.

JOBRANI: Aunt Tifa. You know, Aunt Tifa...

KLEIN: And then 40 years later, there's a Netflix documentary where it's like, we all should've really been listening to Aunt Tifa.

SAGAL: All right, Chrissy. Your last quote is a spokesperson for a major sandwich chain.

KURTIS: Our bread is, of course, bread.

SAGAL: The spokesman was responding to a judgment that their bread wasn't really bread. What is the chain?



SAGAL: Yes, Subway. Very good.


SAGAL: It turns out that when you buy a sub sandwich at a Subway shop, you're not buying meat between two slices of bread. It's more like two loaves of candy. The Supreme Court of Ireland ruled that it can't legally be called bread and thus be exempt from a certain tax because it has too much sugar in it. This is why so many parents tell their kids they can only have their Subway sandwich if they finish their dinner.

BABYLON: I'm confused.

JOBRANI: Wait a minute. So Subway is like - so it's not bread. It's more - it's closer to cake than it is to bread.

SAGAL: Yeah. So in Ireland, they have a tax on all foods, except for what they call staples, which includes things like bread and vegetables and stuff like that. And they determined that Subway bread isn't really bread because it has way too much sugar in it. So it's more like, as you say, a cake of some kind.

KLEIN: I mean, if you've eaten Subway - have you eaten at Subway any time in the last 10 years?

SAGAL: Yeah.


KLEIN: I mean, when you bite into that bread...

BABYLON: It's a rush.

KLEIN: ...It's pretty clear it's not bread. It's like an improv show about bread.


KLEIN: It's like, here's some jokes and ideas and riffs on bread. But it's not bread.

SAGAL: We need a suggestion of a grain, please.

KLEIN: Yeah, I need a location. The sandwich - a name - bread.

SAGAL: A name.

BABYLON: (Laughter).

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

KURTIS: Well, Chrissy, you made Michigan proud. You got them all right.

SAGAL: Congratulations, Chrissy.

ANDERSON: Thank you.

SAGAL: Thank you. Thanks for playing and take care.

ANDERSON: You too.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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