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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 are playing this week with Maeve Higgins, Mo Rocca and Adam Burke. And here again is your host, filling in for new father Peter Sagal, who's currently being spit up on, Maz Jobrani.



Thanks, 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 air.

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


JOBRANI: Hi. Who's this?

WEATHERELL: My name is Adam Weatherell. I'm from Nashville, Tenn.

JOBRANI: Hello, Adam Weatherell from Nashville, Tenn. What do you do out in Nashville, Tenn. - rock and roll, country? What is it, buddy?

WEATHERELL: Right. It's funny because no, I actually grew up there, and it's, like, fame is a prison, let me tell you. I work in...


WEATHERELL: I don't know. It's a new job. Mostly it's just me, like, surreptitiously Googling, like, what is LLC?


JOBRANI: Well, we wish you luck and can't wait to see you running the company in six months.

WEATHERELL: If that happens, something's wrong.

MAEVE HIGGINS: (Laughter).

JOBRANI: Well, it's nice to have you with us, Adam. You're going to play our game where you must try to tell truth from fiction. What's the topic, Bill?

KURTIS: Something's afoot at Big Wave Dave's.

JOBRANI: Big Wave Dave's Christmas Trees and Pumpkin Patch in California was the setting for an unusual event this week. And it's not that Big Wave Dave suddenly wants to go by Big Wavid David (ph).


JOBRANI: Our panelists are going to tell you the real story. Pick the one who's telling the truth, and you'll win our prize - the WAIT WAITer of your choice on your voicemail. First up, it's Adam Burke.

ADAM BURKE: Big Wave Dave's Christmas Trees and Pumpkin Patch has been Ventura, Calif.'s go-to festive accouterment emporium for over 50 years. However, when owner Dave Hemmings (ph) was offered a buyout/partnership from Japanese biotech firm Taisho Grow (ph), he jumped at the chance. I figured it'd give me access to new genetically engineered products, Hemmings explained - you know, like pumpkins that didn't rot as fast or Christmas trees that don't shed.

Well, that is not what happened. Hemming's concerns began when the first batch of pumpkins arrived and appeared to be already carved. The Tokyo office is all about efficiency, said Hemmings, and they figured out a way to grow a pumpkin that already had a face on it. The experiment was not a success, according to one Yelp reviewer. Jack-o'-lanterns are supposed to be spooky. These were just upsetting. My brother described it as looking like Walter Matthau having a seizure.

KURTIS: (Laughter).

BURKE: Matters got worse when Taisho delivered a consignment of their super techno-bomb pre-decorated Christmas trees. I don't know what dark sorcery is employed to make a Douglas fir grow fruit that's shaped like holiday ornaments, said Hemmings. But I do know the Christmas baubles aren't supposed to ooze. Hemmings is seeking legal advice on how to dissolve his partnership before the Easter season arrives. I'm not ready to watch a live bunny rabbit lay an egg, chocolate or otherwise.

KURTIS: (Laughter).

JOBRANI: Genetically engineered pumpkins and Christmas trees from Adam Burke. Your next story from the Christmas tree lot comes from Mo Rocca.

MO ROCCA: Call it the tale of the prince and the pop-up. While shopping for Christmas decorations, Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, visited Big Wave Dave's Christmas Trees and Pumpkin Patch, a pop-up shop in Santa Barbara not far from the couple's $15 million California estate. And it was there that a case of mistaken identity transpired as a 5-year-old boy came face to face with the prince. Employee James Almager (ph) described what happened.

Quote, "there was one family in there, and their stoked little son ran through trees up to Harry and asked if he worked there." An adorable scene, to be sure. Now, had this happened in Britain, the parents of the rambunctious tot would have been beheaded.

HIGGINS: (Laughter).

ROCCA: But ever since the Sussexes successfully seceded, settling in Southern California, they're just regular people, and you can pretty much say anything you want to them. Now, it's not clear how Harry responded to the boy's question. I mean, it's not like Harry has an actual job. For all we know, he said, (imitating British accent) I don't work here yet.

I know I could see Harry as a Christmas tree salesman. He'd certainly be better than his father. Can you imagine buying a tree from Prince Charles? (Imitating British accent) Oh, I'm in love with this spruce. Yes. Whatever in love means.

BURKE: (Laughter).

ROCCA: Now, would you like a stand with that?

All in all, a sweet story more Hallmark than Netflix.

JOBRANI: (Laughter) So Prince Harry as a Christmas tree employee from Mo Rocca. Your last tale from Big Wave Dave's comes from Maeve Higgins.

HIGGINS: More huge decisions facing the highest court in the land this week as Big Wave Dave's Christmas Trees and Pumpkin Patch faces a massive legal battle with Big Grave Maeve's New Year's Isthmus Breeze and Bumpkin Batch (ph). The Supreme Court will hear arguments today from both companies about who has the copyright and who is the copycat.

Big Grave Maeve's New Year's Isthmus Breeze and Bumpkin Batch has been around for decades, offering Michiganders their traditional January 1 windy walk along a narrow strip of land with water on both sides - obviously, that's the Great Lakes - followed by a cozy baking session where they make a batch of delicious bumpkins, which are traditional American muffins that taste like Diet Pepsi but with gluten.

When asked about the court case, Big Grave Maeve was not pulling any punches. I am confident that Big Wave Dave and his Christmas trees, whatever they are, won't be around for much longer. I've been running this New Year's Isthmus Breeze since the '90s, and he got the idea of pairing a holiday with nature from me. Hell, he even got his name from me. Who's ever even heard of anyone called Dave?


JOBRANI: All right. Adam, you've got, from Adam, genetically engineered pumpkins and trees. You've got, from Mo, Prince Harry, Christmas tree employee. And you've got, from Maeve, the lawsuit between Big Wave Dave and Big Grave Maeve's Which one is the real story?

WEATHERELL: I feel like it's got to be the prince and the Christmas tree.

JOBRANI: Adam...


JOBRANI: To find out the correct answer, we spoke to a journalist following the real story.

EVA WOLCHOVER: Prince Harry can learn anything from this experience. It's that when you leave the royal family, you become just another normal person at the Christmas tree stand.

JOBRANI: That was Eva Wolchover (ph) from the newsletter The Anglophile (ph) talking about Prince Harry being mistaken for a Christmas tree salesman. Congratulations, Adam. You got it right.


HIGGINS: Congratulations, Adam. You betrayed me, though.

WEATHERELL: Thanks - longtime listener, first-time caller. It's been so much fun.

JOBRANI: Happy to have you on, buddy.




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