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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. You're not feeling ill. You're feeling Bill - Bill Kurtis. And here is your host, here to put the play in plague. It's Peter Sagal.



Thank you, Bill. Thanks to all of you wonderful, grateful people who are not, in fact, in this closet applauding for me. That's, of course, canned applause played by our trusty producer, Mike.

Now, this particular applause was our audience back in January of 2017 applauding for special guest host Tom Hanks. Now, there's really nothing like the sound of people loudly enjoying one's absence. Anyway, we have invited Mr. Hanks back. He'll be joining us later to play Not My Job. But this time, Tom, I'm not going anywhere.


PETER GROSZ: That wasn't a sound effect, Peter. That was my voice. I apologize.

SAGAL: Nobody is going anywhere, so we assume you are free to give us a call and play our games. The number is 1-888-WAIT-WAIT or 1-888-924-8924. Let's welcome our first listener contestant.

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

GRANT ROBILLARD: Hi, my name's Grant. I'm in Atlanta, Ga.

SAGAL: Well, how are things in Atlanta?

ROBILLARD: Oh, it's pretty quiet at the places I'm working at.

SAGAL: (Laughter) I know. Why do I even bother asking? I should say, how are things inside your house, I guess.

ADAM FELBER: Yes, same as everywhere.

SAGAL: When you are allowed to leave your house, what do you do?

ROBILLARD: Oh, I work security for the CDC, and I'm a Army reservist.

SAGAL: Wait a minute...


SAGAL: You work for the CDC?

ROBILLARD: Well, I work security (laughter), so I just - I wave at the smart people.

SAGAL: All right. And you wave at the smart people, and presumably, they wave back. Do you think those smart people know what they're doing?

ROBILLARD: You know, they seem like they're really on top of everything.

SAGAL: Oh, good. I'm very glad to hear it. Let me introduce you, Grant, to our panel this week. First up, it's a writer, performer and the co-host of the podcast Nobody Listens To Paula Poundstone. It's Adam Felber.


FELBER: Hey there.

SAGAL: Next, she's the host of the Fake The Nation podcast, and you can now stream her last film, "3rd Street Blackout," for free because let's face it - you have run out of things to watch by now. It's Negin Farsad.


NEGIN FARSAD: (Laughter) Hello.

ROBILLARD: Hi, ma'am.

SAGAL: And an actor and writer who directed the new Audible original series "Escape From Virtual Island" featuring Paul Rudd - it's Peter Grosz.


GROSZ: Hello.

SAGAL: Grant, 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 may choose on your voicemail. You ready to play?

ROBILLARD: Yes, sir.

SAGAL: Here is your first quote.

KURTIS: Normal it will not be.

SAGAL: That was California governor Yoda Gavin Newsom talking about...


SAGAL: ...Plans to open up what?

ROBILLARD: Trying to open up the economy, open up the city.


SAGAL: Yeah, basically...


SAGAL: ...Everything. Whatever we do, people say we won't be able to go back to normal right away. For example, restaurants will open, but they'll have to stagger the tables so nobody's anywhere near each other. Servers, remember - throw entrees from the left, receive flying dirty plates...

GROSZ: (Laughter).

SAGAL: ...From the right.

FELBER: (Imitating Yoda) Crowded bistros you will not have.


FARSAD: Wait, but my understanding is if the restaurants are going to be at half-capacity, then we actually get double the food, right? That's, like...

SAGAL: Right.

FARSAD: ...How it's going to work.

SAGAL: Yeah.

FARSAD: (Unintelligible).

GROSZ: Yes, that's your excuse for going in and ordering two entrees. I'm helping you guys.

FARSAD: (Laughter).

GROSZ: I'm not stress eating. I'll have a chicken parmesan and a lasagna, thank you very much.


SAGAL: If they really want to keep people apart in restaurants, they should just make it awful to go there. For example, every other table is a bad first Tinder date.

FELBER: (Laughter).

GROSZ: I feel so bad for people who are, like, I just got out of a long-term relationship, and I'm ready to hit the town...


GROSZ: ...Meet a whole bunch of new people.

FARSAD: Yeah. Stella did not get her groove back in the middle of a pandemic.

GROSZ: No, she did not.

FELBER: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Now, nobody really knows why President Trump is obsessed about opening up the country on May 1, except it's May Day. That's the thing you say when you're going down in flames. Or maybe...


SAGAL: The president did say he had the, quote, "absolute power to open the country." But the next day, after he was visited by three spirits in the night, he admitted he couldn't really do that. He did create a committee to reopen the economy with such brilliant public health experts as Ivanka Trump, Mr. Ivanka Trump, Pennywise the clown, Voldemort and Wilbur Ross.


SAGAL: All right, Grant. Here's your next quote.

KURTIS: Do you wear a suit and get a podium for your house?

SAGAL: That was a lawyer worrying about how to argue a case now that the Supreme Court will be hearing those cases how?

ROBILLARD: Remotely - through video.

SAGAL: Yes...


SAGAL: I'll give it to you.


SAGAL: They're going to do it over the phone. It's true. Many people are discovering the wonder of phone calls. It's just like a Zoom meeting, but you don't have to put on a shirt, either.


SAGAL: The Supreme Court had canceled their spring session. But all these civil liberties were just piling up, and somebody has to get rid of them. So they've agreed for the first time in its long history to conduct hearings by conference call. They'll still be wearing robes, but who knows what's under them? And - this is also for the first time - the public can listen in live. This has never...


SAGAL: ...Happened before. Come for the counsels' arguments, the justices' sharp questions and Clarence Thomas' heavy breathing.


FELBER: Yeah. I'm really looking forward to hearing him say nothing.

FARSAD: I love this. I love this story so much, as I totally picture one of those moments where someone's, like, you want the truth? And then Ruth Bader Ginsburg is, like, what? Who's talking?


FARSAD: Like, you can't handle the truth. I'm sorry. You have to ID yourself. I may be able to handle the truth, but I don't know who's speaking.

FELBER: Every 20 minutes, you're going to have to wait while Ruth Ginsburg says, excuse me, I have to go get some more nickels.

FARSAD: (Laughter).

GROSZ: You guys, she needs to live. We need to stop joking about how old she is.


GROSZ: I do not - I'm not comfortable with this line of questioning.

FARSAD: No, no. This is a joke about how she's a Luddite, not that she's old.

GROSZ: OK, good.

FELBER: Oh, I was going with old.

GROSZ: Wait. Is there a reason why it's not a video system and that it's just phone?

SAGAL: Well, I mean...

GROSZ: It can't be hacked as easily?

SAGAL: I'm not quite sure.

FELBER: Have you looked at these justices?

FARSAD: Because, like, Sonia Sotomayor does not want to wash her hair. She's on a streak. She's not going to do it.


FARSAD: And I barely did mine for you guys.


SAGAL: All right. Grant, here is your last quote.

KURTIS: They're taking the town back. It's now theirs.

SAGAL: That was a man in Wales noticing that what are now taking over are empty streets and towns?

ROBILLARD: All the wild animals.

SAGAL: Yes...


SAGAL: ...All the animals, Grant.


SAGAL: That's exactly right. Since people are being forced to stay home, the animals have come out. Goats were walking down the street in Wales, whales walking down the street in Goats.


SAGAL: At Yosemite, all the bears have come out. And Yellowstone is crawling with leather daddies.

GROSZ: That would be amazing.


FARSAD: Oh, my God, you guys. It turns out, like, we're, like, basically my old roommate, Derek (ph), who left a bunch of dirty dishes and, like, bong water all over the apartment. And then when he finally moved out, the apartment was clean. Like, we are that roommate.

GROSZ: (Laughter) We're Derek.

FARSAD: We are Derek.

SAGAL: We're Derek.

GROSZ: ...Derek.

SAGAL: We're the global Derek. There you go.


SAGAL: There is one group of animals that are not happy, and that is - and this is true - New York City rats. They're apparently forming armies and battling each other because there's not enough garbage to eat now. Without filthy humans discarding pizza crusts and other garbage, the rats will have to start cooking for themselves. And you thought they were annoying before. Wait till the rats start talking about their sourdough starter.


SAGAL: But if the animals really are taking over - we don't know. None of us have been outside in three weeks - well, we would like to welcome our new audience by replacing our Bluff the Listener game with Hump the Listener's Leg.


GROSZ: Meanwhile, it's just dogs that hump legs, right? It's not, like, oh, I saw a vulture...

SAGAL: I hope so.


SAGAL: It would be very frightening if a bear were to do that.


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

KURTIS: Grant did well enough to go back to the CDC and protect us. And if they discover a vaccine, Grant, please call me.

GROSZ: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Grant...


KURTIS: Three and 0.

SAGAL: Thank you so much.


SAGAL: I really appreciate you joining us. Thanks for the good work you do at the CDC, keeping those guys safe.

ROBILLARD: Thank you, sir.

SAGAL: Thank you.

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