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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. Uh-oh. It's a glo-Bill (ph) pandemic.


KURTIS: I'm Bill Kurtis. And here is your host - probably wearing pants, but no promises - Peter Sagal.



Thank you, Bill. And thanks to our audience of the imagination. Although honestly, after five weeks of this, I am starting to hallucinate that I can smell them. That, by the way, was canned applause from the opening night of "Hamilton."


SAGAL: We have a wonderful show for you today because later on, we're going to be talking to Allison Janney, who's famous for many things but perhaps most for playing press secretary C.J. Cregg in "The West Wing," which has switched genres. Once, it was a wonderful drama about an enlightened administration. Now it's science fiction.

LUKE BURBANK: (Laughter).

SAGAL: We want to hear your statements first, so give us a call. The number 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.

ELENA AMADOR-FRENCH: Hi. This is Elena from Pasadena, Calif.

SAGAL: Hey, Elena. How are things in Pasadena?

AMADOR-FRENCH: They're bright and funny and pretty nice, considering.

SAGAL: What do you do there in Pasadena?

AMADOR-FRENCH: So I work at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. I'm a scientist on the Curiosity Rover.

SAGAL: No kidding.

BURBANK: I follow that on Twitter.


SAGAL: So are you...

AMADOR-FRENCH: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Are you, like, controlling the rover? Is that one of your jobs when you say you work on it?

AMADOR-FRENCH: Yeah. So I help the scientists plan what we're going to uplink every single day.

SAGAL: Have you ever given it the instruction, please come and get me?


AMADOR-FRENCH: Maybe we will have to do that soon. It's the one safe place in the solar system.

MO ROCCA: Can you make the rover roll over?


BURBANK: That costs $80,000.

AMADOR-FRENCH: I'm pretty sure the engineers would stop us from doing that. Yeah, it's a $2.5 billion rover.

SAGAL: Don't do that. Don't do that.

KURTIS: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Well, Elena, it's a pleasure to talk to you. Let me introduce you to our panel this week. First up, it's the host of the daily podcast TBTL, as well as the public radio variety show Live Wire. It's Luke Burbank.


BURBANK: Hey, Elena. This is lost on you, but I put cologne on for this.

AMADOR-FRENCH: Oh, thank you.


BURBANK: Which, by the way, means you're in the danger zone. If you can smell someone's cologne, run. You are too close.

SAGAL: Next, a contributor to "CBS Sunday Morning" who will star off-Broadway in her own solo show, "Approval Junkie," as soon as off-Broadway is a thing again. It's Faith Salie.


SALIE: Hello, Elena. You are very cool.

AMADOR-FRENCH: Oh, thanks.

SAGAL: And finally, a correspondent for "CBS Sunday Morning" and the author of "Mobituaries: Great Lives Worth Reliving." It's Mo Rocca.


ROCCA: Hi, Elena. I would say that I'm wearing a wife-beater, but that's politically incorrect. I'm wearing a guinea tee.

SALIE: What?


SAGAL: Thank God you dodged that bullet, Mo. So, Elena, you, of course, are 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 that you might choose for your voicemail. You ready to go?


SAGAL: For your first quote, here is the mayor of Las Vegas talking to Anderson Cooper this week.

KURTIS: We don't do bad things to people at all - ever.

SAGAL: The mayor was insisting that despite her city's reputation as Sin City, only good things will happen to people once Vegas does what?


SAGAL: Yes, exactly right.


SAGAL: Mayor Carolyn Goodman of Las Vegas says she's willing to let all the casinos and restaurants and bars in her city open for business despite the pandemic because, as they say, what happens in Vegas spreads to neighboring cities and then eventually across the country. Now, when she was asked...

SALIE: (Laughter).

SAGAL: ...About whether she wants Vegas to be part of a such dangerous test, she said, they used to test nuclear bombs here, and that worked out OK. That's not a joke. She said that. The question isn't how she got elected to three terms. The question is, how is anybody in Las Vegas still alive?

BURBANK: Under her, just going to Vegas is playing Russian roulette.

SAGAL: That's true.

BURBANK: I mean, Las Vegas - the place where people notoriously make prudent and wise decisions. I speak as a person who frequents casinos. Like, don't leave it up to casino Luke to decide how close to the roulette table he should be.


SALIE: And she actually told Anderson Cooper in a CNN interview that she doesn't gamble. She used to gamble, but she doesn't gamble. And, of course, she is gambling with the lives of millions of people.

SAGAL: She became bored with the usual stakes. Why not gamble for the...


SAGAL: ...Most dangerous game?

BURBANK: Is the same week that the Gathering of the Juggalos was canceled?


BURBANK: Like, the Insane Clown Posse...

ROCCA: Yeah.

BURBANK: ...Has better public health awareness than the mayor of a major American city.


BURBANK: Like, Shaggy 2 Dope should be running Vegas at this point. That would be a better situation.

SAGAL: But imagine how proud, though, Mayor Goodman will be when the Bellagio Casino and Hotel announces that the coronavirus has been booked for a three-month residency.

BURBANK: (Laughter).

SAGAL: I should say that this is part of this weird movement across the country. People are holding protests against the lockdown, holding signs like lockdown sucks and, I want a haircut and, let me golf. You know what's old, tired thinking? Live free or die. You know what's hot? Live free and die.


SALIE: I think that's the tattoo that most people in Georgia are going to get when the tattoo parlors reopen.

ROCCA: Faith, you have to defend this whole tattoo parlor policy in Georgia since you are a Georgian. What's going on?

SALIE: I just think, Mo, that people in the South are itching to bowl.

SAGAL: (Laughter).

SALIE: And we can't hold that against them.

ROCCA: But of all things to open up first, it's tattoo parlors and bowling alleys?

BURBANK: And pool halls.

SALIE: Well, no...

BURBANK: They're trying to reopen...

SALIE: Clearly...

BURBANK: ...Depression-era 1930 Atlanta.

SAGAL: Yes. Basically, the most important demographic in Georgia is sailors on shore leave.

BURBANK: (Laughter).

SAGAL: All right, Elena. your next quote is from someone on Twitter.

KURTIS: What if I just bought a barrel of it, like, just to have around?

SAGAL: That was somebody thinking about investing in what now that it is incredibly cheap?

AMADOR-FRENCH: That would be oil.

SAGAL: You're right, Elena.




SAGAL: Sweet crude, the price of a barrel of oil sunk below $0. It got so cheap, it's priced negatively. People who have oil - seriously - have so much of it, they will pay you to take it off their hands. This has led to swarms of people rushing to Cushing, Okla., to pick it up - you know, with just bringing all their extra Tupperware. You get there to claim your hundred barrels of oil, and then you realize you forgot all the lids.

BURBANK: I have always been perplexed by one element of the oil trade, which is a certain kind of oil is always described as light sweet crude.

SAGAL: Yeah, it sounds good.

BURBANK: Who's the guy who tasted it?

SALIE: (Laughter).

BURBANK: Like, where did...

SAGAL: You know...

SALIE: Is it really?

BURBANK: ...He get the flavor notes of the oil from that now is part of the description?

SAGAL: You've probably heard this - that with prices so low, it's actually more expensive to buy a bottle of water than the same amount of crude oil. And that may be the solution - just make crude oil into a health drink. It looks bad, and it tastes terrible. Forget Smartwater - try thick water.

SALIE: I think that would turn some of us into somm-oil-iers (ph).


BURBANK: (Laughter).

SAGAL: So anyway, people are desperate to try to find someplace to put all this oil. BP suggested just dumping it into the Gulf of Mexico, saying, quote, "It's worked before."

SALIE: (Gasping).


SAGAL: You know who should...

BURBANK: Tell you where you can deposit a shocking amount of oil - 16-year-old Luke Burbank's forehead.

SAGAL: (Laughter).

BURBANK: I mean, man.

SALIE: Was it light and sweet?

BURBANK: It was crude. I'll tell you that.

SAGAL: Yes. All right, Elena. Your last quote is from a psychologist talking about one of the burdens of our current moment.

KURTIS: You're watching TV, but TV is also watching you.

SAGAL: People are getting tired of their TVs watching them now that we're all meeting people how?

AMADOR-FRENCH: Over the Internet.

SAGAL: Yes - on Zoom.


SAGAL: A new psychological study published this week proves what we have all been figuring out for ourselves. Zoom meetings are exhausting. Everybody looks shocked because they're all ignoring each other and staring at their own face and thinking, that must be a software glitch. I cannot look like that.

SALIE: (Laughter).

SAGAL: You can't look away from the screen. You can't lose focus because you don't know when all of a sudden, somebody is going to ask you something. It ruins you for looking at any other screen. You watch Netflix, and you worry BoJack Horseman is going to look at you and ask for your take.

BURBANK: (Laughter).

ROCCA: We've all become lighting designers, though, right?

SAGAL: Yes, absolutely. Have any of you - assuming you've all been doing this - taken care to arrange the background?

ROCCA: Oh, completely.


BURBANK: I mean, we're not animals, Peter.

SALIE: (Laughter).

ROCCA: Yeah.

SAGAL: So what have - I want to know what you've added and what you've removed, if anything. I mean, is there anything embarrassing...


SAGAL: ...You had to take off?

ROCCA: I've removed a lot of my stuffed animals because it starts to get a little bit creepy.

SAGAL: (Laughter).

BURBANK: Yeah - a little bit.

ROCCA: I have been tempted to look into maybe renting some small children to kind of walk behind me.

SAGAL: Oh, it's adorable.

ROCCA: Yeah.

BURBANK: That's a business opportunity.

ROCCA: Everybody loves that.

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

KURTIS: Well, Elena can tell the Mars rover she's perfect - 3 and 0.


SAGAL: Elena, congratulations. And thanks for the exciting work that you do. And I hope you find a way for us to follow the rovers soon.

BURBANK: (Laughter).

AMADOR-FRENCH: Thank you very much.

SAGAL: Thank you, Elena. Take care.




ARETHA FRANKLIN: (Singing) Who's zoomin' (ph) who? Take another look. Tell me, baby. Who's zoomin' who? Fish jumped off the hook... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.