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Who's Bill This Time?

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON, BYLINE: 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. Hey, now, don't storm the Capitol. Storm me, the Capi-Bill (ph). I'm Bill Kurtis, and here is your host, who is coming to you from the bottom of a Twitter hole - Peter Sagal.



Thank you, Bill. Thanks, everybody. We are all very excited to be back with you because we are so looking forward to what's going to be a great new year, which, of course, starts next week. We really are looking forward to starting 2021 and putting behind us the terrible events of Dec. 37, 2020. Later on, we're going to be talking to actor Jane Krakowski, but while you're waiting to ring in the new year, give us a call. The number is 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924. It's time to welcome our first listener contestant.

Hi. You're on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

GABRIEL CASTILLO: Hey, how are you doing?

SAGAL: I'm doing all right. Who's this?

CASTILLO: This is Gabriel Castillo from Tulsa, Okla.

SAGAL: Hey, how are things in Tulsa?

CASTILLO: Well, they're cold right now, but, usually, they're windy.

SAGAL: Well, that sounds kind of exotic. So what do you do there in Tulsa?

CASTILLO: Well, I work in the news. I'm a web producer at a local news station. So I wake up deep in the night, and I type up news stories all evening, and then I get the days off. It's pretty exciting.

SAGAL: Yeah. And that must be pretty dull these days. What's there to talk about?

CASTILLO: Right. You know, I've been boring myself to death over here.

SAGAL: Welcome to the show, Gabriel. Let me introduce you to our panel this week. First up, it's a comedian whose movie "Extra Ordinary" is streaming now where movies stream. It's Maeve Higgins.



CASTILLO: Hey there.

SAGAL: Next, she's the writer behind the advice column Ask Amy. Her most recent book is "Strangers Tend To Tell Me Things." It's Amy Dickinson.


CASTILLO: How you doing?

SAGAL: And a comedian you can see in the new documentary "History Of Swear Words" on Netflix. It's Joel Kim Booster.


CASTILLO: What's going on?

SAGAL: Well, Gabriel, welcome to the show. You're going to play Who's Bill This Time? Bill Kurtis is going to read you three quotations from the 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 in your voice mail You ready to play?


SAGAL: OK, let's do it then. Your first quote is from the president of the United States in a video he posted on Wednesday afternoon.

KURTIS: We love you. You're all very special.

SAGAL: The president was saying something he has never once said to his own children to people who at that moment were doing what?

CASTILLO: Bursting into the Capitol, in the U.S. Capitol.

SAGAL: They were sacking the Capitol.




SAGAL: A mob reached the Capitol building in what NPR is calling an insurrection by pro-Trump extremists and Fox News is calling a self-guided tour of the Senate chambers. Now, it all looked pretty scary, but don't worry. The National Guard was on standby, ready to act if any one of those people kneeled during the national anthem.


KIM BOOSTER: I was mightily concerned about the fashions on display from the people trying to do the coup. It looked like Farm & Fleet goes to Burning Man. It was really...


HIGGINS: You know, I was looking at it, and I love how the Capitol is so open, right? Like, it's the people's house, and that's why it was easy to get in. But I have to say there's a castle on the island that I'm from in Cobh (ph), and it has, like, little slits at the top of it to pour hot oil out of. It has...


SAGAL: Oh, yeah.

HIGGINS: It has what's called a murder hole (laughter).


HIGGINS: And it works. You know, it's worked for 2,000 years now to keep out the marauders and their terrible fashions.

SAGAL: Did you ever have to, as you were growing up on this island, serve in the castle to defend from marauders, or does that only happen once you move to America?

HIGGINS: (Laughter) Yeah, it's funny, isn't it? A lot of people are like, this is not American. I'm like, but I've only ever seen this in America. But I...


HIGGINS: And I should also say that, like, the castle in Cobh now - they just project a big Santa Claus onto it at Christmastime. It's not - the murder hole is no longer in use.

SAGAL: Well, not yet. Now, we should say that the people who tried to overthrow our democracy did not, at least for the moment, win. They did not stop the certification of Joe Biden's victory. The Senate reconvened later in the trashed Capitol, and Mitch McConnell gave a heartfelt speech about democracy, after which he had to give the heart back to the cadaver he stole it from.

DICKINSON: (Laughter) Oh.

SAGAL: But what was amazing was, after all that, all of that, Senator Ted Cruz still objected to certifying the election, which led to the second unimaginable event of the day, people hating Ted Cruz even more.

KIM BOOSTER: You know, it's so hard to look at Ted Cruz sometimes because he looks like his own Madame Tussauds statue is melting, you know? Like, it looks like he just - he's wearing a mask of his own skin. It's so creepy.

SAGAL: Oh, God.


SAGAL: Now, after all of this, the president was finally banned from Twitter and Facebook for promoting sedition. So he was reduced to setting national policy by doing 30-second dance videos on TikTok.


HIGGINS: I was so concerned about what platform he was going to move to because he got blocked from all of them except for Pinterest. And I was like, oh, no. Pinterest is so cute, and now he's just going to be, like, quilting Confederate flags together.

DICKINSON: You don't want to see his dream board, I assure you. Yeah.


SAGAL: All right. Gabriel, here is your next quote.

KURTIS: I love puppies.

SAGAL: Those three words in social media posts may have sealed the victory for Reverend Raphael Warnock as he and Jon Ossoff were victorious in elections held where on Tuesday?

CASTILLO: Georgia.

SAGAL: Yes...


SAGAL: ...Georgia.


SAGAL: This was good news for Democrats that got overshadowed by the bad news for the country. Trump Republicans to the very bitter end, Georgia Senators Loeffler and Perdue both showed their loyalty to the president by also losing races in Georgia. This was somewhat of a surprise that had never happened. Democrats had never won runoff elections in Georgia. It took until the next day to call the race for Jon Ossoff, but Democrats were optimistic because at that point, all the remaining votes to be counted came from the Indigo Girls.


SAGAL: Finally, he was named the new senator on Wednesday, just in time to see his new offices ransacked by Visigoths.

HIGGINS: Oh, no (laughter). Yeah, I feel so bad for all the new people. I mean, they did a great job, but it must be rough on your first week for that to happen.

SAGAL: It's true. But on the other hand, all the people who were there and don't keep particularly clean offices have an excuse. Like when Ossoff is taking a tour going, oh yeah, the damage. Oh, yes. This was like that before. Yeah, this is what happened. They came in and ransacked my office. That's what happened. Ossoff will enter the Senate at the age of 33, the youngest in decades. And interestingly, it makes them exactly the same age that Joe Biden was 100 years ago.


DICKINSON: You know, one thing I loved was after these victories were announced, there are a lot of - on social media, a lot of sharing of peach emojis...


DICKINSON: ...You know? That was kind of fun. It's the first time in a long time I've seen a peach emoji actually stand for, you know, a peach.

KIM BOOSTER: Yeah, it was - I just thought everyone was super horny all night on Twitter.

DICKINSON: Yeah, I know.


SAGAL: This is - of course, Maeve, in case you don't know, Georgia is famously the Peach Tree State.

HIGGINS: Oh, I was just, like, laughing along nervously like...


SAGAL: All right, Gabriel, here is your last quote. And we are happily leaving politics behind, and we are returning to our normal, nightmarish lives.

KURTIS: All right, Bill. Don't miss it. Read the quote, read the quote. You got this, Bill.

SAGAL: So Bill was demonstrating something psychologists say that we are all doing more and more and more of every day during lockdown. What is it?

CASTILLO: Oh, man. Stressing out.

SAGAL: We're doing that, but Bill was being very specific just then. He was doing something that we have all done, especially people who live by themselves during lockdown.

CASTILLO: Talking to themselves?

SAGAL: Yes, talking to themselves.


SAGAL: More and more people are talking to themselves during the pandemic since there really isn't anybody else to talk to. In fact, I'm not saying this to any of you. I'm saying it to myself. People tend to talk out loud more when they're under stress, even when they're alone as a way of examining and organizing what's happening inside their heads. That's why you're always saying out loud, yes, Netflix, I'm still watching.


KIM BOOSTER: So did a psychologists say anything about doing other things to yourself...

SAGAL: (Laughter).

KIM BOOSTER: ...During quarantine?

HIGGINS: Out loud (laughter).

SAGAL: Not in the family websites we were reading.


DICKINSON: I've got some questions from my advice column from people worried about talking to themselves. Yeah, it's definitely a phenomenon.

SAGAL: Are people worried that they're losing their minds?

DICKINSON: Well, the one question that I published, yeah. She said, am I OK? Like, is this - and turns out it can be useful, actually.

SAGAL: Yeah.

DICKINSON: You know, you're keeping yourself company. You're telling - you're narrating your life. There's nothing wrong with that.

KIM BOOSTER: Yeah. I think it's pretty crazy to talk to yourself. That's why I've dressed up a body pillow.


KIM BOOSTER: I address the body pillow.

SAGAL: I was about to say if you're worried about it, all you need to do is paint a face on a volleyball with blood and talk to that, and you'll win an Oscar.

Bill, how did Gabriel do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Gabriel got them all right. Congratulations, Gabriel.

CASTILLO: Thank you, guys.

SAGAL: Congratulations. Thanks a lot, Gabriel. Thanks for calling.




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