Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!

Panel Round Two

More questions for the panel: Simon Cowell faces judges himself; the early days of Silvio Berlusconi; and a new magazine that's too good for you.

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CARL KASELL, HOST:

From NPR and WBEZ-Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR News quiz. I'm Carl Kasell. We're playing this week with Mo Rocca, Paula Poundstone and Roy Blount, Jr. And here again is your host, at Carnegie Hall in New York City, Peter Sagal.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

Thank you, Carl. Thank you everybody. In just a minute, Carl opens his off-Broadway one-man show, A Chorus Rhyme in our Listener Limerick Challenge. If you'd like to play, give us a call. The number, of course, 1-888-Wait-Wait, that's 1-888-924-8924. Right now, panel, some more questions for you. All again, on the theme this week, it's media. Mo, bad news for beloved "American Idol" and "Britain's Got Talent" judge Simon Cowell. He is being sued by a contestant.

PAULA POUNDSTONE: Oh no.

SAGAL: Who's making a startling claim that Mr. Cowell did what?

MO ROCCA: He's making a claim that Simon Cowell wasn't harsh enough.

SAGAL: Quite the opposite.

ROCCA: Was too harsh. Was too mean.

SAGAL: Exactly.

ROCCA: OK.

SAGAL: He's suing her because he insulted her singing.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SAGAL: She's suing him, right.

She's suing him, yes. For anyone that hasn't seen "American Idol," this is like suing the Mets for losing.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF BOOING)

POUNDSTONE: Boy, once again, Peter, you can work a room.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Last May, Emma Czikai appeared on "Britain's Got Talent" and Cowell told her she had a "terrible voice." So, she naturally sued him for $3.8 million. She accused him of "exploitation, humiliation, degradation and barbarism," which coincidently are the names of Simon's children.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: She then sued the sun for rising in the east, the pope for being Catholic and a bear for unsanitary practice in the forest.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Paula, one of the world's great media moguls is now prime minister of Italy, that's Silvio Berlusconi. He owns television stations, newspapers, publishing houses, film companies.

POUNDSTONE: Yeah.

SAGAL: What set him on his path to fortune and power? What was his first job?

POUNDSTONE: Well, I happen to not know this.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: What was his first job? Well, I'm just going to reach back into my own life, assuming that we're very similar.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: Feeding neighbor's pets.

SAGAL: No.

ROCCA: Aw, that's sweet.

POUNDSTONE: I was so close though, is that correct?

SAGAL: No. I'll give you a hint though.

POUNDSTONE: Hostess at the IHOP.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: Is that?

ROCCA: It is international.

POUNDSTONE: Yes, exactly.

SAGAL: Yes, that is, International House of Pancakes.

POUNDSTONE: Bicycle messenger.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: So far, I am at the exact same...

SAGAL: You know who you sound like? You sound like my high school guidance counselor.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: The last time I had this conversation.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: It's like ladies and gents, the plutocrat will be singing down on the Lido Deck.

POUNDSTONE: He was on a cruise ship.

SAGAL: He was.

POUNDSTONE: He worked on a cruise ship?

SAGAL: He did. He sang on a cruise ship.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

POUNDSTONE: Whoa.

SAGAL: This is true. As a young man in the 1960s, Silvio Berlusconi spent his summers doing a lounge act on Italian ships cruising around the Mediterranean.

ROCCA: The Amore Boat.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Sure, he was reportedly partial to Sinatra, the classic Italian balladeers of the era and sexually harassing female passengers.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: It turns out he's not the only world leader to get his start on a cruise ship. Vladimir Putin worked on a Russian Icebreaker, tied to the prow so he could smash the ice with his fists.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Britain's Tony Blair was a steersman on a ship, but he was fired when he'd just find a big American ship and follow it around. And Nicholas Sarkozy's first job: sitting on a pirate's shoulder.

(SOUNDBITE OF BOOING)

POUNDSTONE: Boy. This is a whole room full of Sarkozy supporters.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: Not to be toyed with. Either that or parrot fans.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Mo, there are magazines for every interest. Runner's World for runners. Seventeen for girls who can't wait to grow up. Maxim for guys who are too scared to talk to actual women.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Well now, there's a new publication specifically for whom?

ROCCA: Future world leaders working on cruise ships.

SAGAL: I'll give you a hint.

ROCCA: Yeah.

SAGAL: Instead of looking down their noses at the rest of us, these people can now look down and read a magazine.

ROCCA: I'm thinking like the Windsors, like royal family. Looking down their noses. Oh, for elephants.

SAGAL: No.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

ROCCA: Oh, that's trunk; that's not a nose.

SAGAL: Yeah.

ROCCA: It could be - it could be for...

SAGAL: Does anybody know?

ROCCA: Oh, no, no, no.

POUNDSTONE: Is it for snobs?2

SAGAL: It is for snobs.

POUNDSTONE: A magazine for snobs.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

ROCCA: Well, wait a minute, but I said, like I...

SAGAL: You didn't say snob. The magazine...

ROCCA: I think the Windsor...

POUNDSTONE: You said elephants.

ROCCA: All right.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

ROCCA: She's looking down her nose at me.

SAGAL: Apparently. The magazine is, in fact, called Snob.

POUNDSTONE: Wow.

SAGAL: So the answer is snob. Concerned your copy of Town and Country and the New Yorker isn't giving a strong enough status signal to the other people on the subway?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Then hold up a copy of Snob in front of your face. This is a Russian language publication. It debuted in New York in September of 2010 and is targeted at, they say, people who are snobs or people who hope to be snobs.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: That is, they hope the person they will be someday will have nothing to do with the person they are now.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

ROY BLOUNT JR.: I think even better than that would be a magazine called Snub, where you opened it up and it just turns around on you, just turns it back on you.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: My daughter is 16 and she used to receive Seventeen magazine and now she says you don't receive it when you're 16. She goes, it's for 12-year-olds.

ROCCA: Aspirational.

POUNDSTONE: And I said, but it says Seventeen right on the cover. And she said, no. I go, well that's just plain weird. Like, you know, I mean I'm 50. I'm not going to - I would never buy Sixty magazine.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

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