Bluff The Listener

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Our panelists tell three stories of freshman year discoveries, only one of which is true.

CARL KASELL: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR news quiz. I'm Carl Kasell. We're playing his week with Brian Babylon, Jessi Klein, and Hannibal Burress. And here again is your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.



Thank you, Carl. Thank you everybody. 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!

LAURA CONCHELOS: Hi, it's Laura from Santa Fe.

SAGAL: Hey, how are things in Santa Fe?


SAGAL: Well, you're high up in the mountains there, right? So there's not all that desert stuff.


SAGAL: And are you a very arty, spiritual person? Because that's my understanding of what Santa Fe is like.

CONCHELOS: I think I'm supposed to be more arty and spiritual.

SAGAL: So you're just - you don't go in for any of that stuff?


SAGAL: That's good for you because they need at least one cynic, I think.

CONCHELOS: Right, exactly.

SAGAL: Well Laura, it is good to have you with us. You're going to play the game in which you must tell truth from fiction. Carl, what is Laura's topic?

KASELL: College is awesome.


SAGAL: Freshman year of college is a time for self-discovery, as we all know. It's when you discover Elliot Smith and your new, fatter self.


SAGAL: Our panelists are going to read you three stories from the week about odd discoveries made recently by college freshman. Guess the true story, and you'll win Carl's voice on your voice mail. You ready to play? All right. First, let's hear from Jessi Klein.

JESSI KLEIN: When seeking a college roommate, most kids hope to find someone with whom they share a few things in common: an interest in lacrosse, maybe a passion for beer or perhaps a mutual love or mutual hatred for the music of Justin Bieber. But when Mikayla Stern-Ellis enrolled at Tulane University, she had no idea what using the schools online roommate finder would lead her to discover.

Seeking a roommate with simply a compatible personality, she created a profile that included a photo and mentioned that she loved theater and had lesbian parents, you know, the basics. She then stumbled on the profile of Emily Nappe(ph), a girl who, like her, also loved theater and had lesbian parents.

This might have seemed like a pretty weird coincidence, but in 2014, almost every liberal arts student is interested in theater and has lesbian parents.


KLEIN: However, Emily's photo also showed that she had wavy hair and a cleft chin very similar to Mikayla's wavy hair and cleft chin. Emily already had a roommate, but the two became friends on Facebook and ended up in the same dorm. Once they found themselves in the same production of "The Vagina Monologues," they knew something was up.

They eventually discovered that both sets of parents had conceived the girls with the help of a West Bank sperm bank, where they'd both picked a Colombian sperm donor. With a little more fact-checking, the truth was revealed: Mikayla and Emily were sisters.

The two texted each other for hours, afraid to talk on the phone because no one does that anymore.


KLEIN: But in the end, both girls are super-excited to have a new family member, as well as a new follower on Twitter and Instagram.


SAGAL: Two young women go to college, look for a compatible roommate and find a sibling they never knew they had. Your next story of a freshperson discovering something comes from Brian Babylon.

BRIAN BABYLON: British pop star Liam Payne from One Direction wants to be an actor. And last year he got cast as a lead in the sequel to the Nick Cannon hit movie "Drumline." "Drumline" is the story of a black college marching band in the South and their journey to a big showdown against a rival school.

So to prepare for the role, Liam decided to do a semester of college to submerge himself in black college life. I wanted to go somewhere where I can get a sense of the drumline culture, said surprisingly articulate Liam Payne. He did some research and chose Clark Atlanta University, the historically black university where the first "Drumline" movie was shot.

His managers got to work and enrolled him for the fall semester. The problem was they called the wrong Clark. Instead of Clark Atlanta University, they enrolled him in Clark College in Dubuque, Iowa.


BABYLON: And even worse for Liam, he didn't figure this out until the last week of the semester. I should have known when I heard all the "Mumford and Sons." Plus there was all the white people. But instead of doing it all over, Liam has decided just to switch movies. Instead of "Drumline" sequel, he is now starring in the "Grumpy Old Man 3" movie.



SAGAL: A young man wants to go to Clark University in Atlanta, an historically black college, instead ends up in Clark in Iowa, which is not. Your last story of a first for a first year comes from Hannibal Burres.

HANNIBAL BURRESS: The annual poster sale at Boston University is the highlight of freshman orientation week. It's when 18-year-olds from all over the country display their individuality by buying the same poster as everyone else in their dorm.


BURRESS: Since 1895, that poster has been Edvard Munch's "The Scream." BU freshman Luke McGill(ph) got his "Scream" poster this fall for only 10 bucks instead of the usual $12.99 because the printing looked a little off. When he hung it at his dorm next to his roommate's poster of "The Scream," he noticed that they looked completely different.

My roommate's poster was flat and shiny. Mine was weird and lumpy and looked used, but it was only 10 bucks, so who cares.


BURRESS: A few weeks later Luke invited a sophomore art history major back to his dorm to study. It turns out she just wanted to study.


BURRESS: She was really interested in the poster and asked if she could borrow it to show a professor, Luke said. It turns out the poster was one of four original versions of the painting stolen from a museum in Oslo several years ago. After a talk with the FBI and a visit with Interpol, Luke got his $10 back, and his painting was returned to Norway. And apart from a few hotplate scorch marks, it's in pretty good condition.



SAGAL: All right, here are your three stories. From Jessi Klein, two young freshmen go to Tulane University and find that instead of just being very compatible, they're actually sisters. From Brian Babylon, a young man wants to go to a historically black college, ends up at a historically, well, white college in Iowa but really enjoys it. Or from Hannibal Burres, how a young man at Boston University buys a poster of Edvard Munch's "The Scream" and discovers it's the real thing.

Which of these is the real story of a shocking discovery in the dorm this week?

CONCHELOS: I think I would buy Jessi's.

SAGAL: You're going to go with Jessi's story of the roommates finding out they had the same encapsulated father?


SAGAL: Well, we spoke to someone intimately involved with the real story.

MIKAYLA STERN-ELLIS: We realized that we both had Colombian sperm donors, and winter break, when we got a little curious, and we compared sperm donor numbers, we had the same number.

SAGAL: That was Mikayla Stern-Ellis, one of the sisters who discovered each other at Tulane this year. Congratulations, Laura, you got it right.

CONCHELOS: Awesome, thank you.

SAGAL: You earned a point for Jessi. You've won our prize. Carl Kasell will record the greeting on your home voicemail. Well done.

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