Bluff The Listener

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Our panelists tell three stories about the dangers of fish, 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 Kyrie O'Connor, Maz Jobrani and Brian Babylon.


KASELL: And, here again is your host, at the Comerica Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona, Peter Sagal.



Thank you, Carl. Thank you everybody, All of you.


SAGAL: 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 the air. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!

MATT BROMAN: Hi sir, how are you?

SAGAL: I'm fine. How are you?

BROMAN: Excellent.

SAGAL: All right then. Who is this?

BROMAN: This is Matt from Watertown, Massachusetts.

SAGAL: Hey Watertown, I know Watertown, a fine place, a fine town outside of Boston. What do you do there?

BROMAN: I am the computer guy for the MIT police in Cambridge, Mass.

SAGAL: I understand. So you're running their IT. And how do you enjoy yourself? Because I know IT guys have rich, full lives in general.


BROMAN: Oh yeah, we're bundles of joy and excitement. I knit, and I'm an amateur astronomer.

SAGAL: You knit?

BROMAN: Yeah, I knit.

SAGAL: What is the - have you ever knitted a sweater?

BROMAN: I haven't gotten beyond scarves and misshapen lumps.

SAGAL: All right. That's where everybody starts. Well Matt, it's nice to have you with us. You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Carl, what is Matt's topic?

KASELL: Go fish, go.

SAGAL: Turns out...


SAGAL: Turns out living on land does not keep us safe from the dangers of the deep. This week we read a story about a fish causing problems for humans. Our panelists are going to ask you about it. Guess the real story, you'll win Carl Kasell's voice on your very own voicemail, or if you have one, an answering machine. We're old-school. You ready to play?

BROMAN: Oh yes, sir.

SAGAL: First let's hear from Brian Babylon.

BRIAN BABYLON: Noodling, also known as grabbling, hogging, graveling or cat (unintelligible) is the art of fishing by sticking your bare arm down a catfish hole, and then the catfish bites down on your hand, and then you've just caught a fish. But that's not all. The town of Blesses, South Carolina, known for its annual Noodling Days Festival at (unintelligible) lake, recently was struck by a rare outbreak of the disease mono, typically associated with high school kissers.

But this form of mono is also known as catfish mono. The noodling king, Chaz Brundet(ph), says he was noticing something was wrong on the third day of the festival. Quote, folks' arms kept falling asleep as they were swollen and puffy. When they looked at the fish, they didn't look so good, as well. The fish are denying that they kiss any other weird fish.


BABYLON: The noodlers just want to go back to the good old days when they can stick their hands down the throat of a live, wriggling fish without it getting weird.



SAGAL: Noodling for catfish giving people mono. Your next story of fish terrorizing landlubbers comes from Maz Jobrani.

MAZ JOBRANI: Just when you thought it was safe to pump some gas, along comes the shark bandit. This sharp-toothed robber has been victimizing gas stations in and around the Seattle area for weeks. Disguised as a shark, this suspect approaches gas station attendants and robs them at teethpoint. His sidekick is a mermaid.


JOBRANI: Ahmed Abdullah Rahim(ph) of the Main Street Shell station was quoted as saying I look outside, and I think why is there a shark at Pump Number Eight.



SAGAL: Hold on, Maz? I just want to interrupt. Could you tell the listening audience where you're from originally?

JOBRANI: I'm from Iran.

SAGAL: Thank you, go on.


JOBRANI: But that's a Jordanian accent. So Jordanians, write in.


JOBRANI: Then I look again, and I see there is also mermaid. Before I know it, they're inside. The shark tell me to give him all my money and some beef jerky, or he will bite me.


JOBRANI: I tell him I bite you.


JOBRANI: Then the mermaid pulls out a gun from behind her seashells. So she wins.


JOBRANI: Their getaways have been a bit slow, given the mermaid's difficulty in running with a tail. Abdullah Rahim explains after I give them the money, I see them run for their car. The shark was fast; the mermaid, she just waddles. But she looked good.


JOBRANI: Police are still searching.


SAGAL: The shark bandit, wreaking terror at gas stations. Your last story of a battle between man and fish comes from Kyrie O'Connor.

KYRIE O'CONNOR: Roben Madsen is like the guy in "The Hurt Locker," except instead of disarming bombs, he disarms cans of old, rotten fish. Madsen, who lives in Sweden, is headed to the Norwegian woods, isn't it good, to bust open a bulging 25-year-old can of surströmming, or fermented herring, found in the eaves of a cabin.

Hundreds of bored Norwegians are expected to descend on the can opening to watch and smell.


O'CONNOR: Swedes love the stinky surströmming. They even have fermented herring parties, which is what you do when you see the sun for one hour a day.



SAGAL: All right. So one of these stories is about fish in the news. From Brian Babylon, how noodling in one town in South Carolina is giving people mono when the catfish not only bite their hands but give them a disease. From Maz Jobrani, a guy dressed as a shark with an accomplice dressed as a mermaid robbing gas stations and convenience stores. And from Kyrie O'Connor, how a can of fermented herring is threatening a cabin in the Norwegian woods, isn't it good. Which of these is the real story of a dangerous fish in the news?

BROMAN: Um, wow. Well, being a Swede and having eaten lutefisk, I'm going to have to - I'll go with the Swedish can of disgusting fish explosion.

SAGAL: You're going to go with the Swedish can of disgusting fish explosion, which by the way would be a fine name for a band. All right, well, we actually spoke to somebody who's trying to handle this serious problem.

RUBEN MADSEN: I will take the tin can very carefully and move it to a safe place. If there still is fish inside, I will of course taste it.

SAGAL: That was Ruben Madsen, the self-proclaimed king of fermented herring, the man task with disarming the fish bomb in the cabin in the Norwegian woods. Congratulations, Matt, you've got it right.


SAGAL: You earned a point for Kyrie O'Connor. You've won our prize. Carl Kasell will record the greeting on your very own voicemail. Thank you so much for playing with us today.

BROMAN: Thank you.

SAGAL: Bye-bye, thanks so much.


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