Bluff The Listener

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Our panelists tell three stories about somebody with a terrible reputation finding redemption in an unlikely way, only one of which is true.

BILL KURTIS, BYLINE: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT ...DON'T TELL ME, the NPR News quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis and we're playing this week with Bobcat Goldthwait, Roy Blount Jr. and Roxanne Roberts.


KURTIS: And here again is your host at the Nourse Theater in San Francisco, Peter Sagal.



Thank you all. 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.

DEREK RYDER: Hi, Peter. This is Derek Ryder in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

SAGAL: Stillwater, Oklahoma. Are the waters still there, I assume they are. What do you do there?

RYDER: I'm a groundwater geologist, I do groundwater studies.


BOBCAT GOLDTHWAIT: I guess you should have saw it coming.

SAGAL: Yeah. So you do groundwater studies in Stillwater?

RYDER: Yeah.


SAGAL: I assume you're like, yep, still pretty still. Yep.


SAGAL: Or maybe you're just like, yep, still water.


SAGAL: Derek, it's nice to have you with us. You're going to play the game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what is Derek's topic?

KURTIS: Well, I guess you're not such a total loser after all.


SAGAL: Are you hated? Shunned? Treated like a leper without the benefit of the special leper discount down at the Denny's? Well, we've got encouraging news for you - it's possible to be redeemed. Each of our three panelists are going to tell you a story about how somebody with a terrible reputation found redemption in an unlikely way, but of course two of the people you're going to hear about are just as hated as they always were. Pick the true story of a change in image and you win our prize - scorekeeper emeritus Carl Kassel's voicemail wherever you want to put it - I suggest your voicemail. You ready to play?


SAGAL: First, let's here from Bobcat Goldthwait.

GOLDTHWAIT: Jimmy Buffett channeled his fears about going to the doctor for a routine colonoscopy into a hit song. The bout is entitled "Uncharted Canals."


GOLDTHWAIT: It's a story of his nervousness about having a colonoscopy performed. The song takes a twist when it's a female doctor and they fall in love. Like everything he touches, "Uncharted Canals" has become a huge his with this fans, but "Uncharted Canals" is more than just a whimsical musical song to many Buffett devotees. It turns out the song is a bit of a wake-up call. Tens of thousands of parrotheads have run out and followed suit by getting their own colonoscopy exams. Jimmy Buffett will be responsible for saving many lives, claims Doctor Elfort Troyer (ph) of the Houston Medical Center. Buffett, the leader of the Coral Reefer Band, said it's really nice to think that maybe I'll be remembered for saving lives and not just for being the guy who wrote Margaritaville.


GOLDTHWAIT: Buffett declined to mention if the doctors were looking for his lost shaker of salt.


SAGAL: Jimmy Buffett striking a chord for colonoscopies. Your next story of someone's image getting polished comes from Roxanne Roberts.

ROXANNE ROBERTS: Before Justin Bieber got that DUI in Miami, before he egged his neighbor or peed in public or lost his shirt yet again, well, there was that falo of blonde hair which could forgive all the stupid things he's ever done. We speak of course not of the jailed duck bill that Biebs' currently sports, but his original bowl haircut and bangs which doctors say have the power to prevent skin cancer.


ROBERTS: In an editorial in the July issue of the Journal of The American Association Pediatrics, Crystal Agi and Bernard Cohen argue that boys who wear Biebs' bangs develop fewer freckles or skin cancer. Quote, "for the past few years, we have embraced his character style in our teenage patient population to encourage discussion of sun protective measures," they write. My favorite part - the doctors have named their medical brainchild The New Big Bang Theory.


SAGAL: Justin Bieber's haircut saves lives by shading young foreheads from the sun. Your last story of a reputation restored comes from Roy Blount Jr.

ROY BLOUNT JR: A dance to summer starring Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod in a tunic and toe shoes - what was that? An envious attempt to upstage this week's apotheosis of Derek Jeter? When it comes to Jeter's black sheep teammate A-Rod, it's always hard to say just what he was thinking. Certainly A-Rod's venture this week into interpretive dance hardly registered news-wise against the adulation of Jeter in his final All-Star game. And yet, A-Rod may have made the more promising career move, for A-Rod's dancing got rave reviews. He may be sitting out a year-long suspension for conduct detrimental to baseball, but Tuesday night at the Yerba Buena Performance Center in San Francisco, a whole new A-Rod leapt to light. Critics praised his natural grace, his bodily awareness, his is athleticism transcending sport and dance. Also, just saying, dancers don't have to undergo periodic drug testing.


SAGAL: Here are the stories - one of these people did wonders for their own reputation, willing or not. What is from Bobcat Goldthwait - Jimmy Buffett doing what he can to get his fans, parrotheads to get colonoscopies by writing a song about his own. From Roxanne Roberts, Justin Bieber possibly saving lives, young lives, from skin cancer by wearing a haircut that shields the forehead from the sun. Or from Roy Blunt Jr - A-Rod , Alex Rodriguez, becoming an interpretive dancer and showing a more sensitive side. Which of these is the real story that we found in the week's news?

RYDER: I think it might be the Bieber one.

SAGAL: It might be the Bieber one?


RYDER: I think I'm going to go with that.

SAGAL: The audience likes it.


SAGAL: OK, your choice is Roxanne's story about Justin Bieber and his haircut. Well, to find out the correct answer, we spoke to someone involved in the real story.

DR. CRYSTAL AGI: This may be the one saving grace for Justin Bieber. If there's one good thing he might be remembered for, it's definitely his hairstyle.


SAGAL: That was Doctor Crystal Agi from Johns Hopkins University Hospital, the woman who wrote about the life-saving, potentially, affects of Justin Bieber's haircut. Congratulations, Derek, you got it right.


SAGAL: You earned a point for Roxanne and you've won our prize - Carl Kassel will record the greeting on your home answering machine, voicemail, whatever you like. Thank you so much for playing with us today.

RYDER: All right.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.


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