Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!

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PETER SAGAL, HOST:

And now the game where we invite on interesting people and try to keep it interesting. Our guest does something a lot of humor columnists don't, he actually writes funny things and lots of it. He's been churning it out for more than 25 years, writing hundreds of columns and more than 30 books. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1988, which for us is what finally legitimized the Pulitzer Prizes. Miami's own Dave Barry, welcome to WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: How are you? You're good?

DAVE BARRY: Doing well, and you?

SAGAL: I'm fine. I'm good now.

BARRY: Yeah.

SAGAL: It's very exciting to be here in Florida.

BARRY: And it's a good place to be now.

SAGAL: It is. Now?

BARRY: Now. In general, now.

SAGAL: In general, yeah. Do you have any tips for people who come to Florida for the first time?

BARRY: Don't drive.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BARRY: A lot of people - Miami, in particular, when I first got here, I thought nobody here knows the traffic laws. And I learned over the years everyone here is driving according to the traffic laws of his or her individual country of origin.

SAGAL: Right.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

BARRY: And there apparently are countries where it's traditional to put on your left turn signal first thing in the morning, you know.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BARRY: Maybe put it on the night before.

SAGAL: Right.

BARRY: Just to make sure it's going.

SAGAL: There are countries that get points for pedestrians hit. So they're out there.

BARRY: Yeah. We have no pedestrians here.

SAGAL: No.

BARRY: They were wiped out years ago.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BARRY: I also advise people not to take public transportation.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BARRY: Actually, it's kind of weird, we have...

SAGAL: Wait a minute, hold on. So you can't drive, you shouldn't drive.

BARRY: Right.

SAGAL: There are no pedestrians.

BARRY: Right.

SAGAL: And you shouldn't take public transportation.

BARRY: Right. You're listening, wow. You're getting it.

SAGAL: Right.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: So basically everybody's huddled in their home.

BARRY: Well, we have a thing, it's called Metrorail and people mover.

SAGAL: Yeah.

BARRY: And we don't know how to get up on that thing.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Yeah, I've seen this.

BARRY: It goes by.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: These are very adorable little electric cars.

BARRY: Yeah. I've lived here; I've never met a soul who's ridden on that thing.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BARRY: I wonder who they are and how they get there.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BARRY: Are they even from our solar system, you know? This is an absolutely true story. This happened the year before last. There were two men, homeless gentlemen, and they were fishing in Biscayne Bay and they caught a nurse shark, a six-foot long nurse shark.

SAGAL: Right.

BARRY: And they decided that they would sell it to a fish wholesaler. There are fish wholesalers in downtown Miami that service the restaurants there. But they didn't have a car.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BARRY: And it's a long walk with a shark that size.

SAGAL: Right. Sure.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BARRY: So they elected to take public transportation.

SAGAL: Sure.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BARRY: This was rush hour. And they got on the people mover here in downtown Miami.

SAGAL: Right.

BARRY: And the shark was not dead at this time.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BARRY: They put the shark on. And it's not really an environment for a shark, the public train, you know.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BARRY: And I got an email from a woman who was a commuter and she snapped a picture with her camera and emailed me. There's a shark on the people mover. You know, I've lived here a long time and I never thought I would see that.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BARRY: We could have had a situation where a person was attacked by a shark on the people mover.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BARRY: Now, tragically we did not.

SAGAL: Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BARRY: It would have been great.

SAGAL: I love the idea that somebody gets on to their public transportation, their people mover and they say a shark and their first thought is not to scream.

BARRY: No.

SAGAL: But to say I shall send a photo of this to Dave Barry.

BARRY: Right.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

BARRY: It's a little thing we call civic duty.

SAGAL: I understand. Now this show, as you might have heard, is devoted to topics of health.

BARRY: Right.

SAGAL: Are there any health and safety concerns particular to South Florida, it being such a tropical and strange place?

BARRY: Well, you know, we have a lot of wildlife here.

SAGAL: You do.

BARRY: Yeah. Well, okay, I don't know what kind of cockroaches you have where you live.

SAGAL: Right.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BARRY: When I came here from the north where, you know, the cockroaches, if you - they're in the kitchen, you know, they're in the kitchen, whatever they're doing, but if you come in, they go "whoa" and you know they skitter away.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BARRY: Here, they're like "hey".

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BARRY: "Turn out the light, we're eating." You know, like, "we're walking here, we're walking here."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BARRY: When they back up, they go "beep, beep."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BARRY: They big. They're big. So we have them. When I first moved here, I lived in a neighborhood that had crabs. I was not used to that. Not crab grass, crabs.

SAGAL: Right.

BARRY: And they would mate.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BARRY: I got here - yeah, well how do you think we get crabs? Come on.

KYRIE O'CONNOR: I have no idea.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

BARRY: I got here during crab mating season. When I went out to get the paper, they'd be all over the lawn and they're hostile. You know, like, I think...

SAGAL: Snapping at you.

BARRY: Yeah, I think they think like you want their woman.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BARRY: You know.

SAGAL: She's mine.

BARRY: I don't want your woman, your woman's a crab, you know.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BARRY: Which just makes them even angrier because they know it's true.

SAGAL: Yeah, I know.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: They're defensive.

BARRY: I don't blame them.

SAGAL: Right. With all these things crawling in and around and all these other madnesses, do you ever get tempted to leave Florida and go someplace sane?

BARRY: No, because my wife won't let me.

SAGAL: Really?

BARRY: Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BARRY: No, my wife is really rooted here. She's Cuban Jewish. Juban, they call them.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

BARRY: Yes, there are Jubans in the audience. They didn't come over on rafts, they parted the Caribbean.

SAGAL: Right.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

BARRY: And so she, between the Jewish part and the Cuban part is related to every single person in probably...

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BARRY: In Florida, you know.

SAGAL: Yeah.

BARRY: So we're never leaving.

SAGAL: No, you can't go.

BARRY: No.

SAGAL: Would you want to?

BARRY: No, I like it here. I mean I've never lived anyplace less boring in my life.

SAGAL: Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: And it gives you material.

BARRY: Oh my God, I don't know why we have a government here if not to keep me, you know, amused. I've always said what we should do here, our system of government.

SAGAL: Yeah.

BARRY: We could streamline it if we just when they got elected, we'd swear them in and indict them in one ceremony.

SAGAL: Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Save time.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Dave Barry, we have invited you here to play a game we're calling?

CARL KASELL, HOST:

You can have a body like mine.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: So these days, you can't turn on your TV without seeing some oiled up model using some ridiculous piece of mail order fitness equipment. And for that, we can thank one Jerry Wilson. He was the inventor of both the Soloflex exercise machine back in 1978, and the program length infomercial, which he created to sell those machines.

Now we're going to ask you three questions about the history of Soloflex, taken from Mr. Wilson's own very frank memoir. Carl, who is Dave Barry playing for?

KASELL: Dave is playing for Ruth Shack(ph) of Miami, Florida.

SAGAL: All right.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

BARRY: Ruth, I'm sorry, Ruth, whatever...

SAGAL: So he invented Soloflex. He invented commercials to sell it. And of course, they started flying out the door. But the problem was the factory workers couldn't keep up with the demand for the machine.

So how did Mr. Wilson motivate them to keep cranking them out? A: he promised he would adopt the hardest worker and make him or her his heir. B: he offered a date with either or both of the Soloflex TV models to the hardest worker? Or C: he threatened all the workers with a shotgun?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BARRY: Well I'm sure it's not C. I'm going to go with B.

SAGAL: You're going to go with B? Take a look at those models, you get to date anyone you want?

BARRY: Yeah.

SAGAL: It was actually the shotgun.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: He says in his book that he demonstrated his dedication to meeting production goals by blowing the time clock off the wall with a shotgun.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Here is your next question. Soloflex makes some interesting claims as to their role in the fitness craze. For example, the company claims what?

That if you added up all the body weight they had helped people to lose, you would have the population of Sacramento, California? B: that they own the trademark on the phrase "exercise and eat right"? Or C: they claim that just repeating the word Soloflex over and over again as a mantra can improve your physique?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BARRY: I'm going with B.

SAGAL: You're going to go with B?

BARRY: Yes.

SAGAL: They own the trademark.

BARRY: Yeah.

SAGAL: You're right.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SAGAL: They say that's theirs.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Tell somebody to exercise and eat right, you own Soloflex a quarter. All right, this is very exciting. You get this last one right, you will win. Once you have achieved your perfect body, you can then use your Soloflex to do what? A: brew beer.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: B: tan hides. Or C: weave rugs.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BARRY: C.

SAGAL: You're going to go for weaving rugs?

BARRY: Yes.

SAGAL: I love that idea. You have the thing and then you'd sit down there after your sort of oiled and muscular and start weaving lovely Navajo rugs. I'm being skeptical is what I'm doing.

BARRY: I get that, yeah. I'm going with A.

SAGAL: I think you're right: brew beer.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Apparently, according to home brew discussion boards, the shape of the Soloflex frame is perfect for holding up your distillery equipment, your brewing equipment. So you can brew beer on your Soloflex. Carl, how did our guest Dave Barry do on our quiz?

KASELL: Dave had two correct answers, and that's good enough to win for Ruth Shack. Congratulations.

SAGAL: Well done.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Dave Barry is a former columnist for the Miami Herald, an incredibly prolific author and the funniest guy in this room. Dave Barry, thank you so much for being with us today.

BARRY: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Dave Barry, ladies and gentlemen.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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