CARL KASELL: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR news quiz. I'm Carl Kasell. And here's your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Thank you, Carl.
SAGAL: Thank you, everybody. Thank you so much. We have a great show for you this week. We've got comedian and actor Bob Odenkirk. He just ended his role as lawyer Saul Goodman on "Breaking Bad." He's coming by to play. But first this week, the Nobel Prize committee wanted to tell writer Alice Munro that she had won the prize in literature, and they couldn't reach her. This is true; they got her voicemail repeatedly.
Now while we haven't been able to confirm this, but we have reason to believe that when the Nobel Prize Committee called her, this is what they heard...
KASELL: Hello, Carl Kasell here.
KASELL: Alice Munro can't come to the phone right now. If this is the Nobel Prize Committee, just leave my 800,000 Kronor after the beep.
SAGAL: She won the Listener Limerick challenge, naturally. You've only got a year till next year's awards to get your voicemail message, so give us a call. The number is 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924. Let's welcome our first listener contestant. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!
RIO PENABELLA: Hi, this is Rio in Los Angeles.
SAGAL: This is Rio?
SAGAL: Rio, do you dance upon the sand?
PENABELLA: All the time.
SAGAL: I'm sorry for doing that. Everybody probably does.
PENABELLA: That's all right. I actually named after Duran Duran.
SAGAL: Did you really?
PENABELLA: I did. The story that I'm told is that my mom was pretty clear and said boy or girl, this kid's going to be named Rio.
BRIAN BABYLON: It could have been worse; your name could have been Hungry Like the Wolf.
SAGAL: Well, welcome to our show, Rio. Let me introduce you to our panel. First up, it's a comedian you can see October 16 in Los Angeles at the Meltdown Show, it's Brian Babylon.
BABYLON: Hey, Rio.
SAGAL: Next, a comedienne and head writer for Comedy Central show "Inside Amy Schumer," it's Jessi Klein.
JESSI KLEIN: Hi, Rio.
SAGAL: And the new host of the public radio variety show "Live Wire," it's Luke Burbank is here.
LUKE BURBANK: Hey, Rio.
SAGAL: Rio, welcome to the show. I have got the song in my head now; it is terrible.
PENABELLA: That's all right.
SAGAL: No, it is not all right, sir. You're going to play Who's Carl This Time, Rio. Carl Kasell is going to read you three quotations from this week's news. Your job, correctly, of course, explain it two times out of three. Do that, you'll win our prize, Carl Kasell's voice on your voicemail. Ready to go?
PENABELLA: I am ready.
SAGAL: Here is your first quote.
KASELL: They said they would be happy to do it in six weeks. Six weeks? That will wreck our Thanksgiving.
SAGAL: That's Heidi Moore, writing in the Guardian newspaper about an impending deadline in the U.S. government, the deadline to raise the what?
PENABELLA: The debt ceiling.
SAGAL: Yes, indeed.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: Very good. Still worried about the fact our government is shut down? Get over it. That's last week's crisis. Next Thursday, unless Congress raises the debt ceiling, the greatest nation in the world instantly becomes a deadbeat. Our creditors will have to start calling around trying to find us.
SAGAL: Instead of America's parents, the collection agency will call up the Queen of England and ask her if she has a recent address for America.
BURBANK: You know, I'm a veteran of the default game, Peter, as a person who once signed up for 11 CDs for one penny.
BURBANK: It's actually not that bad to have terrible credit.
KLEIN: But then you have to do the thing where you, like, pretend that you don't know what's going on with your finances, like when you're buying something at a store, and they're like your card was declined. You're like, I just used it, I just used it, run it again. There must be a mistake.
KLEIN: No, no, it's cool, I just used it. Like we're that...
SAGAL: Years ago I had a friend, and I called him looking for him, and somebody answered the phone. And I said hello is John there, and he said no, he's not here. And I said oh, could you tell him Peter Sagal called? And he said oh, it's me.
SAGAL: And I said, why did you do that? He said, oh, I owe some people money. So maybe America can do that. Maybe America can be like, well, you know, hey we'd like interest on our debt that we bought your treasury bonds, and we're like no, we're Canada.
KLEIN: Every time the caller ID comes up China, everyone just hides.
BABYLON: You know, I saw the saddest, the saddest picture on the good, old-fashioned Internet. And it was...
BURBANK: Oh, I think I saw this one.
BABYLON: It's a picture of this little like in a little lion suit, and he's at the National Zoo, and it said closed. If they just pumped that, that's how you get the government open. First of all those, parents are jerks for dressing their kid up knowing that zoo was closed.
KLEIN: But now that kid, like, is the zoo.
KLEIN: Like people are going to, like, pay to see that...
SAGAL: All these confused Japanese tourists ran over and said an animal, they ran over there.
KLEIN: That's the closest thing we have to a lion right now.
SAGAL: All right. Very good. Rio, are you still there?
PENABELLA: Still here.
SAGAL: All right.
SAGAL: Here is your next quote.
KASELL: Big shout out to Janet Yellen. You go, girl.
SAGAL: That was somebody tweeting her support of Janet Yellen, who may become the first ever woman to be chair of what?
PENABELLA: The Federal Reserve.
SAGAL: That's exactly right, the Federal Reserve.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: Ms. Yellen, if confirmed, would become the first woman ever to head up the Federal Reserve.
BABYLON: Let me ask you a question. So now can we say - I don't - I'm just going to put this out there because this is a question: Is the glass ceiling over?
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: No.
SAGAL: There you go.
BABYLON: But the thing is with that job is it depends on - they could be having like, you know, just a bad day, and they go have a press conference, and the stocks could dip. You know, their eyes are puffy, that means something, that Sears Roebuck is down.
BURBANK: They were crying from the end of "Breaking Bad," and then they did a press conference.
BABYLON: And then that didn't look right to some guy in Japan, and so he sold all his stock off.
SAGAL: Remember people - Alan Greenspan would do these speeches, and everybody would be parsing what he said. Like he said oh, the - he predicts the economy will do quite well, he didn't say well, he did quite well.
BABYLON: Every word.
SAGAL: And that means, like, buy aluminum. And nobody understands why.
SAGAL: Now people have been wondering, of course, about Hillary Clinton, is she going to run for president. Well, seeing this other woman, right, being elevated to this high position of power and influence, this you know is going to make Hillary angry. She's going to get inspired. She's - somewhere right now she's training, she's running the streets in her sweats, shadow-boxing. She's punching hanging slabs of Bill Clinton.
SAGAL: It's like oh, honey, that - ouch.
BABYLON: And she's doing it all in those very powerful pantsuits.
SAGAL: Yeah, very sensible, very sensible sweat pants. All right, Rio, here is your last quote.
KASELL: If we're so dumb, why are we so rich?
SAGAL: That was an educator named Anthony P. Carnevale, summing up reactions to a big new study came out this week, and it proves that whom are rather stupid?
SAGAL: Yes, Americans, all of us.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: This study, the most expansive ever done, tested thousands of people all over the world and proves Americans are pretty bad at everything. We're at the bottom or near bottom of the scale in basic math skills, literacy, working with technology and running a federal government.
SAGAL: And this is the scary thing. This test that they use all around the world are so incredibly easy. We still couldn't do it. This is true. One of the math questions, you look at a thermometer, the needle's pointing at 80 degrees, it says how much would it be if it was 30 degrees less.
SAGAL: And that's, that's why we're at the bottom of the scale.
BABYLON: It's freezing, that's the answer.
KLEIN: Yeah, but I bet, like, if it was like the test where you just have to, like, draw that turtle and send it in, like we'd be great.
KLEIN: But I will say, I was on the subway a little while ago, and it was crowded, and there was - I was standing, and someone sitting had one of those little, like, handheld like a Wheel of Fortune type game where they're solving a puzzle. And I saw that they had gotten it to - it was a blank letter, and then it was "Atcher in the Rye," and they just needed to fill in that last letter.
KLEIN: And I'm standing there, and I'm like oh, man, just put C. And it was - the answer they gave was "Hatcher in the Rye."
SAGAL: There you go.
BABYLON: You saw this? You saw this with your eyes?
BURBANK: That's Teri Hatcher's biography. Everybody knows that.
SAGAL: Carl, how did Rio do on our quiz?
KASELL: Rio, you had three correct answers, so I'll be doing the voicemail on your voicemail or answering machine.
SAGAL: Thank you so much for playing, Rio.
PENABELLA: Thank you.