Bluff The Listener Our panelists read three stories about a Broadway show tune that made the news, only one of which is true.
NPR logo

Bluff The Listener

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/608646172/608748594" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Bluff The Listener

Bluff The Listener

Bluff The Listener

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/608646172/608748594" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Our panelists read three stories about a Broadway show tune that made the news, only one of which is true.

BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis. We're playing this week with Maz Jobrani, Faith Salie and Luke Burbank. And here again is your host, at the Bass Concert Hall in Austin, Texas, Peter Sagal.

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

Thank you, everybody. Thank you, Bill.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Thank you, guys. Right now, it is 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 are on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

JEFF NAPARSTEK: Hi, Peter. It's Jeff Naparstek from Weaverville, N.C.

SAGAL: I - all right, well, some people here know Weaverville, but I do not. Where is it?

NAPARSTEK: It's about 8 miles north of Asheville.

SAGAL: Oh, I love Asheville. Asheville is the best. What do you do there?

NAPARSTEK: Oh, well, I'm a retired prop man from film.

SAGAL: Oh, my gosh. You were a prop guy on films. Did you make anything for a film that we might remember, like a lost ark or something cool like that?

NAPARSTEK: I worked on the movie "Gettysburg," and there were a lot of blasts that I was responsible for.

SAGAL: Oh, wow. You got to do pyrotechnics, too?

NAPARSTEK: Some of them, yeah.

SAGAL: Oh, that's fun.

(LAUGHTER)

NAPARSTEK: It was. It was.

SAGAL: Jeff, welcome to the show. You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what is Jeff's topic?

KURTIS: Give my regards to Broadway.

SAGAL: Show tunes - you know, the songs you sing when you need to please both gay people and old people.

(LAUGHTER)

NAPARSTEK: You're right.

SAGAL: This week, a show tune showed up in the news. We know - did it. We asked our panelists to you three stories about show tunes in the news. Of course, only one of them is true. Pick that one, you'll win our prize, the WAIT WAIT... voice of your choice on your voicemail. You ready to play?

NAPARSTEK: Yeah. Let's do it.

SAGAL: OK. Your first story of show tunes in the news comes from Maz Jobrani.

MAZ JOBRANI: The town of Galveston, Texas, has recently opened up a new hamburger joint based on the Broadway musical, Alexander "Hamilton." The restaurant, called Alexander Hamburgers, even hired singers who sing to customers. Upon entering, you hear, (singing) welcome to Alexander Hamburgers. Our name is Alexander Hamburgers.

(LAUGHTER)

JOBRANI: (Singing) There's a million things we put on buns.

(LAUGHTER)

JOBRANI: (Singing) But just you wait - just you wait.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Oh, keep going, Maz.

(LAUGHTER)

JOBRANI: Now for anyone willing to pay an extra $250, the restaurant will allow the patron to recreate the ending of "Hamilton," where Alexander Hamilton has a duel with Aaron Burr. However, at Alexander Hamburgers, the paying customer gets to have a duel with a cow - specifically, the cow that they will be eating later that night.

(LAUGHTER)

JOBRANI: Owner Bob Fisher explains, (imitating Southern accent) we love the musical "Hamilton," and anyone who's seen it knows that Aaron Burr shoots Alexander Hamilton in a duel at the end. I hope I didn't just ruin the play for anyone.

(LAUGHTER)

JOBRANI: (Imitating Southern accent) Anyway, we thought why not give our customers who are willing to pay extra an old-school pistol and have them march 10 steps away from the cow and shoot it just like the play?

(LAUGHTER)

JOBRANI: But like all the best laid plans of mice and men, things don't always go as planned. Just this past week, a customer named Michael Jones came in and paid his fee to recreate the end of "Hamilton" and shoot the cow in the fields behind the restaurant. However, what Mr. Jones and restaurant workers did not notice was what they thought was a cow was actually a bull with a very sharp tiny horns that no one saw.

So when Mr. Jones took his 10 steps away and turned to shoot the cow, he was shocked when he saw bull barreling down, bowing his head and launching him 10 feet in the air, sending him back into the restaurant. Though Mr. Jones was OK, he lost his appetite for beef that night and settled on the Marquis de Lafayette French fries and the King George fruit pie.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: A "Hamilton"-themed hamburger restaurant gets in the news. Your next story of a headline from the songbook comes from Faith Salie.

FAITH SALIE: When U.K. grocery stores Sainsbury's and Asda recently announced they would combine into a giant supermarket, both employee unions and customers worried that the lack of competition would mean lower wages and higher prices. No, no, said executives. This is all about efficiencies in the marketplace to serve you, the public.

But Sainsbury's CEO Mike Coupe gave the game away during a break between TV interviews to discuss the mega-deal. Not knowing the mic was still on and the recorder still running, Coupe launched into a quiet rendition of, "We're In The Money," also known as the gold-digger song. Not only was it an odd choice of song, it was odd he knew all the verses.

(LAUGHTER)

SALIE: This hot mic drop came on a day when Sainsbury's shares rose 14.5 percent, and the company announced that Coupe will be receiving an 8.6 million pound bonus.

Perhaps Coupe's unfortunate solo shouldn't come as a surprise. Although he describes himself as calm and rarely animated, he once sang James Blunt's "You're Beautiful" to a giant shrimp in front of 5,000 Sainsbury's staff in an effort to boost Christmas seafood sales. This Christmas, Mr. Coupe will likely be singing "Mo Money Mo Problems."

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: A grocery CEO defending a merger gives away the game by singing "We're In The Money" into a hot mic. Your last story of Broadway in the broadsheets comes from Luke Burbank.

LUKE BURBANK: Officials at Forrest City Medium Security Prison in Forrest City, Ark., defended themselves this week against a lawsuit brought by inmate Debbie Luch, alleging cruel and unusual treatment after they forced her to move cells to a remote part of the prison. You want to talk about cruel and unusual, said Associate Warden Billy Keith, you should hear her sing.

(LAUGHTER)

BURBANK: At issue is inmate Luch's his habit of singing Broadway show tunes at the top of her lungs for up to 17 hours a day. You name it, she'll sing it - badly, says Keith - "Hello, Dolly!," the one from "Wicked" - which one was that? - "Defying Gravity," "Phantom Of The Opera" - like, the whole musical.

(LAUGHTER)

BURBANK: Luch, who is serving three months for ironically trying to steal a karaoke machine from Best Buy...

(LAUGHTER)

BURBANK: ...Points out that singing is not explicitly prohibited under prison guidelines. Her performances, however tonally challenged, are protected by her First Amendment right to free speech, says her attorney Mike Frizell of Amnesty International. Telling Debbie she can't sing "Sunrise, Sunset" from "Fiddler On The Roof" is like telling "Dear Evan Hansen" to shut the hell up.

(LAUGHTER)

BURBANK: Prison officials say the real issue is not the Constitution but the cats, as in the many stray cats who've wandered into the prison yard since Luch started her 3-month limited engagement. I know it sounds crazy, says the warden, but they seem to respond most strongly to when she sings that song "Memory" from "Cats."

SAGAL: All right.

(LAUGHTER, APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Here, Jeff, are your choices. You heard from Maz about a "Hamilton"-themed hamburger restaurant in Texas that probably got in trouble because they allowed customers to have a duel with the cow. You heard from Faith a story about a British CEO who sort of gave the game away about the big merger when he started singing "We're In The Money" into a hot mic. Or from Luke Burbank, a prisoner suing about being harshly and cruelly punished because she won't stop singing show tunes. Which of these is the real story of Broadway in the news?

NAPARSTEK: I'd like it to be three, but my gut is telling me it's two.

SAGAL: So two - by two, you mean Faith - her story of the British CEO?

NAPARSTEK: Yes. Faith's story. Yeah.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: All right. You've chosen Faith's story about the British grocery CEO who sang "We're In The Money." Well, we talked to a reporter following the real story.

CRAIG GIAMMONA: The CEO of Sainsbury was getting ready for...

(APPLAUSE)

GIAMMONA: ...A TV interview and was caught singing the show tune, "We're In The Money."

SAGAL: So yes, you were right. That was Craig Giammona, consumer reporter for Bloomberg News talking about the CEO who sang "We're In The Money" into a hot mic. Congratulations, Jeff. That means you've won a point for Faith, just for telling the truth.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: You've earned our prize as well - any voice you like singing whatever you like on your voicemail. Thank you so much for playing.

NAPARSTEK: Thank you, Peter.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Copyright © 2018 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.