Bluff The Listener Our panelists read three stories about someone getting sponsored for a surprising reason, only one of which is true.

Bluff The Listener

Bluff The Listener

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Our panelists read three stories about someone getting sponsored for a surprising reason, 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 are playing this week with Luke Burbank, Bim Adewunmi and Peter Grosz. And here again is your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.


Thank you, Bill. Right now...


SAGAL: ...It's time for the WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME Bluff The Listener game. Call 1-888-WAITWAIT to play our game on the air. Hi, you are on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

DIANA EDWARDS: Hi. I'm Diana from Charlottesville, Va.

SAGAL: How are you, Diana?

EDWARDS: I'm well. Thanks.

SAGAL: I'm glad to hear. What do you do there?

EDWARDS: What do I do? I'm retired.

SAGAL: Oh, that's...

EDWARDS: So, well, let's see. When it's nice weather, we kayak and bicycle. And if it's kind of crummy out, I'm quilting, usually.

SAGAL: Oh, wow. You are...


SAGAL: ...Living the dream.

GROSZ: Yeah.

EDWARDS: That's right.


LUKE BURBANK: That's the public radio two-step.


SAGAL: And do you miss working?

EDWARDS: No, no. I kind of feel like...


SAGAL: Oh, good.

EDWARDS: I'm not going back.


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

KURTIS: Show me the money.

SAGAL: Usually when Bill quotes "Jerry Maguire," he just looks at me in the eye and says, you complete me.


SAGAL: Not that that's relevant. This time, we're talking about endorsement deals. We heard about somebody getting a sponsorship for a pretty surprising reason. Our panelists are going to tell you about it. Pick the one who's telling the truth and you'll win our prize, any voice from our show you might choose on your voicemail. Are you ready to play?

EDWARDS: I'm ready.

SAGAL: All right. First, let's hear from Peter Grosz.

GROSZ: There are millions of tutorial videos on YouTube that teach you how to cook, how to apply makeup, how to play an instrument. There are even videos that can help you study for a specific test. Then, there are videos that are not instructive at all. They just show someone studying for a test. You don't see what they're studying for. You just see that they are studying. Not surprisingly, this bizarre genre has its stars, and they are so much more popular than you could possibly imagine.

One 2 1/2-hour - that's right, 2 1/2-hour - studying video of a woman named Jamie Lee has been viewed 923,018 times. Actually, make that 923,019 times because I watched it, too. Miss Lee just sits there at a clean, well-lit workspace reading and highlighting while a cat lazily bathes itself in the background for 2 1/2 hours. It's un-mesmerizing, non-riveting. You can take your eyes off it.


GROSZ: According to YouTube, viewership of the Study With Me videos tripled in 2017, and that's where the big bucks come in. Seventeen-year-old super studier Seo Jung from Washington was recently contacted by the Japanese pen and notebook company Muji seeking a sponsorship deal, which means the following conversation isn't far off. What do you want for your birthday, son? Nike Air Jordans, a Cristiano Ronaldo jersey? No, Dad. I want a Seo Jung Muji pen and notebook set. When I grow up, I want to study just like him.

It also means that I am announcing my own YouTube channel for which I'd like to be sponsored. It features hourlong videos of me watching videos of people watching people studying while I count stacks of money. I will start the bidding at $1 billion.

SAGAL: A professional YouTube star studier gets an endorsement deal from a pen and notebook company to study with their pens and notebooks. Your next story of a surprise sponsorship comes from Bim Adewunmi.

BIM ADEWUNMI: Baskin-Robbins is trying something new. To be the face of their True Taste of Summer campaign, they've hired a man so profoundly lactose intolerant that eating their product sends him to the bathroom for an hour each time.


ADEWUNMI: Stephen Kelsey, also known as Cheese Daddy on Twitter...


ADEWUNMI: ...Was recruited after employees at his local Baskin-Robbins branch noticed the 39-year-old came to the shop five times a week, every week, and left clutching his stomach each time. Kelsey is severely lactose intolerant and has been all his life. Growing up, all the kids enjoyed ice cream, he said, and I always felt like I was missing out.

When asked about the motivation for this campaign, specifically pointing to the brand's existing dairy-free options, a Baskin-Robbins spokesperson said, for 80 years, we have been the taste of summer, and we want people to experience that original taste, whether or not their bodies can break down complex proteins.


ADEWUNMI: For Cheese Daddy, it's about feeling the fear and doing it anyway. Hopefully, I'm showing other lactose-intolerant people that they, too, can live without boundaries, he said. They just have to embrace the cramps.


SAGAL: A lactose-intolerant man becomes...


SAGAL: ...The pained face of Baskin-Robbins. Your last story of an unusual endorsement deal comes from Luke Burbank.

BURBANK: Sal Governale may not be a household name here in the U.S., but in Italy, he's something of a legend, known as Custode del Fumo, or Keeper of the Smoke. For the last 40 years, he's been in charge of tending to the stoves at the Vatican, the ones that generate colored smoke to indicate if a new pope has been chosen. (Imitating Italian accent) When they don't know who the pope is going to be, I make the black smoke, said Governale as he spoke to reporters and hand-tossed a pizza dough.


BURBANK: (Imitating Italian accent) And when they tell me they know who it's going to be, I make the white smoke. I make it real nice for you. Governale was being interviewed this week because of the announcement that he's now also the official spokesperson for a chain of Italian vape stores...


BURBANK: ...Called La Cosa Smokestra.


BURBANK: Owner Gary Dell'Abate says...

GROSZ: (Laughter).

BURBANK: ...Governale was the perfect person to promote the company's new line of church-related vape flavors...


BURBANK: ...Which include The Virgin Berry...


BURBANK: ...Hail Cherry Full of Taste....


BURBANK: ...and Vapal Decree.


BURBANK: When asked if he used the vape products he's now endorsing, Governale said, (imitating Italian accent) no, I don't want to - how do you say? - look like a total douche.


SAGAL: All right.


SAGAL: Somebody out there got an endorsement deal this last week. Was it, from Peter Grosz, a man who became a studying YouTube superstar getting an endorsement from a pen and notebook company, from Bim, a lactose-intolerant guy who still loves Baskin-Robbins ice cream becoming their spokesface, or from Luke Burbank, the guy who mans the smoke at the Vatican being the face of a vape company?

BURBANK: Really a smokesperson, if you think about it.

SAGAL: I know.


SAGAL: Working for - all right. So those are your choices. Which of those is the real story of an interesting and groundbreaking endorsement?

EDWARDS: Well, I am going to go with Bim's story on Baskin and Robbins.

SAGAL: You're going to go with Bim's story that a deeply lactose-intolerant guy...


EDWARDS: Well, hey, I like ice cream.

SAGAL: We all do. All right. That's your choice. To bring in the correct answer, we spoke to someone quite familiar with the real story.

JAMIE LEE: I don't accept any advertisements because it would've required me to cut into the study time. And I don't want any interruptions during the study period.

SAGAL: That was someone named Jamie Lee. She also has a wildly popular YouTube channel where people watch her study. Telling us that unlike the gentleman in Peter's story, she would never accept an endorsement deal. So (laughter) I'm afraid...

ADEWUNMI: I'm so sorry, Diana.

SAGAL: I know. You were fooled by that accent. That's what it is.


EDWARDS: (Laughter).

SAGAL: It sounds so trustworthy, you were fooled by Bim. You didn't win our game, but you, in fact, won a point for her for being so delightfully and charmingly deceptive.

EDWARDS: All right.

SAGAL: Thank you so much for playing.

ADEWUNMI: Thank you, Diana.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.

EDWARDS: Thanks a lot.


BILL WITHERS: (Singing) Watching you watching me, it's so easy to see that it's my loving you that puts the starlight in your eyes.

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