RZA of The Wu-Tang Clan Plays Not My Job on 'Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!' The RZA is one of the godfathers of hip-hop and leader of the Wu-Tang Clan. Naturally, we invited him on to ask him three questions about Tang, one of the godfathers of powdered orange drinks.

'Wait Wait' For Oct. 2, 2021: RZA Plays Not My Job

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UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: The following program was taped before an audience of no one.


BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR news quiz. America, Bill back better - Bill front best - I'm Bill Kurtis. And here is your host, a man who has a thing right after this, so if we could please hurry it along, that'd be great. It's Peter Sagal.



Thank you, Bill. And thanks to everybody who helped me all along the way. Later on, we're going to be talking to RZA, who founded the Wu-Tang Clan, revolutionized hip-hop. He's written books, scored movies, made movies. He's now made an Emmy-nominated TV series about his own life. Next, he says he's interested in pursuing comedy. And we will try to convince him to leave at least one little thing for the rest of us.

But first, we want to hear what worlds you have conquered, so give us a call. The number is 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924. Now let's welcome our first listener contestant. Hi, you are on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME!


SAGAL: Hi, who's this?

MCNABB: This is Anas-ta-sia (ph) McNabb from Fort Wayne, Ind.

SAGAL: Anas-ta-sia, you said?


SAGAL: Is that spelled like Anastasia?

MCNABB: It is, but it's the Greek pronunciation.

SAGAL: Oh, I see.


SAGAL: I see.

MCNABB: (Laughter).

SAGAL: OK. I didn't know that. That's a beautiful name.

MCNABB: Thank you.

SAGAL: What do you do there?

MCNABB: I am a quasi-retired preschool teacher who does some subbing and makes cards and stickers and assorted artwork.

SAGAL: Wait a minute. So you're, like, a tough, old retired kindergarten teacher, and they brought you back in for one last job?


MCNABB: No, I'm like a lazy...


JOSH GONDELMAN: Wait, that's me. I'm also a retired preschool teacher who is lazy. We have so much in common.


MCNABB: I know. It's wonderful.

SAGAL: Well, welcome to our show, Anastasia. Let me introduce you to our panel. First, a comedian and host of the podcast "Fake The Nation." She's co-hosting "StarTalk" with Neil deGrasse Tyson. It's Negin Farsad.


NEGIN FARSAD: Anastasia, hey.

MCNABB: Hi there.

SAGAL: Next, he's a writer and producer for "Desus & Mero" on Showtime and the host of the podcast "Make My Day." It's Josh Gondelman.



MCNABB: Hi there.

SAGAL: And finally, a comedian whose standup album "Party Nights" is available everywhere. Welcome back, Emmy Blotnick.


EMMY BLOTNICK: Hey, ah, nice to see ya. Do you that?

GONDELMAN: (Laughter).

MCNABB: (Laughter) I do. I do.


SAGAL: Well, welcome to the show. You're going to play Who's Bill This Time? Bill Kurtis, of course, is going to read you three quotations from this week's news. If you can correctly identify or explain just two of them, you will win our prize, any voice from our show you might choose on your voicemail. You ready to play?


SAGAL: Well, let's do it then. Here's your first quote. It's from a senator who was asked where she stands on crucial legislation.

KURTIS: I'm standing in front of the elevator.

SAGAL: That was Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who refuses to say what she thinks about what bill?

MCNABB: The infrastructure...

SAGAL: You know, good enough.


SAGAL: Good enough.


MCNABB: (Laughter) Thank you.

SAGAL: The infrastructure ah...


SAGAL: ...Is, I think, the official name. We also would have accepted reconciliation or build back better or the debt ceiling. And we would have accepted I have no idea because...

FARSAD: The death of American democracy.

SAGAL: ...We don't know either. We don't know.

KURTIS: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Whatever it is, apparently, it's come down to Kyrsten Sinema, who to this point has been pretty much known only as the senator who seems to dress entirely in clothing purchased at art museum gift shops.


SAGAL: But now she's the most important person in the country, and nobody knows what she wants. She won't say. It's always inspiring to see a female leader who is willing to fight for her principles. And with Sinema, we got one out of two. Even Elizabeth Warren was like, nevertheless, stop persisting.


SAGAL: I need to ask this, but can any of you explain what the hell is going on?

FARSAD: There's like a throuple (ph) of bills...

SAGAL: (Laughter).

FARSAD: ...That, like, you...

SAGAL: Oh, you had to break polyamory into it - jeez, that too?

FARSAD: ...And there - you have to, like - if you want to, like, be in a relationship with them, they have to - it has to be together. And they...

SAGAL: Right.

FARSAD: ...Like, they all have to agree is...

SAGAL: Yeah.

FARSAD: ...What I understand.

BLOTNICK: So are you saying, if you want to be their lover, you've got to get with their friends?

GONDELMAN: (Laughter).

BLOTNICK: Is that kind of...





SAGAL: Now, Senator Sinema is paired with West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin. He is the other holdout. And like all great celebrity couples - Bennifer, Brangelina - they have a nickname - Manchinema - which sounds like something painful you have to do before a colonoscopy. I was up all night with a Manchin enema before, you know, going in for the procedure. Now...

GONDELMAN: I do feel like they should - it's right there. They've got to call themselves Sinchin, which I know sounds like a nickname for a goatee. But...


GONDELMAN: ...I do think it would work for that.


BLOTNICK: Sinchin - that's a soul patch (laughter).

GONDELMAN: Yeah, you're right.


GONDELMAN: It is a soul patch.

SAGAL: Nobody knows exactly what Senator Sinema wants. But with Senator Manchin, we all know what he wants his cuts. Instead of providing dental coverage, for example, Medicare will just encourage people to floss. And instead of child care subsidies in the bill, the government will just send all working parents old "Arthur" DVDs they can park their kids in front of.

BLOTNICK: Well, to my earlier point, I believe Kyrsten Sinema wants to really, really, really wants to zagazig ah (ph). So...


GONDELMAN: Anything you put in front of Joe Manchin, he wants to downsize. I think he probably, if he could, would change his name from Joe Manchin to Joe tastefully large house.


SAGAL: All right. Your next quote is from NBA player Robin Lopez.

KURTIS: I'm still not sure that Milwaukee's actually won the championship. I wasn't there. There's got to be some kind of proof. I'm going to do my own research and figure out if they won it.

SAGAL: Lopez was rather dryly making fun of some of his fellow NBA players who are, quote, "doing their own research" and refusing to do what?

MCNABB: Take the COVID test - or get vaccinated.

SAGAL: Exactly right, Anastasia....


SAGAL: ...Get vaccinated. As the third NBA season of the COVID era is about to begin, many of the biggest stars are saying they won't take the vaccine. It really doesn't make any sense. Basketball uniforms are tailor-made for getting shots, right? I need you to roll up your sleeve, sir.


SAGAL: Oh, never mind. It's amazing because prior to this, they were the example the other leagues turned to on how to have sports during COVID. The NBA bubble - remember, at Disney World - big success - but now a lot of players are saying they won't get vaccinated. They're afraid of what might happen. One of - the most concerning news is that Derrick Rose got the vaccine, and it immediately tore his ACL.


KURTIS: He's fragile.

BLOTNICK: Ooh. Maybe we need to have, like, a shot clock - like...

GONDELMAN: (Laughter).

BLOTNICK: ...Counts down from...


BLOTNICK: ...You insert the basketball number that the shot clock counts down from, sports friends.

GONDELMAN: It's 24 seconds.


BLOTNICK: OK. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

GONDELMAN: I do want to say - and this might not go anywhere funny - but I do think it is awesome that the WNBA is at 99% vaccination. I think sometimes people overlook that 'cause the NBA is at 90%. WNBA is it 99%. So if you want to watch a game where you feel less worried about it, WNBA playoffs - happening now.

SAGAL: Well, it is great. Some years from now, people will - saying - WNBA - so much better. It's a much more team-oriented game - a lot more passing. And most of the players are still alive.


GONDELMAN: Much more passing - much less transmission - I think that...

SAGAL: Exactly.

GONDELMAN: ...Is, like, a really nice...


SAGAL: All right. Anastasia, here is your last quote. It is from an LA real estate developer named Nile Niami.

KURTIS: It's very important that we bring the world together - rich and poor, Black and white. It doesn't matter. And I hope that this does it.

SAGAL: Mr. Niami was hoping that he'd bring the world together with something that is now driving him into bankruptcy - the most expensive what ever built?

MCNABB: Wow. I mean, is it a house? Is it a...

SAGAL: It is the house.


SAGAL: It is...


SAGAL: ...Great news for people who are looking for a bargain - it's a 150,000-square-foot, nine-bedroom mansion on a hilltop in LA. It was expected to sell for $500 million. But it's now been seized by the lender, so you should be able to pick it up for a mere $100 million. The house is so big that instead of foreclosure, they call it five-closure.


SAGAL: The mansion was called the one by its now-bankrupt developer. It was supposed to be the ultimate in luxury living. It's got a 4,000-square-foot master bedroom with its own pool. It's got an IMAX home theater, seating for dozens, tiered infinity pools and quarters for your servants, servants, servants. There is a 50-car garage. You're basically buying your personal Mall of America.

GONDELMAN: Honestly - 50-car garage - this person must be crossing their fingers Jay Leno wants to (laughter) move in to a new house.

SAGAL: I know.


FARSAD: Totally.

BLOTNICK: Leno, Seinfeld or...

FARSAD: Seinfeld...

BLOTNICK: ...It's going to be an airport.


FARSAD: I live in an apartment where you can touch every point of the apartment with your foot sitting down. Like, that's where - that's what I understand. How many legs would I need to live in that house and touch everything?

SAGAL: It has seven pools, Negin. I get exhausted just thinking about maintaining affairs with seven different pool boys.


GONDELMAN: This is the only place - you're talking about bed - so every place has a bedroom and a bathroom. This is the only house I've ever heard of that actually has a beyond room.


SAGAL: Bill, how did Anastasia do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Anastasia did well - 3 and 0. She's a winner.


SAGAL: Congratulations.

FARSAD: She wins the house.

GONDELMAN: (Laughter).

BLOTNICK: Yeah, move in.

SAGAL: The way this poor guy is going, I would not be surprised if he actually tried to offer it as our prize.

FARSAD: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Congratulations, Anastasia. It's a real pleasure to talk to you.

MCNABB: Thank you - my pleasure.

SAGAL: Right now, panel, it is time for you to answer some questions about this week's news. Emmy, Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of the now-bankrupt company Theranos, is on trial in California for fraud. And no matter what happens to her, it cannot be worse than what happened to her this week when her what were read aloud in open court?

BLOTNICK: Her texts. Is that...


SAGAL: That's right. That's...

BLOTNICK: Is that correct?


SAGAL: Oh, my gosh. Miss Holmes, what are you doing on this Zoom? Yes, her...

FARSAD: That's good. That was really good.

SAGAL: Specifically her love texts to her boyfriend and one-time co-defendant. Holmes' defense is that her business and one-time romantic partner, Sunny Balwani, somehow manipulated in - her into committing all this fraud. Well, if he did, he did not do it with sweet talk...

GONDELMAN: (Laughter).

SAGAL: ...According at least to these cringy love texts they exchanged. For example, this is one that Elizabeth wrote to Sunny.

KURTIS: You are the breeze in desert for me, my water and ocean meant to be only together, tiger.

SAGAL: And how does Balwani respond to that? Quote, "OK."


SAGAL: Not even a period...

BLOTNICK: Oh, wow.

SAGAL: ...Just the letters. OK.



SAGAL: And it gets worse. It gets - it's so embarrassing. It gets worse. At one point, she texts...

FARSAD: This is so embarrassing.

SAGAL: ...Quote, "madly in love with you and your strength." And he responded to that with, quote, "I am tired today."

BLOTNICK: Oh, man.

FARSAD: This...

BLOTNICK: Yeah, he is desert. That guy really is not bringing much.


FARSAD: Wait, were the texts about fraud - were those also in poem form?

SAGAL: No, I wish.

FARSAD: (Laughter) That would be...

BLOTNICK: I lied to Walgreens, tiger.


GONDELMAN: Our accounting is a mosaic of imagination.


SAGAL: Coming up, what once was lost has now been found in our Bluff The Listener game. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to play. We'll be back in a minute with more of WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME from NPR.

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 Emmy Blotnick, Josh Gondelman and Negin Farsad. And here again is your host, a man who spent the break thinking long and hard about what he did, Peter Sagal.


SAGAL: Thank you so much, Bill. 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're on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

DYLAN MANDERLINK: Hi, this is Dylan Manderlink (ph) calling from Palmer, Alaska.

SAGAL: Dylan from Palmer, Alaska. Where is Palmer in Alaska?

MANDERLINK: It's about 45 minutes north of Anchorage.

SAGAL: I see. And what do you do there?

MANDERLINK: I am a graduate student at Alaska Pacific University, and I also work at a kombucha bar on the side.

SAGAL: You - of course you do. Of course you do. Is kombucha big in Alaska? Are, like, your big kombucha drinkers up there?

MANDERLINK: Not really. But...


MANDERLINK: ...I think they're - can become kombucha drinkers (laughter).

SAGAL: And how often do you have to deal with an angry customer who's been there for three hours and finally realizes that kombucha is not alcoholic?

MANDERLINK: (Laughter) That happens more often than you'd probably think, actually.


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

KURTIS: One hundred and forty-six years.

SAGAL: Something was lost exactly 146 years ago. And I'm not just talking about the Battle of Gundet. Thanks, Wikipedia. Anyway, now the missing thing that was lost has just been found. Our panelists are going to tell you the story. Pick the one who's telling the truth. You will win the voice of the WAIT WAIT-er of your choice on your voicemail. Are you ready to do this?

MANDERLINK: Absolutely.

SAGAL: All right. First, let's hear from Emmy Blotnick.

BLOTNICK: Have you ever encountered a bird's nest so large you thought, hey, is there room for me in there? That was the case this week when wildlife experts in Philadelphia were called in to dismantle a massive, generations-old bird's nest.

FARSAD: (Laughter).

BLOTNICK: They were surprised to discover, embedded deep within the tornado of twigs and leaves, a gentleman's toupee. The hairpiece has since been identified as that belonging to Edwin Booth, brother of the famously rude theater patron John Wilkes Booth.


BLOTNICK: It was carried away by a crow during an open-air performance of "Macbeth," a name that theater people now consider bad luck. So while we still don't know how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop - thanks for nothing, Mr. Owl - we do know that a toupee makes a great addition to a historic multifamily bird chateau.

SAGAL: All right - Edwin Booth's missing toupee, found as part of an enormous historical bird's nest. Your next story of better-late-than-never find comes from Negin Farsad.

FARSAD: Peter Weller died in Lansing, Mich., in 1849 and was buried in the Oak Park Cemetery, where he probably expected to remain forever. A few years later, though, he was transferred to Mount Hope Cemetery, and his beautiful marble gravestone went missing. What happened to it? Had it been stolen? Who would want a marble gravestone with the name Peter Weller on it unless it was someone also named Peter Weller who also lived and died at exactly the same time?

But now, nearly two centuries later, it has finally turned up in the most obvious place. Peter Weller's tombstone has been used as a surface for making fudge in some random lady's kitchen. The details on how this random lady acquired the headstone are still a bit mysterious, but I'm guessing she was walking home one day and tripped over a tombstone in the middle of the sidewalk. I mean, those pesky things will just roll out of a cemetery. You can hardly keep them in place, you know? Now that it's been found, it's been returned to the cemetery, so Peter Weller can finally rest in fudgy peace.

SAGAL: A marble tombstone being used to make delicious fudge for God knows how many years. Your last story of a long-term lost-and-found item comes from Josh Gondelman.

GONDELMAN: The body of Tree Stump the Plunderer (ph) washed ashore in Key West in 1872. But when his corpse was found, it was missing the pirate's most famous appendage. Yes, the machete that served as his left hand remained lashed to his wrist with palm fronds, and his prosthetic coconut shell butt cheeks were still stuck to the backs of his legs, as they had been since he lost his original butt in an attempted mutiny by his crew. But the wooden leg that gave Tree Stump his name had disappeared, presumably lost forever to the briny deep.

That is, his leg was presumably lost until recently. It turns out the people of Key West were in possession of it all along, but they'd been using it as a baseball bat. That's right. The annual Key West seaside classic takes place on the beach, and every hitter has used the same reclaimed wood bat since the first match in 1878. The discovery was made when criminals used the bat in a gator hatchery theft in 2018. A DNA test failed to identify the perpetrators but turned up results consistent with organic matter found on Tree Stump's coconut butt. Since then, it has become tradition for a batter to point at the sea, thanking the spirit of Tree Stump every time they drive in an arrr-BI (ph) in the seaside classic.


SAGAL: You should be ashamed of yourself.


SAGAL: All right. Anyway...


GONDELMAN: That only makes me prouder.


SAGAL: So here are your choices, Dylan. Something was lost, and now it is found. Is it, from Emmy, Edwin Booth's toupee lost four years and discovered built into a bird's nest, from Negin Farsad, a missing marble gravestone that had been used, it turns out, to make fudge - you know, fudge - or, from Josh Gondelman, a pirate's wooden leg that ended up being the traditional baseball bat for an annual baseball game in Key West, Fla.? Which of these is the real item that was lost and discovered in an odd place?

MANDERLINK: Wow. I really want all of them to be true, but I think I'm going to go with Negin's with the fudge and the tombstone.

SAGAL: The fudge and the tombstone because there's no fudge like tombstone fudge.



SAGAL: All right. Well, to bring you the real story, we spoke to somebody who is responsible for returning this thing to its proper place.

LORETTA STANAWAY: It was in the home of a family in Okemos who had developed a habit of using this white marble slab to make fudge.

SAGAL: That was Loretta Stanaway, president of Friends of Lansing Historic Cemeteries, an organization that has rediscovered the tombstone and has it returning to the grave of Mr. Peter Weller. Congratulations, Dylan. You got it right. You earned a point for Negin Farsad. You have won our prize, the voice of your choice on your voicemail.

FARSAD: Thanks, Dylan.

MANDERLINK: Thank you.

SAGAL: Thank you so much, Dylan.

MANDERLINK: Thank you.


SAGAL: And now the game where very cool people are asked about lukewarm topics. It's called Not My Job. One way to judge how interesting somebody's life has been is to ask, would it make for a good TV show? By that standard, the RZA's life has been amazing. The show about his life growing up in the projects of Staten Island back when he was Bobby Diggs - the show's called "Wu-Tang: An American Saga" - was nominated for an Emmy and is now starting its second season. He joins us now. RZA, welcome to WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

RZA: Peace, peace, peace - live in a building or wherever I'm at. Thanks for inviting me.

SAGAL: It is a pleasure to have you in our little virtual space here. So I've been watching the TV show this week getting ready to talk to you. Let me ask you this. Was it weird or strange to, like, reenact your own youth?

RZA: I mean, it's a dramatization - right? - of true events. You know, some things are embellished. And some things are actually dampened so that we don't really give you the whole story - you know? - because it's worse than what you saw.

SAGAL: Yeah.

RZA: You know, you think about our lyrics. You know, you hear a lot of harsh lyrics, a lot of uplifting lyrics as well, knowledge of self and all these things. And so the show just is a - kind of, like, a visual replication of our lyrics.

SAGAL: Yeah, I totally get that. It's also - I have to say this - a really good TV show. And I was - I shouldn't have been - surprised to find out that, in addition to producing and scoring the show, you wrote it, at least the episodes I saw. Did you have - I mean, you've taught yourself so many things, I know, in your life. Did you have to go out and teach yourself how to write TV?

RZA: Oh, yeah. I mean, I read got a book. I think it's called Syd Field, "Screenplay."

SAGAL: Yeah, yeah - famous book. Yeah.

RZA: Yeah. So I read that book maybe about - I don't know - 10 or 12, maybe 15 years ago. I was advised by a friend of mine named Sophia Chang. And she kind of - she may have gave me that book. But I didn't read it until Quentin Tarantino told me, also, you should write because writing lyrics and writing songs are microcosms to the macrocosm that you could get from a whole TV show or a whole film.

SAGAL: Right. Is there - again, just looking at your career, where you came from and what you've done, is there anything you found out you can't do?

RZA: (Laughter) Yeah, it's a few things. First of all, I couldn't swim until a couple of years ago.


SAGAL: OK. Really?

RZA: You know, look; we all got our limitations. I don't drive.

SAGAL: You don't - wait a minute. You don't drive?

RZA: It ain't that I can't drive. My wife won't let me drive, right?


SAGAL: Really?

RZA: She says I can't drive.

SAGAL: Really? Why can't you drive?

RZA: I just - I don't know. I thought I could, you know, but...


SAGAL: I'm feeling vaguely better. We heard - I mean, you were into so many things and so good at many of them. But we did hear you have an - I will say, an unexpected enthusiasm - tell me if it's true - for HGTV.

RZA: Yeah. Who told you that?


SAGAL: I have a very talented producer whose job it is to research our guests. And until this very moment, I thought she was pranking me.

RZA: No, that's, like, me and my wife's favorite pastime. Yep.

SAGAL: Really?

RZA: We fall asleep to HGTV. That's like - at the end of the night, we watch everything, turn the HGTV and (unintelligible).

SAGAL: Do you have, like, a favorite show? Are you a "Property Brothers" guy? I mean...

RZA: Oh, the "Property Brothers" - ooh, baby, yeah.


SAGAL: Really?

RZA: I watch them.

GONDELMAN: I feel like we're very close to the collaboration, the song "P.B.R.E.A.M" - "Property Brothers Rule Everything Around Me."


RZA: No, they're dope. "Love It Or List It" is dope. I mean, look; we were so into invest it - "Flip It."

SAGAL: Yeah.

RZA: Yeah, when they broke up - yeah, when they broke up, the couple...

SAGAL: Wait a minute. So, OK. So this is a show called "Flip It." And it was hosted by this married couple.

RZA: Yeah, when they broke up, it was like - that was, like, dinner table talk at my house.


RZA: Like yo, they ain't going to get back - then they got together. I don't want to say their names. Find out what you can say in this world.

SAGAL: Right.

RZA: But then they get back together. And they back doing this show again, but they're not married no more. They did a Wu-Tang move. The show must go on.

SAGAL: I agree. So, I mean, do you - the problem with watching HGTV is like...

RZA: (Laughter) The problem with watching HGTV - sorry.

GONDELMAN: (Laughter).

SAGAL: ...You get eventually - you get eventually dissatisfied with your own house, right?

FARSAD: That's what happens to me. Too much - I envy too much.

RZA: Well, you could also find a nice lamp.


GONDELMAN: That's such a - that's how I'm going to think about everything in my life from now on.

FARSAD: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That's a good point.

GONDELMAN: Whenever I feel inadequate, I'm just going to shrink everything really small, think about what's within my control. And whatever the nice lamp is in that situation, I'm going to find my nice lamp.

SAGAL: I am going to - I tell you, because I got to say watching the TV show is a high-stress experience. You don't know what's going to happen to Bobby. And I'm just going to tell myself, it's OK. The last episode, he's going to be in bed with his wife, looking at HGTV and going, that's a nice lamp.


SAGAL: And all will be well.

RZA: I like that.

SAGAL: I got to ask, only because everything you become interested in, you master, are you going to, like, do a home renovation show?

RZA: No. But we got an ongoing joke. We got an on - I hope my wife don't get mad if I say this. I got to check on my wife, you know what I mean? But we've got an ongoing joke in our house. We bought our second house. So, you know - and, you know - but before we bought the second house, we went to a lot of houses.

SAGAL: Sure.

RZA: So we would walk in, and we'd look around. And we'll go back home and go, the Diggs (ph).


RZA: They look. They walk in. But they don't buy.


RZA: Meet the father. Meet the conservative father. I don't know. I need more square feet. I need more square feet - the excited wife. Oh, honey, this is so lovely. The don't want to be there son - can we leave, mom?


RZA: And the entitled daughter - oh, the master suite. This is my room, right?


RZA: And that was going on in our house. Well, that's, like, our ongoing joke, but anyway.

SAGAL: Oh, that is amazing and weirdly comforting. We're having too much fun. But, RZA, we have invited you here to play a game that this time we're calling...

KURTIS: Ooh, Tang.


SAGAL: So you're the founder of Wu-Tang Clan, but we - so we thought we'd ask you about Tang. That's the vaguely orange-flavored breakfast drink.


SAGAL: Answer two out of three questions about Tang, you'll win our prize for one of our listeners. You remember Tang - right? - the astronauts' beverage?

RZA: Yeah, great morning breakfast. Yes, sir. Ovaltine and Tang - never forget them.

SAGAL: All right. Bill, who is RZA playing for?

KURTIS: Andrew Roberts (ph) of Pittsburgh, Pa.

SAGAL: All right. Here's your first question. Tang, of course, became famous as the favorite drink of astronauts. For example, what did Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the moon, once say about Tang? Did he say, quote, "we're drinking our own recycled pee, of course you want to add sugar;" B, quote, "Tang sucks;" or C, quote, "I'll say anything tastes good if you pay me enough"?

RZA: Wow. I'm going to go with A.

SAGAL: You're going to go with A, we're drinking your own recycled pee, of course you want to add sugar?

RZA: (Laughter) I'm going with it.


RZA: I'm going with A.

SAGAL: I admire you. No, the answer was B, Tang sucks. We've kind of fooled you because in the Apollo mission, they didn't have the technology to recycle pee yet. So all right.

RZA: Oh, nice trick question there.

SAGAL: Yeah, I know. Sorry about that. You still have two...

GONDELMAN: (Laughter).

SAGAL: You have two more chances. Using Tang in the space program wasn't without challenges, such as when which of these happened - A, initially, NASA planned to hydrate astronauts with a, quote, "Tang enema," but the astronauts refused; B, one astronaut's spacewalk was ruined by a, quote, "life-threatening Tang leak" inside his helmet; or C, a pilot program on Apollo 8 in which they asked the astronauts to snort the powdered drink up their noses to save the weight of water?

RZA: Wow. These are tough questions, first of all, brother.

SAGAL: Well, you know, you're a master, man.

RZA: I'm going to go with C.

SAGAL: You're going to go with C. So they asked them to snort the powder.

RZA: You got to go - you in space, baby.

SAGAL: I know.


SAGAL: You're going to stick with that, is what I'm getting.

RZA: You know what? Just for the person who want to win something...


RZA: ...Should I give him a chance and say A?

SAGAL: A - a Tang enema?

GONDELMAN: (Laughter).

RZA: No, I got it. I got it. No, I'm sorry. My final answer is B.

SAGAL: Yes, B, RZA, yeah.

KURTIS: (Laughter).


SAGAL: It was in his helmet. And the Tang is, like, floating around his helmet. And they found out later that if it had, like, touched any electrical wires, it could have, like, set his spacesuit on fire.

All right, last question. You get this right, you win. By the 2000s, of course, Tang, no longer part of the space program. So instead of astronauts, their commercials featured what - A, a bunch of sad people experiencing something called existential Tangst (ph); B, orangutans drinking Tang; or C, David Hasselhoff holding up a glass of the stuff and saying, it's also big in Germany?

RZA: Ooh, I'm going with C.

SAGAL: You're just going right for the Hasselhoff, right for the Hoff? I guess the question is - and you - you know, you've been around. You know how these things work. Do you think that knowing that David Hasselhoff endorsed your product would make you want to drink it?

RZA: No, I think if it was an astronaut and he did it, it'll make you not want to drink it.

SAGAL: That's true. You're going to go for it. You're going to stick with - stick with the Hoff, as I believe you...

RZA: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. What'd I say, again?

SAGAL: You said C. The other choices were existential Tangst or orangutans drinking Tang.

RZA: Oh, the orangutans drinking Tang.

SAGAL: That's it.


SAGAL: It was the orangutans, of course, orangutans drinking Tang.

GONDELMAN: I can't...

RZA: I remember that story.

GONDELMAN: Look; I didn't realize that at some point, NASA decided Tang ain't nothing to f*** with.


RZA: Well, that's when they add Wu to it.

GONDELMAN: That's when the Wu came in (laughter).

SAGAL: (Laughter) There you go. Bill, how did RZA do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Woo, Tang - he got two out of three, which means a win.

SAGAL: (Laughter) Congratulations, RZA.

RZA: Thank you.

SAGAL: Season 2 of "Wu-Tang: An American Saga" is streaming on Hulu now. It is an extraordinarily gripping TV show. Thank God we know it ends up OK. RZA, thank you so much, an absolute honor to talk to you, take up some of your time. We really appreciate it. Thanks so much for being on WAIT WAIT.

RZA: Thanks, guys.

SAGAL: Take care.

GONDELMAN: Thank you.


WU-TANG CLAN: (Rapping) Wu-Tang Clan...

SAGAL: In just a minute, bada bing, bada boom. It's the Listener Limerick Challenge. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to join us in the air. We'll be back in a minute with more of WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME from NPR.

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 Negin Farsad, Josh Gondelman and Emmy Blotnick. And here again is your host, a man a recent performance review called occasionally on time for meetings. It's Peter Sagal.


SAGAL: Thank you, Bill. In just a minute, Bill builds a rhyme-shackle house in our Listener Limerick Challenge game. If you'd like to play, give us a call - 1-888-WAITWAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924. But right now, panel, it is time for a game that, once upon a time, we called...


KURTIS: The Trump Dump.

SAGAL: Good news, folks. Donald Trump is back. There's a juicy new book out by one of his...


SAGAL: ...I think 17 former press secretaries. And we're going to ask you about what we learned from it, as always, rapid-fire true-false style. Get your answer right, you get a point. You ready to play? Here we go. You're going to rocket through these.

Emmy, true or false - when Donald Trump would get angry, there was an aide whose job it was to play "Memory" from the musical "Cats" to calm him down.

BLOTNICK: Oh, that's true.

SAGAL: It is true.


SAGAL: Josh, true or false - when Trump met with Vladimir Putin in 2019, Putin would dangle shiny objects in front of him to distract him.


SAGAL: It is false.


SAGAL: Instead, Putin brought a, quote, "attractive brunette" to be his translator in order to distract Trump. Negin, true or false - Trump once asked this press secretary to reenact his perfect phone call with the Ukrainian president for the press and, quote, "do both of the voices."




SAGAL: Emmy, true or false - when the Stormy Daniels scandal broke, Trump brought a press aide into his office to tell her it wasn't true.

BLOTNICK: It's worse than that. But, yes, true, right?

SAGAL: No, it is false. He brought her in to tell her his penis was not, in fact, shaped like a toadstool.

BLOTNICK: Like a toadstool.

SAGAL: Like a toadstool.

BLOTNICK: That's what I thought we were going for.

FARSAD: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Negin, true or false - when Trump got a colonoscopy at Walter Reed, he refused anesthesia because he didn't want to look weak.

FARSAD: Oh, true. That's so true.

SAGAL: No, it's false. He refused it 'cause he didn't want Pence to be acting president even for half an hour.

GONDELMAN: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Emmy...

GONDELMAN: That's pretty funny.

SAGAL: ...True or false - we're willing to believe all these stories from people who we would not have listened to for a second while they were working for Trump because it's really fun.

BLOTNICK: Oh, that's true for sure. I got to believe...

SAGAL: It is true.



BLOTNICK: You got to believe in the waking colonoscopy.


SAGAL: And that is the latest edition of our Trump Dump. And if there is a God in heaven, it will be the last one.


SAGAL: Now it's time for some more questions from the week's news. Negin, the Heinz corporation unveiled a new invention this week to make it easier to do what?

FARSAD: Wait; the Heinz corporation?

SAGAL: You know them - Heinz ketchup. They have unveiled a new product. It's an invention they came up with. They're selling it. It's all designed to make it easier to do what?

FARSAD: To get the ketchup out of the bottle.

SAGAL: So close. Not the bottle, but something else.

FARSAD: Oh, to open the jar in which your ketchup resides.


SAGAL: Have you never been to, like, a McDonald's drive-through?

FARSAD: Oh, to - right, to, like, have to-go ketchup.

SAGAL: Which come in...

FARSAD: Little squirty packets.

SAGAL: Squirty packets.




SAGAL: This is a device designed to get all the ketchup out of the squirty packet.


SAGAL: It's this - it's like this clamp.

FARSAD: Is that device called just your human fingers?

GONDELMAN: (Laughter).

SAGAL: No, no, no. It's shaped like a little ketchup bottle 'cause it's adorable, but it's essentially like one of those wringers that old-timey washer tubs have. And you put in the - there's a little razor that you use to open up the packet, then you put it in. And you crank it, and it squeezes all the ketchup right out of there, right onto your shirt. So it, like, saves the trouble.


FARSAD: Was this, like, an issue that was vexing Americans that...

SAGAL: Well...

FARSAD: ...They couldn't get the - because I just want to say I've been with these squirty packages my whole life, the ones that we've known from my childhood.

SAGAL: Yeah.

FARSAD: And I have to say, I always got the ketchup out of them.

BLOTNICK: But you keep it in a jar, it sounds like.


SAGAL: Yeah, all of us really wondered about that. It sounded frankly like, oh, your ketchup jar - like, that slip that the spy makes.

GONDELMAN: Negin's never had ketchup.

BLOTNICK: Oh, she's been putting pasta sauce on her burgers.


GONDELMAN: Negin, don't serve fries in Ragu.


GONDELMAN: I think - I mean, food waste is a huge problem, but it doesn't seem like the place to start is with the smallest quantities of food waste.

FARSAD: (Laughter).

GONDELMAN: Like, hey, if we save - just, like, a campaign with celebrities. Like, if you just save the bottom of your ketchup packet in - every time you get ketchup packets for one year, you will have almost one whole ketchup packet at the end of that year.


NERD: (Singing) What? You don't believe me? Yeah. Squeeze me. Squeeze me till I pop. Yeah. Squeeze me till you drop. Yeah. Here we go now.

SAGAL: Coming up, it's Lightning Fill in the Blank. But first, it's the game where you have to listen for the rhyme. If you'd like to play on air, call or leave a message at 1-888-WAITWAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924. Or click the Contact Us link on our website - waitwait.npr.org. Or you can follow us at @waitwait on Twitter and at @waitwaitnpr on Instagram to get more WAIT WAIT... in your life - well, on your phone, which is your life. Fun.

Hi. You're on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

CAROLYN MATTHEW STOUT: Hi. This is Carolyn Matthew Stout (ph) from Lebanon, N.H.

SAGAL: That's great, Carolyn. Nice to talk to you. What do you do there in Lebanon?

STOUT: I'm a designer, but I'm actually currently just hiking. I'm on the Appalachian Trail, so I guess unemployed (laughter).

SAGAL: Really?

GONDELMAN: Are you near the beginning of the trail or near the end?

STOUT: No, I'm currently in Virginia, so I've hiked 1,500 miles.


SAGAL: Wait a minute. You are calling us from the Appalachian Trail?

STOUT: I am. I'm calling you from a remote campsite on a ridge in Virginia.

SAGAL: What are you doing for food?

STOUT: I'm just eating lots of ramen and Snickers (laughter).

SAGAL: Sounds awesome, frankly.

STOUT: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Welcome to the show, Carolyn. Bill Kurtis is going to read you three news-related limericks with the last word or phrase missing from each. If you can fill in that last word or phrase correctly on two of the limericks, you will be a winner. You ready to play?

STOUT: I'm ready.

SAGAL: All right, here is your first limerick.

KURTIS: Tough love. Mental health care providers say I must face my fears of web gliders. They filter JPEGs to add bugs with eight legs. In these pics, I am covered with...

STOUT: Spiders.




SAGAL: There is a new augmented reality app on the market that claims to cure anybody's fear of spiders. The app is called Phobos. It's pretty straightforward. You open the app, you point your phone's camera at a surface in your home, and the app will show you that part of your house covered in spiders. And now you feel better.

GONDELMAN: This is the wrong question to ask of someone who is in the wilderness for the indefinite future (laughter).

SAGAL: That's true. She doesn't need augmented reality app to find spiders. They're crawling on her right now.

KURTIS: (Laughter).

GONDELMAN: Yeah, she's in reality classic (ph).

SAGAL: So it walks you through 10 levels of intensity to get you accustomed to spiders - right? - versus, like, just a little spider, and then there's a spider in the wall. And at the last level, level 10, you wake up in the morning, and you have been somehow transformed into a giant spider, and then your family mistreats you. Kafka humor, everybody.


SAGAL: Always - always successful.

All right, very good. Here is your next limerick, Carolyn.

KURTIS: Some folks only deal with paisanos (ph), then go fight with them mano a mano. Since the New Jersey mob cannot finish the job, HBO will reboot the...

STOUT: "Sopranos."

SAGAL: "Sopranos," yes.



SAGAL: This week, HBO released a new "Sopranos" film, "The Many Saints Of Newark." The movie is actually a prequel following a young Tony Soprano as he grows from a young man into a full-fledged Italian stereotype. If you watch it, you will note that the actor playing young Tony Soprano looks exactly like a young James Gandolfini, who played him, of course, in the TV series, because he sort of is. He is James' son, Michael Gandolfini, which is a great idea. And why don't we do it more often? Does Harrison Ford have a son because I would love to watch a new "Indiana Jones" movie without worrying about his hips?


FARSAD: It's so much better than, like, the thing they did in "The Irishman," right?

SAGAL: Where they de-aged them?

FARSAD: Were they de-aged them.

SAGAL: Yeah.

FARSAD: 'Cause they were just like slow dudes, but with hot faces. Like, that was weird.

SAGAL: You know, what's weird is everybody is like, wow, this is amazing. You know, David Chase, the genius behind "The Sopranos," is bringing us back into their lives when they were younger, as they were becoming the people that we enjoyed and watched. And everybody's like, this is an amazing act of artistic achievement. Face it, guys. It's "Young Sheldon," right?


SAGAL: It's the same thing. We should do this with all the great shows, like "The Toddling Dead," "Pony Of Easttown," "Mad Boys."

BLOTNICK: "Young Seinfeld."


SAGAL: Here is your last limerick.

KURTIS: Wooden furniture strikes such a hard chord, but this upcycling makes me a starred lord. With boxes I'm able to make chairs and tables. My furniture's made out of...

STOUT: Cardboard.

SAGAL: Yes, cardboard.



SAGAL: More and more people are interested in sustainable options for furniture, as made popular by the cardboard beds featured at this year's Olympics in Japan. People aren't really interested in the athletics, no. It's like, give us the part of the Olympics we can sleep on. So now you, too, at home can have a cardboard bed, and the internet will light up with false stories about how it's to prevent you from having sex on it.


GONDELMAN: Look; when I was in the market for a cheap, disposable bed that you didn't really have to care for, nobody was stopping me from having sex except me, OK?


GONDELMAN: The bed - if they saw the bed, that's better than I thought I was going to do.


SAGAL: Bill, how did Carolyn do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Carolyn, you got happy trails ahead. You got all three right.

SAGAL: Congratulations. You are our first long-distance hiker winner. It's very exciting. Don't get eaten.

STOUT: Well, thank you so much. This has been an absolute pleasure. Thank you.

SAGAL: A pleasure to talk to you. Take care, Carolyn. Stay safe.

STOUT: OK. Thanks. Bye.


ALABAMA 3: (Singing) I woke up this morning and got myself a gun. Mama always said I'd be the chosen one.

SAGAL: Now on to our final game, Lightning Fill in the Blank. Each of our players will have 60 seconds in which to answer as many fill-in-the-blank questions as they can - each correct answer now worth two points. Bill, could you please give me the scores?

KURTIS: Emmy has three. Josh has four. And Negin has four.

SAGAL: All right, Emmy. You're in third place. You'll go first. Fill in the blank. On Tuesday, Pfizer submitted research that showed its blank was safe to use on kids.

BLOTNICK: Vaccine.

SAGAL: Right.


SAGAL: On Monday, the USPS announced they were permanently slowing delivery time of blank-class mail.

BLOTNICK: First-class mail?



SAGAL: This week, Janet Yellen warned lawmakers that the U.S. would run out of blank in mid-October.




SAGAL: On Monday, a judge granted a release to John Hinckley, the man who tried to assassinate blank.

BLOTNICK: Ronald Reagan.



SAGAL: This week, a man in South Carolina was arrested after police searched his house and found a stolen blank in the bedroom.


SAGAL: Stolen horse - after a six week trial, a jury found disgraced R&B star blank guilty of all charges.




SAGAL: On Wednesday, a judge suspended blank's father as her financial conservator.

BLOTNICK: Britney Spears.



SAGAL: An English church's annual beer festival...


SAGAL: ...Fundraiser called controversy this year after festivalgoers were photographed blanking.

BLOTNICK: Flashing people?

SAGAL: No, using gravestones as tables. St. Mary's Catholic Church in the U.K. holds the beer fundraiser every year. But this is the first time they've held it in a graveyard. People were shocked when pictures were posted online, showing the revelers using gravestones to hold their beers. They're right to be because we all know the gravestones should be used for making fudge and nothing else.


SAGAL: Bill, how did Emmy do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Well, she had six right for 12 more points. She now has 15 and the lead.


SAGAL: All right.

BLOTNICK: Eat my dust, Josh and Negin.

FARSAD: (Laughter).

GONDELMAN: I hate dust.

SAGAL: Negin and Josh are tied, so I'm going to arbitrarily pick Negin to go first. Here we go. Fill in the blank. On Tuesday, several top generals called the U.S.'s withdrawal from blank a strategic failure.

FARSAD: Afghanistan.

SAGAL: Right.


SAGAL: On Sunday, Germany's Social Democrat Party narrowly defeated the party led by outgoing Chancellor blank.

FARSAD: Angela Merkel.

SAGAL: Angela Merkel, yes.


SAGAL: This week, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a law making universal mail-in blanking permanent.

FARSAD: Voting.



SAGAL: On Tuesday, officials in North Korea said that they had tested a new hypersonic blank-le.

FARSAD: Missile.



SAGAL: This week, a pothole in Puerto Rico was finally fixed after nearby residents blanked.

FARSAD: Poured jelly in it.

SAGAL: Threw it a 4th birthday party.


SAGAL: According to a new report, U.S. blank claims rose more than expected this month.

FARSAD: Unemployment.



SAGAL: On Wednesday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service added 23 species to its list of blank animals.

FARSAD: Extinct.

SAGAL: Yeah.


SAGAL: After a museum gave him $84,000...


SAGAL: ...To recreate an old sculpture, a Danish artist instead delivered them two blank canvases that he said were a new work of art he titled blank.

FARSAD: "Blank," literally.

SAGAL: No, he titled it "Take The Money And Run." Though conceptual art can sometimes be hard to understand, the Danish artist perfectly explained his new work, saying, quote, "I have taken their money."


SAGAL: Bill, how did the game do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Very close. She had six right for 12 more points. She now has 16 and, by one, the lead.


SAGAL: All right. So then how many does Josh Gondelman need to win this thing?

KURTIS: Six to tie - seven to win.

SAGAL: All right, Josh. This is for the game. Fill in the blank. On Monday, President Biden got his blank shot live on camera.


SAGAL: Right.


SAGAL: On Wednesday, the U.K. announced it was readying troops to help deal with a blank shortage in that country.




SAGAL: On Thursday, a Department of Justice watchdog uncovered widespread issues on blank's handling of surveillance warrants.




SAGAL: This week, several flights in Tokyo were delayed due to blank.


SAGAL: No, a turtle moving really slowly across the runway. This week, pop star Shakira revealed that she had been attacked by wild blanks.




SAGAL: On Tuesday, President Obama broke ground on his presidential library in blank.




SAGAL: This week, a man in Turkey...


SAGAL: ...Joined a search party without realizing that the person they were looking for was blank.




SAGAL: The man was reported missing after he wandered off into the woods after a night drinking with his friends. He sobered up and noticed a search party walking around. He decided to join them, even though, you have to admit, it's a little creepy to join a search party looking for a man with your exact name and your physical description. Eventually, he figured it out, confessed who he was and said to the search party, OK, now it's your turn to hide.


SAGAL: Bill, did Josh Gondelman do well enough to win?

KURTIS: He got six right for 12 more points. That gives him 16, tied with Negin as this week's champions.



FARSAD: Hey. You know what? We're all winners in my book.

SAGAL: Except for Emmy.

KURTIS: (Laughter).

BLOTNICK: I'm not a winner. I understand (laughter).

SAGAL: Now, panel, what provision will be hidden in the infrastructure bill? Negin Farsad.

FARSAD: Joe Manchin wants to modernize West Virginia, so he wants to get in there an electric-powered coal plant.


SAGAL: Emmy Blotnick.

BLOTNICK: Budget for a 2022 hot bods of Congress calendar.


SAGAL: And Josh Gondelman.

GONDELMAN: Funding for one 6-foot-long Italian cold cut biparti-sub (ph) for the celebration that crosses the aisle, baby.


KURTIS: Well, if any of that happens, we'll ask you about it on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

SAGAL: Thank you, Bill Kurtis. Thanks also to Negin Farsad, Josh Gondelman and Emmy Blotnick. Thanks to all of you for listening. I'm Peter Sagal. We'll see you next week.


SAGAL: This is NPR.

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