Jeremy O. Harris plays Not My Job on 'Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!' Jeremy O. Harris is one of the world's most exciting playwrights, whose Slave Play netted a record-setting 12 Tony nominations. We invite him on to answer three questions on the worst plays in sports.

'Wait Wait' for Jan. 29, 2022: With Not My Job guest Jeremy O. Harris

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UNIDENTIFIED PERSON, BYLINE: 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. Stand back. I'm flamma-Bill (ph) - Bill Kurtis. And here's your host. She's like a young, completely different in every way Peter Sagal. It's Negin Farsad.



Thank you, Bill. Hello, hello. I'm Negin Farsad, filling in for Peter Sagal. We want to start with the big news. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer - or as he's better known, the one-time guest on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME - is finally announcing his retirement. And, of course, Peter Sagal left immediately and is currently standing outside the court with a sign saying, pick me. So here I am. Later on, playwright Jeremy O. Harris, the man behind "Slave Play," will join us. But right now, it's your turn. 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're on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

SAM GARDNER: Hi. This is Sam Gardner calling from Austin, Texas.

FARSAD: Oh, my gosh. Sam, have you managed to keep Austin weird?

GARDNER: As weird as possible during a pandemic.

FARSAD: Great. So, Sam, what do you do for a living?

GARDNER: I am the head of customer success management at Rasa, where we help companies build chatbots using conversational AI.

FARSAD: So like Siri and Alexa - you help that kind of thing.

GARDNER: Exactly right. Spot on. Great job.

FARSAD: (Laughter) OK, great. And, like, are they getting better? Like, at which point are we going to be able to have, like, brunch with Siri?

GARDNER: The secret is every time you talk to one of these conversational assistants, you're making them smarter. So the more you interact, the closer you are to brunch.

FARSAD: OK, that's - I feel motivated and scared at the same time. Well, welcome to the show, Samantha. Let me introduce you to our panel. First up, the head writer for "Desus & Mero" on Showtime and the author of the essay collection "Nice Try." It's Josh Gondelman.

JOSH GONDELMAN: Hello, Sam. It's so nice to be here, Negin.


FARSAD: Next up, it's a comedian and writer for "Late Night With Seth Meyers." It's Karen Chee. Hey, Karen.

KAREN CHEE: Hello. Hi.


FARSAD: And finally, making his debut on our show, it's a correspondent for Vice and host of the podcast "Cheat!" It's Alzo Slade. Hey, Alzo.

ALZO SLADE: Hey, hey. What's happening? What's happening?


FARSAD: OK, so you're going to play Who's Bill This Time? Bill Kurtis is going to read you three quotes from this week's news. If you can correctly identify or explain two of them, you'll win our prize - any voice from our show you choose on your voicemail. Are you ready?

GARDNER: I'm ready.

FARSAD: All right, here's your first quote.

KURTIS: What a stupid son of a bitch.

FARSAD: OK, so of the thousands of people who said that about Fox News reporter Peter Doocy this week, who was the highest-ranking one?

GARDNER: President Joe Biden.

FARSAD: That's right.


FARSAD: This week...


FARSAD: ...President Biden said what a stupid son of a bitch about Fox News reporter Peter Doocy. And, yes, it was a breach of decorum. But in Biden's defense, Doocy is a [expletive].


FARSAD: By the way, this came at the end of Biden's press conference addressing inflation and the economy in which he gave many important answers no one remembers.

GONDELMAN: I was surprised. Like, I feel like Joe Biden's public persona is so folksy. Like, you could run over his foot with a motorcycle, and he'd just be like, taffy on a stick, you know?


GONDELMAN: And so it was surprising to me.

SLADE: I feel like Joe Biden is that old dude that just can say whatever he feels like saying, and because...

CHEE: Yeah.

SLADE: ...Of his age, nobody is going to care. It's like, yeah, just - you know, that's Uncle Joe. Just let him be. And sometimes you got to call it like it is. If you think he's a son of a [expletive]...


FARSAD: No, and the thing about it is, like, everyone is calling it a hot mic moment. But, like, I'm sorry. You can't call it a hot mic moment when it's on the teleprompter. I mean...


FARSAD: ...The man was, like, practically doing vocal warmups right before. He was like, doo, si, doo, doo, doo, la, la, la (ph).

SLADE: And I think everybody listening to the comment can relate because you've been at a dinner party where it's always some dude that read the front page of The New York Times and listened to NPR for five minutes, and they think they know everything. And then they try to say something and ask you a question to make you look stupid, and then you just want to say, you know what? You a stupid son of a [expletive].


FARSAD: No, but I mean, this was like - this was kind of refreshing. This is the Biden we want to see, right? He's, like, unfiltered...

CHEE: Yeah.

FARSAD: ...Off the cuff and finally using insults that didn't originate in the 1890s. You know?


CHEE: It's a really modern insult for him. Did he learn about it on TikTok?

FARSAD: And we're just wondering, like, if this is just a warmup act for the State of the Union. You know what I mean? We'll see Biden going off on anyone who doesn't stand up and clap. Like, Matt Gaetz, no, don't get up. Hey, sorry your girlfriend couldn't be here. I know it's past her bedtime.

SLADE: That's a very good point. That's a very good point. I think they should market the State of the Union as Biden doing an hour.

GONDELMAN: Yeah, he's got...


GONDELMAN: He's got his face airbrushed on his suit pants like Bernie Mac.

SLADE: Yeah, yeah. And you know Bernie Mac. I ain't scared of you, mother...


GONDELMAN: Well, once Joe Biden says it, we can say it on NPR.

FARSAD: Then we can all say it.

GONDELMAN: That's the rule.


SLADE: That's right.

FARSAD: All right, here is your next quote.

KURTIS: He's gone full Marie Antoinette, only he's hogging all the cake.

FARSAD: That was The Guardian newspaper reporting on Boris Johnson, who's in trouble for once again doing what at 10 Downing Street?

GARDNER: Having parties while everyone else is on lockdown.

FARSAD: That's right.


FARSAD: After weeks of defending parties held at 10 Downing Street during lockdown, this week, a report revealed yet another - a surprise birthday party for Boris Johnson. This makes at least four parties that Boris Johnson attended at 10 Downing while parties were banned in England. This means he's guilty of breaking his own laws and guilty of being a party animal. I mean, what a legend, right, guys?

GONDELMAN: It's so hypocritical, and he gets busted. Normally when there's a Boris Johnson surprise, it's like, wait; he has how many more kids? So this is kind of like a different flavor for him.

FARSAD: Well, this is a really big deal in England. Like, the police are investigating. Judges are involved. And it's going to be even worse for Boris Johnson when his parents get home.


FARSAD: And according to a recent poll, almost two-thirds of British adults think Boris Johnson should resign. In light of this news, Johnson is planning an epic retirement party.


GONDELMAN: He's calling up Stephen Breyer like, let's do a joint thing, mate. Or - you know, I'm not going to do the accent. I think that's offensive.


GONDELMAN: Imagine if that was my opinion. I don't do British accents.

SLADE: You can't offend the British.

GONDELMAN: (Laughter).

CHEE: Yeah, you can do a British accent. I think that's fine.

GONDELMAN: Is that OK? It's still - is it now?

FARSAD: They once had an empire. It's all right, yeah.

SLADE: I felt like this didn't come as a surprise to anybody. I mean, look at the dude. He looks like he's straight out of "The Big Lebowski." You know what I'm saying? Like, they're all messed up. He looks like he could get sippy and trippy in all the right ways.

GONDELMAN: (Laughter).

CHEE: No, that's a really good point. He does always look hungover.


GONDELMAN: Yeah, Boris Johnson does have that look in, like, his face and hair. He's always like, wait; the wedding was when?


FARSAD: All right, your last quote is from an actor on "Euphoria."

KURTIS: Every part of my body is a part of me as an artist.

FARSAD: That was an actor talking about being part of what The New York Times called the golden age of men appearing how on camera?

GARDNER: He's talking about being naked.



FARSAD: That's right.


FARSAD: The New York Times has declared it the, quote, "golden age of full-frontal nudity for men." Hey, she may be an old gray lady, but she's not dead. Am I right, guys? OK?

GONDELMAN: What a level of confidence. Every part of my body is a part of my art. I'm an artist from the neck up, the knees down and the elbows out, and that's it.


FARSAD: The thing is, though, that, like, it was once taboo, but male nudity is now everywhere. Like, stars like Bradley Cooper and Benedict Cumberbatch and Sebastian Stan are baring it all in movies and TV shows. But basically, men have finally broken the crotch ceiling, you know?


GONDELMAN: I would've gone with the ass ceiling.


FARSAD: After watching "Nightmare Alley," I finally learned that Bradley Cooper really is limitless, though.

SLADE: Oh, is that right? Hey.

CHEE: Did you get to watch it with 3D glasses? Did anything extra happen?


SLADE: OK, I've officially concluded that this is not a good idea.


FARSAD: All right, Bill, how did Samantha do?

KURTIS: Oh, she did very well - three in a row. We call that a winner in our game.

FARSAD: Oh, my gosh, Samantha, thank you so much for playing and listening.

GARDNER: Thank you. And I just want to say before you let me go that I called today on behalf of my 4-year-old son, who has been an avid WAIT WAIT listener since he was (inaudible). He's probably listening right now, and he can't believe he hears his mom on the radio. So I just want to say, hi, Winston (ph).


SLADE: That's great.

FARSAD: Oh, that's the cutest.

GONDELMAN: That's so nice.

FARSAD: Bye-bye, Samantha.


SWEET: (Singing) But you can't push Willy 'round. Willy won't go. Try tellin' everybody, but, oh, no. Little Willy - Willy won't go home.

FARSAD: Right now, panel, it's time for you to answer some questions about this week's news. Josh, a cruise ship called the Crystal Symphony made the news this week not because of a COVID or food poisoning outbreak like usual, but why?

GONDELMAN: Oh. It's never good when a cruise is on the news, right? It's never like, they made it around the world in 47 hours. It's always just like, it tipped to the side, and all the passengers fell out.


GONDELMAN: Can I have a hint, please?

FARSAD: OK, well, I'll give you a hint. I would've expected this from the Crystal Fugitive, but not the Crystal Symphony.

GONDELMAN: They were on the run from the law?


FARSAD: Correct.


FARSAD: The Crystal Symphony, with 700 people on board, was supposed to dock in Miami this week. But the owners of the boat owed $4 million in unpaid fuel costs. And when they realized authorities would be waiting for them at the port, they quickly changed course for the Bahamas and fled with U.S. Marshals in hot pursuit - or since it's a boat, in hot, wet pursuit.


GONDELMAN: I feel like if you have a ship that's docking in Miami, legally, you need to owe someone $4 million, at least. Honestly, they should really - the big problem there is that they didn't owe that money for cocaine. That's like - it's a violation of Miami boat zoning.

SLADE: Yeah. I feel you, Josh. That's - it's not sexy at all. It's like...


SLADE: It's like going to prison. Like, what are you in for, man? I owe some money on gas, bro.


GONDELMAN: I think it would be great to be on one of these cruises, right? You're like, I'm going to Miami. Nope, I'm going to the Bahamas.


GONDELMAN: For the same price.

SLADE: Well, could you imagine just, like, you're back there shoveling coal, and you're like, this was not in the itinerary.


GONDELMAN: Quick, just hold this gun. You're like, was this in the brochure?


FARSAD: Coming up, all's well that ends well 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 Karen Chee, Alzo Slade and Josh Gondelman. And Peter Sagal left big shoes to fill. And by the way, those shoes have lifts in them. Here's Negin Farsad.

FARSAD: Thanks, Bill. Right now, it's time for the WAIT, WAIT... DON'T TELL ME Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to play our game on air. Hi. You're on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME!

BETH AGAN: Hi. This is Beth Agan (ph) from Lake Linden, Mich.

FARSAD: Beth, it's so great to have you on the show. Where is Lake Linden, Mich.?

AGAN: Lake Linden is in the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan's upper - Michigan.


SLADE: That's what I'm talking about that. I like that kind of geography right there.

FARSAD: But I heard - do you live on an island?

AGAN: The Keweenaw Peninsula is actually an island.

FARSAD: And so what's island life like?

AGAN: It's a balmy 14 degrees here today.

FARSAD: Oh, OK. Yes.

GONDELMAN: That's not an island. That's an iceberg.

FARSAD: Well, it's so nice to have you with us, Beth. You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. What's the topic, Bill?

KURTIS: Happy endings.

FARSAD: Wouldn't it be nice if something had a happy ending for once? Like, if you mean old regular host got stranded on a desert island and the fun fill-in host did such a good job, she got to take over forever? Our panelists are going to tell you three stories about a happy ending that popped up where we least expected it. Pick the one telling the truth and you win our prize. Are you ready to play?

AGAN: Yeah.

FARSAD: Awesome. First up, it's Karen Chee.

CHEE: Last Friday, Eve Bunson (ph) had the awkward first date that would change her life. Things got off to a weird start when we got to our table and I sat down and he said he preferred to stand while eating, said Eve. But I just went with it. Her date eventually sat down, and as he asked her questions like, what's your name, can I explain crypto to you, and, wait, what's your name again? - Eve noticed that the women at the table next to her were paying a lot of attention. Said Eve, when my date ordered soup and asked for a straw, I swear she started, like, taking notes. When Eve's date finally got up for what should be said was an alarmingly long bathroom break, the woman next to her leaned over. Hi there, she said. I'm actually a film producer. I option books and stories to make into movies all the time. Could I actually just option your date? Anyway, produced by Elizabeth Banks, "The Worst Date In History" is slated for release in summer of 2023. Eve's date wishes to remain anonymous, but he will be played by Timothee Chalamet.

FARSAD: (Laughter) All right. A really bad first date that was optioned to be a movie from Karen Chee. Your next story of everything turning out great comes from Alzo Slade.

SLADE: Johnson & Johnson had high hopes for a universal vaccine that would significantly decrease the chances of contracting all strains of COVID and make it easier to treat those who are infected. Initially, the trials were a success until they realized it affected some patients' sense of smell. But when the vaccine was tested on dogs, they realized it affected the dogs' smell in a different way. It generates no smell at all. Said one scientist, we even tried wetting the dogs. No wet dog smell. They let the dogs roll around in stinky trash, and they came out smelling just fine. Even when the dogs smelled each others' butts, MRI brain scans showed the dogs thought that they smelled great. J&J now plans to bring the drug to veterinary markets, and dog-loving groups are lending their support, hoping canine relations will improve in dog parks across the country.

FARSAD: All right. A universal vaccine that ended up removing bad dog smell from Alzo Slade. Your last story of a happy ending comes from Josh Gondelman.

GONDELMAN: In addition to featuring searing commentary on how smoking hot Brad Pitt and Edward Norton were in the late '90s, the movie "Fight Club" also contains a stinging critique of American consumer culture. Spoiler alert - in case you were waiting for the 25th anniversary rerelease to watch "Fight Club" for the first time, in the final scene of the film, the main characters watch several banks and financial centers explode from afar. It's a jarring scene unless you have student loans or medical debt, in which case it's a daydream you have several times a week. However, an edited version of "Fight Club" has appeared on a major streaming service in China, in which the conclusion plays out quite differently. Instead of depicting the falling buildings, a block of text appears on screen, explaining that thanks to the clues planted by Brad Pitt's character, authorities foiled the bomb plot and arrested the conspirators, and everyone lives happily ever after - because apparently, in China, the first rule of "Fight Club" is if you see something, say something.


CHEE: OK. Beth, you've got from Karen Chee a really bad first date optioned as a movie. You've got a universal vaccine that ended up being great for a bad dog smell from Alzo. And from Josh, China changes the ending of "Fight Club." Which one of these stories is real?

AGAN: I am going with Josh's story about Fight Club.

FARSAD: OK. And to find out the correct answer, we spoke to someone very, very familiar with the real story.

CHUCK PALAHNIUK: The Chinese government has put a scroll at the end that says that Tyler Durden sides with the police and reveals the whole conspiracy

FARSAD: That was Chuck Palahniuk, author of "Fight Club," the book the film is based on. Congratulations, Beth, you got it right.


AGAN: Thank you. Yay.

GONDELMAN: Thank you.

FARSAD: And you earned a point for Josh. And you've won our prize, the voice of your choice on your voicemail.

AGAN: Thank you. It was fun.

FARSAD: Thank you so much for playing with us today. Bye-bye.


THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY: (Singing) Hello, world, hear the song that we're singing. Come on, get happy...

FARSAD: And now the game where we ask people who have reached new heights in their field to come reach a new low. It's called Not My Job. Jeremy O. Harris has made waves in the theater world with shows like "Slave Play," which got the most Tony nominations for any play ever. He's co-producing Season 2 of the HBO hit series "Euphoria." And he's the co-writer of "Zola," a suspenseful yet funny feature film adapted from a viral Twitter thread. I just saw this film, and I cannot stop thinking about it. It is the one and only Jeremy O. Harris. Hey, Jeremy.


JEREMY O HARRIS: Hi, Negin. How are you?

FARSAD: Oh, my gosh. I'm so excited to be speaking with you. I just saw "Zola." It was so good. I really loved this movie. And what's crazy to me about it is that it's based on a Twitter thread, as I mentioned. Can you tell us about this particular Twitter thread and what made it seem like it could be a good movie?

HARRIS: Well, I mean, honestly, what's wild is that it was a Twitter thread before threading was possible on Twitter. You know, this young 19-year-old Black woman, like, told a story on Twitter that stopped the internet for an entire day back in 2015. And, like, thousands and thousands of thousands of people were hanging on to her every word. And it was almost like when win Dickens would write his periodicals (unintelligible) except we got them all over a night, right? So we'd get one bit of the story, and we had to wait five minutes for Twitter to load because she starts to tweet with this iconic phrase. Like, it's one of the great first lines for me. It goes up there with, like, you know, "Moby Dick" and "Hamlet." But it's - let me tell you the story about how me and this B-word here fell out. It's kind of long, but it's full of suspense.

FARSAD: And then, I mean, can you tell us a little bit about the movie without giving it away?

HARRIS: Oh, totally. Sorry. Did I just, like, go too much into the process?

CHEE: No. That was awesome.

GONDELMAN: Yeah. That was wonderful.

HARRIS: Well, the movie, I think, simply put, it's a movie about a young Black woman who works at a Hooters-type establishment who meets another young woman who is white, who - they immediately bond over the fact that they both are strippers. And so after they spend one wild night out together, the young white woman calls her and ask her to go on a trip with her to Florida. And 14 hours later, they're in a car to Florida - on a 14-hour road trip that takes them to hell in more ways than one. I know that sounds really dark and scary. You might just be like, oh, my God, I just going to go watch, "Tick, Tick... Boom!" And smile.


HARRIS: But, like, it's really funny. It's a really funny movie.

GONDELMAN: Jeremy, I mean, like you've written in so many mediums and so successfully and wonderfully, but I think maybe your best writing I've ever seen was you finding an NPR-appropriate way to tell the story of "Zola" to us now.


HARRIS: Well, I've had a lot of practice. I have an 11-year-old niece who has now become quite curious about what Uncle Jeremy is writing. And she's been very frustrated because you can't see "Slave Play." She couldn't see "Zola." And so she's like, well, can you just explain it to me like an 11-year-old can hear, like a pre-teen can? And so now I've learned how to talk about my work, like, for pre-teens - not to say the NPR audience are pre-teens, but I do know that the co-writer of "Zola," Janicza Bravo, has been listening to this program since she was a pre-teen. So I'm trying to make it for little Janicza.

FARSAD: Nice. Well, speaking of social media, on a scale of one to I-post-my-Wordle-every-day, where are you?

HARRIS: I post my Wordle every day on Twitter and on multiple group chats about seven different group chats. And so I'm in a Wordle tournament right now.

CHEE: Jesus.

HARRIS: We're in a two-month battle of wits with Wordle...

GONDELMAN: A war of the Wordles, if you will.

HARRIS: Yes. (Unintelligible) have the longest streak, you know, so what your points are at the end of this thing. So I think that right now, I am one point away from being in first place. Right now, I'm in second. I love that I couldn't just say I was in second place. I said I was one point away from being in first. That's great.


FARSAD: I could tell that was really hard for you to even say.


FARSAD: Do you - I mean, so it sounds like you're off the scale basically on Wordle. Is there a favorite word - like, what's your strategy of a word you start with?

HARRIS: No. I - so my only strategy is to do it in less than five minutes and to clear my brain and use the first word that comes to mind. Because you never know. I mean, I think the day that really shook me - and I can say it because it's a past one - was abbey, because I didn't know at that point that you could do double letters. And I think that that really freaked me out because, like, I was on my last one. I was like, if I lose, I'm going to look like an idiot. I had already tweeted something that was like Wordle's the easiest game. If you use lose a Wordle, you actually maybe actually are dumb. And then, like, two days later, I was in this moment. And I was like, oh, God, I'm going to have to take back everything I've said. And then I typed in abbey just randomly 'cause I was like there's no way this is the word. And it was. And I was like, oh.

FARSAD: By the way, this, like, roller coaster of emotions that you just took us through with Wordle is a lot like "Zola." I felt there was a lot of suspense. I was stressed out, but I was also laughing. Well, I want to also - I want to talk to you about "Slave Play" - which, by the way, I live in New York City - I mean, was the talk of the town. Like, I mentioned it won - you know, it was nominated for so many Tonys.

FARSAD: And it lost them all. That's even cooler. That's actually a cooler thing to be nominated for 12 and to lose 12. It's like kind of a really punk act, right?

SLADE: Yeah. That's - yeah. Yo. I feel like no claps is better than one clap. You know what I'm saying?


HARRIS: Yes. Yes. No. Because that was what I told my mom at the end when, like, the last award of the night with Best Play. My mom was like, well, baby, maybe this is the one. I was like, Mom, that would be the worst thing. I was like the worst thing would be walking away with just this one. So actually, let's just vibe out on losing. And then we did. And I was like, see? This is cool.

FARSAD: I have a very important question to ask you, though, about "Slave Play," which is that, is it true that Rihanna texted you while she was watching it?

HARRIS: Oh, that is very true.

CHEE: Did you text Rihanna back being like, please turn off your phone?

FARSAD: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Why aren't you paying attention?

GONDELMAN: This better be intermission.


HARRIS: I really hate to do this to my own self. But, I guess, again, being a double Gemini, I can't help but get myself in trouble. But I actually caused a big rift in the theater community after Rihanna came and texted it because I said, I don't mind people texting during my show as long as they're texting about my show.


GONDELMAN: I would love for that to happen in more plays as long as it's Rihanna every time just, like, at "The Music Man," like, do "77 Trombones."


FARSAD: Well, Jeremy O. Harris, we've asked you here to play a game we're calling...

KURTIS: You're A Playwright. These Guys Play Wrong.


FARSAD: As Bill said, you're a very successful playwright. So we thought we'd ask you about people who play wrong, the athletes who made some of the worst plays in sports history. Answer two out of three questions correctly, and you'll win our prize for one of our listeners. Bill, who is Jeremy O. Harris playing for?

KURTIS: James King (ph) of Madison, Wis.


HARRIS: Oh, God.

FARSAD: Are you ready?

HARRIS: Oh, God. I'm sorry. I just have to tell this person right now. I am going to lose for them.


GONDELMAN: This is good. This is like that reverse Wordle jinx your putting...

HARRIS: There's just - I just - I just know there's, like, basically no way in the universe I will get a sports question right. And I'm so sorry...


FARSAD: All right. Well, let's see how you do. Here's your first question. Chicago Cubs outfielder Milton Bradley once made a slick catch of a fly ball, posed with it and tossed the ball to a fan in the stands. One problem, though - what? Was it A, the fan was the owner of the team they were playing, the Minnesota Twins? Was it B, the fan was a 99-year-old woman who broke her wrist catching the ball? Or was it C, there was only one out, the ball was still in play, and the runners on first and third both scored?

HARRIS: I'm going to say C, even though I feel like that might be for a different game.

FARSAD: You know what? That's absolutely correct.


FARSAD: You're basically a sports expert as far as I know.

HARRIS: Oh, my God.

FARSAD: All right. Well, let's see how you do on this next question. Brazilian soccer star Neymar did such a bad job faking an injury during a 2018 World Cup game that which of these things happened? Was it A, the referees gave the other team one free injury without worrying about getting a penalty? Was it B, The New York Times interviewed acting teachers to explain why Neymar was so unconvincing? Or was it C, the referee wrote boo hoo on the yellow card that he gave to Neymar?

HARRIS: I'm going to say B.

FARSAD: That's right. The answer was B.



CHEE: This is crazy. Rihanna just texted me about how well you're doing at this game.


FARSAD: All right, Jeremy. Here - let's just - let's see if you keep this going. This is your last question. Dick Stuart was a first baseman who led the American League in RBIs in 1963, but he was such a terrible fielder that he earned which of the following nicknames? Was it A, Stonefingers; B, Dr. Strangeglove; or C, the ancient mariner? - because that poem begins, it is an ancient mariner, and he stoppeth one of three?

HARRIS: I'm going to say A just because we haven't done an A yet.

FARSAD: Jeremy, you've done it again. They're all right.


FARSAD: He was so bad at fielding that - true story - he once picked up a hotdog wrapper that was blowing towards him, and the crowd gave him a standing ovation.

HARRIS: I mean, literally, this one was pure guess.

FARSAD: Bill, how did Jeremy do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Well, it's hard to get all three. But, Jeremy, you got all three right.

FARSAD: Oh, my God.

HARRIS: That's what I love to hear.

FARSAD: Well, Jeremy O. Harris, thank you so much for joining us. Jeremy O. Harris's newest movie, "Zola," is available to stream now. Jeremy O. Harris, thank you so much for joining us on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

HARRIS: Oh, my God. Thank you so much for having me.

CHEE: Bye.


HARRIS: Oh, wait. Oh. Oh, wait. Oh, wait. You guys, you guys, you guys, I just got an update. I just got an update on my Wordle. I am now tied for first. I am tied for first.

CHEE: Oh, yes.


CHEE: Good job.

GONDELMAN: The listeners at home can't hear. We're giving a standing ovation.

FARSAD: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.


HARRIS: Thank you guys so much for having me.

SLADE: Now that's a proper exit right there. That's a proper exit.


RIHANNA: (Singing) Work, work, work, work, work, work. He said me haffi me work, work, work, work, work, work. He see me do mi dirt, dirt, dirt, dirt, dirt, dirt. So me put in work, work, work, work, work, work.

FARSAD: In just a minute, Bill studies for his Intro to Chalupas final in our Listener Limerick Challenge. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to join us on 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 Alzo Slade, Josh Gondelman and Karen Chee. And now, filling in for my favorite NPR host named Peter Sagal, it's Negin Farsad.


FARSAD: Thanks, Bill. In just a minute, Bill rhyme-inates (ph) on things a bit in our Listener Limerick Challenge. If you'd like to play, give us a call at 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924. But right now, panel, some more questions for you from this week's news.

Josh, over the next few weeks, a number of brands are allowing people to opt out of promotional emails for what?

GONDELMAN: Gosh, I - promotional emails for what? So what's coming up over the next couple weeks? I guess, like, the Super Bowl? Cryptocurrency? Can I have a hint, please?

FARSAD: (Laughter) Yes. OK. So the downside is you'll miss out on coupons for discount chocolate on February 15.

GONDELMAN: Yes, this makes so much sense. Valentine's Day.


FARSAD: That's right - Valentine's Day. A growing number of companies are allowing subscribers to opt out of specific marketing emails, including those about Valentine's Day. When you unsubscribe to these emails, though, they don't even ask you if you're sure. Instead, they're like, better luck next year, Chuck. Here's a dinner for one coupon from Arby's. So sad.


GONDELMAN: Oh, that's rough. I mean, I would like to opt out. You know, if I opted out of that, I would just - keep opting me out. You just got - you don't have to email me every day forever.



FARSAD: This sounds like a great idea, but I don't like filling out paperwork so Bed Bath & Beyond can know I'm single, you know?

SLADE: But, I mean, like, I get they're trying to be sensitive for people who are lonely, but you're just reminding me that I'm lonely.


GONDELMAN: Right. Don't make me say it if I'm lonely. You just send the emails, and I ignore them like I do with all your other emails.

CHEE: Or set me up on a date. You have that much time to send something like this out. Find me a nice boy.

GONDELMAN: Like, I'm married. I'm planning to celebrate Valentine's Day, but I don't need Lids being like, hey, do you want a cool hat for your wife?

SLADE: Exactly. And it's like, you got cookies all over my laptop. You know I'm single. Like...


FARSAD: OK. Karen, a group of physicists have been hard at work over the last year stopping what?

CHEE: The moon from crashing into the Earth, where we live.


FARSAD: Wow, that is so dark. OK, let me give you a hint that'll get you into a more gentle space.


FARSAD: They really meant it when they said they didn't want to burst your bubble.

CHEE: Oh, I do know this.

FARSAD: OK, what is it? What is it?

CHEE: They're trying to blow the biggest bubble - right? - for bubble gum?

FARSAD: Oh, no. God, you're just wrong, and you keep being wrong.


FARSAD: Here's the right answer.

GONDELMAN: Karen, you think physicists are doing that and not elementary school students?

CHEE: In their spare time, it's their main hobby.

FARSAD: OK. So anyways, just disregard everything Karen said. The actual answer is they want to stop a bubble from popping. A team of physicists in France kept a bubble from popping for 465 days. You think you're afraid of needles? You know that bubble isn't vaccinated.


FARSAD: So the team made the bubble last so long by covering it with microparticles that resist the effects of gravity by using glycerin to absorb enough water to counteract evaporation - and by slapping your hand really hard when you try to poke it.


GONDELMAN: Well, OK, look. This isn't very - you can't make a bubble out of different stuff and then be like, it's unpoppable (ph).

FARSAD: Yeah, that's true.

GONDELMAN: Like, I can make a bubble out of bricks - like, the three little pigs stuff.

CHEE: That's true.

SLADE: I feel like these are the folks that give their emails to opt out for Valentine's Day.


GONDELMAN: They're like, how did you know we were going to be alone? Just me and the bubble celebrating again.

FARSAD: I'll just add that the study was published in Physical Review Fluids, which, it turns out, is the name of a science journal and not just the two things you do at a doctor's appointment.

GONDELMAN: Physical Review Fluids?


CHEE: Wow.

FARSAD: Which is like...

GONDELMAN: That's like, what I do when I see the upholstery in a rental car. I'm like, I got to do a little physical review fluids, make sure I'm not sitting in anything gross.


FARSAD: 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-WAIT-WAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924. Or click the Contact Us link on our website, And if you love WAIT WAIT... but wish you could see it in person while wearing a mask, come see us live. We'll be at the Harris Theater in Chicago February 3 and April 7. And we're returning to Atlanta to the Fox Theatre on March 3. For tickets and more information, go to

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

LIBBY BANKSTON: Hi. This is Libby Bankston (ph) in Westminster, Colo.

FARSAD: So, Libby, what do you do?

BANKSTON: I'm a food scientist.

FARSAD: You're a food - what does that mean?

BANKSTON: Well, we're the people who make all of the items that you see on the shelf. And I, in particularly, work on organic dairy.

GONDELMAN: Love your work.

SLADE: Well, you know, Libby, before you said you worked on the healthy stuff, I wanted to ask you what is really in a Slim Jim.


BANKSTON: No, there are some things you don't want the answer to.

CHEE: Oh, gosh.

GONDELMAN: It's Jim in there.

FARSAD: Well, Libby, thank you so much for joining us on the show. 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 in two limericks, you're a winner.

Here's your first limerick.

KURTIS: With this jungle cat sleeping beside her, her eyes couldn't stay open wider. That fancy hotel knows which features will sell. It's a room by a giant white...


KURTIS: Tiger it is.

FARSAD: Tiger it is.


FARSAD: That's right. A hotel in China is offering the once-in-a-lifetime chance to sleep next to a tiger. I mean, it's a once-in-a-lifetime chance because you never wake up.


SLADE: That is not a prize, to sleep...

GONDELMAN: (Laughter).

FARSAD: I know. I mean, the stay in a tiger's den has everything you could ever wish for if everything you could ever wish for is tigers. But there's a really important thing to remember, that tigers will attack you if you turn your back to them. So it's very important to be the big spoon.


CHEE: Oh, that actually sounds kind of fun. I want to big spoon a tiger.

SLADE: That does not sound fun. You guys are tripping. No.

GONDELMAN: I'll say this. I'll pay however much it costs to sleep in one of the rooms without a tiger in it. I'll splurge.


SLADE: Do tigers sleep the same time as humans? - because what if you just - you wake up and the tiger is just looking at you.

GONDELMAN: Hey, you say we were going to go hiking today.

FARSAD: (Laughter) All right, here's your next limerick.

KURTIS: As we hippos hang out in a group, we're surprised by a loud, foreign whoop. We're so scared we let loose a miraculous deuce. We release a tornado of...



FARSAD: That is right.


FARSAD: According to new research, when hippos are surprised by strangers, they spin their tails like a propeller and fling poop everywhere. Scientists call it a dung tornado, while hippos call it networking.

SLADE: I think this is a proper way to express your social anxiety...


SLADE: ...To let people know that I am an introvert. Like, leave me alone.

FARSAD: Well, the hippos actually do it in response to the sound of a new hippo's voice as a sort of a territorial display. It's like the opposite of cleaning your house before company. Like, when hippos have new friends over, they're like, sweetie, can you take a big stinker in the toilet and not flush it? We need to impress the guests.


FARSAD: All right. Here is your last limerick.

KURTIS: Over cheesy-fried Taco Bell haulage is how studious stoners share knowledge. Now we offer full cred for your high higher ed. That's why Taco Bell opened a...

BANKSTON: College.


FARSAD: That's right.


FARSAD: Taco Bell has partnered with the University of Louisville to create the Taco Bell Business School. It's a perfect place for when you suddenly want to learn something at 1 a.m.

CHEE: They opened a combination Taco Bell and college.


FARSAD: The school actually offers accredited classes on the business of franchising, though they say the boot camp has a, quote, "Taco Bell twist," which I hope for their sake is a cinnamon twist, or people are going to be real disappointed.

Bill, how did Libby do?

KURTIS: Libby is perfect. She got them all right.


CHEE: Yay.

KURTIS: Thanks, Libby.

BANKSTON: Thank you. I had a great time.

FARSAD: Thanks so much for playing, Libby.


KURTIS: Bye-bye.


CHEE: Bye.


ASHER ROTH: (Rapping) Wake up at 10, go out to eat, then do it again. Man, I love college. Hey, I love college.

FARSAD: 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 is worth two points. Bill, can you give us the scores?

KURTIS: Karen has 1. Alzo has 2. And Josh has 4.


FARSAD: Karen, you're in third place, so you're up first. The clock will start when I begin your first question. Fill in the blank - on Wednesday, blank announced he was retiring from the Supreme Court.

CHEE: Stephen Breyer.


FARSAD: Right. On Tuesday, an Appeals Court judge in New York temporarily restored the state's blank mandate.

CHEE: Handshake to be nice. Mask mandate?


FARSAD: Correct. This week, a man was sentenced to 44 months in prison for throwing objects at police during the assault on the blank.

CHEE: The Capitol.


FARSAD: Right. On Wednesday, a key figure from the investigation into Florida Representative blank agreed to cooperate with authorities.

CHEE: Matt Gaetz?


FARSAD: Right. This week, a man in Canada helped a woman shovel her car out of a snowdrift and then blanked.

CHEE: Oh, he asked her on a date, and they fell in love, and now they're married.

FARSAD: Incorrect. He stole it.


GONDELMAN: (Laughter).

FARSAD: This week, Amy Schneider ended her run as the second most successful contestant on blank.

CHEE: Oh, what is "Jeopardy!"


FARSAD: Correct. This week, a lost dog was saved...


FARSAD: ...When a volunteer group used blank to guide her home.

CHEE: Oh, OK, I saw this. It's a little sausage at the end of a drone, and then they flew the drone.

FARSAD: That's right.


FARSAD: According to CNN, Millie the dog got lost in the woods of New Hampshire this week but was saved when rescuers tied a sausage to a drone and then used it to lead her out of the treacherous area. This is, of course, the same strategy used to get most of the rioters out of the Capitol on January 6. Bill, how did Karen do?

KURTIS: She did well - six right for 12 more points. She now has 14, and with it comes the lead.


CHEE: Oh, yes. The show is over, and I won.


FARSAD: All right. Now, Alzo, you're up next. Fill in the blank. On Wednesday, both the U.S. and NATO rejected Russia's demands over the crisis in blank.

SLADE: In Ukraine.


FARSAD: Correct. This week, North Korea continued weapons tests with the launch of two blanks.

SLADE: Missiles.

FARSAD: Right.


FARSAD: After the NFL unveiled the logo for this year's Super Bowl, sports journalists and fans are begging them to change it because it looks like blank.

SLADE: It looks like a Happy Meal toy.

FARSAD: Because it looks like the logo is covered in blood.


CHEE: Really?

FARSAD: On Monday, pharmacies around the country began receiving free blanks to distribute to customers.

SLADE: COVID tests or masks or both.

FARSAD: Well, I'll give it to you - free N95 masks.


FARSAD: And according to new data, the U.S. blank rose 5.7% in 2021, the fastest growth since the 1980s.

SLADE: The economy.


FARSAD: Right. This week, the listing for a house...


FARSAD: ...In Wisconsin went viral after people noticed one bathroom had blank toilets.

SLADE: Zero toilets.


FARSAD: Close - but more than that. It had four toilets.


SLADE: Four toilets?

FARSAD: The house, which we should say looks lovely, boasts six bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths, one with four toilets right next to each other with no barrier in between them. Imagine the home tour. Like, this is where I go No. 1. This is where I go No. 2. And these are for No.s 3 and 4. Bill, how did Alzo do?

KURTIS: He had four right for eight more points, a total of 10. But Karen still has the lead with 13.


FARSAD: But how many does Josh need to win?

KURTIS: Five big ones, five to win.

FARSAD: All right. Josh, this is for the game.


FARSAD: OK. Fill in the blank. On Monday, a judge in Georgia allowed for the formation of a grand jury to investigate blank's efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

GONDELMAN: Donald Trump.


FARSAD: Right. This week, the Federal Reserve announced they'd be raising blanks soon.

GONDELMAN: Interest rates.


FARSAD: Right. On Wednesday, San Jose became the first city to mandate blank for gun owners.

GONDELMAN: Insurance.

FARSAD: Correct.


FARSAD: This week, a cop in South Dakota arrested a DoorDash driver on several outstanding warrants and then blanked.

GONDELMAN: Ate the food?

FARSAD: Completed the Arby's delivery the driver was on. On Wednesday, SpaceX revealed that one of their rockets malfunctioned and was on a collision course with blank.

GONDELMAN: With the moon.


FARSAD: Correct. On Tuesday, David Ortiz became the first solo player elected to the 2021 blank Hall of Fame.

GONDELMAN: Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.


FARSAD: Correct. This week...



FARSAD: This week, a hotel in the U.K. had to mount a search party after blank escaped without anyone noticing.

GONDELMAN: This week, a hotel in the U.K. had to - Boris Johnson.


FARSAD: Their Roomba. According to employees, the Roomba usually stops at the lip of the entrance, so no one was paying attention when it reached the doorway and made a run for it. The robot vacuum wasn't found until days later, when an employee saw it nestled in a hedge outside the hotel and brought it back inside to warm it up in front of a fire with a nice bowl of hot dirt.

CHEE: Wow. But now the U.K. is so clean.


FARSAD: Bill, did Josh do well enough to win?

KURTIS: He had five right for 10 more points. That means with 14, he is the champion this week.


FARSAD: All right.

GONDELMAN: Thank you. It's an honor and a privilege and a pleasure.

FARSAD: Congratulations, Josh. You win nothing. That is what you get. In just a minute, we'll ask our panelists to predict, after Boris Johnson's illegal parties, what will be the next party to get somebody in trouble?

Now, panel, what will be the next party to get someone in trouble? Karen Chee.

CHEE: Peter Sagal's birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese, which is also why he's missing this week.


FARSAD: Alzo Slade.

SLADE: Joe Rogan's black and white ball - for Black guests, instead of a brown bag test for entry, it's a piece of charcoal.


FARSAD: Oh, my God.

Josh Gondelman.

GONDELMAN: Aaron Rodgers' Super Bowl watch party, featuring an open ivermectin bar.


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

FARSAD: Thank you, Bill Kurtis. Thanks also to Karen Chee, Alzo Slade and Josh Gondelman. And thanks to all of you for listening. I'm Negin Farsad. Sorry we had to lock you in the basement this week, Peter Sagal, but this has been lots of fun. See you next week.


FARSAD: This is NPR.

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