Dan Perrault and Tony Yacenda play on NPR's "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!" Dan Perrault and Tony Yacenda won a Peabody for their true crime parody American Vandal, and now their back with Players, a mockumentary about Esports, but what do they know about C-Sports?

'Wait Wait' for June 25, 2022: With Not My Job guests Dan Perrault and Tony Yacenda

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UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: The following program was taped in front of an audience of real, live people.


BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR news quiz. Bueller? Bueller? Biller (ph). I'm Bill Kurtis. And here's your host at the Studebaker Theater in the Fine Arts Building in Chicago, Ill., Peter Sagal.


Thank you, Bill.


SAGAL: Thank you, everybody. Thanks for coming out. Great to see you. Later on today, we are going to be talking to the two men who first made Netflix's "American Vandal," a brilliant parody of the true crime documentary genre, and they've now made "Players," an equally brilliant parody of sports documentaries. They might have done a parody of public radio, but we in public radio do that ourselves pretty much every day. We are eager to hear your take on somebody who calls up news quiz shows to try to win a voicemail. So give us a call. The number is 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924. Let's welcome our first listener contestant. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME!

MEREDITH: Hi. This is Meredith (ph), calling from beautiful Benzie County, Mich.

SAGAL: Well, that's great. How are you, Meredith? Where is this place that you live again? What county of Michigan?

MEREDITH: It's Benzie County, just south of Traverse City, on the coast of Lake Michigan.

SAGAL: Oh, in the beautiful north of Michigan. You're up near the - like, the middle finger.


SAGAL: So what do you do up there in Benzie County?

MEREDITH: I am running a summer STEAM day camp for elementary school students.

SAGAL: Oh. By STEAM, you mean science, technology - I can't remember all the acronyms.

MEREDITH: Yes - science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

SAGAL: That's awesome. I - for a second, I thought you were having them run steam engines around, which would be also cool.

MEREDITH: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Well, welcome to the show, Meredith. Let me introduce you to our panel this week. First up, a comedian you can see at the Koval Distillery in Chicago, July 22, and at CG's Comedy in Bolingbrook, Ill., August 5 through 6. It's Adam Burke.

ADAM BURKE: Hello. Hi.



SAGAL: Next, it's a comedian whose new comedy special, "Well Hong," is streaming now. It's Helen Hong.

HELEN HONG: Hi. Hi, Meredith. Hi, everybody.

MEREDITH: Hi, Helen.


SAGAL: And an actor, writer and comedian who is co-hosting the stand-up variety show, "We Fixed It!" at Caveat in New York City on July 14. It's Peter Grosz.

PETER GROSZ: Hi, Meredith.

MEREDITH: Hello, Peter.


SAGAL: Meredith, welcome to our show. You're going to start us off this week by playing, of course, Who's Bill This Time? I bet you know this. Bill Kurtis is going to read you three quotations from the week's news. Your job - explain or identify two of them, you'll win our prize. You ready to do this?

MEREDITH: So ready.

SAGAL: So ready. Here we go. Your first quote now is President Barack Obama back in the day talking about why he refused to do a particular thing about high gas prices.

KURTIS: It's a gimmick.

SAGAL: Joe Biden must disagree because this week he called for what?

MEREDITH: A gas tax holiday?

SAGAL: A gas tax holiday.


SAGAL: Yes, that's exactly right. Very good.


SAGAL: On Wednesday, President Biden called for a gas tax holiday. Biden said it was about giving Americans relief from high gas prices, but we know he just wants to get everybody back into their cars as revenge on that bicycle that tried to kill him.


GROSZ: Are we going to have a stair tax holiday too, for all the times that the stairs tried to kill him?


SAGAL: The idea is that, this summer, we will celebrate a 90-day holiday from paying federal taxes on gas. The idea, as you heard, has been around for a while. Every year, of course, Jewish people celebrate Gas-over (ph).


GROSZ: That sounds like that's taxing on everyone around you.

SAGAL: Exactly. It's usually what happens when we have Passover with my Uncle Milt (ph). And then...


GROSZ: Wait, so the tax is, like - you know, I read that it's, like, 18 cents.

SAGAL: Eighteen cents per gallon.

GROSZ: So then, like, that's just across the board in every state...

SAGAL: It's gone.

GROSZ: ...That they will just go down by 18 cents?

SAGAL: Well, that's the interesting question, because...

GROSZ: From $100 a gallon to $99 and, say - I don't know - like, 80-something cents.

SAGAL: Exactly. And here's the thing. The federal government will stop collecting that tax, but there's no obligation on the oil companies and the gas stations to, like, commensurately lower the price. I mean, so, you know, oil refiners can just keep the prices what it is and make more profits when they do this, pretending there's been no tax cut at all. It's called gas-tax-lighting.


HONG: Wait, is that true? There's no requirement...

SAGAL: No, there's no obligation. I mean, you know, there's obviously - we'll know the gas tax has been lifted. So if the price doesn't go down, we might be curious, but there's no obligation. They can do whatever they want.

HONG: Wait, are you saying that ExxonMobil does not have my best interest at heart?


HONG: My God, I'm enraged.

BURKE: What's the traditional meal for a gas tax holiday?



BURKE: Is there a gift? Do I owe people a gift?

GROSZ: Well, you have to leave cookies out for Papa Gas.

SAGAL: Yeah.

BURKE: Right, right.

GROSZ: He comes down the...

BURKE: The chimney.

SAGAL: It's terrible. So remember, put out the fire 'cause he will dump gas down your chimney.

BURKE: Yeah.


BURKE: Are the cookies really oily?


GROSZ: Yeah.

SAGAL: You know what I hate? I hate how the gas tax holiday has become so commercialized.


BURKE: You got to remember the reason for the season - greed.

SAGAL: Exactly.


GROSZ: Oh, Lord.

SAGAL: All right. Here is your next quote.

KURTIS: I am not a robot.

SAGAL: That was a headline in The Guardian about what omnipresent online security check that we might never have to see again?

MEREDITH: Oh. Can I have a hint?

SAGAL: Well, if you've ever gone online to order something, theater tickets, you've always had to complete one of these.

MEREDITH: Oh, the CAPTCHA - the pictures.

SAGAL: Yes, exactly - CAPTCHAs.


SAGAL: The CAPTCHA test to prove that you are human are now just about obsolete thanks to a new iPhone update. This is terrible news for all those photographers who made their money taking pictures of crosswalks.


SAGAL: But at the same time, it's a big win for the National Association of People Who Cannot Tell a Zero From an O.


GROSZ: I always thought it would be - if I was an evil genius, which I'm not, but if I was, I would invent a robot that had the ability to click the I-am-not-a-robot box.

SAGAL: I've always wondered about that because...

GROSZ: Because how hard can it be to, like, scan it and then click it? Like...

SAGAL: That's not a - yeah. It's weird because, as you say, these, like, weird tests you had to pass devolved into just a box that said, click this, I am not a robot.

GROSZ: Right.

SAGAL: And I'm like...

GROSZ: It's, like, the honor system.

SAGAL: Why can't - maybe, like, they know that, like, the evil robots that want to do us harm cannot lie.

GROSZ: Right.

HONG: Yeah.

GROSZ: Yeah.

SAGAL: It's like, are you a robot? Ah, damn it. You got me.

GROSZ: The one question.


HONG: It's just like cops undercover.

SAGAL: Yeah.

GROSZ: Yeah, you got to tell me.

HONG: You ask them, and they've got to tell you. Like, are you a cop? Oh, man, you got me.

GROSZ: But if they're a robot, they don't have to tell you.

BURKE: Wait, are you talking about some kind of robot cop? What would that look like?


SAGAL: Did you ever have this experience 'cause sometimes they were really hard 'cause you're like, is that a bicycle? I don't know, right?

HONG: So hard.

SAGAL: And you, like - you fail it.

HONG: Yes.

SAGAL: And you start to doubt yourself.

HONG: Yes.

SAGAL: It's like...

HONG: Am I a robot (laughter)?

SAGAL: I remember my childhood.

GROSZ: Right.

HONG: No, implants.

SAGAL: Yeah.

HONG: Implanted memories.

SAGAL: Yeah, really. Yeah, oh, man.

BURKE: Some of them - like, some of them are really pointless. Like, some of them are like, which of these is a stop sign? And being a pedestrian in Chicago, I know that no one here knows what a stop sign looks like.


SAGAL: Yeah, exactly. And who...

GROSZ: It can be really hard, too, 'cause it could be like, which of these is pad see ew and which of these is pad woon sen? And you're like, I just ordered this last night. I can't remember which is the thick noodles.

HONG: Wow.

SAGAL: And why - and who...

BURKE: Which one am I allergic to? That's what I...

GROSZ: Yeah, exactly.

SAGAL: I mean, yeah, why were we doing this? Was it so important to keep robots from buying all the tickets to "Dear Evan Hansen"?


HONG: I...

BURKE: (Imitating robot) "Dear Evan Hansen" - it's my favorite.

HONG: I am so...

GROSZ: (Imitating robot) I was teased in high school as well.


SAGAL: All right. Here is your last quote.

KURTIS: Congratulations, Ohio State. Enjoy your word.

SAGAL: That was Jason Gay writing in The Wall Street Journal, congratulating The Ohio State University for trademarking what word this week?

MEREDITH: Buckeye?

SAGAL: No, not that. I'll give you a hint - I said it. It's part of their official name.



MEREDITH: ...Ohio State University.

SAGAL: The...


SAGAL: ...Ohio State University.


SAGAL: The Ohio State University, the big state school in the capital of Ohio, has trademarked the word the for exclusive use. Oh, I'm sorry. Sorry, Ohio. I should have said Ohio State University, big school in capital of Ohio.


SAGAL: The school's official name is The Ohio State University, which is fine. You know, my official name is The Peter Sagal, but I'm not a jerk about it. This is just nuts. I don't know what the world is coming to. I just want to go home and listen to music from my favorite band, Beatles.


BURKE: Was this coming up a lot with people in job interviews? Wait a minute - did you go to The Ohio State University or A Ohio State University?


SAGAL: No, man. I couldn't get in. I had to go to That Ohio State University.


GROSZ: I went to Some Ohio State Universities.

BURKE: Yeah.

GROSZ: So you can go to more than one?

BURKE: Yeah.

SAGAL: Yeah, I know. No, apparently what they have trademarked it for is commercial use, right? So they wanted to, like, sell hats that say the.

HONG: What?

SAGAL: And now they can 'cause they got the trademark.

HONG: How...

BURKE: So it's literally an article of clothing.

SAGAL: It literally is.

GROSZ: It's an article (laughter)...

SAGAL: Yeah, very good.

GROSZ: ...That's pretty good.

BURKE: All right, more for that for a NPR panel. Who would have thought (laughter)?

GROSZ: I was going to say. I mean, I've - listen, as I've told you, I've done this show for 12 years. That was a bullseye.

BURKE: (Laughter).

HONG: It was fire.

GROSZ: That was just an NPR bullseye.

HONG: It was fire. Yeah, it was.

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

KURTIS: The Meredith from the Michigan finally beat Ohio State.


BURKE: (Laughter) Yeah.

SAGAL: Yay. Congratulations, Meredith.

KURTIS: Won it all, three-and-oh.

MEREDITH: Thank you.

SAGAL: Thanks a lot for playing.

MEREDITH: Thank you.

SAGAL: Take care.

MEREDITH: Goodbye, guys.


SAGAL: Right now, panel, it is time for you to answer some questions about this week's news. Peter, researchers announced this week that they have finally sequenced the genome of D. folliculorum, which is a tiny mite known for its habit of mating where?

GROSZ: In public, you freak.


SAGAL: In a way, yeah.

GROSZ: Not to kink-shame, but, you know.


GROSZ: So they're tiny mites...

SAGAL: Tiny, tiny mites.

GROSZ: ...That like to mate with their fellow mites...


GROSZ: ...On a larger mite.

SAGAL: A much larger creature.

GROSZ: Is it us?


GROSZ: Humans.

SAGAL: Specifically on your face...

HONG: What?

SAGAL: ...While you sleep.


HONG: I do like - wait.

BURKE: Wait. Wait. Wait. On your face while you sleep.


BURKE: Wait. Why do you have to be sleeping? That is freaky. I mean...

GROSZ: No. Wait till he goes to sleep.


BURKE: No, I can't. It's not exciting for me unless he's sleeping.

GROSZ: I also love the idea of mites shushing each other.

BURKE: Yeah.

GROSZ: Keep it down, mites.

BURKE: You're being so loud.

GROSZ: They can hear you in the next cell.


BURKE: Yeah.

SAGAL: So...

HONG: Wait. What?

BURKE: How microscopic are these?

SAGAL: So these are very, very microscopic.


SAGAL: They're tiny, tiny, tiny.

HONG: So it could have happened to me, and I wouldn't have known.

HONG: Yes.

BURKE: Could have...

HONG: What?

BURKE: ...Definitely happened to you.

GROSZ: So wait. Are you saying my face is just Coachella pretty much?

HONG: Are you saying my face is a Holiday Inn? No.


BOB SEGER: (Singing) Working on our night moves, trying to make some front-page drive-in news, working on our night moves in the summertime.

SAGAL: Coming up, we go way beyond payola in our Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to play. We'll be back in a minute with more 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 Peter Grosz, Adam Burke and Helen Hong. And here again is your host at the Studebaker Theater in Chicago, Ill., Peter Sagal.

SAGAL: Thank you, Bill. Thank you, everybody.


SAGAL: Thank you so much. Right now, it is time for the WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME! Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to play our game on the air. Hi. You are on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME!

JIM: Hi.

SAGAL: Hi. Who's this?

JIM: It's Jim.

SAGAL: Hey, Jim.

JIM: In New Jersey.

SAGAL: Oh, Jim from New Jersey. Oh, OK.

JIM: Yeah, Jersey Jim.

SAGAL: Jersey Jim. Where in Jersey? I'm from Jersey.

JIM: Now I'm in Brick, but I used to be in Hudson County, where I used to go right across the tunnel and work as a cab driver in Manhattan.

SAGAL: Yeah.

JIM: And one night in the early morning, in the early '80s, I had Bill Kurtis.


JIM: Yes. Yes, he was making his way to CBS. It was, like, early, early. It was something, like, 4 a.m. and the beginning of his day and the end of mine.

SAGAL: Wow. Bill, you must remember meeting Jim, right?


KURTIS: Yes, Jim. And I told everybody I walked to work.


SAGAL: I'm going to ask, 'cause, you know, was he a good tipper?

JIM: Yeah, I thought he was very avuncular. And, no, he was very - I can't...

SAGAL: So what you're saying is no.


BURKE: Very nice.

SAGAL: You're a very kind man.

KURTIS: Very nice. Thanks, Jim.

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

KURTIS: Are you ready to rock?

SAGAL: Musicians need to do whatever they can these days to get their music out in front of the people. To this day, whenever Drake has a new album, he hand-delivers a copy to every resident in Canada. This week you read about another artist going to surprising lengths to get their music listened to. Our panelists are going to tell you about it. Pick the one who's telling the truth, and you will win our prize, a Wait Waiter of your choice on your voicemail. Ready to play?

JIM: Yep.

SAGAL: First, let's hear from Helen Hong.

HONG: Fans of Taylor Swift love debating which of her ex-boyfriends her songs are about. Is that one about Jake Gyllenhaal, who she dated in 2010, or about Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who she dated in 2007 according to a rumor that I am starting right now with this very sentence? But not everybody loves the mystery. So now Taytay (ph) is releasing versions of her songs that spell out explicitly, with no symbolism whatsoever, what she's talking about. In the song "Trouble," she used to sing, I knew you were trouble when you walked in. But now she sings, I knew you, Joe Jonas of the Jonas Brothers, were trouble when you walked in. Then, in an unprecedented lyrical flourish, she actually sings a hyperlink you can use for more information.


HONG: Quote, "you and me clashed. More at HTTP:// etc." The new versions, called Swift's Notes, are out next week.


SAGAL: Taylor Swift puts out an annotated version of her album. Your next story of a musical gimmick comes from Adam Burke and the Burkettes (ph).

BURKE: While shopping for a birthday card for her mother, Oslo resident Bella Magnusson (ph) thought nothing of quickly grabbing the nearest musical card that seemed to fit the bill. It wasn't until Magnussen's 93-year-old mother opened it and was greeted by a 60-decibel blast of loud, grinding, heavy metal guitars and the words, (singing) happy birthday to you. Hellfire and dragons are all pretty cool. My motorcycle runs on nightmare fuel. Oh, and in closing, happy birthday to you - that she realized that this was no ordinary card. It was all part of an innovative marketing strategy by Norwegian heavy metal group Def Biscuit (ph), who teamed with a greeting card firm to launch a line of surprise musical birthday cards. They seem innocuous enough on the outside, but feature an enhanced, extra loud sound chip that plays a hit from the band's lengthy and only slightly satanic back catalog. Surprisingly, complaints about the cards have been few, with Magnusson explaining that her mother, quote, "thought that they had just updated the birthday song."


SAGAL: A heavy metal band slips their music, surprisingly, into birthday cards. Your last story of a song scheme comes from Peter Grosz.

GROSZ: The rock band Weezer has always been known for their loyal fan base, and this week they are rewarding their fans' dedication. The band is giving Weeze Heads (ph), as nobody calls them, a chance to hear the song "Records," the first single from their upcoming album, one week early before the album officially drops. All you have to do is download an app called Human Record Player, which has been specifically designed to play the song "Records" in a unique way. If you hold your phone and spin like a record, clockwise at 33 1/3 revolutions per minute, the song will play out of your phone. If you spin for 3 minutes, you get to hear the whole song, and you get a free prize, vomit on your shirt. It's a fun throwback to how we never listened to records before. Some are criticizing this as just a gimmick, but it's actually very modern. It has that kind of NFT one-of-a-kind experience if NFT stood for not fun time. Just remember, don't spin backwards, or you will promise your soul to Satan for all of eternity.


SAGAL: All right. One of these groups hit upon an unusual method to get their music out there. Was it from Helen Hong - Taylor Swift puts out an annotated version explaining who every boyfriend was - from Adam Burke - a Swedish heavy metal band slips their music into surprising birthday cards - or from Peter Grosz - Weezer lets you listen to their song, but only if you spin around like a record player? Which of these is the real story of the musical gimmick?

JIM: I know Taylor Swift is notorious for referring to old boyfriends, but I don't know if she'd go to those lengths. I'll go with Taylor Swift, then, maybe.

SAGAL: You're going to go with Taylor Swift putting out the annotated version? All right. Well, to find out the real answer, we spoke to someone who helped the band come up with this gimmick.

BRIAN MOORE: The Human Record Player is a website that requires you to spin in a circle to hear Weezer's newest song.

SAGAL: That was the artist Brian Moore, who developed the Human Turntable (ph) app with Weezer. I'm so sorry, Jim, but Peter had the real story. Jim, thank you so much for playing with us.


KURTIS: Yeah, bye. Good to hear you.


WEEZER: I've got records in my head spinning out of control. They go round and around.

SAGAL: And now, the game where people who are very good at their jobs find out how the rest of us feel. It's called Not My Job. The true crime documentary "American Vandal" on Netflix was so good, it took some people a little while to figure out it was a brilliant parody of the true crime genre. The two creators, Dan Perrault and Tony Yacenda, have a new fake/real documentary on Paramount+, "Players," about the cutthroat and very real world of professional video gaming. Dan Perrault and Tony Yacenda, welcome to WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME!


TONY YACENDA: Thank you for having us.

SAGAL: So how did you guys get into the documentary parody business?

DAN PERRAULT: You know, in 2016, true crime had a huge moment with "Making A Murderer," "Serial," "The Jinx."

SAGAL: Yeah?

PERRAULT: And Tony and I decided, well, we have to do the stupid version of this.


SAGAL: All right, the stupid version. And can you tell us - so "American Vandal" was a very serious-seeming multipart documentary. It's now two seasons. And - but I think it's important that you let everybody know what the crime was that was being investigated.

PERRAULT: Yeah, the crime was...

YACENDA: There was a student in the fictional high school of Hanover High School in Oceanside, Calif., who was expelled for spray-painting phallic images on his teacher's car. I don't know what I'm allowed to say on NPR.


YACENDA: But it's a crime he...

SAGAL: Frankly, neither do we, and we've been doing this for 25 years. So just go for it.


YACENDA: It's a crime he may not have committed. There's a lot of holes in the school board's case.

SAGAL: Right. I see.

YACENDA: So these intrepid high school documentarians...

SAGAL: And...

YACENDA: ...Set out to find the truth.

SAGAL: And I made a joke about this, but I'm wondering if it's true. Did people think this was real? 'Cause you guys, like, nail the details.

YACENDA: Yeah. Just the other week, I was in a conversation where somebody was like, and whatever happened to that guy?


YACENDA: I'm like, oh, he's doing great. He's on a show on ABC.


YACENDA: And they're like, what do you mean? He, like, became an actor? I'm like, oh, no.


YACENDA: Oh, you watched all eight episodes and thought this was real.

SAGAL: Did you ever hear from the people who were making the actual true crime documentaries? And if so, did they like what you were doing?

PERRAULT: We have had some conversation. We're huge fans of Sarah Koenig, for example. We had the absolute pleasure of meeting her at the Peabody Awards in 2018 and had a great conversation with her. But honestly, there is no version of "American Vandal" without her. We are such huge "Serial" fans.

SAGAL: I know. It's amazing. So, of course, Sarah Koenig...

YACENDA: I will say, though...

SAGAL: Yeah?

YACENDA: I have a recurring nightmare where Errol Morris pops up...



YACENDA: ...And calls me a hack and he hates me. And so that is one of my biggest, darkest fears.

BURKE: And he's staring right into the camera...

SAGAL: Yeah, and saying, like...

BURKE: ...Just like one of his documentaries.

SAGAL: You're terrible people, yeah. You said something a moment ago, and I just want to highlight this. You won a Peabody Award, which is, of course, an award given...


SAGAL: ...To the finest in broadcast content. Really, it's fiction and nonfiction radio, television, documentaries and groundbreaking films, and they gave it to you for a fake documentary about a guy who drew penises on cars.


SAGAL: And I think that is awesome.


YACENDA: It's still a metaphor for the justice system.

SAGAL: It really is.

YACENDA: (Inaudible).


YACENDA: Yeah. We got some - we shook hands with Carol Burnett, who just received a Lifetime Achievement Award the second before we up to accept an award about spray-painted [expletive].

SAGAL: There you are.

YACENDA: It's a weird world we live in.

SAGAL: I think that's great. I wanted to ask you about "Players," which I've watched. It's on Paramount+ now. It is - again, if you didn't know that it was fake, you - it would take you a while to figure it out. It is about the world of esports, professional video gaming. And no spoilers - it has a lot of what seems like very accurate detail about that world. How much research did you have to do? And how fun was it?

PERRAULT: It was so much fun. I mean, it is such a bizarre and weird and amazing world all at the same time. You never feel older than being in a arena - filled-up arena full of kids all cheering passionately for a man named Fudge and Licorice.


SAGAL: Right. One of the fun things about it - you just mentioned it - is all of these players have nicknames or handles they use when they're playing. Your protagonist is named Creamcheese.


BURKE: Is it spelled, like, with some Z's and a bunch of E's - extra E's?

SAGAL: No, but his rival, Organizm - it does have a Z in his name.

GROSZ: Yeah.

SAGAL: And, of course, Creamcheese's former handle that he moved on from is Nutmilk.


SAGAL: So with those two examples, can you tell me some of the nicknames you thought of and didn't use?


YACENDA: Well, it's really funny that you're talking about the number of Z's, and 3 is potentially in cream cheese.

GROSZ: Right.

SAGAL: Yeah.

YACENDA: That was a big point of contention in the writers' room.

BURKE: (Laughter).

SAGAL: You really had to figure that out.

YACENDA: And we ended up with no Z's.

SAGAL: So do you - I have to ask this 'cause - I got to ask. I mean, doing these things must be so difficult - you know, researching the world and coming up with your characters and writing their arcs. Have you ever thought, like, of just taking it easy and, like, making a real documentary about something that actually happened?


YACENDA: We do - I mean, yes. And we love real docs. And then after a while, it's like, let's do something stupid again.

SAGAL: Yeah, I know. The call of the stupid man.


SAGAL: It's really been my siren song. Well, it is great to talk to you. But in fact, Dan and Tony, we have invited you here to play a game that this time we're calling...

KURTIS: Welcome to the Cutthroat World of C-Sports.

SAGAL: Your new show is about esports, but what do you know about c-sports? We mean, of course, croquet.


SAGAL: Answer two out of these...

YACENDA: Love it.

SAGAL: ...Three questions about croquet, and you'll win a prize for one of our listeners, the voicemail of their choice and their voicemail. Bill, who are Dan and Tony playing for?

KURTIS: Ron Wells (ph) of Las Vegas, Nev.

SAGAL: All right. First question - croquet became extremely popular in Victorian England, particularly because it was one of the very few games in which men could play with women and thus flirt. But scandal doomed the sport, specifically what? A, when the Atherton Croquet Club used raw liver as a performance-enhancing drug. B, women were using their voluminous skirts to push the ball and get a better lie. Or C, when Lord Malverson (ph) was caught training a squirrel to push opponents' balls into the underbrush.

YACENDA: I'm thinking B.

SAGAL: So your choice is B, and that's right.


SAGAL: Many historians believe that women were accused of cheating at croquet only because they consistently beat the men.


HONG: Sounds about right.

SAGAL: All right. You have two more chances. Croquet was actually part of the Olympics at the beginning of the modern Olympics in 1900, but the IOC quickly decided to omit the sport from the Olympics after that year. Why? A, croquet fans - just too rowdy and violent. B, the IOC, following tradition, couldn't remember where in their garage they left their croquet set. Or C, because only one spectator showed up to watch it.


PERRAULT: I think I got a good feel for this one. You could get mad over any sport, no matter what it is. You can get hot over it. I'm going with A, they were a rowdy crowd.

SAGAL: That it was rowdy and violent - and it was tough back then because it was 1900. Imagine the size of the batteries they had to throw. Actually, the answer was, in fact, C, sadly. Only one person showed up to watch Olympic croquet, so no more Olympic croquet.

BURKE: Do we know who it was? Was it, like, the King of Prussia or something?

SAGAL: Probably.

BURKE: (Inaudible) just some guy from New Jersey.

SAGAL: All right. Now, so we're going to give you credit because I think Tony got the first one right. So if you guys can work together and pick the right answer this third one, you will win. Croquet is often unfavorably compared to other more manly sports, but one croquet team in Calgary, Canada, one year proved how tough they were when they did what? A, caught an escaping mugger by hitting him with a well-struck ball from a distance of 80 feet; B, fought off, with their mallets, an attacking softball team who were using their bats, or C, played through a historic snowstorm, forcing them to constantly clear the lawn with flamethrowers.

PERRAULT: All of them are so awesome.

HONG: Yeah.

SAGAL: They are pretty awesome. But only one of them, sadly, is true.

BURKE: It's like that old saying - never bring a baseball bat to a mallet fight.


YACENDA: I think we're going C, right, Dan?

SAGAL: C, you're going to go for C. All right. No, it was B.


SAGAL: There was a dispute with a softball team who wanted the same patch of grass at the same time. It got ugly. The softball team pulled out their bats. The croquet team pulled out their mallets, and three softball players went to the hospital with mallet injuries.

HONG: What?


HONG: Wait, but how many croquet-ers (ph) had baseball bat injuries?

SAGAL: That's a good question. But the news story that I found indicated that the croquet players were triumphant.

HONG: They - somebody needs to make a "West Side Story" about this. Like...


KURTIS: Spielberg?

BURKE: Yeah.

SAGAL: Bill, how did Tony and Dan do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Well, they got two wrong answers, one right. But as their history is any guide, they didn't mean it anyway.


GROSZ: Yeah, it was a...

KURTIS: So welcome to our house.

SAGAL: Yes. Dan Peralta and Tony Yacenda are the creators of "Players," now on Paramount Plus. Dan and Tony, thank you so much for joining us on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME. Congratulations on another great show.


YACENDA: Thank you for having us.

SAGAL: Take care. Thanks so much.


JUDAS PRIEST: (Singing) There I was completely wasting, out of work and down.

SAGAL: In just a minute, we reveal this summer's new, refreshing treat in our Listener Limerick Challenge. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to join us on 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 Helen Hong, Peter Grosz and Adam Burke. And here again is your host, at the Studebaker Theater in Chicago, Ill., Peter Sagal.


SAGAL: Thank you, Bill. In just a minute, Bill does his own laser hair rhyme-oval (ph) in our Listener Limerick Challenge game. Smooth as a peach, our Bill. If you'd like to play, give us a call at 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924.

Right now, panel, some more questions for you from the week's news. Helen, a new study out this week says you are much more likely to die if you can't do what for 10 seconds?

HONG: Oh, jeez. Breathe? Intake oxygen? Give me a hint, please.

SAGAL: Apparently, flamingos will live forever.

HONG: Stand on one foot?

SAGAL: Exactly right.


SAGAL: The study found that people who are not able to stand on one foot for 10 seconds are twice as likely to die in the next 10 years as people who can. So that you aren't all distracted for the rest of the show, we will now take a 10 second pause.


HONG: Seriously. I need to get up and see if I can do it.

SAGAL: I have been doing it for the entire time behind this podium.


SAGAL: The researchers say that poor balance indicates poor musculoskeletal fitness, which is related to mortality. But there are other reasons besides that that poor balance could be linked to an early death. Maybe you keep tipping to one side because there's a very heavy knife stuck in that side. Maybe you are, at this moment, falling down the side of a very steep mountain.

HONG: Don't you feel like scientists are just running out of things to study? Like, at this point, they're just like, yeah, stand on one foot. Yeah, we'll do that one.

SAGAL: Yeah, yeah. Try to do that. Try to do that.

BURKE: This sounds like the - hazing the new guy at the lab.

GROSZ: Yeah.

SAGAL: Now, this applies to people under 70, so keep riding that bike, President Biden. And they found that for people over 80, a leading cause of death is trying to stand on one foot for 10 seconds.


HONG: What happened to grandpa? Oh, he heard about the new study.

GROSZ: He was trying to prove he was going to live forever.

SAGAL: Adam, pickleball has taken the country by storm, but the hot new sport is what kind of pickleball?

BURKE: OK, you said a bunch of words...

SAGAL: I did. So I don't know...

BURKE: ...And none of them made sense to me.

GROSZ: You don't know pickleball?

BURKE: No. I have no idea.

HONG: It's like tennis with a wooden...

SAGAL: Paddle.

HONG: Yeah.

BURKE: Do you need a pickle?

SAGAL: You do not need a pickle.


BURKE: Well, then...

SAGAL: I'll give you a hint. It's not only exciting, but it's also economical because it saves money on uniforms.

BURKE: Oh, so pickle and onions ball.


SAGAL: By which you mean...

BURKE: Nude.

SAGAL: Nude pickleball, yes.


SAGAL: Pickleball - nudist camps say that nude pickleball, much more popular than nude tennis, their prior favorite sport, because it's accessible to everyone. It's very social. And who doesn't love the chance to say, speaking of pickleballs, look at Scotty (ph) over there?


HONG: This seems highly dangerous to me.

SAGAL: Yeah. I see your point.

HONG: Like, don't you think that if you get hit by a pickleball...

GROSZ: But if you get hit by a ball through, like, cotton clothes, you think - you're like, oh, well, thank God I was wearing shorts or else that really would have hurt?


HONG: Well, yeah. I'm just saying it's more dangerous for the other people around you to have to see...

SAGAL: Yeah. Well, on the other hand...

BURKE: It's also the...

HONG: ...Your pickle being maimed.

BURKE: The laughter doubles.


SAGAL: Helen, British journalists got access to a trove of emails sent by members of the House of Lords. And it turns out the one thing the Lords are most upset about is what?

HONG: The House of Lords...

SAGAL: The House of Lords - that's the upper house of the British Parliament.

HONG: It's like their Senate, right?

SAGAL: Yeah, sort of.

HONG: I'm going to need a hint, I think.

SAGAL: You're going to need a hint. You do not expect a member of the peerage to eat a shrink-wrapped sandwich, do you?

HONG: Oh, the catering?

SAGAL: Yes. They're very upset about the food available to them in Parliament.


SAGAL: Parliament has a number of bars and restaurants for the exclusive use of members, and the Lords are not pleased with the current quality. One wrote in an email, quote, "both the Chardonnay and the Sauvignon blanc are really poor quality."


SAGAL: That's a real quote. Another Lord wrote - again real quote - "the current offering of salads leaves much to be desired. I realize you need to make a profit, but the margin on your smoked salmon seems extortionate."

GROSZ: Sometimes 21st century Britain could be 19th century Britain.

BURKE: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's always nice to hear the email that starts the revolution.


SAGAL: That would be fun. Like, this started everything. Like, they showed up, with, you know, like, a flaming bottle - here's your Chardonnay.


GROSZ: Poor quality. Throw something better. Can't you throw some Vermouth and gin, for Christ's sake?

BURKE: Yeah. Right.


FERGIE: (Singing) G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S. Yeah. G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S.

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-WAIT-WAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924 or click the Contact Us link on our website waitwait.npr.org. Plus, come see us live here most weeks at the Studebaker in Chicago or June 30 at the Mann Center in Philadelphia and August 25 and 26 at Wolf Trap, right outside Washington, D.C. Tickets and info are at nprpresents.org.

Hi. You are on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME!

CLAIRE: Oh, hello, everyone.

SAGAL: Hello. Who's this?

CLAIRE: This is Claire (ph), calling from Central Virginia by way of Spices (ph), Calif.

SAGAL: Oh, really? OK. So what - are you, like - you're routing your call through California, or, like, that's where you're from, and now you're in Virginia?

CLAIRE: I'm from - yeah, I'm from Troy, Va., but I'm originally from California. I'm helping my 90-year-old mother move into her new home.

SAGAL: Oh, good for you. That's nice. And what do you normally do when you're not doing that?

CLAIRE: Well, I am a consultant. I am a co-host of a podcast and a few other unpaid work.

SAGAL: Yeah, I think - that's great, but I think at this point we can all just assume that hosting a podcast is a given with everyone, right?


CLAIRE: That's true.

SAGAL: No need to mention it, but thank you. Thanks for calling, Claire, and welcome to the show. You're going to, of course...

CLAIRE: Thank you.

SAGAL: ...Play the game in which Bill Kurtis is going to read three news-related limericks with the last word or phrase missing. Your job - fill that in. Do that two times out of three. You'll win our prize. You ready to go?

CLAIRE: I am ready.

SAGAL: All right, here you go. Here is your first limerick.

KURTIS: It's a snack a lost bet makes you snatch up, though some frozen foods might be a mashup, or a fast food surprise that can cool down hot fries. It's a popsicle tasting like...

CLAIRE: Ketchup?

SAGAL: Yes, ketchup.


SAGAL: If you can't decide between having a hotdog and having dessert, don't bother. With French's new Frenchsicle ketchup popsicle, you can have the worst of both worlds.



SAGAL: It's perfect for anyone nostalgic for that childhood treat in the winter of eating icicles with condiments.


GROSZ: I wanted to clap for her getting it, and I also wanted to be like, ew.

HONG: Ew, no.

SAGAL: Ew, no. Not you, not you. All right. Here is your next limerick.

KURTIS: Georgios (ph) will be a career crook, and Zorba (ph) will sport a pierced ear look. On this marble they wrote a Euripides quote. This old slab is an ancient Greek...

CLAIRE: (Laughter) I am really blanking.

SAGAL: Yeah, it is hard. It's got a quote in it.

HONG: You might have been voted most likely...

CLAIRE: ...To succeed. I mean, I don't know.

SAGAL: No. I'll give you the answer. It's yearbook.

CLAIRE: Oh, yearbook. Oh, my gosh. I would never have gotten that.

KURTIS: Career crook.

SAGAL: Researchers...

KURTIS: Pierced ear look.

SAGAL: It's OK. Researchers have discovered...


SAGAL: Yeah, it's too late, man. It's over.


SAGAL: He just is like, no, I can save her. It's like, no.


SAGAL: I gave her the answer. It's done. Researchers have discovered that an inscribed marble tablet from ancient Greece is, in fact, a 2,000-year-old school yearbook. The carving in the marble tablet is a list of classmates in an ancient Athenian school. The inscriptions include a description of the class - 31 names, including nicknames, and, of course, a vote for Pedro quote - and under each name, of course, superlatives - right? - most likely to die in volcanic ash...


SAGAL: ...Most likely to talk your ear off about triangles...


SAGAL: ...Most likely to star on a hit urn.


BURKE: Did picture day in grade schools take forever 'cause they'd be like...


BURKE: ...Don't make a face. For the love of God, don't make a face.

SAGAL: All right. You have one more chance. If you get this, you do win. Here is your last limerick.

KURTIS: It's Cape Cod. Take your top off and chuck it. Live it up before you kick the bucket. There was an old man, and he was a big fan. Topless beaches abound in...

CLAIRE: Nantucket.

SAGAL: Yes. There you go.


BURKE: I really wanted her to say yearbook.


SAGAL: I did, I did. I just want to point out, after 25 years of doing this, quite nearly, we have finally had a limerick that ends in the word Nantucket.


SAGAL: It took that long to get here, but we're here.


SAGAL: Nantucket residents voted this week to pass the Gender Equality on Beaches Amendment, which would allow anyone - anyone, male or female - to go topless on the beach. It's a rare issue on which committed feminists and total pervs come together.


SAGAL: Opponents on Nantucket are worried about this measure's effect on small children, a group famous for never having interacted with breasts.


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

KURTIS: She didn't get one, but she got two, and that's a winner, Claire.


SAGAL: Congratulations. Well done, Claire.

CLAIRE: Thank you.

SAGAL: Thanks so much for playing.

CLAIRE: Thank you very much.

SAGAL: Take care.


BARENAKED LADIES: (Singing) It's been one week since you looked at me, cocked your head to the side and said, I'm angry. Five days since you laughed at me, saying get that together, come back and see me.

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

KURTIS: Peter has two. Helen has three. Adam has three.

SAGAL: All right. So, Peter, you are going first. Clock will start when I begin your first question. Fill in the blank. On Thursday, federal agents searched the home of Jeffrey Clark, one of blank's Department of Justice officials.

GROSZ: Trump.



SAGAL: On Monday, Emmanuel Macron's party lost their majority in the parliament of blank.

GROSZ: France.



SAGAL: This week, Russian officials say they are considering the death penalty for two Americans caught fighting in blank.

GROSZ: Ukraine.



SAGAL: On Tuesday, a bipartisan group of senators advanced a new blank safety bill.




SAGAL: This week, a man in Louisiana was given a ticket when police noticed that blank wasn't wearing a seatbelt.

GROSZ: His dog.

SAGAL: You're right.


SAGAL: On Sunday, swimming's governing body barred blank women from competition.

GROSZ: Trans.



SAGAL: For the first time since 2020, the big cryptocurrency blank dropped below $20,000.

GROSZ: Bitcoin.



SAGAL: A New York Times article...


SAGAL: ...On the new Australian National Dictionary this week reported that the Australian phrase for gentrifier is someone who blanks.

GROSZ: They don't let their koala out.

BURKE: (Laughter).

GROSZ: They just let that koala run crazy.

SAGAL: No. The person - a gentrifier is someone who lives behind the quinoa curtain.


SAGAL: The article reported on other Australian slang. Like an ugly person, is someone who, quote, "has a face like a half-sucked mango."

Bill, how did Peter do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Really well. Peter had seven right for 14 more points. He now has 16 and the lead.

SAGAL: All right.


SAGAL: Helen, I'm going to arbitrarily pick you to go next.


SAGAL: So here we go. Fill in the blank. On Thursday, the Supreme Court struck down New York's blank control laws.

HONG: Gun control.



SAGAL: On Sunday, Representative Adam Kinzinger warned that the 2024 blank would devolve into violence.

HONG: Presidential election.



SAGAL: This week, a federal judge postponed the sedition trial for the leaders of the white supremacist group blank.

HONG: Proud Boys.



SAGAL: On Wednesday, the chair of the Federal Reserve said that a blank was, in fact, possible.

HONG: Recession.



SAGAL: This week, a motorcyclist in Minnesota explained to police that the reason he was caught going 144 miles per hour was blank.

HONG: He really had to pee.

SAGAL: No. It was so hot out, and he just wanted to cool down. On Sunday, the CDC approved blanks for kids as young as six months.

HONG: COVID vaccine.



SAGAL: For the first time, federal workers had the day off to celebrate blank on Monday.

HONG: Juneteenth.



SAGAL: This week, the Church of England issued an official referendum...


SAGAL: ...Saying that clergy are not anymore allowed to perform baptisms while wearing blank.

HONG: Thongs.

SAGAL: No. Well...


SAGAL: I'm going to give it to you - while wearing only their underwear.


HONG: Whoa.

GROSZ: Yeah.

HONG: Yay.

SAGAL: The ruling says that the church...


SAGAL: I was going to be a stickler. Then I realized none of this matters.


SAGAL: The ruling says that the church considers underwear to be, quote, "intimate apparel that is inappropriate for holy rituals." So for the record, underwear baptism is out, but nude baptism's still OK.

Bill, how did Helen do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Seven right, 14 more points, 17 and the lead.

SAGAL: All right.

HONG: Yes.


SAGAL: How many, then, does Adam Burke need to win?

KURTIS: Eight to win.

BURKE: No chance.

SAGAL: All right, Adam, this is for the game.

GROSZ: Seven and a half to...

SAGAL: Here we go. Following threats, members of the House committee investigating the blank received additional security.

BURKE: January 6.



SAGAL: On Wednesday, the FBI arrested Florida politician blank on charges of corruption.

BURKE: Oh, Gillum.

SAGAL: Yes. Gillum is good.


SAGAL: This week, leaders in Europe approved Ukraine's request to become a candidate to join the blank.


SAGAL: Right.


SAGAL: Rescue workers say they're still looking for survivors after a 5.9 degree earthquake hit blank on Wednesday.

BURKE: Afghanistan.



GROSZ: This week, a woman who was elected mayor of a city in Japan said she was surprised by her win because blank.

BURKE: She wasn't - she didn't put her name on the ballot.

SAGAL: No, because she lives in Belgium. Following...


HONG: What?

SAGAL: ...Massive flooding, blank National Park reopened on Wednesday.

BURKE: Yosemite.

SAGAL: No. Yellowstone.

BURKE: Yellowstone.

SAGAL: This week, attendees at an NFT conference in New York...


SAGAL: ...Were disappointed when an appearance by Snoop Dogg turned out to be blank.

BURKE: About as valuable as an NFT.

SAGAL: No. The Snoop Dogg turned out to be a Snoop Dogg impersonator named Doop Snogg.



SAGAL: Everyone at the NFT conference was disappointed to find out they had been duped by the fake Snoop Dogg, who wandered the halls with an equally fake security detail. It's honestly really shocking to think that the people who run an NFT conference would be so comfortable scamming people out of their money like this.


BURKE: I would put it to you that my answer was correct.


SAGAL: Bill, did Adam do well enough to win?

KURTIS: He got four right, eight more points - total of 11. But his 11 will not allow him to win. Helen is our champion.


GROSZ: And it was the thong that got you there.

HONG: Yeah.

SAGAL: I know.

HONG: Thank you, thong.

GROSZ: Thank you, thong.

SAGAL: Now, panel, what will be the next word to be trademarked? Adam Burke.

BURKE: The next word to be trademarked will be when Joe Biden trademarks the word malarkey, which is also the name of his new cologne/joint liniment.


SAGAL: Helen Hong.

HONG: The words that I say even more often than the - hey, Siri.


SAGAL: And Peter Grosz.

GROSZ: NPR will trademark the word wait but forget to trademark the phrase WAIT WAIT, which is where I swoop in and make millions.


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 Adam Burke, Helen Hong, and Peter Grosz. Thanks to our fabulous audience here at the Studebaker Theater...


SAGAL: ...In the beautiful Michigan Avenue curtain wall in the Fine Arts Building. I'm Peter Sagal. We'll see you next week from Philadelphia.


SAGAL: This is NPR.

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