Robin Thede plays Not My Job on NPR's 'Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!' Robin Thede is the creator and star of HBO's A Black Lady Sketch Show, which is nominated for five Emmys this year. But, what does she know about Bob Ross' Joy of Painting, a white dude painting show?

'Wait Wait' for Aug. 6, 2022: With Not My Job guest Robin Thede

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UNIDENTIFIED PERSON, BYLINE: 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. Bail reform now, bill reform never.


KURTIS: I'm Bill Kurtis, and here is your host at the Studebaker Theater in the Fine Arts Building in Chicago, Ill. Filling in for Peter Sagal, it's Negin Farsad.



Thanks, Bill. Thanks, everybody. It's so great to be here filling in for Peter. Great news - Peter and his family are finally free of COVID. Everyone's healthy, which means the only reason Peter isn't here this week is he's lazy.


FARSAD: But we know you're not. So give us a call, and play our games. 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!

KRISTEN: Hi, this is Kristen (ph).

FARSAD: Hi, Kristen.

KRISTEN: From Houston, Texas.

FARSAD: Houston, so - oh, is it just lovely there this time of year? Or...


KRISTEN: Lovely if you love humidity.

FARSAD: Kristen, do you have kids?

KRISTEN: I do. I have three semi-grown-up kids.

FARSAD: Semi-grown-up? What does that mean?

KRISTEN: Sort of out of the house, sort of not yet. We're getting there.


ADAM BURKE: Are they in the room currently listening to this? Is this a hint?

AMY DICKINSON: Kristen, it's - this is the best you're going to be able to do, I hate to tell you.


FARSAD: They never leave, Kristen.

DICKINSON: They never leave.

FARSAD: They never leave. All right. Well, Kristen, let me introduce you to our panel. First up, a comedian you can see at the White Rabbit Cabaret in Indianapolis Aug. 24th and the Pittsburgh Improv Sept. 8th, it's Adam Burke.

BURKE: Hello. Hi, Kristen.


KRISTEN: Hello, Adam.

FARSAD: Next, the writer behind the Ask Amy column - her newsletter is on Substack - it's Amy Dickinson.


DICKINSON: Hey. Hi, Kristen.

KRISTEN: Hello, Amy.

FARSAD: And finally, a comedian you can see at the Helium Comedy Club in Portland, Ore., from Aug. 8th through the 20th and Bananas Comedy Club in Rutherford, N.J., on Sept. 9th and 10th, it's Hari Kondabolu.




FARSAD: All right. Well, welcome to the show, Kristen. 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?

KRISTEN: The sad thing is, you guys are my weekly source of news, so we'll see how I do.



FARSAD: Amazing. Kristen already knows nothing. Here we go.


FARSAD: Here's your first quote.

KURTIS: Holy crap, Taylor. Stay home.

FARSAD: That was one Taylor Swift fan responding to a new report that she uses her what more than any other celebrity?

KRISTEN: I'm going to go with her jet.

FARSAD: That's right.



FARSAD: Her private plane.


FARSAD: Honestly, I knew she was trouble when she flew in. I mean, it was a 20-minute drive.


FARSAD: The report lists the carbon footprints of celebrities and found the No. 1 culprit is Taylor Swift whose jet has flown 170 out of the first 200 days of this year. Second is boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., who's a lot less confusing to hate.


KONDABOLU: I mean, look, Taylor Swift is No. 1 on this list, but who made the report? Did you know who made the report? It's Jake Gyllenhaal and John Mayer. They...


KONDABOLU: They made the report.

KURTIS: (Laughter).

KONDABOLU: We should be questioning this report.

BURKE: I just think any time there's a chart, Taylor Swift has to be No. 1.

FARSAD: Right.


BURKE: She's that driven. Also, Taylor Swift already sounds like an airline. I mean, she's named after a bird.

FARSAD: (Laughter) But it's crazy because, like, how has she been on this plane all but 30 days this year? Is there, like, alternate side of the plane parking where she lives?


BURKE: (Laughter).

FARSAD: Like, is she running errands where she's like, oh, I only shop at the Trader Joe's in Bali.


KONDABOLU: I mean, she'll be all right. She just has to shake it off.




FARSAD: We were waiting for it.

KONDABOLU: Thank you.


FARSAD: (Inaudible).

KONDABOLU: Thank you very much.


FARSAD: There it is.

KONDABOLU: Thank you.

DICKINSON: (Inaudible).

BURKE: By the way, that's also the one song I can remember (laughter).

KONDABOLU: That's the only one I can remember. That's the only one I know.

FARSAD: And also, the list includes Drake, Mark Wahlberg and Oprah, but we should have expected Oprah to be on that list after she named global warming one of her favorite things.


BURKE: And you get a flood, and you get a flood, and...


FARSAD: OK, Kristen, here's your next quote.

KURTIS: Think twice before you reach for the potato chips.

FARSAD: That was Fortune magazine reporting on a new study that finds processed foods, like ice cream, can make you what?

KRISTEN: Maybe a hint? Because I'm thinking fat, but that's probably too obvious.

FARSAD: OK. Here - yeah, I will give you a hint. If you don't know the answer, it may be because you just ate some processed foods.

KRISTEN: Oh, it makes you forgetful.

FARSAD: We're going to give it to you - dumber.


FARSAD: Makes you dumber.


FARSAD: Yes. On one hand, the research is convincing. On the other hand, ice cream good.


FARSAD: The study from the University of Sao Paulo says processed foods accelerate cognitive decline. One researcher said, what did you think brain freeze was trying to tell us this whole time?

BURKE: I will say, I made a Hot Pocket the other day, and the instructions have gotten more condescending.


BURKE: They are more like, and now, don't put your hand in the microwave.


KONDABOLU: I know...

BURKE: Thanks, Hot Pockets.

KONDABOLU: I know so many dumb people who are in great shape. So how does that make any...

BURKE: (Laughter).

KONDABOLU: Have you gone through Instagram? There's tons of really dumb people who probably eat very healthy.

BURKE: So when one of your friends says something stupid, you're like, did you have a cheat day?


FARSAD: And I'm glad you mentioned Hot Pockets because it's not just ice cream; it's all processed food - hot dogs, chips, cookies. I mean, it's true. If you look at Season 1 of "Sesame Street," before he had all those cookies, Cookie Monster was like, pardon me, sir, might I sample your toothsome macaroons?


BURKE: I mean, it makes sense that eating leafy greens makes you smart 'cause every rabbit I've met is a frigging genius.

FARSAD: Genius.


FARSAD: So good. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, it really makes sense of the phrase, I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream, because we don't know words anymore.


BURKE: Yeah, there's a new Ben & Jerry's, which is just named bleh.

FARSAD: Exactly. Like, you mean repeatedly putting something in my body called chunky monkey isn't good for me? Weird. All right, Kirsten, here's your last quote.

KURTIS: Holy millions down the drain, Batman.

FARSAD: That was the New York Post talking about how the new movie "Batgirl" won't be seen in theaters or streaming because it is reportedly what?

KRISTEN: Didn't they decide not to make it?

FARSAD: It has been made. It exists. Let me give you a hint. Think "Gigli," "Battlefield Earth," "Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights" (ph).

KRISTEN: It's really, really bad.

BURKE: (Laughter).


FARSAD: It's really, really bad. Correct.


FARSAD: Good job.


DICKINSON: Oh, wait, I hadn't heard that it was bad. Is it? Is it - 'cause it's bad?

FARSAD: It's either - it's because it's bad, or maybe part of the problem is that Ben Affleck is playing Batgirl?


FARSAD: Not sure. Reports say the Warner Bros. movie "Batgirl," which is almost completed and cost $90 million to make, will never see the light of day because it's just unfit for human consumption.


FARSAD: You know? It's just full garbage.


BURKE: Wait, is it going to make us dumber?


FARSAD: Yeah. It's taking its cues from ice cream. My question is - like, I mean, I'm just curious what the movie was about. Is it a coming-of-age story about Batgirl becoming Batwoman at her bat mitzvah?


FARSAD: Thank you. Thank you.



FARSAD: I should be fired, I know.

BURKE: Well, isn't the cast to be - the cast is J.K. Simmons, and...

DICKINSON: Yeah, and he's like the commissioner, right?

BURKE: Yeah, and Michael Keaton and then Brendan Fraser. And then, the lead is a Latina woman. So it's a Latina woman and a bunch of old, white dudes. So I think it's just the Democratic National Convention.


FARSAD: Bill, how did Kristen do?

KURTIS: Kristen made us proud. You can go out in the heat, Kristen, because you got them all right - three in a row.


FARSAD: Amazing. Kristen, thank you so much for joining us.

KRISTEN: Oh, it was a pleasure. Thank you.



M I A: (Singing) Live fast, die young. Bad girls do it well. Live fast, die young. Bad girls do it well. Live fast, die young. Bad girls do it well. Live fast, die young. Bad girls do it well. My chain hits my chest when I'm banging on the dashboard. My chain hits my chest when I'm banging on the radio. Get back.

FARSAD: Right now, panel, it's time for you to answer some questions about this week's news. Hari, the newest TikTok parenting trend is raising eyebrows - and neck vertebrae - because a lot of people don't think it's a good idea to take your baby where?

KONDABOLU: I have a 2-year-old. I should know this.

FARSAD: Mm-hmm.

KONDABOLU: Is it a bad idea to take your baby spelunking?


FARSAD: Oh, you're getting there, buddy. Let me give you a hint. It's - aww, baby's first alignment.



FARSAD: Say it.

BURKE: End of show.

FARSAD: Say it.


KONDABOLU: Chiropractor?

FARSAD: That's right - chiropractor.


DICKINSON: Oh, my God.


FARSAD: I mean, but who wouldn't want to take your infant to someone who's not a doctor to get their back cracked?

DICKINSON: Oh, my God.

FARSAD: The trend has some parents touting the benefits of adjustments on babies, but what is the baby doing that makes parents think they need this? Like, were the baby's first words lumbar support?


KONDABOLU: To be fair, there are those nine months in the fetal position, and that can't be good for your back.


DICKINSON: Oy, my sciatica.

FARSAD: One parent in favor of it says their baby is less fussy and a lot happier, while critics say if your 9-month-old is having back problems, maybe let them quit their desk job.


FARSAD: I mean, but to be fair, in some cases, this is a service that is needed. That baby clearly has spine problems. She can barely hold her head up.

BURKE: Are the chiropractors also babies...


BURKE: ...'Cause that might...

FARSAD: That would make sense.

BURKE: I'm less freaked out by that.

FARSAD: No, there's videos online you can see of adult chiropractors dangling babies.

DICKINSON: Oh, my God.

KONDABOLU: None of these people are in jail? Like, they actively work?

FARSAD: They're not in jail. They are on YouTube.


FARSAD: So similar.

BURKE: You said this was a TikTok trend, too?

FARSAD: Yeah, this is a TikTok trend.

BURKE: Remember the good old days when people were just eating detergent?


SIR MIX-A-LOT: (Rapping) Baby got back. LA face with the Oakland booty. Baby got back. LA face with the Oakland booty.

FARSAD: Coming up, hear what wish actually came true 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 Hari Kondabolu, Adam Burke and Amy Dickinson. And here again is your host at the Studebaker Theater in Chicago, Ill., in for Peter Sagal, 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!

DAVE SCHLEICHER: Hey, this is Dave Schleicher (ph), and I'm calling from Ocala, Fla.

FARSAD: Hey, Dave, what do you do in Ocala, Fla.?

SCHLEICHER: I am a public engagement manager for a utilities company, but more notably, I've worked in newspapers for about 30 years, and I've just got a book coming out.

FARSAD: So you're a public engagement manager for a utility company. Are you the dude that keeps sending me text messages telling me that I need to cut down my electricity usage or else there's going to be a blackout?

SCHLEICHER: Do you appreciate that?


FARSAD: I feel shamed enough that I actually do try to decrease my electricity usage. Does that help?

SCHLEICHER: Then absolutely. I'm that guy.

FARSAD: You're that guy. Great.


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

KURTIS: Wishes do come true.

FARSAD: That's right, Bill. They do. Unfortunately, that's only true of last wishes. Our panel is going to tell you about somebody whose last wish actually got granted. Pick the one who's telling the truth, and you'll win our prize - the WAIT WAITer of your choice on your voicemail. Are you ready to play?

SCHLEICHER: Absolutely.

FARSAD: OK, great. First up, it's Adam Burke.

BURKE: This being NPR, I'm pretty sure we're all acquainted with the story of Andre Tchaikovsky, the Polish composer who, prior to shuffling off this mortal coil, requested that his skull be utilized in future performances of "Hamlet." Well, this year, Ansell Chauncey (ph) of Michigan decided to take a page out of Tchaikovsky's folio in a more prosaic and full-bodied way by donating his entire skeleton to a local haunted house. Leaving provisions for his remains to be chemically treated and sterilized, Chauncey instructed his executors to donate his bones to the Layer of Scares Halloween attraction in Grand Rapids. We were flabbergasted at first, says Scares producer Conny Langley (ph). But then we checked with the local health department, and they said as long as we followed certain protocols, it was OK to hang Mr. Chauncey from a gym (ph) and drop him on our patrons during the finale of the show.


BURKE: I mean, it's the real thing, so it frightens the bejesus out of them.


FARSAD: The story about donating a skeleton to a haunted house from Adam Burke. Your next story of a dream realized comes from Amy Dickinson.

DICKINSON: Birdie Comstock (ph) always said that her last wish was to pay tribute to her favorite movie. After the 92-year-old grandma died in June, Operation Weekend at Birdie's was launched.


DICKINSON: Of course, her survivors had to work quickly. They bundled Birdie into her favorite quilt and set out to the local amusement park. They managed to sneak around to the roller coaster and the bumper cars, earning the respect of the park workers who were none the wiser. That old lady is brave, said one. I've never seen anybody ride the Giant Screamer without screaming.


DICKINSON: Two weeks after Birdie's funeral, family members uncovered a document in her house. Turns out, Birdie's last wish was to have a disco funeral honoring her favorite movie, "Saturday Night Fever." Oops, we knew it had something to do with a weekend, her son Bart said. But we think she had a good time anyway.


FARSAD: A story about a woman whose family re-enacted "Weekend At Bernie's" from Amy Dickinson. Your last story of somebody wishing upon a star comes from Hari Kondabolu.

KONDABOLU: If someone told you that they wanted a statue of a penis on top of their grave, you might sarcastically ask, how old are you? If you had asked Catarina Orduna Perez of Mazatlan, Mexico, her answer would have been 99. That's right. Miss Perez, at her request, has a giant Johnson on her grave.


KONDABOLU: This phallus of fatality is not subtle...


KONDABOLU: ...Measuring 5 1/2 feet and weighing nearly 600 pounds. No measurements were given for when it is cold outside.


KONDABOLU: She said the shaft sculpture is a symbol of, quote, "integrity, courage, passion, and at the same time, love and joy." Miss Perez apparently forgot about when a prominent one can be the cause of trouble, surprise and embarrassment, like in a crowded elevator.


FARSAD: OK, Dave, you've got a man donating a skeleton to a haunted house, a story about a weekend at Birdie's and finally, a woman who wanted a giant penis statue on her grave. Which one of those is real?

SCHLEICHER: Wow. OK, so Hari had me until the 600-pound penis.


SCHLEICHER: So I'm going to have to go with Adam's story on the haunted house.

FARSAD: Donating - OK, to the haunted house. All right. Well, to find out the correct answer, we spoke to a reporter covering the real story.

NATHANIEL JANOWITZ: In Mexico, there was a woman and her dying wish was to have a giant penis erected on top of her gravestone.


FARSAD: (Laughter) That was Nathaniel Janowitz of Vice News, talking about the phallus of fatality, as Hari so eloquently put it. I'm sorry, Dave, but Hari had the real answer. You did, though, win a point for Adam. So thank you so much for playing with us.


SCHLEICHER: Thank you.


CLIFF EDWARDS: (Singing) When you wish upon a star make no difference who you are....

FARSAD: And now, the game where stars of late night join us here in the cruel light of day. It's Not My Job. In 2015, Robin Thede made history when she joined "The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore," becoming the first Black woman to be named head writer of a late-night show. From there, she went on to host her own talk show on BET and then created "A Black Lady Sketch Show" for HBO, whose third season is nominated for five Emmys this year. Robin Thede, welcome to WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME!


ROBIN THEDE: Oh, my God. Thank you. Hi, everybody.


FARSAD: Oh, my gosh. I'm so excited that you're joining the show. But instead, I actually - I want to ask you about the origins of your name.

THEDE: Oh, got it. Yes. For some reason, I thought you were going to ask me about my last name. My first name is a better story. My dad was a huge fan of comedy and of Robin Williams, and so he begged my mom to name me Robin, whether I was a boy or a girl, and he got his wish.

DICKINSON: Oh, my God. Amazing.

FARSAD: I know. I love that. I didn't know that about you. That's so - it's so adorable. Did that put any pressure on you, though, to be funny as a child?

THEDE: Yes. The first few years of my life, I only learned how to speak in "Mork & Mindy" references.

FARSAD: So here's what...

THEDE: I forged my own path.

FARSAD: Indeed you did, all the way to five Emmy nominations. So I think you're doing OK.


FARSAD: So if you were to have a kid right now, which comedian would you name your kid after?

THEDE: Oh, gosh - Moms Mabley, 'cause it'd be really funny to call my kid Mom.


FARSAD: That - I love the commitment to the bit. That would be a lifelong commitment to that bit. The other thing that I didn't know about you - your mom currently serves in the Iowa state legislature. Did you - have you ever gotten roped into campaigning with her?

THEDE: I have, actually. And it's so funny because her constituents in Iowa are just really, you know, salt of the earth sort of people. They really don't care about my sketch show on HBO. And I was with her on the campaign trail, and one of them said, so I hear you're on TV. Have you been on anything I watch? And I said, well, what do you watch? And he said, only "Wheel Of Fortune."


THEDE: I said, then I guess you haven't seen me, sir. Please vote for my mom.

FARSAD: That's hilarious. Well, so, OK, I want to ask you some just nerdy comedy questions. So "Black Lady Sketch Show" is - it's just a wonderful show. I love it so much. What's the writing process like? Like, how do you guys come up with these super ridiculous characters?

THEDE: So I come in and I pitch a bunch of sketches, and my writers look at me like I'm crazy. And then I say, OK, what do you guys have? And then they pitch much better ideas.


FARSAD: So, like, if you had to name a quintessential "Black Lady Sketch Show" sketch that, like, people always talk to you about, what is that sketch?

THEDE: Honey, it depends on who you talk to, because there are characters that people really gravitate towards, like Gabrielle Dennis's character, Elisa, who leads a gang called the Coral Reefs. There's also my hertep (ph) character, called Dr. Haddassah Olayinka All-Youngman, pre-Ph.D. But I think that one sketch that people always quote to us is the Black Lady Courtroom sketch, where all these lawyers and the judge and the defendants show up and realize the court is full of all Black women, and they sing, Black lady courtroom, clap clap.


THEDE: People yell that to me at the gas station. They'll be like, hey, Black lady courtroom, clap clap. And so people at the gas station who don't know me just think that I'm a fugitive or something.


FARSAD: Well, here's the one weird thing that's happening right now, is that you and "SNL" are going head to head at the Emmys. Do you have some sort of guerrilla warfare version of campaigning ready to go? Is this a duel, fight to the death situation? Like, how does it feel to be in the category with just "SNL"?

THEDE: The way we look at it is it truly is such an honor to be in that company, and it's not about beating anyone. It's about us winning. You know?



THEDE: That's the way we look at it.

FARSAD: Well, you've also written for so many award shows, right? You've had to write for celebrities who may or may not be funny. What makes for a good award show bit?

THEDE: You know what? You have to be willing to react to the crowd in real time, because if a bit is going bad, you can't show it, because the crowd will turn on you so fast. Celebrities are already on edge thinking you're going to make fun of them, so I - when I wrote bits for, you know, Kevin Hart or Anthony Anderson or all these amazing comedians, I would always say, let's talk about ourselves and the show, but not really try to, like, rag on celebrities so much. And I find that they appreciate that more.

FARSAD: What would you have done for the Chris Rock-Will Smith slap?


BURKE: Or did you write that?

THEDE: I don't know what you're talking about. I've been so busy...


BURKE: Wow. Your family really is in politics.

FARSAD: All right, Robin Thede, we have asked you here to play a game that is - that this time we're calling...

KURTIS: Let's add some happy little trees.

FARSAD: You created "A Black Lady Sketch Show," so we thought we'd ask you about a white dude painting show...


FARSAD: ...Bob Ross' "The Joy Of Painting."


FARSAD: Answer two out of three questions right about the most famous Afro on PBS, and you'll win our prize for one of our listeners. Bill, who is Robin Thede playing for?

KURTIS: Stephen Brady (ph) of Detroit, Mich.


FARSAD: All right. Here's your first question. Bob Ross gave his viewers countless painting tips. For example, finish this quote - they say everything looks better with odd numbers of things. But is it A, never put nine things 'cause that's the devil's number, B, sometimes I put even numbers just to upset the critics, or C, everything I paint looks odd?


THEDE: I don't think he would talk about the critics. He seemed very even-keeled on camera. I'm going to go with C.

FARSAD: Oh. Yeah. So you - he was even-keeled on camera, but maybe off camera, he had, like, a different vibe.

THEDE: I watched the documentary. It was some wild stuff going on.


FARSAD: All right. Well, the correct answer was B. Bob Ross don't care what the establishment thinks.


THEDE: (Laughter) Darn it.

THEDE: OK. You still have a chance to turn this around, Robin. So here we go.

THEDE: Yeah. I can do this.

FARSAD: Here's your next question. Painting was not Bob Ross' first job. Before his PBS show, he spent the previous 20 years doing what? Was it A, cutting hedges into the shape of animals, B, working as a professional golf commentator, or C, yelling at people?


THEDE: A trick question.

FARSAD: Yeah. Yeah. It's a tough one. It's a - 'cause think, like, he spent his - these - his later years being very quiet.

DICKINSON: He did have that voice - that soft voice. Yeah.

FARSAD: Right. So maybe it was in response...

THEDE: All right.

FARSAD: ...To a different vibe from before.


THEDE: Oh, God. I'm going with C. He was yelling at people.

FARSAD: Yes. That's right.




FARSAD: Here's the - he was an Air Force master sergeant.

DICKINSON: Oh, my God. You're kidding.

FARSAD: Yeah. And he said that after he retired, he wanted a job where he'd never have to scream at anyone ever again.



BURKE: I don't know what I've been told. Those happy little trees are mighty bold.


FARSAD: OK. Robin, here's your last question. Bob Ross fans can be obsessive, so much so that one of them once did what? Was it, A, sold an unlicensed Bob Ross home perm kit, B, got a tattoo covering her entire back containing an element from every Season 1 painting...


FARSAD: ...Or C, wrote a complete statistical breakdown of the entire series, analyzing things like how many episodes featured coniferous trees versus deciduous trees.

THEDE: Is there a D, all of the above?


THEDE: The one with the numbers.


FARSAD: Right. Yes.


FARSAD: Oh, my God.


FARSAD: You got it right. It's C. He did a whole tree breakdown. Turns out 20% of his paintings had one each. 91% of his paintings had at least one tree, but only 2% had a bridge. So those were the really valuable ones. Bill, how did Robin do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Well, she won a bunch of pretty little trees.


KURTIS: Two out of 3 is a winner for you, Robin.


THEDE: Bill, I've been waiting for you to say that my whole life.


KURTIS: Wonderful, wonderful show.

FARSAD: Robin Thede is the creator and star of "A Black Lady Sketch Show" on HBO, which is nominated for five Emmys. Robin Thede, thank you so much for joining us on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.


FARSAD: Thank you, Robin.

THEDE: Thanks, panel. You guys rock. Thank you.


TIA P: (Singing) You might drown in my ocean. All this cash - I'm floatin'. I'm floatin'. You might drown in my ocean.

FARSAD: In just a minute, find out how to get buff while you buff those floors in our Listener Limerick Challenge game. 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 are playing this week with Amy Dickinson, Hari Kondabolu and Adam Burke. And here again is your host at the Studebaker Theater in Chicago, Ill., in for Peter Sagal, it's Negin Farsad.


FARSAD: Thanks, Bill. In just a minute, Bill stars opposite Dustin Hoffman in Rhyme Man 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. Adam, a traveler landing in Australia has been fined $1,800 after being caught smuggling two of what in his luggage?

BURKE: Oh, I did hear about this. Oh, yeah. This was a - it was a - it was, like, a hamburger or something or, like, a McDonald's - a McMuffin.

FARSAD: An Egg McMuffin. Exactly.


BURKE: Yeah.


DICKINSON: So it's like, is that an Egg McMuffin, or are you happy to see me, kind of thing?

BURKE: (Laughter).

DICKINSON: Like, down his pants, or...

FARSAD: No, I think it was in his luggage. The McMuffins were apparently classified by Australia as a, quote, "high biosecurity risk."


FARSAD: Wait. How powerful is McDonald's that I hear that sentence, and my first thought is, wow, I could really go for a high biosecurity risk right now?


FARSAD: It sounds delicious.


BURKE: Because I remember now they said that it was detected by a biosecurity dog. So in case you're wondering whether or not we are living in the apocalypse...


BURKE: ...There are biosecurity dogs walking around.

FARSAD: Remember the days when they were just sniffing for weed?

BURKE: (Laughter). And now they're sniffing for the thing that weed makes you eat.


DICKINSON: Amy, this week, Joe Biden announced that the United States had taken out al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Afghanistan. According to reports, he was killed with a new kind of missile that is not full of explosives but full of what?



FARSAD: Let me give you a hint. It's weird to have to sharpen a missile.

DICKINSON: Pencils? You sharpen...


BURKE: That's the most delightfully studious answer.

DICKINSON: What else do you sharpen?

FARSAD: They call it the Zorro missile.

DICKINSON: Knives and swords?

FARSAD: Yes, swords. Exactly.


DICKINSON: Wait. Wait, wait, wait, wait.


DICKINSON: OK, so they send a missile, like, guided, satellite, all of it. And it's full of knives?

FARSAD: Knives, yeah.

DICKINSON: Oh, my God.

FARSAD: Let me explain what happened. So America has a so-called ninja missile that doesn't blow up. Instead, what one article described as six katanas pop out of the sides right before it hits. It's a big -

DICKINSON: It's like, pew-pew-pew-pew? Like little ninjas?

FARSAD: And it has those sound effects, definitely.

DICKINSON: Yeah, I hope so.


KONDABOLU: Who designed this, a 12-year-old?

FARSAD: I know.

KONDABOLU: Sounds like something you would draw in your bedroom. I made a new weapon, a katana...

BURKE: I was going to say, the Pentagon has to stop designing weapons while watching Roadrunner.


FARSAD: OK. Hari, a clip from a wellness podcast went viral this week as the host extolled the spiritual and health benefits of what?

KONDABOLU: Laughing?

FARSAD: Let me give you a hint.


FARSAD: Thank you, ticks.

KONDABOLU: Lyme disease? The benefits of Lyme...

FARSAD: That's right.


FARSAD: It's Lyme disease.

KONDABOLU: Really? Really?

DICKINSON: Oh, my God. It's so good for you.


FARSAD: Yes, the hot, new wellness tip...

DICKINSON: Oh, geez.

FARSAD: ...Is that Lyme disease is actually a gift.

BURKE: (Laughter).

FARSAD: So remember this next time you're doing a tick check. Don't pull them off. Thank them.

BURKE: Hey, you know the only thing better than wellness? Illness.


FARSAD: No, I'm going to tell you what happened. So in a recent podcast that we won't name - ahem, NPR's "Throughline" - a host explains how Lyme disease is, quote, "an intergalactic substance" that's "literally bringing in codes from the beginning of time."

BURKE: You should tune in next week. You know what's really good for your metabolism? Getting your arm ripped off by a bear.


BURKE: (Inaudible).

FARSAD: No, but I really like this trend. I think it's time we rebrand some diseases, right? Like, I don't have IBS. I have cosmic diarrhea.


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, Also, come see us live. We're...


FARSAD: Yes. We are at the beautiful Studebaker Theater in Chicago most weeks, and you can also see us live under the stars at Wolf Trap just outside Washington, D.C., August 25 and 26. Tickets and info at

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

EMILY THERAVINES: Hi. My name is Emily Theravines (ph), and I'm from Birmingham, Ala.

FARSAD: Emily, what's Birmingham like right now?

THERAVINES: Still hot.


FARSAD: And what do you do down there?

THERAVINES: I'm a public school counselor.


DICKINSON: All right.


FARSAD: Like, what's the most ridiculous thing a kid has come to you for?

THERAVINES: It's confidential.


FARSAD: OK. That was a test, and you passed, Emily. Well done. OK, well, welcome to the show, Emily. So happy to have you. Bill Kurtis is going to read you three news-related limericks with the last word or phrase missing from each. If you can fill in that last word or phrase correctly on two limericks, you're a winner. Here's your first limerick.

KURTIS: It's your meatloaf but better, Aunt Nancy, like some alchemist used flavormancy (ph). Deviled eggs, loaded spuds - they all thrill my taste buds. They serve comfort food jazzed up real...



FARSAD: That's right.


FARSAD: The hot dining trend this summer is Midwestern comfort foods like honey-baked ham balls, meatloaf, cornbread and honey-baked cornbread meatloaf ham balls.


FARSAD: One Manhattan restaurant has a, quote, "Midwestern tavern vibe," which just means you can smoke inside, and it's perfect if you want to eat a bunch of gravy served by a waiter who seems nice but can't hide her disappointment in you.

DICKINSON: Oh, yeah. That is like home.


FARSAD: OK, here is your next limerick.

KURTIS: When Barbie and Ken grab a drink, their outfits are always in sync. I'll copy their style and also beguile. Like her, I look pretty in...



FARSAD: That's right.


FARSAD: According to Vogue magazine, Barbiecore is the look of the summer, with people wearing bright pink and having totally unattainable bodies. The new live-action Barbie movie won't be out until next year, but it's already changing the culture. Are this summer's movies that bad? Like, why not hot Elvis summer? I just want to serve some, like, sexy Buzz Lightyear chic.


FARSAD: All right. Here's your last limerick.

KURTIS: I do lunges while vacuuming floors. I do squats putting clean clothes in drawers. Then I do 16 reps of sweeping the steps. I work out 'round the house doing...


KURTIS: Three in a row. Yes, ma'am.




FARSAD: According to the Daily Mail, the easiest way to get fit without joining a gym is combining exercise with housework. This way, you can skip doing one thing instead of two.


FARSAD: They actually suggest enhancing your chores with things like vacuum lunges, dishwasher squats and asking your boyfriend to fold the laundry while you try to open this bottle of wine.

DICKINSON: You know, the whole thing sounds like something that - like a pamphlet that was produced during World War II. You know what I mean?


BURKE: Yeah.

FARSAD: Right, for housewives.


FARSAD: Yeah, yeah. Bill, how did Emily do?

KURTIS: Emily, we're proud of you. You did very well. Three in a row.

FARSAD: Amazing, Emily.


THERAVINES: Thank y'all so much.

FARSAD: Thank you so much for playing.

THERAVINES: Thank y'all.

FARSAD: Bye, Emily.



FARSAD: 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 worth 2 points. Bill, can you give us the scores?

KURTIS: Amy and Hari each have two had been showing off. Adam is showing off. He has 4.

FARSAD: Whoa. OK. So Amy and Hari, since you guys are tied for third place, Amy, you're going to go first.

DICKINSON: OK. All right. I'm in.

FARSAD: The clock will start when I begin your first question. Fill in the blank. Shortly after Nancy Pelosi's visit there, China started live-fire military exercises near blank.


FARSAD: Right.


FARSAD: On Monday, the first person to go to trial over the riot at the blank was sentenced to seven years.

DICKINSON: The Capitol.


FARSAD: Right. This week, the first grain ship to leave blank since Russia's invasion began its trip to Lebanon.



FARSAD: Right. On Thursday, the U.S. declared blanky-pox (ph) a public health emergency.


DICKINSON: OK. Mokeypox, but blanky-pox is so much a better name.

FARSAD: This week, a security guard at Lollapalooza posted a fake threat against the festival because blank.

DICKINSON: Porta potties.

FARSAD: Because she wanted to leave work early.


FARSAD: On Wednesday, 11 golfers sued the PGA after they were suspended for playing in a rival league funded by blank.

DICKINSON: The Saudis.


FARSAD: Right. On Sunday, 11-time NBA champion and activist blank passed away at the age of 88.

DICKINSON: Oh, Bill Russell.


FARSAD: Right. This week, a man in Mississippi was saved from having his home robbed thanks to blank.


DICKINSON: A man in Mississippi was saved from having his home robbed thanks to a missile with knives in it. Pew-pew-pew.

FARSAD: No. Thanks to a 20-pound cat named Bandit.


FARSAD: Bill, how did Amy do?

KURTIS: Six right, 12 more points, total of 14 gives her the lead.


FARSAD: OK, Hari, you're up next. Fill in the blank. On Tuesday, Kansas voters resoundingly rejected a proposal to remove blank rights from the state constitution.


KONDABOLU: Abortion rights.

FARSAD: That is absolutely right.


FARSAD: On Thursday, a judge refused to grant a mistrial in the suit against "InfoWars" founder blank.

KONDABOLU: Alex Jones.


FARSAD: Right. This week, the Senate ratified a proposal to admit Sweden and Finland into blank.



FARSAD: Correct. On Tuesday, energy giant BP announced its earnings had tripled thanks to high blank prices.

KONDABOLU: Oil prices.

FARSAD: Gas prices. Right.


FARSAD: A player of the game Diablo Immortal is complaining that he spent $100,000 to upgrade his character and now he can't play anymore because blank.

KONDABOLU: He accidentally stumbled into a life.


FARSAD: Close. His character's so good he can't find anyone to play with him. On Thursday, Twitter subpoenaed several people as part of their ongoing legal battle against blank.



FARSAD: Right. A North Carolina woman who planned to burn down her boyfriend's house after she caught him cheating blanked instead.

KONDABOLU: Shot him.


FARSAD: Got the address wrong and burned down the next door neighbor's house instead.


KONDABOLU: Oh, man. Oh, man.

FARSAD: All right, Bill. How did Hari do?

KURTIS: Four right, 8 more points, total of 10. And that means Amy still has the lead with 14.

FARSAD: So, Bill, how many does Adam need to win?

FARSAD: Five to tie and 6 to win.

FARSAD: OK. Those are some real numbers.

KURTIS: Can he do it? Can he do it?

FARSAD: OK, Adam, this is for the game. Here we go. Fill in the blank. On Thursday, a Russian court sentenced WNBA star blank to nine years for drug smuggling.

BURKE: Brittney Griner.


FARSAD: Right. On Tuesday, several election deniers won primaries in Michigan and Arizona after being backed by blank.

BURKE: Trump.


FARSAD: Right. This week, President Biden signed an executive order supporting interstate travel for people seeking blanks.

BURKE: Abortion.


FARSAD: Right. Thanks to high temperatures and strong winds, the McKinney Fire is officially blank's biggest wildfire of 2022.

BURKE: California.


FARSAD: Right. This week, organizers of Hong Kong's food expo declared that blank is strictly prohibited.

BURKE: Eating.


FARSAD: Right. According to a new report, oil prices hit their lowest point since the invasion of blank.

BURKE: Ukraine.


FARSAD: Right. This week, a man in Brazil ended up in the hospital after he went on YouTube for instructions on how to blank.

BURKE: Perform his own appendectomy.

FARSAD: On how to give yourself a nose job.


FARSAD: According to the doctors, the man attempted the nose job without gloves and also didn't clean his wound after words.

DICKINSON: Oh, my God.

FARSAD: It's crazy that anyone would think giving themselves a DIY nose job is a good idea. I mean, I once tried to cut my own bangs and I had to go to the hospital.

FARSAD: OK. Bill, did Adam do well enough to win?

KURTIS: Six right for 16 points and a win.


FARSAD: Oh, my God, Adam.

DICKINSON: Yeah, man.

FARSAD: Well done, buddy. I really didn't see this outcome for you at the beginning. You really turned it around.

Now, panel, what'll be the next movie to vanish? Adam?

BURKE: Warner Bros. will shelve the new Zack Snyder cut of "Citizen Kane," which features 30% less Rosebud and 90% more Aquaman.


FARSAD: Amy Dickinson.

DICKINSON: "Spider-Gal" - when star Christina Ricci refused to shave all eight legs.


FARSAD: Hari Kondabolu.

KONDABOLU: The "Star Wars" prequels. They shouldn't have made them to begin with.





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


FARSAD: Thank you, Bill Kurtis. Thanks also to Adam Burke, Amy Dickinson and Hari Kondabolu. And thanks to all of you for listening. I'm Negin Farsad, in for Peter Sagal, and we'll see next week.


FARSAD: This is NPR.

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