Antony Blinken plays Not My Job on NPR's 'Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!' Secretary of State Antony Blinken went to law school before moving to diplomacy. He may be a Blinken lawyer, but what does he know about The Lincoln Lawyer: Matthew McConaughey?

'Wait Wait' for Jan. 21, 2023: With Not My Job guest Secretary of State Antony Blinken

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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. Who am I wearing? Bill-enciaga (ph), of course - Bill Kurtis.


KURTIS: And here is your host at the Studebaker Theater at the Fine Arts Building in Chicago, Ill., Peter Sagal.


Thank you, Bill. Thank you, everybody.


SAGAL: You warm the cold January air. You're so great. Thank you. I am just as excited as you are today because later on, we are going to be joined right here on stage by the secretary of state of the United States, Antony Blinken. Now, Secretary Blinken rarely does talk shows like ours, so we are sure he chose our show to make, you know, an important announcement, like - so stay tuned to see if the U.S. will indeed be signing a treaty with the International House of Pancakes.


SAGAL: We want to hear about your latest diplomatic initiative, so give us a call. The number is 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924. And now let's welcome our first listener contestant.

Hi, you are on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME!

KRISTA: Hi, this is Krista (ph) from Albuquerque, N.M.

SAGAL: Oh, how are things in beautiful Albuquerque?

KRISTA: They're beautiful. It's been snowing in the mountains, and it's gorgeous.

SAGAL: I've never been to Albuquerque. I'm one of those people who only know about it from "Breaking Bad."


SAGAL: What do you do there?

KRISTA: I work at Sandia National Labs.

SAGAL: Oh, how...

KRISTA: And I need to really quickly note that everything that I say is my own personal - I'm not representing them in any way, shape or form.


SAGAL: Did you have to sign some sign of release to come on our show?

KRISTA: I reached out to the director of communications to make sure it was fine.

SAGAL: Well, thank you for risking your entire career by joining us. Krista, let me introduce you to our panel this week. First, an actor you have seen on "The Good Place," "Tacoma FD" and "Star Trek: Lower Decks," appearing this summer in "Loki," Season 2 - it's Eugene Cordero.




SAGAL: Next, you know her from "The Daily Show" and "The Great North" on Fox. And you can see her at The Laughing Tap in Milwaukee, February 3 and 4. You can also hear her podcast, "Hold Up." It's Dulce Sloan.



SAGAL: And a humorist and a woodworker who founded the HatchSpace community woodworking shop in Brattleboro, Vt., it's Tom Bodett.

TOM BODETT: Hello, Krista.


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


SAGAL: All right. Your first quote is from The New York Times.

KURTIS: People have resorted to buying their own chickens.

SAGAL: What has become so expensive that people are now buying their own chickens?


SAGAL: Yes, eggs.


SAGAL: So bad news, everybody. If you wanted to celebrate the recent easing of inflation with a souffle, because the price of eggs has now skyrocketed, more than doubling since November, home cooks are now using Faberge eggs because they're cheaper.


SAGAL: So we are told that it is partially due to inflation, but it's also partially due to an avian flu epidemic that is decreasing supply. So, yes, did I mention that your $8 egg is also filled with disease?

CORDERO: I don't understand why you want to buy a chicken that has the flu, though.

SAGAL: Right.


CORDERO: It - like, why are you going to buy the thing that got the eggs sick? Do you - is that what it means? You get your eggs...

SAGAL: Particularly - 'cause you ever tried to get a chicken to wear a mask?

CORDERO: Oh, no, it's impossible.

SAGAL: It's...

SLOAN: But if you buy a chicken, how many eggs can you get in a day?

BODETT: Maybe one or - one, you know?

SLOAN: So...

BODETT: You have to have more than one chicken.


SLOAN: Or you...

CORDERO: That's how they get you.


BODETT: Yeah. Yeah. Right. They didn't tell me...


SLOAN: (Inaudible).

CORDERO: You got to buy a dozen chicken.

BODETT: ...I needed a set.

SLOAN: How much is one chicken?

BODETT: Well, it varies.


SLOAN: Is one chicken less than a dozen eggs?


SLOAN: 'Cause if not, it's going to take you 12 days to get a dozen while you're waiting on this chicken to ovulate...

BODETT: Right, well...

SLOAN: ...When you could have just bought some eggs.

CORDERO: I'll be honest. I'll promise you I'll probably not eat eggs for a while just because you said chickens ovulate.


CORDERO: So I'm good.

SLOAN: How do you think they get here?

CORDERO: I don't want to know.

SAGAL: Yeah.

CORDERO: I don't want to know.

SLOAN: You have children.

CORDERO: I know. I know. I know. And I don't want to know how that happened either.


SAGAL: What's funny is how this has completely, like, rocketed around society. All these other things got expensive. But now eggs are expensive, people are losing their minds. You go to Denny's. The omelet is now market price.


SAGAL: All right. Here is your next quote.

KURTIS: I'm not giving up cigars.

SAGAL: That was somebody talking about a major rule change that allows people who work where to once again smoke in all the backrooms and offices.

KRISTA: Oh, no.

SAGAL: Well, I could...

KRISTA: Could I have a hint?

SAGAL: You can. The rules changed because a new group of people just took over.

KRISTA: Oh, in Congress.

SAGAL: Yes, in Congress.



SAGAL: As one...

KRISTA: Thank you.

SAGAL: ...Of their first official acts after taking power, Republicans have made it OK to smoke in Congress again. Look, they had to allow their members to smoke again 'cause it's either term limits or lung cancer.


BODETT: I think it's a good thing...

SLOAN: Yeah.


BODETT: ...Because maybe that will calm them down a little.

SAGAL: A little bit.

BODETT: You know? It's kind of like - you ever been in an airplane with a guy who just can't wait to get to the - I mean, he's aggravated. He's like...

SAGAL: They're jonesing. Yeah.

BODETT: Yeah. Yeah. He's like, I'm not going to sign the debt ceiling bill. Damn it, I need a cigarette, and...

SAGAL: Yeah, maybe. I mean...

SLOAN: That's what vaping is for. That's why we have vapes.

SAGAL: Well, I mean, maybe that's why the Republicans have seemed so off balance the last couple of years. You just can't, you know, make deals in a vape-filled room, right?


SAGAL: And without cigars, how will they celebrate when their colleague George Santos has octuplets?


SAGAL: So the rules are you can't smoke on the House floor, so you won't see it on C-SPAN or anything.


SAGAL: But it will be allowed in members' offices. That will allow them to blow up the world economy by refusing to raise the debt ceiling and then vanish in a cool-looking cloud of smoke.

SLOAN: It is very fun, all the rules they're rolling back - you know, Roe v. Wade, smoking inside.

SAGAL: Yeah.

BODETT: Or you can bring guns in again, you know?

SLOAN: I'm really looking forward to Jim Crow coming back.


SLOAN: What are you groaning for? There's no Black people in here.


SAGAL: All right. Krista, we have...


SAGAL: We have one more quote for you. Here it is. Here's your last quote.


SAGAL: That was Jamie Lee Curtis - and we did censor her a little bit - one of many celebrities who got COVID at what big awards show last week.

KRISTA: Oh, was it the Golden Globes?

SAGAL: It was the Golden Globes.



SAGAL: So this year's awards season began with a superspreader COVID event. And I have to say, a COVID outbreak seems like a really unethical way to get a jump on next year's in memoriam reel.


SLOAN: That's groanworthy. You did a good job.


SAGAL: Hollywood is now worried after this sort of disaster at the Golden Globes, which traditionally starts the awards season, that COVID will ruin the rest of it, right? Who wants to wear a mask when you've invested all that money in lip filler?


SLOAN: No. You do what I did at the show 'cause you had to do it on set, too. You had to get the shield. And the weird part about the shield is that they figured out you couldn't wear the one that went around your head because it would mess up your hair. So then, they came up with one with, like, a collar, but then, the shield went up.

SAGAL: Right.

SLOAN: So then, you just felt like a dog that just got fixed.


BODETT: Yeah. Right.

SAGAL: So this is a special kind of, like, transparent shield instead of a mask so that you guys can get made up and it wouldn't ruin it? Is that...

BODETT: Right.

SAGAL: Oh, wow.

SLOAN: Yeah. So you had the shield on. And then, what - but the best part about the shield is that it had a hinge on it.

SAGAL: Right. So you could flip it down.

SLOAN: So you could flip it down. And you could flip it down and eat, and then, flip it back up. So you're just like, human, dog, human, dog.


BODETT: Actually...

CORDERO: But you didn't get anything on your costume...

BODETT: Right.

CORDERO: ...Because you had a plastic bib on.

SAGAL: Yeah.

SLOAN: Yeah.

CORDERO: And also, you could see your own breath, which was nice.

SAGAL: That's always exciting.

CORDERO: And I also got neutered during that show.


BODETT: It does keep you from licking.


SAGAL: Yeah. Yeah. Bill, how did Krista do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Krista got them all right. She's a winner.



SAGAL: Krista, thank you.

KRISTA: No, thank you so much.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.

KRISTA: Take care. Bye.


SAGAL: Panel, it is time for you to answer some questions about this week's news. Dulce, after the recent devastating bomb cyclone and atmospheric river events, at a recent conference of meteorologists, many of them expressed concern about the increasing number of what?

SLOAN: What the hell is a atmospheric river?

SAGAL: That's what caused all that rain...

SLOAN: Is that a river in the sky?

SAGAL: It is. And it's what caused all that rain and other disasters in California over the last few weeks.

SLOAN: And these weathermen are worried about what?

SAGAL: They're worried about something that they think is growing to be a problem.

SLOAN: Weather?


CORDERO: Nice. Keep it general.

SAGAL: Yeah, that's not actually - not so much this time, actually. It's not the thing. It's how we talk about it.

SLOAN: Stupid-ass names for weather?



SLOAN: Oh, I talked about a bomb cyclone in my half hour because it doesn't make any sense.

SAGAL: Right. What they're worried about is, like, all these names - it's not so much they're stupid as that they're too cool, and people aren't taking it seriously, you know?

SLOAN: But a bomb cyclone isn't, like - like, they were talking about a bunch of snow. But a cyclone is a hurricane in the South Pacific.

SAGAL: Right.

SLOAN: And a bomb is a bomb.


SAGAL: Sure. Right.

SLOAN: So unless you're playing Super Mario Brothers, I don't understand how there's a hurricane bomb that made snow.

SAGAL: Well, that's kind of the problem, if I may explain.

SLOAN: I think I did (laughter).

SAGAL: Good point. But...

SLOAN: Tell me why they keep giving the stuff the stupid names.

SAGAL: But no, but you being a woman and me being a man, I have to explain it myself even though you already have. That's the rules. Sorry, I don't make the rules. I just live them.

SLOAN: Sir, this your show.

SAGAL: OK. Is it?

SLOAN: Honestly, who knows?

SAGAL: At this point, it's up in the air. But at any rate, in recent years, apparently, we have been bombarded with, like, cool and attractive names for things we really should be afraid of - like megadrought and polar vortex and Kai Ryssdal.


SAGAL: So climate scientists say these new falsely attractive terms are one of the top problems they face, right up there with the world dying. So...

CORDERO: But they are helping people come up with drag names or wrestler names.

SAGAL: That's true.


SAGAL: That's true.

SLOAN: Like snowpocalypse.

SAGAL: Yeah, that's another good one.

SLOAN: I guess snowpocalypse would just be, like, gentrification.


SLOAN: Got them.



AC/DC: (Singing) Thunder. Thunder. Thunder.

SAGAL: Coming up, it's a mama-rama (ph) in our Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-WAITWAIT 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're playing this week with Dulce Sloan, Tom Bodett and Eugene Cordero. And here again is your host at the Studebaker Theater in Chicago, Ill., Peter Sagal.

SAGAL: Thank you, Bill.


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

SAM OLIVER: Hi, this is Sam Oliver from Tryon, N.C.

SAGAL: Oh, North Carolina. What do you do there?

OLIVER: I am a ceramic artist.

SAGAL: Oh, how cool. What sort of pottery do you make? Do you make, like, cups and bowls or more elaborate art?

OLIVER: Oh, lots of cups. Lots of bowls.

SAGAL: Oh, I know.


SAGAL: You probably have almost as many mugs as I do.


SAGAL: Two ways of getting too many mugs - be a potter, work at NPR.


SAGAL: It's nice to have you with us, Sam. Now you're going to play the game in which you have to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what is Sam's topic?

KURTIS: Anything for Mom.

SAGAL: If it weren't for mothers, who would keep us motivated to find some new way every day to disappoint them?


SAGAL: This week, we heard about somebody who went above and beyond for their mom. Our panel is going to tell you about it. Pick the one who's telling the real story, and you will win the voice of your choice on your voicemail. Are you ready to play?

OLIVER: Sure am.

SAGAL: All right. Here we go. Your first story will come from Tom Bodett.

BODETT: The California National Guard fired a top commander after reports he used troops to take care of personal errands. In March of 2020, he ordered a fighter jet be made ready for a possible unspecified domestic mission. Beer run? We don't know. We do know the final straw for the troops was ordering a guard member to take the general's mother shopping, where she was very indecisive, laboriously compared pricing and generally took for-freaking-ever.


BODETT: Shopping with your own elderly mother is God's punishment for all the lies you told her.


BODETT: Shopping with somebody else's mother is Silver Star-caliber extra duty, cruel and unusual. The general defended himself by citing the guard's wingman culture of having each other's backs. That is true in aerial combat and Saturday night bar missions, not your mom's grocery date. Do we understand each other, General? Very well. You are dismissed.


SAGAL: A National Guard general sends his soldiers to take his mother shopping and gets in trouble. Your next story of motherly love comes from Dulce Sloan.

SLOAN: Shamiya Johnson (ph) recently landed her dream job as a resident marine biologist at the Seaquarium in her hometown of Miami, Fla. Her specialty is animal training and education. So when her mother Betty Anne's (ph) 50th birthday was coming up, she came up with an amazing idea. When Shamiya's mother arrived with her father and siblings, they were not ready for the private show the aquarium had planned for them - dolphins flipping, seals walking and penguins dancing, all culminating in a Happy Birthday song in three parts. The dolphins clicked happy, the penguins chirped birthday, and the seals barked to you. This should have been a sweet and heartwarming moment, but the animals didn't stop. They grew louder and louder, repeating the melody over and over in competition with each other. Animals in the other exhibits joined in. Shamiya and the other employees tried to calm the animals down with commands but to no avail. No one could get them under control until the birthday girl herself, Mrs. Betty Anne Johnson, stood up and said, hey, y'all hush with all that noise. It's my birthday.


SLOAN: Making every living creature go silent.


SAGAL: A woman tries to get the animals at Miami Seaquarium to sing "Happy Birthday," and it almost goes off the rails. Your last story of living every day like it's Mother's Day comes from Eugene Cordero.

CORDERO: Michigan siblings face charges of indecent exposure following a gender reveal party. Nathan and Claudia Perez (ph) had noticed their mother was obsessed with gender reveal parties on social media, often saying things like, in my day, you didn't get a party, just a boring baby. So for her 60th birthday, the duo planned a gender reveal-themed surprise party to finally give her what she never had. The celebration, held at Silver Lake State Park in Holly, Mich., had lavish decorations, food and games, but the main attractions were two large boxes labeled boy or girl for the mother to open. When opened, the two adult siblings, unclothed, jumped out of the boxes, followed by blue and pink powder balloons and fireworks.


CORDERO: When park rangers arrived to cite the use of fireworks in a state park, which is prohibited, they also got a sight of the brother and sister in their birthday suits. When asked what she thought of her 60th birthday party, her mother said, you know what? Maybe just a boring baby is OK.


SAGAL: All right. One of these things...


SAGAL: ...Happened. Who are these people who tried to please their mother? Was it from Tom Bodett, a general who ordered his soldiers in the National Guard in California to take his mom shopping; from Dulce Sloan, a marine biologist who tried to get all the animals at the Seaquarium to sing "Happy Birthday" to her mom; or from Eugene Cordero, two adults who tried to give their mother the gender reveal party she had never had? Which of these is the real story we found in the week's news?

OLIVER: Oh, my gosh, sir. I don't believe any of them.


OLIVER: Let's go with the aquarium birthday.

SAGAL: You're going to go for the aquarium birthday? All right.


OLIVER: Wait. No, no, no, no.


OLIVER: The soldiers taking the mom shopping.


SAGAL: OK. Well, to bring the real story, we actually spoke to the reporter who broke this story.

PAUL PRINGLE: He was using military personnel for personal errands...


PRINGLE: ...And one of those errands was to take his mother shopping.

SAGAL: That was Paul Pringle, investigative reporter at the LA Times, who broke the story of General Magram of the California National Guard and his mother's shopping trips. You all got it right. Congratulations.


SLOAN: This is an outrage.

OLIVER: Thank you, audience.

SAGAL: Well, you earned a point for Tom, and you've earned a point for yourself.

OLIVER: Thank you.

SAGAL: All right. Take care.


THE SCISSOR SISTERS: (Singing) Going to take your mama out all night. Yeah, we'll show her what it's all about.

SAGAL: And now the game where important people do something quite pointless. It's called Not My Job. You could say Antony Blinken went into the family business. His father was a U.S. ambassador. His uncle was one as well. But even though he rose to the ranks of diplomacy in foreign affairs to be the U.S. secretary of state, he still wishes he could have rebelled and become a rock musician. Ah, well, now he just plays for people who have to pretend to enjoy it so they can avoid a war. Secretary Blinken, welcome to WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME!

ANTONY BLINKEN: Thank you, Peter.


SAGAL: It is an honor to have you.

BLINKEN: Thank you.

SAGAL: And I don't know if you call this good fortune, but we happen to be your first media interview after this particular news broke out of the State Department. We have to ask you about it. You have changed the official typeface of the State Department from Times New Roman to Calibri.


SAGAL: NPR audience, they're font nerds. Sir, what do you have against Times New Roman?

BLINKEN: You know, a first-time call to make very weighty decisions (inaudible) necessary.



SAGAL: Type joke.

BLINKEN: And I'm always trying to be a font of wisdom at the department of state.

SAGAL: Oh, God.

BLINKEN: I could go on.

SAGAL: Yeah, I imagine you could.

BLINKEN: Maybe we should stop there.



BLINKEN: I am actually genuinely curious because we usually hear only about secretaries of state when they do something wrong like use a private email server or bully an NPR reporter. But I don't know about what your day is like. So what is the average day of the top diplomat of the United States like?

BLINKEN: Well, it depends where you are. If I'm at home...

SAGAL: Yeah.

BLINKEN: ...Here in the United States, the day starts with something really important to me, which is actually trying to have breakfast with my kids...

SAGAL: Right.

BLINKEN: ...Who are soon to be 4 and 3 years old.


BLINKEN: Yeah, I've got real little ones.

SAGAL: Yeah. Oh, my gosh.


SAGAL: I want to ask you about that. And before you have breakfast with them, does your staff brief you? Like, sir, he's really into trucks.


BLINKEN: I find it's actually incredibly good practice for the rest of the day...

SAGAL: I can imagine.

BLINKEN: ...Because my son is really good at saying no.

SAGAL: Oh, sure.

BLINKEN: Yeah. So if I can figure out how to get him to say yes, hey, it's no problem with some of the folks we deal with.

SAGAL: All right.


SAGAL: So I happen to have a small son right now. How old is your son?

BLINKEN: He's almost 4.

SAGAL: He's almost 4. And so I know what that's like. He's not quite a toddler, so he's saying no. And do you - are you able to use your skills? Are you able to, like, for example, if he won't eat his lunch, offer him a significant package of arms?


BODETT: That...

SAGAL: We can get, like, Patriots, HIMARS missiles if you just eat the sandwich.

BLINKEN: That works. Or sometimes, I just call up the chairman of the joint chiefs and ask him if he can...

SAGAL: Oh, wow. Yeah, sure. Exactly. I have to ask again - and you, of course, are the first secretary of state of the Biden administration, so you're going out there after the previous period. And I wonder if...


SAGAL: ...speaking of children, if you ever have to comfort, like, foreign dignitaries and heads of state like you're putting your children to bed. And they're like, the bad man's not going to come back, is he?


SAGAL: And you're like, no, it's all right.


SAGAL: You're not going to say anything because you're...

BLINKEN: No, I'm not.


SLOAN: Yeah, good job.

SAGAL: Because we might have mentioned you are a diplomat. OK. let's - I understand. I understand your reticence. It makes perfect sense. Let's move on to something I'm sure you can talk about. When you bring classified documents home, where do you put them?


SLOAN: Next to his...

SAGAL: He is just staring at me, ladies and gentlemen.

CORDERO: I know.


SLOAN: He doesn't have a Corvette yet. He puts them next to his Volvo.

SAGAL: Exactly.


SAGAL: As I mentioned - OK. As I mentioned, your father was an ambassador. Your father, who I know passed away recently at the age of 96, he saw you become secretary of state. Having been a diplomat himself, did he have any, like, advice for you and said, now that you're in charge, son, this is what I want you to do?

BLINKEN: So, you know, the one time when my dad and I overlapped was during the Clinton administration when he was ambassador to Hungary. And President Clinton went to Hungary, and I was a speechwriter for him at that time. And we arrived in Hungary. And usually, the ambassador's at the bottom of the plane to greet the president when he arrives.

SAGAL: Right.

BLINKEN: President Clinton was wonderful. He said, why don't you come off the front of the plane with me, which is not something a junior staffer...

SAGAL: Right.

BLINKEN: ...Would normally do. So this straight moment - right? - getting off the plane with the president, my dad's at the bottom of the stairs - incredible moment, right? And my dad looks at me after greeting President Clinton, and the first thing he says is, you need a haircut.


SAGAL: I just want to clarify. He said it to you.

BLINKEN: To me. Yes.

SAGAL: Not - he didn't...

BLINKEN: He did say it to me.

SAGAL: He didn't say it to Clinton, because that wouldn't be very diplomatic.


SAGAL: I want to circle back to the reason I know you're here, which is to talk about your music career.


SAGAL: Again...

BLINKEN: It's going to be a very short conversation.

SAGAL: Again - no, we were like, well, why would he want to be in a show? Because he wants to talk about A. Blinken, which is the name under which you put out music on Spotify. And if you're listening at home and you're tired of the show - well, wait till we're over - you can go to Spotify and listen to four tracks, I think?

BLINKEN: There are three tracks, but if anyone actually follows up at home, I'll have my fourth streamer, which will be huge.

SAGAL: That's great.


SAGAL: And that's wonderful because I know you're in a government salary, so I'm sure the Spotify income really helps.

BLINKEN: I look for that check every month.

SAGAL: So is it - and these are songs you wrote? You're, like, your - how would you describe your music?

BLINKEN: I'm not sure how I would describe it. Let me just say that for someone who was passionate about music all my life, just because I happened to wind up in this job and put some music on Spotify, you know, some of the most illustrious publications actually took note of it, including Rolling Stone, and I think they called it something like more-or-less credible dad rock.


BODETT: That's not bad.

BLINKEN: Something like that. So I thought - I took that as high praise.

SAGAL: Yeah. Tom and I are like, oh, that's good.

SLOAN: So you telling me that you out here diplomat-ing and got a side gig?


SAGAL: It's the economy we're in, Dulce.

BODETT: Guy's got to make ends meet.

SAGAL: Yeah.

SLOAN: I mean, I know you got a...

SAGAL: Every now and then, an Uber passenger in Washington, D.C., gets the shock of their lives.


SAGAL: It's all good, man.

SAGAL: Well, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, we have asked you here to play a game we're calling...

KURTIS: Blinken Lawyer Meet Lincoln Lawyer.


SAGAL: So you are Blinken and a lawyer. And we made us think of "The Lincoln Lawyer." That is Matthew McConaughey, right?


SAGAL: ...Who was also a Lincoln car pitchman. So we thought we'd ask you three questions about him. Answer two out of three questions correctly...


SLOAN: All right, all right, all right.

SAGAL: Exactly.


SLOAN: Somebody had to.

SAGAL: And honestly, I bet - I - did - I have to ask you this question 'cause I know - 'cause I met some of them - you have a wonderful staff who prepares your travel and does advanced work for you. Did any of them try to guess what we were going to do?

BLINKEN: Yes. And they didn't get it.

SAGAL: Really?


SAGAL: All right. Answer two out of three questions about Matthew McConaughey correctly, you'll win our prize of choice of anyone they may choose from our show for our voicemail. This is for a listener. Bill, who is the secretary playing for?

KURTIS: Jason Collins (ph) of Detroit, Mich.

SAGAL: Here we go. Here's your first question. Like a lot of actors, Mr. McConaughey had a lot of odd jobs before he hit it big, including which of these - A, at a Texas golf course shooting armadillos who were wandering onto the greens at night, B, working for Pec And Pies (ph), Austin's only male topless bakery, or C, he was an adjunct professor of anthropology at UT Austin?

BLINKEN: I really want it to be B.

SAGAL: You want it to be Pec And Pies.

BLINKEN: I'm going to go with A.

SAGAL: That's right. He did, in fact, shoot armadillos. He says he enjoyed the work.


SAGAL: All right. Next question. Mr. McConaughey did a famous series of ads for Lincoln automobiles a few years ago in which he would drive around and improvise these stream of consciousness monologues. Which one of these did he actually say in one of those ads? All right. Here we go. Listen carefully. A, I'm driven. I also drive. So in a way, I'm driving myself. But who's steering?


SAGAL: Option B, that's a big bull, 1,800 pounds. I respect that.


SAGAL: Or option C, cars are just a way of turning dinosaurs into distance.


BLINKEN: So is there an all of the above?

SAGAL: No, there is not an all of the above. Sometimes we do that. But I am promising you that is - two of those we made up.

BLINKEN: Based on that, I've got to throw myself in the mosh pit and say B.

SAGAL: That is right. Yes.


SAGAL: To be fair, it's a little bit of a trick question because I did not tell you that in that moment in the commercial, he is, in fact, looking at a very large bull. All right. Last question. Mr. McConaughey sometimes draws on true life in his performances. Which of these memorable activities from a movie he did is something he actually does in real life? A, as in "The Wolf Of Wall Street," he really comes and pounds on his chest to focus himself, B, as in "Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past," he really talks to ghosts of his exes, or C, as in "Dazed And Confused," he really hangs out at his old high school hitting on seniors?


BLINKEN: So I'm eliminating C.

SAGAL: You're eliminating C.


BLINKEN: I'm feeling A.

SAGAL: Really?


SAGAL: It is A. Yeah.


SAGAL: Bill, how did the secretary of state do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Perfect score. (Inaudible).

SAGAL: I like like how you built consensus. I mean, it's like all of a sudden, everybody here is allied.

SLOAN: Diplomat.

SAGAL: I - we need to let you go, I know. But I have one more question, because how often do I get to talk to the secretary of state? So something I've always wanted to wonder, what's the worst country?


SAGAL: I mean, because, you know. I mean, you've got a list in your head.

BLINKEN: The one when the caller ID comes up, you don't answer.

SAGAL: Yeah.

BLINKEN: Peter, I really appreciate the question. Thank you.

SAGAL: There you go.


SAGAL: Ladies and gentlemen, Anthony Blinken is the secretary of state of the United States. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.


ABLINKEN: (Singing) I took a look around, nothing to see. But then I finally found somebody like me. I wanted to tell you...

SAGAL: In just a minute, we finally locate your missing limerick. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to join us on the air. 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 Tom Bodett, Eugene Cordero and Dulce Sloan. And here again is your host at the Studebaker Theater in Chicago, Ill., Peter Sagal.

SAGAL: Thank you, Bill. In just a minute...


SAGAL: ...Bill gets rhyme-oplasty in our Listener Limerick Challenge game. 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. Tom, last year we all heard about the great resignation when workers all over quit their jobs in droves. Well, this week, the New York Times followed up with many of the quitters and learned that these people are now what?

BODETT: Miserable.




BODETT: The other thing.

SAGAL: The other thing. Trying to - you remember what that is, the opposite of misery?

BODETT: Happy?

SAGAL: Happy. They're thrilled.


SAGAL: They're incredibly happy.


SAGAL: When millions of people quit their jobs last year, economists and other killjoys were worried how they would make it work, but it turns out they're just happy. The New York Times article is particularly interesting because he goes through all these happy people and then it just ends mid-sentence when the reporter decided to quit, too.


BODETT: I think, you know, like - you know there's a big problem with tradespeople because so many of them were part of the big retirement...

SAGAL: Tradespeople...

BODETT: ...Plumbers, electricians, because they're older. You know, I'm like the average age of a construction worker in this country right now. So a lot of them retired, so imagine them. They're home. They're getting called everyday. Please, just come back. You know? It's just one more kitchen. Can you just do, like, one more kitchen?

SLOAN: When you think about it, we invented jobs. But why?


SLOAN: Like, you went to the office today. For what?


BODETT: Wait. You're making everybody in the audience quit their job.

SAGAL: Right.

SLOAN: No, no, no, no, no. What I'm saying is nobody should have to work.


SLOAN: Like, nobody. Would we live indoors? I don't know.

SAGAL: Yeah, come on. We should just all go home and raise our chickens.


SAGAL: Tom, if you're planning on swimming at any of New York City's beaches this summer, be aware. The city has significantly lowered their standards for what?

BODETT: Horseplay.


SAGAL: So it's like, you can run on the pool deck all you want now.

BODETT: Yeah. I mean...

SLOAN: You can bring glass now. They don't care.

SAGAL: So apparently, the only job requirement now is you have to have watched at least four episodes of "Baywatch."

BODETT: Oh, for lifeguards.

SAGAL: For lifeguards. Yes.


SAGAL: New York City...


SAGAL: New York City is facing a lifeguard shortage for its public pools and beaches, so they are widening the net, both for recruiting lifeguards, but also the net that will fish out bodies from the water. The city is making the lifeguard test easier - and this is true - they are offering, quote, "remedial swim classes" to incoming lifeguards. That way, they'll get more lifeguards and create new opportunities for lifeguard guards.



SLOAN: I love this.

BODETT: What a place to save money.

SAGAL: Yeah. Well, they - it's like the great resignation. They - people don't want to be lifeguards anymore. They need to recruit them.

CORDERO: Oh, that's the job that people are like, nah, I got to stay home?

CORDERO: Yeah, exactly.

CORDERO: Because I don't want to sit on a wood chair anymore?

SAGAL: Yeah.

BODETT: All those 70-year-old lifeguards, they're gone.

SAGAL: Yeah. Oh, yeah.

CORDERO: The craft is over.

SAGAL: Yeah.

BODETT: Yeah. The young people, they're just not taking it up, you know.

CORDERO: They don't know how to kiss people - I mean, mouth to mouth.

SAGAL: Yeah.


SAGAL: Eugene, I have a question for you.


SAGAL: Eugene, bartending has always been a hard job. We know that. But this week, we learned that according to the bartenders themselves, what is the most annoying thing people ask them to do?

CORDERO: I should know this because I was a bartender for so long. The most annoying thing that I would encounter were people.


SAGAL: That's really...


SAGAL: If you could just mix drinks, put them there and watch them melt in silence...


SAGAL: ...That would have been awesome. I'm gonna give you a hint, but I'm curious to see if you agree when we figure out what this is. So it's like, oh, you're the expert. You tell me what I'd like.

CORDERO: Oh. Make me - go for it.

SAGAL: Yeah, exactly.

CORDERO: You make it.

SAGAL: Surprise me.

CORDERO: Surprise me.

SAGAL: Right, exactly.

CORDERO: Yes. Yeah.


SAGAL: Is that true in your experience, Eugene?

CORDERO: You know what? I think I was one of those bartenders where they're like, he can't make much, so...

SAGAL: I don't like the look of him.

CORDERO: I'll go with the list.

SAGAL: Yeah, exactly. So, according to the well-known etiquette magazine, The Daily Mail, bartenders are taking to TikTok, of course, to complain about all the annoying things customers do to them, which is apparently everything. Shame on you people. That said, the most annoying thing is when instead of ordering a drink, they say, surprise me. In fact, without that happening, Miller High Life would have no sales at all.


BODETT: So you should keep some aviation fuel under the counter or something.

SAGAL: Exactly.

SLOAN: Sure.

SAGAL: Yeah, why not? I mean...

CORDERO: Surprise.


SAGAL: People should take it literally. Oh, surprise you? They slap you in the face with a fish.


SAGAL: Or OK, surprise - I'm sleeping with your boyfriend.


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, Or you can come see us live most weeks right here at the beautiful Studebaker Theater in Chicago, Ill. Tickets and information are at Hi. You're on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME!

ANNA COBURN: Hi, Peter. This is Anna Coburn (ph) from Gunnison, Colo.

SAGAL: Gunnison. Now, I happen to know where Gunnison is. What do you do in that beautiful part of the country?

COBURN: In the winter, I work at the airport in the ski resort. And in the summer, I work at the Forest Service.

SAGAL: So you work at the - I'm guessing you work at the Montrose Airport, right?

COBURN: No, the Gunnison airport.


COBURN: The Gunnison Crested Butte. Yeah.

SAGAL: Yeah, I thought I was trying to be clever.

COBURN: Yeah, well...


SAGAL: Wow. Wow. Get em.



SAGAL: Anna, welcome to the show, really. 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 of the limericks, you'll be a winner. You ready to play?

COBURN: I'm so ready. Let's do it.

SAGAL: Let's go. Here we go. Here's your first limerick.

KURTIS: United responds with some shruggage (ph). Yes, our baggage retrieval is sluggish. The years may have dragged, but you did get your bag. We have finally found your lost...

COBURN: Well, since I work with this every day - luggage?

SAGAL: Yes, luggage.


SAGAL: You know it well. Airlines have been under a lot of pressure to not be terrible recently, which is why it's good news, good news that a woman's lost suitcase was, in fact, returned to her this week after just four years. Would be great news if she hadn't packed all those clementines in there. In 2018, her bag went missing on a trip from Oregon to Chicago and they just found it in Honduras. Her bag was gone so long, her socks don't even know about COVID.


BODETT: I lost a bag. Like, it must have been in '94, '95, from Houston to Alaska, and it disappeared. So there might be hope.

SAGAL: There might be. It's out there somewhere.

BODETT: Although none of those clothes will fit me anymore. That much I know.

CORDERO: Hey, but it fits somebody in Honduras.

SAGAL: On the other hand, Tom, it's been long enough, they might have come back into style.

BODETT: Yeah. That's right.

SAGAL: All right. Here is your next limerick.

KURTIS: We're bad pet owners. Please don't report us. But in hide and go seek, she would thwart us. Her shell's big and round, but she couldn't be found. And for 30 years, we lost our...

COBURN: Tortoise.

SAGAL: Tortoise, yes. Very good, Anna. If you thought that luggage story was interesting, you'll love another story we heard about something long lost being found. In this case, it was Manuela, the tortoise owned by a family in Brazil. And this tortoise went missing for 30 years before she was found in the family's attic. You know, when she disappeared, somebody was like, did anybody check the attic? And everybody was like, come on, it's not the attic, you idiot.


CORDERO: That's the premise to "Home Alone" as well, right?

SAGAL: I think so, yeah.

BODETT: How does - can a tortoise, like, climb a ladder or stairs?

SAGAL: I wondered about that.

CORDERO: This one can.

SAGAL: How did this tortoise get up to the attic? That's a good question. I don't know. I wasn't there. All right, Anna, here is your last limerick.

KURTIS: This bottle was found near the Rhine. A rare vintage of dark, sludgy brine. Two thousand years years old, but there's no trace of mold, so I'm safe to be drinking this...


SAGAL: Wine.


SAGAL: Are you thirsty? And are you stuck in a certain German historical museum? Well, you are in luck because scientists now say that a 1,700-year-old bottle of wine there is, in fact, safe to drink.

SLOAN: Nope.

SAGAL: And delicious if you love your wine chewy with strong notes of vinegar and death.


BODETT: We totally have to drink this.

CORDERO: Yeah. It was found in a Roman grave under a headstone with the inscription, et tu, rose?


SLOAN: OK. But was it really in a grave?

SAGAL: It was, apparently. That's how they found it.

CORDERO: Oh, wow.

SAGAL: Can you imagine?

CORDERO: No, that's the best wine cellar I've ever heard of.

SLOAN: Don't open that. What kind of Indiana Jones problems are you trying to have? What's going to happen when they open that wine and their faces start melting off? Who has time for that?

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

KURTIS: Three in a row, Anna. Congratulations.

SAGAL: Congratulations. Yay.


COBURN: Thank you so much.

SAGAL: I hope I get back out to that part of the country soon, and I will certainly look for you in one of your haunts. Thank you so much, Anna. Take care.

COBURN: Thank you.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.

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

KURTIS: Eugene and Dulce each have two. Tom has three.

SAGAL: Oh, my goodness. OK. That means that Eugene and Dulce are tied for second. I'm going to arbitrarily pick Dulce to go first. The clock will start when I begin your first question. Fill in the blank. For the first time in 60 years, blank's population declined.

SLOAN: China?

SAGAL: Yes. This week, the Church of England said it would not allow blank couples to marry in their churches.


SAGAL: Yes. On Thursday, the Supreme Court said it could not identify the person who leaked a draft of the opinion that overturned blank.

SLOAN: Was it Roe v. Wade?

SAGAL: Roe v. Wade. That's right. After flooding cut off the main route back to his house, a man in Australia blanked.

SLOAN: Rode a kangaroo all the way home.

SAGAL: That would be great, but no. He took a 3,000-mile detour that took two weeks. According to a new study, the temperature in Greenland is the blankest it's been in 1,000 years.

SLOAN: Warmest?

SAGAL: Yes. On Tuesday, Lucile Randon, the world's blankest person, passed away at the age of 118.

SLOAN: Oldest.

SAGAL: Yes. This week, a woman in Canada filed a lawsuit against a local music venue...


SAGAL: ...Saying they are the reason that she blanked.

SLOAN: Passed out.

SAGAL: No, that she - they're the reason that she got so drunk, she blew up a house.


SAGAL: The woman attended a Marilyn Manson concert in 2019 and overindulged there, and then she got in her car and she drove home, and instead of going there, she drove directly into a house, somehow causing an explosion that took out the house and three other houses and caused over $10 million in damages. She's now suing the concert venue, saying they never should have served her when she was already visibly drunk and apparently driving a stick of dynamite.


SAGAL: All right. Bill, how did Dulce do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Five right, 10 more points. Total of 12 gives her the lead.

SAGAL: All right, Eugene, you are up next. Fill in the blank. On Thursday, the government hit the country's $31.4 trillion blank ceiling.


SAGAL: Yes. On Monday, the White House revealed that it didn't keep visitor logs for blank's private residence.

CORDERO: Biden's.

SAGAL: Right. This week, Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of blank, announced plans to step down before the next election.

CORDERO: New Zealand.

SAGAL: Right. Despite slowing inflation, most economists predict a blank in 2023.


SAGAL: They're right. It's a recession.

CORDERO: A recession.

SAGAL: According to a new study, intermittent blanking may not be an effective tool for weight loss.

CORDERO: Fasting.

SAGAL: Yes, indeed.

SLOAN: Say it again.

SAGAL: This week, to help find a passenger's missing cat, Bolivia's state airline blanked.


CORDERO: Checked all the luggage?

SAGAL: No, hired a pet psychic. Tito the cat went missing a week ago, so BOA Airline brought in a pet psychic to help. They have not found the cat yet, but due to the psychic connection, we know the cat is still alive, and the cat will reveal his location once the airline pays the psychic a lot more money.



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

KURTIS: He got four right, 8 more points, and his total of 10 means the lead stays with Dulce.

SAGAL: All right, so...


SAGAL: How many, then, Bill, does Tom Bodett need to win?

KURTIS: Five to win, Tom.

SAGAL: Here we go, Tom.

SLOAN: He's got to get it.

SAGAL: This is for the game. Fill in the blank. Following an accident on the set of his movie "Rust," prosecutors announced that actor blank would be charged with involuntary manslaughter.

BODETT: Alec Baldwin.

SAGAL: Right. On Tuesday, blank's campaign announced plans for their first big rally in South Carolina.

BODETT: Trump.

SAGAL: Yes. Amid a deep budget crisis, tech giant blank announced they would lay off 10,000 employees.

BODETT: Microsoft.

SAGAL: Right. On Wednesday, Israel's Supreme Court ruled that a politician convicted of tax fraud could not be part of Prime Minister Blank's Cabinet.

BODETT: Oh. Netanyahu.

SAGAL: Yes. This week, a man in Ohio was arrested for driving under the influence, even after he blanked.

BODETT: Even after he drove his car into a house?

SAGAL: No, even after he did a backflip to prove he was sober. Although storms have begun to ease, millions of people are still under a flood watch in blank.

BODETT: California.

SAGAL: Right. Best known as one of the members of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, musician blank passed away at the age of 81.

BODETT: Oh, David Crosby.

SAGAL: Yes. After purchasing new sleeping crates for their dogs, a couple in California blanked.


BODETT: Went on a three-week vacation.

SAGAL: Accidentally locked themselves inside them.


SAGAL: The couple were testing out the crates to make sure they were safe for the dogs when the gate slammed shut, locking them both inside.


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

KURTIS: Six right, 12 more points. 15. He blew it away.

SAGAL: There you go, Tom Bodett.

BODETT: Thank you.

SAGAL: His debut in this theater.

BODETT: Thank you.

SAGAL: Now, panel, what would be the next thing to get really expensive all of a sudden? Tom Bodett.

BODETT: Bananas because they have to. I mean, I can get eight bananas for $1.50 in Vermont. Somebody on the other end of that is getting screwed, And I feel terrible about it. And I think they need to raise the prices on it.


SAGAL: We've been doing this for 25 years. That was the most dad answer we've ever got. Dulce Sloan.

SLOAN: Vicks VapoRub.


SLOAN: One of the ingredients in Vicks VapoRub is petroleum jelly. Petroleum jelly is a byproduct of refining crude oil. Gas prices is going up.

BODETT: That's an even more dad answer.

SAGAL: That's true. Eugene Cordero.

CORDERO: Potato sacks.

SAGAL: Potato sacks.

CORDERO: Yeah, because I think that the world's trying to get rid of summer camps and field days and corporate retreats.

SAGAL: Right.

CORDERO: So that you can no longer play the fun game of egg on a spoon, potato sack races or three-legged races. So the next thing that's going to go is the third leg.


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

SAGAL: Thank you, Bill Kurtis. Thanks also to Tom Bodett, Dulce Sloan and Eugene Cordero. Thank all of you for listening. Thanks to our fabulous and wonderful audience at. The Studebaker Theater. Come join us sometime. I'm Peter Sagal. We'll see you next week.

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