'Wait Wait' for March 30, 2024: Spring Break Edition! It's spring break, so we're playing beach blanket bingo with our favorite guests, including John Stamos, Malala Yousafzai, and more!

'Wait Wait' for March 30, 2024: Spring Break Edition!

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JENNIFER MILLS, 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. I'm the man with a voice so rich and meaty, you're not allowed to listen on Good Friday.


KURTIS: Bill Kurtis. And here's your host at the Studebaker Theater in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.


Thank you Bill. Thank you everybody.


SAGAL: So it happens to be Easter weekend and also spring break. So we're taking some time off to celebrate. And whether Bill is spending this week starring in a passion play or doing shots on the beach, either way, he has got his shirt off.

KURTIS: If the sky is blue, I go nude.


SAGAL: While we are out worshiping the sun. We're going to share with you some highlights from the past few months.

KURTIS: John Stamos, the star of the iconic sitcom "Full House," joined us in November of last year just after publishing a juicy new memoir, and he was more than willing to give us some free samples.


JOHN STAMOS: Thanks for having me.

SAGAL: It is a pleasure to have you. I got to ask, so why a memoir now? Did you see Britney coming out with hers and Barbra, and you wanted to get in on it so it could all be, like, sold as a package by Amazon?



SAGAL: All right, next question. Did you do the thing - some people who have written memoirs have done this - did you...

STAMOS: Right.

SAGAL: ...Like, go back and talk to people who were there at certain times and say, what do you remember about that? Or is it - was this true or something like that?

STAMOS: Yeah, I sure did. But my mother kept every teen magazine, every contract, every - you know, journals, everything that I ever did. So most - I had a lot of it. And I had a lot of my own calendars that I wrote in, so I - but I did talk to a few people. I caught my first love in bed with Tony Danza. I haven't talked to him, but...

SAGAL: Wait, what?


STAMOS: Next question.

SKYLER HIGLEY: Does your memoir have pictures, by chance?

SAGAL: All right. No, wait a minute. I'm sorry. You just offered that you caught your first love in bed with Tony Danza.

STAMOS: The truth is, I - the only real reason why I put it in the book - I was trying to find, you know, sort of relatable - that's not super relatable, but being cheated on, I think probably...

EMMY BLOTNICK: No, it's incredibly relatable.

SAGAL: Oh, I think - from what I've heard about Tony Danza, that has happened to a lot of people, so...


BLOTNICK: My husband caught me in bed with George Wendt, so...


SAGAL: Some of us get the supporting characters.

BLOTNICK: We've all been there.

SAGAL: Yeah. So now, but what...

STAMOS: So - well, so the reason why I put it in was that happened. I was madly - it was my first girlfriend, and I walked in on her. And I just saw four feet coming out of the bottom of the bed. I was like, this is interesting. They're not my feet. And I'm going to kick this guy's a**. And then I couldn't see their faces, but he rolled over, and he had these rip - I mean, this is, like, in the '80s. You know, Tony Danza was a boxer. And I said, I'm leaving. And I just ran down the driveway, and I got the hell out of there fast.

But the reason why I put it in really was because the first season of "Full House" didn't do well, and they weren't going to pick the show up. We were on the bubble, as they say. And we got to the end of the season, and they said, you know, we're going to cancel you, but we're going to try one last thing. We're going to put you on one of - after one of our hit shows during the summer and see if you get an audience. And then if you do, we'll pick you up. And that show was "Who's The Boss?" So, you know, he...


STAMOS: It all evened out.

SAGAL: It did, ultimately. Yeah. When you - I just think we have to address this head-on. You are an objectively, as proved by science, handsome man. Emmy here on stage is in a state of excitement that the scientists call verklempt.


SAGAL: Just...

STAMOS: Oh, that's a Yiddish term.

BLOTNICK: Yiddish - yeah, Yiddish scientists.

SAGAL: Well, they're Yiddish scientists. And, I mean, really, her - she's, like, fanning herself. Her pulse is racing.

BLOTNICK: I've been diagnosed with (speaking Yiddish).



SAGAL: Is, like, a typical - are you used to that? Are you - like, you meet somebody at some sort of social occasion who's just meeting you for the first time, and you just watch them - like, their heart race and their pulse rate go up.

BLOTNICK: It's called Kimmy Gibbling (ph), right?


STAMOS: Just Emmy.

SAGAL: Yeah.

STAMOS: Just Emmy. I'm getting old now. That doesn't happen that much, but it's very flattering, Emmy.

SAGAL: Yeah.

BLOTNICK: Anything you want.


STAMOS: I wish I was there, man. We were - I was just saying before...

SAGAL: So does she.

STAMOS: I was just there with the Beach Boys at Ravinia. You know that...

SAGAL: Oh, yeah. I know Ravinia. Yeah. That is the other thing that I just found out about you this week, that you, in addition to doing everything that you're famous for, you play with the Beach Boys.

STAMOS: They're my favorite group. And, you know, this ties into when I found my girlfriend in bed with someone, I was so depressed. And my friend was playing in the band, and he said, you know, come see us, and I'll try to introduce you to them. And it was at a baseball stadium. He said, get backstage right after, "Fun, Fun, Fun."

I went down the - into the - onto the field, and I heard all this screaming. And I looked over, and I was like, oh, crap, they're screaming for me, all these cheerleaders. I was like 18 or 19 at the time. And I start running. And the girls start chasing after me. And, like, I'm this skinny, weird little guy with Jordache jeans. And it looked like I had a dead crow on my head. And I'm running, and the girls are all catching up to me.

And I just got through the backstage just at the perfect time. And I slammed the door. And I'm breathing. And the Beach Boys, my heroes, turn and look at me, and they were just like, who's this weirdo, you know? And they hung out with Manson, so...

SAGAL: Yeah.


SAGAL: They had very high standards for weird, but go on.

STAMOS: Exactly. But Mike Love said, who's that? He says, John Stamos. He plays drums. He's on "General Hospital." He said, girls scream like that for him all the time? And my friend said, yeah. He goes, get him on stage. And I went on and played "Barbara Ann." And eventually, I just - you know, I just loved them so much. And so I just kind of kept coming out, and musically it started to work. And the first time I played with him was in '85 at the - for real - at the Washington Monument for a million people over there.

SAGAL: Wow. That's an interesting way to start your musical career, with the Beach Boys.

STAMOS: Jimmy Page - Jimmy Page playing guitar.

SAGAL: I got to ask you, though. So we're both - you and I are both new dads at a somewhat advanced age. How do you find being a father in your 50s?

STAMOS: I love it. In my whole life, I wanted to have a family and be a father. I think, too, it was important that I was ready to be a father. I went into being an adult kicking and screaming. I didn't want to become an adult. But I'm a much better father in my 50s, I think, than I would have been in my 20s or 30s or 40s or 50s.

TOM BODETT: Isn't it a long way up from the Lego pile?


HIGLEY: As a follow-up question, could I get a piggyback ride sometime?


SAGAL: You know...

STAMOS: You got it, dude.



STAMOS: Well, so you're a new dad. I'm going to ask you, like, because my wife doesn't think this. But, like, if I sit down with my son for, like, three hours and I put on "Full House" and then I split 'cause I have stuff to do, that's like spending time with me.

SAGAL: Absolutely. Yeah.


SAGAL: Yeah.


SAGAL: Well, John Stamos, you are as much fun to talk to as it is to watch you do almost anything. But we have asked you here today to play a game we're calling...

KURTIS: Now it's an empty house.

SAGAL: So you, of course, start on "Full House." So we're going to ask you about houses that are empty because they are for sale. Answer 2 out of 3 questions about houses that everyone had to leave so somebody else could move in, and you will win our prize for one of our listeners, the voice of anyone they might choose for their voicemail. Bill, who is John Stamos playing for?

KURTIS: Alvin Wilson (ph) of West Hartford, Conn.

SAGAL: All right.

STAMOS: All right, Alvin.


SAGAL: So here's your first question. Most houses for sale are listed these days on Zillow. And one home that was found there, it's a basement apartment. It was for sale for just $35,000, and it had a unique feature. What was it? A, the new owner with the purchase was required to adopt a pair of ferrets who lived there and, quote, "loved it too much to move;" B, there was a 6-foot-diameter sewer main running right through the middle of the apartment from wall to wall; or it was literally just a basement with no building above it.

STAMOS: You know what? C. I'm going to go to C. I was going to say B...

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



SAGAL: You know, normally when there would be a building, there was just, like, a two-foot-high roof over the basement. So...

STAMOS: Right.

SAGAL: ...There you are. All right. That was good. Here's your next question. Sometimes, elderly people might sell their home under the condition that they continue to live in it until they die. Hugh Hefner did that, by the way...

STAMOS: Oh, yeah?

SAGAL: ...Including a French woman named Jeanne Calment who sold her very expensive apartment to a business associate when she was 96. But what happened then? A, she wiped off her makeup, revealed she was really 52 and lived a happy 30 years rent free; B, she lived to 122, becoming the oldest human on record; or, C, being French, she died while smoking a cigarette, which set fire to the whole building and burned it down.


STAMOS: Yes. I would say she lived for a long time, that she was one of the oldest living people.

SAGAL: That's exactly what happened.


STAMOS: Oh, yeah. Where's the chipmunk guy?

SAGAL: So the man bought it from her in 1967, and he died in 1996, one year before she did.


STAMOS: That sucks.

BODETT: Awesome.

SAGAL: All right. You're doing very well at this, by the way. Here is your last question. In 2015, a Texas man selling his home managed to upset his neighbor while doing it. Why? A, he only allowed open houses and viewings of the house from midnight to 6 a.m.; B, he advertised it with a sign in his yard that said, and I am quoting him, "house for sale because my neighbor's a douchebag," unquote...


SAGAL: ...Or, C, he listed it as, quote, "the best place in Denton for all-night ragers. Nobody around here cares," unquote.

STAMOS: I need some help from Emmy and Skyler and Tom. Tom, are you still awake? I can't see you.


BODETT: I kind of like the douchebag.

SAGAL: Doesn't everybody? Tom chooses the douchebag answer.

HIGLEY: I'm with Tom on this one.

SAGAL: Yeah.

BLOTNICK: I'm with John.

SAGAL: You're with John.


STAMOS: I didn't say anything yet.

SAGAL: I know. She doesn't care. She's with you no matter what.


STAMOS: I would say, douchebag lives next door. I don't know.

SAGAL: That's the one. Yeah.

KURTIS: You got it.

SAGAL: He put up the sign.


KURTIS: That's right. Three in a row.


BODETT: I wanted to live in a world where that one was true.

SAGAL: I know. Although it's not really a good way to sell your house when you think about it, right? I mean, you know. Oh, wow. It looks like a nice house, but...

BODETT: Well, what is the saying? One man's douchebag is another man's...


BODETT: ...Freedom fighter.

SAGAL: I guess so.

BODETT: Something like that.

SAGAL: Bill, how did John Stamos do on our quiz?

KURTIS: John just did great.


STAMOS: Thank you. I had help.

SAGAL: John, that was fabulous. You're very good at this sort of thing.

STAMOS: I'm lucky.

SAGAL: Yeah. I'd tell you to get into game shows, but I can't stand that kind of competition. John Stamos is an actor...


SAGAL: ...Writer and the nation's hot uncle. His new memoir, "If You Would Have Told Me," is a New York Times bestseller two weeks in a row. John Stamos, thank you so much for joining us today.

STAMOS: Thank you so much.

SAGAL: Thank you.

BODETT: Thank you, John.

SAGAL: Take care.

BLOTNICK: What? I love you.

STAMOS: Bye-bye. I love you, too, Emmy. God bless you, Chicago.


THE BEACH BOYS: (Singing) I'm pickin' up good vibrations. She's giving me the excitations. I'm pickin' up good vibrations.

SAGAL: When we come back, a woman who became internationally famous for her courage and a man who once shaved his moustache for charity. That's when we return 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, and here is your host at the Studebaker Theater in downtown Chicago, Ill., Peter Sagal.

SAGAL: Thank you, Bill.


SAGAL: We are spending spring break at the beach. And we figured, so were you. So we wanted to help you get the party started by blasting some of the sickest tracks from recent shows.

KURTIS: Give me the aux, Peter, and watch these kids freak.


KURTIS: If there's one thing that all the cool kids are into, it's international icons of bravery and feminist empowerment, such as Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai. Much to our amazement, she agreed to appear on our show last spring with guest host Josh Gondelman.


JOSH GONDELMAN: How are you doing today?

MALALA YOUSAFZAI: I'm pretty nervous if I'm honest. I'm not ready for the questions. But I'm here. I'm here.

GONDELMAN: I'm as stunned as you are that you're here.


GONDELMAN: Malala, you won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 when you were just 17 years old. Let's start there. Can you tell us about when you found out that you won?

YOUSAFZAI: Actually, I was still in school at that time. So I went to school. I was in my chemistry class. Then the school's deputy headteacher called me outside. So I was like, fingers crossed. I hope I haven't done anything wrong. But then she told me I had won the Nobel Peace Prize.


GONDELMAN: Classic bait and switch, yeah.


GONDELMAN: We've all been there.


GONDELMAN: How did you react when you went from thinking you were in trouble to knowing that you'd won the Nobel Peace Prize, which is what they call, where I'm from, a 180.

YOUSAFZAI: It was, you know, such a surreal moment because it was not just for me, but it was for all the children who deserve to be heard. It was raising awareness about child labor. You know, I heard the news, and then I shared a few remarks with my school friends. And then after that, I went back to my class. I went to my physics class. I said, I have to finish my school day because when you get the Nobel Peace Prize for education, you have to finish your school day.


MO ROCCA: Where do you keep your Nobel Prize?

YOUSAFZAI: I can't tell you that.


GONDELMAN: Now, do you mean that that's a secret or that you've won so many awards, you forget where you keep them and can't tell Mo?

YOUSAFZAI: I think it's probably both, but...



GONDELMAN: And so now let's say your Nobel Prize came with free concert tickets, but you had to choose between Beyonce and Taylor Swift. Who do you pick?

YOUSAFZAI: Oh, these are really tough questions.



ROCCA: That could start a war.

YOUSAFZAI: So when I was little, I used to, like, sing the "Love Story" song together with my friends. So that was, like, one of the first few songs we started singing back in Pakistan. And Beyonce - I mean, she's a legend, so I would want both tickets. I have a Nobel Peace Prize, and I demand them.


GONDELMAN: Yeah. Incredible answer.


GONDELMAN: So you're here now because you have a production company. You work in television and film. Your - the documentary short "Stranger At The Gate," which is incredibly moving, has been nominated for an Academy Award. How do you balance activism and working in this kind of production?

YOUSAFZAI: I'm lucky that I finished my university two years ago, so I do have more time to do more for the mission that I have taken in my life, which is empowering young women and girls from different backgrounds to get the opportunity to share with us how they see the world. And I started the production company because I believe that we need to help young women and young people to get the chance to reflect the world as they see it. And I'm hoping that I would be able to produce content, including comedies, documentaries and TV series, everything. So I hope that people will watch it. And I'm so lucky to be part of "Stranger At The Gate," which is a short documentary that has been nominated for Oscars now.

GONDELMAN: Incredible. Congratulations.


YOUSAFZAI: Thank you.

GONDELMAN: So you're going to the Oscars next week. Is that correct?

YOUSAFZAI: Yes, I will be. I am so nervous. I was at the Oscars luncheon, and I, like, already met some of the celebrities, which was already, like, overwhelming.

GONDELMAN: Who did you meet?

YOUSAFZAI: I saw Tom Cruise. Yeah, Tom Cruise and Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan and Austin Butler and his deep voice. I heard that.

GONDELMAN: Who's taller, you or Tom Cruise?


YOUSAFZAI: OK, if I wear my four-inch high heels, then I might be taller than him.


YOUSAFZAI: I'm just kidding. I'm just kidding.


GONDELMAN: Malala Yousafzai, it's been a pleasure to talk to you, but we've asked you here today to play a game we're calling.

KURTIS: You're about to win the Nobel Pieces Prize.

GONDELMAN: You received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, but what do you know about jigsaw puzzle pieces? If you answer two out of our three questions correctly, you'll win the inaugural Nobel Pieces Prize for one of our listeners. Bill, who is Malala playing for?

KURTIS: John Young (ph) of Reno, Nev.

GONDELMAN: Here, Malala, is your first question. Every year, Spain hosts the World Jigsaw Puzzle Championship. In its very first year, it helped an Australian woman become accidentally famous. How? A, she slipped and knocked half of the Russian team's puzzle onto the floor during the finals. B, she was on vacation in Spain, went to the event out of curiosity, only to be entered into the competition as the Australian national champion. Or C, the final puzzle was a picture of her face, a fact that she didn't know until she put it together.

YOUSAFZAI: Oh, this is a tough one, but...

GONDELMAN: This is probably one of the hardest things you've had to do.


YOUSAFZAI: I studied at Oxford. I don't know if that helps. But I'm going to go with B.


KURTIS: You're right.

GONDELMAN: That's correct.


GONDELMAN: B. They went, oh, you're from Australia? Sit here in the front row. And she came in 79th place. Here's your next question. A Swedish inventor is offering what she calls the world's worst jigsaw puzzle. What is it? Is it A, a 500-piece puzzle where all the pieces are solid white except for one piece, which is missing? B, a custom-made puzzle that, when completed, is just a bunch of pictures of your ex and his new girlfriend? Or C, a 25-piece puzzle that's packed inside of an exploding box filled with glitter.

YOUSAFZAI: I think - highly likely that all the answers are correct, but I think I'll go with A.

GONDELMAN: A, that's correct.


GONDELMAN: The puzzle takes a few hours to assemble and less than a second to destroy in a fit of rage. Here's your last question, and you're playing with house money at this point 'cause you've already got two. Puzzles have been popular for centuries. And if you went to a pub in the 1800s, you might find which of these? A, puzzle jugs, which if you didn't solve correctly, would spill your drink all over you. B, puzzle outhouse locks, which were kind of the 19th-century equivalent to a Starbucks bathroom code. Or C, puzzle mutton, where the chef would cut your meat into weird shapes, and if you reassembled it correctly, your meal was free.

YOUSAFZAI: I would just go with A.

GONDELMAN: Puzzle jugs, A. Yes, that's right, three for three.


GONDELMAN: No, I didn't spill my drink on my pants because I'm drunk. I did it because I'm dumb. Bill, how did Malala do on our quiz?

KURTIS: We should expect it. She got a perfect score.

GONDELMAN: Incredible.


GONDELMAN: Thank you so much. How are you feeling? Is this big for you?

YOUSAFZAI: Really good. I mean, this - like, I need a trophy for this now. This is - yeah.

GONDELMAN: (Laughter) But you won't tell us where you're going to keep it.

YOUSAFZAI: Thank you so much.

GONDELMAN: Thank you so much. Thank you, Malala.

KURTIS: Thanks, Malala.


GONDELMAN: Malala Yousafzai is a Nobel Prize winner and the executive producer of the Oscar-nominated documentary short "Stranger At The Gate." Malala, thank you so much for joining us on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

YOUSAFZAI: Thank you.

KURTIS: Bye-bye.


SAGAL: Just a few weeks later, we wanted to speak to Chicago's legendary political guru David Axelrod, so we went to Tucson because if you want to find a Chicagoan in the winter, look in Arizona.


KURTIS: Peter asked him what brought him to the warmer climes, as if we didn't know.


SAGAL: So just to get this out of the way, you're a famous Chicagoan who spends a lot of time in the political circles of the East Coast. But you're in Arizona for spring training every year, right?




SAGAL: Yeah. The last time you were on the show - this was way back in 2009 - you were in the White House. We were in Washington. And one of the things I remember is you were backstage, and you were using two BlackBerries at the same time...


SAGAL: ...One in each hand.

AXELROD: I had to get out 'cause I got carpal tunnel.

SAGAL: Really?


SAGAL: And was that nonsense? Were you were actually talking to anybody, or were you just trying to impress us?

AXELROD: Well, obviously it worked 'cause you brought it up now...

SAGAL: I did.

AXELROD: ...14 years later.


SAGAL: I know.

AXELROD: No. That was the way I lived back then.

SAGAL: Just like...


SAGAL: And you don't do that anymore. You're not - you don't consult with campaigns formally.

AXELROD: I don't - no.

SAGAL: Yeah.

AXELROD: I kibitz.

SAGAL: You kibitz?


SAGAL: So what does kibitzing mean in this context?

AXELROD: Means people call up and say, what do you think about this? And I tell them what I think.

SAGAL: Right.

AXELROD: But I don't have all the anxiety that goes along with actually being involved.

SAGAL: Right.

AXELROD: You know.

SAGAL: So, you know...

AXELROD: It's a pretty good deal.

SAGAL: It's actually great.

AXELROD: Yeah - pays less, though.

SAGAL: Do you find that your advice is better when your own reputation is not on the line?

AXELROD: I find that people don't hold me accountable for my advice as much...

SAGAL: That's important.


AXELROD: ...Which is - that's what being a commentator is all about.

SAGAL: Do you think that you could get anybody elected? Like, if I hired you - let's say you were back in the business, and I said, I want Paula Poundstone to be president.


JESSI KLEIN: I'm voting for Paula.

SAGAL: Well, all right. How would you get her elected president?

AXELROD: I would limit the vote to the audience of WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

SAGAL: Right.


SAGAL: Massive disenfranchisement.


SAGAL: One of the things you're famous for in Chicago is hanging out at a restaurant we all love called Manny's.

AXELROD: Yeah. Yeah.

SAGAL: And you have, like, your own table there, right?


SAGAL: Yeah.



AXELROD: I've spent a lot of time at Manny's.

SAGAL: Yeah.

AXELROD: I go there to clog my arteries and clear my head.

SAGAL: Right. So - and, like, it's where all the - it's, like - the mayor used to go. Mayor Daley used to go there all the time.

AXELROD: Yeah. Yeah.

SAGAL: It's, like - the police commissioner goes there. Could you describe Manny's for those who are not fortunate enough to live in Chicago?

AXELROD: Manny's is the - sort of the one great Jewish deli in Chicago, and it's really a cross-section. It's the only place where you could see the police superintendent or the U.S. attorney at one table and the leader of organized crime at the other.

SAGAL: Right.


AXELROD: And because it has a diverse customer base, for politicians, it's a great place to go. So when I got - when I moved over from journalism to consulting, I'd bring my candidates all the time there because it was a great place to meet a cross-section of the city.

SAGAL: Right, exactly. And so when you have - does anybody else have their own table, or is it just you?

AXELROD: I don't think so. I think that there - it's like these frequent-flyer things. You get to a certain point.

SAGAL: And they give - yeah, I understand. Yeah.

AXELROD: Yeah. It's hard to attain. It's hard to attain.

SAGAL: If you've eaten...


SAGAL: ...Ten thousand pastrami sandwiches...

AXELROD: I worked hard for that table.

SAGAL: ...And you're still alive, they give you...

AXELROD: I worked hard for it.

SAGAL: If you show up at Manny's, where they have your own table, and there's somebody at your table, what do they do?

AXELROD: They kick their ass out.

SAGAL: Do they really?


AXELROD: But I'll tell you something. When I was in the White House, Manny's would send me care packages...



AXELROD: ...Yeah, and including - every Wednesday at Manny's, for those who are interested and are in Chicago, they have these gigantic turkey legs...

SAGAL: Yeah.

AXELROD: ...The size of a club.

SAGAL: Right.

AXELROD: You've seen those.

SAGAL: Very Fred Flintstone. Yeah.

AXELROD: They're my favorite. Yeah. So I was in the White House once, and a reporter was in my office getting ready to write a story that was very downbeat about where we were at that particular time. And he was a Jewish reporter. I thought I could kind of soften him up with mayonnaise.

SAGAL: Yeah.

AXELROD: President comes in, and I'm holding this turkey leg...


AXELROD: ...In my hand, and he said, what is this, King Arthur's court here?


SAGAL: Part deli, part ren fair - it's fun. It's fun. Well, David Axelrod, it is always fun to talk to you, but we have once again invited you here to play a game. And this time, we are calling it...

KURTIS: Axelrod, Meet Axl Rose.


SAGAL: No more explanation is necessary. We're going to ask you three questions about the legendary frontman for Guns N' Roses. If you get two right, you'll win that coveted prize of what we older people call a voicemail...


SAGAL: ...For one of our listeners. Bill, who is David Axelrod playing for?

KURTIS: Alice Peach (ph) of Yuma, Ariz.

SAGAL: All right.


SAGAL: Here's your first question. Guns N' Roses - you a Guns N' Roses fan, by any chance?

AXELROD: For the purposes of this, yes.

SAGAL: Yes, absolutely.


SAGAL: You are a politician. All right. Here's your first question. Guns N' Roses were notorious for starting concerts late, usually due to hard partying. But once in 1991, Axl Rose forced the band to delay a concert so he could what? A, clean up the kitchen where he personally cooked a meal for the roadies; B, write handwritten thank-you notes to all the groupies from the night before; or C, finish watching "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret Of The Ooze"?


AXELROD: I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt...


AXELROD: ...And say A.

SAGAL: You're going to say A. He had to clean the kitchen from where he, Axl Rose, personally had cleaned up?

AXELROD: All right. I'm going with C.

SAGAL: You're right.


SAGAL: He was watching "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II." Somebody went down to ask him, could you start the show? They're all waiting. And that person came and reported back, Axl's attention was 100% in the movie, and he could not be bothered.


SAGAL: Focus - key to success. Here's your next question. Axl Rose was once praised for his incredible vocal range and stage presence, some of which he credits to what item he has included on his rider for every show? A, 40 pounds of marshmallow Peeps; B, square-shaped melons, or C, a framed portrait of Robert Goulet with the caption, you got this, bro.


AXELROD: All right. What do you guys say?


AXELROD: All right. I'm going with the Peeps.

SAGAL: You're going on with the Peeps. No, it was actually square melons.

AXELROD: Oh, [expletive]. Why do I listen to you guys?


SAGAL: Yeah. No, he - apparently, he insisted on these square melons, which you can only get from Japan. We have no idea why. All right. Here's your last question. Some of Axl Rose's lyrics have become iconic, included the repeated use of the phrase, where do we go now, at the end of the hit "Sweet Child O' Mine." According to legend, what inspired that refrain? A, his own general sense of existential dismay at becoming a huge rock star and yet living without true purpose...


SAGAL: ...B, the end of his favorite movie, Robert Redford's "The Candidate," where, famously, Redford says after winning the election, what do we do now? Or C, he didn't know what to sing next, so he just kept repeating, where do we go now, and the band thought it sounded cool.



AXELROD: Well, it's got to be B.


AXELROD: All right. I'm going C.

SAGAL: That's right. It was C.


SAGAL: Of course it was C.


SAGAL: One concert, he just sort of went up, didn't know what to do next. Where do we go now? Where do we go now? And the band was like, OK, that's the song now. Bill, how did David Axelrod do with Axl Rose?

KURTIS: Two out of 3 means you are a winner on this stage.


KURTIS: The vote is in.

SAGAL: All you had to do is get a majority.

AXELROD: I couldn't do it without all of you.


SAGAL: It was people power. David Axelrod is a political kibbitzer...


SAGAL: ...And the host of the podcasts "Hacks On Tap" and "The Axe Files." David Axelrod, thank you so much for joining us again.

AXELROD: Thank you.

SAGAL: It was great to see you. David Axelrod, everybody.


SAGAL: When we come back, a beat boxer, musician, actor, dancer, singer and deodorant commercial star. And that's only two different people. That's when we come back 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, and here is your host at the Studebaker Theater in downtown Chicago, Ill., Peter Sagal.

SAGAL: Thank you, Bill


SAGAL: Thank you so much, everybody.


SAGAL: It's our spring break edition, so we wanted to make sure you had something to enjoy while Bill and I are practicing our human pyramid down on the beach.

KURTIS: Everyone else bailed, so now I'm giving you a piggyback ride.


SAGAL: Speaking of impressive talents, in April of last year, we hosted Kaila Mullady, acclaimed as one of the greatest beatboxers alive with two world championships, which she won by doing things like this.


KAILA MULLADY: (Beatboxing).

SAGAL: She will now use that same...


SAGAL: That's it. That's her. She will now use that same amazing instrument, her own voice, to answer our questions. Kaila Mullady, welcome to WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.


MULLADY: (Imitating trumpet) Hello, friend.

SAGAL: Hello. I have so many questions that - all right. How in the world do you learn to do that?

MULLADY: Yeah, so I would just do it at, like, the back of the bus and at the lunch table. And it definitely was not anything that I thought would become a job or anything. But actually, it really became because of this boy named James (ph) that I had a crush on in fifth grade. And he liked to beatbox, so at recess, me and him would hang out, you know, by the monkey bars. And we would just kind of drop some boots and cats. And while love did not form from that, two world championships did. So thank you so much, James (inaudible).

SAGAL: I'm sorry. Can we back up a bit? You said you dropped some boots and cats?

MULLADY: Yeah, some boots and some cats, man. You know, that's how you start when you're young. You do the (beatboxing) boots and cats and boots and cats.

You say boots and cats enough, then you start beatboxing. That's how it goes.

SAGAL: Really? So that's how you - so you say boots and cats and boots and cats. And then, you just move on. Wow.

MULLADY: Yeah. And then, all of your friends are annoyed at you after - well, here we are now.

SAGAL: I'm going to - I don't want to argue with you, but I'm going to bet that people were actually kind of thrilled when you started doing this once you got it all good, right?

MULLADY: I mean, when you're in fifth grade, this [expletive] slaps. I'm not going to lie. It was a great trick, you know?


MULLADY: But, yeah, it's definitely not something that I ever thought that would become a career out of it. It was just something that I did for fun. And then, right when I left high school, I was at this party. And my friends were trying to be like, hey, everybody in this party, look what this girl can do. And that day, I just had had enough. And they were like, please, Kaila, this will be the last time we ever make you beatbox at a party. And so I did it for, like, three seconds. I was like, all right, fine. (Beatboxing).


MULLADY: As soon as I ended, this - it felt like Moses. I heard this voice be like, who just beatboxed, beatboxed?


MULLADY: And everybody in the party parted like the Red Sea, and this beatboxer came to me. And his name was JFlo, and he was one of the best beatboxers in America. And he was like, do it again. And so I did it. And he introduced me to this community of people in New York City that - for the first time in my life, if I walked into a party and went (beatboxing), everyone wasn't like, leave quick, don't look her in the eyes, oh, be careful; she probably bites. Finally, I walked into this crowd where if I went (beatboxing), everyone was like, oh (imitating trumpet).


MULLADY: I finally found my, you know, tribe of people that made weird noises.

SAGAL: Is there, like, a particular sound that you can do that you are very proud of?

MULLADY: There is a sound that I did invent. And the cool thing is when you invent a sound, you get to name it.

SAGAL: Oh, cool.

MULLADY: So don't ask me why I named it the pips. I don't know why. It just sounds like a pip to me. And it sounds like this. (Beatboxing).



SAGAL: Is it hard for you to socialize with somebody who is not a beatboxer because they might expect you to do that all the time? Like, oh, entertain us.

MULLADY: Oh, no, no, no. The thing is, I do do that all the time. And once - the way I know that you're in my, like, best friend-tier group...

SAGAL: Yeah.

MULLADY: ...Is when we're going out, they just don't even hear it anymore. They've completely tuned it out. Where I actually take credit - my older brother has three amazing kids. But when they were babies and crying, he could really tune that out. And I was like, you're welcome. That was because of me.


SAGAL: Oh, really? (Laughter).

MULLADY: Yeah. You could just ignore sounds if you're best friends with a beatboxer because it's just happening 24/7.

SAGAL: That is fabulous. Well, Kaila Mullady, it is great to talk to you. And we've asked you here to play a game we're calling...

KURTIS: Beatboxing - how about box beating?

SAGAL: As far as I can tell, beatboxing does not involve these days any actual boxes or beating. So we thought we'd ask you about something that does, and that is pinatas.


SAGAL: Answer two out of three questions about the candy stuffed papier mache sculptures. You'll win our prize for one of our listeners, the voice of anyone they may choose in their voicemail. Bill, who is Kaila playing for?

KURTIS: Sarah Dawson (ph) of Detroit, Mich.

SAGAL: All right.


SAGAL: You ready for this?



MULLADY: (Beatboxing) Round 1 - fight (beatboxing). Let's do it.


ALONZO BODDEN: Are you ready for this, Peter?

SAGAL: I am not.


MULLADY: (Beatboxing).

SAGAL: I will be honest. All right. First question. The history of the pinata goes back 500 or more years, so as you can imagine, there are people trying to update it these days. For example, you can now buy a pinata with what new feature? A, a robo pinata outfitted with AI and motors so that it can evade blows from the stick, B, a pacifist pinata that you don't have to hit. It just self-destructs generously...


SAGAL: ...Or C, a heart-healthy pinata that is filled not with candy, but with quinoa and oat bran?


MULLADY: Oh. This is a tough one, but I'm going to have to say the drone pinatas.

SAGAL: No, it was actually the pacifist pinata. 'Cause you don't want to teach your children violence by having them hit things with a stick, right? No, you just pull gently on the string and it goes, pop.

MULLADY: (Imitates pop).

SAGAL: You still have two more chances. Sometimes pinatas can go too far, as in which of these planned pinata parties that ended up not happening? A, a Carnival cruise line promotion in which they built a six-story pinata to destroy with a wrecking ball in downtown Philadelphia; B, a minor league baseball team that wanted to detonate an enormous explosive pinata that would in turn detonate 40 smaller pinatas, which would detonate 100 more during the seventh-inning stretch; or C, Jerry Hall's divorce party pinata, where you could hit a Rupert Murdoch pinata until cans of Ensure fell out?


MULLADY: All right. Well, I'm going to go with A?

SAGAL: You're right.


SAGAL: You're right. It was an attempt...


SAGAL: It was a six-story pinata. They wanted to do it. They had it all set up. They had the big wrecking ball, and the police came and said, no, you cannot wreck a six-story pinata here in Philadelphia. All right. Last question. Get this, you win. Pinatas are not just for kids' birthday parties. They can also make an appearance, for example, at concerts. The band Third Eye Blind once brought a big pinata to their show, but there was something special about it. What was it? A, the pinata looked like a big, very realistic eye, so when you hit it, you felt like you could blind it - get it? Third Eye Blind? B, it was filled with live crickets, and when they smashed it, they flew all over the audience, or C, the members of the band were in it and made their entrance by being smashed out of it, sustaining mild injuries as they did?

MULLADY: I'm going to say A. I'm really hoping it wasn't the crickets. Like, come on.

SAGAL: Why are you hoping it wasn't the crickets?

MULLADY: That's a lot of protein just going uneaten. You know what I mean? So we got to collect that.


SAGAL: That's where you went with it?


MULLADY: It's the protein. Come on.

SAGAL: If, like, a big pinata was bursted at a concert you attended and all these crickets fell out, you're like, they're wasting all that good food. That's what you would think?

MULLADY: You know? Yeah, I'm pro-snake. They eat that, right? I don't know.

SAGAL: Yeah. OK. So you're not going to pick that even though I'm desperately trying to encourage you to do so?


MULLADY: Should we - I mean, you know what? If that's the case, let's go crickets.

SAGAL: You're right. It was the crickets.


MULLADY: Hey. Listen...

SAGAL: They thought, by the way, that doing that would be very impressive to some record executives in the audience and they'd get a contract. It did not work, and they did not then get a contract. Bill, how did Kaila do on our quiz?

KURTIS: (Beatboxing).


MULLADY: Hey, now you're speaking my language. Let's go.

KURTIS: Let's go, baby. She got two out of three and wins.

SAGAL: Congratulations.


SAGAL: Ten years you've been doing this, Bill, and you still surprise me sometimes. Kaila Mullady is a two-time beatboxing world champion who you can find at kailamullady.com. Kaila Mullady, thank you so much for joining us on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.


SAGAL: Amazing fun to talk to you.


SAGAL: And finally, in May of last year, actor, singer, comedian and dancer Gabrielle Dennis joined us as her new, very odd comedy premiered.

KURTIS: Guest host Alzo Slade asked her about her new show, "The Big Door Prize," on Apple TV.


GABRIELLE DENNIS: So it's basically about this small town where you have this mysterious machine that pops up out of nowhere. No one knows where it came from, but it asks you to enter some personal information, and it prints out your true life potential. So with that, each episode for Season 1, we follow a new character, or an episode is centered around one of the central leads of the show. So it's a magical show. It's eclectic. It's a comedy at its core, but it also has a lot of heart and a little drama in there. So it's a really fun ride. And I know that was more than two sentences. So...

ADAM FELBER: Yeah. But it sold, absolutely sold.

ALZO SLADE: It's a comedy, but it sounds like it has some, like, philosophical, existential undertones. And for, like, real life, that you're watching it to laugh, and then you start questioning your whole existence in life. Was that the intention?

DENNIS: Yeah, basically. I mean...


DENNIS: It's definitely a thought-provoking show, and I feel like the comedy is necessary to make sure that you don't go down this deep rabbit hole because you're going to ask the same questions as the audience and the viewers as we do as characters in the show and hopefully spark something in you that isn't bad. We want you to laugh. It is a comedy, I promise.

POUNDSTONE: So the comedy is kind of medicinal for losers. Is that correct?




SLADE: Knowing that success in show business, it doesn't happen overnight, I'm always interested in what folks did before they made it to this level of success. Is it true that you worked at Six Flags at one point?

DENNIS: Yes. It was the best summer of my life - summer job.

SLADE: What did you do there?

POUNDSTONE: So I was one of the stage performers, so, like...

FELBER: Oh, wow.


DENNIS: Yeah. So we were in the air-conditioned theater.

SLADE: Oh, you got spoiled.

DENNIS: Spoiled, and hated on by all the costumed characters out in 100-degree weather in their fuzzy costumes. And I only got that job because I got fired from a job that I had prior to that, where was in the food and beverage business for a couple of years, and that's how I was getting my way through college.

SLADE: I got fired from Six Flags, but that's a whole 'nother story.


FELBER: Did you?

SLADE: Yeah. Now...

DENNIS: What department were you?

SLADE: I was doing the rides. I was in in Houston, Texas. It was called the Looping Starship. It was made like a space shuttle. And it went all the way up and upside down. And to make a short story shorter, I kind of started the ride without the lap bars and the shoulder harnesses on.


SLADE: But as soon as I started the ride, they started screaming way too early. And that's how I knew something was wrong.


SLADE: So I pressed the emergency stop. So to this day, I feel like I have not gotten credit for saving all those lives.


FELBER: Hundred percent.

BODDEN: You're a hero.

SLADE: I'm a hero.

FELBER: You are the real hero. You saved...

DENNIS: You really lost...

FELBER: ...All those people you almost killed.


DENNIS: Yeah. Without that emergency button, you would probably still be in prison. So congratulations.


SLADE: She said still be in prison.

FELBER: I heard that.


SLADE: So, Gabrielle, you've played Whitney Houston, Tina Turner. So clearly, you are an amazing singer. Are you that singer that goes to karaoke and just ruin it for folks like me who can't sing worth a lick?

FELBER: Oh, that's a good question.

DENNIS: No, I'm not. The thing is, I like to go to karaoke and just let loose and have fun and be as silly as possible. So my go-to karaoke songs are "Rolling On The River" by Tina Turner and "Little Mermaid's" "Part Of Your World." (Laughter).

FELBER: Oh, yeah.

SLADE: So I'm going to conclude by saying you are that person that ruins karaoke.


BODDEN: All right. Gabrielle Dennis, we invited you here to play a game that we're calling...

KURTIS: "Big Door Prize," Meet Game Show Prize.

SLADE: Your new show is "The Big Door Prize." But what do you know about the prizes handed out on game shows? Answer 2 out of the 3 questions correctly, and you'll win our prize for one of our listeners - a new car. Whoo (ph). No, not really. Not really.


SLADE: They'll win the voice of whomever they might choose on their answering machine or its cash equivalent, which is nothing.


SLADE: Bill, who is Gabrielle Dennis playing for?

KURTIS: Anne Shiffermiller of Omaha, Neb.

POUNDSTONE: Wait. Anne Shiffermiller?

FELBER: Not Anne Shiffermiller.

SLADE: I knew it was coming.

KURTIS: The very one (ph).


FELBER: (Laughter).

SLADE: OK, Gabrielle, here's your first question. Prizes don't always go to the winner. On the game show "Crackerjack!," the loser was sent home with which one of these consolation prizes? A, an all-expenses trip to Los Angeles' worst-reviewed hotel; B, a framed picture taken at the exact moment the contestant lost the game; or, C, as many heads of cabbage as they could carry.


DENNIS: Well, based on audience laughter, I'm going to go with C.

SLADE: C is correct.





SLADE: Next question. Sometimes, it's not about the prize itself but who won it, as proven by an episode of "The Price Is Right," where they gave away what? A, a treadmill to a woman in a wheelchair...


SLADE: ...B, a romantic couple's vacation to a Catholic nun...


SLADE: ...Or, C, a trip to Yellowstone National Park for a ranger who worked at Yellowstone National Park.


DENNIS: I would say the most foul version of that would probably be A.

SLADE: A is correct.




FELBER: Congrats. You win a cabbage.


POUNDSTONE: Yeah, that was good.

DENNIS: (Laughter).

SLADE: All right. Last question. Before Bob Barker and Drew Carey, "The Price Is Right" was hosted by Bill Cullen and featured some truly crazy prizes, including which of these? A, a fully functioning submarine; B, a 1926 Rolls-Royce complete with a chauffeur; or C, a live peacock?


DENNIS: Oh, wow. I don't know. I'm going to go with - back then, maybe a peacock? Was it on NBC? I don't know.

SLADE: A live peacock is part of the right answer.

DENNIS: Was the peacock in a Rolls-Royce?


FELBER: Driving.

SLADE: I'll take it. I'll take it. All of the above, Gabrielle. All of the above.




SLADE: Bill, how did Gabrielle do?

KURTIS: You just made Anne Shiffermiller of Omaha very happy 'cause you got them all right, three in a row.


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