Who's Bill This Time
BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. I'm not a stable genius.
KURTIS: I'm a genius that's sta-Bill (ph).
KURTIS: Bill Kurtis. And here is your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Thank you, Bill. Thanks, everybody.
SAGAL: It is great to be back with you all. And we have a fine show for you today. Later on, Rian Johnson, the writer-director of "The Last Jedi," will be joining us. So you just have a few more minutes to send us your very specific nerd complaints, and we will make him answer for them.
SAGAL: But first, it just so happens that this month, January, marks the 20th anniversary of the debut of WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.
SAGAL: Thank you. It's exciting. And when we started the show way back when in 1998, we had this crazy idea - that if we were different than the rest of NPR - that instead of treating the news seriously we would treat the news as if it was really, really dumb.
SAGAL: And we knew if we kept it up, eventually, the world would come around to our side.
SAGAL: Took 20 years.
ROY BLOUNT JR.: Sometimes, I even think it's passed us up.
SAGAL: Looks like we're going to have another decade's worth of material to go through, so best get started. Give us a call at 1-888-WAITWAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924. It's time to welcome our first listener contestant. Hi, you are on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.
LYNN DAFFRON: Hi, this is Lynn. I'm from Nashville, Tenn.
SAGAL: I love Nashville. What do you do there in Nashville?
DAFFRON: I'm a student of occupational therapy, and I coach color guard.
SAGAL: You coach color guard?
SAGAL: So color guard, if I'm not mistaken - my daughter was in the marching band - the color guard is the usually young women who are flipping around flags and rifles. That's the thing?
DAFFRON: Yes. Yeah. And I coach those young women now.
SAGAL: Oh, wow.
SAGAL: Can I ask you a question? I've always wondered this. Where did the tradition of flipping rifles around come from? Because that's a little weird.
DAFFRON: I think it might be a military tradition. But, you know, they're not loaded, so we...
SAGAL: Not even in Tennessee? Because I know how you guys get.
ADAM FELBER: I think it was one day they were - when everybody's like, well, we're out of sticks.
SAGAL: Yeah. Well, welcome to the show, Lynn. Let me introduce you to our panel this week. First up, it's a veteran of HBO's "Real Time With Bill Maher." It's writer and performer Adam Felber.
FELBER: Hi, Lynn.
SAGAL: Next, it's the comedian who'll be performing at the Montreal Comedy Nest February 8 through 10. And she's the host of the trivia podcast Go Fact Yourself on the Maximum Fun network. It's Helen Hong.
HELEN HONG: Hi. Hi, Lynn.
SAGAL: And finally, it's a humorist and author most recently of "Save Room For Pie," Roy Blount Jr.
BLOUNT JR.: Hiya.
SAGAL: So, Lynn, 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 two of them, you will win our prize, the voice of anyone on our show that you like for your voicemail. You ready to play?
SAGAL: Your first quote, Lynn, is a trenchant observation about the current complex debate about immigration.
KURTIS: Why are we having all these people from [expletive] countries come here?
BLOUNT JR.: You know, someday, he's going to have a library.
SAGAL: Lynn, who was that?
DAFFRON: Donald Trump.
SAGAL: Yes, Donald Trump.
BLOUNT JR.: Donald Trump.
SAGAL: This week, we finally got Trump's equivalent of JFK's ask not what your country can do for you moment.
SAGAL: But it was more like, kids, ask not what the president just said.
SAGAL: Look. We can't really say the word that President Trump used to describe countries in Central America and...
FELBER: But we can. Why don't we - why don't we just pronounce it phonetically? Shi-thole (ph).
SAGAL: Shi-thole, yeah.
SAGAL: That's a good idea, actually.
FELBER: Yeah. Shi-thole.
FELBER: He said shi-thole.
SAGAL: He also said - after disparaging the people from those countries, he said he preferred immigrants from Norway, possibly because he had just met the prime minister of Norway the day before, and it went really well. She seemed very white.
BLOUNT JR.: Yeah.
HONG: I know I'd be more offended if I was Norway at this point.
HONG: I'd be like, oh, God, no.
FELBER: Yeah, we're the country he endorsed.
SAGAL: Well, anyway, it's an incredible story. It rocked the political world until the next thing that Trump did. For a more in-depth look at the incident, check out NPR's new hit podcast S-Hole.
SAGAL: Now, there's one thing that made us - well, I'll just say a little melancholy about this otherwise very interesting news - is that it happened the week after the true legend of NPR, the greatest voice we've ever had on our airwaves, Robert Siegel, retired. So he did not have a chance...
SAGAL: ...To say that on the air.
BLOUNT JR.: Oh.
SAGAL: However, we are fixing that now.
SAGAL: So, ladies and gentlemen, here is Robert Siegel.
ROBERT SIEGEL: Why are we having all these people from [expletive] countries come here?
SAGAL: There you go.
FELBER: You know what's amazing?
FELBER: From him, it sounds almost like it's a good question.
HONG: I know.
SAGAL: I know.
SAGAL: You really - the way - I mean, you're so used to hearing him doing interviews. You want to say, well, Robert, the reason is...
SAGAL: ...And answer the question.
HONG: I mean, he could literally make anything sound elegant.
SAGAL: He really can.
HONG: I was like, ooh (ph), do tell.
SAGAL: Lynn, we're ready to move on, even if the country can't.
SAGAL: Lynn, here is your next quote.
KURTIS: I think, wow. Wow. A lot of people were thinking wow.
SAGAL: Now, that was a woman named Gayle King. She was talking about the prospect of her very good friend running for president. Who is that very good friend?
SAGAL: Oprah Winfrey.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: So the Democrats, having been humiliated when their highly qualified candidate was beaten by a rich reality TV star with no political experience - the Democrats have decided to get their own rich TV star with no political experience. That'll work. This is like the rebels in "Star Wars" seeing the Death Star and saying, hey, we should get our own Death Star.
FELBER: Just like that.
SAGAL: The Oprah 2020 craze, of course, started last weekend when Oprah delivered this really good speech at the Golden Globes. And so everybody's, like, well, she should be president. And you're, like, the Democrats don't have an actual politician who can say words into a microphone and sound human? Really? And you're, like, well, of course, there's - well, there's - Oprah.
PETER SAGAL AND ADAM FELBER: (In unison) Oprah. Oprah. Oprah.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Oprah.
HONG: I can't believe this. I mean, as much as I love Oprah...
FELBER: And we love Oprah.
HONG: We love Oprah.
SAGAL: You're required to love Oprah.
BLOUNT JR.: I love Oprah.
HONG: Here's the thing. If a car has driven into your house, you don't solve the problem by driving a nicer car into your house.
SAGAL: All right. Here is your last quote, Lynn.
KURTIS: Millennials be damned.
SAGAL: That was a writer at Gizmodo talking about how it seems that all the cool tech at the consumer electronics show this year right now in Vegas seems to be meant for whom?
SAGAL: No. They're the ones who are damned because they're not getting anything.
DAFFRON: Oh, old people.
SAGAL: Yes, old people.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: All the cool stuff at CES seems to be aimed at old people. Yes. Baby boomers - they ruined the environment, and they ruined national politics. So why can't they ruin all your gadgets? Among the products on display at this year's CES - shoes with accelerometers and cell phone chips in them, so that if you fall, they call someone and say, he's fallen, and he can't get up.
FELBER: That's good. That's good.
SAGAL: And - Yes.
SAGAL: Personal airbags for your hips.
SAGAL: You wear this...
SAGAL: No, you wear this belt. And if you topple over it instantly inflates and cushions your fall.
SAGAL: Hopefully, you then bounce all the way back to the other side, and then you bounce off that side. And so we'll have 70-year-olds rolling around like Weebles. That'll be cool.
FELBER: Tech CEOs are getting older.
FELBER: You know, I saw something at the App Store today called iFiber.
SAGAL: Speaking of which, you may know that the other big trend is they're putting Alexa in everything because everybody has an Alexa. And you're all sort of shouting at your everything to make it work. So soon you'll be able to. There is an Alexa-enabled toilet. You can ask Alexa to flush your toilet and other questions, like, hey, Alexa, tell me if I ate beets yesterday.
SAGAL: They have - I love this. They have a Alexa-enabled refrigerator that knows what is inside your refrigerator - right? - and can tell you what you should cook, will suggest recipes based on what's inside. Like, tonight, Peter, how about sauteed soy sauce packets...
SAGAL: ...With old mustard?
FELBER: You know in sci-fi, they never explain how the artificial intelligence came to hate us all and turn evil.
FELBER: But I get it, Alexa.
FELBER: Alexa is coming for us, and we deserve it.
SAGAL: Bill, how did Lynn do on our quiz?
KURTIS: She did great. Three in a row.
SAGAL: Congratulations. Thanks so much for playing.
DAFFRON: Thank you.
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