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Who's Bill This Time

BILL KURTIS, HOST:

From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT ...DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. I'm the man whose tailpipe emissions are always exactly as promised, Bill Kurtis. And here is your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

Thank you, Bill. Thank you, everybody.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: We have a great show for you today. We're very excited about our guest, the singer and songwriter, Jewel. She has a new book and a new album out. But we should also let you know, listening at home, if we sound a little cramped today, well, in the spirit of his holiness, Pope Francis, we've given up our usual luxurious theater and we're doing this how all stuffed inside a Fiat.

(LAUGHTER)

KURTIS: I hope that's the shift lever I'm feeling, Peter.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: So give us a call before our circulation gets cut off. The number is one 1-888-WAIT-WAIT, that's 1-888-924-8924. Let's welcome our first listener contestant. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT ...DON'T TELL ME.

THERESA MEYER: Hi.

SAGAL: Hi, who's this?

MEYER: This is Theresa calling from Smith College in Northampton, Mass.

SAGAL: Smith College. Nice to hear from you.

MEYER: Yay.

SAGAL: I love Smith. What do you study there?

MEYER: I'm a government major and a public policy minor.

SAGAL: OK, noW, as you know, Smith College has its share of stereotypes. How well do you embody them?

MEYER: I am literally the opposite.

SAGAL: Really?

MEYER: Oh, yeah, I've got long hair and I'm a Republican.

SAGAL: Whoa.

MEYER: Right?

SAGAL: Wow, were you, like, some sort of quota there?

MEYER: Oh, my God, yeah, no, I - like, they snuck me in the last spot.

SAGAL: Wow, did - do they make you live in your own dorm?

MEYER: I'm segregated off. It's me, Nancy Reagan and Barbara Bush all in a corner.

SAGAL: (Laughter) Well, welcome to the show, Theresa. Let me introduce you to our panel this week. First up, a once promising young author and storyteller whose life has come to this, Mr. Tom Bodett.

(APPLAUSE)

TOM BODETT: Hello, Theresa.

SAGAL: Next, host of the public radio show Live Wire, it's Luke Burbank.

LUKE BURBANK: Hey, Theresa.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: And, making her debut on our panel, it's a comedian performing September 30 through October 1 at the Improv in Atlanta, Ga., Iliza Schlesinger.

(APPLAUSE)

ILIZA SCHLESINGER: Hi.

SAGAL: Theresa, welcome to the show. You're going to play Who's Bill This Time? Bill Kurtis is going to inaugurate this week's show with three quotations from the week's news. Your job, of course, correctly identify or explain two of them. Do that, you'll win our prize, the voice of the immortal Carl Kasell on your voicemail. Are you ready to do this?

MEYER: You bet I am.

SAGAL: I bet you are. Here we go. Your first quote is from Pope Francis.

KURTIS: Jesus, also, is very popular and look at how that turned out.

SAGAL: So the pope was trying and failing to tamp down the excitement about his first ever visit to where this week?

MEYER: The United States.

SAGAL: The United States, of course.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SAGAL: How could you miss it? First time he'd ever traveled to the U.S., the highlight of Pope Francis's first visit to our country was a speech to a joint session of Congress. It was substantive. It was also a little slow. Ruth Bader Ginsburg fell asleep right away, and instead of making fun of her this time, the other justices just got in there and spooned with her.

(LAUGHTER)

BODETT: Well, there were - wasn't there a congressman or two who, like, didn't attend or walked out or something?

SAGAL: There was one congressman who said he was going to boycott the speech because I believe, in his words, the pope could talk about global warming on his own time.

BODETT: Right. So, you know, I grew up Catholic, and there used to be a saying, like, among Catholics that, you know, if there was, like, a real hardcore priest or nun or something, they'd say, God, they're more conservative than the pope.

SAGAL: Right.

BODETT: And it was like saying somebody was dumber than a sack of hammers because nobody is really dumber than a sack of hammers but, you know, it's - you say that and it's like there now are people more conservative than the pope.

SAGAL: Yeah, it is a little strange.

BODETT: And, as it turns out, people dumber than a sack of hammers.

BURBANK: Maybe the same person.

SAGAL: Yeah, I know. The pope did address issues in his speech that are most associated with the Democrats, immigration reform, of course, the environment. Many conservatives were not pleased with the pope, so we're anxiously awaiting the first angry Republican to accuse the pope of being a Muslim.

(LAUGHTER)

BURBANK: Peter, we just want to see the birth certificate.

SAGAL: Yeah.

BURBANK: OK? You know.

SAGAL: And I love - everybody loves the fact that he, you know, completely eschews the whole limo thing and drives around in this little Fiat.

BURBANK: What nobody knows is that Fiat is also an UberX.

(LAUGHTER)

BURBANK: So he wants to make a little money, just fires up the phone. I was watching some of the coverage this week and I feel like it is starting to get a little bit out of hand, a little bit breathless from the TV networks. CNN had the breaking news banner out, and what they were covering was that the breaking news was that the pope had gone to the Vatican residence in Washington, D.C. That headline could've been, Pope Goes To The Exact Place A Pope Would Probably Go.

SCHLESINGER: Pope Goes Home.

SAGAL: Yeah.

BURBANK: Like, Pope Went To A Strip Club would be breaking news.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: All right, very good. Here, Theresa, is your next quote.

KURTIS: Over the past four years and with continual improvements, we have developed the Volkswagen.

SAGAL: So that was Adolf Hitler...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: ...Speaking back in 1938. And until this week, that was considered pretty much the worst thing to know about Volkswagens. But then we found out for the past few years that company has been building their cars to do what?

MEYER: Violate emissions standards.

SAGAL: Yeah, basically they programmed their cars to lie.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SAGAL: The diesel engines were supposed to be green, you know, environmentally friendly. But instead, the actual cars were spewing out all kinds of pollution - oil slicks, nuclear waste, Adam Sandler movies. It was terrible.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: So...

BURBANK: "Big Daddy 2."

SAGAL: So VW - this is amazing - they programmed their cars to turn on the emission controls only when they were being tested. And then as soon as they were driven away, they turned off again. It's crazy evil, really. But then again, if you're a VW exec, you know no matter what terrible thing you do, it won't be the worst thing a German ever did.

(LAUGHTER)

SCHLESINGER: It's a sliding scale.

SAGAL: It really is.

BURBANK: I can't believe they've been able to harness the same technology I use regarding my beer belly when I'm at the beach.

SAGAL: Just - it's basically, yeah.

BURBANK: If someone's looking at it, I'm sucking it in. And then as soon as they look away, it's like Ralph Kramden.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Although you might ask - 'cause this is the genius part - how did the car know it was being tested? It's a car. It doesn't know. Well, think about it. If you got a probe shoved up your exhaust, you'd know something was up, too.

BODETT: And I, personally, would stop reporting at that moment.

BURBANK: Yes.

SAGAL: All right, Theresa, for your - your last one is actually a series of quotations.

KURTIS: When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

SAGAL: And...

KURTIS: Baseball is 90 percent mental and the other half is physical.

SAGAL: And finally...

KURTIS: It ain't over till it's over.

SAGAL: Well, sadly, it is over now as, this week, we lost what baseball great and homespun philosopher who died at the age of 90?

MEYER: Yogi Berra, from my hometown.

SAGAL: Yes, Yogi Berra. Yes, you're from St. Louis?

MEYER: No, Montclair, N.J.

SAGAL: Oh, yeah, you're from Montclair. He lived in Montclair.

MEYER: Oh, yeah.

SAGAL: You know, it's interesting. He was born in St. Louis, Yogi Berra was, and he lived most of his life in Montclair. And some years ago, before his wife died, his wife said to him, Yogi, when you die, would you like to be buried back in St. Louis, your hometown, or here in New Jersey? And Yogi said, I don't know, surprise me.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: He was, in addition to being quotable, he was a Hall of Fame catcher who played with DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle. He was the last of an era. Now that he's gone, there are no more athletes alive that aren't jerks.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: And the - and, you know, what do athletes say now? They - all your quotes are like, I'll give 110 percent or I'll also give 110 percent and not guilty, your honor.

(LAUGHTER)

BURBANK: Didn't he have, like, a long-running beef with the Yankees...

SAGAL: Yeah.

BURBANK: ...After being a star and a manager for the Yankees?

SAGAL: He was a star for the Yankees, he managed the Yankees and, like, some ridiculous, like, 20 games into the season, if that, some underling came and said, oh, by the way, Yogi, you're fired. And Yogi was so offended he never stepped foot in Yankee Stadium for 14 years.

BODETT: What happened to bring him back, they had a picnic basket there?

SAGAL: The pic-a-nic (ph) basket?

(LAUGHTER)

BODETT: Oh, wait.

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

KURTIS: She got three right. She's a winner. But since the pope is in town, that automatically multiplies to 30.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: I didn't know the pope had that effect.

SCHLESINGER: Yeah.

SAGAL: Congratulations, Theresa, thanks for playing.

MEYER: Thanks so much. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.