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Who's Bill This Time?

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: The following program was taped before an audience of no one.


BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR News quiz. Forget about the debate. You've got de-Bill - Bill Kurtis. And here's your host...

NEGIN FARSAD: (Laughter).

KURTIS: ...Who follows all the latest fashion trends and is now wearing a fly on his head, Peter Sagal.



Thank you so much, Bill. I really appreciate it. Thanks also to this week's fake audience, which this week is the answer to the ancient riddle, what is the sound of two hands clapping? Later on, we're going to be talking to Jason Ward, birdwatcher and outreach director for the Audubon Society, because, frankly, after two debates, staring at birds seems like a fantastic alternative.

Give us a call and let us know what's hanging around outside your window. The number to call is 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924. It is now time to welcome our first listener contestant.

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

SARA LENARD: Hi, this is Sara Lenard (ph) calling from Greensboro, N.C. I'm excited to be here.

SAGAL: I'm excited to have you, Sara. How are you?

LENARD: I - you know what? Better now. Better now that I hear your voice.

SAGAL: I'm glad. Now, when you are allowed to do it, what do you do there in Greensboro?

LENARD: I moved back to Greensboro, N.C. to work at a not-for-profit equity theater. Like other people who've been on this show, unfortunately, y'all know that theater is not exactly viable right now. And I'm actually moving to New York City because everyone else is leaving, so the rent's low. So that's what my priority is right now.

SAGAL: That's amazing.


SAGAL: Well taken. I'm glad you're able to take advantage of everybody else's misfortune.

LENARD: You know, that's really kind of been a thing in my life, apparently, I guess, now. I'm going up there. I'm going to try to help out the economy and take care and make sure I wear a mask the whole time.

SAGAL: Well, good for you. Well, Sara, let me introduce you to our panel this week. First up, a comedian and host of the podcast "Fake The Nation," which Apple Podcasts just named one of the funniest and most informative podcasts in the universe. It's Negin Farsad.


FARSAD: Hello.


FARSAD: Come to New York, and let's be friends.

LENARD: Oh, my gosh. I'd love it.

FARSAD: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Next, it's a style writer for The Washington Post who just realized that she's going to have to eat all the Halloween candy she bought for the trick-or-treaters. It's Roxanne Roberts.


ROBERTS: Hello, Sara.

SAGAL: And finally, a correspondent for "CBS Sunday Morning" and author of The New York Times best-selling "Mobituaries: Great Lives Worth Reliving." It's Mo Rocca.


MO ROCCA: Hi, Sara. Listen. If you need help moving, Negin is available to help you.


LENARD: Thank you. I'll keep that in mind.


SAGAL: Sara, welcome to the show. You're going to play, of course, Who's Bill This Time? Bill Kurtis is going to read you three quotations from the week's news. If you can correctly identify or explain two of them, you'll win our prize - any voice from our show you choose on your voicemail. You ready to play?

LENARD: I'm ready and willing.

SAGAL: All right. Here we go. Here's your first quote.

KURTIS: I'm essentially very clean.

SAGAL: That was the president saying on Thursday that we shouldn't worry that he's not been tested recently for what?

LENARD: Well, it's got to be for COVID-19.

SAGAL: Exactly.


SAGAL: Yes...


SAGAL: ...COVID. Among his many other norm-breaking firsts, Mr. Trump has become the first president to haunt the White House while still alive.

FARSAD: (Laughter).

SAGAL: After three days at Walter Reed, Donald Trump is back at the White House. He's hard at work. He's signing papers. He's spreading disease. You know Trump. He's not happy being merely contagious. He wants to be the superest (ph) spreader ever - maybe in history, people have said.

ROCCA: He's also doing late-night cable ads already. I mean, in a sign of what's to come, I mean, that testimonial about Regeneron - I mean, the energy.

FARSAD: (Laughter).

ROCCA: I mean, but I just was a little - it's not the Donald I'm used to, though, because I fully expected him to rebrand it as Regenedonna (ph). That's what I wanted to hear.


SAGAL: So Mo mentioned the president hasn't appeared in front of the press since his diagnosis, but he's put out these strange proof-of-life videos - like this one - he came out. He called seniors his favorite people and said, quote...

FARSAD: (Laughter).

SAGAL: ..."I'm a senior, too. Nobody knows that," unquote - said the 74-year-old man who...


SAGAL: ...Spends all day watching Fox News and doesn't eat anything harder than a Big Mac.

ROCCA: Can we talk about his triumphant return from Walter Reed, though? I have sort of mixed feelings about it - about the balcony scene.


FARSAD: (Laughter).

ROCCA: Because on the one hand, it's devastating that we've lost so many of our countrymen, and the economy is wrecked. On the other hand, I have to say, having "Evita" back in the news...


ROCCA: ...As much as it is, kind of made me happy.

SAGAL: I know. The - I mean...

FARSAD: Our-beloved-leader moment.

ROCCA: All the Covita (ph) memes, all that.

SAGAL: (Laughter) Yeah. Now, the White House, of course, perhaps coincidentally with the president becoming a carrier, has become a hot zone. At least 30 people at the White House have become infected, including Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who confirmed she had coronavirus by denying she had coronavirus. And senior ghoul to the president Stephen Miller was infected, which means COVID got homesick for bats.


ROCCA: The Blight House - it's like the Blight House.

SAGAL: And what's amazing is - so the president came down with this disease, which he'd called a hoax and denied was important, was serious or dangerous. And he came down with it, and he had to go to the hospital. And who knows how sick he got.

And instead of, like, saying something to the effect of, oh, my God, we were wrong, it's a very dangerous disease, you have to be careful, they're actually trying to spin the president becoming sick as a good thing - you know, an indicator of his strength and fortitude. It's just like Abraham Lincoln's famous, See - Bullets Aren't So Bad For You campaign.

FARSAD: (Laughter).

SAGAL: All right. Your second quote is from CNN anchor Anderson Cooper.

KURTIS: He had a bloody eye and a fly on his head.

SAGAL: That was Mr. Cooper's insightful analysis of one of the two participants in what event on Wednesday night?

LENARD: So that was, of course, the vice-presidential debate.

SAGAL: That was...


SAGAL: ...In fact...


SAGAL: ...The vice-presidential debate on Wednesday night. Vice President Pence and Senator Kamala Harris debated in Salt Lake City, where we found out that after the insane poo-flinging brawl we saw last week, insane poo-flinging is really much more interesting.

FARSAD: (Laughter).

SAGAL: It was unique because it was the first time in our nation's history that Americans cared about the vice-presidential debate. There were so many questions. Would Kamala Harris bring the kind of sharp attacks that Biden just couldn't manage? Would the Plexiglas protect Harris from the virus? Why could Harris see her reflection in the Plexiglas, but Pence could not?


SAGAL: Now, both candidates, as we all saw, came in highly prepared. For Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg had served as a practice stand-in for Pence in her preparation. And for Pence's rehearsals, Stephen Miller played the role of the diseased fly that landed on his head.

FARSAD: (Laughter).

ROCCA: Boy, that fly.

ROBERTS: Why are you so mean to that fly? The fly was the only entertainment of the entire debate.

ROCCA: Peter, I actually I have an announcement to make.


ROCCA: I was sent - and this is an exclusive - I was sent a transcript of Mike Pence's internal monologue while that fly was on his head. And I just want to read a short portion of it, if I can.

SAGAL: OK, please, Mo. Mo Rocca presenting Mike Pence's internal monologue as the fly sat on his head.

ROCCA: Let them see what kind of a person I am. I'm not even going to swat that fly.


ROCCA: I hope they are watching. They'll see. They'll see, and they'll know. And they'll say, why, he wouldn't even harm a fly.


ROBERTS: That was kind of a deranged - there was a deranged quality to that that I kind of really like. But, well, you could think of it more as a fashion statement, like the world's tiniest fascinator.



SAGAL: All right, Sara. Here's your last quote. It's from Katmai National Park in Alaska.

KURTIS: He fulfills the fate of the fat and fabulous as he heads off to hibernation.

SAGAL: That was the description of the winner of an annual competition that crowns the fattest what?

LENARD: Oh, my goodness. It has to be the - it has to be a bear. It has to be...

SAGAL: It is a bear...


SAGAL: ...Very good.


SAGAL: You figured it out. Fat Bear Week is Alaska's annual tradition of crowning the fattest bear on the Brooks River as they head into hibernation. The winner this year was Bear 747, who narrowly beat out Bear 737 MAX, who mysteriously crashed and burned right before the finals.

FARSAD: (Laughter) That is dark.

SAGAL: All the bears in this competition - they live around the same creek, so they just spend their time fighting each other for food, lying around and getting thick. So basically, it's just like lockdown.

ROBERTS: It's - except the bears are pretty cute. Did you see pictures of these bears?

SAGAL: Well, it depends on your definition of cute.

ROBERTS: Well, I mean...

SAGAL: I'm just saying, you have these enormous, obese bears and you're calling them cute. What are you, the White House doctor?

FARSAD: (Laughter).

ROBERTS: Exactly. But I can't discuss my patients. It's against hippo laws (laughter).

FARSAD: I feel like we're reverse body-shaming bears. You know, we set up these impossible standards - that they have to have really, really huge waists and really thick ankles.

ROCCA: And who wants a skinny bear?

SAGAL: That's true. You realize we're talking about the animals here, right, Mo? I just wanted to make sure.

FARSAD: (Laughter).

ROCCA: Oh, I'm sorry. Can we go back to the beginning of this question?


SAGAL: OK. Yes. You live in Chelsea. You might have been confused. But yes, these are the animals. Now, the loser of this year's competition was, as it always is, salmon. Seriously, guys - stop jumping in the air. It is a bad idea.

FARSAD: (Laughter).

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

KURTIS: Sara was a winner for us - got us off right. Thanks, Sara.

LENARD: Thank you so much, y'all.

SAGAL: Thank you.

ROBERTS: Have a great move.

FARSAD: Yeah...

SAGAL: Have a great move. Good luck with the Big Apple.

FARSAD: Welcome to New York.

LENARD: Take care. Bye-bye.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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