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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. Poke my belly. I'm the Billsbury Doughboy. I'm Bill Kurtis, and here is your host, a man literally phoning it in, Peter Sagal.


Thank you, Bill.


SAGAL: And thanks to our fake audience, which this week is the official Steve Kornacki fan club as he made it to a record 29 hours without an intake of breath. Later on, we're going to be talking to comedian and actor Chelsea Peretti. She's got a new film called "Friendsgiving." It's a science fiction movie about a large group of people gathered in the same room. But first, it's your turn to join our gathering. Give us a call. The number is 1-888-WAITWAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924. Now let's welcome our first listener contestant.

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

ELLEN: Hi, this is Ellen from Waterbury, Vt.

SAGAL: Oh, I love Vermont. What do you do there?

ELLEN: I am a wedding photographer, and I also just started a composting business.

SAGAL: A composting business. I'm sorry I have to do this. So I hope business is rotten.

ELLEN: It is. It's very rotten.


SAGAL: Yeah. There are some things you're just legally obligated to do, I think. Yes.

ELLEN: Yeah.

SAGAL: Well, welcome to this show, Ellen. Let me introduce you to our panel this week. First up, it's a comedian and writer whose comedy horror movie "Extra Ordinary" is streaming. Now it's Maeve Higgins.


ELLEN: Hi there.

SAGAL: Next, it's a comedian you can see at the Helium Comedy Club in Philadelphia December 10 to 12. It's Alonzo Bodden.

ALONZO BODDEN: Hello, Ellen.

ELLEN: Hello.


SAGAL: And making her debut on our panel, it's a comedian, actor and TV writer you might have seen in her viral videos or on Netflix. It's Joanna Hausmann.

JOANNA HAUSMANN: It's so nice to meet you, Ellen.

ELLEN: You too.

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

ELLEN: I am.

SAGAL: All right, your first quote is a tweet.

KURTIS: This is good news. It means I won.

SAGAL: That was somebody who didn't win. Who is it?

ELLEN: I am going to have to go with Donald Trump.


SAGAL: Yes, indeed. It's Donald Trump. It's been a week since the race was called for Joe Biden. And while the president-elect is trying to move ahead with the transition, there's one little problem. President Trump won't concede. He keeps ranting about imaginary voting fraud. But as a senior administration official told The Washington Post, quote, "What's the downside for humoring him?" - unquote. Yeah, what's the downside? That's what they used to say about Idi Amin. He's not a tyrant. He's just hangry. Find him some food. He'll calm down.

BODDEN: I remember the other day I was just outside of Philadelphia, leaving a porn store and wondering why...


BODDEN: ...This field was crowded with people who had no idea what was going on in reality. And I took it upon myself as a great American to tell them that - call your boss on the golf course. It's over.


HIGGINS: I thought I saw you, Alonso. I was coming out with a new pair of hedge clippers, and I thought I saw you through the crowd.


HAUSMANN: You know, I have to say, it's not Trump's fault he was born in this country. You know, I grew up in Venezuela. And if he was Venezuelan, you know, he would have been decided the president before the election. So it's sort of - he was just born in the wrong place.

SAGAL: Now, President-elect's Biden strategy - and I think there's wisdom here - is to just ignore Trump and just proceed as if everything is normal. Just don't give him the time of day. So one scenario is Biden continues to ignore Trump and Trump continues to ignore Biden, and they end up living in the White House together like that classic sitcom, "The Old Couple (ph)." Like, episode one, two warring presidents decide to divide the Oval Office in two with masking tape, then argue over which one gets the side with the door.

BODDEN: I don't know. I think Biden is just taking the strategy of when you see a screaming baby throwing a tantrum, you walk by and act like it's not happening. I think that is the best way you treat a screaming baby. Just - he'll tire himself out quickly.

SAGAL: Now, a lot of people speculate that Trump has some sort of master plan, like he's going to be doing - he's going to have lawsuits here, and he's going to jiggle some things there. And it's, like, some weird five-dimensional chess. But let's face it - he can barely play checkers. No, no, Mr. President, that's not candy. It's a piece from the game.


BODDEN: They're always talking about him having a master plan. We've yet to see even a minor plan, let alone a master plan. How about just a minor plan, and we work our way up.


SAGAL: All right, your next quote is from an excited immunologist at the University of Colorado.

KURTIS: Once we know it works, we'll take some time to go find out why.

SAGAL: We're all excited about something that was announced this week. And we don't care about how it works, just that it does seem to work. What is it?

ELLEN: The COVID vaccine.

SAGAL: The COVID vaccine, yes.


SAGAL: Just a few days after the election, Pfizer announced a successful trial of their COVID vaccine. They declared it a success when, after giving the vaccine or a placebo to all these volunteers, 90% of the people who came down with COVID had been given the placebo. So thanks for the help, and hope you enjoyed the sugar water, suckers.


HIGGINS: I was trying to explain this to my mom. And I was like, I obviously don't understand it myself, but I was taking it high handed approach. And I said to her, see - what happens is some of them get the vaccine. And the others - they just get injected with air. And she was like, I don't think...

KURTIS: (Laughter).

HIGGINS: I think that might be quite dangerous, love. I said, no, mummy, this is how it works. There's nothing in it. It's just a big air bubble that shoots into their bloodstream and nothing happens to them. But apparently that actually isn't it?

SAGAL: Yes. Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to introduce President Trump's new medical adviser.


BODDEN: Absolutely. Maeve, you qualify.

SAGAL: Now, everybody's very excited because if - things have been so awful, and the COVID is spiking. And it's just it's out of control. And maybe if we get this vaccine, it can finally be over. But you're not thinking - without the pandemic, what are you going to blame when you don't want to go out to a social engagement, right? Oh, I'm so sorry. I can't make the baby shower on Saturday. I think I got a placebo.

BODDEN: Well, yeah. I mean, there's going to be wait for the vaccine. So you just didn't get your vaccine yet. I don't care if it's seven years from now, it'll still - you know, I would have been there. I'm still waiting for my vaccine. I don't want to put you at risk.

SAGAL: That's true.

BODDEN: So yeah, we can ride this one...

HIGGINS: That's kind of heroic.

BODDEN: We can ride this one for years.

HIGGINS: But you know what I'm going to do? You know what is a really good way of guaranteeing your social life will drop off? - is switch to being an anti-vaxxer. So people would invite you to things. And you say, absolutely. Just so you know, my philosophy is disease is good. So I'll be there.


HIGGINS: I'll be there, and I'll be coughing. See you at six.

SAGAL: That's effective. All right, very good. Here is your last quote.

KURTIS: My neighbor is blowing theirs. I better blow mine.

SAGAL: That was someone quoted in the Wall Street Journal talking about a very loud activity that has been interrupting a lot of people during their Zoom meetings. What is it?

ELLEN: Oh, my goodness. I actually don't know.

SAGAL: Well, I'll give you a hint, this is something that's heard all over the suburbs almost every day, especially in the fall, but most people aren't home to hear it.

ELLEN: I'm going to guess leaf blower.

SAGAL: Leaf blowers.



SAGAL: That's right, Ellen. Yes. There have been a huge increase in people complaining about the noise of leaf blowers during the pandemic. That's according to the Journal, right? Because people are at home, and the leaf blowers are going up and down the streets while they're having meetings. Now, you have to look at both sides - the people trying to have meetings say it's hurting their productivity. The leaf blowers, though, say (imitating leaf blower).

HIGGINS: (Laughter). I'm sure it was like - because now women are understanding what it's like to fully live with men. And men with colds are so loud. They're like those stags in the forest when they're mating. They just blow their noses at incredibly high volume. It's very upsetting. Give me a leaf blower any day.

BODDEN: Maeve, how quiet are your neighbors that a man sneezing sets you off? You must have just the nicest people that a man - oh, there he is again with the sneeze. I'm trying to work here.

SAGAL: The very least is you can have the guy sneeze in the direction of the leaves on the lawn and maybe like do two things at once, you know?

HIGGINS: Perfect. Sir, please leave.

SAGAL: Now, you might think this is an autumn-only phenomenon, but yard maintenance happens year round. It's a complete need. That's why you need someone who can deliver four seasons of total landscaping.


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

KURTIS: Can't do any better if she gets them all right.

SAGAL: Congratulations, Ellen. Thank you so much for playing. And good luck with the composting business.

ELLEN: Thanks so much. Have a good day.

SAGAL: Take care.

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

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