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Panel Questions

BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis. We are playing this week with Paula Poundstone, Negin Farsad and Mo Rocca. And here again is your host. Put your sanitized hands together for Peter Sagal.



Thank you, Bill. In just a minute, Bill plays the role of Kato Kaelin in American Rhyme Story. It's our Listener Limerick Challenge. If you'd like to play, give us a call at 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924. Right now, panel, though, some more questions for you about the week's news. Negin, this week, a new study found that meetings are good for what?

NEGIN FARSAD: Meetings are good for your soul.

SAGAL: Oh, far from it.

FARSAD: Meetings are good for the devil.


SAGAL: Not exactly.

FARSAD: Meetings are good for making things worse.

SAGAL: Yes, I'll give it to you. Meetings are good for nothing.


SAGAL: A new study from Stanford proves that having more meetings does not actually generate any new ideas. And not just that - the more meetings you have, the fewer ideas you come up with. So a great idea is no more meetings. Unfortunately, at this point, your boss has held so many meetings, they have no ideas left. So they will never have the great idea of having no more meetings in order to generate more ideas.

FARSAD: You know where good ideas come from - are those, like, moments where you're just - the serendipitous, like - you know, you cross paths with someone at the studio. You're both going to get a coffee or whatever, and they're like, oh, you know what'd be really funny? Oh, that is really funny. And then there's, like, a great idea. I feel like that's what you need.

MO ROCCA: But it sounds like you're describing more of a meet-cute than a meeting.

FARSAD: Well, first of all, you can - yes, you can find very many romantic partners in that fashion, which I, in fact, did in my early days.

ROCCA: Well, that's a great idea. Let's replace all meetings with meet-cutes.

FARSAD: Yeah (laughter). Peter, was that a part of the study?

SAGAL: You mean just, like - just randomly drive buses around to splash guys on the street with water so the woman next to them laughs and they start talking.

ROCCA: And I know that human resources will be great with this idea.

SAGAL: Exactly.


SAGAL: Right now, panel, it is time for a new game we're calling...

KURTIS: The Wait Wait Gift Gift Guide Guide.

SAGAL: Yes, the holidays have all been canceled. But don't worry, you can still stress out about holiday shopping. So panelists, we're going to ask you about gifts that made the news this week. We're going to do it rapid-fire style. There are no hints. You just got to guess. Get it right, you get a point. Ready to play?


SAGAL: All right. Mo, Gwyneth Paltrow's lifestyle brand Goop has a gift idea for the person who loves shopping for fruit. What is it?

ROCCA: Give them - send them peach pits, and they can grow them - put them in a pot and grow peaches themselves.

SAGAL: No, it is a custom-made leather carrying case for your watermelon. It's a leather bag crafted by hand in Japan to fit exactly one watermelon.

ROCCA: It sounds actually kind of beautiful.

SAGAL: It's the latest instance of Gwyneth just putting something in a thing where that something should not go. Negin, the hottest gift this year, of course, is the Sony PlayStation 5. It's so hot, it's almost impossible to get. No worries, though, if you can't get one. You can give what as the second-best thing?

FARSAD: Like, the gift of laughter to your family as you gather around the table.

SAGAL: Who wants that? No. You can give them a game where you can pretend to get a PS5.

FARSAD: (Laughter).

SAGAL: It's called PlayStation 5 Simulator. It's a video game where you go through the experience of opening the box for your new PlayStation 5 and untangling the cords before plugging them in. Barring that, your next best bet, if you can't get a PS5, is to get two PS2s and a PS1.

FARSAD: (Laughter) Oh, math jokes.


SAGAL: Paula, if you're still stuck for gift ideas, steal an idea from George Clooney, who revealed this week that he once gave what to 14 of his closest friends?

PAULA POUNDSTONE: Million dollars in cash.

SAGAL: You're exactly right, Paula.



SAGAL: According to an interview in GQ, Clooney made so much money unexpectedly from the movie "Gravity" that he decided to literally give it away. So he gave a million dollars each to 14 of his friends. It's an amazing and heartwarming story, unless you're George Clooney's 15th-closest friend.

POUNDSTONE: (Laughter).

FARSAD: By the way, I gave 14 of my friends each $5 and nobody cared. It wasn't trending on Twitter. George Clooney isn't the only generous one out there, guys.

POUNDSTONE: (Laughter).

SAGAL: That's it for our Wait Wait Gift Gift Guide Guide. Happy shopping to everybody except Gwyneth Paltrow, to whom we say you have too many things.

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

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