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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 your other systems of algebraic notation. Get some Bill-ean (ph) logic. I'm Bill Kurtis. And here's your host, a fantastically handsome man and author of his own intros, Peter Sagal.



Thank you, Bill. And a reminder, our audience is, as always, fake except for you. That's right. Only you are real. Later on, we're going to be talking to Michelle Zauner, who has a Jewish name, has written a wonderful memoir about her Korean mother and performs music under the name Japanese Breakfast. We have questions, and we will put them to her later on. But first, we also have some questions for you. So give us a call. The number is 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924.

It's time to welcome our first listener contestant. Hi. You're on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

POOJA: Hi. So happy to be here. My name is Pooja (ph), and I am from Morrisville, N.C.

SAGAL: Hey, Pooja. It's a pleasure to talk to you. So where exactly is Morrisville?

POOJA: We are a small suburb from Cary, which is a small suburb of Raleigh. But we have the airport, so we're important.

SAGAL: Oh, there you are. Ha, ha, ha. So if they want to get anywhere, they have to go through you first. I get it. What do you do there?

POOJA: I am currently a master's student at Columbia, getting my master's in public health.

SAGAL: Oh, excellent. Oh, man. We need public health workers. Hopefully, you can get your degree in time to come out in and help to save us all.

POOJA: Well, I graduate in two weeks. So, hopefully, it'll be something.

SAGAL: All right. Pooja, let me introduce you to our panel this week. First up, it's a stand-up whose new music album, "Tasty Treats," is on Audius and all music platforms. You can see him at the True/False Film Fest in Columbia, Mo., May 8. It's Brian Babylon.


BRIAN BABYLON: Hey, Pooja. How are you?

POOJA: I am doing well.

SAGAL: Next, it's a contributor to "CBS Sunday Morning" and the host of the podcast "Real Good" from Stitcher. It's Faith Salie.


FAITH SALIE: Hey, Pooja.

SAGAL: And a writer and co-executive producer for "Desus & Mero" on Showtime and the host of the podcast "Make My Day," it's Josh Gondelman.


JOSH GONDELMAN: Hello, thanks so much for having me. Thrilled to be here.

SAGAL: Pooja, 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 you might choose on your voicemail. You ready to go?

POOJA: Absolutely.

SAGAL: Here we go. Your first quote is about rising tensions with a world leader.

KURTIS: He has nothing on Biden.

SAGAL: That was a New York Times commenter thinking that our President Biden could win a fight against what other world leader?

POOJA: Oh, that's a tough one. I'm going to say Putin.

SAGAL: Yes, Putin.


SAGAL: Yes, the Cold War is back, baby. What a relief. It's like an '80s revival.

SALIE: (Laughter).

SAGAL: It's like we're all wearing shoulder pads, Sylvester Stallone is an action hero and Joe Biden is only in his 70s. This week, the White House announced sanctions on Russia for interfering in our elections. Putin denied the hacking. He did so by suddenly showing up in every American Zoom call on Wednesday and insisting it wasn't him.

BABYLON: Yeah, he came in a Zoom call with his shirt off.

SAGAL: That's how you knew it was him.

BABYLON: He's the only world leader who will go shirtless, so we can start there. So until Joe Biden takes off his shirt, I don't want to hear anything.

SAGAL: I just want to say, having, like, seen, like, recent G20 summit pictures, I'm glad he's the only one who takes off his shirt. We should be thankful.

SALIE: Wait, guys. What about Justin Trudeau?

SAGAL: Oh, OK. Excuse me.

BABYLON: (Laughter).

SALIE: So what are these...


SALIE: What are these actual sanctions? I feel like there's just so much talk that reminds me of disciplining my children in the most gentle way, which is like...

SAGAL: Right.

SALIE: ...If you don't change your behavior, there will be consequences.

SAGAL: (Laughter) Yes, that's right.

BABYLON: Sanctions.

SALIE: And you take a long time to say it 'cause you don't know what they are.

SAGAL: We're getting back at the nation of Russia, but we're limiting their screen time.

SALIE: Exactly.

SAGAL: Now we are - and this is true - expelling a bunch of Russian diplomats. But if that doesn't sound bad enough, we are forcing them to go back to Russia on Spirit Air.

GONDELMAN: (Laughter).

BABYLON: That's gross.

SALIE: All right, so it's timeouts. It's timeouts for all those people.

SAGAL: Basically, yes.

SALIE: You know, it's either like disciplining young children or the language from the Biden White House is so measured. It so reminds me of couples therapy from my first marriage. There's - the White House fact sheet said the U.S. desires a relationship that is stable and predictable, which is what I asked for.

SAGAL: (Laughter).

SALIE: And we still got a divorce. So I don't...

GONDELMAN: But that's what we have, right? We can stably predict that they're going to try to hack our elections.

SALIE: That is true.

BABYLON: That'd horrible, yeah.

SAGAL: I do like the idea of, like, Russia and the U.S. going into couples therapy. And it's like the counselor's like, now, Vladimir, make I statements.


SAGAL: And he's like, OK, I will poison you all.

SALIE: Exactly.

BABYLON: I will take my shirt off.

GONDELMAN: (Laughter).

SALIE: When you have working democracy, I feel like killing you.

SAGAL: (Laughter) Now, to be fair to the prior administration, Trump did occasionally sanction Putin, but Putin could stop it simply by saying their safe word.

GONDELMAN: I kind of feel like - I feel kind of like it's, like, hack me once, shame on you. Hack me twice, shame on me. Like, Biden, you've got to have your password stronger than, like, Major, stop biting, all lowercase.

SAGAL: (Laughter) All right, Pooja, here is your next quote.

KURTIS: Eat fresh.

SAGAL: That was the slogan of a big sandwich chain that is finding itself in dire financial straits this week. What is the company, the chain?

POOJA: Quiznos. No, I'm kidding. It's Subway.

SAGAL: It is Subway.


SAGAL: Yes. Subway is, believe it or not, the biggest restaurant chain in the country. And recently, they've closed more locations in the last year than any other restaurant, still leaving way too many locations. They apparently did very poorly during the pandemic, despite replacing their sneeze guard with an N95 guard. I guess during a pandemic, people just don't want a restaurant where the whole appeal is watching a stranger touch all of your food.

GONDELMAN: (Laughter).

SALIE: Wait, I didn't realize its motto was eat fresh.

SAGAL: Eat fresh, yeah.

SALIE: And I have to ask from a legal standpoint. Was that spelled P-H-R-E-S-H...

SAGAL: You know, speaking of '80s. No.

SALIE: ...So that they could claim it was fresh?

SAGAL: Well, I mean, that's - I mean, they may not have thought this out 'cause the whole appeal of Subway - and if you've ever been to a Subway, you know, this - is that they assemble your meal right in front of you. So you know it's fresh, right? But I don't think we want that from our fast food. Imagine how, like, if you went to a Popeyes Chicken, say, and they advertised that the chickens are slaughtered right in front of you to your order, you know? Just stand behind the blood guard, please.

GONDELMAN: (Laughter) You know that their foodstuffs weren't, like, the highest quality because they advertised the length of them, which is not what you do when food is good, right?

SALIE: (Laughter).

GONDELMAN: They're like, $5 footlong. You never hear like, oh, I ate, like, 4 1/2 inches of caviar, right?


GONDELMAN: Like, that's not how you measure luxurious foods.

SALIE: And also, didn't Subway - it's that smell. It's that weird, weirdly attractive yet not quite real bread smell, right? I don't know how to describe it.

SAGAL: Right. We were talking about this. There is a rumor - I don't know if this is true - that Subway has a patented fresh bread scent that they pump into their stores so that you think that they're making the bread fresh.

BABYLON: That is true. In my honest opinion, I think the dude who gave out franchises was going willy-nilly, and everybody had one. And you can't have a Subway around every corner.

SAGAL: Works for Starbucks, man.

BABYLON: Well, that's different.

SAGAL: (Laughter).

BABYLON: Starbucks is a drug.

GONDELMAN: (Laughter).

BABYLON: Caffeine is a drug. That's a drug, man, you know?

SALIE: But we don't know what's in that fresh bread scent. That might be a drug.

GONDELMAN: I'm with Brian, though, about Starbucks being a drug, right? Nobody's ever like, don't even talk to me till I've had my Italian cold cut combo in the morning.


BABYLON: Nobody.

SAGAL: Pooja, we have one more quote for you. Here it is.

KURTIS: Live your truth. Be free.

SAGAL: That was a woman on Instagram celebrating the news that one of the stars of what hit dating show just, perhaps not surprisingly, came out as gay?

POOJA: I have no idea. I'm going to guess "The Bachelor"?

SAGAL: Yes, "The Bachelor."


SAGAL: Yes, Pooja.


SAGAL: Colton Underwood, who appeared on two different seasons of "The Bachelor," once as a contestant and once as the bachelor to the prize, has come out as gay. Now, when Colton was the bachelor, he claimed at that time that he was a virgin. He said he had been waiting to meet a girl who had that special something, that is being a man.

SALIE: (Laughter).

SAGAL: I have to say, in regard to this guy, how can anyone be surprised? Colton Underwood isn't a person. It's a gay porn pseudonym.

SALIE: Thank you.


GONDELMAN: My thought is, like, he's the only honest Bachelor contestant 'cause he's the only one who, after "The Bachelor" was like, you know what? I actually wasn't looking for love. You got me.

SAGAL: Yeah, I know. There is, by the way, an amazing moment - you can find it online - where during the taping of this season, Billy Eichner came on as like their special guest celebrity for the episode. And he's talking to the guy. And he's like - you're a virgin? Really? Are you sure? Are you the first gay Bachelor? And you're like, oh, my God, he knew. He knew.

SALIE: You know, these shows - these reality shows have, like, crazy contracts, right?

SAGAL: Yeah.

SALIE: And all these writers and the contestants have to promise to be drunk and to sit in hot tubs and to have fake tans. And it's just amazing with all the fine print, they didn't say - also, are you sure you like women?



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

KURTIS: Pooja was great. She got all three right.

SAGAL: Hey, congratulations, Pooja. We appreciate you calling. And congratulations on getting your degree in just a couple of weeks.

POOJA: Thank y'all so much. It's been such a pleasure.

SAGAL: Thank you, Pooja. Take care.



DIANA ROSS: (Singing) I'm coming out. I want the world to know, got to let it show. I'm coming out. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.