'Wait Wait' For Aug. 14, 2021: Summer Break Edition

Aug 14, 2021

This week, we take a break from the news to feature some of our favorite moments from past shows. Click the audio link above to hear the whole show.

Adam Rose / Netflix via AP

Zach Galifianakis Plays Not My Job
The host of Between Two Ferns plays a game called Between Two Derns, three questions about Laura Dern and Bruce Dern.

Panel Questions
Mama Bear

Bluff The Listener
Our panelists read three stories about new prom trends, only one of which is true.

Kristine Lilly Plays Not My Job
The star player for the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team plays a game called "Your cup runneth over!" Three questions about cups that are not the World Cup.

Panel Questions
Provolone and Prejudice, Organic Gluten-Free Podcast, Super Pooper and The Pooperintendent Strikes Back.

Charlie Day Plays Not My Job
The actor, famous for a meme indicating a crazed conspiracy theorist, plays a game called "It's All Connected, Don't You See?" Three questions about more obscure conspiracy theories.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: The following program was taped before an audience of no one.


BILL KURTIS, BYLINE: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR News quiz. Hey, you've put in the work and watched what you ate. Time to show off your beach Billy (ph). I'm Bill Kurtis. And here is your host, a man who tattooed his six-pack on, Peter Sagal.



Thank you, Bill. It is August, the only month without any federal holidays. And in protest over this injustice, we are taking time off anyway. We will continue to do so until the government finally gives Herbert Hoover's birthday official status.

KURTIS: Born August 10, 1874, President Hoover's chief achievement is really not seeming that bad anymore, if you grade on a curve.

SAGAL: We are taking to the streets because that's how you get down to the beach. So in the meantime, we've got some fantastic stuff we would like to share with you.

KURTIS: When comedian and actor Zach Galifianakis joined us, his show, "Between Two Ferns," which was either a parody of a cable access talk show or just a cable access talk show, had just been made into a movie.



SAGAL: So we have a hooter. It's all right.


SAGAL: So I watched the movie, which is hilarious...


SAGAL: ...And has a bunch of "Between Two Ferns" interviews. And celebrities actually want to be on your show, right? They want to come and do this.



GALIFIANAKIS: I don't know. I mean, I don't really know why they would want to do it. But it's not a prank show. I'm not trying to prank anyone.

SAGAL: And if I understand correctly, you tell the celebrities their job is basically to sit there and just...

GALIFIANAKIS: Well, I tell them they don't have to be funny. They just have to sit there and be weirded out.

SAGAL: Yeah.


GALIFIANAKIS: And we will give them insults to give back to me. But sometimes in the moment, we just get talking, and the insults kind of fly naturally.


GALIFIANAKIS: I've cut an interview short because...


GALIFIANAKIS: ...The person - and I don't want to reveal who it was - but the person was acting so well, I thought they were going to just choke me out in the parking lot.

SAGAL: Really?


SAGAL: So - that somebody was acting so upset at your character that you honestly thought that this was going that badly?


GALIFIANAKIS: And I kind of said we're done to the director. And he said, we don't have anything. And I said, well, I want my life.

SAGAL: Yeah.


SAGAL: You'd rather live.

GOLDTHWAIT: You can say Florence Henderson.


GALIFIANAKIS: But it turned out that person just was that great of an actor. I was just fooled by them. So...


GALIFIANAKIS: But I don't try - I'm not trying to hurt anybody's feelings. I just am trying to cause weirdness.

SAGAL: Yeah. And - but it is amazing. For example, you did one with President Obama.

GALIFIANAKIS: Oh, yeah. I forgot about that.

SAGAL: Oh, yeah.


SAGAL: I understand how that could slip your mind. And so you were going to go to the White House. This is when they were rolling out the...


SAGAL: ...The Obamacare thing, and they were trying to get it around to things the youth might watch. And so when you got a chance to go do this bit with President Obama, what did you say to yourselves?

GALIFIANAKIS: I just couldn't believe - you know, even when we got to the White House, I was - I just thought they were going to - that it was never going to happen. And I was nervous. And I actually - I sat on some historic furniture that was roped off...


GALIFIANAKIS: ...At the White House twice.

SAGAL: Really?

GALIFIANAKIS: Two different times.

SAGAL: I mean, was that - they didn't have, like, the rope tied between, you know, the arms?

GALIFIANAKIS: Yeah. It was next to the war room and - or it was the War Room or the map room. I didn't know that there was a rope - velvet rope situation, and I had sat down on one of the seats. And then a security guard blew his whistle in my ear.


GALIFIANAKIS: And then I was so nervous, I did it again.


ROBERTS: Zach, this is Roxanne Roberts. Did the president have any sense of - or do any of the celebrities you interview have any sense when you start what you're going to ask? Or is it all news to them as you ask it? Is it...


ROBERTS: ...More like improvisation?

GALIFIANAKIS: I don't give them the questions ahead of time. With President Obama, though, because of limited time, that one was more scripted than the others. But he just kind of ran with it, and a lot of that is improv-ed (ph).

SAGAL: Really? So in the interview with President Obama, you sit with the then-president of the United States, and you say - if I remember correctly - how does it feel to be the last Black president?



SAGAL: And you said that to him.


SAGAL: And I legitimately thought he was about to kill you.


GALIFIANAKIS: Well, he doesn't have to kill me. He has people around him...

SAGAL: That's true.


GALIFIANAKIS: That was one of the questions where I asked his speechwriter, have - I pointed to that question before we taped it, and I said, has he seen that question?


GALIFIANAKIS: And the speechwriter looked at me and said, yeah, I think so and just walked off like, of course, he hasn't seen it.

SAGAL: So when you were sitting there with the president, and you didn't know that he knew you were about to ask that, and you did it anyway...

GALIFIANAKIS: I'm playing an idiot. So when you're playing an idiot, you kind of get away with things because part of the comedy for this thing is how not to be as a human being.

SAGAL: Right. Yes.


GALIFIANAKIS: So I don't know. He just took it in stride, and his response, I think, was made up.

SAGAL: Yeah. Well, what was - do you remember his response?

GALIFIANAKIS: He just told - I can't remember exactly what it says, which is weird because I watch it 16 times a day.

SAGAL: Yeah.


SAGAL: I would, too. I have to say - and I've seen "Baskets," which is great as well - you often play people who are terrible people. They're just - they're not self-aware. They're not nearly as talented as they think they are. They're mean to people.


GALIFIANAKIS: That's correct.

ALONZO BODDEN: So when will you be running for president?

SAGAL: I know. Yeah.


SAGAL: Well, Zach Galifianakis, we have asked you here to play a game we're calling...

KURTIS: Between Two Derns.

SAGAL: We've been talking about "Between Two Ferns." But what do you know about the Derns - specifically, Bruce and Laura Dern, the father-daughter team of actors? Answer two out of three questions about the Derns, and you'll win our prize for one of our listeners - the voice of anyone that they might choose from our show. Bill, who is Zach Galifianakis playing for?

KURTIS: Johnny Mays (ph) of Austin, Texas.

SAGAL: Are you ready to play this game?

GALIFIANAKIS: Yes, I am ready.

SAGAL: All right. Here's your first question. Bruce Dern got his start by getting rave reviews in a Broadway play in 1958. What was unusual about his role? Was it, A, he remained entirely still and entirely silent for the entire play; B, he spent only 52 seconds on stage; or C, he played the rear end of a horse?


SAGAL: It is C - he played the rear end...


SAGAL: ...Of a horse.


SAGAL: It was actually B.

GALIFIANAKIS: That's what I meant. That's what I meant.

SAGAL: I understand. I understand.


SAGAL: The theater critic Walter Kerr wrote of the play, which he did not like, quote, "the play's saving grace is a 52-second performance by a heretofore unknown actor named Bruce Stern."



SAGAL: But it started him off. All right. You still have two more chances. There's no problem.


SAGAL: Bruce Dern later was horribly criticized for another role. He even received death threats for doing it. Why? A, he played the title role in "The Misunderstood Mussolini;" B, he shot John Wayne in the back; or C, he shot Raquel Welch in the front?


GALIFIANAKIS: Oh, boy. Is this for me again?

SAGAL: This is for you, yeah.



SAGAL: You're right. It is B.



SAGAL: In his movie...



SAGAL: ...He shoots John Wayne in the back. Apparently, nobody had ever done this to John Wayne in his entire movie career. No villain had ever successfully killed John Wayne before the end of the movie. And John Wayne on set said to Bruce Dern, you know, people are going to hate you for this. And Bruce Dern said to him, yeah, but they're going to love me in Berkeley...


SAGAL: ...Which is a great line. All right. So that - we've been talking about Bruce Dern, the father. Let's talk about Laura Dern. Once, while working on a David Lynch movie, Laura Dern told a producer, you're in a David Lynch movie, dude. You've got to sit back and enjoy the ride. What was she referring to? A, David Lynch had just announced that for the rest of the filming, the catering would just be ice cubes in the shape of demons...


SAGAL: ...B, David Lynch had just told the producer, from now on, Laura Dern over there is a kitty cat, and you are Laura Dern; or C, David Lynch had told the producer he needed, quote, "a one-legged woman, a monkey and a lumberjack by 3:15 p.m."?



GALIFIANAKIS: What are people saying in the audience?

SAGAL: People are saying - you've got a bunch of David Lynch fans...


SAGAL: ...And they're all saying C. Yes.


SAGAL: You're right. It was C.


SAGAL: And, in fact, the producer got them, but not until 4:00 p.m.


SAGAL: Bill, how did Zach Galifianakis do on our quiz?

KURTIS: He did very well. Zach, congratulations - you got 2 out of 3.


SAGAL: Congratulations.


SAGAL: Zach Galifianakis is a comedian, and he is the star of "Between Two Ferns: The Movie." It is streaming now on Netflix. Thank you so much, Zach Galifianakis.

GALIFIANAKIS: Thanks, everybody.

SAGAL: What a thrill to talk to you.

KURTIS: Here's another bit of wonderfulness that keeps us even warmer on these warm nights.


SAGAL: Mo, this week a woman in California made national news when she scared away a bear by using only what?

MO ROCCA: By dressing up as a bigger bear.


SAGAL: The bear knew it was in trouble because she called it by its full name, Grizzlabeth Marie Bear.


ROCCA: Oh, she - wait. She pretended to be the bear's angry spouse?

SAGAL: Well, close.

ROCCA: Like where have you been, bear?

SAGAL: You're so close. Not spouse, but...

ROCCA: Oh, oh - mistress.


ROCCA: Oh, mother.



ROCCA: Mother.

SAGAL: I love that you went right to spouse, mistress.

ROCCA: The mother - so an angry mother. It should've been mother-in-law.

SAGAL: No. Well, she used, she says, her mom voice. So this - she had it on video. This bear is, like, pawing at the door of her house near Lake Tahoe. And this woman named Brittany Christensen says she used her, quote, "mom voice" on it. She yelled, oh, no, no, no, no, no, no, go away, go...


SAGAL: ...To the bear amazingly responded, I hate you; I wish I was never born.


HONG: You know what, Peter? If she had done it in Korean, the bear would've gone to Harvard.


THREE DOG NIGHT: (Singing) Mama told me not to come. Mama told me not to come. That ain't the way to have fun, no - uh-uh.

SAGAL: When we come back, it's not Christmas in July; it's prom in August. And a star of the U.S. women's soccer team tells us why we just have to be a little bit more patient with the men's team. They're new at this. We'll be back in a minute with more of WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME from NPR.


KURTIS: From NPR and WVEZ in Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT DON'T TELL ME, the NPR News quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis, and here's your host who's wondering if he can borrow your bucket to build a sandcastle, Peter Sagal.

SAGAL: Thank you, Bill. We here at WAIT WAIT are on strike this week out of principle and definitely not out of a desire to just hang around and try to perfect our mango lemonade recipe.

KURTIS: It's all about the pulp, Peter, all about the pulp.

SAGAL: This last spring many high school seniors missed out on their proms because of the pandemic, so in their honor, a prom-themed Bluff the Listener game with Negin Farsad, Alonzo Bodden and Maeve Higgins.

DEVIN O'DONNELL: Hi. This is Devin O'Donnell from Salt Lake City, Utah.

SAGAL: Salt Lake City is a beautiful place. What do you do there, Devin?

O'DONNELL: So I work in a warehouse during the day, go to cosmetology school at night. And I also work as a drag performer here in the city.

SAGAL: What - can I ask what your - I have a number of questions. First of all, what is your drag name?

O'DONNELL: It's Gemma Nigh.

SAGAL: Gemma Nigh. OK.


SAGAL: Sounds exotic. And you're in cosmetology school. You're going to be a hairstylist.

O'DONNELL: Yeah, absolutely - hair and makeup.

SAGAL: That's fabulous. Well, as a drag queen, you will absolutely be ready to do that.

O'DONNELL: Yeah, that's what got me started.

SAGAL: All right.

O'DONNELL: Who knows better how to do makeup than someone who beats their face weekly?

SAGAL: That's true. Well, Devin, it's nice to have you with us. You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. What is the topic, Bill?

KURTIS: America, will you go to prom with me? It's prom season, and that means two things - one, photos your children will regret forever and, two, new prom trends. Our panelists are going to tell you about what's new at prom this year. Pick the one who's telling the truth. You'll win our prize, the WAIT WAITer of your choice on your voicemail. You ready to play?

O'DONNELL: Absolutely.

KURTIS: All right. Let's hear first, then, from Negin for a song.

NEGIN FARSAD: The 1990s hip-hop duo Kriss Kross made an unlikely resurgence at Boise, Idaho, Centennial High School. You might remember them from that one hit - jump, jump. The daddy mack will make you jump, jump. Kriss Kross will make you jump, jump. The daddy mack will make you jump, jump. I'm sure it was a huge hit with NPR audiences. Anyway, you may also remember the curious fact that they wore their pants backwards.

The kids at Centennial High could not get enough of Kriss Kross and started dressing backwards on campus. While there were a few awkward adjustments at the boys' urinal, school administrators viewed the whole thing as a passing throwback fad. But the trend continued to grow, and the senior class decided to make the theme of prom backward. So they renamed it morp, which is prom backwards, for those of you who lack backwards speaking facility. Not only did the students decide to dress backwards - long dress trains flowing forward on girls and corsages pinned on boys' backs. But they made everything backward.

Morp night started with the afterparty, where students got exceedingly drunk and made mistakes they would soon regret for the rest of their lives. As they danced through the night, they turned their moonwalks forward and their flossing upward. Their twerking had more chest and less booty, and their Gangnam Style looked like a horse was riding them.


SAGAL: The backwards prom, where everything was backwards, including the progression of events, in Boise. Your next prom-posal (ph) will come from Alonzo Bodden.

BODDEN: Is your prom really chaperoned when the chaperone is Charlie Sheen?


BODDEN: You might have to figure that out, especially as the trend of celebrity prom chaperones is spreading and also because Mr. Sheen is looking for work. TMZ reporter Selena Jones says it started at Calabasas High School in Southern California. Now, Calabasas is well-known as the home of the Kardashian family. One parent called in a favor from her friend, Kris Jenner. And the next thing you know, Khloe Kardashian is at the prom, checking kids for alcohol. Not to be outdone, ICM superagent Ian Arougheti has a friend whose daughter is at Beverly Hills High School of the Arts. So now their prom will be monitored by Idris Elba. Interestingly, there may be more mom volunteers than actual students at that.


BODDEN: News travels fast and even faster on Snapchat. LA kids bragging got Nashville kids jealous, so their parents got into the act. And now country stars Carrie Underwood and Reba McEntire will be at the Nashville High School senior prom, making sure the kids don't do anything that they'll have to later write country songs about.


BODDEN: Not to be outdone, New York started rumors of Jay-Z at a Brooklyn high school, but these were unfounded. So Brooklyn Tech will have to settle for Chris Rock.


BODDEN: All of this led to the nightmare scenario possibly coming true. Charlie Sheen, through his lawyers, asked if chaperoning the LA Performing Arts High School prom would count as part of his community service. TMZ is waiting for the judge's decision.

SAGAL: Celebrity chaperones is the new trend.


SAGAL: Your last story of what's new under the sea comes from Maeve Higgins.

MAEVE HIGGINS: This year's big prom trend is inspired by a texting fail. Teens across the country texted their dates to check what kind of corsage they wanted only to find that their phones autocorrected the word corsage to croissant. It seems like a rose by any other name is a pastry. Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen, a Dallas bakery, is now selling the croissant corsage after the quirky autocorrect mistake blew up on social media. So instead of wearing delicate carnations and pretty lilies, youngsters are getting their prom dates corsages made from actual croissants. It's a lovely way to make a memory and a grease stain that will last forever.


HIGGINS: Surely this is just the first in a long line of carbohydrate accoutrements from - why is there so many French words?


HIGGINS: Surely this is the first in a long line of carbohydrate accessories from bagel buttonholes, cupcake cufflinks and, of course, a cumber-sticky-bun (ph).


HIGGINS: It's all part of a lovely trend of having some fun and providing gluten intolerant people with yet another activity they can't participate in.


SAGAL: All right. Which of these is a real prom theme or trend this year? Was it from Negin and the backwards prom, or morp, in which everything happens backwards; from Alonzo - celebrity chaperones, a famous person standing there at the door for you - or from Maeve Higgins - kids wearing croissants instead of corsages because of an autocorrect failure? Which of these is the real story of a prom trend?

O'DONNELL: Well, I think I'm going to go with the croissant corsage.

SAGAL: You're going with the croissant corsage.

KURTIS: I can't even say it - croissant corsage.

HIGGINS: Croissant corsage.

SAGAL: All right. Well, to bring you the correct answer, we spoke to someone playing a role in the real story.


JOHN FELTON: They would be asking their prom dates what kind of corsage they wanted, and autocorrect on their phone that would change that text to croissant.


SAGAL: That was John Felton from Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen, which is making croissant corsages for this year's prom-goers. Congratulations, Devin. You got it right.


SAGAL: You earned a point from me for the pronunciation of croissant. And you've won our prize, the voice of your choice on your voicemail. Thank you so much for playing with us.

O'DONNELL: Thank you. This was amazing.

SAGAL: Thank you, Devin.


SAGAL: The U.S. has had a kind of mixed record these past few years - couple of hits, couple of misses, a draw or two. But one consistent highlight has been the U.S. women's national soccer team. They dominate wherever and whenever they play, and they do it with style.

KURTIS: In 2019, we talked to one of the team's early stars, Kristine Lilly, who has more caps than any other U.S. player. We have no idea what that means, but it sounds impressive.

KRISTINE LILLY: Thanks for having me.


SAGAL: Thank you. So just to establish the credentials here, you were on the U.S. women's team for 23 years starting when you were 16.

LILLY: Yes. I know it's hard to believe.

SAGAL: Wow. So you were on the famous team that won in '99 with Brandi Chastain's final penalty kick.

LILLY: Correct.

SAGAL: And you've also won in the next and the next, right? How many championships, three?

LILLY: Well, I won two World Cups, so I was on the first one in '91 and then the second in '99. And then I was part of two gold-medal teams...

SAGAL: Right. So you...

LILLY: ...'96 and '04, yeah.

SAGAL: You've got some hardware. You've got some...


SAGAL: So now that we've established you know what you're talking about, we've got to ask you about the topic of the week, which was the American match against Thailand. First of all, that was a little unusual, right?

LILLY: It was. I mean, you know what? I respect the Thailand team. They kept playing. The U.S., you know, was on fire.

SAGAL: I will confess. I'm rooting, of course, for the U.S., of course. But I felt a little pity for the Thai team.

LILLY: Yeah, no. I...

SAGAL: And I was like, come on, you guys get a goal. You can have a goal, too. Come on.


SAGAL: Did you feel - were you...

LILLY: No, I did, too. It's tough. You know, I've been on a team that scored a bunch of goals. I was in the World Cup in '07 and lost to Brazil 4-0 in the semifinals, which was - felt like it was 10-0. So it's hard to be on the other side of it. But I - like I said, I respect Thailand. They kept their heads up. They can look at it that way and maybe forget about the score for now.


SAGAL: Yeah, that's not going to happen. But...


SAGAL: What is it like to be an American playing soccer? And we all know soccer is not one of the big sports here in America. Famously, Americans don't care about soccer. Do the - do, like, the Europeans and the Brazilians, the traditional soccer powers - do they get frustrated because it's Americans who are thrashing them?

LILLY: Well, I don't think they like us very much.



LILLY: But it's funny. I was just at the - I was at the opening game, France against Korea, and there was other players from around the world that played during my time - a Norwegian, a French player. And I was talking to the Norwegian, and I was, like, we didn't like you. And she's, like, well, we didn't like you.


LILLY: It was pretty mutual playing, but that's what made it competitive. That's what made great rivalry. And now we can sit and talk about it and share what we've learned through playing the game and what, you know, the women's game has grown into now.

SAGAL: Do you still dislike them a little bit?

LILLY: Oh, yes, totally.

SAGAL: Oh, yeah.


HONG: Do you know a lot of Norwegian curse words?

LILLY: Zilch.

SAGAL: Yeah.

HONG: Is that one?

JORDAN CARLOS: Oh, I thought that was one.


SAGAL: She doesn't learn Norwegian curse words. She inspires them.


SAGAL: Is there a difference between the men's game and the women's game other than the fact that one is played by men, one is played by women? Are there different styles of soccer? Do you see different things if you know what to look for?

LILLY: The difference I would say right now - the men are a little bit more dramatic.


HONG: Oh, yes.

CARLOS: Whoa, whoa. Shots fired.

HONG: I know.

CARLOS: Shots fired.

HONG: Those men are just so overemotional. Wow.

SAGAL: I know.


SAGAL: So do your kids play soccer?

LILLY: They do. I have two daughters, and they both play soccer.

SAGAL: Oh, my gosh. So what kind of soccer mom are you?


LILLY: Oh, my goodness. Some days, it's good. Some days, it's not good.


SAGAL: Describe a bad day.


LILLY: Well, I also helped coach, so I...

HONG: Whoa.

LILLY: I get to say the things. But sometimes, I'm like, oh, my gosh, I really want to say something right now, but I can't.

SAGAL: So wait a minute. You help coach.


SAGAL: So that means there's a coach.


SAGAL: And this poor woman has a 23-year veteran...


SAGAL: ...Of the U.S. women's team with two World Cup and two Olympic titles standing there giving suggestions.


LILLY: You nailed it.

SAGAL: Yeah.


HONG: I bet she knows Norwegian curse words.

SAGAL: Yeah, I bet she does.


SAGAL: And are you gentle about it? Oh, coach, you know, it's just an idea, but maybe you could try to win a game? I mean, is that...


LILLY: I'm a very good assistant.

SAGAL: I'm sure you are.


SAGAL: And how are you with your daughters? I mean, are you - do you, like, you know, give them a talking-to if they don't play to their potential? Or are you one of those everybody-is-a-champion kind of people?

LILLY: Oh, no. No, everyone's not a champion, no.


CARLOS: Wow, wow.


HONG: Wow.

CARLOS: Wow. Oh, my...

HONG: Damn. Harsh.

SAGAL: Get that participation trophy out of my house.


LILLY: Exactly.

SAGAL: You ever been tempted to cut one of your daughters from the team?


LILLY: Not yet.

SAGAL: All right.


SAGAL: Well, Kristine Lilly, it is a pleasure to talk to you today. But we have invited you here to play a game we're calling...

KURTIS: Your Cup Runneth Over.

SAGAL: You, of course, are a World Cup champion. But what do you know about the world's other cups? We're going to ask you three questions about many different cups.

LILLY: All right.

SAGAL: Answer two correctly, you'll win a prize that is not a cup for one of our listeners. Instead, it's the voice of their choice from our show. Bill, who is Kristine Lilly playing for?

KURTIS: Shane Heiman of Lawrence, Kan.

SAGAL: All right. Ready to play?

LILLY: All right. I am. All right, Shane. Here we go.

SAGAL: I can feel you, like, getting ready to go.

CARLOS: I know.

LILLY: I'm in my game mode right now. You know, I'm very competitive.

SAGAL: I know. I know.

CARLOS: Penalty kick.

SAGAL: Here's your first question. We've had cups of one kind, of course, for thousands of years. In fact, Pythagoras, the ancient Greek mathematician, was a pioneer in the cup field as well. What did he invent? Was it, A, the novelty gift cup...


SAGAL: ...With the message world's best mathematician on it...


SAGAL: ...B, the prank cup, which spilled wine all over the user when he tried to take a sip; or C, the travel mug - in his case, a cup designed to be latched to the saddle of a horse?

LILLY: I'm going to go with C.

SAGAL: You're going to go with C. It was actually the prank cup.


HONG: What?

SAGAL: Pythagoras, the great genius mathematician, invented the prank cup. And it's really ingenious. If you pour in too much wine, it all of a sudden drains out onto your lap.


SAGAL: Next question. We all know and love Japan's famous cup-o-ramen. You know, it's a Styrofoam cup. You pour in water, you get ramen noodles. It's great. Other countries have their own version, too, like which of these - A, Russia's cup-o-mashed potatoes; B, Canada's cup-o-bacon; or C, Sweden's cup-o-herring?

LILLY: Oh, man. Those good, old Russians. Let's see what they got (laughter).

SAGAL: You're going to go with that?

LILLY: Yeah.

SAGAL: You're right, of course.


LILLY: Yeah.



SAGAL: The cup-o-instant mashed potatoes is available in chicken, beef, onion and crouton flavor. And I'm going to be honest - it sounds great.


SAGAL: Our last question - all cars have cup holders now. That's passe. That's boring. The real innovation in drinking while driving is which of these - A, the top-of-the-line Mercedes Maybach, which comes with sterling silver champagne flutes for each passenger; B, the new model Honda Odyssey minivan, which has holders for juice boxes in the ceiling so you can hang them above your kids like IV bags...


CARLOS: Sweet juice.

SAGAL: ...Or C, the new Ford 150 Tailgate Edition pickup, which has a built-in beer keg and tap?

LILLY: Oh, these things are all just wrong.


LILLY: Oh, wow. I'm going with the minivan with the drip.


HONG: The audience is rioting.


SAGAL: So you - so the idea is, like, you put your kid...


SAGAL: ...Strap him in...


SAGAL: ...Hook up the juice box...

CARLOS: Like a gerbil.

SAGAL: ...Above their head, run the straw down to their mouth.


LILLY: I think it's more like A, but I don't agree with it.


SAGAL: So in other words, you think A is the right answer, but you just think it's a wrong thing to have. You think it's...


SAGAL: Well, the truth doesn't care about your feelings.


SAGAL: So you're going to pick it?


SAGAL: You are right, of course.


LILLY: Thank you, audience.

SAGAL: This is a $200,000 luxury sedan, and you'd better believe for that amount of money it comes with a little fridge to keep your champagne cold.


SAGAL: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Bill, how did Kristine Lilly do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Kristine, you can hang another award up 'cause you won our quiz.

SAGAL: Congratulations.


SAGAL: Kristine Lilly is a Hall of Fame soccer player. She's played in five World Cups and three Olympics. Her new book on team-building, "Powerhouse," is on sale now. Kristine Lilly, thank you so much for joining us.


LILLY: Thank you.


AIR MIAMI: (Singing) Hey, hey, hey, I've got it - World Cup fever. She, she, she, she's got it - World Cup fever. I, I, I, I've got it - World Cup Fever.

SAGAL: When we come back, we talk with Charlie Day. Trader Joe's muscles in on our turf and perhaps our favorite news story of the last decade, the mysterious case of the pooper-intendent. We'll be back in a minute with more of WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME from NPR.

KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR News quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis. And here is your host, a man who would be a champion surfer if they just allowed you to lie down on it, Peter Sagal.


SAGAL: Thank you, Bill. So while we're taking off a little time to recharge - all NPR personnel are solar-powered to be more sustainable - we are sharing some great bits from the recent past, including these questions we put to Luke Burbank, Faith Salie and Maz Jobrani at a show in Austin, Texas, in 2018.


SAGAL: Right now, panel, time for some more questions for you from the week's news. Luke, this week, a library employee in Washington state asked patrons sincerely to please stop using what for bookmarks?

LUKE BURBANK: How did this story escape my radar?

SAGAL: I don't know.


BURBANK: Stop using - don't - can I get a hint, please?

SAGAL: Yeah. Well, Swiss is good 'cause you can still see some of the page through it.


BURBANK: Cheese?

SAGAL: Yes, slices of cheese.


SAGAL: On Tuesday, Anna Holmes sent out a tweet reading, dear library patrons, please stop using cheese as a bookmark.


SAGAL: Please. This tweet drew a lot of responses from fellow librarians around the country detailing other things they have found as bookmarks in their library books - a strip of cooked bacon...


SAGAL: ...A complete and whole banana peel...


SAGAL: ...And, on one bizarre occasion, a yarmulke.


SAGAL: The yarmulke, though, could have just been someone expressing their bitterness about not being able to use bacon.


BURBANK: Wow. So the books were coming back. They were being returned, and they were finding....

SAGAL: Things inside the books.

BURBANK: ...Cheese in...

SAGAL: Cheese, bacon - just things...

BURBANK: Do we know what the book was?

SAGAL: That's a good question.


SAGAL: You know, maybe - the book may have been about ham, in which case....

BURBANK: Right. I mean, that just makes sense.

SAGAL: Yeah, it does.

SALIE: If it were a sad book, it could be blue cheese.

SAGAL: That's true.


SAGAL: Maz, we all love Trader Joe's stuff - chocolate Joe-Joe's, Two-Buck Chuck, you name it. This week, though, they unveiled a new offering. The jury's still out on it. What is it?

JOBRANI: Can I get a hint?

SAGAL: Yeah. The final 10 minutes of each episode is just audio of people drinking really cheap wine.

JOBRANI: The final 10 minutes of - oh, they got a podcast?



SAGAL: Trader Joe's has a podcast. Well, everybody, the podcast craze was fun while it lasted. But it's officially murdered. Trader Joe's...


SAGAL: ...Has killed it by launching their new corporate podcast, "Inside Trader Joe's." Like most successful podcasts, it explores mysteries like why peanut butter-filled pretzels are so murderously delicious.


SAGAL: It's everything you were desperately afraid someone might insist on telling you about Trader Joe's - how they develop their products, what the hell a plumcot is and how many gunfights break out each day in their parking lots.




SAGAL: A high school superintendent in New Jersey apparently had a beef with a rival school, so he decided to express his disdain for that school by doing what on a daily basis?

JOBRANI: I'm going to take a guess, but then maybe you should give me a hint. Does it have anything to do with urination?

SAGAL: You're awfully close.

SALIE: Just take that one guess and make it two.

JOBRANI: Oh, so...


JOBRANI: He was pooping on - at the - on the other school.

SAGAL: He pooped on their football field, apparently.


SAGAL: Officials at Holmdel High School were perplexed by all the poop they found on their field. Either a very large animal was lurking there, or maybe their kickoff return guy had a bad case of nerves. They didn't know.


SAGAL: To solve the mystery, they actually had to hire a, quote, "surveillance team," resulting in the most disappointing espionage assignment ever.


SAGAL: I think of it - that guy is, like, a private detective. We're going to do surveillance. What's the job? What do we have to find out? Oh.


SAGAL: But they did it. They found it out. On Monday at 5:50 p.m., they caught rival District Superintendent Thomas Tramaglini, in the act. He was charged with lewdness and littering.


SAGAL: It seems weird. I guess they mean it more in the sort of cat litter sense. I don't know.


SALIE: I believe it was 5:50 a.m. He...

SAGAL: Oh, didn't I say that? I'm sorry. I meant to say that.

SALIE: Yeah, he...

JOBRANI: Well, I go in the morning.

SALIE: This man - that's what I was going to say.


SALIE: This happened daily. This man at least deserves some approbation for his regularity.

SAGAL: Yeah.



SALIE: And commitment - 'cause you know he had to set a clock for, like, 4:45, eat the All-Bran, get in the car...


JOBRANI: Get his coffee...

SAGAL: Yeah.

JOBRANI: ...Have a cigarette as he's sitting there.



BURBANK: And then still, by the way...

SALIE: That's discipline.

BURBANK: And pull that off, like, outside. Like, I can't go to the bathroom at a Barnes & Noble.


BURBANK: Like, I get inside my head about it. Like, on the field outdoors?

JOBRANI: It was funny that they needed a surveillance team. How about just a camera?


KURTIS: As you know, we are a very serious news broadcast, so when there was an update on one of those stories a month later, we were honor bound to bring it to you.


SAGAL: Hari, an update to a story that we have been monitoring on this show - it's about a school superintendent in New Jersey who was arrested a couple of months ago. His lawyer has now requested all the surveillance video of what alleged crime?



KONDABOLU: Was he pooping in class?


SAGAL: No, but I'm going to give it to you.


SAGAL: He was...


SAGAL: I'm amazed you didn't hear this, Hari, because we devoted our entire hour to it in a special edition of WAIT WAIT.... DON'T TELL ME some months ago.

KONDABOLU: Was I on that one?

SAGAL: He was arrested for secretly pooping on the football field of a rival high school.


KONDABOLU: Yes, I did hear about that.

SAGAL: The superintendent has been charged with vandalism. Although it's not graffiti, it's graffeces (ph).


SAGAL: An avid morning jogger, the so-called popper-intendent...


SAGAL: ...Committed the act repeatedly, purportedly to get vengeance on this rival school. His lawyer, who has the second-worst job in law after defending Michael Cohen...


SAGAL: ...Has requested all the surveillance footage of the incident be released to him. So sorry, everybody who's been praying for the pee tape to be revealed. God misheard you.


KONDABOLU: Whatever. He's a gardener. He added some manure. It's not the biggest deal in the world.

SAGAL: The case has generated a lot of interest among legal scholars who can't wait to see the outcome of Board of Education versus Brown.


SAGAL: Lastly, it's been a tumultuous time, but one of the few constants, the one loadstar that all Americans could turn to, has been the exceptionally dark and hilarious sitcom "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia," the longest-running live-action sitcom in television history.

KURTIS: There's something about this saga of terrible people who never accomplish anything that speaks to the American spirit. One of the show's stars, Charlie Day, joined us in 2019.


SAGAL: For people who haven't seen "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia" - and there aren't a lot of them left. It's been so successful for so long. Can you describe the show?

CHARLIE DAY: No, sir. I cannot.


DAY: You know, it's pretty indescribable. I guess it's a show about watching terrible people do and say terrible things.

SAGAL: Yeah, that's about it. And...

DAY: That's it.

SAGAL: I mean, if you thought "Seinfeld" was about a group of people who were generally kind of unpleasant, it's like cranking that up to 12. Was that how you conceived of it? Did you guys say to yourself, let's just play characters who are the most awful people we can think of?

DAY: That pretty much sums it up, I think. Yeah. You know, I think we thought that would be the funniest thing. We find terrible behavior amusing.

SAGAL: Yes. Is it true - my understanding is you just shot this thing with your friends in LA one day because you were bored, and you came up with it.

DAY: Yeah. No, that's true. That's true. I mean, we were looking to entertain ourselves. But the one thing you got wrong is the other two guys did change their names, and I just kept my name the same. I was smart because now I walk down the street and people don't yell Kramer at me.

SAGAL: I see.


SAGAL: Have you ever - because you also write the show and produce the show, and you improvise the show with your friends - have you ever come up with something, like, that's so awful you can't actually bring yourself to do it on camera even as pretend?

DAY: I certainly wouldn't say it in front of a large audience of people.

DAY: I understand.


SAGAL: But there have been, like, meetings where somebody said, hey, how about if the gang does this? And then you all looked at each other in horror - that sort of thing.

DAY: No, not so much because usually, we get excited and we say, OK, great. Now how do we make that funny?


SAGAL: Can you - this is a terrible thing to ask any performer or artist, but I'm going to do it anyway. Can you explain the show's success? Because it - I mean, it's hilarious how awful these people are, and the conventional wisdom in television is you want people that people can enjoy, can admire, can like.

DAY: Have you ever been driving on the side of the road and slowed down to look at a car accident?

SAGAL: Yeah.


DAY: I think there's something to that, which is you just say, I can't believe I'm seeing this. I can't believe I'm hearing this. But I have to stop and look.

SAGAL: I understand. I wanted to ask you about something. There is a meme of you, as they say, on the internet that I'm sure everybody has seen. It is you standing in front of what I guess we might call now a conspiracist blackboard.

DAY: That's right.

SAGAL: Yeah. And so that, I assume, came from an episode of "It's Always Sunny," right?

DAY: That is the Pepe Silvia meme. And that's from an episode in which I've taken a job in a mailroom, and I'm going crazy, and I'm getting letters for the guy named Pepe Silvia. And I think it's a big conspiracy, and I try to crack the code. Some fans, very astutely, have put together that because my character can't read, Pepe Silvia might be Pennsylvania on the mail.


DAY: But actually, I don't think - I think for us, it was just a funny name for a guy to go crazy about. But I like their theory better.

SAGAL: And so - but it has gotten to the point where at any time, especially on Twitter, if somebody is making fun of somebody, they will put that gif of you, like, to indicate crazy conspiracy theorist.

DAY: I'm very proud of it.

SAGAL: Are you really?


DAY: I like it immensely.

ADAM BURKE: Yeah. I have a conspiracy theory that he's behind it.

SAGAL: Yeah, may as well be.


SAGAL: Oh, I wanted to ask you one last thing about the show. And this is something I love. I was watching an episode just the other night in which your character, Charlie, has this mad crush on this waitress who has - wants nothing to do with Charlie, treats him with contempt and disgust while has a crush on one of her friends. And I found out that is, in fact, your wife.

DAY: That's correct.

SAGAL: Right.


SAGAL: And you met doing an even weirder roll together, right?

DAY: Well, no. We did play incestuous twins once on an episode of "Reno 911!"


SAGAL: I'm sorry. Wait a minute. I just said you met doing an even weirder role.

DAY: Yeah. But we did not...

SAGAL: And your response was...

DAY: That's not where we met, but that was our idea.

SAGAL: Oh, OK. I'm sorry. All right. All right.

DAY: We (unintelligible) together with that idea, so...

SAGAL: I thought you were saying that wasn't a very unusual relationship.

DAY: It's not in certain parts of the country. But yeah, that would be weird.


SAGAL: Does your wife enjoy getting regularly to play someone who hates you?

DAY: Yes, very much.


DAY: She's very good at it. And, sometimes, she takes her work home. She's really a...


DAY: ...Really a pro.

SAGAL: Are you sometimes on set doing that bit, and you're like, she's getting a little too into this?

DAY: It's a blurred line, yeah. But, like, she's a method actor. That's the problem.

SAGAL: Yeah, I understand.


SAGAL: Would you recommend for other people who are in marriages and want to keep them healthy just to regularly, like, play-act like one of them just loathes the other and treats them with contempt?

DAY: I think a lot of people get a lot of practice at that all the time.

SAGAL: Yeah, it's true.


SAGAL: You're not that unusual. You just get paid for it.

DAY: Yeah, that's right.


SAGAL: Well, Charlie Day, it is a pleasure to talk to you. But we have invited you here to play a game we're calling...

KURTIS: It's All Connected. Don't You See?

SAGAL: So, as we were discussing, you are famous for that meme indicating a crazed conspiracy theorist. And now it's often used to make fun of conspiracy theories, so we're going to ask you about some more obscure conspiracy theories that we were able to dig up. Answer two out of three questions, and you'll win our prize for one of our listeners, the voice of their choice on their answering machine.

Bill, who is Charlie Day playing for?

KURTIS: Tom Jaworski of Archer, Fla.

SAGAL: All right.

DAY: All right, Tommy. Here we go.

SAGAL: Here you go. Here's your first question.


SAGAL: You probably remember the ice bucket challenge - the thing where a couple of years ago, people were dumping buckets of ice water on their heads to raise money for ALS research. Conspiracy theorists say it wasn't really for charity, though. What was it? A, a secret campaign by the bucket lobby...


SAGAL: ...To sell more buckets...


SAGAL: ...B, a ploy by the Catholic Church to quell sexual desire all over the world...


SAGAL: ...Or C, a satanic ritual meant to purify people before human sacrifice?


DAY: Well, I went to Catholic school growing up, so, you know, there's a lot of people suspicious about the Catholic Church. I think we're all finding out why.

SAGAL: You're going to go for B. It's - they believe it's a ploy by the Catholic Church to limit sexual desire by...

DAY: Yeah.

SAGAL: ...Tricking people into putting ice water...

DAY: Yeah. They're trying to chill us out.

SAGAL: Yeah. No, it was a satanic ritual. But I think if the Catholic Church is listening, they might want to go this way because nothing else is working.

DAY: (Laughter).

SAGAL: All right. You still have two more chances here, Charlie - not a problem.

DAY: OK, that's fine.

SAGAL: You've heard of the Illuminati. That's the shadowy cabal controlling the world.

DAY: Yeah, I'm in it. I'm in it.


SAGAL: Oh, are you? We told you this at the last meeting. You're not supposed to say.

DAY: Oh, it's a conspiracy.

SAGAL: It is a conspiracy. Anyway, the Illuminati - shadowy cabal controlling world events. But you may not have heard that what is part of the Illuminati's evil schemes? A, the TV sitcom "Saved By The Bell"...


SAGAL: ...B, the public radio show "Thistle And Shamrock," or C, Mike's Hard Lemonade?


DAY: I mean, I love the idea that, somehow, Mike's Hard Lemonade is all wrapped up in this.


DAY: I've got to go with that one. That's too fun.

SAGAL: How exactly would Mike's Hard Lemonade...


SAGAL: ...Fit into...

DAY: I don't know. But I just - I want it to be.

SAGAL: You want it to be. So even though I'm broadly hinting that it isn't, you're going to choose it anyway.


DAY: OK. All right. Come on.

SAGAL: All right.


DAY: Perhaps I've just been "Saved By The Bell."

SAGAL: Yes, it was "Saved By The Bell." I don't know...


SAGAL: ...If you enjoyed...


SAGAL: ...That 90's sitcom, but apparently, it was projecting Illuminati propaganda to the world. The lead character graduates, goes to Yale - center of the Illuminati. That's how you know.

All right. Your last question - if you get this right, you win. There are lots of conspiracies about things that we think are real, but the conspiracy is they don't really exist. We've been fooled. Which of these things are believed by a conspiracy theorist to be entirely fake? A, J.K. Rowling...


SAGAL: ...Author of "Harry Potter"; B, the country of Finland...


SAGAL: ...Or C, the moon?

DAY: Oh, well, you know, a lot of people are probably not trusting that moon up there. It's suspicious, right? Why's it thin sometimes, and why it's fully round?



DAY: Yeah, let's go with the moon.

SAGAL: Well, you're right. But the real answer is all of them.


SAGAL: They're all believed to be fake by conspiracy theorists. Just so you know, J.K. Rowling is a front, a pseudonym for a group of writers. No one person could do all that. Finland was invented by Russia and Japan for reasons of their own. And the moon is a hologram. Now you know.

DAY: Yeah. Yeah. I never trusted Finland.

SAGAL: I know. Really.


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

KURTIS: Two out of three - we're going to give it. So you did win.

SAGAL: Congratulations, Charlie.


DAY: Thank you.

SAGAL: Charlie Day stars in "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia." The new season has just launched on FXX. Charlie Day, thank you so much for joining us on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.


DAY: Thank you, guys. Bye-bye.

SAGAL: That's it for our man-we-should-have-worked-on-our-tans-more-slowly edition. And if you want to see our beautiful new sunburns, be sure to join us at Tanglewood in western Massachusetts on August 26. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.