'Wait Wait' For July 10, 2021: Remember Live Audiences? Those Were Nice

Jul 10, 2021

This week, we listen back to some favorite segments to remind everyone what shows with actual audiences sound like. Hosted by Peter Sagal with official judging and scorekeeping from Bill Curtis and Chioke I'Anson. Click the audio link above to hear the whole show.

Theo Wargo / Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

Not My Job: We Quiz 'Hamilton' Star Leslie Odom Jr. On Ben Franklin
Leslie Odom, Jr., who originated the role of Aaron Burr, answers three questions about another founding father.

Panel Questions
A herd-full of hugs

Bluff The Listener
Our panelists read three stories about a new way couples can keep things interesting, only one of which is true.

Not My Job: We Quiz 'Watchmen' Star Regina King On Luxury Watches
We invited the Oscar-winning actress to play a game called "I'm not a watchman, I'm a watch man."

Panel Questions
Hands Free Connection

We Regret The Errors

Not My Job: We Quiz Big Wave Surfer Laird Hamilton On Channel Surfing
The legendary surfer and lifestyle guru answers three questions about channel surfing and terrible moments in television history.

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: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR News quiz. Hey, worried about the heavy hand of the government? I got you, baby. I'm your Bill of Rights, Bill Kurtis. And here is your host, a man who insists the country's real birthday is the day they invented the endless pasta bowl. Peter Sagal.



Thank you, Bill. The Fourth of July is a time to reflect on our history. But this week, we're not looking back 245 years. No, we are reveling in the far-off days of 16 months ago when we were doing shows in front of actual humans.

KURTIS: In just a month, we're going to be doing it again. And there's so much we've forgotten. For example, audiences make so many interesting sounds. Which ones indicate they're happy?

SAGAL: That's why we are reviewing our notes and getting ready for the big day when we'll finally see other people again. Now, we're starting with a man who's an expert on seeing the people he's performing for, the star of "Hamilton" on Broadway, Leslie Odom Jr.


SAGAL: Leslie Odom Jr., welcome to WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

LESLIE ODOM JR: Thank you so much.

SAGAL: "Hamilton," of course, is a phenomenon like I've never seen after a lifetime of, like, enjoying the theater. How often do you get approached on the street by people who come up and immediately start, like, doing a number from the show with you?

ODOM: Well, Daveed put it better than anyone I'd ever heard. He said outside the stage door on 46th Street, you were a Beatle for a block.


ODOM: It was like once you cross 8th Avenue, it gets a little less. He said that to say it depends on where I am.

SAGAL: Right.

ODOM: You know, if I happened to be in a place where there are a lot of theater people, I'm going to get recognized. And the people are always lovely. But if I'm sort of, like, in a place where it's not a theater town really, you know, I'm more likely to be recognized from, like, a Nationwide commercial.


SAGAL: Sure. Did you guys know when you started working on the show with Lin-Manuel - I'm not even sure where it was, where it was first put on its feet - did you have any idea what it would become eventually?

ODOM: I knew what I felt about it. I knew that it touched and moved me. But I didn't know that it would connect with America. You know, I didn't know that, like, that it would reach people so far and wide. I couldn't have known that.

SAGAL: Yeah. I mean - and what was it like when all of a sudden that happened, when the crowd started showing up in front of the theater and waiting for you outside the theater? When all of a sudden - for example, a parade of celebrities came to see your show. I remember Beyonce came.

ODOM: Yeah, it was a trip. It was living a dream. I think that the trifecta, I think, for art, you know, in my book anyways, like something that is culturally relevant, artistically fulfilling and commercially successful.

SAGAL: Yeah.

ODOM: You very, very rarely get all three of those things. You're lucky if you get one or two of them.

SAGAL: Yeah.

ODOM: And "Hamilton" was all three.

SAGAL: Have you ever been back to see it since you left the show?

ODOM: Oh, yeah. I saw it in Puerto Rico. I saw Lin do it in Puerto Rico. I saw it in Chicago. I saw it in LA. I've seen it a couple of times. And...

SAGAL: And do you become one of those very annoying people who if I've seen it with - who just sit there and sing along the whole time?

ODOM: Yeah. Yeah, I'm sorry about that.

SAGAL: It's all right.


SAGAL: We have to ask you. We heard you saw Shonda Rhimes almost fight Art Garfunkel in the audience at "Hamilton."

ADAM FELBER: Here we go (laughter).


SAGAL: Is this true?

ODOM: It wasn't quite a fight. It was not quite a fight. Shonda is more classy than that. But she - oh, man...

FELBER: Explain.

SAGAL: Please.

ODOM: Art is a legend. Art is a legend. He was being rather disruptive. You know, he was talking. And he was unwrapping candy as, you know, our older audience members can sometimes do. And I happened to be watching the show that night. And, yeah, Shonda, you know, let Art Garfunkel know that he needed to be quiet while she was watching her "Hamilton."

CARLOS: So the guy who wrote "Sound Of Silence" wouldn't...

SAGAL: Yeah.


ODOM: Yeah, yeah.

SAGAL: Technically he sang it. The other guy wrote it. But wait a minute, you said...

FELBER: He was going, hello, Tic Tacs, my old friend.


SAGAL: Hang on. Hang on. You said something interesting. You said that you happened to be in the audience that night.

ODOM: Right.

SAGAL: So do you mean that you were taking the night off from performing, and you chose to spend that night off watching the show?

ODOM: I wanted to see the show. I had never seen the show, and I heard it was so great.


ODOM: I had heard so much about it. And so I - yeah, I had a ticket - they made me buy a ticket, by the way.


SAGAL: Did they really?

CARLOS: Stand by. Hold on.

SAGAL: They're like, oh, Mr. Odom, how nice to see you. That will be $4,000.


SAGAL: I should say congratulations that you are, of course, not just a Broadway star, you are a Tony-winning Broadway star. And among the people you beat out for your Tony was Lin-Manuel Miranda. Did that like - was that OK with him? Did it add a little piquancy to the next night's duel? What happened?

ODOM: Well, Lin won two other Tonys that same night.

SAGAL: Yeah.


ODOM: So I think he's OK.

SAGAL: Yeah, I think he's all right.

ODOM: He was always so generous and gracious. Part of the reason why so many of us were recognized on Tony night is because of Lin's generosity. You know, he doesn't hoard the great materials just for himself.

SAGAL: Well, that's very nice. And he probably just said, well, that's great. Enjoy it, Leslie. I'll just go home and polish my MacArthur grant. You just...


SAGAL: Well, Leslie Odom Jr., we have invited you here to play a game we're calling...

KURTIS: Ben Franklin, you dog, you.

SAGAL: So you played Aaron Burr. But the question is, what do you know about one of the founding fathers who didn't make the cut in the musical "Hamilton," specifically Benjamin Franklin? We're going to ask you three questions about the sage of Philadelphia. Answer correctly, and you'll win our prize for one of our listeners. Bill, who is Leslie Odom Jr. playing for?

KURTIS: Sarah Wood of Los Angeles, Calif.

SAGAL: All right. Ready to play?

ODOM: I'm ready.

SAGAL: All right. First up, Franklin nearly died at the age of 42 when what happened? A, he electrocuted himself trying to cook a turkey with lightning, B, he was demonstrating his latest invention, stiletto heels, and tripped down a stairway, or C, he was visiting his girlfriend when her husband, George Washington, came home.

ODOM: (Laughter).


ODOM: Well, it is a well-known fact that Franklin was, like, all about Thanksgiving. And so I think he was trying to cook that turkey.

SAGAL: Yes, he was, Leslie.


SAGAL: That's exactly what he was doing.



SAGAL: He set up this whole thing. He was going to fry the turkey. And instead, it fried himself. But he was fine. Benjamin Franklin, of course, was a polymath. He was an inventor. He was also a visionary. He once wrote an essay defending doing what? A, singing along while in the audience of shows...


SAGAL: ...B, farting, or C, blarping.

ODOM: What's the last one?

SAGAL: Blarping.

ODOM: Oh. Well, just as we know about his love of Thanksgiving, we also know that the guy loved to toot.


ODOM: So farting is my...



SAGAL: The fact...


FELBER: He wrote a scientific treatise on it.

SAGAL: He did.

SALIE: Really?

SAGAL: It was called - the essay which he submitted to a scholarly journal in Europe was called Fart Proudly.


SAGAL: You know so much about this. I'm beginning to think there's, like, a whole third act of "Hamilton" that got cut.


SAGAL: All right. You could be as perfect in this as you are in everything else, so let's see. Franklin lived in London as the U.S. ambassador. We know that. When people recently renovated his former home in London, what did they find? A, his abandoned invention, a wooden microwave oven, B, 1,200 human bones, or C, 400 volumes of erotic engravings stuck in a sock drawer.


ODOM: The man loved Thanksgiving.


ODOM: He loved to fart. And he was a big old freak.


ODOM: They found the erotic writings.

SAGAL: He was a big, old freak, but that's not what they found. They found 1,200 human bones.


ODOM: Gross. He's a serial killer.

SAGAL: He was a - who knew? He seemed so friendly. Bill, how did Leslie Odom Jr. do on our quiz?

KURTIS: He won with two out of three.

SAGAL: Congratulations.


SAGAL: How does this feel next to winning the Tony?

ODOM: Hands down this wins.

SAGAL: There you are.


CARLOS: Oh, that is so not true.

SAGAL: You are, sir, a superb actor. Leslie Odom Jr. is an actor, author and musician. His new album "Mr" is available now. Leslie Odom, thank you so much for being with us.

ODOM: Thank you, guys.

SAGAL: What a pleasure to talk to you.


LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA: (As Alexander Hamilton, singing) It must be nice. It must be nice to have Washington on your side.

KURTIS: Here's something that only our live audience has heard because it's never been broadcast before. Guest host Helen Hong posed this question to our panelists at the Chase Bank Auditorium back in 2018.




HONG: There's yoga. There's meditation. Now, a group in New York is offering a new form of wellness activity, cuddling with what?

POUNDSTONE: Can you give me a hint, Helen? I've got no idea.

HONG: Yes, I can give you a hint. If you cuddle too hard, they'll ask you to moove (ph) over.

POUNDSTONE: Cuddling with cows?

HONG: Yes, cows.



HONG: It's cow cuddling, y'all. From the same people that brought you goat yoga, which in turn brought you hoof-and-mouth disease...


HONG: ...Mountain Horse Farm in upstate New York is offering the Horse And Cow Experience, which, quote, "brings relaxation, healing and awareness via cow cuddling." The trick is deciding who's the little spoon and who's the big spooon (ph).


HONG: I didn't write that.



HONG: That one, I didn't write.

FELBER: You distanced yourself from that real quick.

HONG: Yeah.


HONG: Yup.


HONG: Cow cuddling sounds so nice because most farmers I know just want to leave right after.


HONG: Jerks.


FELBER: You know, when I drive by cows, as I'm one to do, they are rarely cuddling. They seem to, like, like hanging out at a safe distance even from each other. So did anybody get consent is what I'm asking?


POUNDSTONE: This is what really kicked off the #MeMoo (ph) movement.


HONG: The firm promises that the cows, quote, "will read you subtly with intent, just like they would read any other herd member. They will pick up on what's going on inside and sense if you're happy, sad, feel lost, anxious or excited. And they will respond to that without judgment, ego or agenda."

KONDABOLU: Can you eat the cow after?


FELBER: That's...

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: (Singing) Oh, cuddlebug (ph), won't you be my little cuddlebug?

SAGAL: When we come back, we'll have more than a thousand people together in one room. Well, not really a room. It's more like a shed. Well, not everybody was in the shed. Some people were outside. It's complicated. Just stay tuned. 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, who likes to celebrate the Fourth of July by letting people know that, technically, America's birthday is June 21, 1788, the day the Constitution was ratified, Peter Sagal.


SAGAL: Thank you, Bill. So we here at WAIT WAIT are getting ready to do our shows in front of an audience again. And we are worried that we have forgotten how.

KURTIS: How are they supposed to hear us anyway? Does everybody bring a tiny radio?

SAGAL: On August 26, we're going back to Tanglewood in western Massachusetts to do our show in front of as many as 5,000 people. I had forgotten that that many other people even existed.

KURTIS: To reduce the shock, let's listen to a part of our last show at Tanglewood from June 2018. It's our Bluff The Listener game with Faith Salie, Mo Rocca and Alonzo Bodden.


SAGAL: Hi, you are on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

RYAN QUINN: Hi, Peter. This is Ryan Quinn from Fargo, N.D.

SAGAL: Fargo - how are things in Fargo?

QUINN: Eh, things are good.


QUINN: It's finally warm.

SAGAL: Is that, like, the Fargo Chamber of Commerce slogan? Eh...


SAGAL: ...Things are good.

QUINN: More or less. Actually, it's north of normal.

SAGAL: Yes, that's what I've heard. Well, Ryan, it's nice to have you with us. You're going to play our game in which you have to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what is Ryan's topic?

KURTIS: Let's spice things up.

SAGAL: Everybody wants to spice up their love life, but a warning - if you use actual spices, do not use cayenne.


SAGAL: This week, we read about a new way couples can keep things interesting. Our panelists are going to tell you about it. Pick the real one, and you'll win our prize - any voice from our show you might choose doing your voicemail. First up, let's hear from Alonzo Bodden.

ALONZO BODDEN: Yes, it's true - Americans think soccer is dull. But if you want to blow on the fading ember of your relationship, sit down on the couch and watch the World Cup. According to researcher Melanie Dodson (ph), couples are reporting spikes in sexual activity right after World Cup matches - even the boring ones, which - let's face it - is most of them.


BODDEN: She says, quote, "to start with, it's a shared activity, which is always good for couples. But, beyond that, men and women react to the game in very different ways." She said the men are revved up by the excitement and the competition. This raises their testosterone levels.


BODDEN: On the other hand, women see an elaborate spectacle of nonviolent cooperation among teammates...


BODDEN: ...Which inspires a feminine yearning for an emotional connection.


BODDEN: Although Dodson admits the totally hot male bods and the grunting doesn't hurt either.


BODDEN: Dodson says that she's been unable to discern why more common sports like basketball and football don't inspire the same reaction. Quote, "I believe it's because these sports are routine and familiar while soccer is exotic. Plus, few American men go out to bars to watch soccer, so chances are better they'll both be in the same room after the game ends."


BODDEN: She says, I have one couple, and they say they like to do it soccer-style - meaning no hands allowed.


SAGAL: Turns out...


SAGAL: ...Watching soccer, as incomprehensible as it may be, it might be good for you and your love life. Next, let's hear from Mo Rocca.

MO ROCCA: It's being hailed as a landmark study - 281 institutions from all around the world coming together over the course of three years to determine what differentiates people with active love lives from those with less active love lives. The findings varied wildly. Those with active love lives tended to set their own work hours, if they worked at all, take dates to Michelin star restaurants, have their hair cut by Frederic Fekkai, have a positive relationship with the butler, drive a Bentley. Those with less active love lives tend to work three or more jobs...


ROCCA: ...Insist on going Dutch, cut their own hair, take the bus, have a strained relationship with the 28-year-old son still living at home...


ROCCA: ...The same one who insists on going along on the dates because the refrigerator is empty. Quote, "we've only begun to analyze the findings," says professor Venivia Star (ph), a top researcher at MIT. "A deep dive may be needed to see if there's any connection among these data points."


ROCCA: The study was commissioned by Money magazine.


SAGAL: It turns out...


SAGAL: ...The rich are different from you and me in that way, too. Your last story of a bedroom boost comes from Faith Salie.

SALIE: We all know that a nature walk can make us feel better. But new research reveals that just looking at nature can make us feel better naked. The study asked subjects to view a short film of a walk through city streets followed by another short film of a beautiful river. Participants' body appreciation scores improved by 66% after looking at the nature images. And since scientists say people who love their birthday suits have more sex, this means if you just sit around eating pita chips staring at rainforests, you're probably going to want to get it on.


SALIE: The study's author, professor Viren Swami from Cambridge's Anglia Ruskin University, explains, natural environments effortlessly hold your attention - a process known as soft fascination. This is often accompanied by feelings of pleasure, such as when you are drawn to the sight of a setting sun. So settle into that sofa, turn on a nature documentary and ask your viewing partner, is that a giant redwood or did your fascination...


SALIE: ...Just get a little less soft?


SAGAL: All right. A new study promises a way to improve your love life. Is it, from Alonzo Bodden, just watch soccer together; from Mo Rocca, become extremely rich; or, from Faith Salie, just watch nature documentaries?

QUINN: Oh, boy.

SAGAL: Oh, boy.

QUINN: Well...


QUINN: I'm going to go with Faith's story about nature documentaries.

SAGAL: You are? Any particular reason?

QUINN: Yeah.


QUINN: It's just what stuck out to me.

SAGAL: As it were.

SALIE: Oh, wow.


SAGAL: Here at Tanglewood, they agree with you. And I should say, we're in nature, and I have no idea what they're doing in the back of the lawn, so...


SAGAL: Your choice, then, is Faith's story. Well, to bring you the truth, we actually spoke to the person who actually led this study about human behavior.

VIREN SWAMI: What we found was that watching the film of a walk in nature had a positive impact on body image.


SAGAL: That was Viren Swami, lead author of the study about nature documentaries. Congratulations, you got it right. Faith is, of course, telling the truth.


SALIE: Thanks, Ryan.

QUINN: Thank you.

SAGAL: We really appreciate you playing. You've won a point for, of course, Faith, and you've won our prize for yourself - the voice of any of us you may choose on your voicemail. Thank you so much for playing.

QUINN: Thanks, Peter.

SAGAL: Thank you. Bye-bye.


HUBERT SUMLIN: (Singing) I got a girl. She walks all the time. I got a girl. She walks all the time. Sometimes, I think that girl's going to grow her mind.

SAGAL: Eventually - we don't know when - we will return to our home theater in Chicago, a small, intimate space where the audience is so close, we can smell them.

KURTIS: Mm. A lovely bouquet with notes of hybrid cars and Patagonia fleece zip-ups and just a hint of plant-based meat products.

SAGAL: Here's a show we recorded at the Chase from 2019 with special guest Regina King. She went on to get an Oscar nomination for directing "One Night In Miami." But at the time, she was starring in HBO's comic book show "Watchmen."

KURTIS: Peter asked her if she enjoyed putting aside serious drama and kicking ass instead.


REGINA KING: Oh, my gosh. Yes. It was so much fun. And then, like, I get to do this because I don't have superpowers. I have super skills...

SAGAL: Right.

KING: ...On this show.

SAGAL: Yeah. You're kind of a - like a Liam Neeson in "Taken" type of thing. You have...

KING: There you go. OK.

SAGAL: You have very certain skills.

KING: Yeah.

ROCCA: But can I just say, I just realized that Regina means queen. So you're like super royal.

KING: Yeah.

ROCCA: Queen, king.

KING: That was no mistake.

SAGAL: Really?


KING: Yeah, yeah.

SAGAL: So, your parents, I presume, Mr. and Mrs. King, they decided that they would name their daughter Regina to just emphasize that aspect.

KING: Oh, yeah. They took it even a step further. My sister, who's four years younger than me - they named her Reina, which also means queen, so...

SAGAL: Wow. I can understand.

KING: There you go.

SAGAL: Was that - was - I mean, you've done it, but still, was it hard to live up to? was I mean, you've done it, but still was it hard to live up to it?

KING: I'll be honest. I didn't really know what I was living up to until I started taking Spanish. And yeah, it kind of took me to junior high till I went, like, oh, yeah.


KING: Some big stuff here.

SAGAL: Yeah, I know. And I want to talk a little bit about "Watchmen" because it's weird because this is - it's based on a very famous comic book that came out some time ago that's very, very popular to comic book nerds. And I know, as you know, that comic book nerds are the most relaxed, forgiving people.


SAGAL: So have you have you had, like, any encounters yet? Have you been down to, like, Comic-Con to deal with it yet?

KING: I have. And you know what?

SAGAL: What?

KING: So far, so good. We got a standing O at our screening, so...

SAGAL: Really? So no...

KING: You know?

KING: Well, I'm - and do you hope that, like, you can move on this to be, like, in Marvel movies and just, like, make the superhero thing work for you as the rest of your career?

KING: Do you know what? Right now, I'm just hoping I just see one or two people this Halloween dressed like me.

SAGAL: Oh, that would be awesome.


ROCCA: Well, that's the measure. That's the metric.

SAGAL: That...

POUNDSTONE: What does your character wear?

KING: Oh, my God. It is amazing.

POUNDSTONE: (Laughter).

KING: They kind of wanted to give a nod to the superhero cape. So instead of a cape, I have, like, this skirt that flows like a cape, so when I walk, it just billows out. And it's all leather. It's all black. It has a hood. And I spray-paint my mask on.

SAGAL: Oh, yeah.

KING: ...Better than that.

SHANNON O'NEILL: You tag your own face.

KING: Yeah.

O'NEILL: Yeah.

KING: So we heard that you have a pretty interesting celebrity crush that you've admitted to, at least.

KING: Yeah. Is it Sam Elliott?

SAGAL: It is Sam Elliott?

KING: Yes.


SAGAL: How did you develop a crush on Sam Elliott?

KING: Did - any of the ladies out there, did you see "Road House" - or some of the men? Did you see "Road House"?


KING: Just something about when he has that rubber band in his mouth, and he's pulling his hair back, and he's about to whoop some ass. It was just sexy to this little girl.

SAGAL: You have a - you travel in pretty...

ROCCA: Turn on the AC in here.

SAGAL: I know.


SAGAL: You travel in pretty A-list circles. Have you run into Mr. Elliott at any time?

KING: Oh, my God. And I had to let him know...

SAGAL: Did you really?

KING: ...Immediately.

SAGAL: Was that, like - did you just blurt it out? Like, hi, Sam Elliott. I'm Regina King. I've had a crush on you forever.

KING: Something like that.

SAGAL: Really?

ROCCA: Who do you think it's the hottest person on NPR?


KING: Wow. Terry Gross.

SAGAL: There - and she's right.


SAGAL: You're OK saying that. What did Sam Elliott say when you told him that you had had a crush on him - or have?

KING: You know what? I think he blushed.

SAGAL: Really?

KING: I think he did. I think he did.

SAGAL: You could see that behind the mustache? That's...

KING: I think he did.

SAGAL: Well, Regina King, it is an absolute pleasure to talk to you. We've invited you here to play a game that we're calling...

CHIOKE I'ANSON: I'm Not A Watchman - I'm A Watch Man.


SAGAL: So you're starring in "Watchmen." So we thought we'd ask you about watch men, specifically the people who collect luxury watches. So we read a wonderful piece by Gary Shteyngart in The New Yorker about his obsession with watches. And we're going to ask you three questions about this particular obsession. Get two right. You'll win our prize. You ready to play?


SAGAL: All right, Chioke. Who is Regina King playing for?

I'ANSON: Benjamin Bruening of Davis, Calif.

SAGAL: All right. Here we go. First question. Which of these is a real term for something that collectors look for in a desirable watch? Is it, A, emotional complications; B, nimble phalanges; or C, thick, beefy lugs?




SAGAL: Or, if you like, which of these things would you want to see on a Sam Elliott?

ROCCA: I was going to say...


KING: The big, beefy lugs.

SAGAL: You're going to go for that? That's right.


SAGAL: ...Very good - thick, beefy lugs.


SAGAL: Lugs are the part of the watch that the wristband attaches to, and you want thick, beefy ones. That's what...

ROCCA: Nice.


POUNDSTONE: Someone wants thick, beefy ones.

SAGAL: Somebody wants them. Next question. You've probably seen those watches with the really enormous faces, like, the size of tea saucers, that were popular just a few years ago. What do watch aficionados call those watches? A, l'horloge d'enjoliveur (ph), or French for hubcap watch; B, penis extenders...


SAGAL: ...Or C, UWOs for unidentified wrist objects?

KING: The word penis is fun, so I'm going to go with penis extension.


SAGAL: You're right.


SAGAL: That's what they call them.


SAGAL: According to Mr. Shteyngart, the true watch aficionado does not care for those overly large watches and believes they are an expression of male insecurity.


POUNDSTONE: I just - I don't see the relationship between the two. Like, you look at - someone's got a big watch, and that tells you what?

KING: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Well, I think it may tell you that they're making up for something else. I think that's the idea.


SAGAL: For a short second hand.

POUNDSTONE: That can't be true.


SAGAL: All right. So you're doing really well here, Regina. You have one more.


SAGAL: Luxury watches, unlike, you know, common watches, are made by hand by craftsmen. At one factory in Germany, the watchmakers work under stringent rules, including which of these? A, they're not allowed to drink ever; B, they cannot eat Tic Tacs because they could be confused with tick tocks...


SAGAL: ...Or C, they're not allowed to eat any roughage because it's believed intestinal gas harms the mechanism?

KING: Oh. That last one sounds fun.


KING: But I'm going to go with A.

SAGAL: You're right again.



SAGAL: They're not allowed to drink.


SAGAL: It is believed by these German watchmakers that any drinking at all makes the hands shake, and you don't want that in your luxury watch maker. So...

O'NEILL: I would like to buy a watch that's made by a drunk person.

KING: Me, too.


O'NEILL: Yeah, it'd be fun.

SAGAL: You'll always be late wherever you're supposed to go, but...

O'NEILL: Yeah, or early.

KING: It would be an original.

SAGAL: It would be. Chioke, how did Regina do on our show?

I'ANSON: Regina King is a superhero with an Oscar. She got all three right.

SAGAL: That's true.


POUNDSTONE: Hey, Regina, can I ask you a question? This is Paula.

KING: I knew it was. I knew it was. I love you, girl.


POUNDSTONE: That's so sweet of you. When you were at the Academy Awards, and, you know, obviously, you didn't know if you were going to win or not, but they put that camera right beside your head when they're saying the nominees, did you know - had you already decided on what face you would make if you didn't win?


KING: You know what? I did not think that far ahead. So thank God it didn't go that way.


SAGAL: I know. That would be (unintelligible). I'm going to ask you one last question, too, before I let you go. Did you do your own stunts for "Watchmen" when you're a superhero beating people up?

KING: It's a perfect combination of me and my stunt double.

SAGAL: Right.

KING: She's a gymnast. I am not.

SAGAL: Right.

KING: But I am...


KING: So usually the punching and violent stuff - yeah, that's me.

SAGAL: All right.


SAGAL: So here's the question. If you had to, could you kick somebody's ass right now?

KING: That would be a yes.



SAGAL: Regina King is starring in "Watchmen." It premieres on HBO October 20. It's coming up soon - tick tock. Regina King, thank you so much...

KING: Thank you.

SAGAL: ...For joining us on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.


SAGAL: Such a pleasure to talk to you. Congratulations on everything. We look forward to more things coming. Bye-bye.

KING: Thank you. Bye.

POUNDSTONE: Bye-bye. Thanks.


JOHN HIATT: (Singing) Don't you know we're riding with the king? We're riding with the king.

SAGAL: When we come back, it's a wild time in Philadelphia. Plus, the real most interesting man in the world.


SAGAL: OK, the second-most interesting man in the world. 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's your host, who loves to point out that both Alexander Hamilton and James Madison were also under 5 feet, 7 inches tall (laughter), Peter Sagal.


SAGAL: Thank you, Bill. We are getting ready to perform for a crowd again by reviewing what life was like back when we did it all the time. Our post-pandemic debut will be at the Mann Center in Philadelphia on August 5. So let's listen to part of our last visit there.

KURTIS: I hope when we go back we have the same panelists and the same 3,000 people in the audience in exactly the same seats. Otherwise, it'll be too disorienting.

SAGAL: Luke, people wear AirPods everywhere these days. This week we learned that people even wear them while doing what?


SAGAL: Exactly right, Luke.


SAGAL: I'm a little worried how confident you were in saying that.


BURBANK: My reputation precedes me.

SAGAL: It apparently does.


BURBANK: I love a little Eric Clapton to get myself in the mood.


SAGAL: You are exactly right. According to a new survey, 17% of AirPod users have worn them during sex, which isn't surprising because 100% of AirPod users are the worst.


SAGAL: Seriously.

ROXANNE ROBERTS: 17%, you said?

SAGAL: 17. 17. There was never really a worse time to say, sorry, Mom, got to call you back.


SAGAL: According to Maxim magazine, that leading journal of the social sciences...


SAGAL: ...Quote, "For those who still care for their partner, despite musical differences, modern technology may come in handy." Because nothing says I care for you like, what'd you say? I'm sorry. I was listening to "Hamilton" again.


BURBANK: Oh. This was - wait. This was people having sex with other people?


BURBANK: Well, that's totally different.



SAGAL: Yeah.


ROBERTS: That's - so you would - I would think that both partners would have to have them in. Or else you - that's really a mismatch, right?

SAGAL: Yeah.

ROBERTS: I mean, if you're having sex with someone and your ear canal is wide open and your partner's is closed, that feels like you're not very connected, right?

SAGAL: Are we still talking about ears?




THE WHO: (Singing) Tommy, can you hear me? Can you feel me...

SAGAL: Right now, panel, it's time for a new game that we are calling...

KURTIS: Can You Ever Forgive Us?

SAGAL: In spite of our best efforts every week to give you the scrupulously professional journalism you expect from this show, from time to time, we say something inaccurate or offensive. I know. We're surprised, too.


SAGAL: Well, we did both last week. And we've made those complaints into a quiz. Pick the right answer. You each get a point. Here we go. Roxanne, this week, listeners took issue with a story we discussed about a nudist in Australia who was attacked by an eagle who thought his man bits were turtle eggs.


BURBANK: I've had that happen.

SAGAL: I know.


SAGAL: But we missed one detail of that story that some listeners pointed out to us. What was it - A, the eagle attacked the man thinking his bits were actually field mice; B, rather than fighting the eagle off, the man kind of enjoyed it...


SAGAL: ...Or C, the entire story was a fake, and we fell for it?

ROBERTS: I'm going to go with C.

SAGAL: Yes, that's what happened.




SAGAL: Sorry. We should have seen that, but what can I say? We just didn't want to live in a world where that wasn't true.


SAGAL: Tom, this week, listeners also wrote in saying we were way too mean to Mitch McConnell. What was the specific insult our listeners were upset by? Was it A, Mitch McConnell looks like a thumb with glasses...


SAGAL: ...B, Mitch McConnell looks like a Mr. Potato Head if the potato had been mashed...


SAGAL: ...Or C, as a young man, Mitch McConnell didn't beat polio; it was that polio left his body because it couldn't stand being there anymore?




BODETT: Oh. You know, I think he did have polio as a child. I - is it that one?

SAGAL: No, it was actually a trick question...

BODETT: Oh, thank God.

SAGAL: ...Because it wasn't any of those.


BURBANK: I feel like we wouldn't be on the radio this week if it was any of those.

BODETT: I was going to say.

SAGAL: We said Mitch McConnell looks like a chinless owl.


BODETT: Oh, that's right.

SAGAL: To our credit, we also didn't say...


SAGAL: No, we didn't say these, so people had no reason to complain. We didn't say Mitch McConnell looks like a jack-o'-lantern that was left out in the porch till March.


SAGAL: We certainly didn't say that Mitch McConnell looks like someone dropped a bunch of facial features into a bowl of butterscotch pudding.


SAGAL: We absolutely did not say...

BODETT: And thank God.

SAGAL: ...That - you know when somebody pulls out their belly skin to show you how much weight they lost?


SAGAL: That looks like Mitch McConnell's face.


SAGAL: And we certainly never stooped to saying that Mitch McConnell's face was bleeding badly from a facelift.


BODETT: (Laughter).

SAGAL: We would never do that.

BODETT: That...


SAGAL: Too low, even for us. Luke, listeners also wrote in - it was a good week - to tell us that we misidentified Prince Harry - remember him, Prince Harry?


SAGAL: U.K.? We misidentified Prince Harry's line of succession to the throne. What was our mistake? Was it we said he was third in line, but he's really fifth, we said he's fourth, but he's second, we said he's fifth, but he's fourth, we said he's seventh, but he's eighth...


SAGAL: ...We said he's fourth, but he's seventh, we said he's sixth, but he's third or we said he's fourth, but he's 10th?


BURBANK: I know this one. I'm going to go with the first thing you said 'cause that's the last thing I remember.

SAGAL: That's - no, it's a good guess. But the correct answer is who cares?


ROBERTS: Wait. That's...

BODETT: I know what it is.

SAGAL: We - no.

ROBERTS: I know what it is.

SAGAL: No, Roxanne.

BURBANK: We know who cares.

SAGAL: No, Roxanne.

BURBANK: We know who cares.

SAGAL: We fought a revolution so we do not have to care about this stuff.

ROBERTS: (Laughter).


SAGAL: There you have it. We're ashamed of ourselves. We sincerely apologize. We mean it.


ROBERTS: Charles, William, George, Charlotte, Harry.

BODETT: Fifth.


ROBERTS: (Laughter).

BURBANK: Are those the names of your cats?

SAGAL: Yeah.


SAGAL: Lastly, we figured one more way to get used to being outside would be to listen to a man who spends most of his time outside, although I'm not sure we want to take it to his extremes.

KURTIS: Surfer and adventurer Laird Hamilton called in from whatever ocean he happened to be traversing in April 2019. Peter started at the beginning.


SAGAL: We understand that - it's not surprising you've spent your life on the water because you were actually born in water.

LAIRD HAMILTON: Well, that's - well, I was born in a - using a bathysphere which was actually like - almost like a hairdresser's vacuum that went over my mother's stomach and relieved the pressure on the abdomen. So it wasn't birthed in a tub, but I did have a unique birthing process. Let's just put it that way.

SAGAL: Yeah. Do you think that ended up sort of steering the course of your life?

HAMILTON: Well, I would like to say it didn't affect me, but other people disagree.


SAGAL: So I'm going to ask you a basic question. What is your job, Laird Hamilton?

HAMILTON: You know, I would say innovator. I like innovation. And, you know, I mean, I've made a career as an athlete. I've subsidized my surfing with a lot of different things.

POUNDSTONE: Laird, when you surf, like, for a living, who pays you?

HAMILTON: Well, just sponsors, you know.

POUNDSTONE: And how do they know to do that? I mean, you're a guy with a surfboard, and you go to the beach, and there's a wave, and you surf it. And then somebody runs over and gives you a check.


HAMILTON: Yeah, well, no, you ride a giant wave. Somebody takes a picture. They put it on the cover of National Geographic. And then...


HAMILTON: And then a company says, you know, we'd love to give you some money, and try to get on National Geographic again (laughter).

SAGAL: And that - I just want to make it clear to Paula and everybody else, that actually happened, right?


SAGAL: Yes. So what do you think, in your estimation, is sort of the craziest or riskiest or maybe even most foolish thing you've ever done because you wanted to?

HAMILTON: You know, there's a long list. It's just - I...

POUNDSTONE: (Laughter).

HAMILTON: We don't have enough time. But, you know, I've done some crazy paddles between islands. I paddled from Corsica to Italy one time. And we were kind of lost at night paddling around in the middle of the Mediterranean. And...

POUNDSTONE: Oh, my gosh.

HAMILTON: ...You know, I've had some other - I've been - I was in Russia, and I fell through a glacier when I was helicopter snowboarding in some military helicopters. And, I mean, you know, just...

SAGAL: Wait a minute, hold on.

BURBANK: That happened to you, too.


SAGAL: You got to...


SAGAL: ...Ride...


SAGAL: You got to ride on a Russian military helicopter...


SAGAL: ...To a glacier in Russia.


SAGAL: ...And then you went snowboarding down the glacier.

HAMILTON: Yeah, but we - I fell in. I fell through a cornice at one point. We'd been riding most of the day, and I was hiking behind one of my partners, and I fell through this - a cornice that, you know, had I been in the wrong - you know, a couple feet over, I might not be, you know, on this phone call right now.

SAGAL: So...

HAMILTON: (Laughter).

SAGAL: ...First of all, was it hard to get the Russian military to let you do that? Or they were like, Laird Hamilton...


SAGAL: ...We love your shorts or...

HAMILTON: ...No, it wasn't anything about Laird. It was more like, you know, money for vodka.

SAGAL: Yeah, OK.


HAMILTON: And there was a couple of bullet holes in it, you know, in the bird. And, you know, and it was...

BURBANK: And you still got in.

HAMILTON: There was a pilot. He was flying it, so...

SAGAL: Do you ever...

BURBANK: Sure, a pilot you paid with vodka.


BOBCAT GOLDTHWAIT: That's a very low bar. It's refreshing to hear an American that has no problem admitting that the Russians helped him.

SAGAL: Yeah.


SAGAL: I guess.

HAMILTON: Absolutely.

SAGAL: So let's take one of those instances. You're - you've fallen through a glacier, and you're in a big hole in the ice, or you are somewhere between Corsica and...

HAMILTON: Lost at sea.

SAGAL: ...Italy on a - you were on a paddleboard or a surfboard on that particular trip.

HAMILTON: Paddleboard.

SAGAL: So you're standing there on a board in the middle of the ocean. It's dark. You don't know where you are. Has there ever been a point where you said, oh, man, I screwed this up now? Or have you - do you just not ever, like, lose your faith?

HAMILTON: No, there's been a lot of those.

SAGAL: Really?



SAGAL: Really, you're like, oh...

HAMILTON: Absolutely.

SAGAL: ...Man.

HAMILTON: More than once, yeah.


HAMILTON: I think you get kind of good at it actually. You're like, oh, here I am again. I...

SAGAL: Yeah.


HAMILTON: I hope I make it out of this one.


SAGAL: You're somebody other people admire so much. And I'm just wondering if you've ever found yourself in a moment going, man, I wish I had become a CPA like Mom wanted.


HAMILTON: Well - yeah, never that. I think in a way...


SAGAL: Well, let's not go crazy.


GOLDTHWAIT: Let me get this straight - you snowboard glaciers, but the most terrifying thing is being a CPA.


SAGAL: Well, I understand that one of the things that you're doing is you have a really rigorous - I don't know - it's - exercise program is not sufficient, right? It's kind of a training program you offer to people.

HAMILTON: Yeah, Yeah, well, we have an experience called an XPT, which kind of stands for exploring performance training. But it really is a lifestyle program, and it's really about recovery, move and breathe.

SAGAL: I don't know how accurate this is, but somebody told me, oh, yes, that's the program where you have to go underwater and lift weights while holding your breath.

HAMILTON: There is that part.


SAGAL: So that's part of the...

POUNDSTONE: Would you call that the recovery?

SAGAL: That's part of...


SAGAL: ...The recovery and not just killing you. Like, a normal weight program might make you go into a gym and lift weights. But you, because you're more generous to people, make them go underwater.


HAMILTON: Yes, actually. If you're - you know, we use the weights to hold us down, and we do a lot of explosive jumping.

SAGAL: Wait a minute...

HAMILTON: A friend of mine's a professional...

SAGAL: ...You use the weights to hold you down...


SAGAL: ...In the bottom of the pool.


SAGAL: How many clients have you lost?


HAMILTON: None that we know of.

SAGAL: All right.


HAMILTON: But I haven't looked in the pool today.


SAGAL: Well, Laird Hamilton, it is a pleasure to talk to you. We've invited you here today to play a game we're calling...

KURTIS: Championship Channel-Surfing.

SAGAL: You, of course, are a big-wave...

POUNDSTONE: (Laughter).

SAGAL: ...Surfer. But from everything we know, you're probably not very good at America's favorite kind of surfing - channel-surfing. We're going to ask you three questions about terrible moments in television history. If you answer 2 out of 3 questions correctly, you'll win a prize for one of our listeners - the voice of their choice on their answering machine. Bill, who is Laird Hamilton playing for?

KURTIS: Evan Hansen of Princeton, N.J.

SAGAL: And they've got a big surf scene there, so I'm sure he's a fan.


SAGAL: All right, here we go. First question - there was once a failed cable channel called Genesis Storytime - didn't last very long. It was created just for kids. What programming did Genesis Storytime offer? Was it, A, it reenacted other cable TV shows, like "The Sopranos" and "Homeland" but with puppets and clean language; B, it was just a series of still images of pages from children's books so that a parent could sit and read the TV to their kid; or, C, it purported to teach kids, quote, "real life skills," such as asking people out on dates and cures for hangovers?

HAMILTON: I think I'll go with B.

SAGAL: You're going to go with B. You're right, Laird.


SAGAL: You nailed that.


SAGAL: Very weird idea. You turn it on, there'd be a page of a kid's picture book. You'd read the page. And after a short period of time, it would switch to the next page, and you'd read that page.

POUNDSTONE: Sounds awful.

SAGAL: It didn't last long. All right...


SAGAL: ...Next...

HAMILTON: We need books, yeah.

SAGAL: Yeah, that's true. They have those. It's - you don't have to plug them in. Next question. There are some shows that have come and gone very, very quickly, as in which of these - which of these shows appeared only to disappear almost instantly? A, Fox's "Who's Your Daddy?" - a game show in which an adult, who had been given up for adoption, guesses which of the 25 men on the set is their father; B...


SAGAL: ...PBS' trigonometry teaching educational comedy show "Coseinefeld" (ph)...


SAGAL: ...Or C, NBC's crossover experiment, "Law & Order & Frazier."


HAMILTON: I have to go with B again.

SAGAL: You're going to go with the trigonometry teaching educational comedy show "Coseinfeld."

BURBANK: What's the deal with hypotenuse?


HAMILTON: No, I'll go with A.

SAGAL: You're going to go with A.


SAGAL: You're right, of course.


SAGAL: And this is all true...


SAGAL: ...If you guessed right, you got $100,000, at which point your dad suddenly took an interest in you again.


SAGAL: All right, last question - if you sit there and channel-surf long enough, you'll end up on the home shopping channel.


SAGAL: That can make, sometimes, for unexpectedly memorable viewing. Which of these actually happened on the Home Shopping Channel? Was it, A, after a host whacked the blade of a samurai sword on the counter to show its strength, the blade snapped and stabbed him in the chest; B, a man showed off a photo of a moth taken by the camera he was selling but then, for a full minute, referred to the moth as a horse; or, C...


SAGAL: ...A woman selling jumper cables decided to show what happens when you switch the cables on the car battery, setting the battery on fire?


HAMILTON: I just - I'm excited. I'm going samurai.

SAGAL: You're going to go with the samurai sword. You're right. But then again, all of them really happened.


SAGAL: And you thought the Home Shopping Channel was dull.


HAMILTON: You know, I felt like they all could have, but somehow I just kind of liked the whole...

SAGAL: Yeah, me, too...

HAMILTON: ...You know...

SAGAL: ...I'd have to say.

HAMILTON: ...Samurai sword - knife - stabs the guy, yeah.

SAGAL: Out of the three of them, that's the one that I would be most likely to do, so yeah, I agree with you.

HAMILTON: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Bill, how did Laird Hamilton do on our quiz?

KURTIS: He got them all right.

SAGAL: Of course, he did. He's Laird Hamilton. Good Lord.


SAGAL: Laird Hamilton is a legend of surfing and many, many other things. His new book, "Liferider," is out now. Laird Hamilton, thank you so much for joining us on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME. A pleasure to talk to you.


HAMILTON: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.