'Wait Wait' For July 31, 2021: Comedian Stephen Fry Plays Not My Job

Jul 31, 2021
Originally published on July 31, 2021 11:57 am

This week's show was recorded remotely with host Peter Sagal, official judge and scorekeeper Bill Kurtis, Not My Job guest Stephen Fry and panelists Maeve Higgins, Tom Bodett and Hari Kondabolu. Click the audio link above to hear the whole show.

Ian Gavan / Getty Images

Who's Bill This Time
Twisted Olympics; Uneasy CDC; Guardians of the Mistake by the Lake

Panel Questions
A Gold Medal in Swiping

Bluff The Listener
Our panelists read three stories about something in the news that made us care about golf, only one of which is true.

Not My Job: We Quiz Comedian Stephen Fry On One-Hit Wonders
Stephen Fry is an actor, comedian, director, and writer whose newest book Troy is the third in his collection of reimagined Greek myths. He's done it all, so we invited him to answer questions about people who've done almost nothing, one-hit wonders.

Panel Questions
A Fiery Shiraz with a Hint of Ash; Please, call me Dr. Ed!

Bill Kurtis reads three news-related limericks: A Juicy Roadblock; Don't Take the Dating Bait; and An Uplifting Dog Story.

Lightning Fill In The Blank
All the news we couldn't fit anywhere else.

After the Cleveland Indians became the Guardians, our panelists predict the next team to make a change.

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

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


BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR News quiz. Pop the prosecco, and squeeze those peaches. We're making Bill-inis (ph). I'm Bill Kurtis. And here's your host, a man who got visibly uncomfortable when I said squeeze those peaches, Peter Sagal.



Thank you, Bill. Later on, we are going to be joined by Stephen Fry. He is an actor, author, poet. And if that weren't impressive enough, he is a long-time quiz show host. That's right. In the United Kingdom, you only get to be a quiz show host once you show you can do everything else, which is the exact opposite of how it works here. But you don't have to prove your worth to play our games. Just give us a call at 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924. Now let's welcome our first listener contestant.

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

KRISTEN DUNCAN: Hi, this is Kristen Duncan (ph). And I'm from Glen Ellyn, Ill.

SAGAL: Glen Ellyn - I know it well. It's not far from Chicago. What do you do there?

DUNCAN: Well, I actually work in the city. I work in Chicago as the general manager at the lovely Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel.

SAGAL: Oh, wow. So many people may not know this, this weekend is Lollapalooza. Do you get a lot of Lolla attendees at the Renaissance Hotel?

DUNCAN: We do, indeed. And you can tell them by their attire. Most of our customers wear a lot more clothing than the ones that are in now this weekend.

SAGAL: Yeah. For me, I know it's Lolla time when I'm walking around downtown Chicago constantly going, do your parents know you're dressed that way? Do your parents know you're dressed that way? Do your parents know you dress that way?

DUNCAN: I literally had the same thought bubble in my head most of the day today.

SAGAL: Well, Kristen, let me introduce you to our panel this week. First up, his Netflix standup special is "Warn Your Relatives," and his documentary, "The Problem With Apu," is available on HBO Max. Say hello to Hari Kondabolu.


DUNCAN: Hi, Hari.


SAGAL: Next, it's the comedian you can see in the very funny movie, "Extra Ordinary," streaming on Showtime and Amazon. It's Maeve Higgins.


DUNCAN: Hi, Maeve.


SAGAL: And finally, a humorist who attempts mind control on his own mind. It's Tom Bodett.


TOM BODETT: Hello, Kristen.

DUNCAN: Hi, Tom.

SAGAL: So, Kristen, you're going to play Who's Bill This Time? Bill Kurtis is going to read you three quotations from this week's news. If you can correctly identify or explain just two of them, you will win our prize - any voice from our show you might choose on your voicemail. You ready to play?

DUNCAN: Yes. Let's do this.

SAGAL: Here is your first quote.

KURTIS: I'm having a little bit of the twisties.

SAGAL: That was somebody explaining why she withdrew from the Olympic gymnastics competition at the last minute. Who was it?

DUNCAN: That was Simone Biles.



SAGAL: Simone Biles, the greatest gymnast ever to put on a leotard, withdrew from the Olympics and immediately got criticized by insecure men around the world, like Piers Morgan, whose own gymnastics career ended when they told him for the final time, no, you can't put in a quarter and ride the pommel horse.


KONDABOLU: Every time Piers Morgan says anything, I feel like it's an act of war by the United Kingdom.


KONDABOLU: I feel like we should send them a Kardashian as revenge or something. I feel like this will not stand.

SAGAL: Now, we should explain, she cited the twisties. This is something gymnasts know about, but we've just learned. It's this terrifying phenomenon sometimes endured by elite gymnasts as they're twisting and flying through the air. They suddenly don't know which end is up or how they're going to land. In other words, they suddenly understand what it's like to be the rest of us all of the time.


SAGAL: It's interesting if - I mean, that's gymnastics. We learn of that. Do all elite athletes experience something similar? Do swimmers get the drownies (ph)? Do divers deal with cannonballies (ph)? Do fencers get the stabbies (ph)? We don't know.

HIGGINS: The stabbies (laughter).

BODETT: Yeah. Well, I - you know, I was the only pole vaulter on the Sturgis High School's freshman track team because nobody else went out for it. And I thought, well, hell, I'll do it. And I never once in practice or competition successfully made it over the bar. I went through it a couple times. But my freeze was like, if I just hit the box with that pole, that was a win for me because that meant I wasn't going to just skid on my face while the pole went stabbing under the mat. So I would call that - I would get the pokies (ph), you know, like...

SAGAL: (Laughter) Well, wait a minute, Tom. So you were the pole vaulter on your high school track team?

BODETT: In title only.

HIGGINS: (Laughter).

SAGAL: And you never once, not once managed to actually pole vault?

BODETT: Nope. Never once. And for whatever reason, it didn't bother me that much that I couldn't actually...

SAGAL: That you would bus - get on the bus, go out to a track meet.

BODETT: I thought someday it might happen. It would happen just by accident, of course, because I had no way of knowing how to do it.

HIGGINS: I've seen other people doing it. It is possible, but...

SAGAL: It is physically possible.

BODETT: Exactly. That's exactly how I would get my game face on, Maeve. I know this is possible.

SAGAL: All right, your next quote is from Mohanad Elshieky on Twitter.

KURTIS: The CDC at this point is like, what do you think you should do?

SAGAL: He was commenting on the new CDC revised and revisited guidance about what?

DUNCAN: Masks.

SAGAL: Yes, masks.


SAGAL: After saying vaccinated people are good to go, you don't have to wear masks, the CDC changed its mind this week and said they should wear masks indoors if they're in delta variant hotspots, but do not get the masks wet or feed them after midnight.

KONDABOLU: Do you know who really hates the mask mandate...


KONDABOLU: ...Is the virus. The virus absolutely hates the idea of people wearing masks. It totally restricts its travel, its freedom of movement.

SAGAL: Maybe the problem is, is, like, the CDC is just being too wishy-washy. We want to be told what to do. We want authority. Can you imagine if the Department of Transportation had this attitude putting up traffic signs? Stop, I guess - one-ish way.

BODETT: It's like - you know, it's like you're lost in the mountains and your guide is - you know, you're saying like, sir, you know, where are we going? What are we going to do? Are we going to survive? And - I don't know. What do you think?

SAGAL: Yeah. Hey. This was also the week that the vaccinated finally got fed up with the unvaccinated. No more assuaging their feelings or trying not to talk down to them. Nancy Pelosi - this is true - was asked about House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who was complaining about the new mask guidance. And Pelosi said, quote, "he's such a moron." And...

HIGGINS: (Laughter).

SAGAL: That's what she said. And McCarthy is like, ha-ha, she's so dumb. That's Mitt Romney. I'm a Presbyterian.


SAGAL: Although to be fair, Miss Pelosi was extremely disrespectful. She should have referred to him as the Republican moron leader.

All right, Kristen, here is your last quote.

KURTIS: I still think the Spiders was cooler, but I can work with this.

SAGAL: That was a sports reporter commenting on the new name of the baseball team in what city?

DUNCAN: Oh, is that the new name for the Cleveland Indians, now the Guardians?

SAGAL: That's exactly right.


SAGAL: You got it both. You even have the new name. The team formerly known as the Cleveland Indians announced they have changed their name to the Cleveland Guardians. And throughout Cleveland, you could hear the joyous cries of I'm sorry, what did you say? I thought you said Guardians. No, what is it really?


SAGAL: The name is inspired by - and this is all true - a series of art deco sculptures on the Hope Memorial Bridge in Cleveland. And the sculptures are called the Guardians of Traffic. The team hired Tom Hanks himself to explain this in a video to Clevelanders who then responded, oh, is that what those are called? I never knew that. So one more time. What's the new name, really?

KONDABOLU: The Guardians - the thing with the Guardians, it's only one step better than the Cleveland Foster Parents, but it just feels...


SAGAL: Oh, now I'm sad. Now I'm - oh, at least it's not like the guardian ad litems, am I right, fellow divorced parents?

BODETT: Those - that'll be the minor league team.

KONDABOLU: I mean, why not just keep the Cleveland Indians and make me the mascot? Like, I don't understand why that wouldn't have worked. Or Aziz Ansari or Mindy Kaling - but really, it's me. I'm a baseball fan.


HIGGINS: You would do that? You would do that, Hari?

KONDABOLU: Oh, are you kidding me? My ego would allow for that, yes.

HIGGINS: You would get that gig.

SAGAL: And it would be fabulous. Oh, it could be a whole South Asian Indian theme. During, like - in the seventh-inning stretch, they could have a race of the avatars around the stadium.

KONDABOLU: I mean, it would definitely make up for the spelling bee defeat. I think it would.


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

KURTIS: Terrific. Boy, she got them all right.

SAGAL: Congratulations, Kristen.

DUNCAN: Thank you.

BODETT: Thanks, Kristen.

HIGGINS: Bye, Kristen.

KONDABOLU: Bye, Kristen.



SAGAL: Right now, panel, it is time for you to answer some questions about this week's news. Hari, an aspiring young man in New York paid to upgrade his Tinder account so he could change his location and make it seem as if he were where?


SAGAL: No. I don't know if you can get dates on Mars. What good would that do? I'll give you a hint. This guy apparently must be going for the gold medal in swiping.

KONDABOLU: Tokyo, Japan.

SAGAL: Close enough.


SAGAL: He actually placed himself in the Olympic Village.


SAGAL: So he dropped his pin in the Olympic Village in Tokyo and started swiping right like crazy in the hopes of landing a date with an Olympic athlete. Can you imagine the confidence of this guy? Like, I know you are surrounded by Olympic athletes, but wouldn't you like to try someone who's not a perfect physical specimen?

HIGGINS: Incredible.

KONDABOLU: I rarely share things personal on the show, but I actually did date an Olympian for a brief period of time. And I will tell you that nothing will make you feel worse than dating someone who's in that great shape when you're a standup comedian. It is a terrible feeling.

SAGAL: My rule is I only date those big, fat guys in the shotgun competition. That's it.


BODETT: You need to date somebody who was in the Olympics, like, in the '70s.

SAGAL: Right.


HIGGINS: Or a baseball player today.

SAGAL: I'm curious, Hari. What sport was this person in?

HIGGINS: It was a winter sport - doesn't matter.

SAGAL: OK, it doesn't matter.

HIGGINS: I just want to say, this sounds like such a made up story because you were just like...

KURTIS: (Laughter).

HIGGINS: ...I used to date an Olympian. That's all I'm saying.


HIGGINS: The minute we press you for details, you're like, she lives in Canada.

KONDABOLU: It was Michael Phelps, OK?


KONDABOLU: It was Jim Thorpe. Are we happy now?


KONDABOLU: It was Jim Thorpe.


SAGAL: Coming up, Bluff The Listener? More like Duff The Listener. That's a golf joke. It'll make sense in a minute. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to play. 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. We're playing this week with Maeve Higgins, Hari Kondabolu and Tom Bodett. And here again is your host - or is he?


KURTIS: He is. It's Peter Sagal.

SAGAL: Thank you, Bill.


SAGAL: Right now, it's time for the WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME Bluff The Listener game. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to play our game on the air.

Hi. You're on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

AMY: Hi. This is Amy (ph), a veterinarian from Falls Church, Va.

SAGAL: Well, you've told me everything I need to know. I have nothing to ask you.


SAGAL: So you're a veterinarian. Now, are you, like, a dog and cat veterinarian or, like, a cow and sheep veterinarian?

AMY: Dogs and cats and the occasional hedgehog, you know?

SAGAL: The occasional hedgehog?

AMY: Truth be told, my pandemic pet was acquiring a hedgehog.

SAGAL: You...


AMY: And then I discovered they're really not that - they're not that cuddly of pets, I promise (laughter).

BODETT: Well, as a veterinarian, did you have to pay retail?


AMY: There's a long story behind it, but no.


SAGAL: Amy, it's great to have you with us. You're going to play the game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what is Amy's topic?

KURTIS: Oh, now we like golf.

SAGAL: Golf is a good walk spoiled, said Mark Twain, said a coffee mug your uncle has. But no more. After last week's British Open, golf has become interesting. Our panelists are going to tell you what happened. Pick the one who's telling the truth, and you will win our prize - the WAIT WAITer of your choice on your voicemail. You ready to play?

AMY: Sure.

SAGAL: All right. First, let's hear from Tom Bodett.

BODETT: Amanda Kenyon of Paisley, Scotland, after waking from the medically induced coma needed to remove a garden rake from her sinus cavity - another story for another day - has suffered from near total amnesia. She had language, basic math and personal comportment but has spent the past year relearning basic knowledge we take for granted. She's demonstrated a Scot's genetic love of plaid but was horrified of their national pastime after finding a golf tournament on her television.

I watched the whole bleeding boring thing and thought you were having a laugh with me, she wrote in an indignant email to the Golf Channel. The broadcast hosts were so entertained by her note they thought it would be hysterical to have her join them on air for the British Open at the Royal St. George's Golf Club last week. The most interesting thing about those first nine holes were the shrimp I was eating, was Kenyon's opening salvo, forgetting her Scottish accent, too.

Viewership of the Open was up 40% from the previous year, and they were all watching when she abruptly stood up midway through the final day and declared, I believe my amnesia's cured, gentlemen. I just remembered I have to be somewhere else. Thank you for the shrimp.


SAGAL: An amnesiac who doesn't know anything about golf got invited to broadcast the British Open and made it great. Your next story of links high jinks comes from Maeve Higgins.

HIGGINS: There was a lot of buzz this week at the British Open golf tournament, particularly around the 18th tee, where American golfer Collin Morikawa was distracted by the sound of a giant fart. A number of spectators looked suspicious - the caddy with a can of beans and a spoon in his hands, the guilty-looking grandmother with fogged-up glasses and the small dog with a bad attitude. In fact, it was a prankster who had snuck a fart machine into the tournament, probably to raise awareness for a terrible medical condition he has that means he is unable to fart on command. Uncom-fart is the name of this disorder. The prankster hid the device right where Morikawa was teeing off.

When asked for a comment, one 8-year-old boy said, British Open Golf? More like British Open butt. His 7-year-old sister then began to sing in the tune of Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah," (singing) it goes like this - the fart, the fifth (ph), the major smell, the golf shirt lifts. Then their mom shushed them.

Morikawa went on to win the tournament but declined to dedicate his trophy to everybody who suffers from uncom-fart.

SAGAL: A fart machine almost - almost - distracts the winner of the British Open from his quest. The next story we're teeing off comes from Hari Kondabolu.

KONDABOLU: This year's British Open perhaps gave viewers a look at the future of golf - robots. The Mother Putter can drive a ball over 350 yards and make putts of up to 30 feet with a 90% accuracy rate. The robot was shooting a respectable one under par during its demo round before a ball flew into a water hazard. When attempting to retrieve the ball, the robot electrocuted itself and was set ablaze.

When asked about their feelings on this innovation, members of a country club in Virginia were not for it. One patron said, they're taking over golf? What's next - hockey, squash, sailing? We're not giving them membership here. That's for sure. When asked why he had such animosity for robots, he responded, robots? What robots? Oh. Look; I'm not racist. I voted for Obama once. He then ended the interview.


SAGAL: So here are your choices. Something finally got us really interested in golf this last week. Was it, from Tom Bodett, the story of how a woman who knew nothing about golf or much else became a sensation as she broadcast the British Open? Was it, from Maeve, how with the British Open on the final tee, a fart machine was set off in an attempt that failed to distract the ultimate winner from his quest or, from Hari Kondabolu, how they tried out a golf robot that might've gone on to win if it hadn't ventured into a water hazard? Which of these is the real story of golf being fun?

AMY: I think I'm going to go with Maeve's not just because I think it's an entertaining story, but also 'cause she has a really cool accent.

SAGAL: She does. So your choice is Maeve's story. Well, we spoke to an actual golf journalist to tell us what happened.

NICK PIASTOWSKI: He's standing over his tee shot, and all the sudden, you hear a whoopee cushion (laughter) on the tee box.

SAGAL: Well, that was Nick Piastowski, the senior editor at Golf magazine, who reported on the story of the fart machine thrown onto the final tee at the British Open. You were right. It wasn't just Maeve's accent. She was telling the truth - mostly - about what happened. Congratulations. You've earned a point for Maeve. And you have won our prize, the voice of anyone you may choose on your voicemail. Congratulations.

AMY: Well, thank you so much.

SAGAL: Thank you so much.

HIGGINS: Yay. Well done, Amy.

AMY: Bye-bye.



BING CROSBY: (Singing) Straight down the middle. It went straight down the middle. Then it started to hook just a wee, wee bit.

SAGAL: And now the game where we ask very, very smart people very dumb questions. It's called Not My Job.

We assumed the United Kingdom has a shortage of celebrities because if they didn't, why would they force Stephen Fry to do so many different things? He's a comedian, actor, filmmaker, author, novelist, activist, a bon vivant and most important of all, a quiz show host. He's just put out a third volume of his original adaptations of Greek myths because of course he has.

Stephen Fry, welcome to WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME!


STEPHEN FRY: It's a genuine pleasure. I'm thrilled to be here.

SAGAL: We are thrilled to have you. I ask this question of a lot of our guests. But I usually can guess the answer. In your case, I cannot. Given you do all these different things and have for many years, what is the thing that most people recognize you for, if there is one thing?

FRY: That's a really good question. I mean, I get stopped in the streets in England by, these days, a lot of parents because I - from the '90s onwards, I did the audiobooks of "Harry Potter." And so there's a whole generation now who heard me reading those stories. In fact, (laughter), a man yelled at me across the street when I was in London, my children go to bed with you, which...


FRY: ...You don't really want broadcast in too loud a voice.

BODETT: (Laughter).

HIGGINS: (Laughter).

SAGAL: I should explain, by the way, that if people are saying, but wait, Jim Dale did the audiobooks for "Harry Potter," that was the American version.

FRY: That's right.

SAGAL: We apparently didn't rate you. And I, for one, as a fan of yours - nothing against Mr. Dale - I'm a little upset by that.

FRY: Well, it's a peculiarity of copyright law in the world, is that my version of reading the "Harry Potter" books was on sale in Canada and Australia and all round the world except the United States. Have you ever seen - noticed in books, it says, this book is not for resale or even loaning in the United States? I used to say to friends, you get a hold of a Penguin book or something, and you'd say, this book can't even be lent. I said, if I lent this to an American friend, I'd actually be breaking copyright law.

HIGGINS: (Laughter).

FRY: And that's true. I don't know what it is. But at some point in...

SAGAL: Right.

FRY: ...I guess, the 1940s, as a result of Bretton Woods or one of those, you know, big conferences, it was decided that all copyright should be divided in the English-speaking world between the British and ex-Commonwealth countries, if you want to put it that way, and the United States. So you get your own versions. And do you remember in the early days of Amazon and suchlike, you couldn't get British books if you were in America, and if you were in Britain, you couldn't get American books?

SAGAL: You know, I would never dare to give a man of your achievements advice. But it is possible, it is allowed to when - respond to a comment like, oh, you did the audiobooks in Britain, to just say, yeah, isn't that interesting?

FRY: (Laughter) yes. That's true.


SAGAL: It can be done - that the thing...

FRY: Are you saying I rather overelaborated in my answer?


SAGAL: It was just an interesting point. It's like, oh, maybe our listeners don't know that he did the books outside of America. We got Jim Dale. And the next thing we know, we're talking about Bretton Woods.

BODETT: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Sir...

KONDABOLU: Seriously.

SAGAL: ...You truly are a Renaissance man. That was amazing.

FRY: A shattering bore is what you mean.




SAGAL: The thing - I myself, of course, in addition to reading your books and seeing you in many films and TV shows, most recently, "It's A Sin," which is amazing - everybody needs to watch it - I am most impressed, of course, by the fact that for many, many years you were the host of a panel news quiz or a panel quiz show, I should say, called "QI." And that...

FRY: That's right.

SAGAL: ...Of course, is the height of - well, I was about to say of entertainment, but really human achievement. "QI" was famous because the questions are very hard, right?

FRY: Yes. You are not supposed to, or expected at least, to know the answers because it was predicated on the idea that the world is full of monstrously deceptive and unlikely truths. I suppose, you could say, it's like an advanced form of trivia. But it takes trivia seriously...

SAGAL: Right.

FRY: ...Or at least seriously enough to chew and play with it.

SAGAL: And after many years of doing that, you moved on to do interesting and rewarding things. How is that possible? Can you give me any hints?

FRY: (Laughter) oh, I see. You - you're looking for a way out.

SAGAL: Just - I'm just curious.


SAGAL: No. I kid. I - one of the things - one of the reasons I was very excited to have you on, in addition to my general enthusiasm in fandom for your works, is that we are, as far as I know, the only sort of panel quiz show in America, certainly on the radio.

FRY: Yeah.

SAGAL: But in Britain, it's practically your national sport. There are so many of them. They're all so good. I mean, "The News Quiz," your show, "Never Mind The Bollocks" (ph).

FRY: Why is this?

SAGAL: Yeah. And how can we teach America to be as appreciative of this particular genre as you wise people are there?

FRY: It's one of the great mysteries. It's hardly an important thing. It's only about television after all. But why is it that you are so good at late-night satire of the Jon Stewart or now Stephen Colbert and so on, that kind of thing, and we can't do it? Every two or three years, we try and do a late-night weekly program with a satirically minded, clever, fast-talking figure. And it's always embarrassing and duff.

And I'm not saying that that's the same in America with quiz-type programs. But they have been tried every now and again in America. And usually, they don't seem to take. They can be very well-done. It's maybe an audience problem. I don't know what it is. It's good that we're different, though.

You know, when you go down a high street, a main street or a mall anywhere in the world, they're identical. And...


FRY: ...Everybody's sort of...

SAGAL: It's very distressing.

FRY: ...Put to shame. And so you celebrate places like, I don't know, Asheville, N.C. or whatever. Well, you get, oh, look. There isn't a Starbucks there. There isn't a McDonald's. Wow. This is such a rare thing.

So let's celebrate the difference between the old country and the new country. And let's hope that we don't actually imitate each other but allow ourselves to go on our own varying paths.

SAGAL: That was a wonderful answer. I have forgotten what the question was.

FRY: It was sententious horse...


FRY: ...And you know it.


SAGAL: Well, Stephen, we are delighted to talk to you and could all day. But we have asked you here to play a game we're calling...

KURTIS: One-Hit Wonders.

SAGAL: So it occurred to us - this was the thought process - since you do so many things, we'd ask you about people who are famous for doing just one thing, that is producing one song that topped the charts. Answer three questions about one-hit wonders and you will win our prize for one of our listeners, the voice of their choice on your voicemail.

Bill, who is Stephen Fry playing for?

KURTIS: Siavash Serathan (ph) of Baton Rouge, La.

SAGAL: Here is your first question. One of the most famous one-hit wonders, at least here in the United States, was the Halloween novelty song, the "Monster Mash" by Bobby Pickett. Now, Bobby Pickett tried to follow it up with another song about a special day just to try to recreate his success - which of these - A, graduation day, B, Nikola Tesla's birthday or C, Boxing Day?

FRY: OK. So did you say Nicholas Tesla's birthday?

SAGAL: Nikola Tesla's birthday.

FRY: Nikola Tesla's birthday - that's surely unlikely. I - and the first one was?

SAGAL: Graduation day.

FRY: Yes. I'm going to say graduation day.

SAGAL: That's correct.


SAGAL: It's not a great song. Lyrics include, it's a time for joy, a time for tears, a time we'll treasure through the years. We'll remember always graduation day.

HIGGINS: Oh, that's making me tear.



HIGGINS: That's right.

BODETT: (Laughter).

SAGAL: All right. You have...

HIGGINS: Beautiful.

SAGAL: ...Two more questions. Another famous one-hit wonder was the band The Champs with their early-'60s hit "Tequila." That's the instrumental with just one word, tequila.

KONDABOLU: Oh, yes - tequila.

SAGAL: Yes. They never had another hit, even though they tried with follow-up songs like which of these - A, "Hangover," B, "Projectile Vomiting"...


SAGAL: ...Or C, "Too Much Tequila"?

FRY: (Laughter). I would think the last one of those, "Too Much Tequila." That would be - yeah. Would that not be right?

SAGAL: It would be right - hold on. Would that...

BODETT: (Laughter).

SAGAL: ...Not be right? It would - it would not


SAGAL: ...Be incorrect.


FRY: That was nonconditionality (ph).

SAGAL: All right. Here's your last question. One famous one-hit wonder was based on a real incident. Was it A, "It's Raining Men," inspired by a construction scaffold collapsing outside the singer's studio...


SAGAL: ...B, "Play That Funky Music, White Boy (ph)," which was actually shouted at the singer at a prior concert or C, "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" was what it sounded like when the singer tried to tell his dentist, I really got to pee?


FRY: I'm going to go for the middle one. I think that was shouted out at a concert.

SAGAL: You're exactly right.


SAGAL: Somebody shouted that at singer Rob Parissi during a concert. And he was like, OK, and wrote the song.

Bill, how did Stephen Fry do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Stephen proved that he does know everything. He got them all right.

SAGAL: Stephen Fry's newest book, "Troy," is out now and is quite remarkable.

Stephen Fry, so glad to have you on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME! Thank you so much for being with us.

FRY: It's honesty - real pleasure. Thank you for hosting.

SAGAL: An absolute joy to finally meet you in person.

FRY: Thank you.



BODETT: Bye bye.

HIGGINS: Thanks, love.


BOBBY PICKETT: (Singing) Graduation - it's a time for joy, a time for tears, a time we'll treasure through the years.

SAGAL: In just a minute, Bill takes Fifi up, up and away in our Listener Limerick Challenge. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to join us on the air. 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. We are playing this week with Hari Kondabolu, Tom Bodett and Maeve Higgins. And here again is your host, a man who gets the twisties when he sits in a swivel chair, Peter Sagal.


SAGAL: Thank you, Bill. In just a minute, Bill asks wherefore art thou, Rhyme-io (ph), in our Listener Limerick Challenge game. If you'd like to play, give us a call at 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924.

Right now, panel, some more questions for you from the week's news. Maeve, a man who was named 2017 Sommelier of the Year by Food & Wine magazine has found a unique way to show his support for his own restaurant by doing what?

HIGGINS: Oh, so ultimately, he will smell whatever you want for a price, right?

SAGAL: That would be generous, but no. That's not, in fact. He's not doing it anymore. He's been caught.

HIGGINS: Oh. OK, OK. He's been snatching people from the subway.

SAGAL: And doing what with them?

HIGGINS: To come into his restaurant, you know?

SAGAL: No, it's not right. I'll give you a hint.


SAGAL: Like, if you're in his restaurant, you want his attention, you say, (imitating French accent) Arson, Arson.

HIGGINS: Oh, I get it. I get it. So he's been setting fire to people in his restaurant.

SAGAL: You're close, Maeve - not setting fires at his own restaurant, setting fire to something else to make his own restaurant more...

HIGGINS: Other people's restaurants.



SAGAL: He's been setting fire to other people's restaurants.

HIGGINS: What a bad boy.


SAGAL: Caleb Ganzer is his name. He's been a sommelier at some of New York's finest restaurants. And apparently, he's also been an arsonist at some of New York's finest restaurants. And you thought it was the New York Times critic who decided what would be the city's hottest place to eat.


SAGAL: Police say that Ganzer has set fire to the outdoor dining areas, these pandemic things, of at least three restaurants near his place in lower Manhattan. No one was injured in any of the fires. But even so, prisoners...

HIGGINS: Oh, good.

SAGAL: Prisoners in New York state are looking forward to some outstanding toilet wine.


SAGAL: Maeve, you've heard of therapy dogs, but a hospital in France has done that one better. Their patients are visited in their rooms by a therapy what?

HIGGINS: And it's something unusual.

SAGAL: It's a - we have never heard of one of these, certainly not inside a hospital.

HIGGINS: Oh, mythical.

SAGAL: No, not...


SAGAL: No, it's not mythical.


SAGAL: It's not a centaur. It's not a griffin.


HIGGINS: Can you imagine? You're, like, not feeling great, and a centaur comes clip-clopping in. And first, you think it's a doctor, and then...

SAGAL: Well, actually, oddly enough, Maeve, you're exactly half right.

HIGGINS: A horse.

SAGAL: A horse, Maeve.





SAGAL: It was a therapy horse.

HIGGINS: Oh, lovely.

SAGAL: Hospice, nope. You're going to a horse-pice (ph).

HIGGINS: (Laughter) A horse-pice.

SAGAL: So meet Calais Hospital's therapy horse, Peyo. He is a big horse, full-size horse. He clip-clops into your room and comforts people when they're sick. It's all adorable and nice and moving until the horse visits someone with a broken leg and he's like, wait; they can fix that?


HIGGINS: I do love that. They're so calming, some would say boring. But being around a horse is actually very calming. So I think that's a really lovely idea.

SAGAL: Yeah. Well, this is what's so weird about it. So Peyo, we are told, chooses what patient he wants to visit. And his handler believes he's always choosing people who are close to death. Can you imagine lying there in your bed muttering, not the horse, not the horse, not the horse, not the horse?

BODETT: Let me ask. Is this a white horse?

SAGAL: No, a pale horse - nor is it a pale horse, if that's what you're thinking.

HIGGINS: I'd still like to see him, I think. I think that would be fine. And it's free, right?

BODETT: I mean, if you're in the hospital, if you don't even like horses, if, like, a horse comes in your room, you're going to be nice, right?

SAGAL: Yeah. You're not going to insult the horse.

BODETT: You're going to be polite.

HIGGINS: I know what I would do. I would get up on the back of that horse, get the hell out of the hospice and live forever.


GENE AUTRY: (Singing) I'm back in the saddle again, out where a friend is a friend.

SAGAL: Coming up, it's Lightning Fill In The Blank. But first, it's the game where you have to listen for the rhyme. If you'd like to play on air, call or leave a message at 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924. You can always click the Contact Us link on our website, waitwait.npr.org. There, you can find out about upcoming live shows in the real world - for example, this Thursday, August 5, in Philadelphia at the Mann Center and August 26 at Tanglewood in western Massachusetts. And you can get more WAIT WAIT in your life by following us on Instagram - @waitwaitnpr - and Twitter - @waitwait. There, you can get show news, see guest announcements and watch us slowly get better at Premiere Pro. It's confusing. We're trying.

Hi. You're on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

ABIGAIL BRESIN: Hi. I'm Abigail Bresin (ph) from Columbia, S.C.

SAGAL: Well, hello, Abigail. How are you?

BRESIN: I'm great, happy to be here. How are you doing, Peter?

SAGAL: I'm doing really well. Now, I know - I've been to South Carolina, but not Columbia. What do you do there?

BRESIN: I am going into my senior year as a journalism student at the University of South Carolina.

SAGAL: Oh, my gosh. What made you decide to go into journalism?


SAGAL: NPR, really?


SAGAL: Really? So being strapped into your car seat as a child and having to listen to NPR 'cause your parents wanted to has really affected your life.

BRESIN: I am the back-seat baby, yeah, actually.

SAGAL: Well, Abigail, we'll keep your cubicle warm at headquarters.

BRESIN: Oh, yeah.

KURTIS: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Well, welcome to the show, Abigail. It is great to have you. Bill Kurtis is going to read you three news-related limericks with the last word or phrase missing from each. If you can fill in that last word or phrase correctly in two of the limericks, you'll be a winner. Ready to go?

BRESIN: Super ready.

SAGAL: Here is your first limerick.

KURTIS: My mothering's reached weapon-grade. This drinks at their stand's heaven-made. I'm stopping all cars for my kiddos' juice bar. It's a roadblock to sell...

BRESIN: Lemonade.



KURTIS: You got it.


SAGAL: A mother whose twin daughters were running a lemonade stand helped them out by making a roadblock on the street in front of them, forcing drivers to stop. There she is, the world's best mom and the world's worst person. The mother, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie...


SAGAL: ...Posted about her daughter's lemonade stand on Facebook. It's how we know about it. Quote, "as a general rule of etiquette, for those who don't know, when you see children having a lemonade stand, you stop. At one point, I had to put out a barricade to force drivers to stop and acknowledge my children." Aw. But come on. What about repeat business? Haven't you heard about tire spikes?


KONDABOLU: That lady is a psychopath.

SAGAL: (Laughter).


KONDABOLU: That is someone who is going to do anything for their children, and the children are going to be maniacs, too.

BODETT: Yeah, that's not tiger mom. That's, like, badger mom.


SAGAL: Here is your next limerick.

KURTIS: If dating success is your wish, don't say cooking. Say favorite dish. And pictures of angling will just leave you dangling. So please don't be posing with...


SAGAL: Yes, fish.


KURTIS: Precisely.


SAGAL: If you want to land a nice woman on a dating app, do not post a picture of yourself holding a fish. That's according to the experts at the dating app Hinge.

BODETT: Uh-oh.

SAGAL: So many men apparently post photos with fish that women now think it's a cliche and see the men as unoriginal. The experts suggested including a variety of photos to show, quote, "different parts of who you are," unquote, but, no, not that part. No one wants to see a photo of that.

BODETT: I have a lot of pictures of me holding fish. I'm just going to keep those to myself.

HIGGINS: (Laughter).

SAGAL: All right. Here is your last limerick.

KURTIS: In crowds, my Chihuahuas commune, but they will not get stepped on too soon. To avoid trampling tedium, I load up on helium. Here's my life hack - attach a...

BRESIN: Balloon.

SAGAL: Balloon.



SAGAL: Friend, is your tiny lapdog always getting underfoot or even squished? Well, a woman named Layla Tucker posted a solution to TikTok. She ties a helium balloon to the collars of her Chihuahuas. That way, you always know where they are, even if they're on the other side of the kitchen island or the couch. It's an especially good idea for family get-togethers. Oh, I can see a balloon in the back deck. The dog must be out there. Oh, there's a balloon floating up into the sky carrying a - oh, no.


SAGAL: Calibrate the size of the balloon, people.

BODETT: We now have a little dog. We have a medium-sized dog and a small-sized dog. And it is - I mean, I've never stepped on him, but I've come so close. And I wondered about that.

SAGAL: Yeah.

HIGGINS: You should name your dogs 'cause it's kind of long - like, you have to say, like, medium-sized dog, small - you should...

SAGAL: Yeah.

HIGGINS: ...Give them names, Tom.

SAGAL: So wait a minute, Tom. You - wait a minute, Tom. You got a small dog, but you live in, like, a big farm. How does he do? Does he, like, run out into the grass and you never see him again?

BODETT: He just stays very close to No. 1 dog. I don't think he's ever more than 4 feet away from him.

SAGAL: Yeah.

BODETT: That's right.

KONDABOLU: It took me a second there because I thought you were referring to yourself as No. 1 dog. And I'm like, I don't know how to feel about that.



SAGAL: Well, to call yourself that and in the third person is just weird.


HIGGINS: No. 1 dog, Tom Bodett.

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

KURTIS: Congratulations, Abigail. You got them all right.


BRESIN: Thank you so much.

SAGAL: Congratulations, Abigail. And I wish you well. And maybe we'll see you around the studios of NPR someday.

BRESIN: Thank you.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.



T-PAIN: (Singing) It's my dog birthday, yeah. We going to do whatever we want - popping bottles, taking shots of Patron. We going do this...

SAGAL: Now onto our final game, Lightning Fill In The Blank. Each of our players will have 60 seconds in which to answer as many fill-in-the-blank questions as they can. Each correct answer is worth two points. Bill, can you give us the scores?

KURTIS: Yes, Hari has two. Tom has two. Maeve has four.

HIGGINS: Oh, my God.

SAGAL: Oh, my goodness.


SAGAL: Oh, my goodness.

KURTIS: Can you believe it?

SAGAL: All right. Tom and Hari are tied, so I'll just say, Hari, you're going first. Here we go. The clock will start when I begin your first question. Fill in the blank. On Tuesday, a House Select Committee launched their investigation into the attack on the blank.


SAGAL: Right.


SAGAL: As the Taliban gains ground in that country, the government of blank enforced a curfew across 31 provinces.

KONDABOLU: Afghanistan.

SAGAL: Right.


SAGAL: This week, the White House announced it would maintain travel restrictions as the blank variant continued to spread.

KONDABOLU: The delta variant.

SAGAL: Right.


SAGAL: This week, popular trading app blank went public with a $32 billion valuation.


SAGAL: No, Robinhood. As of this week, Tesla has still not responded to concerns that their self-driving feature regularly mistakes blank for a yellow traffic light.

KONDABOLU: Small children.

SAGAL: No, the moon. On Thursday, a tsunami warning was issued for blank after an 8.2 magnitude earthquake hit the state's coast.

KONDABOLU: South Carolina.

SAGAL: No, Alaska. This week, traffic in...


SAGAL: ...Thailand came to a standstill after an entire roadway was blocked by blank.

KONDABOLU: Woman who's trying to help her kids sell lemonade in Thailand.

SAGAL: No, blocked by two gangs of wild monkeys having a fight. In the most ridiculous monkey gang fight since that off-off-Broadway and Into The Bronx Zoo production of "West Side Story," hundreds of battling monkeys completely blocked traffic, causing a massive delay on one of Thailand's busiest intersections. Sure, it's annoying, but can you imagine getting - a Google Maps notification said, there's a 25-minute slowdown ahead due to a monkey gang war. You are still...

HIGGINS: Crazy monkeys.

SAGAL: ...On the fastest route.

BODETT: (Laughter) That's one of the selections, like, you can pick if you avoid ferries, avoid toll roads. And now you can pick avoid monkey fights.

SAGAL: Exactly. Bill, how did Hari do on our quiz?

KURTIS: He had three right for six more points. He now has eight, and he's got the lead.


SAGAL: Well, well, very good. All right, Tom. You're up next. Fill in the blank. On Monday, President Biden announced the U.S. would end combat missions in blank by the end of the year.


SAGAL: Right.


SAGAL: On Tuesday, Senators Schumer, Warren and Pressley pushed the White House for blank loan relief.

BODETT: Student loan.

SAGAL: Right.


SAGAL: This week, President Biden announced that all federal employees were required to get blanked or face regular testing.

BODETT: Vaccinations.

SAGAL: Right.


SAGAL: At a rally in Phoenix, Donald Trump praised the controversial election audit in blank.

BODETT: I'm guessing Phoenix.

SAGAL: Arizona, yeah.


SAGAL: This week, two prisoners in Sweden held a guard hostage and refused to release him until they were given blank.

BODETT: Lutefisk.

SAGAL: A pizza party for them and their friends. On Tuesday, federal prosecutors sold the one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang album seized from Pharma Bro blank.

BODETT: Oh, what's that guy's name? Shkreli, Shkreli.

SAGAL: Yeah, Martin Shkreli.


SAGAL: On Thursday, Scarlett Johansson filed suit against Disney over the decision to release blank to streaming and theaters simultaneously.

BODETT: Oh, "Black Widow."

SAGAL: Right.


SAGAL: This week, a new study showed...


SAGAL: ...That cockatoos in Australia are teaching each other to blank.

BODETT: Oh, no. Really? To turn tricks.

SAGAL: No. To...

KONDABOLU: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Tom. No, to open trash cans and look for food.

BODETT: That's a trick. What did you guys think I meant?


SAGAL: A few years ago, a Sydney scientist was impressed when he noticed a cockatoo using its beak to open his trash bin. And now he's super annoyed because new research shows cockatoos all over Sydney are learning to do the same thing from each other. This kind of learned behavior is common but not so easily observed, which ornithologists say is a credit to the cockatutor (ph).


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

KURTIS: He had six right for 12 more points. He now has 14 and the lead.


SAGAL: All right. Bill, how many does Maeve - and by that, I mean Maeve Higgins - need to win?

KURTIS: Ms. Higgins needs five to tie, six to win.

SAGAL: OK, Maeve. This is for the game. Fill in the blank. On Monday, Pfizer and Moderna both announced they were testing their vaccine effects on blanks.

HIGGINS: Injections.

SAGAL: On children. This week, a state lawmaker pulled an upset...

HIGGINS: Oh, that's terrible. Oh, no, that's good. That's good.

SAGAL: That's good.

HIGGINS: I just remembered.

SAGAL: This week, a state lawmaker pulled an upset to defeat a Trump-backed candidate in a special election in blank.

HIGGINS: America.

SAGAL: Texas, specifically. Officials in a Welsh town say theft has gotten so bad that a blank was stolen Wednesday morning.

HIGGINS: A consonant.

SAGAL: No, a camera set up to record thefts. On Monday, blank's new attorney filed to remove her father from her conservatorship.

HIGGINS: I actually know this one.

SAGAL: Oh, my God.

HIGGINS: Britney Spears.



SAGAL: Britney Spears. This week, a reporter in Germany reporting...


SAGAL: ...On the recovery efforts after the recent flooding was fired after she was caught blanking.

HIGGINS: Swimming.

SAGAL: No, she was caught smearing mud on her clothes to make it look like she was helping.


SAGAL: Reporter Susanna Ohlen was reporting live from a demolished business district, wearing work gloves and smeared with mud, urging people to come down and help the flood's victims, just like she, reporter Susanna Ohlen, was doing as you can see from how dirty she was. One problem, though. Somebody filmed her smearing the mud on her clothes just before the segment started. I guess she did help in a way because, typically, after a natural disaster, there's no target for all your anger, confusion and rage until now. Bill...


SAGAL: ...Did Maeve do well enough to win?

KURTIS: Maeve had one right for two more points for a total of six. And that means with 14 points, Tom is this week's champion.


BODETT: Yeah, wonderful.

HIGGINS: Congratulations, Tom.

SAGAL: Now, panel, who will change their team next? Tom Bodett.

BODETT: The Oregon Ducks will become the Beavers because where do you go from Ducks?


SAGAL: Maeve Higgins.

HIGGINS: The New York Yankees are going to become the New York Jankees, but with a J.


SAGAL: And Hari Kondabolu.

KONDABOLU: The Brooklyn Nets will be the Brooklyn Gentrifiers. They might not win at first, but they'll win eventually.


KURTIS: Well, if any of that happens, we'll ask you about it on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

SAGAL: Thank you, Bill Kurtis. Thanks also to Tom Bodett, Maeve Higgins and Hari Kondabolu.


SAGAL: Thanks to all of you for listening. I'm Peter Sagal. And when I say this, this time I mean it literally. We will see you in an audience next week in Philadelphia.


SAGAL: This is NPR. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.