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Bluff The Listener


BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis. We are playing this week with Hari Kondabolu, Mo Rocca and Faith Salie. And here again is your host, a man who wouldn't be caught dead in any mask that wasn't at least an N99, Peter Sagal.



Thank you, Bill. Right now, it is 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 are on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

STEVEN VITABILE: Hi, Peter. This is Steven Vitabile calling from Bala Cynwyd, Penn., just outside Philadelphia.

SAGAL: Oh, yeah, I know Bala - it's out on the main line, right?


SAGAL: Isn't Bala Cynwyd - isn't it, like, a Welsh name with, like, no vowels in it?

VITABILE: There are maybe two vowels. Depends on if you count Y a vowel - maybe three or four.

SAGAL: I don't count Y a vowel. I just - you know...

FAITH SALIE: (Laughter).

SAGAL: That's just how I am. Steven, welcome to the show. You're going to play the game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what is Steven's topic?

KURTIS: Drink a big glass of Peter Sagal milk.

SAGAL: Who doesn't love celebrity tie-ins...

SALIE: (Laughter).

SAGAL: ...Air Jordans, Britney Spears perfume, Dr. Fauci-scented sanitizer. Our panelists are going to tell you about a new product bearing the name of somebody famous. Pick the real one, you'll win our prize - the WAIT WAITer of your choice on your voicemail. You ready to play?

VITABILE: Yes, I am.

SAGAL: All right. First, let's hear from Hari Kondabolu.

HARI KONDABOLU: In one of the more surprising branding attempts in the history of rock music, the legendary heavy metal band Metallica has released their own line of bug-killing sprays, all named after Metallica songs. For ants, it's "Seek And Destroy." For moths, it's "Fade To Black." For bedbugs, it's "Enter Sandman," which they claim keeps bugs asleep forever. And finally, for roaches, it's Master Of Roaches, which is a sad play on "Master Of Puppets." It seems obvious that the band had run out of song names.

SALIE: (Laughter).

KONDABOLU: The poison was created by Metallica fan and chemist Chris Hackney (ph). After being sprayed, the head of the pest moves back and forth rapidly and then explodes. Hackney said it was awesome to see insects dying in a very metal way - you know, by headbanging.

When reached for comment, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich defended what some would call crass commercialism and selling out. How is this selling out? Death, destruction, insects - all consistent with the Metallica brand. He continues, I mean, what does Paul Newman have to do with salad dressing and popcorn? When asked if, like Paul Newman, all the profits would go to charity, there was a long silence over the phone before Mr. Ulrich said, hello? Sorry. I think I lost you. Hello - and then hung up.

SAGAL: Metallica bug-killing sprays as offered by the famous metal band. Your next story of bizarro branding comes from Faith Salie.

SALIE: Millions of us know William Shatner as James T. Kirk, the dashing young captain of the USS Enterprise. But in reality, Shatner is a dashing 89-year-old, and the "Star Trek" legend is launching himself on a new mission, shilling a line of adult diapers called Star Pantz (ph). That's pants with a Z, says Shatner in his first Star Pantz ad, which has started to air on cable news networks.

And only Shatner could make incontinence briefs this cool. They come in vivid 1960s "Star Trek" uniform colors, gold, blue and red - although real "Star Trek" fans know you have to have a death wish to wear the red ones. There's a Starfleet-inspired triangular symbol on the front that becomes visible when the diaper is wet.

Look, says Shatner unapologetically. I knew this was coming. My name is destiny, and if you live long and prosper, you're going to Shatner your pants. Oh, and the diaper slogan - it is, of course, Star Pantz - to boldly go.

KONDABOLU: (Laughter).

SAGAL: William Shatner-branded Star Pantz adult diapers. And your last story of an oddball collaboration comes from Mo Rocca.

MO ROCCA: If you've ever hung out with a bunch of Deadheads and thought, I'd like to smell like them, well, take a whiff of this. Grateful Dead deodorant comes in scents like working man (ph) and sunshine, which are probably references to Dead lyrics, but I don't want to have to go and listen to find out. The deodorants' ingredients - all of them organic, of course - include bergamot, cedar wood, sage but not patchouli? Seriously, is this some kind of joke? The label says that all of the ingredients are also edible. Well, that solves the munchies problem.

Possible taglines for the Grateful Dead deodorant include, strong enough for a man, made for a man who hasn't showered in six weeks, or, finally, a deodorant that lasts as unbearably long as a Grateful Dead song. Of course, this isn't the first time the Dead have inspired an essential household product. Hello - Just For Men Touch of Gray. As any real Deadhead will tell you, "Touch Of Grey" was the band's first truly great song. Now let the hate mail pour in.

KURTIS: (Laughter).

SAGAL: All right. You have three choices of new branded products, but only one of them is something you can actually get. Is it, from Hari, Metallica-brand bug-killing spray, so you can kill bugs in a heavy metal style; from Faith, William Shatner's Star Pantz adult diapers; or, from Mo Rocca, Grateful Dead-brand deodorants? Which of these is the real branded product?

VITABILE: I think it's Mo's Grateful Dead deodorant story.

SAGAL: You do. You think it's that one, even though there's no patchouli.

SALIE: (Laughter).


SAGAL: All right. Well, that's your choice. Well, we spoke to somebody who is actually behind this new product.


NATHAN MORIN: Significant others of Deadheads are loving it right now because they can give them a deodorant that they're actually going to use.


SAGAL: That was Nathan Morin, the CEO of North Coast Organics, maker of Grateful Dead deodorant and, as he wants to be known, the deodorant king of Chicago. Congratulations, Steven. You got it right. You earned a point for Mo. You've won our prize - the voice of your choice on your voicemail. Congratulations.

VITABILE: Thank you.

SAGAL: Thank you so much for playing, and keep safe.

MORIN: Thanks, all. Take care.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.

SALIE: Bye, Steven.

(SOUNDBITE OF GRATEFUL DEAD SONG, "CASEY JONES") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.