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Who's Carl This Time?

CARL KASELL: From NPR and WBEZ-Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME, the NPR News quiz. I'm Carl Kasell, and here's your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.


Thank you, Carl.


SAGAL: Thanks everybody. We got a great show for you today. We really do. We've got musician Will Oldham, better known as Bonnie Prince Billy. He's on later to tell us why all the cool kids like him.

But first, great news: according to a new study, listeners to NPR News are better informed than people who get their news anywhere else. This is true. They asked everyone a series of questions about things, and NPR listeners got more of the questions right than say cable TV news watchers. Of course, the questions were a little slanted.

KASELL: To the best of your knowledge, which wine pairs best with a Prius?


SAGAL: So if you're feeling especially smart, why not give us a call and reap the rewards, specifically, Carl's voice on your voicemail. The number is 1-888-Wait-Wait, that's 1-888-924-8924. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME.

KATE BREEN: Hi, this is Kate Breen. I'm from Louisville, Kentucky.

SAGAL: Well, nice to talk to you, Kate. Louisville is a lovely place.

BREEN: Yes, it is. I love it.

SAGAL: I'm glad to hear it.


LUKE BURBANK: Sounds like a tense kind of love, Kate.

SAGAL: It does.


SAGAL: You sound very matter of fact. Are you being held hostage?


BREEN: Yes, I am. Yes.

SAGAL: You are.


SAGAL: What do you do there in Louisville?

BREEN: I am a retired English teacher and librarian.



BREEN: So I do things that are...

P.J. O'ROURKE: We have a whole audience full of retired English teachers and librarians.


SAGAL: Oh yeah, 90 percent of our audience, pretty much. Well, welcome to the show, Kate. Let me introduce you to our fabulous panel this week. First, say hello to a humorist and author most recently of the book, "Don't Vote: It Just Encourages the Bastards," Mr. P.J. O'Rourke is here.


BREEN: Hello.

O'ROURKE: Hi, Kate.

SAGAL: Next, it's the host of the podcast taking the world by storm, Too Beautiful to Live, Mr. Luke Burbank.

BURBANK: Hey, Kate.



SAGAL: And lastly, a comedienne who'll be performing June 9th at Anthology Restaurant in San Diego, Paula Poundstone.



SAGAL: Kate, welcome to the show. You're going to start us off, of course, with Who's Carl This Time. Carl Kasell is going to read you three quotes from the week's news. If you can correctly identify or explain just two of them, you will of course win our fabulous prize: Carl's voice on your home voicemail. Ready to go?


SAGAL: Here is first quote.

KASELL: It's nauseating to the America public. Enough is enough.

BREEN: Oh, that is Cory Booker.

SAGAL: Yes, it was Cory Booker.


SAGAL: That's very good. I'm just going to give you the point.


SAGAL: I'm not even going to ask what he was talking about. The answer was campaign ads. Do you remember this story? He was complaining about the ads that President Obama took out?


SAGAL: Now, this is a series of ads that the Obama campaign has started online and on TV. They're called Romney Economics, and they interview people who lost their jobs after their companies were bought by Romney's firm. It's pretty heartrending stuff, although the scene where Romney himself steals the crutch from Tiny Tim may be a little over the top.


SAGAL: And Romney is like, "Hey, Kid, I'm just forcing you to walk more efficiently."


SAGAL: So that was that. And then the Romney Campaign responded immediately with a video called Stories from the Obama Economy. This is set in Iowa, in which lots of unemployed people talk about how tough things are. It's really sad, all these desolate faces flashing across the screens, staring at their dried out fields. And then Sally Struthers comes on and offers the viewers a chance to sponsor an Iowan.


SAGAL: For just 10 cents a day, you can feed this unemployed 32 year old IT guy from Cedar Rapids.

BURBANK: Did you see what happened though? The next day, Cory Booker had to sort of walk that whole thing back?

SAGAL: Yeah, he had to do a hostage video basically.

BURBANK: You know, don't think that the White House doesn't have their ways, because right after he basically criticized their ad they took out about Romney, the next day he shows up and he goes, "oh no, those ads are fine." And what was weird was he had a cast on one arm.

SAGAL: Yeah.


SAGAL: And he had that vacant far away look.


POUNDSTONE: Who's Cory Booker?


SAGAL: Cory Booker, Paula...

O'ROURKE: You said that out loud.

SAGAL: No, no, she always does. That's why we like Paula.

POUNDSTONE: It had to be said, otherwise it was going to...

SAGAL: Cory Booker is the very charismatic mayor of Newark. He's a rising Democratic star.

POUNDSTONE: Is he the one...

O'ROURKE: Oh yeah, he saved somebody.

POUNDSTONE: Is he the one who pulled the lady out of the house?

SAGAL: Yeah, he's the one who ditched his own security detail...

POUNDSTONE: I love him.


SAGAL: Dove into that burning house in Newark.

POUNDSTONE: What do you have to do to get me to know you?


SAGAL: Pretty much now we know. What if all ads on TV were like political ads? It'd be like, "Does Burger King really serve it your way, or the way its corporate masters want?" I'm Ronald McDonald, and I approved this message.


SAGAL: Here is your next quote.

KASELL: "It opens the pod bay door without hesitation. So much nicer than Hal."

SAGAL: That was a tweet from a man named Elon Musk, not a scent but an entrepreneur. His company launched the first successful what ever by a private company this week?

BREEN: Oh a space rocket.

SAGAL: Yes, the space mission, very good.


SAGAL: This week, a rocket built - very good, yes.


SAGAL: A rocket designed, built and launched by the private company Space X, took off for the space station, carrying non-essential items that no one would miss if the spaceship blew up. That was the plan.


SAGAL: They didn't know if it was going to work, so they didn't want to put anything...

O'ROURKE: Eye shadow.


SAGAL: Exactly. They put in stuff like extra rations for the astronauts, fresh laundry, and Oprah's OWN TV network. That was in there.


BURBANK: Yeah, she's had it so rough.

SAGAL: I know.

BURBANK: When are things going to come together for that lady?

O'ROURKE: Yeah, I know.

SAGAL: No, this is very cool. I mean, it's great that it's working but it is weird to see a spaceship, first of all, covered with ads.


SAGAL: And it was annoying that the countdown was sponsored. It was like, Pepsi 10, Doritos 9, Chevy 8, 7-Up.


SAGAL: The price of progress.

O'ROURKE: Space X, as a matter of fact, was the first private company, and not only the first private company to send something up that's going to dock with the Space Station, but they were the first private company to get a rocket in orbit.


O'ROURKE: Satellites have been sent up and so on, but they actually orbited the earth with a space capsule, kind of resembling the Gemini one. And you know what they sent in that space capsule on their first private orbit of the earth?

SAGAL: What?

O'ROURKE: A wheel of brie. I am not kidding. This is actually true.

SAGAL: They sent...

O'ROURKE: They sent cheese into space.


SAGAL: Why did they do this?

O'ROURKE: Just because it seemed like a funny thing to do. You know, I mean they had to send something up there in the capsule, you know it's just...

POUNDSTONE: Wait a minute.

O'ROURKE: I'm telling you the honest truth.

POUNDSTONE: How could they have sent a wheel of brie and the NPR people not know about it?

O'ROURKE: I know.


O'ROURKE: It seems like a major failure of this show.

SAGAL: Just imagine, they sent brie and people are just staring up, praying for its safe return.


SAGAL: It's terrible. All right, very good. Here, Kate, is your last quote.

KASELL: Enough with the white guys with guitars.

SAGAL: That was Ms Magazine, one of the many commentators who seemed unimpressed with the big season finale of what?

BREEN: Oh, "Glee."

SAGAL: Not "Glee." This was perhaps the show that inspired "Glee."

BREEN: "Smash."



O'ROURKE: Pretty much my feeling about "Glee."

SAGAL: This is the big one, the most popular show on TV. They had their big singing competition that ended just this week.

BREEN: Oh, "American Idol."

SAGAL: "American Idol," yes, very good.



SAGAL: For the fifth time in a row, the viewers of the singing contest show gave the crown to a white guy with a guitar, assuring Philip Phillips, former pawn shop worker, will have the same stellar career as Lee DeWyze and Taylor Hicks, whoever they are.


SAGAL: Even though it's still the top show on TV, the ratings for the show are slipping. This was the least watched "American Idol" finale ever. Reasons include, well first among them, maybe, competition from other singing shows, like NBC's "The Voice," and CBS's hit "Some Cruel Music Executive You've Never Heard of Shatters the Dreams of Young People Between Laxative Ads."


SAGAL: People miss the sheer cruelty of Simon Cowell, and the gimmicks are not helping. On this finale, and this is true, two past contestants - I don't know if you saw this - actually, one of them proposed marriage to the other on live TV.


SAGAL: It was very moving. And because this was "American Idol" - this is true - he worked in a sponsorship, a product placement.


SAGAL: He said, quote, "With the help of David Webb Jewelry, I have a way to make our union last forever," unquote.


O'ROURKE: Is that true?

SAGAL: They made the ring.

BURBANK: You know, it's almost like an "American Idol" proposal doesn't even mean anything anymore.

SAGAL: I know.


SAGAL: And then, even worse, the couple announced that they'd be consummating their marriage on a Craftmatic Adjustable mattress.


SAGAL: Carl, how did Kate do on our quiz?

KASELL: Kate, you had three correct answers, so I'll be doing the message on your voicemail or answering machine.

SAGAL: Well done.


BREEN: Thank you.

SAGAL: Kate, thank you so much for playing.

BREEN: All right, thank you.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.


(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.