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Who's Bill This Time?

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON, BYLINE: 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. You can either be bellicose, or you can keep Billy close. I'm Bill Kurtis. And here is your host, filling in for Peter Sagal, Maz Jobrani.



Thank you, Bill. I'm Maz Jobrani. Happy to be here. Peter Sagal is in the shop for service.

PETER GROSZ: (Laughter).

JOBRANI: We have a great show for you today. Later on, we'll be joined by Senator Elizabeth Warren, who has a new book called "Persist." So she spent last year running for president and writing a book. But great job, everybody else, on learning sourdough. You can achieve something when you call in to play our games. The number is 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924.

Now it's time to welcome our first listener contestant. Hi, you're on. WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

MARSHALL STRAWBRIDGE: Hi, my name is Marshall. I'm calling in from St. Louis. I'm excited to be here.

JOBRANI: Hi, Marshall. We're excited to have you, buddy. What do you do out in St. Louis?

STRAWBRIDGE: So I'm actually working remote right now. I'm virtually in the Bronx, N.Y. I work as a community organizer as well as finishing up my last semester in my senior year of college at Manhattan College.

JOBRANI: Holy moly. Who do you think you are, Senator Elizabeth Warren, getting all this good stuff done?


JOBRANI: What are you studying out there, Marshall?

STRAWBRIDGE: Political science and philosophy.

JOBRANI: Well, that's a beautiful thing. I studied political science, so you're going to end up being a comedian, man.


JOBRANI: Well, Marshall, welcome to the show. Let me introduce you to our panel. First up, he has a Netflix special called "Warn Your Relatives," and his documentary, "The Problem With Apu," is available on HBO Max, Hari Kondabolu.


HARI KONDABOLU: Hey, Maz. Hello, Marshall.

STRAWBRIDGE: Hi. How's everything going?

JOBRANI: Next, we got comedian and writer for "Late Night With Seth Meyers" who's written for The New Yorker, McSweeney's and "Yearly Departed" on Amazon, Karen Chee.


KAREN CHEE: Hey. Hi, Marshall.


JOBRANI: And last, we have an actor and writer who you can see in the film "Here Today" if you feel like going to an actual movie theater, and the film "Things Heard And Seen," if you only feel like going to your couch, Peter Grosz.


GROSZ: Hello, Marshall.

STRAWBRIDGE: Nice to meet you.

JOBRANI: Welcome to the show, Marshal. You're going to play Who's Bill This Time? Bill Kurtis is going to read you three quotes from this week's news. If you can correctly identify or explain two of them, you'll win our prize, any voice from our show you choose on your voicemail. Are you ready?

STRAWBRIDGE: Absolutely.

JOBRANI: All right. Your first quote is an important announcement from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission this week.

KURTIS: Do not fill plastic bags with gasoline.

GROSZ: (Laughter).

JOBRANI: Why this week did people need to be reminded not to feel plastic bags with gasoline?

STRAWBRIDGE: The Colonial Pipeline was hacked, and so people were hoarding gasoline. And I presume they didn't have enough of those red containers, and so they were putting them in plastic bags.

JOBRANI: Marshall, that's the most thorough explanation of an answer I've ever heard in my entire life.


JOBRANI: You're right, the pipeline hack gas shortage. It was the weirdest hack ever. A shadowy group hacked a major fuel line in a ransomware attack, crippling gas stations throughout the East Coast. Then, and this part is totally true, they apologized and said that they felt really bad about it.


KONDABOLU: Wait. Who was it?

JOBRANI: Well, the group was called DarkSide. They call themselves...

GROSZ: They were called, like, low self-esteem hackers.


GROSZ: We're bad hackers. We're sorry.

JOBRANI: Nobody knows what happened because it looks like they hacked, and then the - like, their mother found out and made them apologize and wash their computers out with soap.

KONDABOLU: I think I know what happened, though. See, they saw the word colonial - right? - and they're like, we got to put a stop to this.

GROSZ: They were like, we're Gandhi.


GROSZ: Oh, no, wait a second. Turns out maybe we're not.

KONDABOLU: Did no one have a milk jug? Why are people using plastic bags?

CHEE: They were also like, really large, like, strange looking plastic bags. And so I saw a photo, and it looked like people were just carrying trash bags full of urine in their car.


CHEE: And then I was like, oh, it's not urine. It's OK. And then I was like, oh, wait, no, it's gas in your car.

JOBRANI: By the way, let me point this out. They expressed all the remorse and noble intentions after they got a $5 million ransom for the hack. So was it an apology, or was it one of those like, I'm sorry if you felt I crippled your infrastructure? My bad.

KONDABOLU: I mean, they're just a startup hacking group. You got to appreciate an effort. They're not, like, Anonymous, you know, like the big hackers. They're mom and pop hackers. And so I kind of appreciate that on a certain level.

GROSZ: They're mom and pop hackers (laughter).

JOBRANI: All right, Marshall, your next quote is the sound coming out of the House of Representatives on Wednesday morning.


JOBRANI: That was members of the GOP responding to remarks of someone they voted out of her leadership position this week. Who?

STRAWBRIDGE: Congressman Liz Cheney.


JOBRANI: Yes. Yes. You are too good at this, man. Liz Cheney was ousted from her position as the No. 3 Republican in the House on Wednesday. Republicans united in their opposition to Cheney, with Jim Jordan calling her a, quote, "traitor to the truth," and Matt Gaetz saying, quote, "so how long have you been on the cheer squad?"


KONDABOLU: I mean, I just - I love the irony of this. Like, it's usually Cheneys that oust leaders out of office.


JOBRANI: Isn't it crazy? Hari, did you ever think you'd be rooting for a Cheney?

KONDABOLU: Not in my lifetime. And I think it's really gutsy that they chose to do this, considering who her father is. Like, that dude shot somebody in the face and made him lie about it and say it was an accident. You really want to mess with his daughter?

GROSZ: Yeah, talk about DarkSide.


JOBRANI: The original DarkSide.

GROSZ: Yeah, it was interesting to see a Cheney on the receiving end of regime change.

JOBRANI: That's funny, yeah.

GROSZ: It would be funny if she was like, I am so sorry. I did not know it would feel like this.


GROSZ: I always thought regime change was just good. And what we did was - what my dad did was so wrong, and I'm just realizing it.

JOBRANI: Well, did you know now these guys have run off, and the Republicans - I don't know if you guys heard about this. Over 100 Republicans are now talking about splitting from the GOP to form a third party opposed to Trump. And as one of the organizers put it, it's the, quote, "rationals taking a stand against the," quote, "radicals." The new group promises to be faithful to the truth, but to still be real crazy about welfare, guns and gays.


JOBRANI: What's the term for a group of 100 Republicans? Is it a mob of Republicans?


GROSZ: It's a white. It's called a white of Republicans.

JOBRANI: A white. All right, now let's move on to the last quote about an every-17-year phenomenon.

KURTIS: Once they're up in the trees, it's all about romance.

JOBRANI: That was entomologist Michael Raupp explaining all the noise we're going to start hearing from what?

STRAWBRIDGE: The cicadas.



JOBRANI: Yes, cicadas. It's been seventeen years, and the cicadas, known as Brood X or Brood Ten, are about to come out and try and get it on. It's cicada spring break. Get ready for Jell-O shots and wet exoskeleton contests.


JOBRANI: Well, you guys know about this, right? So these cicadas have been underground for 17 years. And now they're coming out, and it's just a sex party. We were locked up for one year. They were locked up for 17. And they're ready to mingle, baby.

CHEE: They're also hot as hell.

KONDABOLU: (Laughter).

GROSZ: Just from being underground?

CHEE: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

GROSZ: Oh, it's hot cicada summer.

CHEE: Oh, legs for days, yeah.


JOBRANI: Listen; as a West Coaster, I don't get to hear it as much. But when I come to the East Coast, I always say the sound you hear when the cicadas arrive, that's trillions of cicadas trying to get laid. Imagine a construction site with 1 trillion guys in hard hats screaming, baby, you should smile more, at the same time.

GROSZ: (Laughter) Oh, God.

CHEE: I like that they do it up in the trees. That's, like, very nice of them, to sort of do it in private. They come up from the ground, and then they go upstairs.

GROSZ: Yeah. And that's why if you look up in the trees, you can actually see little cicada socks hung on all the branches...


GROSZ: ...Because, they're all taken. A cicada knocks, and he's like, oh, OK, not here. Move to the next one - and just goes to the next little branch.

JOBRANI: Well, this is going to be really tough for restaurant owners, though. The good news is you can open your outdoor patios again. The bad news is your patio has a new carpet. It's made of moving cicadas.

CHEE: Oh, man.

JOBRANI: Our specials today are (imitating cicada). I don't know. It that a cicada sound? I don't even know.


JOBRANI: You got one? Who's got a good cicada sound? Hari, let's hear your cicada.

GROSZ: I don't know.

KONDABOLU: I don't do impressions very well. Unless a cicada is doing the impression, I'm not interested.

JOBRANI: (Laughter) Peter, you got one?

GROSZ: No. Well, you know, I watched Hari's documentary, and I think representation matters. So I don't think it's up to me to do a cicada. I'd rather see a cicada doing a cicada.

JOBRANI: Karen...

KONDABOLU: Cicada America...

GROSZ: (Laughter) Yeah.

JOBRANI: Karen, don't...

CHEE: My dad is a cicada, so I think I can do it.


JOBRANI: Let's do it. Let's hear it.

GROSZ: I think you've got the license.

CHEE: Caw-caw. Caw-caw.


CHEE: I don't know what they sound like.

JOBRANI: Best...

CHEE: Yeah. That's what my dad sounds like all the time.

JOBRANI: Bill, how did Marshall do?

KURTIS: Marshall's strong. They got them all right, and quick.

JOBRANI: Marshall, thank you so much for making us proud, and thank you for being such a great human being.

STRAWBRIDGE: Thank you all. This was a fun break from finals, and I want to give a personal thank you to Hari for making the show "Politically Re-Active." It's been one of my favorite podcasts in my life, so thank you.

JOBRANI: High praise.

CHEE: That's so nice.

GROSZ: That is awesome.

JOBRANI: Bye-bye, Marshall.

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