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Who's Bill This Time?

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

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR news quiz. Watch out. I'm about to go Billistic (ph).

(LAUGHTER)

KURTIS: I'm Bill Kurtis. And here is your host - filling in for Peter Sagal, Faith Salie.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

FAITH SALIE, HOST:

Thank you, Bill. Peter Sagal is out this week, pre-waxing for his Fourth of July outfit.

(LAUGHTER)

SALIE: Gosh, that man is a smooth patriot.

CRISTELA ALONZO: (Laughter).

SALIE: We have got a great show for you. Later on, we're going to be talking to America's most popular soccer broadcaster, Roger Bennett. And in the spirit of what he loves, I will be doing the interview without using my hands. We don't care what body part you use to give us a call. The number is 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!

STEPHANIE THRELKELD: Well, hi Faith. This is Stephanie Threlkeld from Memphis, Tenn.

SALIE: Hey, Stephanie. It's nice to hear a little Southern accent.

THRELKELD: (Laughter). Yeah. There's a little in there.

SALIE: Tell me what you do in Memphis, Tenn.

THRELKELD: So I am the manager of education and marketing for the American Contract Bridge League - like, the game - the card game.

SALIE: And what is - what does your job entail? Are you trying to raise bridge awareness?

(LAUGHTER)

THRELKELD: Yeah. That's part of it.

PETER GROSZ: It's working.

THRELKELD: Oh, good.

(LAUGHTER)

SALIE: All right, Stephanie. Now we are going to introduce you to our panel officially. First up, a comedian and actor whose podcast is called "To Be Continued," Cristela Alonzo.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

ALONZO: Hi. What's up, Stephanie?

THRELKELD: Hi, Cristela.

GROSZ: Next, an actor and comedian who'll be co-hosting the new stand-up variety show, "We Fixed It" at Littlefield in Brooklyn on July 14 - tickets at littlefieldnyc.com - Peter Grosz.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

GROSZ: Hello.

THRELKELD: Hey, Peter.

SALIE: And a comedian you can see August 14 in Bayfield, Wis., at the Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua, and on September 17 in Atlanta, Ga., at the Buckhead Theatre, Paula Poundstone.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

PAULA POUNDSTONE: Hey, Stephanie.

THRELKELD: Hey, Paula.

SALIE: Welcome to the show, Stephanie. 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?

THRELKELD: I'm ready.

SALIE: All right. Here's your first quote.

KURTIS: It brings back some pretty bad memories. I'll tell you that.

(LAUGHTER)

SALIE: That was Michael Cohen talking to CNN about someone else getting indicted for his involvement with what?

THRELKELD: Oh. Was it the CFO of Trump Organization?

SALIE: Absolutely right.

GROSZ: Ooh.

SALIE: Yes.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL, CHEERING)

SALIE: On Thursday, the Trump Organization and Donald Trump's top executive, Allen Weisselberg, were indicted on tax crimes. The Trump Org was actually charged this time.

ALONZO: (Laughter).

SALIE: I know it seemed like nothing could stop Trump before. But you know what? I'm just going to say it. I don't think he's going to be president too much longer.

(LAUGHTER)

SALIE: The Manhattan district attorney brought the charges after a three-year probe, just in time to stop the insurrection against the U.S. Capitol anniversary party happening next January.

(LAUGHTER)

GROSZ: Taxes is so boring. But it's how they get you.

ALONZO: Yup, always.

GROSZ: Like, everybody gets screwed by, like, not wanting to give the government money.

ALONZO: I was expecting, like, a sexier crime in a (laughter) way. You know, what I mean?

GROSZ: Right.

ALONZO: Kind of like - but then taxes are...

SALIE: Yeah. But Cristela...

ALONZO: ...Just like...

SALIE: ...Did you see this guy Weisselberg?

ALONZO: (Laughter).

SALIE: You can't expect a sexier crime.

GROSZ: No.

ALONZO: (Laughter).

SALIE: I saw a news report that said in his 1965 senior yearbook, he (laughter) said he wanted to be an accountant.

(LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: I thought you were going to say he wanted to be indicted...

(LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: ...In 1965. And so this is a dream come true for both of us.

SALIE: Cristela, maybe this is sexy for you. Basically, the charges allege the Trump Organization paid people with fringe benefits, like luxury apartments and expensive private school tuition, and didn't pay taxes on it. And Weisselberg allegedly avoided paying taxes on $1.7 million worth.

ALONZO: The fact that they also kept records of how much they weren't paying to the (laughter) government is just so insanely...

GROSZ: Yeah. They had a ledger.

ALONZO: ...Ridiculous to me. Yes. They had a ledger of like, don't forget to add that 50,000.

GROSZ: I wonder if somebody got in trouble, where they were like, hey, listen. This is the Trump Organization. We write down...

ALONZO: (Laughter).

GROSZ: ...What we are defrauding people of, OK? So don't you go give that guy college tuition and not write it down. You are fired.

(LAUGHTER)

SALIE: You know, Trump won't be charged because there's this New York state law where if you do all the crimes, you can't be punished for any of them.

GROSZ: He's shooting the moon.

SALIE: Shoot the moon, baby.

GROSZ: He's shooting the moon.

SALIE: Exactly.

POUNDSTONE: (Laughter).

GROSZ: I know it's hearts. Wait, what did - is shooting the moon bridge, or is it hearts?

SALIE: Stephanie...

GROSZ: Stephanie is going to help us out.

SALIE: ...Is shooting the moon, bridge?

THRELKELD: Not that I know of.

SALIE: (Laughter) OK.

GROSZ: Then that's a no...

(LAUGHTER)

GROSZ: ...From the bridge expert.

POUNDSTONE: Yeah. Stephanie would know.

SALIE: Thank God you're here, Stephanie.

GROSZ: I think it's hearts.

SALIE: All right. Stephanie, your next quote is from someone commenting on a story in The New York Times this week.

KURTIS: What moron came up with this?

SALIE: That was Mike in NYC talking about the ballot mishaps this week in what election?

POUNDSTONE: (Laughter).

THRELKELD: Oh, the mayor's race in New York City.

SALIE: That's exactly right...

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL, CHEERING)

SALIE: ...The New York mayoral election. It was a thrilling week in the New York mayor's race. On Tuesday, the front-runner, Eric Adams, saw his huge lead suddenly evaporate, plunging the election into uncertainty. Then they announced they'd accidentally counted a 135,000 test ballots, plunging the election into stupidity.

(LAUGHTER)

ALONZO: I couldn't understand the - I couldn't understand it. It was like a reality show. It was so much math when it shouldn't be math.

SALIE: This is like AP voting. Yeah. A lot of...

ALONZO: Yes.

GROSZ: (Laughter).

SALIE: ...People are asking, is ranked-choice voting to blame? OK, so for the first time, New Yorkers could pick their top 5 candidates. And if you're not familiar, the ranked-choice voting system is based on this bold experiment based on the theory, what if we never find out who won?

(LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: No. You know, what's going to happen? They're going to all have to come together, like in "The Avengers."

ALONZO: (Laughter).

POUNDSTONE: Like, all the candidates are going to have to be the mayor, maybe.

GROSZ: Yeah. Well, what's also funny is they put out a video that was like, are you confused about what ranked-choice...

ALONZO: (Laughter).

GROSZ: ...Voting is? And I was like, I kind of am. I watch the video. And they were like, you rank your choices. So if you want this person first, put them first. And then they were like, don't rank the same person on two. And don't put two people for the same number. That all makes sense. And then when they were like, after the first round, then the bottom person gets eliminated. Then all their votes get distributed. Then the next person gets eliminated. And all their - and I was like, this is (laughter) legitimately confusing.

POUNDSTONE: (Laughter).

SALIE: Ranked voting basically turns an election into a trip to Baskin-Robbins. You know, I'll have...

ALONZO: Oh, yeah.

SALIE: ...A scoop of rocky road. Oh, sorry. We're out of rocky road. Oh, shoot. OK. Then I guess I'll try some Andrew Yang.

ALONZO: (Laughter).

SALIE: Can I get a taster of the comptroller candidates? All right. Stephanie, here is your last quote.

KURTIS: Fried chicken, sushi and carrot cake, preferably on the same plate.

SALIE: That was the Wall Street Journal writing about what you can get on the same plate now that the pandemic restrictions are finally being lifted on what?

THRELKELD: Oh, buffets.

SALIE: You...

KURTIS: Yes.

SALIE: ...Got it.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL, CHEERING)

GROSZ: Nice.

SALIE: Yes. Buffets are back, y'all. Pandemic restrictions on the human food troughs...

POUNDSTONE: Mmm mmm.

SALIE: ...Are finally being lifted. So the only thing between you and all-you-can-eat tater skins is good judgment. Oh, it's been so hard during the pandemic to find a good place to get food that someone else has picked up and put back.

(LAUGHTER)

GROSZ: Like, are they just generally back? Or there was, like - was the mayor, like, cutting a ribbon somewhere like...

(LAUGHTER)

GROSZ: ...Please? Buffets are back.

SALIE: You know, it was an announcement in The Wall Street Journal, which, of course...

GROSZ: OK.

SALIE: ...Is the imprimatur anyone needs - but...

GROSZ: Well, financially conservative buffets.

(LAUGHTER)

SALIE: ...Hours wait outside a Golden Corral in Chicago.

GROSZ: I need to...

ALONZO: I am a big fan of buffets - big fan...

GROSZ: Oh, yes.

ALONZO: ....Humungous fan. I grew up in Texas. We have Luby's.

GROSZ: Oh, I love Luby's.

ALONZO: Luby's is always great. I think that to me, like, the Golden Corral - if you've never been - when they ring the bell, that means hot rolls are arriving. And they're good.

SALIE: (Laughter). Come eat.

GROSZ: And they have live steers that run through the restaurant.

(LAUGHTER)

SALIE: There's one big change, though. According to the Wall Street Journal, the beloved chocolate fountains will now be operated by professionals.

ALONZO: (Laughter).

POUNDSTONE: Really?

SALIE: It's heartbreaking that you won't be able to use the chocolate fountain. Though Golden Corral assures guests they can still stick their mouths directly under the soft serve machine.

(LAUGHTER)

ALONZO: My favorite part in the summer is just opening up that chocolate hydrant and letting the (laughter) kids dance in the street.

(LAUGHTER)

SALIE: Hey, Bill. How did Stephanie do? I bet she's hungry.

KURTIS: Well, she...

ALONZO: (Laughter).

KURTIS: ...Did a perfect score - built a bridge from zero to three.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

KURTIS: Stephanie...

SALIE: Nice.

KURTIS: ...Good going.

GROSZ: Congrats.

THRELKELD: Thank you.

SALIE: Stephanie, thank you for playing. And I hope you get some sweet hands dealt to you.

ALONZO: (Laughter).

THRELKELD: Yeah, me too. Bye bye.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BIG BUFFET")

TWO SCOOPS COMBO: (Singing) Hey, let's go load up down at the big buffet - big buffet. Everybody in town's at the big buffet - big buffet. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.