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Who's Bill This Time?

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. Hey, Little Miss Muffet - how about some Kurtis and whey? I'm Bill Kurtis. And here is your host, a man wearing a full-body mask just to be safe. It's Peter Sagal.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE SOUND EFFECT)

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

Thank you, Bill. And thanks once again to our fake audience, which this week is just practicing their mocking applause for when they're allowed back in restaurants, and somebody drops a tray of dishes.

We're going to be talking about Mars a lot on today's show. For one thing, our guest later on will be Dr. Swati Mohan, who just landed the rover there. So let's take a moment before we start all that to acknowledge some of the less-appreciated planets. Jupiter, you're gorgeous. Saturn, you are the prettiest. Mercury, you're hot. Uranus - I don't know what you mean. We never make that association.

ADAM FELBER: (Laughter).

SAGAL: With that out of the way, those of you here on Earth can call in to play our games. The number is 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924. Let's welcome our first listener contestant.

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

CHRISTIAN BRADY: Hi. This is Christian Brady calling from Lexington, Ky.

SAGAL: Hey, Christian. How are you?

BRADY: I am well.

SAGAL: I'm glad to hear. What do you do there in Lexington?

BRADY: I am a professor of ancient Hebrew and Jewish literature and interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

SAGAL: You are professor Christian Brady of Jewish literature.

BRADY: Yeah. You know, I often get the question, what's a nice Jewish boy like you doing with a name like Christian? Not being Jewish is the answer.

SAGAL: Oh, I see. Did the fact that you were named Christian - I mean, was this some sort of, like, teenage rebellion? Like, oh, you named me Christian, mom and dad. I'm going to go devote my life to Jewish studies. So there.

BRADY: Something like that. Yeah, absolutely.

SAGAL: (Laughter). Well, welcome to the show, Christian. It's a pleasure to have you. Let me introduce you to our panel this week. First up, it's a comedian currently hosting shows on the Stereo app, including conversations with Paula Poundstone. It's at stereo.com/adamfelber. That's right - it's Adam Felber.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE SOUND EFFECT)

BRADY: Hello, Adam.

FELBER: Hey there, Christian.

SAGAL: Next, a comedian you can see on "The Daily Show" and on "The Great North" Sunday at 8:30 Eastern on Fox. It's Dulce Sloan.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE SOUND EFFECT)

BRADY: Hello.

DULCE SLOAN: Hello, friends. Hello, Christian.

SAGAL: And a correspondent for "CBS Sunday Morning" and author of The New York Times best-selling "Mobituaries: Great Lives Worth Reliving." It's Mo Rocca.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE SOUND EFFECT)

MO ROCCA: Bless you, Christian.

BRADY: Oh, thank you, Mo.

SAGAL: Christian, welcome to the show. 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'll win our prize - any voice from our show that you might choose on your voicemail. You ready to go?

BRADY: I am ready.

SAGAL: All right. Well, then, here is your first quote.

KURTIS: (Imitating bad audio quality) Touchdown confirmed. We are on the surface.

SAGAL: That was Dr. Swati Mohan announcing that NASA had landed a rover where?

BRADY: A fellow Cornellian announcing the landing on Mars.

SAGAL: That's right.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SAGAL: Absolutely.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE SOUND EFFECT)

SAGAL: The Perseverance rover landed on Mars last week to huge celebration. The mission is, of course, intended to find signs of life on Mars, this time in an ancient lakebed, after earlier missions failed to find life in deserts and at the poles. We keep looking for life on Mars. We never find it. Take the hint, humans. Mars just isn't into us. Seriously, we are being ghosted by an entire planet.

FELBER: (Laughter).

ROCCA: Can - you know, I was up in my mother's apartment watching the very first images from Mars.

SAGAL: Yeah.

ROCCA: And my mother said - she said, (imitating his mother) people today, they are so blase. She said, in 1969, when they landed on the moon, we were paralyzed with excitement.

And it is true because today, it's sort of like, OK, I've seen the pictures. What's Kim Kardashian doing? I'm bored.

SAGAL: Is she on Mars?

KURTIS: (Laughter).

SAGAL: It is true. I mean, this is - I didn't realize this. This is the fifth rover we have landed on Mars. Can you imagine how...

SLOAN: See?

SAGAL: ...Weird it would be if, like, an alien race was, like, constantly dropping cars on us?

SLOAN: Think about it.

FELBER: (Laughter).

SLOAN: But come on. Like, the first Apollo mission, the second one - like, oh, which Apollo got - after the Apollo that got to the moon, we was, like, OK.

ROCCA: We were over Apollo. That's true.

SLOAN: Right, because we're not still going back to the moon. We've done that.

FELBER: But that did have some of that "Deadliest Catch," "Ice Road Truckers" appeal because somebody could die.

SAGAL: Yeah.

FELBER: Rovers just don't have that kind of - you know, you're not watching the rover going, like, oh, my God. Look out.

SAGAL: Well, I should point out, by the way, before we get too far into this, that the person that Bill quoted, Swati Mohan, will be on the show later. She's our Not My Job guest. We can ask her if it is no less exciting to her because nobody's life is at stake. So we're just going to find that out. I will say this...

FELBER: Guys, let's remember to act excited about it.

SAGAL: (Laughter).

SLOAN: It's got to be exciting. We're controlling a radio-control car from two years away.

SAGAL: That's true.

FELBER: (Laughter).

SAGAL: And there also - this one - I don't know if you're aware of this. This is an advancement, a number of advancements over prior rovers. For example, before, it was kind of random where it landed. This had this amazing guidance system. They could land it exactly where they wanted.

SLOAN: So like GPS and Uber.

SAGAL: Right, exactly but really complicated. We're getting so good at this, we can land a rover on Mars without putting the seat up first. And this is the first rover that has a microphone, so we have finally heard what it sounds like on Mars. We've heard the sounds of Mars, and it's really boring.

ROCCA: The wind - I saw that. It was breaking wind news, right?

SAGAL: Yes, exactly. It is breaking - it's just basically this (hissing). It's really - it's like Mars butt-dialed us.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Meanwhile, Christian, here is your next quote.

KURTIS: He's a rock 'n' roll icon. I'm not as cool.

SAGAL: That was Barack Obama describing his co-host on his new podcast. Who's his co-host?

BRADY: I believe it was Bruce Springsteen.

SAGAL: It is Bruce Springsteen.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SAGAL: Congratulations.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE SOUND EFFECT)

SAGAL: That's right. Spotify announced a brand-new podcast co-hosted by Bruce Springsteen and Barack Obama on Tuesday. It's called Renegades: Born In The USA - because, apparently, the former president still isn't over the whole birth certificate thing. The idea of two of the...

FELBER: (Laughter).

SAGAL: ...Most famous, admired people in the world talking together sounds fascinating. But I don't understand why each episode is just them recapping "WandaVision."

ROCCA: I just want them to drive around the whole time. But Bruce will be driving.

SLOAN: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Yeah.

SLOAN: That's a reference to one of his songs, right?

SAGAL: (Laughter). Now, the podcast is great news for anyone who's ever wanted to hear Bruce Springsteen talk about how back when he was a wild, young man, after crawling in at 7 a.m., he still used to sleep so well on his Casper mattress.

SLOAN: That's a song reference, right?

FELBER: (Laughter).

SLOAN: And a commercial.

SAGAL: No. Apparently, they're two - they're actually friends. And they on the podcast will talk about, quote, "race, fatherhood and the painful divisions that persist in American society," unquote. Well, yeah. Who cares? We want to hear about what it's like to be incredibly rich and famous. On today's episode, why separate private jets are essential to a healthy marriage. Also, Barack and Bruce try to remember the last time they were forced to wait for anything.

SLOAN: Wait. Didn't Bruce Springsteen just get a DUI?

ROCCA: That's right.

FELBER: No, they took it away.

SAGAL: What happened was he had two shots of tequila in a public park, which is illegal. And then he jumped on his motorcycle, and he got pulled over. And they said, you were just drinking in a public park, sir. That's illegal. And he had to go to court. And they fined - the judge fined him $500 and said, how would you like to pay? And he said, I think I can pay right away, he said...

SLOAN: (Laughter).

SAGAL: ...Being a little dry, a little dry, Bruce was.

SLOAN: Is that a song reference?

SAGAL: No, it's not. It's a reference to how immensely wealthy he is.

FELBER: I mean, having two shots of tequila and hopping on his motorcycle sounds like any one of Bruce Springsteen's songs.

SAGAL: That's pretty much - yeah, two...

FELBER: (Singing, imitating Bruce Springsteen) I had a second a shot of tequila and got on my bike now.

SAGAL: Yeah, pretty much. Yeah.

SLOAN: What's one of his songs that I would know?

(CROSSTALK)

ROCCA: I was born in a small town, and I live in a small town.

FELBER: That's not...

SAGAL: That's not him.

FELBER: (Laughter) You're thinking...

ROCCA: Oh, sorry. That's John Cougar Mellencamp. Sorry.

(LAUGHTER)

FELBER: "Born To Run"...

SLOAN: I win.

(CROSSTALK)

SAGAL: "Dancing In The Dark."

SLOAN: Christian, are you still here?

BRADY: I'm here.

FELBER: (Laughter).

SLOAN: Just checking.

SAGAL: Yeah. We're just going to move on. Here, Christian, is your last quote.

KURTIS: Dairy farmers need to reverse this madness.

SAGAL: That was Sheila Cherak (ph), one of many Canadians churningly mad that their what seems to have gotten a lot harder lately?

BRADY: Well, with the punning clue, I'm going to guess that it is butter.

SAGAL: You're right, sir.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SAGAL: Canadians from whatever city is on one side of Canada to whatever city is on the other side of Canada...

FELBER: (Laughter).

SAGAL: ...Are complaining that their butter has gotten mysteriously harder. They're taking to social media looking for an explanation. I'm no scientist, but have they tried because it's winter?

SLOAN: Bro.

SAGAL: But no, they say the butter - this is complaining Canadians, which is somewhat of an oxymoron - they say that the butter is even harder at room temperature. This has sent shockwaves throughout Canada, with many people saying something is desperately wrong with Canadian dairy and others bragging that they have, quote, "butter-hard abs."

ROCCA: And what is - and is it some sort of oil that's being put in it? Or...

SAGAL: Well, interesting that you should ask, Mo...

FELBER: Yeah.

SAGAL: ...Because, of course, they wanted to find out. And one of the prevailing theories about what has happened is they suspect that Canadian dairy farmers have been feeding palm oil products to the cows in their feed.

FELBER: Oh.

SAGAL: That would result, because of saturated fats, in harder butter. And apparently, there is no difference than what it is. And in fact, one of the prevailing theories right now is that this isn't real. Somebody said on social media, hey, I think the butter is much harder than it used to be. And then everybody started saying, yeah, it really is. Everybody convinced themselves that it was true. Can you imagine living in a country with so few real problems that you have to make them up?

SLOAN: Too much freedom, too much freedom. That sounds like too much freedom. That sounds like, I've got universal health care. The economy's OK.

FELBER: If you're complaining about butter - and that's not a complainy (ph) people, as Peter said.

SAGAL: We tried to figure out why butter is hard. Look for the cow with love and hate tattooed on his hooves.

(LAUGHTER)

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

KURTIS: Christian was hot. He got them all right. Congratulations.

SAGAL: Congratulations, Christian. Well done.

BRADY: Thank you all so much.

SAGAL: Thank you so...

SLOAN: You're welcome.

SAGAL: Thank you so much for playing.

BRADY: Thank you.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.

BRADY: Bye-bye.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TRUFFLE BUTTER")

NICKI MINAJ FEAT DRAKE AND LIL WAYNE: (Vocalizing). Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.