December 2, 2023


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‘Ear Hustle’ plays Not My Job on NPR’s “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!” : NPR

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: The following program was taped in front of an audience of real, live people.


BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT… DON’T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. You’ll never escape Bill-catraz (ph). I’m Bill Kurtis.


KURTIS: And here is your host at the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco, Calif. He’s my San Francisco treat. It’s Peter Sagal.


Thank you, Bill.


SAGAL: And thank you, San Francisco. Thank you all. It is a pleasure to be back here. The city that can boast – and I don’t think anybody’s going to argue with me about this. The city that can boast the most beautiful, most tempting prisons in the world. And I’m not just talking about Alcatraz but also San Quentin, that picturesque involuntary resort by the bay. Now, later on, we’re going to be talking to the two creators of “Ear Hustle,” the podcast phenomenon that told us all about life in San Quentin. But first, we want to hear from you. So call us at 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That’s 1-888-924-8924. Let’s welcome our first listener contestant.


STEPH MAURY: Hi. This is Steph Maury from Norristown, Pa.

SAGAL: Oh, I think I know where that is. It’s near Philly, right?

MAURY: It is. It’s about 20 minutes outside of Philadelphia.

SAGAL: Right. And what do you do there?

MAURY: I am an artist. I have a very small business making soap, candles and unique snail art.

SAGAL: I’m sorry – did you say unique snail art?

MAURY: Yes. Yes, snail art.


MAURY: It is art that focuses on snails. So I make sculptures out of snails. I do drawings of snails. It’s all snail-related art. There’s no snails involved in the project.

SAGAL: Wait a minute. So when you say you make sculptures out of snails, you’re not actually making sculptures out of snails. And if so….

MAURY: No, no, no.

SAGAL: No, no, no.

MAURY: Sculptures of snails.

SAGAL: Sculptures of snails, right.

MAURY: Made out of paper (laughter).

SAGAL: Oh, do they ever, like, fool a snail who ends up being very frustrated?


MAURY: All the time.

SAGAL: I’m sure. That’s the true test of a snail artist. Well, let’s walk back from there…


SAGAL: …And introduce you to our panel this week. First, a comedian you can see at the Dania Beach Improv in Florida, June 16 to 18. All his tour dates can be found at That’s right. It’s Maz Jobrani.

MAZ JOBRANI: Hey. How are you?


SAGAL: Next, it’s the comedian you can see at CG’s Comedy Club in Bolingbrook, Ill., August 5 and 6. It’s Adam Burke.

ADAM BURKE: Hello. Hi, Steph.


SAGAL: And finally, a comedian you can see in Philadelphia, June 17 at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. Her podcast is “Nobody Listens To Paula Poundstone.” You guessed it. It’s Paula Poundstone.



SAGAL: Steph, 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 two of them, you will win our prize – any voice from our show you might choose in your voicemail. You ready to go?

MAURY: I am so ready.

SAGAL: Whoa. OK.

MAURY: (Laughter).


SAGAL: She’s great.

MAURY: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Steph, here is your first quote.

KURTIS: Perhaps rebranded as something that does not become a punchline on playgrounds.

SAGAL: That was a comment on a New York Times article urging the CDC to rename what new disease?

MAURY: Monkeypox.

SAGAL: Monkeypox, yes.


SAGAL: Just when we thought we might be done with COVID, here comes monkeypox. The CDC is warning about a new possible outbreak of this new disease, which they have already traced to people partying at two different raves in Europe. And you know it was a great rave when people start hooking up with the monkey.


JOBRANI: I’ve been trying to deny – like I’m living in denial. Like, I – because it’s been two years of corona. I’m like, I don’t need another – like, until my wife starts making monkey noises…

JOBRANI: Like, if I walk in and see (mimicking monkey sounds), I’ll be like, oh, here we go.

SAGAL: Oh, dammit.

BURKE: I mean, I suppose it depends on the context, Maz.

JOBRANI: That’s true.


SAGAL: In certain circumstances.

JOBRANI: Yeah, I might celebrate it, actually. I’m doing something right.

SAGAL: Yeah.


SAGAL: The bad news, the bad news is that the primary symptom of monkeypox are these awful pustules all over your skin. The good news is Zoom has already introduced a new pustule-smoothing feature.


POUNDSTONE: You say they’re horrible pustules.

SAGAL: I did say that.

POUNDSTONE: And I’ve seen them…

SAGAL: Opposed to the lovely pustules associated with other diseases.

POUNDSTONE: No, I’ve seen them just on the internet. And they – yeah, I would – they’re horrible pustules. But, you know, I don’t like tattoos either.


POUNDSTONE: So what I’m saying is it’s all a matter of like – and there was probably a time where other people thought the same thing about tattoos, but then it became in vogue. So if we could just embrace the pustule.


BURKE: You know what happens when you embrace a pustule?

SAGAL: Yeah, that’s actually how it spreads. Exactly.


POUNDSTONE: Well, if that were how tattoos spread. It would save people a lot of money.

BURKE: (Laughter). You just don’t let it dry, and then you hug a guy.

SAGAL: Ok, Steph, here is your next quote from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

KURTIS: I’m sure that whatever happened, the rules were followed at all times.

SAGAL: Mr. Johnson was responding to a recent report that he broke every rule during lockdown by hosting what at 10 Downing Street?

MAURY: Wild snail sex parties.


POUNDSTONE: Yeah, baby.


KURTIS: Oh, those Brits.

SAGAL: Hadn’t heard about the snail sex. The report of the yearlong investigation into Partygate was released this week, finding there were at least eight drunken parties at No. 10 Downing Street, while the people at 10 Downing Street, the government, forced the rest of the country to stay locked inside. The parties, which Boris Johnson denied knowing about at the time even though they took place at his house, included karaoke, quote, “wine time Fridays” and a game called Pin the Responsibility on the Underling.


SAGAL: People became suspicious, by the way, that these wild parties were going on at the time when they noticed what the prime minister looks like every day of his life.


SAGAL: Boris Johnson always looks like somebody who just said to his best friend, you can let go of my hair. I think I’m done throwing up.


POUNDSTONE: Does anybody resign over scandal anymore?

SAGAL: Oh, no.

POUNDSTONE: Yeah, I didn’t think so.

SAGAL: That’s very 20th century.


SAGAL: Nobody does.

BURKE: Yeah, in fact, you run on the scandal next time around.

SAGAL: Yeah.


BURKE: You might remember me from all those headlines.


SAGAL: Yes. Boris Johnson’s slogan for his reelection will be, I will fight for your right to party.


BURKE: I will fight for it on the beaches. I will fight for it.

SAGAL: (Laughter) All right, Steph, here is your last quote. And it is Tom Cruise.

KURTIS: Thirty-six years after the first one, it’s here. I hope you enjoy the ride.

SAGAL: Tom Cruise was talking about his big new sequel out this week. The sequel to what?

MAURY: The sequel to “Top Gun.”

SAGAL: Yes, the sequel to “Top Gun.”


SAGAL: This weekend is the opening of “Top Gun: Maverick.” Tom Cruise is almost 60. He is playing the role he created in his early 20s, and he looks very good. But as the movie makes clear, time has had its way with him. So, like, now his catchphrase is, I feel the need, the need to pee.


SAGAL: Many times in the course of an evening.

BURKE: That’s the one good thing of being – like, being at Mach 5 in a jet because it’s, like, temporary facelift.


BURKE: Just entire thing flies back.

POUNDSTONE: It’s – you know, I’ve only seen a couple of – like, I liked the one where he’s the lawyer. I liked that because, you know, they talk. But these action movies – it’s all the same movie. Is it not? I mean, I saw a “Mission Impossible” movie. And how many have he’s these done of those?

SAGAL: Forty-three, actually.

JOBRANI: Four or five.


POUNDSTONE: Yeah. Great. It’s all the same movie. I don’t understand.

BURKE: No, in some of them, he runs from right to left, and other ones he runs…


JOBRANI: But by the way, by the way, if you do the impossible mission 43 times, it’s clearly possible.

SAGAL: Yeah, exactly.



JOBRANI: He’s, like, done it 43 times.

BURKE: “Highly Probable Task.”



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

KURTIS: She worked at a snail’s pace but came up with three straight wins.

POUNDSTONE: Very good, Steph.

SAGAL: Congratulations, Steph. Yay.


SAGAL: Steph, thank you so much for playing.

MAURY: Thank you so much for having me.

SAGAL: Take care. Bye-bye, Steph.




SAGAL: Right now, panel, it is time for you to answer some questions from this week’s news. Maz, this week, Russia released a list of 1,000 Americans that are now banned from that country. That list included several government officials, as you can imagine, members of the Biden administration, a whole bunch of journalists they don’t like and, strangely, whom?

JOBRANI: Oh, I wonder – I mean, Sylvester Stallone did play against the Russian guy…

SAGAL: Oh, yeah.

JOBRANI: …In “Rocky.”

SAGAL: They’re probably still mad about that.

JOBRANI: Do you think they – “Rocky”…

SAGAL: But remember, at the end, he says, we can all get along.

JOBRANI: If yous (ph) can change and Is (ph) can change, wes alls (ph) can change.

BURKE: Yeah, I remember that.


JOBRANI: I – yeah. I live by that quote.

SAGAL: I know. I can tell.

POUNDSTONE: No. Yous do.

JOBRANI: Yous do. Can you give me a hint?

SAGAL: I can give you a hint. And to be fair, they might be confused because this gentleman has, in fact, played the president in a couple of movies. So maybe they thought he really was the president.

JOBRANI: Oh, my God. Really? Was it Morgan Freeman?

SAGAL: It was Morgan Freeman.


JOBRANI: He made the list?

SAGAL: He made the list.


POUNDSTONE: I am so jealous.

JOBRANI: Well, at least it’s for president and not – because he’s also played God.

SAGAL: That’s true.


SAGAL: So anyway, Morgan Freeman has been permanently banned from Russia. He’s part of this list of, quote, “anti-Russian Americans,” certainly all of them now heartbroken they won’t be able to attend this year’s Novgorod Beet Festival.


SAGAL: We don’t know – Putin is apparently afraid that if Freeman were allowed into Russia, he would unleash the armies of penguins who flock to the sounds of his voice.


POUNDSTONE: Yeah, no. It’s probably because he made him cry. You know, Putin probably doesn’t cry a lot. But you can’t listen to Morgan Freeman narrate that penguin movie and not just sob.


BURKE: Yeah. Oddly, Donald Trump and a number of his most senior advisers were not on this list – nobody knows why – except for Ted Cruz, who is banned. But analysts say, well, that’s because, quote, “well, wouldn’t you?”


POUNDSTONE: That’s just – yeah. Yeah. I mean, they’re human beings.

SAGAL: Come on.

POUNDSTONE: As upset as we are with them and as horrible what they’ve done, they are human beings.


BURKE: That’d be amazing if that brought both sides together, just the universal contempt for Ted Cruz.



BURKE: Finally find a use for him.

POUNDSTONE: That could be the pontoon bridge.

BURKE: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Didn’t Sting have a song, “The Russians Hate Ted Cruz, Too?”


SAGAL: Coming up, we fix everything. It’s our Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to play. We’ll be back in a minute with more of WAIT WAIT… DON’T TELL ME from NPR.

KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT… DON’T TELL ME!, the NPR news quiz. I’m Bill Kurtis. We’re playing this week with Paula Poundstone, Maz Jobrani and Adam Burke. And here again is your host at the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco, my bae by the Bay – it’s Peter Sagal.

SAGAL: Thank you, Bill. Thanks, everybody.


SAGAL: God, it’s good to hear your voices again. Right now, it is time for the WAIT WAIT… DON’T TELL ME! Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to join us on the air. Hi, you’re on WAIT WAIT… DON’T TELL ME!

SYDNEY ROGERS: Oh, my goodness. Hi there, Peter. This is Sydney Rogers a.k.a. Miss Barbie-Q.

SAGAL: Hello, Miss Barbie-Q. How’s by you?

ROGERS: I’m doing amazing. I’m from LA, but I’m down in San Diego for a conference.

SAGAL: A conference? What kind of conference, may I ask?

ROGERS: Oh, for the California Workforce Association conference. I work for Trans Can Work. I’m the education and training manager, and I’m also a professional drag queen.

SAGAL: Well, that’s cool.


SAGAL: Do you…

ROGERS: Yes. I’ve been doing drag since 1992.

SAGAL: Well, I know the drag scene is competitive. As the saying goes, you got to have a gimmick. So do you have a gimmick?

ROGERS: Oh, my goodness. I think my gimmick is fierce, relaxed and keeping it real.

SAGAL: That’s a good gimmick. That’s a good gimmick. Well, welcome to the show, Sydney. You’re going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what is Sydney’s topic?

KURTIS: Solving the big problems.

SAGAL: We have the most powerful science and technology in the world, but we still can’t seem to stop climate change, endless wars or people who don’t know how to thread their tweets. But this week, somebody actually finally fixed something that we needed fixed. Our panelists are going to tell you about it. Pick the one that’s telling the truth. You’ll win the WAIT WAITer (ph) of your choice on your voicemail. You ready to play?

ROGERS: Yes, I am so ready.

SAGAL: I’m so happy to hear it, Sydney. Here we go. Here, first up – Adam Burke.

BURKE: Ah, the humble burrito. Some say it was invented in Mexico in the late 19th century. Others says it was created by a Juarez street vendor in the 1940s. Still, others say the ancient Egyptians invented it back when they were addicted to just wrapping stuff. There are even those that contend the burrito did not reach its true apotheosis until the invention of the Mission-style burrito right here in San Francisco in the 1960s and ’70s. But who would say that, but a feckless panderer trying to curry favor with a local audience?


BURKE: But there’s one thing that we can all agree upon, is their fundamental design flaw – that they are so full of meaty, starchy goodness that they often burst forth from their flowery or corny winding sheet, spilling their cheesy cargo all over you like an overwhelmed frat boy his first night out in the Mission.


BURKE: But fear not, for a stalwart band of boffins at Baltimore’s John Hopkins University have tackled and possibly solved the issue of structural snack integrity by creating edible adhesive tape that will fasten your beloved partial shut like the wax seal on a calorific royal proclamation. Putatively called Tastee Tape, the food-safe suture is patent pending. So hopefully in the near future, we can chow down on our favorite doughy meat sack without fear of a Tex-Mex-splosion (ph).


SAGAL: Burrito tape – edible tape to hold your burrito together. Your next story of a problem solved comes from Maz Jobrani.

JOBRANI: Anyone who’s ever had to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night knows it can be a precarious endeavor. Well, designed for people who have a long walk to the bathroom down a dark hallway, Swedish engineers at home-furnishing giant IKEA have come up with a mattress that senses when you get up to urinate and proceeds to illuminate a dimly lit path of nightlights that you follow from your bed to the toilet, where the toilet seat is also lit. The invention, known as the Pee Landing (ph), came to Anders Andersson (ph) when he was flying into LaGuardia one night. I looked out into the pitch dark black night, and as we approached the airport, I saw the landing strip lights, thinking if those lights can help a plane hit its target, they can help me hit my target too.


SAGAL: The Pee Landing – an automatic system that lights your way to the safety of the toilet in the middle of the night. Your last story of a thorn removed from all of our sides comes from Paula Poundstone.

POUNDSTONE: A team of University of Helsinki graduate students took on one of life’s greatest challenges. How do you open clear plastic clamshell packaging without damaging the product within or without losing a limb? And they won. Their device, informally called the Clamshell Cracker (ph), subjects the package to specially calibrated vibrations and radiation, so that after only an hour inside, the plastic is soft enough to be easily manipulated. The hard part wasn’t coming up with a process to weaken the polymers so the package would open easily. The problem was making it safe for home use, says team member Jargo al-Ali (ph). So it has to be a little bigger than a commercial refrigerator, but we think it’s worth it. Parent Karen Miller (ph) explains, my daughter actually outgrows toys before I can get them out of the package. So what, the machine is big? We’ll decorate it. My wife’s career as a surgeon was cut short by nerve damage she received while opening the plastic packaging containing a laser pointer for our cat, says Charlie Rupe (ph). We’re getting this machine. Yeah, it’s big. We’ll put it in my son’s room. He can sleep on the couch.


SAGAL: All right. One of these problems has been solved. Is it the problem of your burrito opening and spilling everywhere, solved with new burrito tape? Is the problem not being able to find the bathroom accurately and quickly enough in the middle of the night, solved by the Pee Landing automatic lighting system, or the problem of not being able to open those damned clamshell packages, solved by the new, large but efficient machine invented in Helsinki?

ROGERS: Oh, my goodness. I’ve tried to eat a burrito in the movie theater. Never do that.


ROGERS: No. That’s not very smart. And the clamshell thing – I’m allergic to shellfish, so I’m going to go with the burrito tape because now I can go to the movie theater and eat a burrito in peace.

SAGAL: Well, Sydney, I really like the way your mind works. To find out if you’re right, we spoke to one of the real problem-solvers.

ERIN WALSH: Tastee Tape allows you to keep your burrito wrapped or any food like that securely closed during cooking and consumption.

SAGAL: That was Erin Walsh. She is a recent graduate from Johns Hopkins University and one of the developers of Tastee Tape. We anticipate a statue of her in the Mission any day now. Congratulations, Sydney. You got it right. You earned a point for Adam. You’ve won our prize, the voice of your choice on your voicemail.


SAGAL: Thank you so much for playing with us today. Enjoy that conference.

ROGERS: Thank you so much. Yeah.

SAGAL: Take care, Sydney. Bye bye.





LIONEL RICHIE: (Singing) Stuck on you. Got this feeling down deep in my soul that I just can’t lose. Guess I’m on my way.

SAGAL: And now the game where people who have never dreamed of something like this find out why they never dreamed of something like this. It’s called Not My Job.

So back in 2017, the podcast network Radiotopia ran this contest to find a great new podcast idea. And the winner was the show made by two people who had no experience in audio at all – Nigel Poor, a photographer who volunteered as a teacher at San Quentin Prison, and Earlonne Woods, a prisoner serving a life sentence there. Their podcast, “Ear Hustle,” about daily life in San Quentin and other prisons became a global phenomenon. We are delighted they are both free to join us now.

Nigel and Earlonne, welcome to WAIT WAIT… DON’T TELL ME!

NIGEL POOR: Thank you.

EARLONNE WOODS: Glad to be here.


SAGAL: Now, the origin story, which you tell beautifully in your new book about the podcast and your experience, is that you, Nigel, were teaching art in San Quentin. You volunteered there.

POOR: Yeah.

SAGAL: And you were there, Earlonne.

WOODS: I was just posted.


SAGAL: You were just posted up. And how did you guys meet? How did you end up – sort of, how does this partnership start?

POOR: I started going down into the media lab after I stopped teaching. I wanted to do some more projects down there. And I met him. He volunteered…

SAGAL: Yeah.

POOR: …Down there as well. And he was the quietest guy in the room. And I thought, that’s interesting.

SAGAL: This guy doesn’t talk. I bet he’d be great…

POOR: Great.

SAGAL: …On a podcast.

POOR: Exactly.


POOR: Exactly.

SAGAL: But neither of you had ever done a podcast before.

POOR: He didn’t know what a podcast was.


SAGAL: Right.

WOODS: It was interesting. I thought we was just going to be talking, but it was way more scripted than that.

POOR: Yeah. I know you said, oh, this is going to be easy.

WOODS: Definitely. I thought – I mean, listening the “Snap Judgment,” I was like, oh, yeah. That’s easy.

SAGAL: Oh, yeah.


SAGAL: And the great thing about “Ear Hustle,” for those who haven’t heard it, is usually when people read or write things about prisons, it’s about unjustly sentenced people or our carceral system – large themes. You guys intentionally didn’t go there.

POOR: Exactly.

SAGAL: You were like, so tell me what – the decision you made about – especially, like – you talk in your book about, like, the very first episode and why you wanted it to be that.

POOR: Yes. We really wanted to tell stories about everyday life and things that people who are not incarcerated could relate to.

POOR: Yeah.

POUNDSTONE: So what was in the first episode?

POOR: Oh, how to find a cellie.

WOODS: Yeah.

POOR: So how do you find a roommate.

WOODS: Definitely.

POUNDSTONE: Do you get to choose your roommate in prison?

WOODS: Not all the time, no.

POUNDSTONE: But when you do it, you want to have that answer ready.

WOODS: Yeah.


POOR: Especially…

JOBRANI: Are there auditions?


WOODS: I mean, you don’t want to go in there with somebody that you don’t like.

POUNDSTONE: Can you choose somebody who’s not in yet?


POUNDSTONE: ‘Cause I got some ideas.


SAGAL: Earlonne, was there something about prison life, a particular episode maybe, that was most surprising to people who don’t know anything about prisons, like me and most of your listeners? – the thing that just blew everybody’s mind.

WOODS: Probably, I would think, the fishing expedition.

POOR: Oh, yeah.


POUNDSTONE: What is that?

JOBRANI: What’s that? Yeah.

WOODS: Oh, yeah.

POOR: Talking about how you can deliver a burrito from one floor to the next using the toilet system.

WOODS: Yeah, that was bad.


WOODS: That was bad.

SAGAL: Yeah.

JOBRANI: You can’t just say that and not explain.

SAGAL: Yeah.


WOODS: I going to have to explain that one.

BURKE: I mean, I’m familiar with a burrito delivery system involving a toilet, but that’s the…


JOBRANI: The outcome.


POOR: Yeah, no. This is before. This is called fishing.

WOODS: Fishing. And I think Jesse Vasquez explained that one.

POOR: Yes. Jesse Vasquez told us how you could – what you said…

WOODS: Actually, you can…

POOR: You have to get all the water out of the toilet first, which you said you do by…

WOODS: Squatting.

POOR: Squatting.

WOODS: Squatting back and forth on the toilet.

POOR: Getting all the water to…

SAGAL: Wait a minute. So you squat back and forth on the toilet.


SAGAL: It goes up and down, up and down…

WOODS: Up and down, yup.

SAGAL: …So that you create suction.

POOR: Exactly.

WOODS: Exactly.

JOBRANI: So your butt is a plunger.

SAGAL: Right.

WOODS: Yes. Exactly.


WOODS: Your body is a plunger.

SAGAL: Your body is a plunger. That was John Mayer’s first draft of that song.


SAGAL: He improved it. But – so then you have the water out of the toilet.

WOODS: You have the water out of the toilet.

SAGAL: You have accomplished that.


SAGAL: Whoa, you say. I have done this. And now what? Hold on. The goal here is to get a burrito intact – predigested burrito – from your cell to somebody else’s cell.

POUNDSTONE: Suddenly this tape…

POOR: Without the tape.

POUNDSTONE: …Is really important.

POOR: Yeah.

SAGAL: Yeah.

POOR: Yeah.

SAGAL: So now you’ve got the water out of the toilet. Now what?

WOODS: So now your mission is to flush something.

POOR: What – first I thought you had to clean it with…

WOODS: Once you clean it out – you’re going to clean it out. But once…

SAGAL: Oh, yeah. Well, you’d expect that.

JOBRANI: This is…

WOODS: Yeah. You definitely – but you…

SAGAL: That goes without saying.

WOODS: You’re not going to clean the pipes. You’re going to clean the toilet.

POOR: I thought you took the sheet, and the sheet went through and cleaned the…

WOODS: In theory.

POOR: In theory.


SAGAL: That’s what you told the guy you were sending the burrito to.

WOODS: Yeah.

SAGAL: Yeah, well, of course I cleaned this with a sheet.

JOBRANI: This is a good plot for the next “Mission Impossible.”

SAGAL: Apparently.

POOR: Exactly.


SAGAL: I got to ask. That’s a lot of effort to get somebody a burrito. Why was it so important that you get that person the burrito?

WOODS: Well, it wasn’t me that was doing it. But from the story, I think dude was hungry. They was in administrative segregation.

POOR: I’m guessing he’s never had prison food.

BURKE: Wow. It’s worse than a burrito that’s been through a toilet.

SAGAL: It’s exactly…

WOODS: Definitely.


SAGAL: It’s so bad you’d rather have…

JOBRANI: But isn’t there a chance that you get the water out, and you’re like, here we go. And then somebody’s next door flushes…

POOR: Yes.

JOBRANI: …And you like aargh?

POOR: Yes.

WOODS: It’s a system. Everybody work together.


WOODS: Everybody trying to get on that highway.

JOBRANI: It’s like Chipotle. It’s kind of like Chipotle.


JOBRANI: Everyone’s got their section.

SAGAL: Well, Nigel and Earlonne, we have asked you here to play a game we’re calling…

KURTIS: Ride ‘Em, Cowboy.

SAGAL: You are the hosts of “Ear Hustle.” So we thought we’d ask you about the steer hustle…


SAGAL: …Which is what we call rodeo.

POOR: Ooh, horse stuff.

SAGAL: If you answer two out of three questions about the world of professional rodeo correctly, you will win our prize…


SAGAL: …For one of our listeners. Bill, who are our guests playing for?

KURTIS: Mikayla Wilson (ph) of Redwood City, Calif.



SAGAL: Here’s your first question. The rodeo is exciting to watch. It’s also dangerous. At the Range Days Rodeo in Rapid City, a drunk fan who jumped the fence to run around the arena was lucky to escape serious injury after a collision with a 275 pound what – A, bull, B, goat or, C, rodeo clown?


POOR: I love goats, but…

WOODS: Yimmy, yimmy (ph). Yeah.

POOR: Yimmy, yimmy. Don’t you think…

SAGAL: Yimmy, yimmy? What’s that?

WOODS: That’s the goat sound.

POOR: That’s the sound a goat makes – yimmy, yimmy.

SAGAL: I know you’ve been inside a long time.

WOODS: No, that was…

SAGAL: That’s not what a goat sounds like.


WOODS: Hey, that’s what it sounded like in my neighborhood growing up.


BURKE: Street goats.

SAGAL: Street goats.

WOODS: Street goats, hood goats.

SAGAL: That’s the hard streets of South Central. That’s what goats say – yimmeny, yimmeny (ph).

POOR: Yimmy, yimmy.

WOODS: Smoking too much.

SAGAL: Yeah.

POOR: But you said 200 pounds?

SAGAL: I said 275 pounds.

POOR: It’s going to be a clown.

WOODS: I’m going to say C.

POOR: The clown.

SAGAL: It was the rodeo clown.

POOR: Yes.



SAGAL: That’s right.

POOR: Yes.



SAGAL: This famous rodeo clown named Justin “Rumpshaker” Rumford just leveled the guy. I mean, seriously, these guys are used to, like, dealing with, like, bulls. So a guy’s not a problem.

All right. Here’s your next question. Like all sporting events, rodeos have good years and bad years. A 2011 rodeo in Utah is particularly memorable for what reason – A, all of the bulls could sense there was a huge thunderstorm coming, so instead of bucking, they all just sat down and refused to move, B, one of the horses bucked a rider off its back and then immediately gave birth to a foal in the middle of the arena or, C, due to an outbreak of horse herpes, all of the riders were forced to use toy stick ponies instead of the real ones?


POOR: It’s Utah, so probably no herpes.



SAGAL: Earlonne thinks A – like, the bulls just sat down.

POOR: I don’t think they sit. Bulls don’t sit.

WOODS: Oh, they do.

BURKE: You never heard of bullsit (ph) before?


BURKE: I must have – I think I misheard.

SAGAL: Yeah.




SAGAL: Everybody knows this. The bulls sit down, and they just sit there quietly going yimmeny, yimmeny.

POOR: Yimmeny, yimmeny.


POOR: If you want to – I’m going to say B, but if you want to go for A.

WOODS: I’m going to go A.

SAGAL: So you’re picking A, Earlonne.

WOODS: I’m picking A.

SAGAL: You’re saying the bulls just sat down.

WOODS: Yeah.

SAGAL: You’re saying B, Nigel, the horse bucked the rider and just gave birth.

POOR: Yeah.

SAGAL: The answer is, in fact, C.

POOR: What?


SAGAL: They all – all the horses were out. They couldn’t use the horses. So they just said, here, and they got those…


SAGAL: …Stick hobbyhorses.

JOBRANI: Hilarious.


JOBRANI: All right.

POOR: (Imitating horse whinnying).

SAGAL: All right. You got one right, with one to go. If you get this, you win.

POOR: OK. OK, pressure.

SAGAL: Steer roping, bull riding – mainstays of your rodeo. But they’re not the only ones. Which of these is a real event at the Angola Prison Rodeo in Louisiana? This might be in your lane – A, the bull kissing booth, where whoever sneaks the most kisses on a rampaging bull’s lips wins, B, the rider spelling bee, where if you spell a word wrong, you get lassoed offstage or, C, a game where four men sit at a table playing poker, and then an angry bull is released, and the last man to flee the table wins.


POOR: I think it’s C.

WOODS: I’m going to go with C.

POOR: Yeah.

SAGAL: You’re going to go C.

POOR: Going to go with C.

SAGAL: That sounds right to you. Yes. That is…




POOR: Yes.


SAGAL: And because it is a prison rodeo, it is called convict poker. Yeah. There you go.


JOBRANI: Wow. You got to be quick with the poker face.


JOBRANI: With a bull coming, you’re going to be like, (vocalizing).

SAGAL: (Vocalizing).


BURKE: Oh, no. Why are all my cards red?


SAGAL: Bill, how did Nigel and Earlonne do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Two out of three. You won this game.

POOR: Yea.




SAGAL: Nigel Poor and Earlonne Woods are the hosts of Radiotopia’s “Ear Hustle.” Their new book “This Is Ear Hustle” is out now. It’s really quite something. I recommend it – both. Nigel and Earlonne, and thank you so much for joining us on WAIT WAIT… DON’T TELL ME!

WOODS: Thank you.


SAGAL: A pleasure to see you.

WOODS: Thank you.


SAGAL: Enjoy your success. By God, you earned it.


JOHNNY CASH: (Singing) San Quentin, you’ve been living hell to me.

SAGAL: In just a minute, Bill warns everyone on the beach, don’t go near the boiling-hot water. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to join us in the air. We’ll be back in a minute with more of WAIT WAIT… DON’T TELL ME! from NPR.

KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT… DON’T TELL ME!, the NPR news quiz. I’m Bill Kurtis. We’re playing this week with Adam Burke, Paula Poundstone and Maz Jobrani. And here again is your host at the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco, a man who always calls it Frisco…


KURTIS: …Peter Sagal.


SAGAL: Thanks, Bill, for that slander. In just a minute, Bill suffers from a rare breach of decorhyme (ph) in our Listener Limerick Challenge. If you’d like to play, give us a call at 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That’s 1-888-924-8924.

Right now panel, some more questions for you from the week’s news. Adam, a paleontologist here at UC Berkeley may have solved one of the great mysteries of the Tyrannosaurus rex. What?

BURKE: Why it had that accent.


SAGAL: What was…

BURKE: French. I always thought that was weird.

JOBRANI: (Laughter).

SAGAL: (Imitating French accent) Roar.

JOBRANI: (Imitating French accent) Roar.


JOBRANI: (Imitating French accent) I will eat you.

BURKE: (Imitating French accent) Jeff Goldblum.


BURKE: (Imitating French accent) Get over here. Get in my belly.


BURKE: I don’t know. Can I have a clue?

SAGAL: Well, I mean, why would an animal evolve so that it couldn’t brush its own teeth?

BURKE: Oh, so they figured out why it had tiny – teeny-tiny arms.

SAGAL: Yes. This is the theory as to why Tyrannosaurus rexes evolved to have such tiny arms.


SAGAL: And the hypothesis offered by Professor Kevin Padian of UC Berkeley is that it evolved short arms so that their arms wouldn’t get hurt in the kind of feeding frenzy that happened when T. Rexes hunted in packs and found their prey, which means that until they evolved those short arms, T. rexes always had to interrupt their meals with apologies. Like, aw, geez, Phil, was that your arm I just ate?


JOBRANI: I thought maybe the arms were so they could tickle themselves.


SAGAL: And this is true. There is another theory that was actually put forward at a genuine academic conference that they used those short arms to sneak up to Triceratopses and push them over.


SAGAL: This is right – Triceratops tipping. This theory was based on finding some adolescent T. rexes next to some fossilized six packs of Old Milwaukee.


SAGAL: Paula, the supply chain has claimed yet another victim. College graduates are facing an extreme shortage of what this spring?

POUNDSTONE: Those bathing suits that go up the crack of your butt.


JOBRANI: G-strings?

BURKE: I find all bathing suits go up the crack of your butt if…


SAGAL: If you work – if you try hard enough.


SAGAL: Yeah.

JOBRANI: You Europeans.

POUNDSTONE: Give me a hint. Do you have a hint?

SAGAL: Yeah. I guess people will be getting their diploma in the nude this year.

POUNDSTONE: Oh, there’s not enough gowns and caps.

SAGAL: Yeah – enough cap and gowns, apparently.



SAGAL: Colleges across the country are still waiting for shipments of caps and gowns that may never come. It’s so sad this year’s graduates can’t celebrate four years of getting smarter by wearing the dumbest hat there is.

POUNDSTONE: Yeah, really. Yeah. I think they could do away with that altogether anyways.

SAGAL: You do?

POUNDSTONE: Don’t you?

BURKE: Course.

JOBRANI: Definitely.


BURKE: Also, why do they need new ones?


BURKE: It’s not like there’s fashions in gowns.

SAGAL: Yeah. It’s not…

BURKE: It’s not like they’re wearing them, like…

SAGAL: Yeah.

BURKE: …With a big slit up the side.

SAGAL: Oh, that’s this year. Oh, I understand baggy and shapeless are in this year.

BURKE: Can people share gowns, with, like, one gown, two people?


POUNDSTONE: That’s a good idea.

JOBRANI: Absolutely.

POUNDSTONE: Or, you know, the Supreme Court – they wear gowns, and they’re really not doing a good job. So…


POUNDSTONE: You know? So that’s…

JOBRANI: Nine graduates at a time.

POUNDSTONE: Yeah. That’s nine…

SAGAL: Right there.

POUNDSTONE: …That could certainly be given up.

JOBRANI: Nine – there you go.

SAGAL: They’d do more good with them, I guess.


SAGAL: Adam, there is a shortage of contractors and construction workers, and according to least some in the trade, one of the reasons is nobody wants to do what?

BURKE: Learn the lyrics to “YMCA.”


SAGAL: No. They all know that.

BURKE: I don’t know. Can I have a clue?

SAGAL: You can have a clue. The problem may be the snooze button.




BURKE: Is it get up early in the morning?

SAGAL: Exactly right.


SAGAL: They can’t find enough young people willing to get up early enough to get to work by 7 a.m.

BURKE: Oh. Well, I agree with all of them.


SAGAL: Well, one contractor said, quote, “there’s an awful lot of young people that don’t like getting out of bed for 7 o’clock in the morning. And that’s just a fact,” unquote. In fact, when told that jobs would start around 7 a.m., most applicants said, there’s a 7 o’clock in the morning?


BURKE: Yeah. Why is construction happening at 7 a.m. in the first place?

SAGAL: Yeah.

BURKE: Shut the hell up. We all want to sleep.

SAGAL: Exactly.


SAGAL: We stand with the resistors. The labor shortage is so bad that one single construction worker is now expected to handle all the catcalling of a 10 men-crew.


THE GAP BAND: (Singing) So I got to get up early in the morning.

SAGAL: Coming up, it’s Lightning Fill in the Blank. But first, it’s the game where you have to listen for the rhyme. If you’d like to play on air, call or leave a message at 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That’s 1-888-924-8924. Or click the Contact Us link on our website, That’s where you can find out about the WAIT WAIT Stand-Up Tour, your favorite comedians from the show doing the thing you love them to do, which is standing there. They’re in Salt Lake City on June 24 and in Denver on June 25. And check out WAIT WAIT proper in Philadelphia at the Mann Center June 30. Tickets and info at


JEFF: Hi, Peter. This is Jeff from Berrian, Wash.

SAGAL: Hey, Jeff from Berrian, Wash. What do you do there?

JEFF: I own my own vintage motorcycle restoration and maintenance shop.

SAGAL: No kidding.


SAGAL: I am a motorcycle enthusiast. What are your favorite kind?

JEFF: Oh, I love old Harleys. One of my favorite ones that I’ve done so far is the 1956 Royal Enfield.

SAGAL: Oh, wow. Those are beautiful machines. They really are something.

BURKE: OK, if this conversation gets any more middle-aged, we’re going to have to give it Prilosec.


SAGAL: Well, Jeffrey, welcome to the show. Bill Kurtis is going to read you three news-related limericks with the last word or phrase missing from each. If you can fill in that last word or phrase correctly in two limericks, you’ll be a winner. Ready to play?

JEFF: Let’s do it.

SAGAL: Yes, indeed. Here’s your first limerick.

KURTIS: It’s the nightmare of Airbnbs. The buzzing brings me to my knees. Of sleep, I’m deprived because I bunk in a hive. I am roommates with 1 million…

JEFF: Bees.

SAGAL: Bees, yes.


SAGAL: An Airbnb in Italy is available for the vacation of your dreams, if your dream is sleeping in a room with 1 million bees.


SAGAL: The house was either created by a bee enthusiast or abandoned screaming by a normal person.


SAGAL: And if you show up there, it includes several bee-themed snacks for visitors. So that’s honey and honey.


SAGAL: If it gets to be too much, you can hide from the bees in the bathroom. The house itself, though, has no bathroom. So you have to go to the cottage up the road to hide from the bees in the bathroom. So that’s a disadvantage. But again, in the house, there are 1 million bees.

JOBRANI: That’s the selling point.

SAGAL: That’s the selling point if you ever want to take a vacation with a lot of…

BURKE: And the thing is, if that was listed in San Francisco, the rent would still be $80,000.

SAGAL: Exactly right.


SAGAL: It would still go 100,000 over asking.


SAGAL: OK, here is your next limerick.

KURTIS: I calm down when I’m wrapped up and snug because cuddles are better than drugs. I am feeling at ease when I’m in a tight squeeze. I relax when I’m given a…

JEFF: Hug.

SAGAL: A hug.


SAGAL: This week, we learned that hugs are a great way to make women feel better in a new study that is sure to keep the people down in HR raking in the overtime for years to come.


SAGAL: But this is important. The benefit of the hugs only help women, not men. So that male co-worker who walks up arms wide and said he’s a hugger, remember, he’s doing it for you.


SAGAL: Now, we should say this study only found a significant decrease in stress levels in women when they were hugged by their romantic partner, right? So stand down, Phil from customer service.


SAGAL: And it turns out men get no benefit in this same way from being hugged by their romantic partners. So women – you need to comfort men in stress the way other men do – by staring into the distance and saying, yeah, well, anyway…


SAGAL: I got to go.


SAGAL: Here is your last limerick.

KURTIS: The TV week is leaving its mark on the predators in the deep dark. Now the horror begins. Extra teeth, extra fins. A volcano that spews mutant…

JEFF: Sharks.

SAGAL: Sharks, yes.


SAGAL: After an underwater volcano erupted recently in the Pacific Ocean, scientists discovered a group of mutant sharks living around it. The sharks mutated to survive in the hot sulfuric water and can only feed and thrive on human skin. OK, the last part isn’t true, but you were ready to believe it, right?


SAGAL: You were ready to believe it because what now God?


JOBRANI: Sounds like “Sharknado.” isn’t that what…

SAGAL: Well, that’s the funny thing. This underwater hot zone is, of course, instantly dubbed the Sharkano. And a quicker horror movie about it will be appearing on the Syfy network before I finish this sentence.


BURKE: And they’re at war with the jetscano (ph).

SAGAL: Yeah, exactly.


SAGAL: When you’re a sharkano, you’re…

JOBRANI: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Bill, how did Jeffrey do?

KURTIS: Perfect. Jeffrey, you got them all right.

SAGAL: Congratulations.


JEFF: Thank you.


SAGAL: Jeffrey, thanks for calling and playing our game. And keep the rubber side down.

JEFF: Thank you, as well.

SAGAL: Take care.


JIMMY BUFFETT: (Singing) I don’t know. I don’t know where I’m going to go when the volcano blows…

SAGAL: Now on to our final game, Lightning Fill in the Blank. Each of our players will have 60 seconds in which to answer as many fill-in-the-blank questions as they can. Each correct answer is worth two points. Bill, can you give us the scores?

KURTIS: Maz has two. Paula has two. Adam has three.

SAGAL: OK. I’m going to arbitrarily pick Maz to go first. The clock will start when I begin your first question, Maz. Fill in the blank. In response to dwindling enrollment, lawmakers in Russia removed the maximum legal age for blank service.

JOBRANI: Military.



SAGAL: On Monday, President Biden said the U.S. would defend Taiwan if it was invaded by blank.




SAGAL: According to the minutes from their latest meeting, the Fed is looking at more blank hikes to fight inflation.

JOBRANI: Interest rate.



SAGAL: On Tuesday, an Iraqi national was arrested for a failed plot to assassinate blank.

JOBRANI: George W. Jr.

SAGAL: That’s right. George W. Bush.


SAGAL: On Monday, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife was forced to remind citizens that bear spray does not blank.

JOBRANI: Help your body odor.

SAGAL: They said bear spray does not work like bug spray.



SAGAL: And then they just left you to imagine the context in which they would have to say that.

On Wednesday, the January 6 committee heard testimony that Trump reacted approvingly to crowds chanting to hang blank.

JOBRANI: Mike Pence.



SAGAL: Best known for his roles in “Goodfellas” and “Field Of Dreams,” actor blank passed away at the age of 67.

JOBRANI: Ray Liotta.



SAGAL: After a mom gave her phone to her 2-year-old, she was shocked when he blanked.

JOBRANI: She gave the phone to the 2-year-old and she was shocked when he bought a house.

SAGAL: No, when he ordered the delivery of 31 McDonald’s cheeseburgers.

JOBRANI: Oh, I saw that.

SAGAL: You see. This happened in Texas. And the woman, of course, put it online and it went viral. The mom says she has no idea how her son managed to both unlock her phone and then open DoorDash. So she was shocked when all of a sudden, this delivery guy showed up and said, are these your cheeseburgers? Thirty-one of them. They say, you know, that every child is who they will be from the moment they’re born. And apparently, this kid was born a hungover college student.


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

KURTIS: Very well. Six right, 12 more points. He now has 14, and Maz takes over the lead.

SAGAL: All right.

JOBRANI: All right. All right.

SAGAL: That would mean, Paula, you are up next.

POUNDSTONE: My work is cut out for me.

SAGAL: Please fill in the blank, Paula. On Tuesday, Brian Kemp beat the Trump-backed David Perdue in the GOP primary for governor in blank.




SAGAL: On Wednesday, over a thousand people attended a candlelight vigil for the victims of the shooting in blank.


SAGAL: Uvalde, Texas, yes.

POUNDSTONE: Thank you.


SAGAL: This week, the House Ethics Committee launched an investigation into North Carolina Representative blank.

POUNDSTONE: Madison Cawthorn?

SAGAL: Yeah.


SAGAL: This week, a company in Singapore announced a new beer made out of the country’s blank.

POUNDSTONE: The – a new beer in Singapore made out of the country’s collective urine.

SAGAL: No. Oh, gosh. You know, I’m going to give it to you. It’s their recycled sewage, so yes.

POUNDSTONE: There we go. OK. I thought so.


SAGAL: Following a dip during the pandemic, the U.S. blank rate rose this past year.

POUNDSTONE: A dip during the pandemic – the rate of…

SAGAL: Lightning, lightning.


SAGAL: Say something.


SAGAL: No, birth rate.


SAGAL: After nearly two decades on daytime TV, talk show host blank signed off on Thursday.

POUNDSTONE: Ellen DeGeneres.



SAGAL: This week, a rat in New York City immediately regretted its choice to casually stroll through a blank.

POUNDSTONE: Casually stroll through a rat chop shop.

SAGAL: No, a dog park.


SAGAL: Fortunately, this terrible life choice was recorded on video, so we know about it. First you see this rat casually walk into the middle of the park. And then all the dogs see it, and chaos ensues. The rat eventually escapes, runs out of the park and is immediately awarded the rat Heisman Trophy.


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

POUNDSTONE: Really well. Don’t ask Bill.


KURTIS: Well, she did get five right for 10 more points – total of 12. But Maz still has the lead.

SAGAL: And how many does Adam need to win?

KURTIS: Six to win.

SAGAL: All right, here we go, Adam. This is for the game. On Tuesday, NATO called Russia’s invasion of blank a, quote, “huge strategic mistake.”

BURKE: Ukraine.



SAGAL: On Monday, Pfizer said their blank vaccine was effective in kids under 5.




SAGAL: On Tuesday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted an unusually active blank season.

BURKE: Sharkano (ph).


SAGAL: No, hurricane.

This week, attendees of an athletic park in India say they’ve been asked to evacuate several times just so a government official could blank.

BURKE: Good Lord. Walk his dog?

SAGAL: Exactly, without anyone else around.


SAGAL: IKEA upset many customers when it was revealed this week that their Swedish meatballs were not blank.

BURKE: Self-assembly.

SAGAL: No, they were not, in fact, Swedish.


SAGAL: Bad news for all of you IKEA meatball lovers who said, I don’t care if they’re made of horse, as long as they’re Swedish. The meatballs are reportedly imported from Turkey, which is not a problem. The problem, once again, is that they are made of horse.

Bill, did Adam do well enough to win?

KURTIS: Well, he got three right for six more points – total of nine, which means with 14, Maz…


SAGAL: Whoa.

KURTIS: …Is this week’s champion.


JOBRANI: For the home team.

SAGAL: Now, panel, what will be the next long-awaited sequel to an old movie? Maz Jobrani.

JOBRANI: The next ancient movie to get a sequel will be “Scarface,” where drug dealer Tony Montana comes back as a pharmaceutical rep and screams lines like, say hello to my little pill.


SAGAL: Adam Burke.

BURKE: “Citizen Kane 2: Citizen Musk.” An eccentric billionaire baffles everyone with his mysterious final words – buy crypto.


SAGAL: And Paula Poundstone.

POUNDSTONE: Disney’s beloved “Incredible Journey,” only one of the dogs has wheels for his two back legs.


POUNDSTONE: They don’t make it.


KURTIS: Well, if any of those movies come out, we’ll ask you about it – yeah, we will – on WAIT WAIT… DON’T TELL ME.

SAGAL: Thank you, Bill Kurtis. Thanks also to Maz Jobrani, Adam Burke, Paula Poundstone. Thanks to everybody at KQED and everybody here at the Sydney Goldstein Theater. Sydney, we miss you. And thanks to all of you for listening. I am Peter Sagal. We’ll see you next week.


SAGAL: This is NPR.

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