Queer Eye’s Antoni Porowski Plays Not My Job on ‘Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!’ : NPR

BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT… DON’T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. Hey there, Chicago. We Bill this city. We Bill this city on rock ‘n’ roll. And I’m Bill Kurtis. And now a man who is feeling great after getting his booster seat. It’s Peter Sagal.



Thank you, Bill. And thanks to the live audience we had a couple of weeks ago but I’m still not ready to let go of.


SAGAL: Later on, we’re going to be talking to Antoni Porowski, known as the food guy on “Queer Eye,” who has a new cookbook out with tips and tricks for the home cook, like how to chop vegetables with nothing but your fantastically sharp cheekbones. But first, we want to hear what you’ve got cooking. Give us a call. The number is 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That’s 1-888-924-8924.

Hi, you’re on WAIT WAIT… DON’T TELL ME.

KEVIN GORDON: Hi, this is Kevin Gordon (ph) from Eugene, Ore.

SAGAL: Hey, how are things in Eugene?

GORDON: Great. A little bit smoky with the wildfires.

SAGAL: Yeah. And what do you do there?

GORDON: I’m a elementary school principal.

SAGAL: Oh, my gosh.

GORDON: Nothing like running a school during a global pandemic. It’s the best.

SAGAL: I was about to say. I am responding, at least emotionally, with the same kind of awe that I would for meeting, like, a frontline soldier.

GORDON: (Laughter).

SAGAL: You guys have been bearing the brunt of it. Are the kids showing any sign of, like, the lingering effect of having a year off, like they keep trying to reach out and mute their teacher with their – you know, just reaching out in the air?

GORDON: A little bit, yeah. There’s a little bit of technology hangover, as kiddos are navigating being live and in person. Yeah.

SAGAL: Yeah. I can imagine. No, we can see you. Please don’t pick your nose like that. Oh, well, actually, they’re kids. They will.

GORDON: (Laughter) For sure.

SAGAL: Kevin, welcome to the show. Let me introduce you to this week’s panel. First up, he the host of the overly personal podcast “TBTL” and the public radio variety show Live Wire. It’s Luke Burbank.



GORDON: Hi, Luke.

SAGAL: Next, she’s host of the “Scam Goddess” podcast on Earwolf and in the cast of “iCarly.” It’s Laci Mosley.


LACI MOSLEY: Hey, Kevin. I’m so sorry you have to wear pants again. Everything’s in person now (laughter).



SAGAL: And finally, it’s the comedian you can see off-Broadway this fall in “Autumn Royal” at the Irish Rep. It’s Maeve Higgins.


HIGGINS: Hi, Kevin.

GORDON: Hi. How are you doing?

HIGGINS: I’m OK. Thank you.

SAGAL: All right, Kevin. Well, you’re going to play Who’s Bill This Time? Bill Kurtis is going to read you, of course, three quotations from this week’s news. You knew that. If you correctly identify or explain two of them, you will win our prize – any voice from our show you might choose for your voicemail. You ready to play?

GORDON: I’m ready. Here we go.

SAGAL: All right, so are we. Here is your first quote.

KURTIS: First they think you’re crazy. Then they fight you. And then you change the world.

SAGAL: That was the catchphrase of Elizabeth Holmes, the woman currently on trial because what company didn’t actually change the world?

GORDON: I want to say Thermos (ph).

SAGAL: Oh, you’re close enough.


SAGAL: It was Theranos…


SAGAL: …Or as Elizabeth Holmes might herself have pronounced it, Theranos.

MOSLEY: Theranos.

SAGAL: Now, I don’t know if you guys remember this as vividly as I do, but Theranos was the biggest company of, like, the early 2010s. It was this medical startup…

GORDON: (Laughter).

SAGAL: …That promised to eliminate half of all diseases in the universe by simply snapping its fingers. The founder of the company, Elizabeth Holmes, was – was – America’s youngest self-made billionaire. And she was on every magazine cover, wearing her Steve Jobs-style mock turtleneck and staring at us with her enormous blue eyes. She was a combination of two things that Americans love – brilliant, disruptive entrepreneurs and Precious Moments figurines.


MOSLEY: I loved her deep voice. I love that she did a deep voice.

HIGGINS: I know.

MOSLEY: And it wasn’t her real voice.


HIGGINS: Isn’t that, like, the ultimate, you know, scam? Like, Margaret Thatcher did the exact same thing, Laci. Like, before she became prime minister, she was like, I want to be the boss. And then to be the boss, that’s what you have to do…

MOSLEY: That’s how you get men to listen to you.

HIGGINS: Everyone believes you.

MOSLEY: You get your voice real deep.



MOSLEY: Buy me a car.


HIGGINS: Divorce me.

MOSLEY: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Perhaps you should try this because it worked. I mean, she convinced all of these extraordinarily powerful older men to invest millions of dollars in her company – she’s now accused of defrauding them – people like Henry Kissinger and Rupert Murdoch. So for the first time, we find ourselves rooting for the defendant in a fraud case. You get him, girl.

MOSLEY: I want her. I – girl power, girl boss. Also, I think she got a lot of that money because – let’s face it – Silicon Valley – we love a tiny thing. And she was like, I’ve got the tiniest thing for blood, the tiniest. And everyone was like, oh, we love a tiny thing.


HIGGINS: I can’t even see it. It doesn’t even exist – even better. Here’s a billion dollars (laughter).

SAGAL: Yeah, I should explain for people who might have missed all this. So she said that their company had invented a machine, a little thing that sits on a desk. And you can put a single drop of blood in it, and it would tell you if you had a whole range of diseases, from anemia to cancer. In the end, all it could tell you was that you had tested positive for one drop of blood loss.

BURBANK: (Laughter).

HIGGINS: If Henry Kissinger – when has that man ever been known to make a mistake?

SAGAL: It’s true. It’s true.


HIGGINS: Foreign policy – I mean, he has…

SAGAL: His unerring stance.

HIGGINS: …One of our brightest young minds.

SAGAL: All right. Here, Kevin, is your next quote.

KURTIS: They paint a pretty sunny picture, if you will.

SAGAL: That was the TechCrunch website talking about a bold new plan from the Biden administration to generate up to half our power by 2050 from what?

GORDON: Solar panels.

SAGAL: Solar panels – that’s right.


SAGAL: The sun itself – you remember that big, glowy thing we used to be able to see in the sky before all the wildfire smoke? The day before Biden announced that he wants everyone to get vaccinated, the president called for another thing that probably will not happen. The U.S., he hopes, will be up to 40% solar powered by 2050, which is going to be a hard goal to meet because in 2050, we’ll all be living underground. It might be better to generate power by forcing the sewer people to run on treadmills.

HIGGINS: Are we allowed to do that? Because I live in New York. I didn’t know we were allowed to…

SAGAL: Go down there and make the sewer people work?



SAGAL: Well, you know, times will change as times change, I guess.

HIGGINS: But I love – I absolutely love that he is thinking big. Like, that’s totally what we need. So I’m delighted. And also, it’s kind of like, well, he’s not going to be the president in 2050, right? So he can just say whatever he wants to (laughter).

SAGAL: Yeah, one of the interesting things about him is Biden is saying, yeah, we’ll do this by 2050…

HIGGINS: I know (laughter).

SAGAL: …Like he’s going to be around to see it. Like…


SAGAL: The one obstacle – you think, this is a great idea. Solar panels, it’s great – renewable, no pollution. But Americans don’t like them. They don’t like these big fields of dark glass just sitting there not doing anything cool, like belching flames from a smokestack. We need to make them more American somehow. Can you put truck nuts on a solar panel?


SAGAL: Would you – would it cut down on efficiency if the solar panel were smothered in wing sauce?

HIGGINS: Oh, maybe, like, for every gun you buy, you have to buy a solar panel.

SAGAL: (Laughter).


HIGGINS: Isn’t that a nice idea?

SAGAL: How about if we only let people buy solar-powered guns?

HIGGINS: Oh, Peter, that’s beautiful.

SAGAL: There you are. All right, Kevin, here is your last quote.

KURTIS: The mission of Tolosa is to create a more equitable and sustainable future. That’s our North Star.

SAGAL: Now that was a billionaire named Mark Lore. And he was announcing his new project called Tolosa, which will be an entirely new what built in the middle of nowhere?

GORDON: An entirely new city.

SAGAL: Yes, city – exactly.


SAGAL: Billionaire Mark Lore has proposed building a brand new city somewhere in the American desert. It is an utterly lunatic thing to do. But look on the bright side. At least he’s not running for president.

BURBANK: (Laughter).

SAGAL: The city is called Tolosa. We have no idea what that means. It sounds like the Aldi house brand version of Tesla.


SAGAL: He says he wants to build it according to a philosophy he calls equitism.


GORDON: We have no idea what it is. It sounds like what Mitt Romney’s wife competes in at the Olympics.


SAGAL: Wait a minute. I’m being told that’s an outdated joke. It should have been Bruce Springsteen’s daughter.


BURBANK: I can’t see how this could go wrong. I mean, there’s no history of wild-eyed lunatics leading a bunch of people out into the wilderness to live a better version of life.

SAGAL: Yes, yes, exactly.

HIGGINS: Always works.

SAGAL: It works out every time. I should say that he’s announced this, Mr. Lore has. He does not have a site for the city. We don’t know where it’s going to be. But he does have some very cool architectural renderings. Tolosa basically looks like Wakanda for retired dentists.


MOSLEY: I believe in Tolosa.

SAGAL: You do?


MOSLEY: Tolosa has vibes. They may not have money. They may not have a location. They may not have infrastructure. But they have vibes, OK? And that’s basically how Dubai came about.

SAGAL: It’s true.

BURBANK: That’s a really good point.

MOSLEY: Just a city designed by rappers. So, you know, I think vibes…

HIGGINS: (Laughter).

MOSLEY: …Could really work out for Tolosa. I’m into it. I invest.

BURBANK: They’re going to go full Dubai on it by wanting to have the most of things. Like, we have the wettest lake.

MOSLEY: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Yeah.

BURBANK: Just non-naturally occurring, but, you know, it’s like…


BURBANK: Those places like Dubai have to have these, like, weird – we have an indoor ski slope that’s taller than the Matterhorn.

SAGAL: It’s true.

HIGGINS: The coldest ice cream.

BURBANK: Right? That’s going to be Tolosa.

MOSLEY: The coldest ice cream (laughter).

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

KURTIS: Kevin knows what he’s teaching about. We’re going to give him all three. Congratulations. Tell the kids.

SAGAL: Congratulations, Kevin. And good luck with the school year.

MOSLEY: Well done.

GORDON: Thank you. Thank you so much.


SAGAL: Bye-bye.


SAGAL: Right now, panel, it is time for you to answer some questions about this week’s news. Laci, the Hallmark Channel doesn’t just make movies your sister watches when she’s going through something. This week, they announced…

BURBANK: (Laughter).

SAGAL: …That they are also making what?

MOSLEY: Fashions.

SAGAL: It’s something you can enjoy, presumably, while you are watching the Hallmark Channel.

MOSLEY: Oh, they have their own line of fermented grapes.

SAGAL: Yeah. I’ll give it to you. It’s actually hard seltzer.


SAGAL: The Hallmark Channel, of course, famous for movies like “The Wedding Planner Mystery,” “Autumn Dreams,” “A Veterans Day Christmas” (ph) – well, one of those isn’t real, but who knows which one?


HIGGINS: “Veterans Day Christmas.”

SAGAL: But now, they’re coming out with a new way to make you cry in a confusing way, with the Cheers Rose Seltzer. The seltzer has twice the amount of alcohol than a regular hard seltzer, and it is made out of wine, so it makes staying home all weekend on the couch, watching romance movies and getting drunk seem classy.

BURBANK: At what point are they just going to start putting, like, hard seltzer in the water? I feel like we’re one step…


BURBANK: …Away from that. Just, like, move to Tolosa, where it’s just…

SAGAL: Exactly. Save time and effort.

BURBANK: …White Claw when you turn the faucet on.

MOSLEY: But it’s coconut-flavored (laughter).

SAGAL: Right.


SAGAL: Anyway, this whole idea of a broadcaster selling booze is utterly ridiculous. We’ve got more news quiz for you right after this ad for the NPR Wine Club.

HIGGINS: Yeah (laughter).

MOSLEY: (Laughter).


CARRIE UNDERWOOD: (Singing) But this seat ain’t taken. And you’ve got me thinking, we should be drinking alone, together. Drowning the pain is better…

SAGAL: Coming up, Nancy Drew’s got nothing on us in 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 are playing this week with Maeve Higgins, Luke Burbank and Laci Mosley. And here he is, a host so nice they named him once. It’s Peter Sagal.


SAGAL: Thank you, Bill. Right now, it’s time for the WAIT WAIT… DON’T TELL ME Bluff The Listener game. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to play our game on the air.

Hi, you’re on WAIT WAIT… DON’T TELL ME.

TARRICK BILLA: Hi, this is Tarrick Billa (ph).

SAGAL: Hey, Tarrick. How are you?

BILLA: I’m well. I’m well – excited to be here.

SAGAL: I’m excited to have you. Where are you calling from today?

BILLA: I’m actually calling from Atlanta, Ga.

SAGAL: Oh, what do you do in that fabulous city, the capital of the South?

BILLA: Happy to say I’m an architect, part of the illustrious 2% of Black architects in America.

SAGAL: Oh, wow. Can you tell me – like, tell me your favorite building.

BILLA: So I think my favorite building is actually a smoothie spot. And it’s owned by a young African American sister and her mom. And they are the cutest two in the world, right?

SAGAL: Well, that’s very nice. But I’m sorry. The correct answer was the building that looks like a giant basket in Ohio. Thank you for playing.


SAGAL: I’m kidding. I’m kidding. It’s great to have you. You’re going to play the game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. What is the topic, Bill?

KURTIS: It’s Elementary School, Dear Watson.

SAGAL: A childhood filled with snacks, naps and unsolved mysteries. This week, we discovered the answer to a mystery from childhood that has been plaguing at least some of us for decades. Our panelists will reveal what mystery was finally solved. Pick the one who’s telling the truth. You will win our prize – the WAIT WAITer of your choice on your voicemail. You ready to play?

BILLA: Ready to go.

SAGAL: All right. First, let’s hear from Luke Burbank.

BURBANK: If you’re a parent with kids of a certain age, you’ve no doubt experienced the psychological torture that is the “Baby Shark” song. But where did it come from, and why would someone write a piece of music that causes fantasies of steering your Honda Odyssey into oncoming traffic? Well, according to this week’s LA Times, the song was actually created by the government of North Korea back in 1958 as a propaganda tool praising the dear leader, Kim Il-sung.

This is according to a recent lawsuit filed by North Korea against Pinkfong, the South Korean company that released the popular YouTube version of the song in 2015. According to the suit, the original words were – (singing) Kim Il-sung, we love you, yes, we do. Kim Il-sung, we love you, yes, we do. Kim Il-sung.

HIGGINS: (Laughter).

BURBANK: According to the suit, which seeks damages for copyright infringement, the song was actually played in North Korean day care centers and sung at children’s birthday parties up until the late 1990s, when then-leader Kim Jong-il outlawed it, saying quote, “even by my standards, making people listen to this song over and over again is cruel and unusual.”

KURTIS: (Laughter).

SAGAL: It turns out the origin of the “Baby Shark” song was as a North Korean piece of propaganda. Your next story of an undone whodunit comes from Laci Mosley.

MOSLEY: Millennial superfans of that friendly milkshake-loving purple blob Grimace from the McDonald’s mascot lineup lost countless hours of much needed sleep over his origin. Was he an alien? A botched experiment? Would we love him any less if we knew the truth? Now, the mystery is finally solved. But instead of closure, we’ve got questions. McDonald’s franchise manager Brian Bates from Windsor, Canada, spilled the beans this week, quote, “he is an enormous taste bud, but a taste bud nonetheless.”

But does he speak for Ronald himself? Well, just the other day, the company teased us by tweeting, it’s always what is Grimace and never how is Grimace. As we await for an official confirmation, we’re left wondering, did Bates know too much or speak too soon? If Grimace is indeed a taste bud, can he taste you by bumping up against you? And also, there are as many as 4,000 taste buds on a single human tongue. How many more of them are out there?

SAGAL: The Grimace revealed to be a large ambulatory taste bud with arms. Your last story of a mini-mystery solved comes from Maeve Higgins.

HIGGINS: Children are notoriously small and lazy, and most cannot seem to hold down a job. So how do they afford those push popper bubble things they all have? The tooth fairy, that’s how. She has been bankrolling kids’ lifestyles forever. But why is she alone in that? Children have forever asked, where are the others? You lose a tooth. You go to sleep. A fairy leaves you some sweet, sweet spondulix. Shouldn’t there be a number of other fairies, like a haircut fairy and nail-clipping fairy, even a poop fairy?

This week, in a press conference that stunned the world, a woman claiming to be the tooth fairy revealed that long ago, there actually had been a nail-clipping fairy and a poop fairy but that she had murdered them. She then revealed the good news – she would be expanding. A woman claiming to be her spokesperson later clarified that the tooth fairy is hiring a number of apprentice fairies. Applicants have to be invisible. They have to be very quiet and able to fit underneath hair salon doors or, in the case of the poop fairy, able to swim up toilet pipes.

BURBANK: (Laughter).

SAGAL: All right. So here are your choices, Tarrick – from Luke, it turns out that that “Baby Shark” song that nobody can get out of their heads and kids cannot get enough of was designed to do just that by North Korean propagandists in the ’50s; from Laci, the Grimace that part of the – I don’t know – McDonald’s family of mascots, we don’t know what it is, but it turns out all along, it’s been a taste bud; or from Maeve, the tooth fairy murdered the nail-clippings fairy and the pooth (ph) fairy, which is why you don’t get spondulix for your nail clippings or your poop?


SAGAL: Did I get that right, Maeve? I want to make sure I summarized the story, correctly.

HIGGINS: Yep. That’s from The New York Times.

MOSLEY: (Laughter).

HIGGINS: Yeah, it’s from The New York Times.

SAGAL: All right – New York Times. All right. Which of these is the real story of a mystery solved, yes?

BILLA: I’m going to go with the spondulix.

HIGGINS: (Laughter).

SAGAL: All right. All right, man. I admire your spirit, Tarrick. I do. If you’ve chosen Maeve, then that’s what you’re going to go with. Well, to bring you the correct answer, we spoke to someone who was closely involved in solving this mystery.

PETER DUCK: Grimace is a taste bud. At least, that’s what he’s telling us it is.


SAGAL: That was Peter Duck. He’s a CBC radio host whose interview with a McDonald’s manager revealed the mystery of the Grimace’s possible true identity. I don’t know what to say. You are the first person ever to choose one of Maeve’s stories.

HIGGINS: Yeah, you really are.

BILLA: (Laughter).

SAGAL: You did, however, earn a point for her, a point she’s never earned before…

HIGGINS: Yeah, for real.

SAGAL: …For fooling someone. Thanks for the – thanks for joining us. We’ll look for your buildings next time we’re in Atlanta.

HIGGINS: Thanks, Tarrick.

BILLA: Love you guys.

SAGAL: Bye-bye. Thank you so much.


KAYTRANADA: (Singing) What you bring to the plate? If you want a taste, bring something to the plate, yeah. If you want a taste, what you bring to…

SAGAL: Now the game where we ask people who know a lot about something about something they don’t know a lot about. It’s called Not My Job. A few years ago, Netflix rebooted the show “Queer Eye.” It became a massive hit because it turns out the one thing we need right now is a group of five charming, talented gay men spending a week with each of us to fix all of our problems at once. So everything should be fine once they get to everybody by season 700 million. Antoni Porowski…


SAGAL: …Is the Fab Five’s food expert. He’s got a new cookbook out. He joins us now. Antoni Porowski, welcome to WAIT WAIT… DON’T TELL ME.


ANTONI POROWSKI: Thank you so much for having me – very exciting.

SAGAL: It is a great pleasure to have you. I heard a great story, which is that you kind of had your position as the food guy on “Queer Eye” sort of handed down to you from the prior person who held it, Ted Allen. Like, you received it like King Arthur getting the sword in the stone.

POROWSKI: So it was like that, but in that it was actually the complete opposite.


POROWSKI: So it was honestly, like, a weird fluke. I was his personal assistant. And I got to learn about what the business of Ted Allen, Inc., looked like, working on “Chopped” and being, like, a food personality. And I ended up working at a gallery later. And then when “Queer Eye” came about, I knew (laughter) exactly who to call to get their advice.

SAGAL: Wow. Have you already selected your protege to whom you will hand down this responsibility?


BURBANK: Yeah, if you have a personal assistant, watch your back.

SAGAL: I know. Wow.

POROWSKI: (Laughter).

SAGAL: So “Queer Eye” – was it like an audition?

POROWSKI: So basically, it started out with a 30-minute Skype interview that ended up lasting, like, an hour and a half. And then they invited me to come to LA for chemistry testing. If you ask my four other castmates, one of us says it was 500 of us. The other one says there were 50. It was somewhere in between.


POROWSKI: And basically they just, like – there was, like, a fishbowl situation. I don’t think I’ve ever talked about this part. So they had an executive from Netflix, from ITV, which is a production company, and Scout, who created the show. And they had these fishbowl questions. And we would sit, and they would ask us a question. Like, if you could – like, what would your last meal be? – or whatever. And then they eliminated a bunch of us. And then the second day, they started plopping five of us into a room fitted with cameras everywhere and just randomly mixing us in together and showing us a photo of, like, a guy wearing crocs and cargo shorts eating a Spam sandwich. And we were asked to comment.

HIGGINS: Oh, my wedding – those are my wedding photos.


POROWSKI: There you go. Yeah.

SAGAL: This is like…

HIGGINS: My husband.

SAGAL: This is like the sequence in “Men In Black” – right? – where they’re trying to find the next secret agent. This is amazing.


SAGAL: So they just threw you into a room with other people and said, be charming with each other. The pressure must have made it hard to be sort of yourself, right?

POROWSKI: Well, I didn’t think that I wanted it that much. And then there was a little moment where one of the fashion – the contestants for the fashion position, I got really close with him. He was so sweet. And he wore this, like, plaid cape with, like, a little Sherlock Holmes hat. He was like – if Harry Potter and Sherlock Holmes had a baby, it would be him. And we got really close. And he was like the friend from childhood I never had. And then one of the casting associates came into the room. And we realized that they started tapping people and being like, hey, can you come talk to me? And then they would come back sad and pack their bags and go.

SAGAL: Oh, my God.

POROWSKI: They tapped his shoulder…

HIGGINS: Oh, my God.

POROWSKI: And he left. And I was crushed.


MOSLEY: They put a bag over his head and threw him into a white van.


SAGAL: Oh, my God.

POROWSKI: But that’s when I realized like, oh, I actually really want this because I was really upset. So I came in, like, phoenix rising. And I was, like, ready for battle. I was like, this is mine, except I said that internally. And then I had a couple of months later, I got a call while I was working at a gallery job, the call that changed my life, literally. They were like, we’d love for you to be part of the “Queer Eye” family.


SAGAL: Wow. So I have to ask this question. The show, of course, depicts a makeover of a person’s style, everything – sometimes their entire life – in the course of a week, a week.

POROWSKI: Five days, actually.

SAGAL: Is that realistic? Do you really meet this person on a Monday and the big celebration that you’ve planned or set up is Friday? Is that how it works?

POROWSKI: We never meet the person ahead of time. JVN gets a photo of hair because he wants to know what he’s working with, obviously. But we genuinely have not met the person. And that all happens on a Tuesday. So very early in the morning, it’s a long day. We call it the ambush, where we go to their house. We tear everything apart. And we build it back up together, think what our game plan is. And then Wednesdays and Thursdays, we switch our field trips around with our little – I call them Kardashian moments where we like record our confessionals. And then Friday or Saturday, depending on what the big event is at the end of the week, is when we have our goodbyes with them.

SAGAL: It’s amazing. It’s amazing how much you guys are able to transform people’s lives. I mean, every single episode ends in tears.


HIGGINS: I like those barbecue – the sisters who had the barbecue.

POROWSKI: (Laughter) I love them so much. They’re so pure. They’re so pure.

SAGAL: Well, wait a minute. For those who haven’t seen it, tell us about it.

POROWSKI: They’re just the Jones sisters…


POROWSKI: …In Kansas City. They have a wonderful barbecue joint. One of them has another job. They’re literally up at 3:30 in the morning every single day going to this spot, smoking their own ribs, making every single thing. They sell out by 2 p.m. There’s a crazy lineup. And they were just like – they we haven’t renovated in a really long time. And it was their father’s sacred barbecue sauce recipe. And we got them in touch with a canning company so that they could sell it. And they’ve been selling it so well.

HIGGINS: Yeah. And I think you were – in that episode with them, you were just really, like, helping them to have confidence in what they did. And, like, you could bring that perspective that was like, you’re absolutely incredible. And now you can have, like, even bigger business. You don’t have to work so hard and…

POROWSKI: Exactly.

HIGGINS: It’s so good.

SAGAL: Let me ask you about your cookbook. I have it. I’ve cooked a couple of recipes from it this week, which delicious. It’s got about how many recipes? Like 60 recipes?

POROWSKI: I think it’s, like, somewhere between 85 and 90.

SAGAL: Sure. OK. It’s got like – so 80 recipes and, like, 150 insanely gorgeous pictures of…

POROWSKI: OK. You know what? In my defense, my first book had a lot more photos of me. And I pushed for a lot less photos in this one. Thank you very much because…


POROWSKI: …I wanted it to be more about the food.

MOSLEY: They’re like, Antoni, can you pose next to this radicchio?

POROWSKI: (Laughter) Yeah. Why am I shirtless? No, I’m kidding.


BURBANK: Why are you frying bacon shirtless? That’s dangerous.


SAGAL: Antoni, it is really fun to talk to you. But we have asked you to play a game, and this time we’re calling it…

KURTIS: I’ll Tell You What I Want, What I Really, Really Want.

SAGAL: So your “Queer Eye” team is famously known as the Fab Five, but we’re going to ask you today about a different quintet that’s just as fab – the Spice Girls. Answer two out of three questions right, you will win our prize for one of our listeners. Bill, who is Antoni Porowski playing for?

KURTIS: Bob Young (ph) of Cleveland, Ohio.

SAGAL: First question – before they were Spice Girls, the five members of the band had other jobs as in which of these? Was it, A, Emma Bunton, also known as Baby Spice, she was an assassin for hire? Was, B, Victoria Beckham – well, not Beckham then – did she play a dancing sperm in a BBC educational video? Or, C, Mel C was a barista at Starbucks, where she was coincidentally known as the pumpkin spice girl?

POROWSKI: They didn’t have pumpkin spice back there. It’s B. It’s Posh.

SAGAL: You’re right.


SAGAL: Very confident, very well done. Here’s Question 2. The Spice Girls were the most beloved fab five, if you will, of the ’90s. They even had some rather surprising celebrity fans, including which of these – A, Nelson Mandela, who described the Spice Girls visiting his house as quote, “one of the greatest moments of my life,” unquote; B, the producers of “Seinfeld,” who proved it with their episode “The Spice Girls, Who We Love Unironically” – or was it C, St. Louis Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire, who said he hit a home run every time he listened to “Spice Up Your Life”?

POROWSKI: There’s just something about – the Nelson Mandela thing for me is like, there’s some – I don’t know why. I have a weird hunch. Let’s go for that. A – final answer.

SAGAL: You’re good, man. You’re good, Antoni. That is, in fact, correct.


POROWSKI: Stop. Seriously?


SAGAL: Seriously. Nelson Mandela said that the Spice Girls coming to visit his home was one of the greatest moments of his life. This is an amazing run. Let’s see if you can make it perfect. The Spice Girls were always under public scrutiny during their height of their fame. That doesn’t mean they were always on their best behavior, as proved by which of these? A – Baby Spice caused a scandal when she was caught on film being fed by an elderly nanny; B, Sporty Spice, Mel C, admitted that she liked American football more than soccer because, quote, “the pants are tighter”; or, C, Scary Spice, Mel B, admitted that she stole a roll of toilet paper while visiting Nelson Mandela’s house.

POROWSKI: If it’s a massive scandal, offending, like, Nelson Mandela and taking his toilet paper is pretty offensive. Let’s go for B – final answer.

SAGAL: You’re going to go for B – final answer. It was Nelson Mandela.


SAGAL: Yes. They visited Nelson Mandela’s house. And what did Scary Spice do? She stole a roll of toilet paper. Bill, how did Antoni do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Antoni is a winner because he got two out of three. So you’re going to go home happy.


SAGAL: Antoni Porowski is the food and wine expert for Netflix’s “Queer Eye.” His new cookbook, “Antoni: Let’s Do Dinner,” is out September 14. Antoni Porowski, thank you so much for being with us.

POROWSKI: Thank you so much for having me. You’re all really lovely.

HIGGINS: Great to see you.

SAGAL: Thank you. Take care.



SPICE GIRLS: (Singing) Slam it to the left if you’re having a good time. Shake it to the right if you know that you feel fine. Chicas to the front…

SAGAL: In just a minute, Bill meets a foul-mouthed waterfowl in our Listener Limerick Challenge game. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to join us on 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 Luke Burbank, Maeve Higgins and Laci Mosley. And here again is your host, which rhymes with toast, most, boast and, ah, ghost. It’s Peter Sagal.


SAGAL: Thank you, Bill. In just a minute, Bill’s rhyme-atis (ph) flares up in our Listener Limerick Challenge game. If you’d like to play, give us a call at 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That’s 1-888-924-8924. Right now, panel, though, it is time for a new game that we’re calling…

KURTIS: Answer The Headline.

SAGAL: So there is an old maxim in journalism. If a headline is in the form of a question, then the answer is always no. So we’re going to put that to a test. We are going to read you each real headlines that appeared in the form of a question, and we’ll ask you to answer the question. Do it right, you get a point. Are you ready to play?


SAGAL: All right.


SAGAL: Here we go. We’ll go one by one. You have to go quick. First one’s for you, Luke. This is from Plant Based News.

KURTIS: “Could A Vegan Diet Be Better For Dogs Than Meat?”


SAGAL: Right.


SAGAL: Laci, here’s one from the Toronto Star.

KURTIS: “Is Your Child Autistic?”


SAGAL: Right.


SAGAL: OK, next headline for you, Maeve. This one’s from The Wall Street Journal.

KURTIS: “Is This Finally The Season Of The Buffalo Bills?”


BURBANK: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Right.


SAGAL: Luke, this one is from Forbes.

KURTIS: “Are Your NFTs On The Wrong Blockchain?”

BURBANK: Absolutely not.

SAGAL: No, I’m afraid the correct answer is we have no idea.


SAGAL: Laci, next one’s for you. This is from InsideEVs magazine.

KURTIS: “Is It Time To Defend Elon Musk?”


MOSLEY: No, no.

SAGAL: Right.


SAGAL: Finally, Luke, this one is from The Times Of India.

KURTIS: “Is Your Love For Ketchup Making You Fat?”

HIGGINS: (Laughter).

BURBANK: Personally, yes.

SAGAL: That is the correct answer, Luke.


SAGAL: Well done. That’s what it was. It was the ketchup, everybody.


SAGAL: Thank you for playing Answer The Headline.


SAGAL: Moving on, some more questions from the week’s news for you. Maeve, experts are advising us even though it’s only September, you should already, already be doing what?

HIGGINS: Oh, getting your Christmas presents.

SAGAL: Exactly right, Maeve.


SAGAL: Very good. According to Axios, higher demand and problems in the shipping industry…


SAGAL: …Could make getting holiday gifts a huge pain this year, so you have to start shopping right now or risk not getting your gifts in time. I do not understand why, like, these global supply chain issues impact my ability to grab something at CVS before it closes on Christmas Eve like I always do.

BURBANK: You could pull what my family calls a Luke, which is a printout of the thing you’re going to get if I hadn’t ordered it…

SAGAL: Ordered it.

BURBANK: …An hour ago and…

SAGAL: Right.

BURBANK: …And looked up that it’s not getting there either. Look at this thing that you’ll have in one to four weeks.


HIGGINS: Oh, yeah – no. I got – like, I thought this was very thoughtful, but I had, like, a cushion made up of, like, my sister’s baby clothes. But then everyone got really upset ’cause, apparently, that’s what you do, like, when somebody dies.

SAGAL: Yeah.

HIGGINS: And she was like, but I’m alive.


HIGGINS: It is I. And it wasn’t spooky. Like, she is alive. This is not a ghost. She is alive. But the gift I gave her made her doubt her status as a living person.

SAGAL: Right.

HIGGINS: So you have to be – you do have to think about it. I agree with them.

BURBANK: It would’ve been so great if your whole family just was in on the joke, and everyone pretended like they couldn’t hear her.

MOSLEY: (Laughter).

HIGGINS: Oh, yeah. And she was like – can I just have the turkey please? And everyone was just like, oh, did you ever like that girl anyway?

SAGAL: (Laughter).

HIGGINS: Not really.


BUCK OWENS: (Singing) I got 10 toy soldiers for Billy Joe. I got a coloring book for Sue. I got a little toy train for Danny boy and a cowboy suit for Lou. I got a talking baby doll for Cindy. I got a pair of roller skates for Jane. And, baby, if we ever have any more kids, Christmas shopping’s going to drive me insane.

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. Click the contact us link on our website, waitwait.npr.org. And for more WAIT, WAIT in your life, follow us at @waitwait on Twitter and at @waitwaitnpr on Instagram. There, you can get show news, guest updates and behind-the-scenes photos and information that should never see the light of day.

Hi. You’re on WAIT, WAIT… DON’T TELL ME.

STEPHANIE: This is Stephanie (ph) from Boston.

SAGAL: Hey, how are things in Boston?


SAGAL: Oh. You know, it’s funny that you mention that because my producer recently made fun of me for being too excited when people are from Boston because I love Boston, spent a lot of time there, so let’s just have a very depressing conversation about Boston. OK. Here we go.


SAGAL: So you’re from Boston, huh?


SAGAL: Yeah.

STEPHANIE: Terrible here.

SAGAL: What miserable thing do you do in that rainy, bleak city?

STEPHANIE: I’m a school librarian, which is a pretty great job.

SAGAL: Oh. You ruined it. It’s OK. It’s OK. You’re a school librarian. So are you also as excited as another caller was to have the kids coming back to school?

STEPHANIE: I am. Yeah. It was – today was our first day, and it was amazing.

SAGAL: That’s awesome.

STEPHANIE: To see the kids walk in today and say, oh, library, and check out books was…


STEPHANIE: …Probably going to be the highlight of the whole school year.

HIGGINS: Fantastic.

SAGAL: That’s so great. And you know what? That’s the sort of wonderful thing that happens in Boston.

STEPHANIE: That’s right.


SAGAL: Stephanie, 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 on two of the limericks, you’ll be a winner. You ready to play?

STEPHANIE: OK. Ready to do it.

SAGAL: All right. Here is your first limerick.

KURTIS: Though my walker might sound like a chair drags (ph), I’m not scared I might trip over bear snags (ph) because when I hit the ground, there’s an inflating sound. All my clothes come equipped with some…

STEPHANIE: Air bags?

SAGAL: Yes. Air bags.


SAGAL: Personal air bags are hitting the market. They’re available in a vest that wraps around the wearer’s head and hips to protect injury from a sudden fall. This is totally great news for seniors. Soon it will be, I’ve fallen, and I can’t wait to do it again. This is really fun. Ooh, here we go. Boing. Boing. Going by the demo video for this product, the air bags deploy incredibly fast, as air bags do, exploding outward with the noise like a gunshot as soon as you start to topple over. So you’ll be safe, and everyone around you will die of a heart attack.

MOSLEY: (Laughter) Yeah.

BURBANK: Definitely going to be something that teenagers are doing on TikTok within a month of this being released out into the population.

SAGAL: Yes, the air bag challenge.


SAGAL: All right, here is your next limerick.

KURTIS: Since they kicked up the flavors a notch, I love brushing my teeth now. Just watch. Pretty soon, I will try some with bourbon or rye. See, my toothpaste is flavored with…


SAGAL: Scotch.


SAGAL: Yes, very good. We wanted to mark the passing of a true American hero, Donald Poynter, who died this week at the age of 96. Now, Mr. Poynter invented such hugely successful novelty items as whiskey-flavored toothpaste, a toilet seat that cracked jokes when you sat on it, and, most importantly, the little black box, which was just a black box with a switch on top, and when you turned the switch on, a tiny hand came out of the top of the box and turned the switch off.


SAGAL: And also, the little black box is the only thing to survive little plane crashes.

MOSLEY: I love that he invented trolling. Like, before there was the internet, he was trolling. Like, you sit on your toilet, and it’s like, ow.


SAGAL: So farewell, Mr. Poynter. When they open the gates of heaven for you, I hope they make a fart noise. All right, here is your last limerick.

KURTIS: This waterfowl has some real pluck. It called me an ignorant schmuck. He’s flapping his bill with a dockworker’s skill. I just got cussed out by a…


SAGAL: Duck. Yes.

KURTIS: Duck it is.

SAGAL: Duck.


SAGAL: Research this week uncovered a groundbreaking recording of Ripper, an Australian musk duck raised in captivity 30 years ago. And from this recording, we learned that not only can you teach ducks to talk, you can teach them to swear. Now, there’s audio of this. They – obviously, that’s what they found proving this is possible, but it’s just not a very good recording. It’s hard to make out. So we are just going to have Bill reenact the audio of the duck swearing. Bill?

KURTIS: You bloody fool. Quack.

SAGAL: All right. Just to be clear, everybody…


SAGAL: …That was Bill. That was not…


SAGAL: …The actual duck…

HIGGINS: …Wash your mouth out.

SAGAL: …OK, everybody? That was a recreation.

BURBANK: On the real recording, the duck says it a lot, though. I actually happened to listen to the recording, and the duck is just repeatedly saying, you bloody fool, for, like, a minute straight.

MOSLEY: I mean, look, ever since that Aflac duck came out, you know, ducks have been…


MOSLEY: How do you compete?


SAGAL: Hey, Bill, how did Stephanie from Boston do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Boston strong – three and oh (ph).


KURTIS: Congratulations.

SAGAL: Congratulations, Stephanie. Well done, and congratulations on having your kids back in school.

STEPHANIE: Thanks so much.

SAGAL: Take care, Stephanie.


SAGAL: Bye-bye.



SAGAL: Now it’s time for 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: Luke has three. Laci has four. Wait for it – Maeve has five.


SAGAL: Oh, my gosh. All right. That means, Luke, you are in third place. You’re up first. The clock will start when I begin your first question. Fill in the blank. On Thursday, the White House announced plans to require as many as a hundred million Americans be blanked.

BURBANK: Vaccinated.

SAGAL: Right.


SAGAL: On Monday, almost 9 million people lost federal blank benefits as pandemic-era safety nets expired.

BURBANK: Unemployment.

SAGAL: Right.


SAGAL: This week, the Justice Department filed a legal challenge to blank’s new abortion ban.


SAGAL: Right.


SAGAL: On Wednesday, crowds gathered in Richmond, Va., to watch a statue of blank get removed.

BURBANK: Robert E. Lee.

SAGAL: Right.


SAGAL: According to a new report, blank claims have reached a pandemic-era low.

BURBANK: Unemployment.

SAGAL: Yeah, jobless.


SAGAL: On Tuesday, blank’s father filed a petition to end her financial conservatorship.

BURBANK: Britney Spears.



SAGAL: This week, voters in a municipal election…


SAGAL: …In St. Petersburg will have a choice to vote for either Boris Vishnevsky or blank.

BURBANK: Natasha Badenov.

SAGAL: No, or two other guys who legally changed their names to Boris Vishnevsky for this election.


SAGAL: According to the original Boris, his two opponents changed their names in order to confuse the voters. And if that were not bad enough, they also shaved their heads to look bald and grew white beards in order to look more like him.

BURBANK: (Laughter).

SAGAL: So the only way for him to stand out is to find something to do that the others would not be willing to copy, which explains his new slogan, vote for the real Boris. I’m the one who takes horse paste for COVID.

MOSLEY: (Laughter).

BURBANK: Wow. I cannot believe that people want this low-level political position in St. Petersburg that badly.

SAGAL: Apparently someone does. I don’t know. All right. Bill, how did Luke do on our quiz?

KURTIS: With a new definition of hot, Luke had six right for 12 more. He now has 15 points and the lead.


SAGAL: Well done. OK, Laci. You’re up next. Fill in the blank. On Thursday, United Airlines announced that any staff requesting religious exemptions to the blank will be placed on unpaid leave.

MOSLEY: Vaccination.

SAGAL: Right.


SAGAL: On Thursday, France announced that it would offer free blank for women 25 and younger.

MOSLEY: Birth control.



SAGAL: This week, a judge in the U.K. gave a man who stole a box of Viagra a light sentence, saying the man was not, quote, “blank.”

MOSLEY: [Expletive].

HIGGINS: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Close enough. He said this man is not a hardened criminal.


SAGAL: On Wednesday, the Russian space agency confirmed that fire alarms went off in the blank this week.

MOSLEY: In the space station.



SAGAL: On Thursday, Moderna announced they were working on a combination of COVID and blank vaccine.

MOSLEY: COVID and delta and the other sorority sisters.

SAGAL: No, just flu in this case. In response to the pandemic, a church in South Carolina…


SAGAL: …Is changing its name to Stony Fork Community Church, replacing its original name, blank.

MOSLEY: Original name was Corona.

SAGAL: So close.


SAGAL: The original name was Outbreak Church.

HIGGINS: Oof (laughter).


SAGAL: And the inspiration for the name came when the Outbreak Church was founded in 2013, and its pastor said – and everything I’m about to tell you is true. The pastor said, I want to be around people who are so infected with Jesus that every time they turn…


SAGAL: …Around, they sneeze Jesus.


MOSLEY: Not Jesus in the aerosols.

SAGAL: I know. Bill, how did Laci do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Laci had four right for eight more points. She now has 12, but Luke still has the lead with 15.


SAGAL: All right. So how many, then, does Maeve Higgins, the heroine of the moment, need to get her second win ever on this show?

KURTIS: Maeve needs five to tie, six to win.

HIGGINS: No problem – six of one, half-dozen of another (laughter).

SAGAL: All right. Here we go. This is for the game.

HIGGINS: All right.

SAGAL: Fill in the blank. According to a controversial study, using horse dewormer to treat blank might carry a high risk of sterilization in men.




SAGAL: Exactly.


SAGAL: This week, Amazon announced plans to open Whole Foods stores with no blanks.

HIGGINS: Employees?

SAGAL: I’m going to give it to you – cashiers.


SAGAL: This week, the Las Vegas Raiders wished linebacker Tanner Muse a happy birthday on Twitter one hour after they had blanked him.

HIGGINS: Peter, I don’t know what any of that is that you just said.

SAGAL: Let’s just take a wild guess, and we will move on.

HIGGINS: Is it a noun or a verb?

SAGAL: It’s a verb.


HIGGINS: Walk, to walk.

SAGAL: No, no. They wished him happy birthday on Twitter one hour after they cut him from the team. On Thursday, Apple confirmed they would be releasing four new blank models this year.

HIGGINS: Oh, iPads, iPods, iPhones.


SAGAL: Sure. Sure. It’s iPhones, yes.


SAGAL: According to a new report, the wealthiest Americans are avoiding paying over $160 billion in blank annually.

HIGGINS: In tax.



SAGAL: This week, a Catholic bishop in Brazil announced he had to…


SAGAL: …Leave the church because he had blanked.

HIGGINS: Oh, he had blanked on the sermon. He couldn’t remember his…

SAGAL: No, no. It’s a good guess. No, he had fallen in love with a woman who writes satanic erotic fiction.

BURBANK: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Oldest story in the books, right? Am I right, guys? This bishop…

HIGGINS: (Laughter) I love this.

SAGAL: …Was one of the rising stars of the Catholic Church. But…


SAGAL: …All the communion wafers in the world cannot tempt him away from Silvia Caballol, the author who describes her work as, quote, “a journey into sadism, madness, lust and the struggle between God and Satan,” which ironically is also a pretty accurate description of the Bible.


SAGAL: Bill, did Maeve do well enough to win?

KURTIS: Maeve had four right for eight more points for a total of 13, which means with 15, Luke is this week’s champion.



SAGAL: Way, Luke.

HIGGINS: Congratulations.

BURBANK: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Well done. Now, panel, what will be the other big news in 2050? Laci Mosley.

MOSLEY: Steve from “Blue’s Clues” will star in a reboot where he gives millennial adults clues that they so desperately need.


SAGAL: Maeve Higgins.

HIGGINS: Maeve Higgins and Antoni Porowski will welcome their 10th child into the world.

BURBANK: (Laughter).


SAGAL: And Luke Burbank.

BURBANK: I will finally have gotten that “Baby Shark” song out of my head. No, wait, no, it’s back.


KURTIS: And if any of that happens, we’ll ask you about it on WAIT WAIT… DON’T TELL ME.

SAGAL: Thank you, Bill Kurtis. Thanks also to Laci Mosley…


SAGAL: …Luke Burbank and Maeve Higgins. Thanks to all of you for listening. Hey, everybody, I know it seems like we’re back where we were. But actually, we’re older. I’m Peter Sagal, and we’ll see you next week. This is NPR.

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