Bluff The Listener

Mar 15, 2013
Originally published on March 16, 2013 10:29 am
Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit

CARL KASELL: From NPR and WBEZ-Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR News quiz. I'm Carl Kasell. We're playing this week with Paula Poundstone, Bobcat Goldthwait and Faith Salie. And here again is your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.


Thank you so much, Carl.


SAGAL: 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!



CANFIELD: My name is Alco Canfield.

SAGAL: Hey, Alco, where you calling from?

CANFIELD: Walla Walla, Washington.

SAGAL: Walla Walla, Washington. We love Walla Walla.

CANFIELD: I bet you never heard of it.

SAGAL: I have heard of it. I have good friends from Walla Walla. It's nice to...

CANFIELD: Oh, good. It's a very friendly place, you know.

SAGAL: It sounds it.


SAGAL: Did you say your name was Alco?

CANFIELD: Yes, indeed.

SAGAL: What kind of name is Alco?

CANFIELD: Well, let me tell you, if I marry somebody with the last name of Hall, it would be serious.


CANFIELD: It's actually from St. Margaret Mary of Alacoque, A-L-A-C-O-Q-U-E.

SAGAL: I see.

CANFIELD: I'm a twin and my parents thought it would be good to name each of them after them. So my mother's name was also Alco, A-L-C-O.

SAGAL: I think that you are by far the most interesting person I will meet today.


SAGAL: You're fresh and interesting, Alco. We appreciate that.

CANFIELD: Thank you.

SAGAL: Alco, you're going to play our game in which you must tell truth from fiction. Carl, what's the topic?

KASELL: Busted.

SAGAL: We all do things over vacation that we don't want the people back home to find out about, like partying too hard or the time you stabbed that hobo.


SAGAL: This week, our panelists are going to read you three stories of people getting busted for their holiday exploits. Guess the real story; you'll win Carl's voice on your home answering machine or voicemail. You ready to play?


SAGAL: All right, first let's hear from Paula Poundstone.

PAULA POUNDSTONE: Although legally Billerica High School teacher Janet Ross was within her rights to spend her vacation at the Whole Person Nudist Community in Jackson, New Hampshire, when the video of their summer musical production of "Oklahoma" began popping up on screens in the Billerica community, it created a stir.

"The body is a beautiful thing," says Ross, "and if people here get so freaked out over a bit of skin, it's no wonder we're so far behind in the sciences."


POUNDSTONE: "Look," says Billerica High School Principal Donald Gould, "Ms. Ross' summer activities are her own personal choice, but it's been a distraction. Janet Ross is a brilliant English teacher. I begged her to come teach summer school or just keep kids off drugs. But no, she had to drive me to drink, singing, I'm just a girl who can't say no, at Camp Birthday Suit."


POUNDSTONE: "We were planning a high school production of 'Oklahoma,' but we can't do it now. Ms. Ross can't walk down the hall without having students sing: watch that fringe and see how it flutters."



POUNDSTONE: "Oh, what a beautiful morning."

SAGAL: A teacher...


SAGAL: ...does a nude production of "Oklahoma" and it gets out. Your next story of holiday hijinks comes from Bobcat Goldthwait.

BOBCAT GOLDTHWAIT: It was the heroic viral video of the year, Paul Marsea wading into the surf off the coast of Australia to bravely go mano-a-mano or mano-a-afino with a shark. The shark was circling near a group of children when Marshallsea ran into the water, grabbed the shark's fin and wrestled it off and away.

Mr. Marshall has been hailed a hero around the globe, but not by the children's charity that both he and his wife Wendy work at back home in Wales. Both he and Wendy were on a two-month sick leave because of work-related stress.

They received a letter of dismissal from the charity's trustees that read, "Whilst unfit to work, you were well enough to travel to Australia, and according to recent news footage of yourself in Queensland, you allegedly grabbed a shark by the tail and narrowly missed being bitten by quickly jumping out of the way."

After working for the charity for over ten years, both Wendy and Paul were fired upon returning home. The devastated Mr. Marshallsea said, "You'd think being in charge and running a children's charity, they would have patted me on the back and congratulated me." The shark declined to comment.


GOLDTHWAIT: Seeing that he is a shark.


SAGAL: A guy wrestles a shark.



SAGAL: Saved some children, gets caught on video and is fired. Your last story of vacation trouble comes from Faith Salie.

FAITH SALIE: Rabi Yitsog Figel has always been beloved by his congregation at Cleveland's Temple Immanuel. His impressive girth and lustrous snowy white beard mark him as an avuncular local celebrity known for his touch of bling. The rabbi drives a 5-Series Beamer with a license plate that spells, Ya Way Cool.


SALIE: So, imagine the surprise when Marvin and Riva Meltzer, a couple from Temple Immanuel, took a Christmas in July cruise to St. Croix, only to discover that the cruise ship's featured Santa was none other than Rabbi Yitsog.


SALIE: Mrs. Meltzer says, "How could he do this to the Jews? Seeing our rabbi in a red suit with kids on his lap was worse than when our son Seth married that born again cheerleading coach."

In his defense, Rabbi Yitsog says he needs the extra cash and claims, quote, "I tried to preserve my Jewish. I sang 'Oy to the World.' I even said ho, ho, ho, until the cruise director told me passengers were concerned I had some kind of chest cold."


SALIE: Now the temple is voting to decide if their rabbi has to go. Rabbi Yitsog's Talmudic response, "Eh, God could give me a worse fate than being free to do this in the winter with unlimited Jimmy Buffet, chocolate fountains and Purell."



SAGAL: So here are your choices. From Paula Poundstone, a teacher comes back to her high school to find out there's video of the nude musical version of "Oklahoma" she did.

From Bobcat Goldthwait, a guy wrestles a shark in Australia and is fired back home because he was supposed to be too sick to work. And from Faith Salie, a rabbi gets busted playing Santa on a cruise ship. Which of these is the real story of...

CANFIELD: I would have to say number two.

SAGAL: Number two, that would be Bobcat's story of the guy wrestling the shark?


SAGAL: Why do you think so?

CANFIELD: Well, I heard it on the radio somewhere.


SAGAL: Well, you've picked Bobcat's story of the shark wrestler. Let us find out if you're right. We spoke to somebody who actually reported on this.

BOB HASTINGS: He was filmed catching the shark. You know, if you are filled with stress problems, trying to wrestle a shark is probably not the best way to recuperate.

SAGAL: That was reporter Bob Hastings, who wrote up the story for the newspaper the Independent. Congratulations, Alco, you got it right.


SAGAL: You earned a point for Bobcat. You've won our prize. Carl Kasell will record the greeting on your home answering machine.

CANFIELD: Great, thank you.

SAGAL: Well done, Alco.

CANFIELD: Thank you so much. I enjoyed it.

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