Bluff The Listener

Oct 6, 2018
Originally published on October 6, 2018 10:49 am
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BILL 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 Roxanne Roberts, Peter Grosz and Paula Poundstone. And here again is your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.


Thank you so much, Bill.


SAGAL: Right now it is time for the WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME Bluff The Listener game. Call 1-888-WAITWAIT to play our game on the air. Hi, you are on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

PETE DEEGAN: Hi, this is Pete from Eugene, Ore.

SAGAL: Oh, I know where Eugene is at the very least. How are you?

DEEGAN: I'm doing fine. How are you?

SAGAL: It's - I'm great. It's beautiful out there. What do you do?

DEEGAN: Well, I'm a carpenter by day and a clinical social work grad student by night.

SAGAL: Oh, wow.

PAULA POUNDSTONE: Oh, there you go.


DEEGAN: Thank you.

SAGAL: If you can do something as useful as carpentry, why would you ever want to do something as ephemeral as social work?


DEEGAN: I don't know. I used to counsel the drywall hangers while they were...


DEEGAN: ...Talking to me about their marital problems.

SAGAL: Yeah, dealing with their hang-ups.

DEEGAN: I just thought I'd try something different.

SAGAL: Well, good for you. Pete, it's very nice to have you with us. You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what is Pete's topic?

KURTIS: Par-tay (ph).


SAGAL: Who doesn't love a party? Most people, that's who. This week, we heard about a party that went horribly awry. Our panelists are going to tell you about it. Pick the one who's telling the truth, you'll win our prize the, WAIT WAITer (ph) of your choice on your voicemail. You ready to play?

DEEGAN: Absolutely.

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

POUNDSTONE: Twenty-three of Max Goldstein's (ph) friends, plus their parents and siblings, covered the front yard at his Spider-Man-themed fifth birthday party. They let out screams of surprise and excitement at the sight of Spider-Man climbing head-down down the side of the house. This guy was amazing, said Max's dad, Andrew Goldstein (ph). It really did look like his hands were sticking to the side of the house - that is, until he got stuck.

When his rope slacked quickly, the action hero slid down the side of the house, catching his suit on the light-up Happy Birthday, Max sign that also hung from the side of the house. I'll get you for that, Venom, improvised a quick-thinking Spidey in a strained voice.

Andrew Goldstein couldn't reach the party entertainer from the window, but because the kids were enjoying it so much and Spidey really wanted a five-star review on, the odd part-arachnid, part-man man begged Goldstein not to call 911. Instead, they called someone else. And after stalling with knock-knock jokes for about 30 minutes, the front yard exploded with cheers when Batman climbed down another set of ropes.


POUNDSTONE: In a move that answers once and for all the question Spider-Man or Batman, within seconds, Batman, too, was inextricably hooked onto the Happy Birthday, Max sign...


POUNDSTONE: ...On the side of the house. The fire department came and rescued the superheroes. The kids loved it.


SAGAL: A Spider-Man-themed birthday party that goes not according to plan when Spider-Man gets stuck and then so does Batman. Your next story of a party getting out of hand comes from Roxanne Roberts.

ROXANNE ROBERTS: Sarah Chambers (ph) wanted to do something special for her entomologist husband's 75th birthday and planned a surprise party featuring his lifelong passion - tarantulas. So in the center of a private room at New York's Harvard Club, a table held a large terrarium with more than two dozen different species of the furry spiders.

The guests seemed amused by this eccentric display until one of them lost his balance, fell into the table and caused the terrarium to slide to the floor and tip over. That's when the spiders began crawling toward the dinner tables, apparently drawn by the scent of the first course, a warm mushroom tart.


ROBERTS: Quote, "the chef obviously had no idea that wild mushrooms smell like dead crickets, which are spiders' favorite food," Chambers explained to The New York Times last week. I was worried about the tarantulas, and my friends were worried they were going to die.


ROBERTS: The spiders were all retrieved unharmed, but the party ended early, and no one touched the birthday cake in the shape of a giant tarantula.


ROBERTS: I have seven legs left, said Chambers.


SAGAL: A party for an entomologist gets a little hairy when the tarantulas get out. Your last story of a soiree snafu comes from Peter Grosz.

PETER GROSZ: Gender-reveal parties are a great way to let people know two important facts - the gender of your baby and that you are a narcissist who thinks people want to come to a party to find out the gender of your baby.


GROSZ: Attendees to a recent Tucson, Ariz., party found out a third fact - gender reveals and explosives don't mix. Arizona Border Patrol agent Dennis Dickey was looking for a way to impress his wife at their recent gender-reveal party, so he did what to any soon-to-be dad would do. He went overboard. According to police reports, Dickey fired a, quote, "high-velocity firearm at a target he packed with a substance intended to explode pink or blue powder into the air."

Now instead, Dickey's act of high-velocity stupidity caused an immediate combustion, and due to the hot and dry Arizona conditions, sparked a fire that wound up consuming 45,000 acres, forcing hundreds of people from their homes and costing the state over $8 million.

What's worse is the explosive substance Dickey placed inside the target is called Tannerite, which is legal but extremely volatile and had already been the cause of several major wildfires. State regulators are exploring a new law under which Tannerite would come with the following warning - caution, highly explosive material. We can't believe we have to say this, but do not stuff this into a target and fire a gun at it for a gender-reveal party.


GROSZ: Dickey was contrite but was still charged with one count of starting a fire without a permit and two counts of ruining his pregnant wife's big day, which carries a minimum sentence of sleeping on the couch for a month and a maximum sentence of a lifetime ban on - well, let's just say the activity that would result in a pregnant wife.


SAGAL: All right.


SAGAL: Somewhere, somebody threw a party, and it did not go as planned. Was it, from Paula Poundstone, a Spider-Man birthday party which was going great until Spider-Man got stuck trying to climb down the wall, and then also, Batman got stuck when he tried to rescue him; from Roxanne Roberts, an entomologist's birthday party where the tarantulas got out; or, from Peter Grosz, a gender-reveal party that ended up causing a terrible wildfire? Which of these is the real story of a party gone wrong?

DEEGAN: C sounds the least plausible, but I have a feeling that that's actually true.

SAGAL: All right, you say it's C. That would be Peter's story of the wildfire caused by the gender-reveal party.

DEEGAN: Indeed.

SAGAL: All right. Well, to bring you the correct answer, we spoke to a reporter who covered this soiree gone wrong.

BRIANNA SACKS: A guy was setting up a gender-reveal party...


SACKS: ...And he accidentally started a massive wildfire.

SAGAL: That was Brianna Sacks. She's a breaking news reporter for BuzzFeed News, telling us about the gender-reveal-party-turned-inferno. Congratulations, you got it right. And now everybody knows, don't throw a gender-reveal party.


SAGAL: Pete, you earned a point for Peter Grosz. You've won our prize - the voice of anyone you may choose. Congratulations.

DEEGAN: Thank you so much.

SAGAL: Thank you.

DEEGAN: I'm so excited.

SAGAL: Take care, Peter. Thanks a lot for playing.

DEEGAN: Thanks. Bye.