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Spoofs & Satire

The NPR Blooper Reel

Hearing about Howard Stern and a bevy of strippers is no big surprise for the radio-savvy, but David Brancaccio and a goat getting clinical? Here are the clips not included in your regular broadcast.

Bloopers obtained from a Minneapolis editing room where work proceeds on the first National Public Radio (NPR) DVD boxset (audio only)

Scene 1: Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me

PETER SAGAL: Bonnie, are you there? Bonnie from Tuscaloosa?

CALLER: Yes, I’m here!

SAGAL: What’s the autumn like down there in Tuscaloosa? Gotta love autumn in the south, all those different colors mixing together? The leaves I mean.

CALLER: Oh, it’s beautiful down here this time of year. Y’all should bring the show down here.

SAGAL: And you’re listening to what—member station WKKK down there?

PANELISTS: [uproarious laughter]

SAGAL: Cut! Ha ha ha! Cut!

Scene 2: Fresh Air With Terry Gross

TERRY GROSS: This is Fresh Air, I’m Terry Gross. [sounds of breathing, saliva] Actor Sean Penn stars in the film adaptation of the Dennis Lehane novel Mystic River. Penn has also become somewhat of a polarizing political figure in recent months. Following a trip to Baghdad last winter, he became the target of conservative columnists, who accused him of being anti-American and pro-Saddam Hussein. Liberals, conversely, hailed the actor as a humanitarian and a voice of reason in the face of pre-emptive war. Sean Penn, welcome.

SEAN PENN: Thanks for having me.

GROSS: Let’s talk about your trip to Baghdad. How do you answer critics who accuse you of being hot…er, unpatriotic?

PENN: Honestly, Terry, I couldn’t care less about what some slob on Fox News has to say about my politics. I have a feeling that my new movie will be successful enough to silence those folks.

GROSS: [high lilting laugh] It sure will. [sounds of tigers, purring] Tell us about your character in Mystic River.

PENN: Well, he’s an ex-con who has just lost his daughter to a horrific murder. At the same time—

GROSS: Sean, I must stop you for a second. I find myself in a bit of a reverse Crimson Petal and the White moment. By which I mean I’m suddenly feeling like a sort of randy, yet learned, Victorian prostitute due in part to your close proximity to me in this cramped studio. And I say “reverse” because instead of the world of the book, where the Rackham character relentlessly pursues Sugar, this time the naughty little radio host has become wildly aroused by the rakish and rebellious gentlemen from Hollywood. Do you want to say a few words about my growing lust?

PRODUCER: CUT! Terry? Can I talk to you?

Scene 3: Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me

SAGAL: Carl, how did Bruce do?

CARL KASELL: Very well, Peter. On today’s quiz, Bruce answered three out of five questions correctly. As his prize, I will record my voice on Bruce’s answering machine. And Bruce, your friends and family will finally be able to confirm their suspicions that you listen to too much public radio.

[whispered aside: Hey, you’ve reached Bruce. I can’t come to the phone right now because I am a huge gaywad.]

SAGAL: Carl, you—ha hah ahhhaaaa, cut!

Scene 4: All Things Considered

ROBERT SIEGEL: I’m Robert Siegel.

MICHELE NORRIS: And I’m Robert Norris.

ROBERT SIEGEL: You’re listening to All Thing…wait, what did you say?

MICHELE NORRIS: When?

ROBERT SIEGEL: Just now. I think you said “I’m Robert Norris.”

MICHELE NORRIS: What? Are you sure? No…

ROBERT SIEGEL: Yes, I’m quite sure you said Robert Norris.

MICHELE NORRIS: Oh God, how mortifying. I can’t even remember my own…

ROBERT SIEGEL: It’s OK. Common mistake, Robert.

MICHELE NORRIS: Haaa haah ha…

ROBERT SIEGEL: Let’s try that again.

Scene 5: Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me

SAGAL: Caller, where are you located?

CALLER: I am…currently…in Chicago but…I split my time between here…and Baltimore.

MO ROCCA: Wait, I know that voice.

SAGAL: Ladies and gentlemen, I believe we have a little NPR joke going on. Caller, what do you do in Chicago?

CALLER: I run a black…market operation…in human organs.

SAGAL: Ira, get off the line, for the love of God. We’re trying to tape a show here!

Scene 6: Car Talk

RAY: We’ll be back with more Cah Tawk in a minute…much to your chagrin, ha haaa ha.

TOM: Ha ha…quick, turn your radio off while you still can, ha ha!

[local headline reel]

TOM: Bloody scratchy t’day, innit. M’ voice I’m talkin’ ’bout. I dare say I’m in dire bloomin’ need of a linctus!

RAY: I should say rather! I thought you went to the chemist about this sniffle just last week?

TOM: Right, see I meant to, but then I somehow found myself down pub, didn’t I? Catching up on the East Anglia Cup on Sky and all that. Didn’t really get round to my medicines, then did I?

CAR TALK ELOCUTION COACH DICK SHUN: Alright gents! Back on in a pip, as soon as we get the go-ahead from the States.

TOM: Right. [clears throat] Hi, we’re back, Click and Clack the Tappit Brothers, coming to you from downtown Cambridge. Don’t drive like my brother.

RAY: And don’t drive like my brother!

Scene 7: Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me

SAGAL: And for the last “Bluff the Listener” news story of the week, we turn to our very own Roy Blount, Jr.

ROY BLOUNT, JR: [hits play on tape-recorder; we hear Alyson Hannigan’s voice from American Pie] One time, at band camp, I stuck a flute in my pussy!

SAGAL: Roy, I can’t believe…HAAAA HA…I need five minutes. Cut!

Scene 8: A Prairie Home Companion

GARRISON KEILLOR: [whispering] The first section of our show brought to you by Powdermilk Biscuits, in the big green box, made from whole wheat raised by Norwegian bachelor farmers, so you know they’re not only good for you, they’re also pure, mostly. Whole wheat that gives shy persons the strength to get up and do what needs to be done. Heavens they’re tasty, and expeditious.

SOUND EFFECTS GUY: Yah, and they’ll make ya poop like a champ, too! [squeezes whoopee cushion]

KEILLOR: [still whispering] Yes, they’ll really get you going…Jesus…ok, cut, cut… [screaming] Tom that’s it, you’re fucking fired!! You hear me you cocksucker?! Fired! Now, get the fuck out! Get the fuck out! No, just get the fuck out before I call the fucking cops!

[whispering] And now, the news from Lake Wobegone.

Scene 9: Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me

SAGAL: Call us at 1-800-WAIT-WAIT. Caller, you are on the air.

CALLER: This is…Anna from…Phoenix.

SAGAL: Hello, Anna. What’s going on these days in Phoenix?

CALLER: I’m having…sex with my…boyfriend right now.

SAGAL: You’re…what?

CALLER: Ohhhhh…right…there. I love…when you do…that to me.

SAGAL: This is totally—wait, this isn’t a—Ira, for the last time! Get a life!

IRA GLASS: Hee…hee. I’m all over…your ass, Sagal! WHOOOOO!

SAGAL: Cut! Ha ha…