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Bluff The Listener

Friday, June 20, 2014

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Our panelists tell three stories about how the word "Yo" made the news, only one of which is true.


BILL KURTIS, BYLINE: 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 the Maz Jobrani, Kyrie O'Connor and P.J. O'Rourke. And here again is your host at the Overture Center for the Arts in Madison, Wisconsin, Peter Sagal.


Thank you, Bill.


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.

CHAPLAIN SAM BLAIR: Hi. This is Sam Blair, calling from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

SAGAL: Pittsburgh. I like Pittsburgh.

BLAIR: Pittsburgh.

SAGAL: Pittsburgh's a great town, a beautiful town. What do you do there?

BLAIR: I am a hospice chaplain.

SAGAL: You are a hospice chaplain.


SAGAL: That is - that can be exhausting work.


BLAIR: It can be. But actually it's really something. The people are not really that depressed. They have fantastic stories. I've met some really interesting people. So it really makes my job a whole lot - you know, something to look forward to.

SAGAL: Well, that's great.

O'ROURKE: And makes our job seem really trivial and pointless.

SAGAL: Yeah, thanks a lot.

O'CONNOR: Yeah, that too.


SAGAL: Sam, welcome to the show. You're going to play the game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what is Sam's topic?




SAGAL: Such a profound syllable, packed with meaning. Yo. This week, yo made the news. That word - our panelists are going to tell you how. Three stories about the word yo in the news. Guess the real story. You'll win Scorekeeper Emeritus Carl Kasell's greeting on your voicemail. Are you ready to play?

BLAIR: All set.

SAGAL: All right. First, let's hear a story about yo, from P.J. O'Rourke.

O'ROURKE: Yo is a new, mobile messaging app. It allows users to say yo to their friends, who can say yo back.


O'ROURKE: That's it. That's all.


O'ROURKE: As of June 17th, 50,000 people have signed up for the Yo app. Four million yo messages have been sent, each consisting of simply, yo. And the app's developer has raised $1 million in venture capital. Yo is the first person pronoun in Spanish. It's all about me. Yo is a common American slang greeting. But yo can also be used as an imperative, or as a gender-neutral pronoun, or as an emphatic at the end of a statement, indicating the importance thereof. So not only is the Yo app stupid, the people using it have no idea what they're saying to each other.


SAGAL: Yo, a new messaging app that allows you to say yo, and only yo, to your friends, who can only say yo back. Your next story of yo in the news comes from Kyrie O'Connor.

O'CONNOR: The National Park Service issued a challenge to all the parks. Don't market so much to those pesky families who travel on a budget and use too many resources. Instead, go after the single young men, you know, bros. But two famous parks came back with two marketing schemes so bro-tastically similar that they would make Seth Rogan blush. This summer, Yosemite National Park is calling itself, Yo.


O'CONNOR: The initial idea to market as Yo-semite fell apart when somebody noticed it looked like, yo, Semite.


O'CONNOR: Their TV spot features a quintessential bro, atop El Capitan, yelling, yo. The tagline says, Yosemite, YOLO.


O'CONNOR: Over at Yellowstone, they're calling themselves Yo-stone. They market their attractions as hipper-than-thou. A bison wearing a Google Glass explains, he's chilling with his peeps.


O'CONNOR: Park Service spokeswoman Anne Woodhouse says the service isn't worried. There are different media markets, she says. And anyway, there are plenty of bros to go around.

SAGAL: So Yosemite and Yellowstone.


SAGAL: Both marketing themselves with a yo theme. Your last story of yo-related news comes from Maz Jobrani.

MAZ JOBRANI: First there was old-school rap. Then there was gangster rap. And now, straight out of Dusseldorf, Germany, there's yodel rap.


JOBRANI: A new form of singing that combines yodeling and rap.


JOBRANI: Yo-rap, as it's known, was started by Heinrich Franz Leibovitz, a 60-year-old yodeler, who felt like he was losing touch with his 20-year-old son, Franz Franz Leibovitz.


JOBRANI: (Speaking with German accent) Every day, he would come home from the university with the big headphones...


JOBRANI: (Speaking with German accent) Over his ears, singing his rap lyrics. But it wasn't really singing. It was just a bunch of dirty words.


JOBRANI: (Speaking with German accent) I will bust a cap in your ass and take your money. I'm a gangster. You think that's funny?


JOBRANI: I thought it was stupid, claims the older Leibovitz. So he wrote a yo-rap and made his son sit on the couch and listen to him. His son was so inspired, he wrote his own rap and took it to the streets. (Singing with German accent)Yodel-ay-yodel-ay-yodel-ay-hee-hoo (ph), is the baddest rapper in all the land.


JOBRANI: (Singing with German accent) Yodel-ay-yodel-ay-yodel-ay - he who raps the baddest will always stand. Yodel-ay-yodel-ay-yodel-ay - he is the same guy who bust a cap in your ass.


SAGAL: So here are your choices. From P.J. O'Rourke, a new smartphone app called Yo, which has raised $1 million already, which just lets you say yo to other people who have the app. From Kyrie O'Connor, a new marketing campaign for the great national parks, Yosemite and Yellowstone, based on yo - but not yo, Semite. Or, from Maz Jobrani, yo rap, a combination of yodeling and rap. Which of these is the real story involving yo in the news?

BLAIR: OK. You had me at yo, Semite. So I'm going to go with Kyrie's.

SAGAL: You're going to go with Kyrie's story.


SAGAL: Of Yosemite National Park and Yellowstone National Park marketing themselves to bros, with their yo campaign.

BLAIR: You got it.

SAGAL: All right. Well, we actually spoke to someone intimately familiar with this real story.

OR ARBEL: We have a user. He's sending to his girlfriend, yo, in the middle of the day. She was complaining that he doesn't text her enough. He just yos her, and then she knows he's thinking about her. And that's it.

SAGAL: That was Or Arbel, the co-founder and CEO of Yo, which makes the Yo smartphone app, with which you can send the message yo.


SAGAL: Sam, I'm sorry, but P.J. had the real answer. You did not win, but you did earn a point for Kyrie, for coming up with, I thought, her brilliant marketing campaign for the national parks. I hope they're listening. Thank you so much for playing with us.

BLAIR: Thank you.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.

(APPLAUSE) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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