Student stumped by NPR celebrities on 'Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me'

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UCSC history grad student Meg Eppel took part on an NPR game show. Her episode featured three bizarre stories relating to superheroes.

Stand-up comedian Paula Poundstone may be funny, but she's not a reliable source of celebrity gossip.

That's the hard lesson second-year UCSC history grad student Meg Eppel learned when she went on the NPR weekly news game show "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me."

Eppel took part in a section of the show in which celebrity guests try to stump the listeners.

Eppel, who is in her second year as a graduate student in the history department at UC Santa Cruz, was thrilled to compete in the show, which was recorded in the fall and broadcast nationwide last week.

On the show, she was given three absurd, over-the-top stories relating to superheroes, and was asked to identify the one that was true. Here were her options:

Option 1: Poundstone read a story suggesting that the actor Tobey Maguire--who starred in three Spider-Man movies--flew into a panic and screamed "like a female chimp" because a spider jumped out of his bread basket in a restaurant. "He kept saying 'I was bitten by a spider once,'" said Poundstone in a cheeky reference to the character Peter Parker, who is transformed into Spider-Man after getting chomped by a radioactive arachnid.

Option 2: Author and humorist Roy Blount Jr. told a tale about a real-life bio-engineered "Mighty Mouse."

Option 3: Comedian and political satirist Mo Rocca told a ridiculous-sounding story about "the mayor of Batman, Turkey, wanting to file a lawsuit seeking royalties from the producers of the Dark Knight Batman films because "there is only one Batman in the world."

Eppel went with Option 1.

Alas, the only true story was the one about the Batman lawsuit.

"I listen to WWDTM a lot and have learned that it tends to be the most unbelievable story that is correct in the 'Bluff the Listener' section," Eppel said. "But my nerves made me forget that when I played the game. I actually really wanted to pick the Batman story but I just couldn't believe that there is a Batman, Turkey."

While Eppel did not win, the show's co-host Peter Sagal had flattering words for UCSC, which he described as a "fabulous campus lurking in the redwoods. It is so beautiful, how do you ever convince [yourself] to go inside and study?'' he asked Eppel on the air.

"Well," she replied. "As a graduate student, I don't think I have a choice.''

"Really? What do they do to you if you don't?" Sagal asked.

"Um, they might kick me out.''

"Oh, that would be bad," Sagal replied. "Then you'd just be in the trees all day."