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Not My Job: Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper Gets Quizzed On 2020



And now the game where the high and mighty take on the low and silly. It's called Not My Job. John Hickenlooper was born in Pennsylvania but got a degree in geology and came out to Colorado to work for an energy company, which promptly laid him off. Looking around for something to do, he decided to open a brewpub. It must have been pretty...


SAGAL: And as seems to be the case, it was pretty good beer because the grateful customers then elected him mayor of Denver and in 2010, governor of the great state of Colorado.


SAGAL: Governor John Hickenlooper, welcome to WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME. So we researched this. You were the first brewer to be elected to office, elected to be governor, since Sam Adams. Did you know that?


JOHN HICKENLOOPER: Yeah, they tell me.

SAGAL: So does this mean in, like, 200 years, your beer is also going to suck?


HICKENLOOPER: That's not fair.

SAGAL: That's absolutely fair.

HICKENLOOPER: I am glad you got to the beer because I was worried with all the pot jokes...

SAGAL: Oh, no.

HICKENLOOPER: ...You'd forget that we have 350 breweries in the state of Colorado.



SAGAL: So 350 breweries, legalized weed, does anybody here ever work?


HICKENLOOPER: We view this as the state of a balanced life. Hard work, hard play.

SAGAL: Exactly.


SAGAL: I thought you were going to be like, a balanced life - beer, then pot, pot, then beer.


PAULA POUNDSTONE: Let me just say that it is possible to do neither and just have your thoughts clear at the end of the night.

SAGAL: You haven't mentioned the boat loads of money the state is taking in, right? Are, like, other governors coming up to you and, like, calling you on the sly and going, how can I do this?

HICKENLOOPER: I will say, many governors have talked to me about it.

POUNDSTONE: How many governors have called you up not because they want to legalize pot in their own state but because they want to come here and get high with you?



POUNDSTONE: Yeah, right.


SAGAL: Whatever you say is legal here in Colorado is over, you know, you're also overseen by the federal government. So basically, everybody in this audience is a drug criminal. Congratulations.


SAGAL: Did you and President Obama ever get together and then hash out these...



SAGAL: That was entirely unintentional - and discuss, get down into the weeds, if you were...


SAGAL: ...Of these important and complex issues of federalism?

HICKENLOOPER: We certainly discussed it on a couple of occasions.

SAGAL: I understand you worked this out over a game of pool, I'm told.

HICKENLOOPER: We did have - how did you know that? We did play a couple games of pool when - back in - you know, he is an amazing - I mean, the guy has got to be one of the most competitive people on earth. And I own a pool hall. I mean, I'm not a bad guy with a stick. And he cleaned my clock.


SAGAL: Yeah. Did he really? I know that - I guess I'm just saying that the president has said, in his own autobiography, that he was an enthusiast of pre-legal marijuana back in the day. So I'm guessing you're playing a friendly game of pool or was there a wager involved?


HICKENLOOPER: There wasn't. We played for 10 bucks for the first game. And I was way ahead. I was up five balls to one. I had a shot that I was worried I might sink and then I might beat the leader of the free world. But I decided to go for it. And I missed it a little bit. And then he sank four balls and then two more balls and then sank the eight ball.

And we played double or nothing, and that's when he cleaned my clock.

SAGAL: Really? Do you think he was, like, leading you on? He was like, oh, how do you play this game, he said.

HICKENLOOPER: I think so. I think so. He certainly didn't mention the fact that he had a pool table in the third floor of the White House until after he took my 20 bucks.

SAGAL: Really?


SAGAL: You're a twice-elected governor in a purple state. But you're term-limited. You're done in 2018, right?


SAGAL: Yeah, 2018, yeah.


SAGAL: Just thinking. What do you imagine you might be doing, say, two years after that? Is there anything you'd like to say to this audience or the people listening in, say, Iowa?


HICKENLOOPER: My focus - and I've said this a dozen times. My focus - I've got about 662 days, I think. I have a little thing on my calendar to show me the days.

SAGAL: You think it's 662.

HICKENLOOPER: Well, rough justice, rough justice.

SAGAL: Roughly.

HICKENLOOPER: We're going to keep 100 percent of our - no PAC, no committees to run for office. And two years from now if everyone else is running, then we'll see.

SAGAL: I see. All right.


SAGAL: I'm going to ask you one last question about Colorado. Colorado is such a diverse state, in terms of its politics. How in the world does one person manage to succeed in this crazy, mixed up, rather rectangular place?

HICKENLOOPER: Well, you know, we're the only headwater state. So we're...

POUNDSTONE: What does that mean?

HICKENLOOPER: It means all the rivers - no river starts some other state and come into our state. All the rivers start here. So if you average out all the elevation of all the spaces, we're the highest state. And don't you say a word about marijuana.


HICKENLOOPER: But my last plug is that if you took a magical piece of silk and stretched it over the entire state and it was so magical that you could drape over every mountain, go down and fill up every valley and every stream bed and then you could magically lift this up and stretch it out, Colorado's bigger than Texas.


POUNDSTONE: I think everybody's probably thinking this...

SAGAL: Yeah.

POUNDSTONE: ...How high were you when you thought of that?


HICKENLOOPER: Five thousand two hundred and eighty feet.


SAGAL: Well, Governor Hickenlooper, we are delighted to talk to you. And we've invited you here to play a game we're calling...

BILL KURTIS: Somebody has plans for 2020.


SAGAL: Since you refuse to commit to doing anything in 2020, we thought we'd ask you about some of the exciting things that are scheduled for that year. Answer 2 out of 3 questions about the year 2020 and you'll become the Democratic presidential nominee anyway.


SAGAL: Anyway, you will also win a prize for one of our listeners. Bill, who is Governor Hickenlooper playing for?

KURTIS: Alex Leahy of Denver, Colo.

SAGAL: There you go.


SAGAL: Your first question - ready to do this?


SAGAL: All right. Facebook is going to be radically different in 2020 when which of these things happen? A, it will change its name to reflect its broader reach to Whole Body Book, B, by some estimates, that is the year that the number of dead people on Facebook will outnumber the living or, C, starting that year, pictures of children under 5 years old will be banned because enough already.


HICKENLOOPER: I think the number of dead people outnumbering.

SAGAL: You're right. Yes.


SAGAL: That is the projection.


SAGAL: Well, you did well with that one. Here's your next question. A very special film awaits theatregoers in 2020, scheduled for release then. Which of these is it? A, the one and only screening of "Ambiance," - at 720 hours long, it will be the longest film ever made - B, "Fast And Furious 12: Lil Rascal Scooter Drift..."


SAGAL: ...Or C, "My Mother, The Car: The Movie."

HICKENLOOPER: It's got to be "My Mother, The Car: The Movie."

SAGAL: Oh, that would be awesome, but no.

HICKENLOOPER: It's "Ambiance?"

SAGAL: Yes, it's called "Ambiance." It is an art project. It's going to be 720 hours long. That's about 36 days. It'll be shown once. You have until 2020, people with legal marijuana, to stock up 'cause...


POUNDSTONE: I just want to go on record as saying, I don't think it's going to do that well.

SAGAL: No, probably not.


SAGAL: All right, this is exciting 'cause if you get this last one, you win for our listener. Travelers to London will have reason to celebrate in 2020 when which of these amazing attractions opens? A, Rising Waters, the climate change-assisted water park...


SAGAL: ...B, the world's first all-corgi petting zoo or, C, the BBC Land theme park.

HICKENLOOPER: Oh, my God, that's dreadful to consider.


HICKENLOOPER: Oh, they're telling me C. All right, I say C.

SAGAL: There you are. C, you're right.


SAGAL: They're right. Everybody's right.


SAGAL: BBC theme park. They're going to have attractions based on their popular shows "Sherlock" and "Doctor Who." We were hoping for, like, the BBC "World Service" ride.


SAGAL: How did the governor do on our quiz, Bill?

KURTIS: Let this be a premonition. The governor is a winner.


SAGAL: Clearly. That's two city elections, two statewide elections and one this, right? Ladies and gentlemen, the governor of the great state of Colorado, Governor John Hickenlooper, your governor, our friend.


SAGAL: Governor Hickenlooper, what a pleasure. Thank you so much for being here.

That's it for our look at the silver linings, all the wonderful things of 2017. We were able to fit them in under an hour.

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WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME is a production of NPR AND WBEZ Chicago in association with Urgent Haircut Productions. Doug Berman, benevolent overlord. Philipp Goedicke writes our limericks. Our house manager is Tyler Greene. Our intern is Layne Gerbig. Our web guru is Beth Novey. Our public address announcer is Paul Freedman. B.J. Leiderman composed our theme. Our program is produced by Jennifer Mills and Miles Doornbos. Technical directions from Lorna White. Our CFO is Ann Nguyen. Our production coordinator is Robert Newhouse. Our senior producer is Ian Chillag. And the executive producer of WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME is Michael Donforth. Thanks to everyone you heard today, including, of course, Bill Kurtis, all our panelists, all our guests, the amazing Carl Kasell and, of course, you for listening.

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