23. Go to a taping of Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me

Wait Wait Don’t Tell me is one of my favorite NPR shows (right up there with The Moth and This American Life). It is hilarious. It is intelligent (well, sometimes…). And it makes me laugh.my.ass.off.

Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me is a news quiz. The host is Peter Sagal, the judge and scorekeeper is Bill Kurtis and there are three panelists, which change from week to week. The week I went the panelists were Brian Babylon, Amy Dickinson and Roy Blount, Jr. Florence Henderson was the special guest. At 80 years old Mrs. Brady is still witty and delightful to listen to. Also, it turns out that her and Greg Brady did actually go on a date (!).

The show starts with the introduction of the Peter, Bill and the panelists. The first ‘segment’ of the show is a listener call-in quiz, followed by quizzing the panelists, bluff the listener (three crazy news stories, only one of which is true), Mrs. Brady’s quiz, another round with the panelists, limericks (my favorite part), lightening fill in the blank and the prediction. You can listen to the show I attended here.

Watching a radio show being taped is an interesting experience. There are times when the panelists make facial expressions that (obviously) don’t come through on the radio. However, I have realized when listening to the show that it’s not always necessary to see a facial expression. If something is awkward enough, facial expressions become completely unnecessary. Plus, when the audience reacts, you can just imagine the possibilities. To watch the expressions and the on-stage interactions happen just make the show so much more enjoyable. What’s even more interesting is hearing it getting taped, then hearing what makes it to the air a few days later. Not everything makes it on air because it might be inappropriate (like most of the conversation with Mrs. Brady) or there just might not be enough time for it.

If you’re in the Chicago area and you like to laugh, I would recommend attending a taping. You will laugh, you will cry from all of the laughter and you will be supporting public radio (win win win!).