Sunday, May 07, 2006

Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me

Saturdays are radio days for me and the wife. We wake up to Car Talk with the Tappet brothers, have a little Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me just before lunch, and enjoy a healthy serving of This American Life as a late afternoon snack.

So when the wife found out that Wait Wait was coming to DC (it normally tapes in Chicago - shout out to Sue Ellen), it didn't matter that tickets cost an arm and a leg, we ponied up the embarrasing asking price (at least embarrasing on a student's budget) and made our way to GW's Lisner auditorium last Thursday to see the show. Ended up worth every penny. Seeing the moderator, Peter Sagal and the panelists (Charlie Pierce, Roxanne Roberts, and Tom Bodett this time around) interact with each other, the callers, and the audience live added a whole new element to Wait Wait. It made funny funnier.

The program is a game show of sorts that questions both callers and panelists on the happenings of the past week. The only real prize is the opportunity to have long-time NPR newsman Carl Kasell record the message on your home answering machine in his deep baritone voice. The show essentially revolves around adlibbed exchanges and the improvised commentary of the panelists (all writers and/or pundits) and Peter Sagal. Being the sucker for politics that I am, I eat it up.

Attending the taping changed my conception of the show, however. It's aired as an hour long program, yet the taping runs some two hours. To whittle it down they edit out the dead air, flat jokes and worst miscues (splicing in retakes recorded at the end of each taping). The final product is a tight broadcast that you wouldn't have guessed was cut. Listening to the show as it aired two days later, though, was a wholly different experience. Good in its own right, but without some of the depth that came from seeing it live.

Favorite thing about seeing Wait Wait though was, hands down, meeting Peter Sagal and Carl Kasell afterwards. Good natured fellows who were even up for a photograph. Who knows... maybe we'll have Carl on our answering machine one day.

11 comments:

BA said...

Be honest, did you give either of those dudes a big hug?

Gargantus said...

i am sorry, i can't really relate to this at all... politics, radio shows and old men.

melbo said...

It's funny because they didn't look anything like I thought they would. I thought Peter would be a spectacled jewish Woody Allen type and I actually expected Karl to look 15 years older.

Marc said...

Come on Garg... admit it. You're in to old men. I've heard you express interest in Sean Connery, Neil Diamond AND Tom Jones.

Gargantus said...

while i can honestly tell you i have never verbally expressed my interest in those men to you, i won't deny fantasizing about any of them.

Alice said...

When I first saw this picture I was a bit surprised by their looks myself. I thought they would look... funnier.

melbo said...

But Alice, is there anything funnier than big bushy eyebrows? (I guarantee they're waxed by the way.) However, I do know what you mean. They could've at least donned bowties. Bowties are always funny.

Sue Ellen Mischke said...

Thanks for the shout out! I only wish I had some good writing to offer anyone that visits my page. I'm so uninspired these days.

I went to Wait Wait too here in Chicago! I'm such a nerd that I couldn't convince any of my friends to join me so I went alone. Alone! I'm so devoted to Carl and Peter. Ah, Peter, if only the host of Wait Wait wore a uniform... Anyway, when I went, Barak Obama was on as the guest. He was there live. It was so cool. He's a rockstar here in Chicago.

Your Saturday mornings sound like mine, minus the This American Life (and the wife of course). TAL is on Friday nights at 7:00 which means I never get to hear it. But 'What Do You Know' is on right after Wait Wait and I love that show too. I'll listen to anything on NPR; I even love Marketplace (I love Kai Rysdal). I'm such an NPR whore.

BA said...

98% of fresh tracks suck on NPR

Marc said...

Alice - Well... I thought that they did look kinda funny.

Melbo - Bowties are funny?

Sue Ellen - A fellow Wait Wait fan. Truly a kindred spirit. You had a better guest though. We were stuck with ole' Anthony Williams (DC Mayor). Oh... and Melbo and I are NPR whores too... we could run a brothel!

BA - NPR rules.

Marc said...

Hmmm... Sorry Sue. Perhaps that wasn't the best analogy.