NPR's Wait, Wait! Don't Tell Me: Clip Shows

Every so often, NPR’s lovely quiz show “Wait, Wait! Don’t Tell Me” will take a week off, and instead of their usual format of a panel of three comedians-ish, a celebrity or expert of some sort, and a few call-in contestants, they’ll do what amounts to a clip show. Peter Sagal and Bill Kurtis will have a bit of patter, there’ll be some applause and laughs from the audience, and they’ll play a clip from an old show; repeat until the hour is filled.

The audience is what I’m curious about. If I were thinking about a weekend in Chicago, a Wait Wait show would be a top priority. Honestly, it’d be the sort of thing I’d schedule the weekend around, in hopes of seeing my dream panel of Tom Bodett, Roy Blount, Jr., and Paula Poundstone. If I got settled in to the theatre and it turned out to be Bill and Pete playing me some clips, I’d be a bit disappointed, to say the least.

So how do they do these? I’m guessing it’s either a laugh track or you sort of get two shows for the price of one–that is, you get your live show, and then you get a taping of a clip show, and hopefully 75% of the audience doesn’t leave in between. Actually, that might explain WWs’ Rather Obvious Cuts: Rather than doing the clip show separate, they tape segments between segments for the normal weekly show.

Anyway, given this board’s heritage, I figure y’all are the folks to ask. Thanks!

I always assumed they recorded those at the end of the last live show they did. Ask folks to stay a little longer and record them.

I’ve always wondered about that as well, because sometimes it seems like you can hear the laughter of a panel member during a clip show.

Yeah, I think that’s a pretty common practice. I’ve seen DVD extras, for instance, of panel shows where they’re recording advertising blurbs as part of the recording of the main show.

I thought this thread was going to be about why they’ve had so many clip shows lately. I haven’t been keeping track but it seems like they’ve averaged about one a month for the last year or so.

They tape the clip shows around or after their normal shows, t last week’s (I think it was last week) show was a clip show but was introduced as being from San Francisco where they did a month’s worth of shows. They know their production schedule, and have materially ready to introduce clips. Not having been at one of these though, I wonder, do they play the whole clip or just read the intro and get some audience noise?

Also, if you are looking to base your weekend in Chicago around a taping, you will be disappointed. The show is taped on Thursday nights.

Well… this thread has been quiet for a long time, but I’ve wondered too about the clip shows – there seem to be more of them than ever. Can’t figure out if:

A) They like to take more vacation time (who wouldn’t?)


B) Funds are tight and it’s certainly less expensive to do a clip show than it is to fly in the panelists and put them in hotels.

SEPARATELY… I went to a live videotaping of Snap Judgement awhile back, and I was shocked by what should have been obvious to me: before the show started a host came out and instructed us: “We’re going to do some pre-taping. Please make a face like you’re shocked by what you’ve just heard. Next, let’s do a face like you’ve just heard something really funny. Finally, lean over to the person next to you and pretend that you’re whispering a comment about what you just heard.” Once they had all that tape they cut it up and spliced in the reactions as needed.