"Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!" Appreciation Thread

The several threads about favorite podcasts made me want to highlight my absolute favorite hour of radio each week.

Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! is the weekly NPR quiz show. I don’t remember how I stumbled upon it, but I was hooked immediately.

The first show I heard happened to be just after Marcel Marceau died. I was driving and nearly had to pull over when host Peter Sagal led into a question about him with the preface, “After spending much of his life pretending to be stuck in a box…”

Wait Wait is one of the most consistently funny media anywhere. Peter Sagal and Carl Kasell have great rapport. Most of the panelists are good, although I do have some favorites. My ideal panel requires Paula Poundstone and Roy Blount Jr. For number three, I like Mo Rocca, Paul Provenza, Amy Goodman, Kiri O’Connor or Roxanne Roberts.

And I really like that it’s a quiz show in name only. The only prize is Carl Kasell doing your voicemail greeting, and I suspect he does it for contestants even if they lose. It’s the only game show in which I have the slightest interest in participating.

I can get on board with this. What a great radio show. Roy Blount, Jr. is absolutely hilarious, and it’s great to hear a politician not take himself so seriously once in a while.

Um, maybe I’m being wooshed here but isn’t Roy Blount, Jr. different from Roy Blunt?

As for the show, yeah I listen when it’s on. Haven’t subscribed to the podcast but probably should - consistently entertaining.

Good lord yes. Two people who probably couldn’t BE more different.

I’ve been listening to Wait Wait for many years. I have loved the additions of panelists like Roy, Paula, PJ, etc. but when I first started listening Roxanne, Charlie Pierce, and Adam Felber were on almost every week. I also enjoyed Sue Ellicott.

Paula Poundstone is my favorite. Speaking of alcoholics anonymous, “If they can make you go, how anonymous is it?”

I loved Paula Deen’s episode. On “Not My Job” they asked her three questions about tofu.

Yeah I don’t hate it. It is kinda corny, but if I’m driving when it is on, I’ll listen to it.

I’ve been listening since the Roxanne, Charlie and Adam days as well. It’s a great show. I even went to a taping in Chicago a few years ago. I think my all-time favorite Not My Job guest was the veterinarian and former roadie for the Rolling Stones.

And I have to give props to whoever chooses their little snippets of music after some of the questions (and probably to cover up edits). Sometimes that’s the best laugh of the whole show.

I don’t think it’s found nearly as large an audience, but Says You! is also very good.

One of my “Thank You” gifts for my donation to Chicago Public Radio this year is a couple of tickets to a “Wait, Wait…” taping, and then a backstage reception/meet & greet thing. I’m trying to figure out my perfect panel for this. I think it would be Roy Blount, Jr., Paula Poundstone, Charlie Pierce, and Adam Felber. I’ll have to keep an eye on the upcoming shows to try to get as many of these people on the panel as possible.

My absolute favorite moment was when Tom Hanks was the guest, and there was a question involving a courthouse. I don’t remember precisely why, but Hanks asked, “Do they even have snackbars in courthouses,” at which point Paula Poundstone simply said, “yes.” (This was not too long after her well-reported legal troubles). Her delivery was so perfect; she just dropped it in there matter-of-factly, and let the audience make the connection. Absolutely flawless execution.

My favorite NPR show by a country mile. Last week’s was awesome–I loved Senator McCaskill, and the part about the Wisconsin Tourism Foundation had me laughing so hard I nearly cried.

Love the show. I’m going to see it live in Boston this week.

Last weekend on WWDTM…“Roman Polanski is the original five foot pole you wouldn’t want to touch anything with.”


I got to see them in Monterey with Mike Nesmith as the guest star. We save up the podcasts to listen to on long trips. You don’t get bored with them even after four.

My favorite not my job star - Obama. He was so fast on the uptake that I immediately became a supporter. Charlie Pierce was on the show I saw and that guy is fast, but I like Paula Poundstone just as much.

Love the show. Poundstone really shines in that format. I’ve heard a little of her stand-up and didn’t find her nearly as funny as she is on Wait

The vet/roadie was funny as 'ell.

I saw her live a year or two ago. At times I just felt sad for her. She wasn’t bad, but she wasn’t great.

Great joke, but you gotta tell it right:

I love Wait Wait. I haven’t quite forgiven it for replacing Whad’ya Know? in my market, but I do love it.

Saw the last Berkeley show in person with Michael Polan as the Not My Job guest.

Paula Poundstone had fun ripping into him and it must have been twice as long as what ended up on the broadcast show. I wasn’t sure what a live taping would be like but it was a lot of fun.

Paula Poundstone vs. Michael Pollan is one of my favorite bits, as well. And yeah, the WTF bit that Drain Bead referenced was hysterical. My favorite part was towards the end, right before the lightning round, when Karl Kasel announced the points, and Kiri O’Connor only had 1 point. In a sad, small voice, she said, “WTF?”

My wife and I drove from Sacramento to LA and back this weekend. We took the opportunity to catch up on a lot of Wait Wait…, probably 6 or 7 episodes worth.

There have been some great caller made jokes lately. My favorite one was the caller from South Carolina about how Sanford should have spent more time in Town-who’s-name-sounds-like-a-word-for-pleasuring-oneself rather than Town-who’s-name-sounds-like-a-word-for-the-physical-expression-of-love.

My favorite segment of all time is the “crap a pineapple” segment.

The bit that made me laugh the hardest recently was when Neko Case was the guest and they were asking her about Necco Wafers. The answer to the first question involved the candy being given to Union troops during the Civil War and it launched everyone into about five minutes of Civil War candy jokes that kept me cracking up.