5.02.2015

Wait Wait Don't Tell Me @ the Wang Theatre

Countdown to Bill and Peter. #waitwaitdonttellme #iloveNPR
"That's why we edit. And that's why you're at the live show." —Faith Salie
We've been longtime fans of Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! (I might even double press the talking crosswalk request buttons just to hear "wait wait"). So when Ian discovered the show was coming to Boston (so Peter Sagal could once again run the Boston Marathon as a sighted guide for a visually impaired athlete), we jumped on tickets.

Just like most Wait Wait fans, we crossed our fingers for Paula Poundstone but were still thrilled to see nameplates listing Tom (Bodett), Faith (Salie), and Maz (Jobrani) alongside Peter and Bill.

Here's the thing: you can listen online. So it seems pretty pointless to write about the actual show. What's interesting about catching a radio show live is seeing how it works, and hearing the bits that don't make the cut in that hour-long time slot.

Before the recording started, Peter explained a little bit about what to expect and warmed up the crowd (requesting the audience express "enthusiasm up to but not including flipping police cars over" and sharing his love for Boston). Bill made some jokes about the venue name, and then the benevolent overlords wearing headphones hit record.

The Not My Job guest of the week was Dick Flavin, Red Sox poet laureate. He was hilarious, but some of the panelist's questions for him resulted in less entertaining stories. Not boring, just not laugh out loud funny. But thanks to the magic of pre-recording , everything that Dick Flavin said on the radio was comedic gold. (They also cut out all of Peter's attempts to get Dick to say Peter Sagal the way he announces MLB players.)

There was a hilarious extra back and forth with one of the panel questions before they zeroed in on the answer of grilled cheese, but by the time the show aired on Saturday, we had already forgotten it. Womp womp. If we ever remember, we'll update this post!

By the time they closed out the show (with predictions about the next gyrocopter news event), the producers had a list of lines that needed re-recorded. Anything that Peter, Bill, Tom, Faith, or Maz flubbed or stumbled on the first time around was repeated so that by Saturday they would all be well spoken and witty (guests and callers don't get the same opportunity, but the edits were generally to their advantage). This was followed by a Q&A, to reward all of the fans who stuck around through the re-recording.

It was an evening well spent, and the next time they're recording in Boston, we'll be there!
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