The “Wait, Wait” anniversary

Before I start blathering on here, I wanted to thank my guest blogger (and firstborn) M for writing not one, not two, but three posts in the last week or so. I learned so much about him that I never knew. I knew he was smart and funny, but I didn’t realize that his writing was wry and quippy and endlessly quotable. Love that. 

I also didn’t realize that the floor of his room was a minefield of old staples and discarded paperclips. Oh Internets, the things I learn from you.

It was such a lovely anniversary present — the gift of time — and especially meaningful since it came from my son. I’ll see if he’d like to guest blog again sometime.

Not to be upstaged by our son, my husband S also found quite the brilliant gift to celebrate our anniversary: tickets to a live taping of the NPR radio show, Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.

Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me

The brand, new “Wait, Wait” logo…

I love this show, which is a sort of tongue-in-cheek, panel quiz show with a humorous take on current events. S and I often listen to its podcast, but seeing it live gave it a whole new dimension.

Here’s what I found out about the behind-the-scenes of a Wait, Wait taping:

1. Queuing the audience to go into the show relies on people-herding in the nicest way possible. If you’ve ever been to Disneyworld, you know that waiting in line for rides involves weaving through a series of roped-off paths. The line to get into the auditorium? It had a similar, serpentine-like feel, although there were no actual rope-lines to demarcate where you should stand. Instead, the house managers lined us up and relied on us to go into the show single-file, like kindergartners being ushered to the lunchroom. It seemed strange at first, but it definitely made for an orderly entrance to the seating. I’m going to guess that’s partly because the crowd consisted of National Public Radio listeners rather than, say, a gaggle of brides waiting for a wedding dress sample sale to start.

2. It’s a very diverse crowd. We had a little time to people-watch before the show and it was illuminating. I’m not sure who I thought would be making up the lion’s share of the audience, but pretty much every generation — from hipsters to grandparents — was represented.

3. There are no assigned seats. When you buy a ticket, you are merely buying entrance to the show. One can look at this as a good thing or a bad one, but I choose to consider it a very democratic way of getting a seat. There aren’t any obstructed views or anything like that, unless perhaps you are sitting behind a very, very tall person with a beehive.

4. The Bank One Auditorium is nicer than most high school auditoriums.

wait wait live

The set during the taping

Seriously. I can sum it up in two words: leg room.

5. You get to see/hear more than you do on the podcast — by which I mean, a lot of material is edited out. Funny, funny stuff gets cut. It’s definitely interesting to see what makes the show when you listen to it later.

6. Don’t leave right after the show ends. Peter Sagal and Carl Kasell take questions from the audience and there’s even some time to meet them, get their autograph and maybe take a picture with them. And yes, we did stay and we did do all of that.

It really was a unique and fantastic experience/gift. And I had no idea that 15 years was the NPR anniversary….

Are you a fan of Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me


About thethingaboutjoan

Mom of three who knits a little, bakes a lot, crafts a bit and blogs about it all.
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