During the Golden Age of Radio, sometime between the 1920s and 1950s, folks would spend their evenings gathered around the radio listening to their favorite programs. These ran the gamut from mystery, adventure and detective serials, to soap operas, variety hours, plays, and quiz shows. The invention of the television killed this radio tradition, and soon the joys of listening to stories and using your imagination were forgotten.
That is, unless you listen to the offerings of NPR (National Public Radio) and WUNC 91.5. They still provide the listening public with a variety of radio programming, including the Car Talk, This American Life with Ira Glass, The Splendid Table with Lynne Rossetto Kasper, and Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!. These shows are a reminder of how much fun it can be to sit back, relax, and enjoy listening to a great radio show.
So, we were excited to hear that “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me! was taking its show on the road and would arrive at the Durham Performing Arts Center on May 21st. Hosted by Peter Sagal and Bill Kurtis (who is also the narrator on “Cold Case Files” on A&E) the show features a series of quirky games centered on events in the weekly news. Each show stars a panel of guests who riff on the news and who compete against each other as well as call-in guests playing along. It’s good clean, silly fun. (Click here to listen to a podcast of the May 21st show.)
The DPAC panelists included actor and comedian Bobcat Goldthwait; actor, comedian, and radio and TV personality Faith Salie, who appeared in a few episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine on CBS; and television writer and satirist Adam Felber. There was also a call-in visit from North Carolina’s very own Clay Aiken.
Hosts, guest panelists, and the show’s producers were all on stage, with the Bill Kurtis and Peter Sagal standing at podiums and the panelists sitting at a table to the right. Since they were recording the show, the producers sat at a table in the back and periodically gave Peter mysterious hand signals as the show went on.
Guests joked about the recent shootout at Waco, where we learn that the gangs hid guns in the toilets as well as in their food. We also learned that trophy wives in New York get year-end bonuses from their filthy-rich husbands. And we found out that Clay Aiken gained 30 lbs. during his run for Congress. Add to all of this the “Listener Limerick Challenge,” in which the caller has to fill in the blank in a poem read by Bill, the “Lightning Fill in the Black” round, during which panelists try to quickly answer a series of questions about the news, and “Bluff the Listener” segment, during which the caller listens to three stories and tries to decide which one is the real one, and you have a lot of laughs.
The audience was clearly full of fans of the show, as the energy was high and there was a ton of applause. Equally funny was their attempts to pronounce “Durham.” Faith Salie told Bill Kurtis that he had added an additional syllable to the word, and that it should be pronounced “Durm. — Like Dermatologist”. Thereafter, Kurtis’ attempts to pronounce our city’s name led to laughs, stumbles, and guffaws — much to the delight of everyone.
Clay Aiken was a trooper when teased about always coming in second. So, when Clay won the game that he was playing, the crowd went wild. Clay showed his comedic chops when he said that he was going to try to gerrymander it, so that DPAC was his district so he could get elected.
It was an unusual thing to watch radio. It felt like peeking behind the Wizrd of Oz’s curtain or getting a behind-the-scenes tour. It was such a pleasure that we gave it a standing ovation. Yes, we gave a radio program a standing ovation. That’s how good it was!
SECOND OPINION: May 24th Durham, NC Indy Week review by Brian Howe: http://www.indyweek.com/arts/archives/2015/05/24/wait-wait-dont-tell-me-comes-to-sigh-durm.
WAIT WAIT… DON’T TELL ME!, with host Peter Sagal (Durham Performing Arts Center, May 21st).
SHOW: http://www.dpacnc.com/events/detail/wait-wait-dont-tell-me and https://www.facebook.com/events/1625012331052179/.
PODCAST OF THE SHOW: http://www.npr.org/podcasts/344098539/wait-wait-don-t-tell-me.
PRESENTER/VENUE: http://www.dpacnc.com/, https://www.facebook.com/DPACNC, https://twitter.com/DPAC, and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durham_Performing_Arts_Center.
Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! (NPR & WBEZ Chicago radio quiz show): http://www.npr.org/programs/wait-wait-dont-tell-me/ (official website), https://www.facebook.com/nprwaitwait (Facebook page), https://twitter.com/waitwait/ (Twitter page), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wait_Wait…_Don%27t_Tell_Me! (Wikipedia).
Peter Sagal (host): http://petersagal.com/ (official website), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0755969/ (Internet Movie Database), https://twitter.com/petersagal (Twitter page), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Sagal (Wikipedia).
Bill Kurtis (judge and scorekeeper): http://www.kurtisproductions.com/bk.html (official website), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0475997/ (Internet Movie Database), https://twitter.com/billkurtis1 (Twitter page), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Kurtis (Wikipedia).
Bobcat Goldthwait (panelist): http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001281/ (Internet Movie Database), https://twitter.com/bcgoldthwait (Twitter page), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobcat_Goldthwait (Wikipedia).
Faith Salie (panelist): http://faithsalie.com/ (official website), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0758276/ (Internet Movie Database), https://www.facebook.com/faith.salie.1 (Facebook page), https://twitter.com/faith_salie (Twitter page), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faith_Salie (Wikipedia).
Adam Felber (panelist): http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0270885/ (Internet Movie Database), https://www.facebook.com/adam.felber (Facebook page), https://twitter.com/adamfelber (Twitter page), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Felber (Wikipedia).
Clay Aiken (“Not My Job” guest): http://www.clayaiken.com/ (official website), http://ibdb.com/person.php?id=470642 (Internet Broadway Database), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1341750/ (Internet Movie Database), https://www.facebook.com/clayaiken (Facebook page), https://twitter.com/clayaiken (Twitter page), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clay_Aiken (Wikipedia).
[RUN HAS CONCLUDED.]
Pamela Vesper has been a Raleigh resident for more than 20 years. A local attorney for licensed professionals, when she’s not in court, Pam can be found watching or participating in local theater productions or enjoying the vibrant Raleigh music and craft beer scene. She also loves indie and foreign films and was an anchor on the local cable show, Movie Minutes. Pam has an opinion on just about everything; just ask her. Kurt Benrud is a graduate of Cary High School and N.C. State University, and he has taught English at both. He first became involved in local theater in 1980. He has served on the board of directors for both the Cary Players and the Cary Playwrights’ Forum. He is also a volunteer reader with Triangle Radio Reading Service. Click here to read their reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.