Isn’t the whole idea of a radio show is that it’s … on the radio?
So why are host Peter Sagal and the cast of the NPR quiz show “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!” taking their smart, snarky humor to American movie screens next month?
Let’s take the quiz.
Is it, A: because we want to see the faces of the people who got former president Bill Clinton to take a “news” quiz about My Little Ponies; B: because Peter Sagal is the funniest comedian no one but NPR audiences has ever heard of, and it’s time to change that; or C: because the show has waged a 15-year attempt to get NPR to lighten up, and the job isn’t finished?
Did you choose all three?
Ding, ding, ding. Then you’re a winner.
Sadly, we can’t offer you the show’s usual prize, the stentorian voice of newsman Carl Kasell on your answering machine.
(Only NPR audiences still have answering machines.)
A live version of “Wait Wait” will be beamed into movie theaters around the country on Thursday, for a one-time only, live broadcast. Seven theaters in Palm Beach County will carry the Cinecast show, which will feature guest Steve Martin.
Panelists include regulars Paula Poundstone, Mo Rocca and Tom Bodett for a comic review of the week’s news.
The Peabody Award-winning show will include the bits audiences have come to love, including “Bluff the Listener, “Who’s Carl This Time,” and the absurdist “Not My Job,” in which Sagal persuades famous people to answer ridiculous questions on subjects about which they know nothing, accompanied by a gentle roasting.
He got New York Times food writer Mark Bittman to admit he was mediocre cook, before the cookbook author was confronted with questions about the movie”Batman and Robin,” in a quiz called “Holy Bittman, Batman.”
So did Jeff Bridges, who tanked in a quiz about the smarmy book and movie,”The Bridges of Madison County.”
(Bridges on Bridges, got it?)
Sagal got Al Gore to discuss how he and his Harvard roommate, Tommy Lee Jones, practiced their Southern-boy knife throwing skills in Harvard Yard.
“Only at Harvard would you walk by a couple of guys chucking knives at a tree, and one of them becomes vice president and other’s an Academy Award winner,” said Sagal.
Sagal barges bravely in where no other NPR host would dare.
He asked Melinda Gates, the co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, if the first time her husband asked her out, she thought “What a dork.”
Then he made Gates seriously consider whether one of the craziest gifts ever given to Queen Elizabeth was a velvet painting of Elvis as Henry VIII, cans of tuna or a marijuana plant.
Gates won after correctly guessing tuna.
Locally, the hourlong, Chicago-based program airs on public radio station WPBI 101.9 FM Saturdays at 11 a.m. and Sundays at 1 p.m.
WHAT: A live version of NPR’s news quiz “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!”
WHEN: Thursday at 8 p.m., with a second showing on May 7 at 7:30 p.m.
ADMISSION: $22 on Thursday; $18 on May 7.
WHERE: Seven Palm Beach County movie theaters: Cobb Jupiter, Downtown at the Gardens in Palm Beach Gardens, Regal Royal Palm Stadium in West Palm Beach, Cinemark Boynton Beach 14, Regal Delray Beach and in Boca Raton, Regal Shadowood and Cinemark Palace 20.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: go to www.npr.org/programs/wait-wait-dont-tell-me. See a show promo at http://vimeo.com/62793388.