one of the most significant events of my academic life took place on september 10, 2009: i won on npr’s ‘wait wait don’t tell me.’
every saturday, npr broadcasts the smartest game show on the airwaves, which also happens to be some of the smartest comedy on air. hosted by peter sagal, the show features an assorted cast of authors and comedians that answer questions about the past week’s news. the panelists include mo rocca, tom bodett, paul provenza, paula poundstone, roxanne roberts, charlie pierce, p.j. o’rourke, kyrie o’connor, adam felber, amy dickenson, roy blount, jr., and julia sweeney.
in addition, there are several games where listener contestants call in and participate in games including, ‘who’s carl this time’ (a game where venerable npr news man carl kasell reads quotes from the week’s news and the listener contestant must guess what newsmaker said it), the listener limerick challenge (where listeners must fill in the last word of a limerick that rhymes something odd about the week’s news), and the ‘bluff the listener’ game (where each panelist reads a far-fetched story from the week’s news and the listener must choose truth from fiction by selecting the real story).
after writing to npr and begging notifying them that i wanted to participate, i was selected to play the ‘bluff the listener game.’ i received the good news from producer emily ecton, who told me how the taping of the show would work. i waited for her call on september 10, and was ready to play. i was uncertain that i would have any success because i rarely choose the correct story on the ‘bluff the listener’ game while listening in my car.
finally, the moment of truth came. peter sagal welcomed me, and after a brief introduction and chit chat about my job as an archaeologist and instructional technologist at ucla, i heard the panelists’ three stories:
kyrie o’connor told a story about two girls stuck in a storm drain and who, instead of using their cell phone to call 911, used it to update their facebook status to cry for help.
charlie pierce told a story of a farmer who shaved letters in alpacas to advertise a farm, but who became embarrassed when the alpacas moved around and ended up spelling some not-so-appropriate words.
p.j. o’rourke told a story about a man who injured himself with a weed wacker, and who went to the blue cross headquarters instead of a hospital.
i made my decision quickly. i said that while all three stories were very clever, i had to choose kyrie’s story because i am a huge facebooker and i’d forever regret it if i didn’t. and i was right! i chose the correct story and won my long-desired prize: carl kasell’s voice on my voice mail answering machine.
i was already an npr listener, contributing member, and huge fan of wait wait. now, i can humbly, but proudly say that i am small part of the long history of wait wait…don’t tell me.
Filed under: humor, i'm not making this up Tagged: | adam felber, amy dickenson, carl kasell, charlie pierce, emily ecton, facebook, game show, julia sweeney, kyrie o'connor, mo rocca, npr, p. j. o'rourke, paul provenza, paula poundstone, roxanne roberts, roy blount jr., tom bodett, wait wait don't tell me