Peter Sagal

He may be the only man in history who has quizzed Salman Rushdie about PEZ dispensers and asked former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright about weightlifting and Playboy magazine. Peter Sagal, host of NPR’s quiz show “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!,” joins us to discuss his storied career as public radio host, long-distance runner, author of a book on vices and extra in a Michael Jackson video. He reflects on some of his favorite quiz show moments and what life is like now that longtime scorekeeper Carl Kasell has retired.

Peter Sagal, author and host of NPR's "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!"

  • Beth Grant DeRoos

    We LOVE Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me and love Paula Poundstone who seems to have a very quick wit. Would love to know if those on the panel meet before the show to do any prep work and how does the show pick the famous person who will be the guest each week. Loved Melinda Gates when she was the guest about a year ago,

  • Frank

    WWDTM is usually a pretty funny show, and I especially like Paula Poundstone. It is proof that radio and specifically NPR still have something to offer..

    • Robert Thomas

      Oh Frank, I must agree about Paula Poundstone,

  • Margaret Cobb Dastrup

    Love “Wait Wait”! Favorite panelist? Tom Bodett, Why? Plain-spoken, with a dry sense of humor, Mr. Bodett is active in his Vermont community, and his net-zero home will help keep the lights on for a lot of us!

  • Sean Dennehy

    Peter, what’s your favorite NPR show (that’s not Wait Wait) and what’s your least favorite NPR show?

  • Ehkzu

    Technically speaking, had Mr. Segal persisted in his dream of becoming a castrato after becoming an adult (at least physically), his voice would have remained at its current pitch. Castrato-ization only produces adult sopranos when it’s done before the castratee reaches puberty.

  • Tod Abbott

    I lived in Chicago in the nineties and remember a weekend show called “Metropolis” on WBEZ that had a news quiz somewhat like Wait Wait. I’ve always wondered if that was an inspiration for the show.

  • Ben Rawner

    Has your guest ever been star struck?

  • Andrea Smith

    If more people had an eighth grade sense of humor, we would not be in such a pickle today.

  • Jane

    I miss Carl terribly. (And I love you, Peter.)

  • Sherri Burris

    What a treat to listen to you be interviewed. One of my favorite eposides of Not My Job was an animal officer in Florida who had a kid poke a mop at a snake under the house. When they pulled the kid out by his leg a huge Anaconda was at the other end of the mop

  • Robert Thomas

    Mr Sagal, has the Ghanian rebuke ceased raining down?

    I forgive you.

  • Jacqueline Biggs

    I am not exaggerating when I say that “Wait Wait….” is a highlight of my week. I laugh out loud at every show. Irreverent, razor-sharp, totally addictive. Love it! Thank you!

  • It took me literally 10 years to get use to Peter Sagal’s laugh. I always thought it was so fake. I tolerated it because I needed to hear Carl’s voice, but I’m all good now. Like the show a lot, however, he needs to replace Mo Rocca with Amy Schumer.

    • john

      Oh no! Love Mo!

  • Fay Nissenbaum

    Michael, you are a TERRIBLE Peter! Please think humor when reading the quiz questions – just a tip, Michael. When you read as though you’re interviewing Mother Theresa all the fun goes out of it.

    • Robert Thomas

      Oh, Fay. Our beloved host could suck the humor out of a truckload of Dorothy Parker quotes. Dr Krasny has an uncanny and blessed ability to make any interviewee seem funnier than himself (even if the guest has been disoriented by the localized humor vacuum). It is a gift, to be cherished.

  • john

    One of my favorites was the live broadcast through theaters a couple of years ago? where Steve Martin was the special guest and he had to sit in this very uncomfortable set…it was hilarious. Paula Poundstone was one of the panelists….yes she is a comic goddess!

  • Lisa eckstrom

    Wait, Wait…this is NPR. Tickets are $176 and up on StubHub!!!. Other that planning in advance next time, what can I do to get tickets for THIS time? My three kids (ages 12, 12, and 11) LOVE the show and ask me to play your podcasts whenever we are in the car. We are raising a future generation of public broadcast supporters! Lisa in San Jose

  • Fay Nissenbaum

    Peter has an impressively quick wit and quips with the best of ’em. Please tell about celebs who were out of their element on Wait Wait.. My only complaint is some of the guest celebrities are so great, I wish you kept them on for longer segments.

  • DC

    My favorite guest was then Senator Barack Obama. I’m sorry to say the largest deciding factor on my vote for the guy was his sharp responses and his perfect score. I’m the new NPR demographic – 30 something non-white female.

  • Elizabeth Macken

    I’m only middle age and yet hearing a taping of Wait! Wait! has been on my bucket list FOR YEARS! I’ll be in Chicago next week and was chagrined to learn the cast is traveling AND that upon learning they were coming here, I couldn’t get tickets! Keep up the good work and great laughs and thank you for a terrific program!

  • Joel Kugelmass

    Love the show, absolutely, but what’s with the jarring interludes of rock and roll?

  • Kate McCarthy

    Wait wait is THE cure for depression! I am ALWAYS happier after listening. You are a national treasure Peter Sagal.

  • john

    Peter, which one are you, “Click” or “Clack?”

  • Laura Danoff

    Not just 8th grade humor – I cracked up at a line “It’s not easy being avuncular” – where else but Wait-Wait would “avuncular” be a punchline?

  • DC

    Favorite panelists: Alanzo Bodden & Moz Jobrani

  • Robert Thomas

    I can’t think – has Charley Pierce ever appeared on the same show with P.J. O’Rourke? If so, how do the producers keep the universe from annihilating itself?

  • Lisa Pan

    I love Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me! It’s so refreshing for a Saturday morning. How do you pick out the listener contestants?

  • john

    For those attending the live show for the first time, be prepared for almost 2 hours of fun, amazing the stuff that has to be edited out to fit the hour format of the broadcast.

  • omnidoll

    Dear Michael and Peter,

    You two made my morning, (esp. since I had to wake up to jackhammers in front of my window.)

    But, hey, you know why Flatulance Jokes are “working” for WWDTM?

    Um, have you ever noticed you *call* a _”flatulance”_ joke and not a “fart” joke?!?

    Proof that you, sir, are indeed a public radio show host !

    Aside from pointing out your show’s wittiness even when you think you’re being “crass” (ha), my husband and I love your show to Mars and back.
    (You’re so charming apologizing for the umpteenth time 😉
    And the ScarJo visit was adorable and funny.


  • Lexi Rhorer

    So agree with Kate! If I could go on a date with anyone, it’d be Peter Sagal!

  • ES Trader

    love the show but dont get a chance to listen to entire show,( usually out Sat AM errands) and did not know show was coming to The City ! : ( Did not find calendar of future shows on site ! pls announce returns to SF or have email alerts, thx !

  • Fay Nissenbaum

    If you listen to the show each week, you may -like me- think a correction to Peter’s comments is needed. Peter claimed that the show is full of 8th grade humor and ca-ca- and poo-poo jokes but I defy him to name and of those jokes. The show is far more highbrow in its quip about news items and politics. Peter was doing that “aw shucks, we ain’t fancy people here” routine.

  • cymotiq

    highlight of my week, regularly. I think Peter is the best gameshow host of all time. do miss Carl. Paula and PJ and all of them rock. the guy i’d love to hear on there is Greg Behrendt.

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