Behind The Stories

The NPR Podcast Guide: 'Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!'

Download This: Your Guide to NPR Podcasts i i
Claire Mueller/NPR
Download This: Your Guide to NPR Podcasts
Claire Mueller/NPR

Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! is having a moment. From hitting the big screen with its national cinecast to exciting fans with an exclamation-worthy new look, the news quiz show produced by NPR and WBEZ Chicago has had a lot to celebrate this year. And between inspiring cat memes and plush dolls, the show is still doing what it does best: making us laugh all while keeping us informed.

So if you're on the go or just want to enjoy the comedic bliss at your leisure, be sure to put Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! in your weekly podcast rotation.

Disclaimer: "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!" is not responsible for random fits of laughter in public spaces.

If you're still not sold on all this Wait Wait business, we think associate producers Emily Ecton and Eva Wolchover will make you regret not discovering the show sooner. We caught up with this pair of masterminds that help create the funny, interesting and outrageous stuff you can hear each week on the show.

What's your Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! elevator pitch?

Sorry Brad and Ryan, but the Wait Wait hosting gigs are already taken by Carl Kasell and Peter Sagal (l-r). i i

Sorry Brad and Ryan, but the Wait Wait hosting gigs are already taken by Carl Kasell and Peter Sagal (l-r). © 2004 NPR Photo by Tony Nagelmann hide caption

itoggle caption © 2004 NPR Photo by Tony Nagelmann
Sorry Brad and Ryan, but the Wait Wait hosting gigs are already taken by Carl Kasell and Peter Sagal (l-r).

Sorry Brad and Ryan, but the Wait Wait hosting gigs are already taken by Carl Kasell and Peter Sagal (l-r).

© 2004 NPR Photo by Tony Nagelmann

Emily: It's the funny bits from the week's news, so it's like a reward for paying attention all week (or a fun way to find out what you've missed if you haven't).

Eva: WWDTM is a comedy news quiz panel show hosted by Brad Pitt and Ryan Gosling...please tune in!

If you had to recommend a show for new listeners to hear, which would you pick?

Emily: Probably the Listener Favorites show – that way they'll get a sampling of some of the best moments and hear a lot of different panelists too.

Eva: It's not a great example of a "typical" Wait Wait episode, but the one featuring British guest panelist Simon Amstell is one of my favorites. The show really goes off the rails.

(Editors Note: Hear more from notable contestants on the show, including comedian Jeff Garlin getting quizzed on the IgNobles, Australian filmmaker Baz Luhrmann getting asked about Austria and pianist Emanuel Ax taking a quiz on Axe body spray.)

Why do you think current listeners keep tuning in?

Host Peter Sagal (l) chats with regular panelists Mo Rocca and Paula Poundstone (c-r) during the show's live cinecast. i i

Host Peter Sagal (l) chats with regular panelists Mo Rocca and Paula Poundstone (c-r) during the show's live cinecast. Ryan Muir for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Ryan Muir for NPR
Host Peter Sagal (l) chats with regular panelists Mo Rocca and Paula Poundstone (c-r) during the show's live cinecast.

Host Peter Sagal (l) chats with regular panelists Mo Rocca and Paula Poundstone (c-r) during the show's live cinecast.

Ryan Muir for NPR

Emily: Carl Kasell, the panelists, and the hope that someone somewhere is getting caught smuggling something in his pants.

Eva: To stay informed.... Not really, that would be worrying. I think people are curious about how we'll tackle a specific news story from the week; they've been following the news all week and now they want to know what our lighter, sillier but also hopefully unique take on it will be. And the show is always going to be a little bit different week-to-week because we've got this rotating roster of panelists, each with a very distinctive voice.

What's the strangest thing you've witnessed during a Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! taping?

Emily: When we were on the road in Nashville, a dog was in the audience and it barked when Peter was talking to the limerick caller. We hadn't realized a dog was even watching the show, much less that he'd have such strong opinions.

Eva: At a recent-ish show in Portland, Maine, one of our sponsors handed out fans printed with Carl's face. As Carl walked out on stage, the entire 3,000+ audience held up the fans. It's was a terrifying moment, but Carl, as usual, took it in his stride.

How to Discover More Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!

The audience at Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! in Portland, Maine, holding up faces of Carl Kasell. i i

The audience at Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! in Portland, Maine, holding up faces of Carl Kasell. Dan Lambert/Maine Public Broadcasting hide caption

itoggle caption Dan Lambert/Maine Public Broadcasting
The audience at Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! in Portland, Maine, holding up faces of Carl Kasell.

The audience at Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! in Portland, Maine, holding up faces of Carl Kasell.

Dan Lambert/Maine Public Broadcasting

Subscribe and download new episodes, and also find out when the shows airs on your station.

Updates: Saturdays at 5 p.m. ET
Duration: approx. 50 minutes
Price: Free (always)

Get updates and photos from the show on Twitter (@waitwait), Instagram (WaitWaitNPR) and Facebook. And we hope you get to know and love the eclectically talented staff who make the Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! magic happen each week.

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