About The Panelists
Brian Babylon is a Chicago-born, Los Angeles-living comedian and actor. He landed in LA to produce Why? With Hannibal Buress and spends most of his evenings at the Laugh Factory Hollywood. He worked for Chicago Public Media until 2015, helping launch Vocalo to reach new public radio audiences. The self-anointed "Prince of Bronzeville" has appeared on and contributes to BBC Radio, and can be seen in comedy clubs from New York City to London.
Roy Blount Jr.'s 24th book is Save Room for Pie. Before that, he wrote books about words, animals, Steelers, the first woman president, Duck Soup, and on and on. He has contributed to many periodicals, including The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, Oxford American and Garden & Gun, for which he writes a regular column; and has been reprinted in many anthologies, including The 50 Funniest American Writers, the Best of Modern Humor, Fierce Pajamas, Great Baseball Writing and Great Writers on Mark Twain. He is a member of the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame and now lives in New Orleans and Western Massachusetts.
Alonzo Bodden, who won Season 3 on NBC's Last Comic Standing, is a regular on Wait Wait and Comedy Congress as well as being a panelist on the Game Show Network's Mind of a Man. In 2011, he starred in the comedy special Who's Paying Attention on Showtime, released a DVD, and hosts a podcast of the same name. Bodden has also hosted Speed Channel's 101 Cars You Must Drive and America's Worst Driver on the Travel Channel. Alonzo's first big comedy break came when he was on the "New Faces of Comedy" showcase at the Just for Laughs festival in Montreal. Alonzo has made the rounds on the late night television circuit including appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and The Keenen Ivory Wayans Show. His film credits include Scary Movie 4, The Girl Next Door, and Bringing Down the House starring Steve Martin and Queen Latifah. Alonzo has traveled around the world entertaining USO troops from Iraq to Greenland.
Tom Bodett used to do interesting things — log, fish, build houses. Drink. Now he does this. He left a promising career doing interesting things in Alaska to become a writer and subsequently a commentator on NPR's All Things Considered beginning in 1984. Bodett is the author of seven books and a boatload of audio programs. He writes whenever he feels like he has something to say, which is almost never, for vulnerable media resources such as CarTalk.com. His voice has been heard on Saturday Night Live, National Geographic Explorer and Steven Spielberg's Animaniacs, and can still be heard saying "We'll leave the light on for you" about a 110 times a day. He lives in Vermont with his wife and sons in the middle of a hay field near a forest.
Luke Burbank grew up as one of seven kids and learned early on how to vie for attention. Those profound childhood issues have propelled him to various media projects including This American Life, CBS Sunday Morning, Live Wire Radio! and his daily podcast Too Beautiful to Live. He's also at work on his first book, Failure Is an Option. He'd like to clarify that the audience isn't booing when he comes onstage, they're chanting "Luuuuuuuuuke" — at least that's what he's hoping is going on.
Adam Burke is originally from the north of Ireland (by way of Australia and London ... long story, which kind of explains the dumb accent) and has been performing stand-up comedy throughout the U.S. for over 10 years. He is a writer for WGN's Man of the People with Pat Tomasulo and has appeared on Doug Loves Movies, Put Your Hands Together, and many more podcasts and shows. Voted Best Stand-Up by readers of The Chicago Reader in 2014, he was also the winner of Second City's Up Next Comedy Competition. He's appeared at numerous festivals including Bridgetown Comedy, Just for Laughs Chicago (four years running), and the local stage of Funny or Die's Oddball Comedy Festival.
Amy Dickinson writes the syndicated advice column, Ask Amy for The Chicago Tribune, following in the footsteps of the legendary Ann Landers. She has also written for Time, Esquire and 0 magazines. She has contributed radio stories to NPR programs for the past 10 years, and was an original "cast member" for the pilot of Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! job as Roxanne Roberts' radio stunt double.
Adam Felber is a writer/performer and a regular panelist on Wait Wait and the co-host of the podcast Nobody Listens to Paula Poundstone. In addition to a decade-long stint on Real Time with Bill Maher, Adam has written for TV, movies, stage, and even a six book mini-series for Marvel Comics. His novel, Schrödinger's Ball (Random House, 2006), is totally worth your time. Adam's professional writing career started on a PBS kids' show called Wishbone, where he got to know his future wife, actress Jeanne Simpson. Together, this liberal elite Hollywood couple continues to gleefully tear apart traditional family values by living in a small house with their two kids, a dog and a cat.
Negin Farsad was named one of the 50 Funniest Women by Huffington Post, one of the 10 Best Feminist Comedians by Paper Magazine, and was selected as a TEDFellow for her work in social justice comedy. She is the author of How to Make White People Laugh, a memoir meets social justice comedy manifesto which has been nominated for a Thurber Prize for Humor. Farsad is host of Fake the Nation, a political comedy round-table podcast on the Earwolf network. She is also the director, writer and star of the romantic comedy 3rd Street Blackout, and the feature documentaries The Muslims Are Coming! and Nerdcore Rising. She has sued New York State's MTA over the right to put up funny posters about Muslims and won.
Bobcat Goldthwait is a comedian, actor, writer and director best known for his roles in popular '80's films as well as his behind-the-camera talents on shows such as Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Chappelle Show and Maron. In addition to being honored as Esquire's 2013 "Director of the Year," he was also named one of Yahoo!'s Top 15 celebrities to follow on lnstagram. Bobcat's sixth movie, Creek, about Bigfoot, is now available on DVD and video downloads and his newest film Call Me Lucky, is a documentary about political satirist comedian Barry Crimmins. Bobcat has also starred in several HBO specials and a slew of television appearances too numerous to mention.
Peter Grosz began his improve training at iO Chicago and wrote and performed in four reviews on The Second City's ETC stage. Films include Stranger Than Fiction, Slow Learners, Aardvark and Rough Night. TV credits include Key and Peele, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Inside Amy Schumer, Vinyl and a recurring role on Veep. He wrote for Late Night with Seth Meyers, received two Emmys for his writing on The Colbert Report and is an Executive Producer and plays Mike Pence on The President Show.
Maeve Higgins is a contributing writer for The New York Times and the host of the hit podcast Maeve in America: Immigration IRL. She is a comedian who has performed all over the world, and cohosts Neil deGrasse Tyson's StarTalk, and has appeared on WNYC's 2 Dope Queens. Her book Maeve in America was published has been featured in People, Parade, Good Housekeeping, Refinery29, and more. Maeve co-hosts the climate justice podcast Mothers of Invention with Mary Robinson.
Helen Hong is a comedian, actor, host and a big fan of carbs. Helen has performed standup comedy on The Arsenio Hall Show, Last Call with Carson Daly, Comics Unleashed and the Showtime documentary Why We Laugh: Funny Women. Helen played Janet Fung in the Coen Brothers' film Inside Llewyn Davis, and her TV appearances include roles on Parks and Recreation, Pretty Little Liars, New Girl and Inside Amy Schumer. Helen channels her own Asian mother as recurring character Mrs. Wong on Nickelodeon's The Thundermans, and recurs opposite Patrick Stewart on Starz' Blunt Talk. Nothing about her is gluten free.
Maz Jobrani's first original Netflix standup special Immigrant was filmed at the Kennedy Center and is currently available for streaming. He has also put out three other solo specials on Showtime including: Brown and Friendly, I Come in Peace, and I'm Not a Terrorist, But I've Played One on TV. In the spring of 2016 he performed at the White House where he had the privilege of introducing Michelle Obama. He was a founding member of The Axis of Evil Comedy Tour, which aired on Comedy Central. Maz starred as the title character in the award-winning indie comedy, Jimmy Vestvood: Amerikan Hero, a film which he co-wrote and co-produced. He has co-starred in many films including Disney's Descendants, Sydney Pollack's The Interpreter and Ice Cube's Friday After Next.
Jessi Klein is a stand-up comedian and head writer for the Comedy Central series Inside Amy Schumer. Since entering the comedy scene in 2001, she's made numerous appearances on Comedy Central, CNBC and The Today Show, and is widely known for her crush on former presidential advisor David Gergen.
Hari Kondabolu is a comedian, writer and podcaster based in Brooklyn, N.Y. He has been described by The New York Times as "one of the most exciting political comics in stand-up today." He has released two comedy albums, Waiting for 2042 and Mainstream American Comic with the legendary indie rock label Kill Rock Stars and has performed on the Late Show with David Letterman, Conan, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, John Oliver's New York Stand-Up Show and has his own half-hour special on Comedy Central. A former writer and correspondent on the Chris Rock produced FXTV show Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, Hari currently co-hosts the podcast Politically Re-Active with Kamau. In 2017, he released his critically acclaimed documentary The Problem with Apu on truTV. A former immigrant rights activist in Seattle, Hari is a graduate of Bowdoin College and has a Masters in Human Rights from The London School of Economics.
P.J. O'Rourke began writing for "underground" newspapers in the 1960s, became editor-in-chief of National Lampoon, then spent 20 years as a foreign correspondent for Rolling Stone and The Atlantic. He is the author of 20 books, most recently None of My Business. He is a contributing editor at The Weekly Standard, H.L. Mencken fellow at the Cato Institute, a member of The Editorial Board of World Affairs, and editor of the web magazine American Consequences published by the Stansberry Research investment advisory group.
Paula Poundstone is a humorist, author and comedian known for her clever, observational humor and spontaneous wit. Her stand-up credentials include Cats, Cops and Stuff; Paula Poundstone Goes to Harvard; Look What the Cat Dragged In; and numerous television appearances. In 2017, Paula released her second book, The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness, which was semi-finalist for the Thurber Prize for American Humor. She hosts the popular Maximum Fun comedy podcast, Nobody Listens to Paula Poundstone. When she isn't touring, you can find Paula at home, in Santa Monica, sifting the litterboxes of her 14 cats.
Roxanne Roberts has been a feature writer at The Washington Post for three decades and was featured on the very first broadcast of Wait Wait. She spoils her son and Siamese cat, and fritters away her remaining free time baking, playing poker and building gingerbread houses.
Mo Rocca is a correspondent for CBS Sunday Morning, host of The Henry Ford's Innovation Nation on CBS and host and creator of My Grandmother's Ravioli on the Cooking Channel. He appeared on Broadway in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and would like to do more singing and dancing. His book All the Presidents' Pets blows the lid off the White House's darkest secrets. He knows the capital of every country in the world, which is how he got the job moderating the 2017 National Geographic Bee.
Faith Salie is an Emmy-winning contributor to CBS Sunday Morning and the host of PBS's Science Goes to the Movies. Her book of essays, Approval Junkie, chronicles her life long quest for validation and includes not only a chapter about what it's like behind the scenes at Wait Wait but also details how she competed to win her high school beauty pageant. (It's for sale in the lobby, friends.) Her Audible podcast Authorized, about love and sex in literature, is available on iTunes and will teach you slang words for genitalia. Faith was beamed up in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.