Remembering Carl Kasell Our Remembrance of Carl Kasell, our Judge and Scorekeeper Emeritus, who passed away this week at the age of 84.

Remembering Carl Kasell

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


So this is how WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME began - the very first moments of our very first episode, January 1998.


CARL KASELL: From outside the newsroom - from way outside the newsroom, it's WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

SAGAL: A lot of things have changed since that day. But Carl Kasell was the constant - his voice, his gravitas and his remarkable skill at impersonations.


KASELL: I can't feel my butt.

Soft Corinthian leather - Cordoba.

Man up, and say I'm fat. Say it.

Anyway, thank God for Victoria's Secret's new underwear line.

SAGAL: His voice was, for two decades, the only prize we ever offered and the prize that everybody wanted to win.


KASELL: Hello. I'm Carl Kasell from NPR. Imagine a man of my stature being given away as a prize. I feel so cheap.


KASELL: Oh, well. Leave your message at the tone.


SAGAL: Carl never took himself seriously, even though he had every right to. He lent us his credibility and his charm. And in return, for years after the age at which most people might retire, he got to continue doing what he loved to do, talking to you. His broadcast career lasted almost seven decades. And we think that this show was his favorite part of it. Sure - doing the news was fun and important. But they - those guys - never let him do this.


KASELL: Yelling, imitating soccer announcer) Goal.


SAGAL: So many people told us over the years, and most especially this last week, that they didn't just admire Carl Kasell or enjoy hearing him. But they loved him as much as we did usually without ever having met him. We can tell you. I can tell you that he was, in fact, as wonderful as you all thought and that he loved you, too.

Copyright © 2018 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.