Wait Wait Host Peter Sagal Strives To Be "Funny...But Profound"

Mar 7, 2014

Get out your newspapers, read your favorite blogs, and turn up those news breaks a little higher – Wait Wait... Don’t Tell Me!, NPR’s popular news quiz show, is coming to Kalamazoo’s Miller Auditorium on March 20.

In between podcast cameos, trying out conspicuous foods, and training for his next marathon, show host Peter Sagal shared his thoughts on turning the big 5-0 next year, giving his first commencement address, and how he, Carl Kassel, and their fellow panelists are readying themselves to expect the unexpected at the Kalamazoo show.

"You never quite know what's going to happen - I don't either," says Sagal.

"I don't know what the panelists are going to say. I don't know what the listeners are going to say. I don't know what our special guest, our "Not My Job" guest is going to say. And that kind of surprise, really is what I think gives our show its particular appeal."

On giving his first commencement address this spring at Warren Wilson College:

"I am nervous about that, because usually I am expected to be funny, but want to be profound; this time I'm going to be expected to be profound, and want to be funny," Sagal explains. 

"You want it to be something they remember, and I am bitter about this because I went to Harvard...one of the great advantages is that you're supposed to get great commencement speakers. A few years before me the graduating class had Kermit the Frog. Who did we get, class of 1987? Michael Dukakis."

On turning 50 next year:

"That number, far more than 30 and 40 were, is such a looming thing. Turning 30 there's a sense of relief. Turning 40, more of the same - 50 is like  'I'm an old man,'" says Sagal. 

"I think that this is a benefit of living a chaotic and poorly planned life, which is that I've had so many ups and downs that I don't necessarily need to achieve anything else. Basically what I'm wishing for at 50 is a little bit of calm at this point, which may be, in and of itself, a factor of age." 

Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! will tape their live show at Miller Auditorium on March 20. Find tickets here.