Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Why NPR's "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!" might be the greatest thing ever invented.
For anyone that knows me, I'm terribly homesick. Perhaps it's more of a case of I really love where I'm from, but that doesn't really hold true for where I've ended up. Regardless, I get a massive high whenever I realize that I can export a little bit of Americana to my current end-of-the-world existence. And what is more American than National Public Radio?
NPR has been called "boring," "liberal," "REALLY boring," etc. There is even a blog entitled NPR Sucks. The author of this blog has apparently been receiving a lot of hate mail, so he has revised his stance: NPR News is what sucks, the rest of the programming is great. I won't start a full attack on this man, because frankly, I don't listen to NPR News, and as long as he doesn't talk shit on the program "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!", I fine with his opinions.
I first heard this program about two years ago at my friend David Herman's apartment in Borough Park, Brooklyn. David had made brunch for a group of us and we all sat around listening to the program - I think Tom Hanks was the guest that Sunday). I had never really listened to a radio program before, so I was shocked with how much I enjoyed the experience. From Carl Kasell's promise to record the trivia winners' answering machine message to Peter Sagal's quick jokes, I never get tired of this show. The majority of panelits are hilarious as well - Mo Rocca and P.J. O'Rourke are two of my favorites.
Since that brunch at David's apartment, I have had several other fond memories of listening to NPR, but they are priviate and unless you get your hands on my diary, you'll never know about it. Stop nosing around my business.
And among the numerous things I miss from America, NPR can be counted as one. Everything I read about Australian radio before arriving here has proven to be true, and that's not a good thing, so my NPR withdrawl was even worse than expected. I missed the humorous comments on current events and I missed the circumstances of which would allow me to listen to NPR. But alas, peer media has saved the day.
Perusing the live feed on my Facebook page, I noticed my old colleague Mike Dory, ex public relations professional/current brilliant grad student, had become a "fan" of NPR. I, of course, joined as well. And what did I find? Well, I'll tell you: I FOUND "WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!" PODCASTS! SWEET FUCKING JESUS I FOUND THE SHOW ONLINE!
I never thought I would be saying "Man, I'm so happy to hear Carl Kasell's voice, but I'd be lying if I denied that hearing that baritone was like peeing your pants while sleeping - extremely relaxing and one of the most calming experiences you'll ever have...at least until you wake up and realized you pissed yourself.*
* To clarify, I'm not a chronic bed wetter. The last time I peed the bed, I was 11 years old. I was having a dream where I was sitting on the toilet peeing, so I guess my body said "hey, why not?" and so I did. To this day, I have never felt more relaxed than the 10 seconds between where I was peeing the bed to when I realized I had actually peed the bed. Also, prior to this incident, I had not wet the bed since the mid 1980s. You can call my mother for confirmation if you don't believe me. I take great pride in flushing the toilet, so take that as my final response.