Friday, December 7, 2012

Wait wait!

I know that some people keep a "bucket list", but I've always hesitated to put to paper (or type out) a list of things that I want to have experienced before I kick it for good, partly because my preferences have changed so much in the last decade, so why try to dictate life experiences for the next 10 - 20 years, and even the years beyond.  However, I've been a huge fan of the NPR show "Wait wait don't tell me" for a while now, and if I had a bucket list, seeing a live taping of the show would be on the list.

Or it would have been on the list - because it is no longer a 'pending item'.  Michael and I went to Downtown LA last night to see Peter Sagal, Carl Kasell and 3 panelists as they recorded the show live!  We nixed birthday presents to each other this year, hoping to eliminate more "stuff" in our lives, but we remained open to the idea of celebrations.  His birthday was this week, so when we learned that NPR/KPCC would live tape the show at the Nokia Theater, we thought "Why not?! What a great way to celebrate."

So, we actually went out on - for me - a school night!  Living on the edge, I know.  Before the show, we went to The Edison, a swank bar also in downtown LA.  I appreciated the idea of the bar, trying to recall a bygone era, and it was a fun experience for an evening.  Cool interior, and our expensive drinks were really great, even though they were small!  I did enjoy the black-and-white silent movies that they played on different walls.  I was fixated on one wall which played movies by Georges Melies,  whose work the movie "Hugo" featured.

After that, we headed to the Nokia Theater.  Despite living in LA for 7 years, this was our first foray to the Nokia Theater (we've been to Staples all of one time).  We weren't quite sure where to go, but we completely judged people on their fashion sense and followed those who looked as though they listened to NPR.  Bingo!  I had no idea what to expect and was actually nervous that the live taping would somehow let us down, but it actually lived up to my expectations - and even exceeded them.  It was strange yet fun to see Peter Sagal and Carl Kasell and also the panelists on stage.  One of the main reasons that we (I) bought the tickets on impulse was because Paula Poundstone was one of the panelists, and she was a bit like she comes across on the radio - awkwardly rambling at times and razor-sharp at other times.  After checking out her website, I saw one of her most recent tweets:  'Congress just banned the word "Lunatic" from Federal Legislation.  They replaced it with "fuck wad."'  Yes, I'm immature enough to find that quite funny.

It was a really interesting experience which I'm not going to describe very well.  I thought that it might feel forced or stiff, but the panelists were definitely "on".  Also, Peter Sagal - he's the dude.  Okay, Jeff Bridges is "The Dude", but Peter Sagal's stamina over the 2 hours of the taping was impressive.  Also, he and Carl stood the entire time, at separate podiums, while wearing headphones and a mike.  Kind of crazy! Oh - they were also dressed professionally, coat and tie, which seemed so traditional of them.  Probably one of the most interesting aspects of the taping happened at the end, when he, Carl and the panelists had to retape certain parts that weren't "clean" (I know nothing of radio-speak, obviously).  After the taping, they took questions from the audience, but at that time, I was falling asleep (it was 10:00 pm!), so we hit the road.  My only wish or regret for the night surprised me in retrospect - the guest was Hugh Bonneville from the show "Downton Abbey", and I think that I like his character on the show more than I liked the actor on stage last night, sad to say.

By the end of the night, our faces hurt from laughing for almost 2 hours straight which is not a bad way to spend an evening!  I'm curious to hear the episode tomorrow (or the podcast - whenever) to find out which jokes make it on to the program and how they piece it all together.  I'm not sure if that will detract from the experience of seeing the taping - I'll find out.

And I'd definitely see another live taping again, and if someone is a fan of the radio show, I'd recommend the experience!


Anonymous said...

How fun! I listen to "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me," too, so I know all the people you are talking about and now I can picture it. Peter Sagal is hilarious... he just seems really quick. And I agree about your characterization of Paula Poundstone. "Wait, Wait" is on the radio when I leave dance class if I can't stay for yoga, and I always play along with the current events quiz. :-)

I am impressed with you having a glamorous night out in the big city on a school night!

Kristina said...

Chezjulie - It was a bit strange to see live and in person (!) the people to whom I'd been listening for years. I have yet to listen to the week's podcast, but it will be interesting to see what makes it and what doesn't (lots of raunchy jokes that, I'd imagine, will not make it in).
Following the glamorous night, I went to bed at 9:00 pm on a Friday evening.