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20th Anniversary Party For "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!"
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Lori Walsh:                            Welcome to In The Moment. I'm Lori Walsh. Life before Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! must have been dimmer indeed. It's been 20 years since the NPR news quiz show launched. Host Peter Sagal and judge and score keeper, Bill Kurtis, along with a roster of panelists make each other laugh each week with an indispensable look at current events, and naturally we laugh right along with them. Wait Wait was on of NPR's first podcasts, and it's broadcast on more than 720 NPR member stations including South Dakota Public Broadcasting. It reaches millions of listeners weekly. All that for what is essentially a trivia program. How do that make that happen? I caught up with host Peter Sagal as he was about to go into a planning meeting at WBEZ in Chicago. We'll bring you that conversation in just a moment, but first Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! is having a 20th birthday party. On October 25, 2018, they record a super-sized show at the iconic Chicago Theater. All the panelists will be there, and there are door prizes. 

As a way of saying thanks for listening all these years, Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! is make a prize package available for that October 25th show, and here's what it includes. Two tickets to see the special anniversary show live in Chicago on October 25th, round trip airfare for two to Chicago and two nights hotel stay in downtown. Now, to enter, visit Entries must be in by midnight on Sunday. That's Central Time. The winner, we'll draw that on Monday. Now that we've got that settled, here's host Peter Sagal. 

Peter Sagal:                          It's both exciting and a little intimidating. It's like whoa, we've been doing this for an awfully long time. 

Lori Walsh:                            When did you first get involved? 

Peter Sagal:                          I was involved from almost the very beginning. The show was developed at NPR in the mid to late '90s. In 1997, I got a call asking me if I'd be interested in submitting, I don't know, an application, my name for this new NPR show that was looking for ... The way it was put to me, funny people who read a lot of newspapers. A friend of mine thought of me. 

Lori Walsh:                            What were you doing at that time when you got that call? 

Peter Sagal:                          Well, I was making my living amazingly enough as a playwright and screenwriter living in Brooklyn. I was sort of a Brooklyn hipster before everybody else was I guess, and really just thinking that would be my career. I mean, I'd been doing it for about a decade and had finally started to get some productions and making a living. What was interesting was that my then wife and I just had, well we're just about to have our first baby. She spent most of 1997 pregnant while I was starting to talk to NPR. One of the things we were thinking about was, wow, where are going to raise this baby, because my wife very much didn't want to raise the baby in New York. 

I was cast on the panel for the very first edition, episode of Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! Very shortly after that, I was asked by the producer at the time, a guy named David Green, if I would want to be the host. To be the host I would have to move to Chicago, which sort of solved our problem. Both came together quite nicely. It was a big transition, I went from being a freelance writer living in New York, renting an apartment, to a homeowner radio host in Chicago pretty quickly. 

Lori Walsh:                            Then, father pretty quickly too. 

Peter Sagal:                          Oh, yes. I forgot about that one. Yes. During that same crazy month, January of 1998, my oldest daughter was born too. 

Lori Walsh:                            Do you think that everything that was happening at that time was probably the reason that your logic was clouded enough to think that this show would work, or did you see right in the beginning that ...

Peter Sagal:                          You know, when I think about it now, like okay, fine. I'll move across the country. We'll give up the last inexpensive apartment in Park Slope Brooklyn, and we'll go do this. Strikes me as crazy. I mean, because this is show business, the business called show, and nothing ever works. You can I can probably think of a whole bunch of shows that were quite good and never made it. To tell you the truth, I think I now have the right to say that. Those first Wait Wait shows, which I was a part of were not very good. In fact, that's part of the reason why I got the job as host. They were desperate to make changes, so they decided what do they have to lose though. There you go. 

Lori Walsh:                            Listeners today, I mean, it feels so much a part of what NPR does, but at the time it was such a risk. That show wasn't a success accidentally. 

Peter Sagal:                          No. We didn't stumble into it. It was a bunch of things that happened. One of them was that we were at the time our executive producer was ... still is really, although he has a different title now, is Doug Berman. Doug Berman as you know is the guy who created Car Talk, so he knew a little something about doing things that the public radio audience might really enjoy. Part of it was luck that ... We started ... Another thing that happened, not in my life, but in the nation's of January of 1998 was of course the Monica Lewinsky scandal. We got a real nice injection of material as it were to work with for that first year and more. You know, the last thing is people ever ask me what I think is the reason for our show's success, especially coming out of that early difficult period where we didn't know we would succeed, it's because we didn't think we would last very long, so we had nothing to lose. 

I very much remember the staff at the time and myself just making a decision, well let's just do what we want to do. Let's just say and broadcast things that we think are funny until they stop us. What do you know? Our sense of humor was not as weird as we thought. At least there's enough people out there who shared it. 

Lori Walsh:                            How do you maintain that today then? Because that whole dynamic of what the pressure is like has changed, and now there's an expectation that this is a huge part of NPR's offerings. It's a top-rated podcast. Millions of listeners tune in. Are you still ... Do you still have nothing to lose, and you just talk about what you guys find funny? 

Peter Sagal:                          Well, it's weird. It's very ironic and maybe even paradoxical that now we're operating under a very different set of expectations. When we first started, we figured we'd do what we wanted and say what we wanted and talk about what we wanted because nobody cared. Now, we do it because we know everybody cares. One of the things that you just said of course that we're a part of people's standard public radio diet. I should say that one of my proudest achievements is that our show has become the go-to kind of [senectiky 00:07:14] for people who are making fun of public radio, lovingly of course. Right? When Jon Stewart made jokes about pubic radio, he'd often use our show to represent public radio. Like Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! but with a shotgun or whatever the joke.

 I love that. I love we're sort of the symbol of public radio for the people who want to make fun of it. I'm sorry. I parent. What I was going to say is the thing that keeps us going 20 years into it is very simply the listeners. We do our show in front of a live audience. We've done it there in South Dakota twice if I'm not mistaken. Once in Rapid City, and went to the other side of the state. It was Rapid City. 

Lori Walsh:                            Sioux Falls probably. 

Peter Sagal:                          Sioux Falls, yes. When we do a show in front of a live audience, afterwards we always meet some of the listeners. All of them who want to when we're home in Chicago. So many of them tell us how much they rely on the show. Sometimes it's as mundane as, "Oh, I always do some unpleasant chore listening to your show. It makes the time pass." That's fine. People have told me that they stripped boats and rebuilt Ikea furniture or whatever it was. Other people say sometimes it's really like life events, like, "I went through a divorce, or I lost my job, or I had a serious healthcare scare, and your show cheered me up during that tough time." These days, a lot of people say just the news itself is very upsetting, and they feel scared and confused and depressed, and then they get to the weekend and as I like to say, we say the things on the radio that most people just reduce to shoving at their radios. It makes them feel better. Don't discount the distracting and happiness of lots of fart jokes and stories about animals being shoved down people's pants. 

Lori Walsh:                            What kind of role do you think then that you're playing playing in the broader sense of society as far as the court jester or the first amendment? You're making fun of these people. 

Peter Sagal:                          That is a really interesting question, and it is something that I have devoted because this is my nature, a lot of thought to. I'm really into thumb sucking as a metaphorical activity. I don't actually suck my thumb, but I sit around and think a lot about what I'm doing, and I gave up. When I first started doing this job, remember I said I was a playwright. I had these ambitions to teach the people of America what they were doing wrong through my art. Then, I started and got this job telling fart jokes on public radio, and I said, "Okay, I will tell, I speak truth to power." 

I will as you just said be the court jester. The only one who can tell the king the truth, and then I learned something really interesting. That it's really great to think that you may be speaking truth to power, but power doesn't listen, especially not to people like me. I came to understand, by the way, that they really shouldn't. We now see how difficult things are when we have a very powerful person, a president, who cares about the jokes that people make about him. It's not a good situation. It's much more preferable to have someone who doesn't mind as we've had up until this point. What I do think though is that our show is important, and the service we provide is not so much speaking the truth in a time when truth needs to be said, but just entertaining people and giving them a relief from the stress and sometime to hope for, something to cheer them up a little bit so they can go back and do the actual serious work of changing the world on Monday. 

Because one of the things I think is that the people who really do change things for better or for worse are not funny people. They're not joking. Those are the people who I think are really the people I think ... The people who are speaking truth to power are not making jokes. Once example I can use is a video that went viral last week on the internet of Beto O'Rourke. He's a candidate in Texas, and he was asked by a guy who did not approve of the NFL players protesting, what he thought of them, and he gave this impromptu speech about the history of America and the history of the civil rights movement and defend them, but a lot of people were moved by that. Some people said it reminded them of RFK. One of the things that speech was was it wasn't funny at all. You know? I think that's indicative of how real actual serious people at least attempt to make actual serious change. I'm just making fart jokes to cheer people up.

Lori Walsh:                            How do you handle then those weeks when the news is ... it's not funny at all. How do you handle ... 

Peter Sagal:                          That's a problem, and it's something ... What we do is, one of the things we do is we just whenever we, and I mean myself, I mean my colleagues are upset about the week's news, we do two things. We first of all realize that it's very hard to be funny about stuff that upsets us so we don't fry. We'll put stuff aside. If there's a serious tragedy in the week's news, we just won't talk about it. It's not our role to do that. Nobody tunes in to hear our amusing jokes about a plane being shot down, disaster, a hurricane or whatever it may be. The other thing we do is we re-focus on the fact that other people are feeling perhaps probably just as upset as we are, and we can do something for them. We can't change it, but we can make them feel better for an hour through joking about what's upsetting or distracting them with other things, and that's a service. Again, I keep coming back to that, that people rely on us. When I am feeling a little overwhelmed by current events, and as you know my job is study them all day, that's what I remember. Yeah, I'm kind of upset. This really bothers me, but people need me out there to stand up, crack a smile, and make some poop noises. 

Lori Walsh:                            Was there ever a time when you felt either before recording the show that you had to address something that was in the news? 

Peter Sagal:                          No, we really don't. It's funny. The only time we ever did that, we did it once, was after 9/11, which I think we can all say was the most extraordinarily terrifying and serious moment of our lives, my life. We've never done it since, and we'll probably never do it, and I think that's because again that's not why people tune in for me. I also think our show has a different relationship with the listeners than say, let me take a recent example, Jimmy Kimmel say. Jimmy Kimmel, when he went through that, we all watched it. His son had that health crisis, and he started speaking very eloquently and very seriously about his feelings about the healthcare system in the U.S., and he started even engaging politically, and he did it very seriously. 

It's fine for him, because his show is the Jimmy Kimmel show. When you tune in to watch the Jimmy Kimmel show, you're watching Jimmy Kimmel, and that's why you're watching because like you him and you've put some faith in him, and you've invested in him. If he chooses to take that investment that listeners have made in him and address something serious, that's absolutely his right. Judging the reaction, the audience was happy to grant it. It's like the audience is thinking, "Jimmy, we know you. We like you because you're funny and you're charming, and you're a great way to end the day. If you have something you need to say to us, go ahead, we'll listen. That's great." 

Our show is different. I don't think they're tuning in to hear what Peter Sagal has to say about the week's news. I don't think, although I'm very flattered that people seem to like me on the radio show, I don't think they're tuning in because they like me so much. They're tuning in because my friends and I who do the show are genuinely having a good time. We are genuinely enjoying each other. We are genuinely being cheerful some weeks in the face of some pretty uncheerful stuff. As you can tell from this conversation, I do not lack for self-seriousness. You would probably not be surprised by how many times on the way to work of a given morning, I have written for myself that monologue. Hey, everybody. Before we start the show, there just something so serious that's happened, and I want to air my thoughts. Every time I get to work, I just put it aside and realize that's not my job. My job is to cheer these people up and to make some jokes and do what we do. That's made us very popular, so that's what we do. 

Lori Walsh:                            How do you ... When you sit and write that monologue in your head or write it down, is that how you preserve yourself, preserve ... because as you said, you're exposed to probably more media and more bad news than the average American. You're obviously looking for the absurd and the funny as you consume that news. You're faced with a lot of stuff. How do you stay healthy in ... 

Peter Sagal:                          Well, that's a good question. Two ways. First of all, usually that monologue that I just mentioned, I'm usually writing it in my head when I'm going for a run, which I try to do everyday. That helps. In fact, I have a book about that coming out in the fall called The Incomplete Book of Running, which is about among many other things the way that running can help you get through all kinds of things. The other thing I do again, I return to the scene, is I focus on my job. One of the things I know is that I can't be funny, which is my job, if I'm too upset, so I put it aside. There's a strong incentive to do so, because the thing that changed our show I think and the reason we're here for 20 years as opposed to fading away after just a few, is we started doing our show in front of live audiences. Now, we do it every week. 

I know on a Thursday, I'm going to be facing as many a minimum of 500 people when we're in our home theater or as many as 7,000 or 8,000 when we're going one of the big venues. Those people are have paid money and come down to the Chase Bank Auditorium or to Tanglewood or to some large performing arts center downtown. They want a good time. They want to laugh. They want to enjoy themselves, and I need to step up and deliver what they came for. I can't do that if I'm sad or upset or thinking about the world's problems or my own. 

Lori Walsh:                            We'll have more with Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! host Peter Sagal later in the hour where we test his South Dakota credentials with some sort of South Dakota questions. Welcome back to In The Moment. I'm Lori Walsh. Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! is having a 20th birthday on October 25th. They record a super-sized show at the iconic Chicago theater. All their panelists join the festivities. Audience members can also win door prizes. As a way of saying thanks for listening all these years, Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! is making available a prize package to that October 25th show. Here's what it includes. You get two tickets to see the special anniversary program live in Chicago. You get round trip airfare for two and two nights hotel stay in downtown Chicago. Here is is how you enter. You visit Entries need to be made by midnight, Central Time, this Sunday. Winners will be drawn on Monday. South Dakota Public Broadcasting is one of five stations nationwide participating in this chance to win, so sign up this week. 

Now, we caught up with host, Peter Sagal last week to talk about 20 years of Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! We also put him on the spot with some South Dakota trivia questions. Let's talk about that team and how you find the funny. What's the process? Take us behind the scenes a little bit. 

Peter Sagal:                          It's not unlike what you'd imagine. Right now I'm calling you from the offices of WBEZ in Chicago where we have basically a small work area, a cubicle that's pretty modest. When Tom Hanks came and filled in, he couldn't believe how modest it was, and he constantly joked about that. We start our computers just like everybody does these days. Except the thing that people do to procrastinate from their actual work is our actual work. We scan the internet for news. We try to find stuff from the front pages. We try to find stuff in the most obscure corners we can. We send those stories to each other. How about this? Here's a funny story. Here's a funny story. Here's a question we can ask. Here's something that's crazy enough that can be our bluff story, the elaborate tale in the middle of the show. We meet. 

In fact, as soon as we finish talking, I'm going to go to that meeting and we start reading out these stories. We start writing jokes about the stories on Wednesday. We'll read them out to each other. We'll try to make each other laugh, we'll kibitz, we'll punch them up. We'll do it again Thursday morning. We're write, we'll re-write. Then, we have a rehearsal of the show Thursday afternoon with Bill Kurtis. He comes in, we read it out. We do all the jokes. Again, we punch up, we kibitz. We re-write again, go to the theater and start taping the thing in front of an audience at 7:30. I never have any idea how it's going to work out, but it always does strangely enough, or it has for 20 years. 

Lori Walsh:                            How soon when you get into the show do you, can you gauge the audience? Can you gauge, like yep, this is going to be great one. 

Peter Sagal:                          We usually gauge them right away. I mean, we have a blessing which is something let's say a standup, most standups today, don't have, which is that our audience, like I said, has chosen to come down and hear us because they've listened to us and they like us. They've already made a decision to invest in our being good. You know that you have the audiences' good will which is a comfort, believe me, when you're standing in front of them trying to entertain them with nothing but he words you can come up with. It's pretty hard to annoy them. One of the really nice things about radio as opposed to television, is radio is a really, you probably know this, is a really intimate medium. People really think they know each you if they listen to you on the radio, and the reason is because well think of how people listen to you on the radio. They're listening to you in their cars where they're alone, except you're there with them, or in their kitchens when they're working or in the bathroom or wherever. 

People have a really intimate relationship with us, which we've learned to really appreciate and be grateful for. When we show up on stage, are like, "There they are. My old friends. I haven't seen them in a while." Our job is just not to disappoint them. 

Lori Walsh:                            Then, there's something about the structure too of the program. That they are waiting for that next moment. They know it's coming. The anticipation is there, and then you deliver on the structure of the show itself. 

Peter Sagal:                          Right. Keep in mind, I talked to you about all that preparation, but all of that preparation which we do, which we try to be serious about and disciplined and try to do a good job, all of that is really just preparation to be unprepared in the sense that our panelists haven't participated in any of that, what I just described, except for that one story that we give them to write beforehand. They don't what they're going to say. I don't know what they're going to say. I'll start on a topic. I'll do a joke or two, maybe three, but pretty soon one of our panelists who are all delightful, funny, charming, inventive people are going to leap in and say, "You know what I think about that. What do you mean about that?" They'll start taking it in a different direction. It's all happening live in front of you. When Paula Poundstone says something, I had no idea she was going to say that, and so my reaction in the moment is real. That's true for everything. 

I think one of the things that people like about our show, certainly they tell us this, is it seems like it's really genuine. We're really having that funny conversation. We didn't script it. The reason is feels genuine is because it is. We didn't script it. That I think is part of our appeal, and people like to come down and see us do that live in front of them. 

Lori Walsh:                            That makes your job, which you make look easy, you make it seem like it's so natural. Man, that's a really hard job to not know what-

Peter Sagal:                          Well, you do something for 20 years, you can master anything. If only I devoted myself to practicing the piano, I'd be good by now. 

Lori Walsh:                            How do you get through that? I mean, are you ... Here's what I'm wondering. Are you thinking, she's saying this, now I have to say this. Are you just reacting? You kind of getting out of your own way at that point and just being in that moment. 

Peter Sagal:                          Yeah, it's very important. It's very important to be in the moment. That is the single most thing. It's very important to be in the moment, not to be distracted by anything. Some of the mistakes I started to make early on in my career doing this, because this is the only career I had in pretty ... I've never had any other job. I learned it on the rope. I learned the ropes as I did it and as we failed. One of the things I've learned is to absolutely stay in the moment, not start worrying about the interview that's coming up with a famous person. Not to start worrying about ... Or, equally if something frustrating happened before the show, earlier in the show, forget about it. Just move on. Just be there in the moment, because exactly right, because Paula is about to say something or Alonzo Bodden is about to say something, and I need to be listening so that I can respond or not respond as the case may be.

It's very important to be in the moment. For whatever reason, I happen to have a pretty quick brain. I think of things in the moment that most people it seems would take a few more minutes to think of. If I have a natural skill for this, what's what I got.

Lori Walsh:                            Do you think it's partially because you are a running, which is sort of like a meditative state? 

Peter Sagal:                          It may be. 

Lori Walsh:                            Do you think that feeds into ... 

Peter Sagal:                          I was always I if can say this, I don't know if I can say this on South Dakota Public Radio, but I'm going to try. I was always a smartass in school. I was one of those kids who wasn't really good at anything, so I decided to be funny to make up for it. I was always cracking jokes, most of which my fellow students didn't get, which is why I ended up in public radio. Let me put it this way. I've been entertaining people in their 40s and 50s my whole life. 

This is true if you talk to a lot of people who are funny for a living, most especially standups, is a lot of them got into comedy as a coping mechanism. This is certainly true of Paula Poundstone. Certainly true of the comics I know. They were young. They didn't do well at sports. They didn't do well with the opposite sex or same sex as the case may be, and in order to find a way to be in the world, they started making jokes and people would laugh. This is a way of being here. If they're laughing, I'm okay. I'm welcome. It just became a way for a lot of us to be in the world, because people like it. If you make them laugh, people are happy to be with you. 

Lori Walsh:                            What's always funny? What's the sort of theme that you see in the newspaper you find online, and you say, "We got to talk about that." 

Peter Sagal:                          You know, it is ... One of the weird things that happens when you're in my business is you get kind of ... You know what they say about stoners, you get burned out, so they start seeking more and more extreme highs. 

One of the things that's true, I noticed this year ago about standups, and it's starting to happen to me. If you watch standups talking to each other, trying to make each other laugh, they will laugh at the weirdest thing that's totally aren't funny. Their acts themselves are hilarious to us laypeople, but the things that make them laugh are just insane and weird and are sort of unapproachable to normal human beings, and I'm getting that way. 

We did a show recently with a story about this Australian nature ranch, and one of the appeals of this Australian nature ranch that people would come to see was there's a little dog, a little terrier type dog, yip-yip-yip. This terrier dog everyday would torment this big crocodile called Big Ben. Big Ben would come out of the water and dog would go, yip-yip-yip and snap and snap and snap at the crocodile, and the crocodile would get annoyed and go back in the water. Everybody would come to watch this until one day Big Ben said to itself presumably, "Wait a minute. I'm a crocodile," and grabbed him in front of all these tourists and dragged him back to the water. I thought and still think that is the funniest thing in the world. People laugh anyway, "That was terrible. The dog was killed." I'm like, "Yes, I know. Isn't it great?" Clearly I have been doing this job for too long. 

Lori Walsh:                            Peter Sagal, you're awesome. 

Peter Sagal:                          Circle of life. 

Lori Walsh:                            There's a metaphor there, and that's why. You know? 

Peter Sagal:                          Yes, I do. 

Lori Walsh:                            We're all clinging to the metaphor. 

Peter Sagal:                          Eventually the crocodile is going to figure it out, people. Stop. 

Lori Walsh:                            It's not really about the dog. It's about really about what we want the world to actually be like. 

Peter Sagal:                          Yes, indeed. 

Lori Walsh:                            All right. We have some South Dakota quiz questions for you. Are you willing to play? 

Peter Sagal:                          I am, I am. 

Lori Walsh:                            These are three Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! questions from South Dakota to test how well you know our state. 

Peter Sagal:                          I just want to say here are my South Dakota credentials before we go any further. A. Been there twice to do Wait Wait shows. Secondly, five years ago, I drove the length of the state on my motorcycle to attend the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. 

Lori Walsh:                            Well, you're in. 

Peter Sagal:                          Left via Mount Rushmore, so I've traversed South Dakota. 

Lori Walsh:                            Good to know. Okay. 

Peter Sagal:                          I've been to Pierre. I've been to Pierre, South Dakota because I like collecting state capitals. 

Lori Walsh:                            Wow, that's interesting, and you can pronounce it too. 

Peter Sagal:                          Yes.

Lori Walsh:                            Yeah. You go the ethos. 

Peter Sagal:                          Was that one of the questions? How do you pronounce Pierre? 

Lori Walsh:                            No, it wasn't. The news-

Peter Sagal:                          Dammit, because I would have aced that one. 

Lori Walsh:                            The news of the week from South Dakota. 

Peter Sagal:                          All right. 

Lori Walsh:                            Here's question one. 20-year-old South Dakota State University student, Rebekka Paskewitz was recently crowned Princess Kay of the Milky Way in neighboring Minnesota. The agricultural education major's first official duty was to sit in rotating cooler at the Minnesota State Fair for nearly six hours and have her likeness sculpted in a 90-pound block of what? 

Peter Sagal:                          Who do you think you're dealing with here? Everybody knows, especially those of us who attended the great Minnesota get-together while living in the Minneapolis in the early '90s knows that Princess Kay of the Milky Way has a the single honor of having her likeness carved in butter. 

Lori Walsh:                            Yay.

Peter Sagal:                          Do not trifle with me with these ... Come on. Give me something tough. 

Lori Walsh:                            We don't do this at the state fair here, but we willing provide education and training for workforce development in other states. 

Peter Sagal:                          I appreciate that. 

Lori Walsh:                            Question two. A new report from the South Dakota Game Fish and Parks Department says the state now has 2.47 of these per mile. It's a number that's up nearly 50% from last year. 

Peter Sagal:                          2.7 ... I'm sorry. 

Lori Walsh:                            2.47 of these-

Peter Sagal:                          2.47-

Lori Walsh:                            ... per mile. Yup. 

Peter Sagal:                          2.47 of this, two and a half, of something per mile, and what was the organization that put out this data? 

Lori Walsh:                            South Dakota Game Fish and Parks Department. 

Peter Sagal:                          Okay. I was going to guess like an Arby's, but that's not right. I'm going to guess a piece of roadkill. 

Lori Walsh:                            I have a hint for you if you want. 

Peter Sagal:                          All right. 

Lori Walsh:                            Well over 100,000 people will chase them around the state this fall hoping to kill them. 

Peter Sagal:                          Oh my gosh. It's got to be ... I know this thing that you guys are really into hunting there in South Dakota is pheasants or quail. 

Lori Walsh:                            Pheasants it is. Very good. In contrast, in the state's rural area, there are roughly four and a half human residents per square mile. 

Peter Sagal:                          I remember saying to people, "I'm going to South Dakota in August." One of my I'll have to say wealthier friends said, "Oh, you're hunting quail, or you're hunting pheasants?" "No. Do people do that?" Yes. As a matter of fact, one time we were in, I think it was Sioux Falls as we were leaving in the airport. We saw all these private jets lined up, and we were told it was all these wealthy people coming into their hunting ranches to shoot pheasants. 

Lori Walsh:                            Yes. This is correct. Okay, final question. Sioux Falls police reported a botched robbery attempt in the state's largest city over the weekend. The victim who was in a McDonald's parking lot at the time of the assault was able to retain his wallet, though not necessarily his dignity after being struck in the head with what? 

Peter Sagal:                          Let me think. It was a McDonald's parking lot. Was he struck in the head with some sort of food item? 

Lori Walsh:                            It's kind of a trick because they don't serve it at McDonald's. 

Peter Sagal:                          Oh, they don't serve it at McDonald's.

Lori Walsh:                            Mostly because it doesn't go with Mick. Yeah. 

Peter Sagal:                          It doesn't go with Mick, so it's not like traditionally Scottish food at McDonald's. 

Lori Walsh:                            It can't be. Right. 

Peter Sagal:                          Yes, exactly. They don't serve it at McDonald's. Was it alcohol? 

Lori Walsh:                            No. It's kind of a hard one. 

Peter Sagal:                          Yeah. What is it? I'm going to give up. 

Lori Walsh:                            A can of soup. 

Peter Sagal:                          A can of soup? Nobody tried to-

Lori Walsh:                            Yes. Crime in the state's largest metro is on the rise. Mayor Paul TenHaken has added a narcotics crime unit to address the city's growing drug problem. He has failed however to take meaningful action against assaults with non-perishables. Can of soup. 

Peter Sagal:                          It seems a shame that somebody in South Dakota of all places would lack access to a gun. I'm sure you'll do something about that quickly. 

Lori Walsh:                            They're saving them for the pheasants. 

Peter Sagal:                          Yes, exactly. 

Lori Walsh:                            Peter Sagal, thanks so much for being a good sport and for spending so much time with us today. Go be funny in your meeting. 

Peter Sagal:                          We will do our best. Thank you so much for time, and thanks to everybody who listens to us. We've very grateful. 

Lori Walsh:                            Happy 20 years. You can be part of the Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! 20th birthday party in Chicago. Win a chance. You can enter to win two tickets to see the special anniversary show live on October 25th. Round trip airfare for two to Chicago and two nights hotel stay downtown. Here's how you enter. Visit, Those entries must be made by midnight, Central Time on Sunday. We'll draw the winner and notice them on Monday. SDPB is one of only five stations nationwide to offer this chance to win, so join in for the 20th anniversary of Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! Our thanks to host, Peter Sagal for joining us.