When: Thu., May 21, 7:30 p.m. 2015
WAIT WAIT ... DON'T TELL ME!
DURHAM PERFORMING ARTS CENTER, DURHAM
THURSDAY, MAY 21
A peculiar thing happens to me on the weekends: I gain a taste for the most brazen shtick on public radio, from the chortling galoots of Car Talk to the orotund raptures of The Splendid Table—all the way down, in a certain mood, to A Prairie freaking Home Companion. Even when I'm rolling my eyes at wocka-wocka gags (Ask Me Another is a particularly ruthless experiment in strangling laughs from awful puns), there is something deeply relaxing and enjoyable about NPR's weekend shows, some so long-running they remind me of riding in the oxidized pea-green Datsun my dad drove in the '80s. Or maybe the good association is simply with being (in theory) off work. Either way, my favorite is Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me!, a 17-year-old news quiz show from WBEZ in Chicago where comedian panelists banter about the weekly headlines. From the "Bluff the Listener Challenge," where call-in contestants guess which outrageous news item is real, to "Not My Job," where celebrity guests answer wildly off-topic questions, the show is crammed with sometimes clever, sometimes groaning, always game current-events riffs. We get panelists Faith Salie, Adam Felber and Bobcat Goldthwait—but, sadly, no Paula Poundstone, who was just at the Carolina Theatre May 1—and celebrity guest Clay Aiken. Best guess: they'll quiz him about pottery. You can count on Bill Kurtis, who replaced beloved announcer Carl Kasell (still providing the voicemail prize), and your host, Peeeeeeeeter Sagal. Though the show is sold out, it's all but certain some last-minute tickets will be released at the door. Race you there. 7:30 p.m., $38–$128, 123 Vivian St., Durham, 919-680-2787, www.dpacnc.com. —Brian Howe