Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me: Near perfection, but not quite

For years, I argued that I had brought more joy to my wife’s world than she had brought to mine. I have introduced Elysha to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Battlestar Galactica, two of her favorite television shows of all time.

I tantalized her palette with the sublimity of macaroni and cheese with hot dogs.

I took her to her first NFL and Major League baseball games, as well as her first foray into go-carting.

I had given her the world.

Then it occurred to me the other day that it was Elysha who first convinced me to listen to NPR’s Wait! Wait! Don’t Tell Me! even after I scoffed at the idea of listening to a game show again and again.


Wait! Wait! Don’t Tell Me is just as sublime as macaroni and cheese with hot dogs.

It’s almost perfect.

My main complaint about the program (other than Carl Castle’s annoying use of the word outright) is the final “Prediction” segment of the show, when the three celebrity panelists are asked to come up with a joke pertaining to a topic addressed earlier in the show.

Except when listening with Elysha, I never listen to this final segment, because in comparison with the rest of the show, it is consistently the weakest in terms of humor and wit. Yet it serves as the conclusion to the show, leaving listeners on a low note week after week.

Not to mention that the game has already ended, a winner has been declared, and congratulatory applause has been rendered.

This is when games are supposed to end.

At the end.

I realize that the panelists are only playing for pride, but within the architecture and artifice of the show, the declaration of victory should represent the completion of the show. There is no reason for the winner and the two losers to then be required to come up with one more bit of witty humor to end the program.

It was already over.

It’s a flaw, Peter Segal. It needs to be fixed.

Thankfully, I listen to the show in podcast form and simply press the stop button during the winner’s applause.