Peter Sagal, host of National Public Radio’s “Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me!” opened Thursday night’s live show to a sold-out audience in Hill Auditorium.
Hosted in collaboration with public radio affiliate WEMU and the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, the show returned to Ann Arbor for the first time since 2007, when it was hosted at The Michigan Theater. Producers and hosts of the show entered the stage clad in maize and blue hats and attire. Sagal was not hesitant to joke with the audience about the University’s recent notoriety in regard to student alcohol consumption and Greek life.
“This is the first time we have been allowed to the University’s campus. They had to make sure we could handle our liquor — I’m hoping to pledge a frat while I’m here,” Sagal said.
Sagal continued, referencing the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity’s suspension following a January ski trip incident, saying, “As a Jewish man myself, I felt proud.”
The famous quiz show’s special guest this week was University lecturer John Bacon, an award-winning sports journalist and University alum. Bacon is also a member of the Board of Student Publications, which works with The Michigan Daily.
Having written three of his seven books specifically about Michigan football, Bacon told stories of his time interviewing and even training with players. By way of explanation for the national attention Michigan football receives, Bacon told Sagal, “When you put your fist in the air on ‘hail,’ you are one of us.”
To this, Sagal responded, “So you say ‘hail,’ not ‘heil,’ right?”
Games played during the course of the night included “Who’s Bill This Time?” and “Not My Job.” The show’s panelists in attendance were comedian Alonzo Bodden, Washington Post journalist Roxanne Roberts and author Roy Blount Jr.
The audience was composed mostly of local Michigan residents with relatively few University students in attendance. In an interview with the Daily, Business senior Sarah Burkhardt and Public Policy senior Grace Lutfy said this was no surprise.
Burkhardt, who is a member of Greek life, said she was sympathetic to Sagal’s comments about some elements of the University’s reputation.
“I think what they said was very true and it shows how people outside of our community are responding to the news,” Burkhardt said. “It’s showing how, as college students, we can influence the news both for good or for bad.”
“But that being said, they mentioned a lot about Harbaugh and that’s something good about our community that’s making news,” she added.
Burkhardt said she appreciated how the show’s theme centered on the University.
“We are seniors, so we really want to take advantage of these alternative opportunities,” Burkhardt said. “We could be at Rick’s right now but instead we are here, broadening our horizons.”
Following the show, Sagal and panelists stayed on stage to answer questions from the audience.
Sagal thanked the audience for their attendance, emphasizing his excitement to be at “one of the nation’s number-one party schools.”