Peter Sagal

Host

http://petersagal.com/about-2/About

A native of Berkeley Heights, N.J., Peter Sagal attended Harvard University and subsequently squandered that education while working as a literary manager for a regional theater, a movie publicist, a stage director, an actor, an extra in a Michael Jackson video, a travel writer, an essayist, a ghost writer for a former adult film impresario and a staff writer for a motorcycle magazine.

He is the author of numerous plays that have been performed in large and small theaters around the country and abroad, including Long Wharf Theater, Actors Theater of Louisville, Seattle Repertory, and Florida Stage. He has also written a number of screenplays, including Savage, a cheesy vehicle for obscure French kickboxer Olivier Gruner, and Cuba Mine, an original screenplay that became, without his knowledge, the basis for Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights.

Among Sagal’s honors are a DramaLogue award for directing, grants from the Jerome and McKnight Foundations and a residency grant at the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France. He has been commissioned to write new plays by the Seattle Repertory Theater and the Wind Dancer Theater and has been invited to work on his plays at Sundance, the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center and the New Harmony Project.

In 1997, Peter joined the panel of a new news quiz show on NPR, that made its debut on-air in January of 1998. In May of that year, he became the host of the show. Since then, Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me has become one of the most popular shows on public radio, heard by two and half million listeners a week, on 450 public radio stations nationwide and via a popular podcast.

With Wait Wait, Peter has traveled around the country, playing to sold-out theaters from Seattle to Miami, and many points in between, such as, for example, Akron. He’s asked Salman Rushdie about PEZ dispensers, Tom Hanks about Hollywood bad boys, Sen. John McCain about drive-through topless joints, and inquired as to Madeleine Albright’s weightlifting accomplishments. The show made history in 2007 when, in May, Stephen Breyer became the first sitting Supreme Court Justice to appear on a quiz show, and then, in July, in front of ten thousand fans at Chicago’s Millennium Park, Peter conducted the first interview with United States Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald since his conviction of White House Aide Scooter Libby.

In 2008, Wait Wait celebrated its tenth anniversary on the air, and was the recipient of a Peabody Award for excellence in broadcasting.

In October 2007, Harper Collins published Peter’s first book, The Book of Vice: Naughty Things and How to Do Them, a series of essays about bad behavior. It will be released in paperback in October 2008.  Peter also wrote the introduction and contributed much of the material to the Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! quiz book.

Peter is an avid long distance runner and a founding member of the OCD Runners Club. He has completed four marathons, including the 2007 Boston Marathon, and was profiled in Runner’s World. In October, 2007, he ran his third consecutive Chicago Marathon, running as the honorary team captain for the Healthy Schools Campaign.

Peter lives near Chicago with his wife, Beth Albrecht Sagal, and their three daughters.

The Salt
4:19 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The Passover Sandwich

In the time of Exodus, the Hebrews had to travel the desert without reading material.
NPR

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 8:06 am

Why is this Sandwich Monday different from all other Sandwich Mondays? In honor of Passover, I introduced my non-Jewish colleagues to the wonders of the Passover lunch.

It's not the Seder meal, but what I might have brought to school for lunch back in the 1970s, when the affluent Jews of suburban New Jersey ate tasteless food to remind themselves that thousands of years ago, they didn't have nice professional jobs like being a lawyer, or maybe a CPA. That's a steady living. I know David Birnbaum does nicely as an accountant; maybe you could look into that?

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The Salt
1:53 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Sandwich Monday: PB&J Fries

Peter failed to hitch this to the back of his motorcycle and bring it back to Chicago for us.
NPR

Originally published on Mon August 19, 2013 3:55 pm

Canadians have given us so much, from the BlackBerry, a kind of phone your parents' older friends used to use, to Leslie Hope, the lady who played Kiefer Sutherland's wife in Season 1 of 24. But perhaps towering above all is poutine, which translated from the Quebecois is "stuff poured onto french fries." Usually it's some variation of cheese, meat and gravy, but I was told that in Portland, Ore. (naturally), at a food truck (naturally), you can get peanut butter and jelly on fries. So I went, naturally.

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The Salt
3:53 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Sandwich Monday: Fried Peanut Butter And Banana

Melissa approaches with caution.
NPR

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 3:58 pm

It's strange to find a Fried Peanut Butter and Banana sandwich, famous as Elvis Presley's favorite, on a restaurant menu, given its effect on Elvis. It's like finding a store selling an Isadora Duncan commemorative scarf.

Nonetheless, freelance radio producer Melissa LaCasse and I decided to try the one offered by The Breslin in New York, listed as "fried peanut butter & banana sandwich with bourbon & vanilla."

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The Salt
2:58 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Sandwich Monday: Steak And Kidney Pie

You say Steak & Kidney Pie, I say Gravy Volcano.
NPR

Originally published on Mon January 21, 2013 3:16 pm

[Note: Peter sends this disgusting dispatch from a family vacation in London.]

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Monkey See
2:34 pm
Wed June 6, 2012

Ray Bradbury: Finding Our Reflections Where We Didn't Expect Them

This 1966 file photo shows science fiction writer Ray Bradbury looking at a picture that was part of a school project to illustrate characters in one of his dramas.
AP

Originally published on Thu June 7, 2012 8:19 am

Heinlein, Asimov and Bradbury; they were the tripod (invasive, moving, with lasers) on which my science fiction education was built in the 1970s. This was somewhat self-selected, because once you — or I — grew out of Danny Dunn and Journey to the Mushroom Planet and Tom Swift, Jr., they were the inevitable destinations, the planets with the heaviest gravity wells in the sci-fi solar system.

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Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me!

Originating from WBEZ in Chicago, host Peter Sagal and scorekeeper Carl Kasell take a lighthearted look a the week's news complete with a news quiz and a variety of guest panelists.