As the host of National Public Radio’s “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!,” Peter Sagal is heard by more than 3 million people every week, broadcast on 450 public radio stations nationwide and via a popular podcast. The show celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2008 and received the prestigious Peabody Award. The hour long show has captivated news junkies across the country with its lighthearted approach to current events, and has become the biggest and most beloved weekend radio phenomenon since “A Prairie Home Companion.”
Each week, Sagal leads NPR veteran newscaster Carl Kasell and esteemed guest panelists like humorist Roy Blount Jr., comedians Paula Poundstone and Paul Provenza, media personality Mo Rocca and author P.J. O’Rourke through a satirical review of the week’s news in the form of a quiz. It’s a revival of You Bet Your Life crossbred with the irreverence of The Daily Show.
A centerpiece of the show is a segment called “Not My Job,” in which Sagal quizzes celebrities about things they know nothing about. The show made history in 2007 when, in May, Stephen Breyer became the first sitting Supreme Court Justice to appear on a quiz show. 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.
Sagal has traveled all around the country with “Wait Wait…”, playing to sold-out theaters from Seattle to Miami. At the podium, Sagal takes audiences behind the scenes of “Wait Wait…” to explore the shows beginnings, some of its more memorable moments and a look at today’s news stories. An adept moderator, Sagal is the perfect emcee, able to apply his quick wit to esoteric company stories, weaving jokes for an uproarious and unforgettable evening. Whether providing insightful, colorful commentary on current events or a behind-the-scenes peek at the funniest show on radio, Sagal never fails to inform and entertain.
Sagal is the host of PBS’ new series, Constitution USA with Peter Sagal. The show follows him as he travels across country—on a Harley Davison Road King—to find out where the Constitution lives, how it works, its history and its vital relevance today.
The Book of Vice (Naughty Things and How to Do Them), Sagal’s first book, is a series of comic essays about people who misbehave, why they misbehave, and why they’re not necessarily having more fun than you are. The Orlando Sentinel said, “Vice is that kind of book full of passages so deliciously funny you keep elbowing the nearest person and saying, ‘Listen, I just have to read you this bit…’” and Publishers Weekly called it “a hilarious, harmlessly prurient look at the banality of regular people’s strange and wicked pleasures.”
A native of Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, Sagal attended Harvard University, and has worked as a literary manager for a regional theater, a stage director, an actor, an extra in a Michael Jackson video (“Remember the Time”), travel writer, an essayist, a ghostwriter 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. He has also written a number of screenplays, including an original screenplay that became, without his knowledge, the basis for Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights.
Sagal is a radio host, author, humorist and commentator on current events with a remarkably eclectic career and an inquiring mind. He lives in Chicago with his wife and three daughters.