Last night, I participated in what has to be a Chicago tradition/mainstay/happening/I can't find the word. Anyway, it's an event that happens regularly here. I was in the audience for the Halloween edition of Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!
Heather, you see, is a Chicago 10 for the podcast Too Beautiful to Live. So when host Luke Burbank tweeted about having four tickets for the show, she offered to take a couple of them off his hands. And then she offered to take me. We got to thank him in person after the show. He was sweet and friendly and gracious.
I am so glad I went. Thanks to being comped, we were considered VIP's. And the VIPs got ushered in after everybody else, to our seats in the FRONT ROW.* Plus, we were placed directly in front of one of the audience mics. So you can hear the two of us chortling and guffawing all through the program. And it was guffaw-worthy. Peter Sagal is hilarious, Carl Kasell is slyly witty and the panel was Luke, Amy Dickinson and Julia Sweeney. I laughed harder last night than I have laughed in a long, long time. Maybe that's why I woke up in such a great mood today.
(I'm assuming it will be cut in the broadcast for length and possibly also its "you kind of had to be there" status, but the bit that slayed us both was Luke's rant about bears and Reader's Digest's "Drama in Real Life" feature, especially when Amy and Julia both jumped on the riff with him. I, too, recall being horrified by that particular series of stories as an impressionable child.)
If you're remotely acquainted with the show, I highly recommend attending a taping. Though I must tell you, it isn't exactly free. The Chicago Public Radio store sells tickets to various tapings for $21.99. Which makes me even more appreciative of the wonderful (free!) time I had yesterday evening.
*Here I want to take a moment to commend Don Hall, the WBEZ Events Coordinator. An Audience Services/Events Coordinating kind of gig is really tough, and he did a fantastic job. He was funny and warm and charming and knows how to take care of an audience and VIPs. Things happened really efficiently, but also really comfortably. And he clearly wants to make it a great experience for everyone. We watched him move some teens in attendance to the center of the front row when the people slated for those seats didn't show up. That's just awesome.