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 in the theater 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, co-produced by WBEZ-Chicago, that made its debut on-air in January of 1998. In May of that year, he moved to Chicago to become 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 nearly three million listeners on 520 public radio stations nationwide, and heard by a million people every month via podcast.
Originally published on Mon March 23, 2015 3:57 pm
Nobody is more excited about Burger King's new Chicken Fries — fried chicken strips shaped and served like french fries — than Burger King. The workers at the Chicago store we visited were all dressed in large, sacklike yellow Chicken Fries T-shirts, and a chicken mascot cavorted on the electronic menu, next to a picture of the item.
"Two orders of Chicken Fries!" I said, infected, salmonella-like, with their joy.
"We don't have any Chicken Fries," said the server.
I pointed mutely at the dancing chicken above her head.
Originally published on Wed November 26, 2014 6:15 pm
Olson is a marketing company that promises its clients it will "revolutionize engagement" with its customers. In the case of client Oscar Meyer, this meant sending us eight packs of hot dogs, a loaf of bread, toothpicks, twine and instructions on how to make "the Hot Durkey," in the hope that it would go "viral," which is not the usual meaning of the word "viral" when applied to hot dogs.
Originally published on Tue October 21, 2014 11:10 am
I generally don't like cake, because it is too sweet, too bland in texture, and doesn't have enough pork products. So I was excited to see this recipe pop up on Buzzfeed. (UPDATE 10/21/2014: For those keeping score, it looks like So Good Blog rolled out this pizza cake recipe months earlier than Buzzfeed.)
For 30 years, Carl anchored the newscast for Morning Edition, and in 1998 he became Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me's official scorekeeper. His last show will air on May 17. Following that, Carl will become Scorekeeper Emeritus and will continue to record voice mail greetings for our winners. In honor of Carl's last show, Peter Sagal reflects on their years working together.
Presumably, the day I was born was the most important day of my life, but I don't remember that. I do remember the day I met Carl Kasell, though, so that tops my personal list.
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?
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.
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."