NPR’s Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! will begin a comedy tour, The Wait Wait Standup Tour, traveling to ten cities across the U.S. starting at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor on October 21.
Created by Doug Berman, Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! is NPR’s weekly hour-long comedy quiz program. Each week on the radio, contestants, and panelists test their knowledge in the world of news and entertainment while humorously guessing between real and fake news stories.
“People need an escape from the news these days,” said Berman, Wait Wait’s “Benevolent Overlord.” “NPR listeners are big consumers of news. They know what the news is. What we do is we give them a release from it. We look at the fun side of everything.”
The show is spontaneous, quick-witted, and lively. Much of this is due to the show’s panel, which consists of stand-up comedy veterans like Alonzo Bodden, who will host the Wait Wait Standup Tour. Alongside Bodden, the standup tour will consist of show regulars and standup veterans Maz Jobrani, Helen Hong, and Negin Farsad.
Berman states the tour will give longtime fans a different way to engage with the show’s comedians while letting each comedian have their moment to shine.
“The comics on our show are really good, and there’s only so much time in the show for them to shine,” said Berman. “The show is more raw. It’s a bit younger and a little more laugh-dense. It’s a way to broaden and diversify how we interact with our audience.”
The Wait Wait Standup Tour performance in Ann Arbor will mark the group’s first performance since 2019, following COVID restrictions.
However, since 2019, Doug Berman, who also produced the NPR hit Car Talk, has drawn ecstatic audiences on the radio and in person at its home Studebaker Theater in Chicago, Ill. With the re-emergence of the Wait Wait Standup Tour, Berman has high expectations, praising the comics scheduled to perform on the 21st.
“My face hurt from laughing during the last year, I can tell you. It’s really funny. These comics are really good. They’re really smart. They have substance, and at the same time, they really make you laugh,” said Berman, “They’re some of the most talented comics in the country and we’re really delighted to be able to bring them out to people.”
With the Wait Wait Standup Tour’s first stop being in Ann Arbor, Berman admits he loves the city and his go-to food of choice, Zingerman’s Deli and BBQ.
“Zingermans is our go-to whenever we need to send anyone food. Zingermans is Wait Wait’s official congratulations and sympathy food place. We always go there when we go to Ann Arbor. Ann Arbor is a great market, and for Wait Wait. Specifically, Ann Arbor is the kind of place that has an active intellectual life and cultural life with a lot of young people. It’s a great place for us, and we love it.”
Following Wait Wait’s standup performance in Ann Arbor, the group will continue their tour in Kalamazoo, MI on October 22 at the Kalamazoo State Theatre with later dates scheduled to be announced in Eugene, Ore; Portland, Ore; Seattle, Wash; Dallas, Texas; Austin, Texas; Raleigh, N.C.; Tampa, Fla; and Atlanta, GAa.
For more information on the Wait Wait Standup Tour event, visit www.michtheater.org/events or contact The Michigan Theater at (734) 668-8397.