997: Wait Wait

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Wait Wait
You can't stab Carl Kasell. He sounds all slow and stentorian, but he moves like a snake.
Title text: You can't stab Carl Kasell. He sounds all slow and stentorian, but he moves like a snake.


Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me is an hour-long weekly radio news panel game show produced by Chicago Public Radio and National Public Radio. The show is hosted by playwright and actor Peter Sagal. Each episode ends with the panelists making up a potential future news story, usually with implausible "facts". This comic is making puns on the title of the show based on what Peter Sagal might have done that was newsworthy.

Carl Kasell, who also served as the news anchor on Morning Edition, was the show's official judge and scorekeeper until May 2014 (after this comic was published), when he retired and was replaced by Bill Kurtis.

The 1st row, 4th paper may refer to the Laugh Factory Incident of 2006.

In the 3rd row, first paper, Lakshmi Singh is NPR's national midday newscaster. This paper leads to the second paper on the third row, in which Sagal's wife divorces him over his affair with Singh.

In the 3rd row, 3rd paper is a reference to a protest at UC Davis (on the campus of University of California, Davis) protests in early 2012 in which sitting, peaceful protesters were calmly pepper-sprayed in their faces by a police officer. That spawned an internet meme of epic proportions.

In the 4th row, 2nd paper is a reference to the movie, Ghostbusters.

In the 4th row, 3rd paper is a reference to Granny Weatherwax of Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels; Granny Weatherwax is a witch who carries a sign saying "I ATEN'T DED"(sic) when having out-of-body experiences.

In the 5th row, 2nd paper is a reference to another internet meme in where someone leaves out the verb in the sentence. The implication is that the verb is something bad, but which bad thing is left as an exercise to stew in the reader's mind. See the I Accidentally ___ meme for more information.

In the 5th row, 3rd paper is a reference to stories and myths in which an entity can be summoned, awoken, or alerted to someone's presence when its name is spoken. A well-known example of this is the entity Cthulhu in the Lovecraft mythos.

Two years later another New Years comic, 1311: 2014, took a similar look at what could happen in 2014, just as this does for 2012. Interesting enough the title of that comic (just the year it was looking at) is more related to the title of the next comic after this one, which is also a New Year comic, and the title is also just the number of the year: 998: 2012.


Stockpiled in case Peter Sagal, host of NPR's Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, does something newsworthy in 2012.
[Series of above-the-fold newspapers follows; Each has a headline, picture in most of them, and an explanation.]
[First row, first paper.]
Wait Wait Don't Shoot Me
[A fierce Peter Sagal in a balaclava brandishes a gun in a supermarket.]
NPR's Sagal in Whole Foods hostage standoff.
[First row, second paper.]
Wait Wait Don't Vote For Me
Peter Sagal quits race for GOP top spot
[A sullen and defeated Peter Sagal surrounded by supporters admits defeat.]
[First row, third paper.]
Wait Wait Don't Judge Me
Sagal opens up about his Kermit fantasy.
[Stock profile images of Peter Sagal and Kermit the Frog.]
[First row, fourth paper.]
Wait Wait Don't Fire Me
[Stock profile image of Peter Sagal.]
Peter Sagal let go after racist tirade.
[Second row, first paper.]
Wait Wait Don't Cancel Me
NPR axing news quiz.
[NPR spokesperson delivering announcement.]
[Second row, second paper.]
Wait Wait Don't Interrupt Me
Sagal stabs Carl Kasell in on-air dispute.
[Peter Sagal mid-attack with a knife.]
[Second row, third paper.]
Wait Wait Don't Look At Me
[Peter Sagal with a skin condition.]
Peter Sagal's Poison Ivy Ordeal
Peter Sagal: "My 'Nam"
[Second row, fourth paper.]
Wait Wait Don't Friend Me
Peter Sagal deletes his Facebook account.
[Person holding up a laptop with an "Facebook account not found" screen.]
[Third row, first paper.]
Wait Wait Don't Seduce Me
How Lakshmi Singh stole Sagal's Heart.
[A wistful Lakshmi Singh being left by a sullen Peter Sagal.]
[Third row, second paper.]
Wait Wait Don't Leave Me
[A wistful Peter Sagal being left by a furious Beth Sagal.]
Sagal's wife out after affair
[Third row, third paper.]
Wait Wait Don't Spray Me
Police Raid Sagal's Occupy NPR protest
[Scummy policeman in riot gear spraying Peter Sagal in the face point blank.]
[Third row, fourth paper.]
Wait Wait Don't Indict Me
Sagal, five others named in cash-for-tote-bags scandal
[Peter Sagal doing a perp walk.]
[Fourth row, first paper.]
Wait Wait Don't Clone Me
Peter Sagal 'Outraged' over DNA harvesting.
[Fiery Peter Sagal, missing a small amount of DNA, at a lectern.]
[Fourth row, second paper.]
Wait Wait Don't Bust Me
Peter Sagal's ghost captured
[Ghostbusters, careful not to cross the streams, capture the ghost of Peter Sagal.]
[Fourth row, third paper.]
Wait Wait Don't Dissect Me
Snoozing Sagal nearly snuffed in autopsy snafu
[Peter Sagal running away from from a very surprised pathologist.]
Peter Sagal: "I aten't dead"
[Fourth row, fourth paper.]
Wait Wait Don't Objectify Me
Peter Sagal is more than just a piece of meat
[Fifth row, first paper.]
Wait Wait Don't Beatify Me
[Peter Sagal shakes his fist at a picture of the pope.]
Peter Sagal Rebukes Pope
[Fifth row, second paper.]
Wait Wait Don't Me
Peter Sagal Accidentally
[Peter Sagal in a blank vacant.]
[Fifth row, third paper.]
Wait Wait Don't Speak Its Name
[eyes... Eyes... AAAHHH.]
Peter Sagal wakes Eldritch terror
Peter Sagal:"AAAAAAAA"
[Fifth row, fourth paper.]
Wait Wait Even For NPR This Is A Bit Much
This American Life to document the road to recovery for those who suffer the trauma of losing on Wait Wait

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The 5th Row, 3rd paper, "Wait Wait ... don't speak its name" may refer to the Lovecraftian Eldetr God Hastur, also known as "He Who is Not to be Named." Eldritch was a favorite Lovecraft word used extensively in the Cthulhu Mythos. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I think there is insufficient evidence that it's specifically Cthulhu as there are numerous supernatural beings supposedly woken by speaking their names. Just because Cthulhu is the most popular one of those doesn't mean there's sufficient indication that it's the subject of that panel. Explain xkcd: It's techbro QAnon (talk) 03:22, 18 November 2023 (UTC)
Row three, column three should be "Wait wait, dont taze me, bro" (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Is there a real kneed for this: (sic) in stories about Granny Weatherwax? I used Google News BEFORE it was clickbait (talk) 06:42, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

I guess it is impossible to find "may refer to" for all 20 headlines? because this comic pretends to be "fixed" thus not all have an explanation. -- 08:25, 4 February 2015 (UTC)

"Don't Dissect Me" reminds me of a Stephen King short story, Autopsy Room Four, from the collection Everything's Eventual. Boct1584 (talk) 14:47, 1 April 2015 (UTC)

Can we have a table for this? 22:44, 30 November 2016 (UTC)

I think that the first one implies that he is the hostage, not the gunman. Anyone else think so? 16:48, 17 January 2019 (UTC)

Yeah, I agree, Sagal's the hostage. 00:46, 21 August 2019 (UTC)

Anyone else feels that this explanation would deserve an incomplete tag? --Lupo (talk) 10:50, 18 December 2019 (UTC)

Could row 5 panel 2 be referencing the "You'll Be OK" comic (https://pbfcomics.com/comics/youll-be-ok/) by the Perry Bible Fellowship, which is one of the linked comic sites at the bottom of the xkcd page? Because the sub-heading coule read "Peter Sagal accidetanlly *OK*", if you read across to the little picture. 04:31, 21 January 2020 (UTC) Hadley

Row 3, panel 5 "cash-for-tote-bags" is almost certainly a reference to a classic Bloom County comic strip story arc in which the corrupt Senator Bedfellow is arrested for trading in black market "Bill the Cat" tote bags. I couldn't find a copy of that strip online, but it's referenced in this Bloom County wiki entry, including a picture very similar to these of a newspaper headline comic panel: https://bloomcounty.fandom.com/wiki/Senator_Bedfellow 15:43, 25 March 2023 (UTC)