A bit later than I expected (the annual conference was a series of 15-hour days, and I’m only today feeling back to myself), here’s my personal report from Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me. (There’s a professional one as well, which you can certainly find, although I’m not eager to put the trackback on it, so I’m not going to link.)
A fracquaintance* of mine, Don Hall, is house manager for the show, and he led the work entourage that I was part of down to the green room. This is fortunate, not so much because he’s the only one who possibly could have, but because at work I had boasted that I had an in at the show, so even if our understanding of the arrangements were wrong (a possibility — things came together pretty last-minute and without a whole lot of details) he’d still get us in.
The cast all shared a green room, which I really should have expected, but for some reason I thought they’d each have dressing rooms. This isn’t an intelligent thing to expect, and I won’t in the future.
There’s not much to say about the interviews. They went fine, they’re what I needed to do, they’ll go over good with my audience, yadda yadda.
After the interviewing, we got to stay for the show itself, which was terrific. (They had plenty of material—both Michael Jackson’s death and Sarah Palin’s resignation—although the topics fortunately ranged a bit farther than that.)
My favorite moment, however, was before the show. There were three categories of seating: Reserved (as in, the seats had names on them), VIP (a general seating area, but up front—people had to pay an extra couple bucks to get those tickets) and general. A couple people with VIP tickets opted to sit in the reserved section. Don pointed out the names on the seats and moved them to the VIP section, coincidentally a few seats from where I was.
Those people spent the next ten or fifteen minutes complaining about their treatment (to themselves; Don was no doubt busy, or at least had the good sense to let them be). One of the reserved seats that they had vacated was soon filled. The other one, however, stayed open until just before the show started.
When Don filled it with… a kid of about 12.
I don’t know if the kid was legitimately the one the seat was reserved for, or if he put the kid there just to mess with the people who were complaining, or if it was just a coincidence because the kid had the last ticket and that was the last seat, but whatever it was, it was good.
* “Friend” is probably a bit strong to describe our relationship—we don’t know each other that well, or have each other’s phone numbers, or barbeque together. But “acquaintance” has sort of a negative connotation, like someone you know, don’t like, but have to deal with. And that’s not true. We’re on perfectly good terms, just not extraordinarily familiar ones. I use the word that I did because, well, I like new words, and also because I’m obviously on the bleeding edge of culture.