Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! is an hour-long current events game show produced by Chicago Public Radio and broadcast nationally through NPR. Airing on weekends, the series is hosted by Peter Sagal and features scorekeeper/judge/announcer Bill Kurtis. Weekly panelists include authors, political columnists, and entertainers, including Roy Blount Jr., Paula Poundstone, and Mo Rocca. The program is broken up into a series of games, some just for the panelists, while others feature call-in contestants and guests.
One weekly game is "Lightning Fill in the Blank," about a random current event, which in the September 23, 2006 broadcast, featured Tickle Me Elmo as the answer, in connection with the recent sales of TMX Elmo. The following week, September 30, both Elmo and Kevin Clash were heard, phoning in for the twelve minute segment "Not My Job," in which a celebrity guest takes a multiple choice quiz on a subject outside of their profession. Elmo and Clash answered questions about Bill O'Reilly and a recent expose of his practices in GQ. Elmo also took the opportunity to criticize the program's name ("What kind of title is Wait Wait?") When host Sagal asked Elmo a question about the TMX Elmo, Clash pointed out that Elmo is just a 3 year old monster who lives on Sesame Street, with no awareness of his ubiquitous presence on best-selling children's toys. The segment closed with a sample from "Elmo's Song."
Frank Oz was the call-in guest on the September 12, 2015 show. He discussed his first job working at Children's Fairyland at Lake Merritt in Oakland, California, and starting to work with Jim Henson as a puppeteer at 19. Praising his work on Sesame Street, Sagal declared, "they say that your favorite Beatle determines who you are. No, it's what you prefer, Bert or Ernie," adding that he was always a Bert fan. When the topic of their sexuality came up, Oz countered with Abbott and Costello, to which panelist Faith Salie confirmed, "Gay." Oz also addressed the controversy of Cookie Monster becoming the Veggie Monster, which he called bogus and ridiculous, and described the sketch with Guy Smiley that inspired a cookie-obsessed character (which was actually Beautiful Day Monster in The Mr. and Mrs. Game, and not the puppet which would become Cookie Monster).
Later in the show, after Oz was no longer on the phone, the panelists fielded a question about a cat study that resulted in a discussion about which pets are best to own:
- FAITH SALIE: I am about Muppets and that's it.
- SAGAL: Right.
- POUNDSTONE: Yeah, yeah, and they're easier to care for.
- SAGAL: That's because they have no bottom half.
- POUNDSTONE: Yeah, what are the odds of Frank Oz having a little accident in your living room?
- POUNDSTONE: No, Frank - outside, outside.
- SAGAL: I bet he'd do a voice then.
- POUNDSTONE: Me no poop on rug.
- POUNDSTONE: Me want privacy.