Letters to Holly

Friday, November 16

Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me There's Nowhere to Eat in Asheville

It snowed yesterday but nothing stuck. Brutal cold after the Wednesday's lovely 70 degrees. Windy too.

We ate at The Noodle Shop and browsed Malaprop's before the NPR show last night. The panel was Paula Poundstone, Charlie Pierce, and Roxanne Roberts. Here's what THEY WON"T TELL YOU!

1) It lasts about 2 hours and is cut in half for broadcast.

2) They rerecord specific sentences as needed after the show. Also, Carl Kassel and Peter Segal constantly repeat their sentences if they stumble over words. This is edited out. Peter gets a smidge testy when the post-show retakes go on too long.

3) Peter warms up the crowd for about ten minutes before the show and then takes audience questions after it.

4) The edit out the really bawdy jokes. Paula said stuff I know won't make the air. Also she made surprising references to her legal trouble from a few years back.

5) The celebrity this week is Robby Benson, who now lives in the area. His interview before the "Not My Job" segment went on for about 15 minutes, and he won over the crowd with dry wit. But he used a ball joke that might not see the light of day, even though Charlie riffed on it later.

6) It's a simple set. Two podiums for Peter and Carl, a draped table for the panel and a cushy chair for the guest celeb.

7) The show begins with entrances cribbed from the Chicago Bulls including the arena PA guy and the Alan parson theme.

8 ) It's a great show this week. One segment sees Paula clueless about an Australia Santa ban on "ho ho ho," and she can't guess the answer to the question. For a good five minutes, the entire show tries to clue her in, and her inability to get it had the audience in tears.

9) The panel, seen live, comes across much sharper, much quicker with jokes to the point you wonder if it's staged.

10) Like watching sausage being made, the show loses its charm when you see it assembled. I'm still a fan, but the grandeur is gone.

We exited the theatre around 10 p.m. and discovered that everything was closed or practically vibrating from the live band playing inside. No snack date for us. I was starving and grabbed fries from McDonald's on the drive back.

Picture of the Day
The set at the Diana Wortham Theatre.


Anonymous said...

i have no idea who Robby Benson is. Even after looking him up on IMDB, i still have no clue...i'm unfamilliar with any of his work.

sorry the magic is gone, now that you've seen the man behind the curtain of npr "live" shows.

sorry my sister won't see David Sedaris with you...is he still doing Santaland Diaries in Asheville over the holidays?

Gregory said...

It's not Sedaris performing it. A local theatre has a one-man show performing his monologues. ACT usually does it, but it's moved around the theatre scene.