- Andrew Collings, NPR
- Peter Sagal
Peter Sagal, host of NPR's famous show Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me!, will be receiving the Vonnegut Humor award during Vonnegut week in Indianapolis. Sagal has been a longtime fan of Vonnegut's. So we chatted with the famous host of the two-decade-long and 5 million listener
Peter Sagal: I was just sitting here working on my remarks for the award ceremony in a few weeks.
Sagal: I rarely do things in advance but I was thinking about stuff this morning and was like, "yeah, I'm going to write some of this stuff down."
NUVO: What were you thinking about?
Sagal: I was thinking about, oh gosh, I am trying to remember. I was starting to think this morning. Have you ever heard of a writer named Nicholson Baker?
NUVO: No. I haven't.
Sagal: I am a big fan of his. He is a contemporary author. He has been writing fun books,
I also thought about, I don't know if you have ever seen it — Kurt Vonnegut, right before he died — he did an interview with Jon Stewart. He was pretty old. It was about a year before he died at the age of 87. And he didn't have a lot to say, but Jon Stewart took this opportunity to thank Vonnegut. And he said something like ... "Thank you for letting me know when I was a young kid that I wasn't alone. That I wasn't the only person who felt like this." And I know what Stewart means or meant. I started thinking about the comfort I got from
NUVO: What book of his do you remember most vividly?
Sagal: Umm, I remember the — and I am going to talk about this — I was a big fan of science fiction when I was a teenager. And I would always go to the local bookstore, and go right to the science fiction section and look for a paperback with a
NUVO: You are getting the Vonnegut humor award. Tell me about how Vonnegut influenced you as a writer, humorist and even as a playwright?
Sagal: ... I never sat down to consciously write like Vonnegut, but certainly, there is the simplicity of his prose, which is quite famous, that had a lot of effect on me. The episodic nature of his writing — no scenes went on too long. His, I don't know how to put this, maybe his informality. Of all the great modern American authors, he is by far the most accessible. Maybe that hurt his reputation. Maybe there is that.