'Wait, Wait … Don't Tell Me' live show continues at Millennium Park — true or false?

“Wait, Wait … Don’t Tell Me” is stepping out of the Chase Auditorium in favor of Millennium Park on Thursday for a live show.

On this, their 20th anniversary year, host Peter Sagal will be joined by panelists comedian/writer/director Bobcat Goldthwait, syndicated advice columnist Amy Dickinson (whose “Ask Amy” column appears in the Tribune) and Peter Grosz (the Second City alum and writer of “Veep” and “Late Night with Seth Meyers”), as well as special guest Jeff Tweedy.

The news quiz show that challenges minds on what’s real news and what’s not will bring out the masses, Sagal said. We chatted with Sagal and created quiz questions from the conversation for you, the reading audience, to see if we could stump you.

Q: This outside event is the first of its kind at Millennium Park. True or false?

False. “We have been doing shows at Millennium Park on and off since it opened — we were part of the opening weekend way back when,” Sagal said. “But the last few years we’ve been trying to do a park show every year. In fact, it’s become sort of the centerpiece of our year.”

Q: Sagal said this warms the cockles of his heart:

A) A nice batch of chocolate chip cookies.

B) President Donald Trump not tweeting for an entire week.

C) Fans of the show admitting they grew up listening to the show with their parents.

The answer is C. “We’ve been doing this show for 20 years and public radio listeners are very, very loyal. People literally say to me, ‘I grew up with you.’ Their parents started listening when they were small children and now they’re adults. This warms the cockles of my heart. A lot of times, a young person will say ‘I grew up listening to the show with my dad and so for Fathers Day, I bought him tickets to the show and here we are (or with their mom), and I love that.”

Q: Three years ago, the show had a well-known musical guest on. Was it A) Jamila Woods, B) Chance the Rapper or C) Childish Gambino?

If you guessed B, you are correct. In 2015, Sagal said Chance the Rapper was on the show. “About 20,000 people came to see us, which was amazing. We’d like to think we discovered him. You might not get him to admit that, but I think it.”

Q: According to Sagal, the “secret sauce to the show” is the fact that the panelists and guest like each other. True or false?

True. Sagal said finding personable, funny, quick and knowledgeable guests and panelists doesn’t hinge on a specific algorithm. It’s a bit tricky, because one has to “be a part of a really loose, improvisational environment, one that has rules. Over the years, we’ve accumulated people who are really, really good at it,” he said. “But the most important thing, frankly, is that we all really like each other. One of the things that I tell everybody, if they’re about to be on our show for the first time as a guest or a member of the panel is the more fun we have, the more fun our audience has and if we really enjoy each other and the conversation we’re having and what’s going on, then our audience will. That’s really the criteria.”

Q: Back in the day, people would say they came to Chicago for a convention or a wedding and thought getting tickets to the show was a good addition to their stay. How has that changed?

A) Now people come for the food and stop over to see a taping.

B) Now people come to Illinois to see Abraham Lincoln’s home, former President Barack Obama’s residence, and the boyhood home of the late President Ronald Reagan and then leave for sunnier pastures.

C) Now people fly in to see the show and watch “Hamilton” and then leave.

If you guessed C, you are right. Per Sagal, “People fly in to see us all the time. We meet people after every show that we do at the Chase Auditorium and I always ask, ‘Where are you from,’ and they say from wherever: Boise, Hawaii, California. And I ask, ‘What brings you to Chicago?’ Years ago the answer used to be, ‘Oh I’m in town for a convention or in town for a wedding and thought I’d get tickets to your show.’ Nowadays, 99 percent of them say we’re here for you. People plan trips to Chicago to see our show, which is extraordinarily gratifying. They see us, and they see ‘Hamilton’ and then they go home. And that’s great.”

Q: Sometimes the show books a guest or a panelist and there’s the sound of crickets when they respond because they’re so dry others can’t riff off them. True or false?

True. “We’ve had that problem, but it’s hard to tell because we just edit around them,” Sagal said. “One of the things that happens in terms of special guests (and it weirdly happens with really funny people) is really funny people don’t like being funny on demand. It’s almost as if they think, ‘No that’s something I do for a living, I’m not going to sit here and be funny for you.’ So sometimes, it’s very surprising, the flip side of that is when we get people on who you didn’t expect to be funny and they’re delightful. For example, when singer Neko Case came on our show and people still talk about it, but she was funny. I go back even further with Madeleine Albright, when she was a special guest — she was really funny. I love it when very serious people come on our show and reveal a side of themselves that they don’t normally.”

The live show of “Wait, Wait … Don’t Tell Me” is 7 p.m. Thursday at Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph Street. Seating and space is free and first come, first served. Past events have reached capacity.

drockett@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @DarcelTribune

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