Carl Kasell, the official judge and scorekeeper of NPR’s Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!, will call it a career this spring, the 79-year-old radio personality and NPR announced Tuesday.
Kasel spent three decades as a news reader for NPR’s Morning Edition, a resume that only made it that much funnier when listeners would tune in to Wait Wait and hear him read fill-in-the-blank limericks or any of the other number of outlandish things that found themselves in the show’s scripts. “He was the voice people woke up to,” Eric Nuzum, NPR’s vice president for programming, told staff in a memo. “They opened their eyes, and for 30 years, he was there, reassuring them the world was still in one piece. In 1998 he was recruited to provide gravitas to NPR’s new news-quiz, where his title, Official Judge and Scorekeeper, belied his key role as the show’s straight man. Carl delighted in the role, and we all know the audience delighted in him.”
According to the Chicago Tribune, Kasell will become Scorekeeper Emeritus upon his retirement later this year, making occasional appearances and continuing to record voice-mail or answering-machine greetings for those callers who win one of the show’s contests. According to NPR, Wait Wait is planning farewell shows in Chicago and Washington, D.C., in between now and when Kasell officially hangs up his mic sometime “this spring.”