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Peter Sagal Takes Credit For Chance The Rapper's International Stardom

By Tanveer Ali | July 25, 2017 1:03pm
 Peter Sagal is hosting
Peter Sagal is hosting "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" at Millennium Park Thursday. The last time he hosted a show there was in 2015.
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Jerry Schulman/Wait Wait Don't Tell Me

CHICAGO — WBEZ and NPR's comedy news quiz show "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" will record Thursday at Millennium Park with the episode featuring former Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster as the guest star.

Usually taped in an auditorium in Downtown's Chase Tower, the show is recording at Pritzker Pavilion for the first time since 2015, when the venue was "literally so filled" that host Peter Sagal couldn't see the end of the crowd, he told DNAinfo Tuesday.  

In an interview before Thursday's taping, Sagal admitted that not everyone in that crowd was there as a fan of the show's nerdy, funny take on the week's news.

Before the 2015 taping, Sagal said his producers told him that Chance the Rapper would be a guest on the show. 

"I said, 'Oh great. Who's Chance the Rapper?'" Sagal remembered.

"In the two years since then, it is clear [Chance] rocketed to national and international stardom, and I decided it was my fault," Sagal said. "I introduced him to a key demographic: the middle-aged consultant."

While Sagal says he doesn't know much about hip-hop — though he wants Chance to know he wants a "3" hat — he is passionate about baseball. Thursday's show comes on the last day of the White Sox-Cubs crosstown series and will feature Dempster, who pitched for the Cubs from 2004 to 2012.

Sagal, who moved to the Chicago area in 1998, is a Red Sox fan at heart, though he has rooted for both Chicago teams to various degrees. He was initially drawn to the White Sox because he connected with fans who watched "every pitch with a sense of agony and doom."

He says watching the Cubs win the World Series in 2016 was "weird."

"It was important to not pretend to be a Cubs fan," Sagal said. "Having been through the same religious experience myself in 2004 with the Red Sox, I didn't want to cheapen it for my friends who were having that too."

An Oak Park resident, Sagal said that one of the great things about Chicago is its "amazing" neighborhoods, particularly "interesting and fun and diverse" Logan Square. 

But Chicago "is having a very segregated renaissance," Sagal said, where parts of the city are having booms in development, with new restaurants and nightlife opening, while others contend with issues of poverty and violence.

"I wish there was some way I could leverage what I do, pitched toward one Chicago, [to] help the other Chicago," Sagal said.

Thursday's taping of "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" takes place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., but organizers encourage spectators to stake their claims to the seats or on the lawn early.