"Imagine a man of my stature being given away as a prize."
April 17, 2018 1:32 PM   Subscribe

NPR newscaster Carl Kasell has died at the age of 84. Kasell made his name as the steady voice of Morning Edition, then had a remarkable second act as the hilarious judge, official scorekeeper and contest prize for Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! Listen to some of the outgoing answering machine messages he left as a prize for listeners at the obituary. Peter Sagal shares his thoughts.
posted by rednikki (77 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
 
Alas, I have always wanted his voice on my phone answering machine. RIP
posted by slogger at 1:34 PM on April 17 [15 favorites]


I don't often cry over a notable figure dying, but I don't seem to be able to stop with this one. Carl Kasell was the steady voice I listened to during so many distressing world events in my 20s; then he became the voice that made me laugh through dark times with Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me. Peter Sagal has been retweeting many tributes to Kasell, and it's a wonderful way to remember him.
posted by rednikki at 1:35 PM on April 17 [17 favorites]


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posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 1:35 PM on April 17


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Oh, and, fuck Alzheimers.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:36 PM on April 17 [10 favorites]


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posted by scottcal at 1:45 PM on April 17


Came for the answering machine joke and was not disappointed.

I loved Carl on Wait Wait, especially whenever he would read a quote for one of the games in his sassy/naughty voice. It was quite extraordinary and regularly cracked me up. It helped that he sounded like he was having the time of his life.
posted by Alison at 1:45 PM on April 17 [5 favorites]


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posted by Akhu at 1:50 PM on April 17


Aw, man. He and Peter Sagal got me to laugh through tears more than a couple times. Thanks for everything *
posted by Bacon Bit at 2:02 PM on April 17 [2 favorites]


A life well-lived!

I've yet to hear one of his messages in the wild. Some of them are archived here and here.
posted by waninggibbon at 2:03 PM on April 17


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I had won Carl's voice as a WWDTM contestant in 2000 and had it as the outgoing message on my answering machine, until I got remarried and the message didn't fit anymore. So sad.
posted by AzraelBrown at 2:05 PM on April 17 [15 favorites]


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posted by Lesser Spotted Potoroo at 2:10 PM on April 17


This is so sad. I met Carl several times when I was an intern at NPR a few years ago. He was very much the elder statesman of the place, though he had some memory issues that were coming to the fore. When he retired from Wait Wait in 2014, there was a live show at the Lincoln Theater where everyone received a tote bag with his face screen-printed on it. Mine wore out long ago, unfortunately, or I would carry it tomorrow.
posted by tooloudinhere at 2:14 PM on April 17 [13 favorites]


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One of the few regrets I have about my divorce is no longer being able to use the message Carl recorded. I still have the CD somewhere.
posted by Flannery Culp at 2:19 PM on April 17 [7 favorites]


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I am one of the multitudes who grew up listening to Carl every morning as the host of Morning Edition, and who was delighted to rediscover that voice from my childhood when I discovered Wait Wait Don't Tell Me.

Incidentally my husband, who is not American and did not grow up with NPR is the biggest WWDTM junkie in our house. He also sends a

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posted by telepanda at 2:19 PM on April 17 [5 favorites]


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posted by buffalo at 2:21 PM on April 17


My favorite Wait, Wait moment of all time is Carl Kasell doing an impression of a ray gun (at about 2:15 in the clip).

They were doing semi-regular trips to air live shows at UNC (as a sort of homecoming for Carl), but it was usually over the summer when I was off campus, and I was always disappointed that I never got to see him do the show.

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posted by damayanti at 2:21 PM on April 17 [3 favorites]


I am so sad about this. I caught a glimpse of him in the crowd year before last at a Wait Wait taping at Wolf Trap (Vienna, Virginia). Peter Sagal acknowledged him from the stage. We all applauded.

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posted by apartment dweller at 2:24 PM on April 17


Sadness. Now i'll never get his voice on my answering machine


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posted by OHenryPacey at 2:39 PM on April 17


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posted by metaquarry at 2:48 PM on April 17


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posted by lalochezia at 2:49 PM on April 17


Peter Sagal has written a remembrance.
posted by rednikki at 3:02 PM on April 17 [4 favorites]


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posted by tilde at 3:28 PM on April 17


We attended a taping of WWDTM here in Boston around 20 years ago(!), when Carl was still in fine fettle, and he wandered around through the audience with his mic as he read the limericks and did his other announcing jobs. I think people were more excited to see him than anyone else on the show that evening (IIRC, Roy Blount, Paula Poundstone and Adam Felber were the panelists and the Magliozzi brothers were special guests). Though I like Bill Kurtis on the show now quite a bit, Carl was The Original Article. Rest well, sir.
posted by briank at 3:31 PM on April 17 [2 favorites]


This is sad. Thanks, Carl.
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posted by theora55 at 3:33 PM on April 17


There once was a fellow named Kasell,
whose voice was both stolid and gracile.
Then he made a left turn,
many laughs did he earn,
and I think we will miss him a passel.
posted by leotrotsky at 3:41 PM on April 17 [24 favorites]


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posted by Quackles at 3:44 PM on April 17 [1 favorite]


Ugh, Alzheimers. I loved hearing his voice on the radio.

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posted by bunderful at 3:49 PM on April 17


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posted by JoeXIII007 at 3:49 PM on April 17


My wife's fondness for Wait, Wait and for Kasell in particular got me listening, which led me to a deep and abiding appreciation of limericks in recent years. Silly limerick-writing is now a "bored during meetings," "congested commute," and "can't sleep" pasttime of mine, thanks to him. A few of you who have received MeFi Card Club mailings from me have enjoyed the dubious fruits of my hobby.

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posted by duffell at 3:50 PM on April 17 [1 favorite]


Now I need that dig up the tape (!) with Carl Kasell’s voice on it for my answering machine. Like a few others upthread I won it as a prize on WWDTM and when my marital status changed, I stopped using it.

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posted by 41swans at 4:02 PM on April 17 [3 favorites]


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posted by Fizz at 4:11 PM on April 17


He gave Wait, Wait listeners a hassle
But no one with quite as much class'll
Answer your phone
With a sweet baritone
As the late, beloved Carl ______.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 4:16 PM on April 17 [36 favorites]


What a unique, wonderful, voice...

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posted by BlahLaLa at 4:25 PM on April 17


mellifluous .
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posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 4:33 PM on April 17


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It’s too bad a lot of the audio recordings people are linking to have been removed. Not sure why they were. Hope they come back.
posted by greermahoney at 4:35 PM on April 17


Kasell donated to the student non-profit I ran in college, even though by then it had degenerated from a training ground for Journalists of the Future to a breeding ground for YouTubers of the Future. Carl, if any part of you is still out there, rest assured that we used your generous donation to purchase a new hand-held microphone for vox pop interviews and NOT grain alcohol.

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posted by ivanthenotsoterrible at 6:02 PM on April 17


I actually did win his voice for my home answering machine... well, cell phone voicemail, anyway. This news makes me very sad.

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posted by nothing as something as one at 9:12 PM on April 17


Related fanfic: Wait Wait Don't Eat Me by Nestra - WWDTM during the zombie apocalypse.

"We're going to be cutting our show a little short today, because, as you may have heard, there's an apocalypse happening! But we didn't let the election of Barack Obama stop us, and we're not going to let the zombie hordes stop us either."

(NPR enjoyed it.)
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 9:25 PM on April 17 [5 favorites]


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posted by eclectist at 2:04 AM on April 18


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posted by Gelatin at 2:07 AM on April 18


Oh, man, oh, man, oh, man. We act as if we feel the voices who are touchstones in our lives should be immortal. And yet Death is written over all. Life is so precious and so short.
posted by y2karl at 2:23 AM on April 18 [3 favorites]


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posted by james33 at 4:44 AM on April 18


Mourning Addition
posted by filtergik at 4:46 AM on April 18 [4 favorites]


I've been a WWDT listener for years, but I always just assumed that it would be too much of a logistical mess to record and send customized greetings for winning contestants. I figured that they just got a canned recording. It never occurred to me to verify this assumption. Now that I finally know the truth, maybe I'll actually try to be a contestant--even if I just a recording by a cast member of my choice, not Carl.

And

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posted by tippiedog at 7:30 AM on April 18


I grew up hearing his voice on Morning Edition and I remember making a point of tuning in to his last newscast. Doesn't seem that long ago.

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posted by HiddenInput at 9:05 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


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posted by koucha at 10:00 AM on April 18


On the one hand, he went quickly; going from a national radio gig to dead in four years. On the other, four years of living within a deteriorating mind has got to be awful. I really only knew him from listening to Wait Wait, but he was a legend. The "pew pew" bit, mentioned above, was a classic. Unfortunately Trump has pretty much sucked all the air out of the Wait Wait room, much like the megathread in Metafilter.
posted by wnissen at 11:44 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


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posted by flatluigi at 3:59 PM on April 23


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