This post is several days late, but…
I have been an avid fan of NPR’s Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! for several years, I had a chance to go to a recording session when they visited Portland, Oregon last Thursday. All I can say is that you miss out on a lot of the antics of the panelists and the interaction with the audience. Much of this is due to the fact that they can only squeeze in so much into about 50 minutes when they broadcast the show.
For instance, the first listener round of questions lasted about 3 times longer than what was broadcasted, but what was cut out was just as interesting as the news items themselves. Then there was a bit about the Ficus tree that was on stage, which Peter had some fun with. Another piece that was completely cut out was the 1-2 minutes that Roy Blount, Jr. spent trying to come up with an answer to the first Lightning Fill in the Blank question. Instead, the broadcasted version used an edited version of his answer (which was recorded after the main show was recorded); which leads to the question: who has the recorded for the longest time required to answer a question during a live recording, Roy Blount, Jr. or Mo Rocca?
Long story short, if you like the show, I urge you to attend a live recording of the show if and whenever you get a chance. While the majority of the shows are recorded in Chicago, but they do visit other cities throughout the year.