Paula Poundstone was one of the guests on the Friday night edition of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Stephen Colbert has been on Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! as a guest twice and is a very regular listener to the show, he brought up the topic of Wait Wait with Paula. The Wait Wait talk starts at the 3:29 mark in the video below:
Paula said that she didn’t know how many times she has been on the show and Colbert said that his research department noted that she has been on 201 times. Paula then mentioned that I keep stats on everything Wait Wait. She also states that she holds the record for losses on Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me.
Looking at the panelist stats, for the show data that I have recorded, Paula does hold the honor of coming in third place the most number of times, 87. That said, of the regular panelists on Wait Wait, P.J. O’Rourke holds the honor of having the highest percentage of appearances in which he came in third, at 46.43% of the time versus Paula’s 43.28% of the time.
If you widen the scope and include times in which panelists lost by not coming in first place or tied for first place at the end of the Lightning Fill-in-the-Blank round, the numbers do look better for Paula Poundstone with a split of coming in first or tied for first 23.39% of the time and not coming in first or tied for first 76.61% of the time. P.J. O’Rourke fairs a little worse with a split of 19.05% and 80.95% respectively.
Adding in panelists that have appeared on the show at least 25 times, Alonzo Bodden (20.00% / 80.00%), Brian Babylon (17.78% / 83.23%) and Paul Provenza (20.58% / 79.40%) have had a bit worse of a record compared to Paula Poundstone.
So, there is a little bit of a silver lining for Paula Poundstone’s record on Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!