There are six panelists for each segment of NPR’s Says You! radio program, three on each team. But there is also a seventh panelist, said Richard Sher, the host and producer. The audience.
The show is always taped before a live audience, who will often be called upon and in general play an instrumental part in the show’s chemistry.
At a Seattle event, Mr. Sher said he even saw a man get down on one knee during the music break.
“I was worried he might be nauseous from the material,” Mr. Sher said. It turned out the man was asking his girlfriend to marry him.
For those listening at home, however, the program, which bills itself as “a radio game show of bluff and bluster, words and whimsy,” the love is mostly a one-lane highway rather than an interactive roundabout.
But this Thursday, Vineyarders get to take a peek behind the curtain when the cast of Says You! pulls into the Whaling Church for a live taping which will air on the radio in a few months. The evening begins at 7 p.m.
Says You! is now in its 19th season and is a “moveable feast,” according to Mr. Sher. Each month he and the panelists travel to a different city. This is the third time they will visit the Vineyard.
“We are in Cleveland next month, Seattle the next month, and then I don’t even know where we are going,” said Mr. Sher.
Two of the regular panelists, Arnie Reisman and Paula Lyons, now make their home year round on the Vineyard, and a third panelist Fletcher “Flash” Wiley is a summer resident. Also appearing on Thursday are Tony Kahn, Francine Achbar and Carolyn Faye Fox. Many of the panelists have been with Says You! since its inception.
Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish will be the musical guests, playing during the breaks. But as the events are somewhat orchestrated free-for-alls, Mr. Hoy and his band will most likely be brought into the mix, too.
“It’s not a free-for-all, but it’s a free-for-all,” Mr. Sher corrected enigmatically. “No mosh pits or stage rushing,” he explained.
Mr. Sher added that there is a “big difference between the live show and the radio version.”
“A lot of the material at the show never hits the air,” he said. There just isn’t time on the radio to include everything. But perhaps the biggest difference is seeing the interactions between the panelists, the host and the audience, he said.
“You don’t get to see the reactions,” Mr. Sher said of the radio. “The disbelief, the scorn, and the disrespect born of 20 years of love.”
Says You! will be taped live on Thursday, August 21, beginning at 7 p.m. at the Old Whaling Church, 89 Main street, Edgartown. For tickets, visit saysyou.net.