Oct 092013

In this episode of the Wait Wait… In June 2012, Nik Wallenda — of the great Wallenda Family circus dynasty — walked across Niagara Falls on a tightrope. On June 23, he plans to cross the Grand Canyon the same way. Wallenda has also recently written a memoir called Balance: Christian Faith and Miraculous Results.

Wallenda’s job requires great precision and care. Other people’s jobs? Not so much. We’ve invited Wallenda to play a game called “Whoops!” Three examples of extreme clumsiness, stupidity or both, taken from an annual compilation of odd workers’ comp claims put together by lawyer Thomas Robinson.

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And now the game where we ask people with extraordinary talents do something that makes no use of those talents whatsoever. So almost exactly one year ago, Nik Wallenda, part of the great Wallenda family circus dynasty, walked across Niagra Falls on a tightrope on Live TV. He must have missed the ferry, I don’t know.


SAGAL: He has a new memoir out called “Balance,” and in just two weeks or so he will attempt to cross the Grand Canyon on a tightrope. Nik Wallenda, welcome to WAIT WAIT…DON’T TELL ME!


SAGAL: You know, there are easier ways to get places, Nik.

NIK WALLENDA: I was thinking there were easier ways to get a round of applause.


SAGAL: So let’s do a little bit of your background, and then we really want to talk to you about this Grand Canyon thing you’re planning. So you are the great-grandson of Karl Wallenda, the famous aerialist, the head of the Flying Wallendas, right?

WALLENDA: That’s correct. Actually my family started performing back in the 1780s, so over 200 years now we’ve been performing, and I’m now the seventh generation carrying on that illustrious industry.

SAGAL: Right, yeah, of circus work. And you…

WALLENDA: Of wearing spangles.



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