Encore

Sep 1, 2017

With the help of the Ask Me Another audience, house musician Jonathan Coulton leads a music game that turns Queen's classic We Will Rock You into an ode to famous rocks. Then contestants compete in a ménage à trois-themed final round.

Heard On AMA Favorites: Sex, Drugs, And Rock 'N' Roll Edition

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JONATHAN COULTON: You're listening to ASK ME ANOTHER From NPR and WNYC. I'm Jonathan Coulton, and I'm here in the studio with your host, Ophira Eisenberg.

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

And this week, we're dusting off our Zippo lighters to revisit some of our favorite sex-drugs-and-rock-'n'-roll-themed games.

COULTON: And this next game really rocks for two reasons. One, it is a parody of Queen's "We Will Rock You." And two, well, it is actually about famous frocks. So there you go. Puzzle guru John Chaneski and our audience helped us recreate some of the song's, shall I say, boulder moments. And that's spelled B-O-U-L-D-E-R.

EISENBERG: Yes.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

EISENBERG: Here are our next two contestants. We have Eric Linn and Chuck Petruccione.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: We are very happy to have you. Let me ask you this, Eric. How do you feel about the band Queen?

ERIC LINN: They're the king.

EISENBERG: Good answer.

LINN: Nice.

EISENBERG: I like the way you think. Chuck, how do you feel about the song "We Will Rock You"?

CHUCK PETRUCCIONE: What a great song they had there, Queen, "Will Rock You."

EISENBERG: Yeah.

PETRUCCIONE: Yes. They rocked me.

EISENBERG: Did they rock you? Well, you're about to be rocked. And we hope the listeners at home especially love it because after this next game, you won't be able to get it out of your head for at least a week. Apologies in advance. Jonathan, are you ready?

COULTON: I believe I am. For this number, I'm going to need some assistance from the studio audience. So if you could provide the foot stomping and clapping. Not - just hold on.

JOHN CHANESKI, BYLINE: Maybe we should get somebody else.

COULTON: I know.

EISENBERG: Not just random foot stomping and clapping?

COULTON: Very exciting. Not just shuffling, noisy stomping and clapping. We're looking for a very specific stomp, stomp, clap that is in the song. If you are listening at home and you're in your kitchen, feel free to stomp along. If you are listening in the car, I would not recommend stomping your feet.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: The way this is going to work is I'm going to sing "We Will Rock You" with some reworked lyrics. And embedded in those lyrics are clues about a famous rock.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: There are only a few of them in the world, but they're famous rocks.

EISENBERG: There's seven, as it turns out. There's seven.

COULTON: Yes, that's right. So ring in after the last line and tell us which rock we are talking about. Are you ready?

LINN: Yes.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Eric and Chuck look so serious right now.

COULTON: Yeah, this is serious business.

EISENBERG: I understand.

COULTON: This is Queen.

EISENBERG: I understand. (Laughter) This is Queen.

COULTON: OK. Are you ready, audience?

(SOUNDBITE OF STOMPING AND CLAPPING)

COULTON: (Singing) Buddy, you're a block in a castle, sitting on a wall in the south end of Ireland. You get kissed on your face, you big disgrace, spreading that gab all over the place.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

LINN: Blarney.

COULTON: That is correct. Well...

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Yup.

LINN: Oh, stone. Blarney Stone, yes.

EISENBERG: There you go.

COULTON: I know you were talking about a kind of rock because, otherwise...

EISENBERG: (Laughter) Blarney rock.

COULTON: Oh, boy.

(SOUNDBITE OF STOMPING AND CLAPPING)

COULTON: (Singing) Buddy, you're a rock in the Northeast by the rough seaside named for an English town. You got a year on your face, you big disgrace. Pilgrims settled right next to your base.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Chuck.

PETRUCCIONE: Plymouth Rock.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: You got it.

COULTON: (Laughter) I just want to point out that all of the rocks in this game are a big disgrace.

EISENBERG: They are, really.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: They're disgusting.

COULTON: They're disgusting rocks. Shame on them.

EISENBERG: (Laughter).

(SOUNDBITE OF STOMPING AND CLAPPING)

COULTON: (Singing) Buddy, you're an old stone, black stone, found you in Egypt, and you shook up the world that day. Hieroglyphs on your face, you big disgrace, used by linguists all over the place.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

PETRUCCIONE: The Rosetta Stone.

(CHEERING)

PETRUCCIONE: We both had it on the tip of our tongues.

COULTON: Yeah. I could see you guys struggling.

PETRUCCIONE: Yeah.

COULTON: You were both thrashing around like you knew it.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Eric, I thought you were going to punch him or something.

(SOUNDBITE OF STOMPING AND CLAPPING)

COULTON: (Singing) Buddy, you're a big group of boulders standing in the roundabout, fifty centuries old. The sun pokes through your space, you big disgrace. Druids run around you, looking for mates.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Not an actual rhyme at the end there.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Eric.

LINN: Stonehenge.

EISENBERG: Yes.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: Buddy, you're a rock in the Black Hills carved with dynamite. And you're in a famous Hitchcock scene. Four guys on your face, you big disgrace. I guess South Dakota's not such a dull place.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Eric.

LINN: Mount Rushmore.

EISENBERG: That is correct.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: (Singing) Buddy, you're a rock, a funny rock playing "SNL," going to be a big star someday. Hold the mic to your face, you big disgrace. Doing your stand-up all over the place.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

CHANESKI: I think it was Eric.

PETRUCCIONE: I got the double buzz.

EISENBERG: Yeah, Chuck.

PETRUCCIONE: Chris Rock.

CHANESKI: Chris Rock is right.

(APPLAUSE)

CHANESKI: We have a tie.

(CHEERING)

CHANESKI: That means we go to the tie-breaker, and that's me. Here we go. Answer this question. Queen Elizabeth II has a very expensive set of rocks called the crown jewels. In what notorious British fortress are the crown jewels kept for safekeeping?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

CHANESKI: Eric.

LINN: Tower of London?

CHANESKI: Tower of London is correct.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: All right. Just by a hair, Eric, you'll be moving on to our final round at the end of show. Thank you so much. You guys were fantastic.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TURN TO STONE")

ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA: (Singing) I turn to stone when you are gone. I turn to stone.

COULTON: Hey, Ophira, did you know that Queen wrote "We Will Rock You" as a tribute to their fans?

EISENBERG: Really?

COULTON: Yeah. One night, the crowd was singing along to every song so loudly, the band couldn't even hear its own instruments, which is actually kind of annoying (laughter).

EISENBERG: Yeah.

COULTON: But they were very inspired by the chanting. And they wanted to incorporate it into their songs.

EISENBERG: Oh, sort of like a payback to the audience on a couple levels.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Yeah, that's right.

EISENBERG: It's pretty cool. But, you know, not all songs have these grand origins. Our next game is inspired by Def Leppard's hit "Pour Some Sugar On Me."

COULTON: Yeah. I always thought that was a metaphor for sex.

EISENBERG: No, it's actually very literal. Legend has it that the band's producer asked lead singer Joe Elliott if you wanted one lump of sugar in his tea or two, to which Joe replied, just pour some sugar on me.

COULTON: You know, that is maybe the least rock 'n' roll thing I've ever heard.

EISENBERG: I know. But the tea was licorice tea, so it was dark.

COULTON: Oh, that's pretty rocking.

EISENBERG: Yeah, it's cool.

COULTON: Well let's hear the clip.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

EISENBERG: Paige St. Onge, you're a preschool teacher?

PAIGE ST ONGE: I am, yeah.

EISENBERG: So what is the best way to talk to little kids?

ST ONGE: Mostly to let them do the talking.

EISENBERG: Yeah.

ST ONGE: They say hilarious things.

EISENBERG: Can you give me an example of said hilarious things?

ST ONGE: Well, we have one girl who thinks she can speak Icelandic in our class.

(LAUGHTER)

ST ONGE: And she can't.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: How does she come up with this idea?

ST ONGE: No idea at all. You ask her to tell you a story or say something in Icelandic, and she says, oh, I have to research it first.

(LAUGHTER)

ST ONGE: And she finally came in and just kept saying, like, kaannos (ph) over and over again.

EISENBERG: That is adorable. All right. And Jesse Castellanos, you have successfully completed ice cream exposure therapy.

JESSE CASTELLANOS: To my crazy college years, I worked in an ice cream parlor. And the job was great, but it got quite stressful at times. And by the end of it, I was so done with ice cream.

EISENBERG: What are the terrible things that happen that create - at an ice cream shop that made it so stressful?

CASTELLANOS: Oh...

EISENBERG: Like, we're out of mint? Like, what happens?

CASTELLANOS: Well, yeah. I mean, like, the place I worked at was quite popular. There were regularly, like, lines around the block in this small suburban town.

EISENBERG: Ah, speed.

CASTELLANOS: Yes, speed was important. Also, blood everywhere. The blood gets everywhere all the time because there's - in the ice cream cylinders...

EISENBERG: (Laughter) I had no idea ice cream...

COULTON: The story's about to get really dark.

CASTELLANOS: The rings that are the top of containers - they get loose all the time. And they're, like, very hazardous.

EISENBERG: Oh, so everyone's ice cream has a little bit of blood in it.

(LAUGHTER)

CASTELLANOS: Maybe.

EISENBERG: Yeah, sounds like it.

CASTELLANOS: A little trade secret I'm letting you in on.

EISENBERG: Oh, my God. Now I'm going to need post-ice-cream-talk exposure therapy.

CASTELLANOS: (Laughter).

EISENBERG: This game is inspired by Def Leppard, particularly the song "Pour Some Sugar On Me."

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: So in this game, you are going to pretend to be various inanimate objects, OK? Your motivation is you want something poured on you.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Jonathan Coulton, would you like to give us an example?

COULTON: I would love to give an example. It sounds like a complicated game.

EISENBERG: (Laughter).

COULTON: This will help to explain it. If I said, hey, bland food, should I spice you up by grabbing that shaker filled with black granules next to the salt, you would sing (singing) pour some pepper on me.

EISENBERG: So, yes, you must sing your answer if you want the point. Buzz in when you know the answer. And the winner will move on to our final round at the end of the show. Here we go.

Hey, pastrami on rye. Do you want me to spice you up with this yellow or brown condiment made by French's?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Jesse.

CASTELLANOS: (Singing) Pour some mustard on me.

EISENBERG: Yeah.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Kind of sexy.

COULTON: Yeah.

EISENBERG: A little bit of a sexy thing there, Jesse.

COULTON: Yeah. Sultry - very sultry.

Hey, tomato juice. I'm making a bloody mary. Should I mix in some clear alcohol made from fermented grains or potatoes?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Jesse.

CASTELLANOS: (Singing) Pour some vodka on me.

COULTON: Yeah, absolutely...

EISENBERG: Yeah. That's all of our inner monologues.

COULTON: ...When you ask like that.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Hey, tongue. Should I kill some of your smelly germs with this minty, breath-freshening liquid?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Paige.

ST ONGE: (Singing) Pour some mouthwash on me.

EISENBERG: Yeah.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: I want to start more sentences - hey, tongue.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Hey, eggnog. Want me to top you with a spice made from the seeds of an evergreen tree native to Indonesia?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Paige.

ST ONGE: (Singing) Pour some cinnamon on me.

COULTON: No, I'm sorry. It's not cinnamon. Jesse, do you know the answer?

CASTELLANOS: (Singing) Pour some minty fresh...

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Let me stop you right there. No, that's incorrect.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Does anybody know the answer?

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: Nutmeg.

COULTON: Nutmeg is what we were looking for, and that's fine.

EISENBERG: Hey, upset stomach, want me to soothe you with this thick, pink, name-brand liquid?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Paige.

ST ONGE: (Singing) Pour some Pepto-Bismol on me (laughter).

EISENBERG: Yeah. That's right.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: All right. This is your last clue.

COULTON: Hey, prepped driveway's surface, ready for some composite building material made from fluid cement?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Jesse.

CASTELLANOS: (Singing) Pour some asphalt on me.

COULTON: No, I'm sorry. It is not asphalt. Do you know the answer, Paige?

ST ONGE: (Singing) Pour some concrete on me.

COULTON: Yeah, you got it.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Let's go to our puzzle guru Art Chung. Art, how did our contestants do?

ART CHUNG: They both did great. Congratulations to Paige. You're moving on to the final round at the end of the show.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: (Singing) A scrub is a guy that thinks he's fly who's also known as a buster. Always talking about what he wants and just sits on his broke ass. So no, I don't want your number. No, I don't want to give you mine. And no, I don't want to meet you nowhere. No, don't want none of your time. And no, I don't want no scrub. A scrub is a guy that can't get no love from me. Hanging out the passenger side of his best friend's ride trying to holler at me.

I don't want no scrub. A scrub is a guy that can't get no love from me, hanging out the passenger side of his best friend's ride trying to holler at me.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Jonathan Coulton, everybody.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: So we've talked a lot about the trio sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. But let's be honest, I don't have time for any of those things anymore.

COULTON: Yeah, me either. You know what my hedonistic trio would be?

EISENBERG: What?

COULTON: A firm handshake, a bowl of Ramen and a nap.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) Oh, that's perfect.

COULTON: (Laughter) Sounds good.

EISENBERG: A perfect chronology. I've actually got it down to two. It's just vodka on the rocks and replying to email.

COULTON: Oh, yeah. That keeps it nice and easy.

EISENBERG: Friday night.

COULTON: Yeah. Fittingly, our final round today is called Menage A Trois. Because this is a compilation episode, the contestants you're about to hear are not the ones who have played all previous games.

EISENBERG: Alert.

COULTON: Do not panic. Take a listen.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

EISENBERG: Now it's time to crown our big winner. Let's bring back our finalists Nathan Naimark, who has his own theme song that sounds suspiciously similar to "The Flintstones" theme song, and Janet Wong, who does the same thing every morning and always puts her right pant leg on first.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Puzzle guru Art Chung, take it away.

CHUNG: Thanks, Ophira. Janet and Nathan, your final round is called Menage A Trois. Each question is about a group of three members. I'll name each individual member and you tell me their collective name. So for example, if I said Larry, Moe and Curly, you'd say The Three Stooges. We're going to play this round like a penalty shoot-out. You'll each get the same number of questions.

The contestant who scores the most points will be our big winner. Here we go. Janet, Kelly Rowland, Michelle Williams and Beyonce Knowles.

JANET WONG: Destiny's Child.

CHUNG: That is correct.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

CHUNG: Nathan, "International Man Of Mystery," "The Spy Who Shagged Me," "Goldmember."

NATHAN NAIMARK: Austin Powers movies?

CHUNG: That's the "Austin Powers" trilogy.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

CHUNG: Janet, "Diary," "The Edge Of Reason," "Baby."

WONG: "Bridget Jones" movies.

CHUNG: That is correct.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

CHUNG: Nathan, from an Alexandre Dumas novel, Porthos, Athos and Aramis. Three seconds. Any guesses?

(SOUNDBITE OF BUZZER)

CHUNG: Those were the three Musketeers. Janet, from a McG movie, agents played by Lucy Liu, Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz.

WONG: Charlie's Angels.

CHUNG: That is correct.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

CHUNG: Nathan, Blossom, Bubbles, Buttercup.

NAIMARK: Powerpuff Girls.

CHUNG: Those are Powerpuff Girls, correct.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL, LAUGHTER)

CHUNG: Now we know your wheel house.

(LAUGHTER)

CHUNG: Janet, Darryl McDaniels, Jam Master Jay, Reverend Run.

WONG: Run D.M.C.

CHUNG: That is right.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

CHUNG: Nathan, Jose Carreras, Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti. Three seconds.

NAIMARK: The three opera singers.

(SOUNDBITE OF BUZZER, LAUGHTER)

CHUNG: Technically correct, but we were looking for The Three Tenors specifically. All right, we're at a halfway point. Janet is in the lead 4-2. Janet, you may not injure a human. You must obey orders unless this violates the first law. You must protect yourself unless this violates the first or second law.

WONG: I do not know, so I'm going to guess the rules for "The Hunger Games."

CHUNG: (Laughter) Also a good guess. No, we were looking for the Rules of Robotics by Isaac Asimov from "I, Robot." Nathan, in the Olympics, a 1,500-meter swim, a 40-kilometer bike ride and a 10-kilometer run.

NAIMARK: Triathlon.

CHUNG: Those are triathlon events, correct.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

CHUNG: Janet, in religion, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.

WONG: They're Hindu gods.

CHUNG: We're looking for a specific term.

WONG: Do you want all three of their names? I - Shiva's the destroyer. Vishnu's the creator. And - did you say Brahma?

CHUNG: I'm sorry, we were looking for the Hindu Trinity. They're specifically - you're correct. They are the gods of birth, life and death. Nathan, you need to get this right to stay in the game. In your own body, the duodenum, the jejunum and the ileum.

NAIMARK: The three central body parts.

(LAUGHTER)

CHUNG: I'm sorry, those are all parts of your small intestine, which means Janet, congratulations, you're our winner.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: That's our show. Thanks so much for listening. ASK ME ANOTHER's house musician is Jonathan Coulton.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Hey, his name anagrams to thou jolt a cannon.

EISENBERG: Today's puzzles were written by Juan Escalante, Matt Foster, David Letzler and senior writers Kyle Beakley (ph) and Karen Lurie (ph). Our senior supervising producer is Art Chung.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Narc thug.

EISENBERG: ASK ME ANOTHER is produced by Mike Katzif.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Mi tika fez.

EISENBERG: Travis Larchuk.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Sick hurt lava.

EISENBERG: Julia Melfi.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I'm Jill Feau (ph).

EISENBERG: Denny Shin.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: End his inns.

EISENBERG: Rommel Wood.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Red wool mom.

EISENBERG: And our intern, Toya Singh.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Satiny hog.

EISENBERG: Along with Steve Nelson and Anya Grundmann. ASK ME ANOTHER was created by Eric Nuzum and Jesse Baker. We'd like to thank our production partner, WNYC.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: CYNW.

EISENBERG: I'm her ripe begonias.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Ophira Eisenberg.

EISENBERG: And this was ASK ME ANOTHER from NPR.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.