The Spoken Word

Mar 30, 2018

You know those parts in songs where the singing stops and there's a poem, or a monologue, or something oddly spoken? In this game, Ophira and Jonathan perform dramatic recitations of odd spoken sections from popular songs, and contestants must guess the artist or song title.

Heard on Lena Hall: From Yitzhak to Hedwig.

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JONATHAN COULTON: From NPR and WNYC, coming to you from The Bell House in beautiful Brooklyn, N.Y., it's NPR's hour of puzzles, word games and trivia, ASK ME ANOTHER. I'm Jonathan Coulton. Now here's your host, Ophira Eisenberg.

(APPLAUSE)

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Thank you, Jonathan. We've got a great show for you. Four brilliant contestants are here to play our nerdy games. They're backstage looking for the hidden immunity idol, but only one will be our big winner. And our special guest today is the multitalented Lena Hall. She played both of the major roles in "Hedwig And The Angry Inch," both Hedwig and Yitzhak. That's amazing. That's like playing the fiddler and the roof...

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: ...Or like mamma and mia or God and spell.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Our first two contestants will play a game where singers stop being musical and start being real - real pretentious. Let's meet them - first up, Adrian Brune on buzzer number one.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: You write reports for the U.N. Welcome.

ADRIAN BRUNE: Thank you.

EISENBERG: Your opponent is Meghan Ballback on buzzer number two.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: You're a high school art teacher. Welcome.

MEGHAN BALLBACK: Thanks for having me.

EISENBERG: Adrian and Meghan, the first of you who wins two of our games will go on to our final round. Let's start with the trivia game called The Spoken Word. Jonathan and I will read spoken word sections associated with famous pop songs. You just have to ring in and identify the song or artist or both if you feel like showing off. Here we go. I'm sorry. The old Taylor can't come to the phone right now. Why - oh, 'cause she's dead.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Meghan.

BALLBACK: Taylor Swift.

EISENBERG: Yeah. That one was pretty easy, wasn't it? Yeah, well done.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: Before you go, there's something I want you to have.

EISENBERG: Oh, it's beautiful. But wait a minute. Isn't this...

COULTON: Yeah, yes, it is.

EISENBERG: But I thought that old lady dropped it in the ocean at the end.

COULTON: Well, Baby, I went down and got it for you.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Meghan.

BALLBACK: Britney Spears.

EISENBERG: Yeah, very good.

(APPLAUSE)

BRUNE: Impressive.

EISENBERG: "Oops!... I Did It Again." I was not familiar with that, but you remembered it.

BALLBACK: I watched "TRL" back in the day, so yeah...

EISENBERG: Yeah.

COULTON: (Laughter).

EISENBERG: I found myself screaming in the hotel room. I didn't want to self-destruct. The evils of Lucy was all around me, so I went running for answers.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Adrian.

BRUNE: Kanye West.

EISENBERG: I'm sorry. That is a good guess but incorrect. Meghan, can you steal?

BALLBACK: I am going to guess Common.

EISENBERG: Also a good guess but also incorrect. We were looking for Kendrick Lamar, "Alright." That's the name of the song.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Oh, my God, Becky, look at her butt. It is so big. It's dramatic reading.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Adrian.

BRUNE: Kanye West.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Sorry. It is still not Kanye West.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Meghan, do you know the answer?

BALLBACK: Sir Mix-a-Lot.

COULTON: It is Sir Mix-a-Lot. That's right.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: "Baby Got Back."

EISENBERG: Hey, brah (ph). How we doing, man?

COULTON: All right.

EISENBERG: It's been a while, man. Life's so rad. This band is my favorite, man. Don't you love them?

COULTON: Yeah.

EISENBERG: Yeah, oh, man, do you want a beer?

COULTON: All right.

EISENBERG: Oh, man, this is the best, man. I'm so glad we're back together and stuff. This is great, man.

COULTON: Yeah.

EISENBERG: Hey, did you know about the party after the show?

COULTON: Yeah.

EISENBERG: Oh, man, it's going to be the best. I'm so stoked. Take it easy, brah.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Meghan.

BALLBACK: Weezer.

EISENBERG: That is correct.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Weezer, "Undone - The Sweater Song." Those voices actually in Weezer's rendition are the original bassist and their favorite roadie. This comes from the music video version of the song - ashes to ashes, dust to side chicks.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Meghan.

BALLBACK: Beyonce.

EISENBERG: Yeah, Beyonce.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: The song is "Sorry," but we all know - sorry, not sorry.

COULTON: Not sorry.

EISENBERG: Yeah. Excuse me. Can I please talk to you for a minute?

COULTON: Uh-huh, sure. You know, you look kind of familiar.

EISENBERG: Yeah, you do, too. But I just wanted to know. Do you know somebody named - you know his name.

COULTON: (Laughter) Oh yeah, definitely. I know his name.

EISENBERG: I just want to let you know that he's mine.

COULTON: No, no, he's mine.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Meghan.

BALLBACK: Monica and Brandy - "The Boy Is Mine."

EISENBERG: Yeah, that's right.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: "TRL" is paying off for you, Meghan.

(LAUGHTER)

BRUNE: I'm getting killed.

BALLBACK: Sorry.

EISENBERG: There's lots of games. Don't worry about it, Adrian - lots of games.

COULTON: This is your last clue. Ladies with an attitude, fellows that were in the mood - don't just stand there. Let's get to it. Strike a pose. There's nothing to it.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Meghan.

BALLBACK: Madonna.

COULTON: Madonna is correct. That's from "Vogue," yeah.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Do you remember that video, both of you, either of you? Yeah, oh...

BALLBACK: I do.

EISENBERG: Meghan is actually...

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: ...Vogueing (ph), so yes. That was directed by David Fincher, that not-well-known director at that time that went on to do such wild, small films as "The Social Network" and "Gone Girl."

COULTON: That's kind of...

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: ...Some indie films.

EISENBERG: Some indie films that nobody saw.

COULTON: Puzzle guru Art Chung, how did our contestants do?

ART CHUNG: Nice job, Meghan. You're one step closer to the final round.

(SOUNDBITE OF KHRUANGBIN SONG, "LADY AND MAN") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.