Ask Me Another
11:27 am
Thu June 26, 2014

'Wrong, Wrong, Wrong' With They Might Be Giants

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 1:28 pm

Musical guests They Might Be Giants treated us to a wicked game of their own invention. But be careful: don't let John Flansburgh and John Linnell's seemingly easy trivia questions leave you in the dust.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Let's welcome our special musical guests They Might Be Giants.

(APPLAUSE)

JOHN LINNELL: I'm still processing the Traveling Pony.

EISENBERG: Now, this is - I have to admit a little confusing because we have a lot of - we have John Flansburgh.

JOHN FLANSBURGH: Hi.

EISENBERG: And then we have John Linnell.

LINNELL: Hello.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: And of course we have Jonathan Coulton.

(APPLAUSE)

JONATHAN COULTON: Hi. That's actually a different name - Jonathan.

EISENBERG: It is different. I'm going to refer to you by your last names.

FLANSBURGH: Sure. It'll be just like in high school.

EISENBERG: Cool. Yeah, it's like we're part of at team.

FLANSBURGH: Yes.

EISENBERG: Can you please share with everyone the title of this next game?

THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS: The title of the game is - (buzzard) Wrong. (Buzzard). Wrong. (Buzzard). Wrong.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Let's hope our contestants don't take that too seriously. And let's say hello to them - Craig Mueller and Micaela Blei.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Micaela, if I were to ask you what kind of trivia would you do the best at, what would you say?

MICAELA BLEI: I sort of wish this weren't true. But it would be comedies of the early- to mid-90s.

EISENBERG: (Laughing) OK.

BLEI: Teen - specifically teen comedies of the early- to mid-90s.

EISENBERG: OK, so right. What would you say you would do the worst at?

BLEI: The Constitution.

EISENBERG: The Constitution.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Right. So what you're saying is you know the important stuff? Craig, how about you? What do you excel at trivia-wise?

CRAIG MUELLER: The Constitution.

EISENBERG: The Constitution.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: Well played, sir. Well played.

EISENBERG: The winner of this game will receive a custom recorded song by They Might Be Giants about them and Carl Kasell for their home answering machine.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: The loser of this game will get a voicemail message about Carl Kasell and him or her in song form by They Might Be Giants.

COULTON: What?

BLEI: Wait, so we both win?

COULTON: Yeah, that's right. That's right.

BLEI: Amazing.

FLANSBURGH: One of the songs will be better than the other.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: And normally at this point we would explain the premise of the game and our puzzle guru would give an example. But we're not going to do that. Instead, we're just going to ask you some trivia questions. So just relax. It's all totally cool.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: And They Might Be Giants will judge you.

EISENBERG: (Laughing) Judge the answer.

COULTON: The answers - judge your answers.

EISENBERG: The answer.

COULTON: Here we go. We're going to start with a simple one. How many states are in the United States?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Micaela.

BLEI: 50.

(SOUNDBITE OF BUZZER)

MIGHT BE GIANTS: (Singing) Wrong.

LINNELL: Micaela, there are only 46 states in the United States. The other four are commonwealths.

(LAUGHTER)

FLANSBURGH: It's fun, right? It's a fun game.

BLEI: Awesome. Yeah.

EISENBERG: If you look really close at the flag, are four of the stars asterisks?

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: All right, so you're getting a taste for what's going on.

COULTON: Who played the lead emergency room doctor on "E/R" when it first premiered on network television in 1984?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Micaela.

BLEI: George Clooney?

(SOUNDBITE OF BUZZER)

MIGHT BE GIANTS: (Singing) Wrong.

COULTON: Micaela, we're talking about the first "E/R." It was E slash R. And it starred show business pariah Elliott Gould.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: In feet, how long is the minute hand on Big Ben?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Craig.

MUELLER: Six feet?

(SOUNDBITE OF BUZZER)

MIGHT BE GIANTS: (Singing) Wrong. (Buzzer). Wrong. (Buzzer). Wrong. (Buzzer). Wrong. (Buzzer). Wrong.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: The real answer is zero feet. And the reason is Big Ben doesn't have any hands because according to British Parliament website, the nickname Big Ben specifically refers to the bell that sits inside the tower, not the clock.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Snap. It's getting kind of uncomfortable here in the room.

EISENBERG: Yeah.

FLANSBURGH: Yes.

COULTON: All right. So this one is multiple-choice, OK? Where was the first Outback Steakhouse restaurant? Sydney, Melbourne or Perth?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Micaela, I like your spirit.

(LAUGHTER)

BLEI: None of the above?

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: We have a winning answer, ladies and gentlemen. That's exactly right.

EISENBERG: You cracked the code.

COULTON: It turns out that restaurant with the blooming onion it started in Tampa, Florida.

EISENBERG: How'd that feel, Micaela?

BLEI: Oh, my gosh, so good.

(LAUGHTER)

BLEI: I feel like having that many wrong answers in a row makes a right answer feel so much better.

COULTON: You're welcome.

FLANSBURGH: It's the Stockholm syndrome.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: This is your last question. In what year did the War of 1812 begin?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Craig?

MUELLER: It can't be 1812.

EISENBERG: You need to make a decision. I'm sorry, Craig.

MUELLER: 1811.

(SOUNDBITE OF BUZZER)

MIGHT BE GIANTS: (Singing) Wrong.

COULTON: The year was 1812.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: I am as angry and exhausted as you are. Art Chung, how did our contestants do?

ART CHUNG: By a score of one to nothing, Micaela, you're our winner.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Micaela, you will be moving on to our Ask Me One More final round at the end of the show. But a huge hand for incredible sports Craig and Micaela.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: And They Might Be Giants. Coming up, we'll hear a brand new song from They Might Be Giants, and we'll talk to the mad scientists behind Radiolab - Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich. So stick around. I'm Ophira Eisenberg, and this is NPR's ASK ME ANOTHER.

(APPLAUSE) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.