Hail To The Musicians

Remember the hit song "Shaft" by America's 19th president, Rutherford B. Hayes? Or was that Isaac Hayes? American hero Jonathan Coulton quizzes contestants on artists who share names with former U.S. presidents.

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OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

This is ASK ME ANOTHER, I'm your host Ophira Eisenberg, and we have a great show with all kinds of clever, nerdy questions. Just listening to the show will make you a little smarter, but we've learned that we can't guarantee that it will make you cooler. Let me introduce you to our ASK ME ANOTHER puzzle gurus, John Chaneski.

JOHN CHANESKI: Hi Ophira. I'm going to go do something patriotic, and I'll be back later in the show, OK?

EISENBERG: Perfect, yeah, perfect place for it.

CHANESKI: I'm going to go occupy something. I'll be right back.

EISENBERG: Go occupy the back. And Art Chung.

ART CHUNG: Hey Ophira.

EISENBERG: Hello.

(APPLAUSE)

CHUNG: Hello.

EISENBERG: They'll be leading us in puzzles later on in the show. And, of course, we have the musical stylings and witty repartee of Jonathan Coulton.

(APPLAUSE)

JONATHAN COULTON: Hello.

EISENBERG: And, standing in front of me, we have our contestants. Hello contestants.

LAURA SPADANUTA: Hey, how's it going?

TORIE PARTRIDGE: Hi.

EISENBERG: Hello. We have Laura Spadanuta and Torie Partridge. Give them a hand.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: So Laura, you have been on some game shows. You've been on Jeopardy.

SPADANUTA: Oh yeah.

EISENBERG: And how was it? Do you have a great memory that you'd like to share?

SPADANUTA: Well it was fun.

EISENBERG: Yes.

SPADANUTA: I lost, so...

EISENBERG: OK. You lost.

SPADANUTA: ...not as fun as it could have fun.

EISENBERG: That's OK. But you were on it, obviously did quite well.

SPADANUTA: I guess it was - it was a little embarrassing after I got Final Jeopardy wrong, Alex Trebek then tried to tell me that I got it wronger than I thought I did, got the man's country wrong and everything, and I was like, well I just lost, so...

EISENBERG: Let's cool it.

SPADANUTA: ...OK, so yeah.

EISENBERG: You're like I got it, Alex, I got it.

SPADANUTA: Yeah, I got it. I'm terrible, but it was fun.

EISENBERG: Yeah, you're like by the way, Alex, you have the answers.

SPADANUTA: Yeah, yeah.

EISENBERG: Yeah. Exactly.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: All right, well you know what? It's all different here tonight.

SPADANUTA: OK.

EISENBERG: And Torie, you studied international relations at McGill, which I went to McGill as well. Harvard of the north, people, Harvard of the north.

PARTRIDGE: Hey-o Canada.

EISENBERG: Hey-o Canada. And you know have a mural painting business.

PARTRIDGE: I do, yeah.

EISENBERG: What is the last mural you painted?

PARTRIDGE: Ooh, the last mural that I did was actually right around here, it was a jazz themed mural at a little business. It had jazz dancers and historic buildings from the U Street area kinda, highlighting the cultural landscape in DC. It was pretty cool.

EISENBERG: That sounds fantastic. All right, welcome contestants. So in honor of our visit to Washington DC, our first game is called Hail To The Musicians. Sounds kind of presidential and noteworthy.

COULTON: Yes, yes, it does. What's going to happen is I am going to play songs by artists whose names happen to include the last name of a former US president, and you, contestants, will have to identify the artist and the president.

EISENBERG: And then we'll give you a follow-up trivia question about the president, and either of you can ring in to answer that one. Whoever gets the most points will move on to our Ask Me One More final round at the end of the show. Are you ready?

SPADANUTA: Yes.

PARTRIDGE: Yeah.

EISENBERG: They say yes, they are excited. OK.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG "SUMMER OF 69")

COULTON: (Singing) I got my first real six-string, bought it at the (bell ringing) five-and-dime.

EISENBERG: Laura.

SPADANUTA: Bryan Adams and John Adams?

EISENBERG: Yeah, John Adams, You don't have to shrug that off, but it's correct.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: And your follow-up trivia question, either of you can ring in. What did John Adams call "the most insignificant office that ever the invention (bell ringing) of man contrived or his imagination conceived"?

PARTRIDGE: The Vice Presidency?

EISENBERG: Torie, you are correct.

PARTRIDGE: Yeah.

EISENBERG: And so was he. I think there was two correct people.

(LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG "SOMEBODY TO LOVE")

COULTON: (Singing) Don't you want somebody to love? Don't you need somebody to love? Wouldn't you love somebody to love you? Better find somebody to love. (bell ringing)

PARTRIDGE: Jefferson Airplane and Thomas Jefferson?

EISENBERG: Torie, with Jefferson Airplane and Thomas Jefferson, you are correct. Well done.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: In 1815, Thomas Jefferson sold his entire book collection to the federal government to become the foundation of what? (bell ringing) Laura.

SPADANUTA: The Library of Congress?

EISENBERG: The Library of Congress is correct.

(APPLAUSE)

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG "SHAFT")

COULTON: (Singing) Who's the cat who won't cop out, when there's danger all about. Shaft, can you dig it?

(LAUGHTER)

(Singing) Complicated man, no one understands him but his woman. John Shaft.

EISENBERG: OK, please don't ring in. A little more, please Jonathan.

COULTON: No, that's it.

EISENBERG: Oh that's - just need - always need one more.

COULTON: I know it's a good - it's a good song.

EISENBERG: Oh, look at that, we've stumper our contestants.

COULTON: It's the theme from Shaft, does that help?

EISENBERG: It is the theme from Shaft.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: All right, why don't we throw it - do you want to throw it to the audience? All right.

CHUNG: Want to throw it to the audience? Anyone? In the back.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yeah, Isaac Hayes and Rutherford B. Hayes.

CHUNG: Isaac Hayes and Rutherford B. Hayes.

EISENBERG: Yes.

CHUNG: Yes, that was the answer.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Yes. I believe it was also Rutherford B. Hayes' campaign song.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: And I'm from England, so even the English know [UNINTELLIGIBLE].

EISENBERG: Oh, look at...

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Wow, I always thought the English were so modest.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: All right, but you still get a follow-up question. So including Rutherford B. Hayes, seven of the nine US presidents that served between 1869 and 1932 were all born in what state? (bell ringing) Yes, Laura.

SPADANUTA: Virginia?

EISENBERG: No, no, no, that's a good guess, not correct, but I like your enthusiasm, that's important. Torie. (bell ringing)

PARTRIDGE: Pennsylvania?

EISENBERG: Pennsylvania. I think also an excellent guess, but incorrect. The answer is Ohio. I know. No one can believe it.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: They're like, really?

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG "MEAN")

COULTON: (Singing) Someday I'll be living in a great big city and all you're ever going to be is mean. Why you got to be so mean?

EISENBERG: Oh, they don't know. OK. All right. Why don't we throw it - do you want to throw it to the audience?

CHUNG: Want to throw it to the audience? Anyone? In the back.

AUDIENCE MEMBER #2: It'll be Taylor Swift and James Taylor.

(LAUGHTER)

CHUNG: No. The person said Taylor Swift was correct. He also said that James Taylor was a president, which...

EISENBERG: James Taylor.

CHUNG: ...you know...

EISENBERG: Great idea.

COULTON: Not yet, sir. Fingers crossed, of course, but not yet.

EISENBERG: Does anyone know who the corresponding president was?

CHUNG: Way in the back, the president of the United States?

AUDIENCE MEMBER #3: Zachary.

CHUNG: Zachary Taylor.

EISENBERG: Zachary Taylor.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: What if James Taylor was president? We'd be a kinder, gentler nation.

EISENBERG: Yeah, exactly.

CHUNG: Very mellow nation, yes.

COULTON: Soft rocking our way.

EISENBERG: This is relaxation month. Known as old rough and ready, which is also Jonathan Coulton's nickname, Zachary Taylor was the last member of what political party to win a US presidential election? (bell ringing) Yes, Torie.

PARTRIDGE: The Whigs?

EISENBERG: The Whigs. That is correct. Yes.

(APPLAUSE)

CHUNG: It's still a close race. Torie has three, Laura has two, so it's anyone's game.

EISENBERG: OK. Anyone's game.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG "JACKSON")

COULTON: (Singing) We got married in a fever, hotter than a pepper sprout. We've been talking about Jackson, ever since the fire went out. I'm going to Jackson, going to mess around.

EISENBERG: Uh oh, I see the look of stumping.

COULTON: They look sad.

EISENBERG: Yeah.

COULTON: What if I were wearing all black?

(LAUGHTER)

SPADANUTA: What if you were?

COULTON: Yeah.

EISENBERG: Yeah.

COULTON: I'm just asking.

(LAUGHTER)

CHUNG: What if you were Reese Witherspoon?

EISENBERG: What if you were Reese Witherspoon? (bell ringing) Laura.

SPADANUTA: Johnny Cash.

CHUNG: Yes, well that - you're half right. It was John Cash. It was a duet between Johnny Cash and a lady.

SPADANUTA: Oh, the one with the - June Carter.

EISENBERG: June Carter.

SPADANUTA: And Jimmy Carter.

EISENBERG: Jimmy Carter, yes.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: While on a solo fishing trip in Georgia in 1979, President Carter was attacked by what animal who tried to climb into his boat? And people are laughing 'cause it's hilarious.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Any guesses? Any answers? An animal climbed into the boat and attacked him. (bell ringing) Yes, Laura.

SPADANUTA: A alligator.

EISENBERG: Good guess, that would make a lot of sense. I hear where you're going with that, but wrong. Yeah. Yeah. It was a swamp rabbit.

SPADANUTA: Ah yes.

EISENBERG: Yeah, of course, that happens. Yeah, usually in May.

SPADANUTA: Dangerous animals.

EISENBERG: They love peanuts.

We have a tiebreaker?

CHUNG: We are all tied up, so we're going to have to go to a tiebreaker.

EISENBERG: There are three points each.

CHUNG: Yes.

EISENBERG: You guys are even, so we're going to do a tiebreaker. So put your hands near those bells and get ready. Here you go, this is just a trivia question. During his 1992 presidential campaign, Bill Clinton played "Heartbreak Hotel" on his saxophone (bell ringing) on what late night talk show? (bell ringing)

(LAUGHTER)

CHUNG: Laura, three times.

COULTON: Triple ring.

SPADANUTA: The Arsenio Hall Show?

EISENBERG: You are correct, Laura. Congratulations.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: You'll be moving on to our Ask Me One More final round at the end of the show. You guys were fantastic contestants. Thank you so much. Have another hand for Torie and Laura.

(APPLAUSE)

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG "THE PRESIDENTS")

COULTON: (Singing) Washington came first and he was perfect. John Adams kept us out of war with France. Jefferson made Louisiana Purchase. In 1812 James Madison kicked the British in the pants. James Monroe told Europe they could suck it. John Quincy Adams looked just like his dad. Andrew Jackson got rid of all the Indians. Van Buren served one term, but he wasn't bad.

(Singing) William Henry Harrison died early. John Tyler annexed Texas from Mexico. James K. Polk fought Mexico to keep it. Taylor was a Mexican War hero. Fillmore gave a boat to Commodore Perry. Pierce appealed the Missouri Compromise. Buchanan saw the Civil War's beginnings. Lincoln saved the Union, then he died.

EISENBERG: Jonathan Coulton, everybody

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: Thank you.

EISENBERG: Now I just have to point out that when we are talking about a song to play after that game, Jonathan had that song. These are the kinds of things that you just have in your back pocket at all times.

COULTON: Sure, you need a song about the presidents, I got one.

EISENBERG: I did need a song about the presidents and I got it...

COULTON: Yeah, there you go.

EISENBERG: ...and it was fantastic. Thank you.

COULTON: You're welcome.

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