Main Ingredient

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In this game, Jonathan Coulton asks contestants to name the most common component, or "main ingredient," of whatever he describes. For example: the main ingredient in this show? Laughter.



All right, we have our two new contestants, Michael Silver and Kate Jones.


EISENBERG: So Kate, I love this trio of things I know about you. You wrote a hip-hop song about Public Broadcasting Service. You attended firefighting school and you auditioned to be a Rockette.


KATE JONES: Yes, those are all true.

EISENBERG: Those are all true. Are you writing anymore hip-hop songs or are you a firefighter or a Rockette at this point?

JONES: I'm doing more writing.

EISENBERG: You're doing more writing.

JONES: Yeah.

JONATHAN COULTON: OK and actually, you also perform with the Neo-Futurists which I'm very familiar with, in a great show called "Too Much Light Makes Baby Go Blind."

JONES: Yeah.

EISENBERG: Do you want to tell us what that show is about?

JONES: Sure. We perform 30 short plays in 60 minutes, or we attempt to and each week the show is different. We write about current events or what's going on in our lives. Or whatever we feel like at the moment.

EISENBERG: So you're super knowledgeable of all things going on.


EISENBERG: And Michael, you have been on "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire."

MICHAEL SILVER: I, I have, though not as impressive as "Jeopardy!" I guess, but yeah.


EISENBERG: It's totally impressive, OK Michael, come on.


EISENBERG: How much did you win?

SILVER: I won $1,000.

EISENBERG: $1,000 dollars?


EISENBERG: All right, do you remember the question that took you out? Is that something that is in your head?

SILVER: It was something like Russia, borders, I don't even remember how many countries it does.

EISENBERG: Oh yeah, boring. Snooze fest..

SILVER: It was like, what country does it share its longest border with? And it was like, the Ukraine; China; Mongolia; or Kazakhstan? Der!


EISENBERG: Yeah, which one?

COULTON: Did you get it wrong?


SILVER: You know, I, I, I wanted to like save money for other people to win.

EISENBERG: Yeah, you were being polite.

SILVER: I thought that it was kind of better that way, you know. Like I don't need a million dollars, so.


EISENBERG: All right, well we're going to be playing a game called "The Main Ingredient." Jonathan, do you want to explain this?

COULTON: Yes, so you know, when you buy a box of cookies, for instance, on the - on the side there's a list of ingredients and the very first item in that list of ingredients is the thing that there is most of in that box of cookies. So in this game, we want you to tell us the most common component or the main ingredient of whatever it is that we are describing. So, for example, if I said this gas is the main ingredient in the earth's atmosphere, making up about 78 percent of the air we breathe. Ophira, you would say?

EISENBERG: I want to say oxygen, but I know that's wrong.

COULTON: Correct, you are wrong.


EISENBERG: What is it?

COULTON: Our atmosphere is actually 78 percent nitrogen.


COULTON: Only 21 percent oxygen and just 1 percent everything else.

EISENBERG: Oh, everything else.



COULTON: Sounds like there's a lot - there could be a lot of bad stuff in there. We should really look into it.

EISENBERG: Yeah. I know. Another 1 percent I have to worry about, great. Thanks a lot.


EISENBERG: Occupy air, all right.


EISENBERG: All right contestants, so you are going to ring in when you know the answer. Does that make sense to you? OK.

COULTON: Most linguists agree that this letter is the main ingredient in English words, appearing more frequently than any other.

EISENBERG: Think that was Kate.


COULTON: That is correct.

EISENBERG: E is correct, yes.


COULTON: Ricotta is not considered a true cheese because its main ingredient is this by-product of the cheese making process.



EISENBERG: Whey, yes whey.



EISENBERG: Yes whey. I love that you looked around like, why wouldn't I know this?


EISENBERG: Everyone knows this.

COULTON: I, I - That can't be that simple.

SILVER: No idea, it was just totally a guess.

EISENBERG: You had no idea? Just came to you?

SILVER: Yeah it did.


EISENBERG: Really? Do you have a earpiece in?

SILVER: Yeah, they're talking to me.

EISENBERG: They are? Got it.

SILVER: They are.


COULTON: With a little bit of carbon added as a hardening agent, steel is an alloy made mostly from this elemental main ingredient.



EISENBERG: Correct Michael.


EISENBERG: Which, doesn't that make you feel like less about steel? You're like, oh you're just iron? Imposter.


COULTON: Many states require cold medicines that contain this drug, to be sold behind the counter, because its main ingredient is used to make methamphetamine.

SILVER: Efedrin.

COULTON: That's correct.

EISENBERG: Oh look, you've made meth before.


EISENBERG: Oh, correct.

COULTON: US pennies minted after 1982 have...


EISENBERG: OK, all right. We have to stop for one second Jonathan, I'm sorry.


EISENBERG: Because, to give it a fair chance, we're going to ask them to wait till you read the full clue, all right?

SILVER: So sorry.

COULTON: This is a really good sentence too.


COULTON: US pennies minted after 1982 have just 2.5 percent copper plating. The other 97.5 percent is this metallic main ingredient.






JONES: Nickel?

EISENBERG: Whoa, I'm sorry.

COULTON: No I'm sorry, it's not nickel.

EISENBERG: Yeah, but it's a good idea. Pennies, I mean I didn't know they were not copper. Do you have a...


EISENBERG: Zinc is correct Michael.

COULTON: Zinc is correct.


EISENBERG: Weird. I'm almost scared that you know this stuff by the way.

SILVER: I was going to say nickel.


COULTON: That was just mean.

EISENBERG: All right. That means Michael, you have the most points in this game.


EISENBERG: You are moving on. How about a hand for the lovely talented and brilliant Kate.


EISENBERG: Michael, you'll be moving onto our final Ask Me One More round at the end of the show. Congratulations.


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