As Seen On TV

If you call in the next ten minutes, we'll throw in an extra-special trivia game hosted by Ophira Eisenberg and puzzle guru John Chaneski about those fabulous late-night commercials selling products that you must buy right now! Operators are standing by.

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OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Let's meet our first two contestants. Let's give a warm welcome to Valerie Glassman and Adam Yaeger.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Valerie, a quick question for you, have you ever bought a totally useless gadget?

VALERIE GLASSMAN: We bought one of those hand chopper thingies once.

EISENBERG: Uh-huh, oh yeah.

GLASSMAN: And I think the first slam, it slammed open.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Oh really. No, that's not good at all.

GLASSMAN: No.

EISENBERG: Not very good. How about you, Adam?

ADAM YAEGER: I got a ShamWow.

EISENBERG: Really?

(LAUGHTER)

YAEGER: Yeah, I got a couple.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: All right, well, this is going to be interesting, because this game is called, As Seen on TV. And we're talking about those fabulous late night commercials selling products that you must buy right now.

JOHN CHANESKI: And if you call in the next ten minutes, we'll throw in three more combination can opener/potato peelers absolutely free. That's four handi-cans for the price of one. Operators are standing by.

EISENBERG: Clearly, puzzle guru John Chaneski is going to help me bring these magical infomercials to life. So the winner of this round will go on to our Ask Me One More final round at the end of the show.

Are you ready? Let's go. In an iconic early 90s commercial, 74-year-old Edith Fore lay helpless on the ground. But fear not, she pressed a button on her LifeCall personal emergency response unit and cried out what infamous seven-word phrase?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Valerie?

GLASSMAN: Help, I've fallen and I can't get up.

EISENBERG: Technically that was...

CHANESKI: We'll take it. We'll take it.

EISENBERG: ...eight words, but we'll take it.

(APPLAUSE)

CHANESKI: I've fallen and I can't get up.

EISENBERG: I like that you added "help," because you think that's what someone would yell. But no, not at all.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: This product was shown performing such useless tasks as cutting through an aluminum can and slicing through shoe leather. Its commercials began with this line.

CHANESKI: In Japan, the hand can be used like a knife, but this method doesn't work with a tomato.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Guaranteeing your satisfaction for 50 years, what was this priceless utensil called?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Valerie?

GLASSMAN: The Ginsu knife.

EISENBERG: The Ginsu knife is correct.

(APPLAUSE)

CHANESKI: Yes.

EISENBERG: In the 1990s, the standard for audience participation was set by an infomercial for the Ronco Showtime rotisserie oven. Thanks to the oven's ingenious automatic timer, all you need to do was to slide in your chicken, and then just set it and what?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Valerie?

GLASSMAN: Set it and forget it.

EISENBERG: Set it and forget it is correct.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: I'm sensing, Valerie, that you watch television between the hours of 2 a.m. and 4 a.m.

(LAUGHTER)

GLASSMAN: A little bit.

EISENBERG: In the mid 2000s, this infomercial perpetually played on television sets.

CHANESKI: Made in Germany, you know how Germans always make good stuff. You can cut it in half; use one as a bath mat. Drain your dishes with the other one. Use one as a towel. Olympic divers, they use it as a towel, and look at that, completely dry.

EISENBERG: Hawked by the fast-talking Vince Shlomi, what was this life-changing towel called?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Adam?

YAEGER: That'd be the ShamWow.

EISENBERG: That would be the ShamWow.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

CHANESKI: Now know as the aforementioned ShamWow.

EISENBERG: Yes. I love that we needed - you know, that it's sold based on the fact that Olympic divers use it, not just - and Adam, Olympic divers and Adams use the ShamWow.

CHANESKI: Greg Louganis, those guys.

YAEGER: It's us, yeah.

EISENBERG: A certain product allowed you to turn on electric devices, actually turn them on and off by simply applauding. Can you sing its famous jingle?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Valerie?

(SOUNDBITE OF SINGING)

GLASSMAN: Clap on.

(SOUNDBITE OF CLAPPING)

(SOUNDBITE OF SINGING)

GLASSMAN: Clap off.

(SOUNDBITE OF CLAPPING)

(SOUNDBITE OF SINGING)

GLASSMAN: Clap on, clap off, the clapper.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: This quiz is sort of making me feel both happy and sad about the world.

CHANESKI: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

CHANESKI: Yes, I can understand that.

EISENBERG: Same time. While he sadly passed away in 2009, this high-energy pitchman sold millions of products ranging from the awesome auger to the Zorbeez.

CHANESKI: One scoop in every load of laundry. It'll make your whites whiter. It'll make your brights brighter. As a stain remover, it's the best. Grass stains, clay stains, long live your laundry. Oxiclean, the stain specialist.

EISENBERG: Who was this bearded master of television sales?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Adam?

YAEGER: Billy Mays.

EISENBERG: Billy Mays.

CHANESKI: Yes.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Fans of daytime game shows might remember seeing this ad.

CHANESKI: Was this you last night, tossing and turning, pillow propping and punching your way into a comfortable position, trying to sit up and relax or sleep? Your flat bed was just not made to fit the natural curves of your body. Now there's a bed that automatically adjusts to fit your body's contour.

EISENBERG: What company made this amazing moving bed?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Valerie?

GLASSMAN: The Craftmatic.

EISENBERG: The Craftmatic. Yes, that is correct.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Finally, a hospital bed in your own home.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: What a thrill.

CHANESKI: Valerie wins that round.

EISENBERG: Congratulations, Valerie. You'll be moving on to our Ask Me One More final round at the end of the show.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Adam, thank you so much. You were a great contestant. Let's welcome to the stage our house musician John Roderick.

(APPLAUSE)

JOHN RODERICK: Thank you. Hello.

EISENBERG: Hello, John. We are so happy to have you. Jonathan Coulton is not here, so we've traded in our regular bearded guitar player for another more enchanting, more beautiful...

RODERICK: That's good of you to say.

EISENBERG: ...bearded guitar player.

RODERICK: Taller also. I can eat more in one sitting than he can.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: What would you like to play for us?

RODERICK: I'm going to play a Jonathan Coulton song in homage to him, and also as a form of mockery. So, this is a song called "Skull Crusher Mountain."

(SOUNDBITE OF SINGING)

RODERICK: Welcome to my secret lair on Skull Crusher Mountain. I hope that you've enjoyed your stay so far. I see you've met my assistant scarface. His appearance is quite disturbing, but I assure you he's harmless enough. He's a sweetheart. He calls me master, and he has a way of finding pretty things and bringing them to me.

Oh, I'm so into you but I'm way too smart for you. Even my henchmen think I'm crazy. I'm not surprised that you agree. If you could find some way to be a little bit less afraid of me, you'd see the voices that control me from inside my head say I shouldn't kill you yet.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Thank you, John Roderick.

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