Quirky Capitals In this game, U.S. capital cities are ruined-- or, improved?-- by changing the first letter of their names.

Quirky Capitals

Quirky Capitals

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In this game, U.S. capital cities are ruined-- or, improved?-- by changing the first letter of their names. Hacks creators Lucia Aniello and Paul W. Downs must figure out the original city as well as its new-- and, better?-- name.

Heard on 'Better Call Saul & The Mandalorian's Giancarlo Esposito; Hacks.

JONATHAN COULTON, BYLINE: This is NPR's ASK ME ANOTHER. I'm Jonathan Coulton. Here's your host Ophira Eisenberg.


Thanks, Jonathan. We're playing games with two creators of the HBO Max show "Hacks," Lucia Aniello and Paul W. Downs. Are you ready for another one?



DOWNS: Hit me.

EISENBERG: All right. All right. OK. So this is a word game. And what we're doing is that we're ruining U.S. capitals by changing the first letter of their names. So your job is to figure out the original city as well as its new name.

COULTON: For example, if we said, have you heard the chickens are laying eggs all over the capital of Colorado? You'd answer, Denver? More like Henver (ph).

DOWNS: Got you.


COULTON: And I feel as though it's important to be very snarky and sarcastic when you do it.


DOWNS: OK. Got it. Yep. Yep, yep, yep, yep.

COULTON: That's just how I have it in my head (laughter).

ANIELLO: I want to just clarify that I wasn't born in America. So...

DOWNS: She came to this country without a dollar to her name, without speaking a word of English. So let's all remind...

ANIELLO: So if I don't the state capitals, it's an Italian thing, baby.


EISENBERG: Well - you know what? - I totally understand. I actually only became an American citizen in early April. And...


ANIELLO: Congratulations.

DOWNS: Congrats.

EISENBERG: And I knew them all.

DOWNS: Wow. OK. Good to know. Good to know. Maybe you needed to know them for the test. I don't know.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) You do not.



EISENBERG: You do not.


EISENBERG: OK. Let's give it a shot. You know what? Paul, let's start with you. Paul, in Wisconsin's capital, people tell corny jokes. They wear socks with sandals unironically and answer every question with, uh, go ask your mother.


COULTON: All right. It's a multi-stage puzzle-solving process.

DOWNS: This is hard on a level...

ANIELLO: (Laughter).

EISENBERG: OK. No, we're here for you.

DOWNS: So it's Madison. Yes?

EISENBERG: Yes. And then...

DOWNS: I know it's Madison. And - OK. So we got socks. We got cheese. We got go ask your mother. OK. So Madison? More like Dadison (ph).


COULTON: Yeah, that's right.


COULTON: OK, Lucia. Breaking news - voters across Louisiana have elected felines as their state representatives. I hope they like an emotionally withholding government. Meow.

ANIELLO: OK. Baton Rouge? More like Caton Touge (ph).


EISENBERG: Yeah. You're right. It...


DOWNS: Caton Touge?

COULTON: Caton Touge, more like...

DOWNS: I think - what you're doing - it was just going to be like Caton Touge.

ANIELLO: They're like, oh, she is - English is her second language (laughter).

EISENBERG: That's great. OK. Paul, how about this one? I have a message for the residents of the capital of Connecticut. Take a Pepto people, it smells like you only eat beans, cheese and soy meat. Sorry not sorry, but you're silent and deadly.

DOWNS: Hartford? More like Fartford (ph).




ANIELLO: Good job.

DOWNS: Pretty good.

COULTON: All right. Last one for you, Lucia. The capital of Tennessee used to be known for country music, bachelorette parties and those weird buses you pedal while getting drunk. But the city's new culture is all about cannabis and potato breakfasts.

ANIELLO: Oh. Nashville? More like Hashville (ph).

DOWNS: Yeah.



COULTON: That's right.


DOWNS: She's got it.

ANIELLO: Yum. I love hash.


COULTON: I do, too.

EISENBERG: Well, you did wonderfully on that - both of them. Fantastic. And again, congratulations. "Hacks" is streaming on HBO Max. Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs, thank you so much for joining us.

ANIELLO: What an absolute pleasure.

DOWNS: Thank you for having us. It was a complete and utter joy.

ANIELLO: Ciao for now.

DOWNS: I can't believe we did well, and we stayed together. We stayed together.

ANIELLO: I can't believe it.

EISENBERG: (Laughter).

COULTON: Yeah, it worked out. In the end, it worked out.

EISENBERG: We stayed together.

DOWNS: It all worked out.

ANIELLO: I love it.


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