Crass Menagerie Contestants identify famous pop culture animals using real life facts and zoologically incorrect interpretations of that animal in popular media.
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Crass Menagerie

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Crass Menagerie

Crass Menagerie

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(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

JONATHAN COULTON: From NPR and WNYC, coming to you from The Bell House in beautiful Brooklyn, N.Y., it's NPR's hour of puzzles, word games and trivia, ASK ME ANOTHER. I'm Jonathan Coulton. Now here's your host, Ophira Eisenberg.

(APPLAUSE)

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Hello. Yeah. Nice to see you. Awesome. So right now we have four brilliant contestants. They're backstage comparing the sizes of their vision boards. And, soon, they're going to be out here playing some fun, nerdy games with us. And one of them will become our big winner. And Happy New Year's.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Yeah.

COULTON: Yeah.

EISENBERG: I know. Who else, other than me, is still writing 2018 on your Venmo transactions?

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: I make resolutions. Do you make resolutions?

COULTON: No, I don't.

EISENBERG: Really?

COULTON: Yeah...

EISENBERG: Not at all?

COULTON: No, I'm already doing everything right. So I don't - there's nothing...

EISENBERG: Yeah? That's how you see it? Finished product...

COULTON: I don't want to change anything because this - I don't want to screw up the perfection that is my life.

EISENBERG: That's true. We were all talking about working out backstage. How about you?

COULTON: You know...

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: ...It seems too hard.

EISENBERG: It does seem hard.

COULTON: Yeah.

EISENBERG: Honest to God, my New Year's resolution last year was that I was going to go to the gym two times that year. And...

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: ...I only missed it by one time. So...

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: And then, also, actually, last year, I was like, I'm going to do - try to do yoga. I am one of these people who never got into the yoga craze. So, last year, I was like, I'm going to do yoga. Hey, guess what? There is no way to begin yoga anymore. That's over. That's over. They teach it to toddlers. You can't start yoga. Everyone already knows it. If you go to a basics class, you know what that is? Really hard. It's really hard. Everyone in that class knows what they're doing. They're speaking conversational Sanskrit. Like, it is...

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: It is intense. I wore the wrong clothing. I wore a bra top with two straps. What a mistake. Everyone else had like 15, 25 straps. Like, really good people had, like, 40 straps. I think if you have 60 straps, you're a Buddhist or something like that. I think that's - so I've got to find new resolutions.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: And, on this show, we have not one but two guests. Yes, both comedians. We have Adam Pally and Jay Pharoah.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Yeah, I know. Adam Pally. You've seen him on "The Mindy Project." He was on a great sitcom on ABC called "Happy Endings" - great sitcom, great cast, ironically titled, as it got canceled. And Jay Pharoah, of course, is a master impressionist or, as I like to call him, a professional feelings hurter. I mean, seriously, that's the whole job. It's like, I'm going to study your flaws. Then I'm going to dial them up, so we can all laugh at you in public. No, not with you, at you. That's the whole point, right?

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: That's the whole problem (laughter). All right. Let's start the show, everybody. You ready to play some games?

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Our first two contestants will play a game about pop culture animals. Let's meet them. First up, Alicia Hodges (ph). You're a biostatistician.

ALICIA HODGES: Yes.

EISENBERG: So you say that sounds pretty cool. But, really, it's just number crunching?

HODGES: Yes. That's pretty much it.

EISENBERG: OK. So what kinds of numbers are you crunching?

HODGES: Mostly, I do Alzheimer's research. So the lighter side of things is I get to sit above a bunch of freezers full of brains.

EISENBERG: Excuse me?

HODGES: So people like that 'cause they think, you know, we're stockpiling for the zombie apocalypse or something like that. But...

EISENBERG: But you're not.

HODGES: ...It's actually just because we collect tissue in our studies.

EISENBERG: And how are you sitting upon them?

HODGES: Our office is two floors, so I'm just above the freezers.

EISENBERG: Oh, OK.

HODGES: I'm not actually sitting on them.

EISENBERG: Yeah, I just pictured you, like, on a laptop sitting on top of a freezer brain, a brain of freezers...

HODGES: Yeah. It's like in "Game Of Thrones."

EISENBERG: Yeah, just like in "Game Of Thrones." OK. Alicia...

COULTON: (Laughter).

EISENBERG: ...When you ring in, we're going to hear this...

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Your opponent is Mary Hangley (ph). You're an opera singer.

MARY HANGLEY: Yes.

EISENBERG: Cool.

HANGLEY: Yeah.

EISENBERG: What do you think the biggest misconception about the opera is when you're trying to say, no, come out and see this, and they're like, well, I don't want to because bleh (ph)?

HANGLEY: Ooh, the biggest - bleh. It's in another language. Bleh.

EISENBERG: Oh, yeah, right.

HANGLEY: Everyone's dead who wrote it.

EISENBERG: (Laughter).

HANGLEY: I - you know, the stories are all the same. You see them on TV. You see them on the opera. You see them at the movies. They're at the opera. So if you like TV and movies, go to the opera.

EISENBERG: Right, opera.

HANGLEY: Yes.

EISENBERG: All right. Fantastic. Mary, when you ring in, we'll hear this.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Alicia and Mary, whoever has more points after two games will go on to our final round. This is a trivia game called Crass Menagerie. We'll give you a real-life fact about an animal and a famous zoologically incorrect interpretation of that animal in pop culture. Ring in and tell us the name of the pop culture animal. Here you go. Attention, Ross Perot, some subspecies of this animal can grow ears as long as 30 inches. However, none can fool Elmer Fudd into thinking it's a sexy lady by putting on a dress and makeup.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Mary?

HANGLEY: Bugs Bunny?

EISENBERG: Correct.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Yeah, "Looney Tunes."

COULTON: "Looney Tunes"...

EISENBERG: Yeah.

COULTON: ...The looniest of tunes.

EISENBERG: The looniest of tunes. This animal really stuck its long neck out for Toys R Us. The store closed anyway. But you couldn't hear this animal complain because it can't make noises that are audible to humans.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Mary?

HANGLEY: Geoffrey the Giraffe?

EISENBERG: Yeah, that's right. Geoffrey the Giraffe.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Yeah. So according to Wired, giraffes do have a voice box. But the giraffe trachea is about 13 feet long, which makes it difficult to produce the airflow required to make a noise that a human can hear.

COULTON: Their neck is too long.

EISENBERG: Their neck is too long.

COULTON: You can tell that by looking at them.

EISENBERG: I know. They were trying to say Toys R Us is going to close.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: This reptile is deceptively strong. Each of its feet has a clinging strength of up to 20 times its body weight. One thing it can't do, save you hundreds of dollars on your car insurance.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Mary.

HANGLEY: The Geico gecko?

EISENBERG: Yeah. That's right.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: Every member of this marine species is born with male and female reproductive organs and its sex can change depending on environmental conditions, which would have made the titular Pixar character's journey even more interesting.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Alicia.

HODGES: "Finding Nemo?" Or, Nemo?

COULTON: Yeah. Nemo is what we're looking for. That's right.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: This is your last clue. This bird of prey can turn its head as much as 270 degrees, but it's stuck being Harry Potter's mail carrier.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Alicia.

HODGES: Hedwig the owl?

EISENBERG: That is correct. Yes.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: All right. Great game, both of you. Currently, Mary is in the lead.

(APPLAUSE)

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