Preshow Ritual Ophira Eisenberg and Jonathan Coulton demonstrate and explain the Ask Me Another team's preshow ritual at live tapings.

Preshow Ritual

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

JONATHAN COULTON, BYLINE: This is - I mean, it's usually supposed to be Maker's, I know. But this is Four Roses.



COULTON: This is a bourbon whiskey.


EISENBERG: Oh, yeah.

COULTON: That's not too much, is it?

EISENBERG: What is too much?

COULTON: Yeah, that's what I said. OK. There we go.

EISENBERG: All right.


EISENBERG: Well, my friend, to the last one.

COULTON: To the last one.


COULTON: From NPR - ahem (ph).

EISENBERG: (Laughter).


COULTON: From NPR and W - (laughter). From NPR and WNYC, coming to you from the - ehck (ph).

EISENBERG: (Laughter).

COULTON: It's not as smooth as I thought it was going to be.

EISENBERG: (Laughter).

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

EISENBERG: Thanks, Jonathan.

COULTON: You're welcome.

EISENBERG: Oh, so - you know, just for - to let everyone in, we would do a shot of whiskey. We would do Maker's Mark, usually, before we went onstage...

COULTON: That's right.

EISENBERG: ...Before every ASK ME ANOTHER show.

COULTON: Before every show. Yeah.

EISENBERG: And the reason - I'll tell you where that came from for me, is that I had the opportunity go on the road back in the day with Radiolab, and they did that before their show. And I was like, why does everyone take a shot? And they were like, because you just have to remember that, like, you know, you're just here to have a good time.


EISENBERG: And I was like, that is great.

COULTON: Yeah. It's a nice way to set the tone. There is a lot of hard work that goes into this show, but it's supposed to be fun. At the end of the day...


COULTON: ...You do the hard work in advance so that when you get up on stage, you can just relax and have a good time.

EISENBERG: Right. And anytime you go, wow, this is really serious or there's stress or there's problems, then you all have a moment to reset and remember that you're about to do a trivia comedy show.


COULTON: That's right. And for those of you who have never been backstage at The Bell House - you know, I really do miss The Bell House.

EISENBERG: It's the greatest.

COULTON: But the thing that I love - and I don't really know the explanation for why it is there. But in the greenroom, hanging on the wall, there is a flag that says don't give up the ship. And I don't know. I have thought of that flag so many times.


COULTON: But we have this last show to do.

EISENBERG: You know, so what we've done is, we have basically the best friends of the show - people we love, people that have been involved in the show.


EISENBERG: And it's going to be a good toast.

COULTON: Yeah. So thanks, everybody, for listening over all these years.

EISENBERG: Oh, my goodness. Thank you so much.

COULTON: It's been a great privilege to work on this show. Here it comes, your last epishode (ph).


EISENBERG: That was the bourbon talking.


COULTON: Yes. Here comesh your lasht epishode (ph).

EISENBERG: (Laughter).

COULTON: Here comes your last episode, "Don't Give Up The Ship."


Copyright © 2021 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.