Off The Air Ophira quizzes Jonathan about Ask Me Another moments that weren't heard on the show.

Off The Air

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JONATHAN COULTON, BYLINE: This is ASK ME ANOTHER - NPR's final hour of puzzles, word games and trivia. I'm Jonathan Coulton. Now here's your host, Ophira Eisenberg.


Thank you, Jonathan. So here's what we're going to do, my friend. This is just for you and me. I'm going to ask you about things that have happened...


EISENBERG: ...On ASK ME ANOTHER that our listeners actually never got to hear. All right, so in a cut segment from our 2016 Los Angeles road show - do you remember that?



EISENBERG: OK, I'll tell you what you said later.


EISENBERG: But we did a bit where we pretended one of our guests was running late and had Weird Al step in to do the interview instead.


EISENBERG: This was our idea of a hilarious joke. Who was the guest?

COULTON: That was when we had Tom Cruise on the show.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) Yes. It was Tom Cruise.

COULTON: It was Tom Cruise.

EISENBERG: And of course, he was running late.

COULTON: He's always late.


COULTON: He's got a lot to do.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) It was - OK, it was not Tom Cruise.

COULTON: All right, who was it?

EISENBERG: Do you want to hear the clip and see?

COULTON: Yeah, let's hear the clip.



WEIRD AL YANKOVIC: So - what? - a typical day...

EISENBERG: Yeah, every day.

YANKOVIC: ...In the life of me, Jeff Goldblum. OK.

EISENBERG: Jeff Goldblum. No problem.


YANKOVIC: Well, on a typical day, my alarm would go off at 11 a.m. I would put on my rhinestone, bedazzled morning Speedos.


YANKOVIC: And then I'd trundle on to the bathroom, where my manservant would brush and floss my teeth.


EISENBERG: OK, so maybe you know the answer now (laughter).

COULTON: I mean, it's Jeff Goldblum.

EISENBERG: Yes, exactly.

COULTON: Can I just say, Weird Al is such a funny, funny man. And in my defense...


COULTON: ...Jeff Goldblum is the Tom Cruise of character actors.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) You're right.


EISENBERG: And he's been in a lot of movies that are...

COULTON: He's been in a lot of movies. So I was very close. I was very close.

EISENBERG: Yep - that are sort of action-based. OK, that was very good. Here's a new one. We made quite an entrance in our 2018 San Diego road show. How did we come into that theater? Do you remember?

COULTON: This - I believe I remember this.


COULTON: I believe what we did is we got those electric scooters that some cities have...


COULTON: ...Like, littering the sidewalk like garbage.


COULTON: We each picked one, and we each rode in from the back of the house, all the way down the aisle and just dropped them in front of the stage and jumped onto the stage.

EISENBERG: And hopped on the stage. And it was quite an incline, may I say.

COULTON: It was - it felt a little unsafe.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) And it was the Bird.

COULTON: The Bird scooters - that's right.

EISENBERG: The Bird scooters. And then I don't know what happened to the Bird. All I remember is that, I guess, mine did not get returned immediately, so it was a hefty charge.

COULTON: It was a very long rental.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) But that's fine.


EISENBERG: That's fine. OK, we have a clip of Travis announcing our entrance. Let's listen to it.

COULTON: Oh, let's listen to this triumphant moment.

EISENBERG: (Laughter).


TRAVIS LARCHUK, BYLINE: Please welcome to the stage of the historic Balboa Theatre in San Diego, Ophira Eisenberg and Jonathan Coulton.


COULTON: (Laughter) I mean, let me just say, massive props to producer Travis Larchuk...

EISENBERG: That was amazing.

COULTON: ...For his professional wrestling intro.

EISENBERG: Oh, my God.

COULTON: I mean...

EISENBERG: I felt like I was wrestling inside of a monster truck.


EISENBERG: It was so good. Did you hear that cheer?


EISENBERG: People loved the scooters.


EISENBERG: All right.

COULTON: All right.

EISENBERG: Here's your next one. In a bit that we cut out of our 2017 show with musician Jason Mraz, we handed him an object and asked him to do something with it. What was it?

COULTON: We handed him a ASK ME ANOTHER Rubik's Cube.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) It's a good object. Solid choice.

COULTON: And we asked him to stick it where the sun don't shine.


EISENBERG: We're like, we're done.

COULTON: Did he open an avocado farm?


COULTON: We handed him an avocado.


COULTON: Asked him to identify what kind of avocado it was.

EISENBERG: Close. We just asked him to identify the ripeness, the thing that we go...

COULTON: Is - we said, Jason Mraz, is this a ripe avocado?

EISENBERG: (Laughter) Right. The thing you go through in your house all the time. How do you know? Is it time to slice it or not?

COULTON: You're telling me that this got cut out of the show? The moment where we asked Jason Mraz if the avocado was ripe?

EISENBERG: Yeah, well, let's listen.


EISENBERG: Is that avocado ripe?



COULTON: Even he knew at the time. He was like, this is not good for radio. What are you people doing?

EISENBERG: (Laughter) Yeah. Right. He was like, can I go?

COULTON: I thought this was a real show.

EISENBERG: Why are you giving me an avocado on a radio show?

COULTON: You know that I'm Jason Mraz, right?


EISENBERG: All right. This is a classic one that comes up in my brain when I think of all the different things. Like, when things go great, you want to celebrate them. But what you really want to talk about after the show is when it did not go as expected.


EISENBERG: So in 2013, yeah, we forgot to hit record before interviewing one of our guests, and we had to do the interview all over again. Who was the guest?

COULTON: I remember this. I will never forget it because it is one of my biggest fears - is that I'm going to do a thing that is supposed to be recorded and just never hit record. So I will never forget it was R.L. Stine, author R.L. Stine.

EISENBERG: Yes, R.L. Stine. And what a professional creative person because he rolled with it. He was not upset at all. And he came back on, and I asked him some of the same interview questions, some different ones to keep it fresh, and he answered all of them differently.


EISENBERG: He made, like, an entirely new, interesting segment.

COULTON: Yes. Thank you for not yelling at us.

EISENBERG: All right. So this year we spoke to a Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, who greeted us in a unexpected voice. Who are we hearing in this clip?

YO-YO MA: I have enjoyed your regular show for years because, see; I love music. And the questions you ask people - they're so silly. I just don't know how you could ever answer these questions. Oh, you're so wonderful. You're so wonderful.

COULTON: You know, what's shocking is we hadn't spent 10 seconds talking to each other when he started doing it. And it's like - it's - I mean, it just goes to show what a wonderful mind and heart he has. That was Yo-Yo Ma.

EISENBERG: That was Yo-Yo Ma. Right.

COULTON: And that is the way he chose to enter the room - is with a goofy voice.

EISENBERG: You know, and I was obviously psyched to have him on the show. I was also intimidated.


EISENBERG: I wanted to make the best use of that time. And then he entered like that, and I was like, oh, this is just going to be great.

COULTON: Yeah. And I want him to be my guru and my psychiatrist and also my mom.



EISENBERG: Great job, Jonathan. You got 3 out of 5.


COULTON: Thanks, Ophira. I thought we weren't keeping score.



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