Web M.C. Contestants check off every symptom in this mash-up that combines the names of hip-hop and rap artists with medical conditions. This game puts the hype in hypochondriac.
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Web M.C.

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Web M.C.

Web M.C.

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JONATHAN COULTON, BYLINE: 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, everybody. We have a great show, everybody. We have four brilliant contestants that are going to be up here playing our nerdy games. They are currently backstage, cleaning everything with disinfectant wipes because they are smart. And one of them will be our big winner. I'm cleaning everything with disinfectant wipes.

COULTON: Are you nervous about the coronavirus?

EISENBERG: So this is the thing. I was on a plane recently, sat down beside this guy. We looked at each other. We both pulled out disinfectant wipes and wiped down our tables and our seats while talking about the fact that we have small kids at home. And then we cheers-ed with Emergen-C. And then we took elderberry supplements.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: And then we helped each other zip into our plastic suits so we could take a nap. You know - and I felt heard and seen.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: I felt - I had a buddy.

COULTON: Sounds like a restful, friendly trip - yeah.

EISENBERG: Yeah. No. I'm always scared. I have a 4-year-old. And if you have a young kid, your entire life is germs.

COULTON: Yeah.

EISENBERG: Yeah. They're just little...

COULTON: Basically, you are constantly ingesting the snot of all your kid's friends.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) Yeah. Exactly. What - do you do anything? Are you washing your hands? What are you doing?

COULTON: No.

EISENBERG: Are you boiling yourself?

COULTON: I'm not washing my hands...

EISENBERG: Yeah.

COULTON: ...Or anything. No.

EISENBERG: No. He's very strong. He's very strong.

COULTON: No, I haven't really changed my behavior.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Just going to leave it at that.

EISENBERG: OK.

COULTON: You know how I roll hygiene-wise.

EISENBERG: Guys, we have an amazing guest on our show. We have musician Dan Deacon.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Yes. Dan Deacon has collaborated with the New York City Ballet. And he's going to be here with us at a bar in Brooklyn. How far you have fallen, Dan Deacon.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: His music is very layered, and it crosses genres. It occupies a space in between, like, electro pop and indie rock. It's kind of like Death Cab for Skrillex.

COULTON: (Laughter).

EISENBERG: Dan's interests - so we do a lot of research on our guests. And his interests include "Lord Of The Rings," the board game Settlers of Catan, the movie "Total Recall" and "Twin Peaks." I actually had to print out a picture of him and staple it to my script to make sure I was interviewing him and literally not just any one of our listeners.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: It's perfect. We also have a game about Web M.C. I will admit I have Googled my problems. In a desperate moment, I Googled how to cure disappointment.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Yep. And what came back was mostly things about how to cure salmon properly to avoid disappointment.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: And I got to tell you I felt better.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: All right. Let's play some games.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

EISENBERG: Our first game is about diseases and hip-hop. It's the intersection between sick and sick.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Let's meet our contestants. First up, Dhanya Sridhar, you research artificial intelligence at Columbia University. Dhanya, your current goal is to have better Internet. What does that mean?

DHANYA SRIDHAR: It's not faster Internet.

EISENBERG: Yeah.

SRIDHAR: It's that - I was meandering on the Internet. I had, like, no real sites I went to or anything. So I got on Twitter for the first time...

EISENBERG: Yeah.

SRIDHAR: ...In 2020. Now I follow, like, interesting things. And I'm getting, like, actual links and, like, fun animal facts.

EISENBERG: Fun animal facts?

SRIDHAR: Yeah.

EISENBERG: OK. What's a good one?

SRIDHAR: Apparently, scientists still haven't seen eels spawn together. They swim all the way out to the sea in the Caribbean. And that's, like, where they mate and...

EISENBERG: No one's seen it.

SRIDHAR: Not scientists.

COULTON: Well, it's private.

EISENBERG: That's - yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Exactly. So that's amazing. Now I have a new goal. So thank you.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Dhanya, when you ring in, we'll hear this.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Your opponent is Elizabeth Filipovich. You recently got your master's in public health.

ELIZABETH FILIPOVICH: Yes.

EISENBERG: And speaking of health, you once biked at a SoulCycle class next to Michelle Obama.

FILIPOVICH: Yes.

EISENBERG: All right.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: So were you nervous, or were you competitive?

FILIPOVICH: Yeah. I was sobbing the entire time.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: What do you - seriously?

FILIPOVICH: It was - yeah. yeah. It was New Year's Day 2017. And the instructor was like, we made it through 2016. We're going to make it through 2017. I'm, like, next to Michelle Obama. I was weeping. And like...

(LAUGHTER)

FILIPOVICH: It was - yeah. She was beautiful. She tapped it back like no other.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) Elizabeth, when you ring in, we'll hear this.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: This word game is called Web M.C. We've mashed up rap and hip-hop artists with medical conditions you might look up on WebMD. Let's go to Jonathan Coulton for an example.

COULTON: So if we said, perhaps this artist performed "No Time" and "Not Tonight" because of trouble performing in the bedroom, you would answer Lil Kimpotence.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Mashing up Lil Kim and impotence.

EISENBERG: That's really how we are starting the show.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: OK. After releasing "To Pimp A Butterfly" and winning the Pulitzer Prize for Music, this elderly 32-year-old artist developed rheumatoid joint inflammation.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Dhanya.

SRIDHAR: Kendrick Lamarthritis (ph).

EISENBERG: Yes.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Actually, the response to that is "Damn."

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: It's hard to walk 8 miles when you're in recovery after suffering this artery blockage.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Elizabeth.

FILIPOVICH: Oh, I blanked. Eminem - Eminemyocardial (ph) infarction.

(LAUGHTER)

SRIDHAR: Just give her the point. That was so good.

EISENBERG: Yeah, I know. Yeah.

FILIPOVICH: It's a heart attack. It's a heart attack.

EISENBERG: It's a heart attack?

COULTON: It's a heart attack? I don't know if the - is that going to count as a...

FILIPOVICH: Maybe not.

COULTON: ...What did we say?

FILIPOVICH: It's fine.

COULTON: Artery blockage. Yeah, we'll accept that. We'll accept that.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: This Atlanta artist's hits include "Whatever You Like" and "Live Your Life." On his reality show "The Family Hustle" with his wife Tiny, he disclosed this intestinal disorder that can cause pain, bloating and constipation.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Elizabeth.

FILIPOVICH: TIBS.

EISENBERG: Yeah, TIBS is correct.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: The musician behind "This Is America" goes by his real name Donald Glover when he visits the doctor to treat this problem resulting from dry nasal membranes.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Elizabeth.

FILIPOVICH: Childish Gambino (laughter) is the artist. I'm thinking of auto-laryngitis (ph), but I feel like that's not the right answer considering my track record.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Oh, yeah. That's right. You work in the health space. This...

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: You could just go all the time with this.

FILIPOVICH: No, I think I'm out on that one.

EISENBERG: OK. Dhanya, can you steal?

SRIDHAR: Childish Gambinose (ph) dryness.

(LAUGHTER, APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: I feel like it's close.

COULTON: You're going to take that? Nose dryness?

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: OK. That's...

EISENBERG: OK. Yeah...

COULTON: ...The ruling.

EISENBERG: ...Sure. Yeah, we were actually looking for nosebleed. See? Even you don't think we should take it now.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Yeah. It's close enough.

EISENBERG: It's close enough.

COULTON: Listen. It's no myocardial infarction.

EISENBERG: That's right.

COULTON: All right. You will be relieved to hear this is your last clue.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: His mixtape was called "Coloring Book," but this Chicago artist is concerned with a very adult problem that might be treated with a little blue pill.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Elizabeth.

FILIPOVICH: Chance the Rapper, and...

COULTON: Adult problem that might be treated with a little...

FILIPOVICH: Yeah. I just can't think of the word for it (laughter).

EISENBERG: Lucky you.

FILIPOVICH: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

FILIPOVICH: I think I'm out.

COULTON: OK.

FILIPOVICH: I'm not going to...

COULTON: I'm going to go to Dhanya. Dhanya, do you know the answer?

SRIDHAR: Chance the Rapperectile (ph) dysfunction?

COULTON: Yeah, that's correct.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Great game, and Dhanya is in the lead.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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