Rage Against The Machines Comedians Solomon Georgio (High Fidelity, Shrill writer) and Casey Ley (The Gay Power Half Hour podcast) try to identify machines by the sounds they make.

Rage Against The Machines

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JONATHAN COULTON, BYLINE: Hello, Ophira Eisenberg from NPR's ASK ME ANOTHER. How are you?


This is Ophira Eisenberg from ASK ME ANOTHER.

COULTON: Yeah, I just said hello.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) I know. That's a great intro. Thank you. How are you doing this week?

COULTON: It's going OK. And how are you? How have you been spending your week?

EISENBERG: You know, I think the climate in my home is - it's just amazing because, of course, my kid picks up things, and then he - it goes through his brain, and he reinterprets them in a way that sometimes I go, oh, that's how you see the world...

COULTON: (Laughter).

EISENBERG: ...Because he was just - he was singing this song and just, like, humming this little song and singing these words. And I said, what are you singing? And he said, all we're doing is shouting at screens.


COULTON: I mean, he's not wrong.

EISENBERG: He's not wrong.

COULTON: He's not wrong at all.

EISENBERG: And that's what I guess he sees me doing.


EISENBERG: And it's also his remote learning experience that all we're doing is shouting at screens.

COULTON: You know what? He needs to be in a rock band right away because that is a fantastic, like, kid punk band song.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) That's kid punk. That's right.

COULTON: (Singing) All we're doing is shouting at screens. All we're doing is shouting at screens.

EISENBERG: (Laughter).

COULTON: I would totally listen to that album.

EISENBERG: Lucky for us, when people hear our show - do you think they still shout at their radio during our show?

COULTON: (Laughter) I sure hope so. Otherwise, we're doing it wrong. I should probably play the song, right?

EISENBERG: Yeah, let's do it.


COULTON: From NPR and WNYC, coming to you from our respective homes in beautiful Brooklyn, N.Y., it's NPR's hour of puzzles, word games and world's greatest dad face masks, ASK ME ANOTHER. I'm Jonathan Coulton. Now here's your host, Ophira Eisenberg.

EISENBERG: Thank you, Jonathan. I hope all of you trivia-heads out there are ready to go because do we have a show for you. That's right. This time around, we're all about the three P's - puzzles, pals and putting your hand over your microphone because you're laughing too loud.

From IFC's "Sherman's Showcase," we have actors Diallo Riddle and Bashir Salahuddin, who have a new Juneteenth special out this weekend, and they go toe-to-toe in a music parody game you don't want to miss. Then, we just can't seem to let them go. Friends of the show who just happen to be songwriters for Disney's "Frozen," Kristen and Robert Lopez drop in. But first, we have some games with Hulu's "Shrill" writer Solomon Georgio and co-host of "The Gay Power Half Hour" podcast, Casey Ley. Let's do it.


EISENBERG: Here they are. Joining us from Los Angeles, two fantastic comedians, Solomon Georgio and Casey Ley. Hello.

CASEY LEY: Lovely to be here. Long-time listener, first-time celebrity guest contestant.


COULTON: All right.

EISENBERG: And as we started this session, I took a sip from my water bottle, and I saw my reflection. And then I saw you take a sip of your water bottle, Solomon, and made me feel better because I was like, we are both with our travel water bottles...

SOLOMON GEORGIO: In our own homes.

EISENBERG: ...At home.


LEY: You ain't got nowhere to be. It's just a water bottle.

COULTON: It's a grown-up sippy cup. I get it. It's - like, it's comforting. It's got a little spout. You know, you don't have to worry that you're going to spill or anything. It's cozy.

EISENBERG: Thank you for having a glass, Casey.

LEY: I'm feeling so old and tired with my glass of water here.

GEORGIO: It's just with - like, especially, like, working in any, like, entertainment industry, people just give you water bottles all the time.

EISENBERG: It's true.

GEORGIO: It is an endless amount of water bottles, and I'm just like - between tote bags and water bottles, I'm like, where do you think I'm going?


EISENBERG: So we have some great games for the two of you. How do you know each other?

GEORGIO: Well, through standup.


GEORGIO: Casey doesn't remember when we first met because...

LEY: I knew you were going to say that.

GEORGIO: ...We met two years earlier than he recalls.

LEY: I knew you were going to bring that up.

GEORGIO: But we are now pretty much sisters. It is...

LEY: Yeah. We've been through a lot together. Comedy is really the ringer, you know, the emotional ringer, the career ringer and all that stuff. And you do find your chosen family. We're also both gay men, so we get to choose our family as well. And we had that connection. But you say I don't remember you, but I would like to say that back in my day, I was a very nervous person. And I'm sure you were just too talented and pretty for me to think I could talk to you, and so I just gave up. But then I realized you're the same amount of talented and pretty as me, OK?

GEORGIO: Oh, wow. (Laughter).



GEORGIO: Oh, wow, the confidence.

EISENBERG: I love a compliment and an insult, like, rolled into one.

GEORGIO: That is most of our conversations.


EISENBERG: OK, wonderful. So our first quiz for you is an audio quiz. You're going to be competing against each other. We'll go back and forth. It's pretty simple. We'll play you the sound that a machine makes, and you just have to guess what the machine is. The hardest part actually about this is that you're going to be hearing the audio clip through Zoom, so every machine might just sound the garbally-gook (ph) same.


EISENBERG: Here we go. All right, Solomon...


EISENBERG: This is for you.


EISENBERG: What is the machine?


GEORGIO: Oh, that's a printer.

EISENBERG: Can you be more specific?


GEORGIO: Oh, wow. That is...


GEORGIO: Oh, wow. It's - is it one of the - It's an older printer; I know that.

EISENBERG: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

GEORGIO: But I can't - is it a dox (ph) matrix printer?

EISENBERG: Did you say dot matrix printer?


COULTON: Yes. Yes, he did.

GEORGIO: (Laughter).

EISENBERG: OK. Yeah, yeah, yeah. OK, yes, he did. Yeah, yeah.

LEY: I heard dox. But yeah - dot. Dot. Dot.


GEORGIO: You know what? The word is close enough, OK?


LEY: Well, my initial guess - it was Scotch tape being stretched.


EISENBERG: That sounds just like that. Exactly. Or the beginning...

LEY: But that's not technically a machine.


EISENBERG: The beginning of a cappuccino being made.

LEY: Ooh. I also want to say, Dot Matrix is the name of Joan Rivers' C-3PO character in the movie "Spaceballs."

GEORGIO: Yes. Yes, indeed.

LEY: She was Dot Matrix.

EISENBERG: That's right.

COULTON: That's right.

LEY: Yeah.

EISENBERG: That's right.

COULTON: Wow. That's a nice pull, Casey. I'm impressed.

LEY: I am shocked with myself.


COULTON: All right. Casey, here's a machine for you to identify.


LEY: Ooh. I got excited for a second because I thought it was just full-on Harley Davidson.

GEORGIO: (Laughter).

LEY: But I think it's more something that you can ride or push. I think it's a lawn mower machine?

COULTON: Yeah, you are correct.

GEORGIO: (Laughter).

COULTON: It is a lawn mower machine, otherwise known as a lawn mower.

LEY: Oh.

GEORGIO: Yeah, you don't have to add the machine part (laughter).

LEY: I'm from New England. We - it was a lawn mowing machine back then.


COULTON: A lawn mowing machine.

LEY: Yeah, yeah, yeah.


COULTON: Yeah, that's right. According to Popular Mechanics, the first lawn mowing machine that was push and not electric was patented in 1830. And the patent stated, gentlemen will find using my machine an amusing, healthful exercise.

GEORGIO: (Laughter).

LEY: Oh.


LEY: That's my bio for my comedy.


EISENBERG: All right, Solomon.


EISENBERG: What do you think of this one?


GEORGIO: Oh, that's a tough one for me.

EISENBERG: Do you want a hint?

GEORGIO: Yeah, I love hints.

EISENBERG: I think I would buy one if it came with Tim Gunn.

GEORGIO: Oh, a sewing machine.


EISENBERG: Yes. That's right. That's right. Yes.

GEORGIO: See, I - yeah - I've never sewed anything, so I definitely feel unaccomplished now because it's one of those things I've always wanted to learn how to do.

EISENBERG: Yeah, there's a bunch of people who are learning it.

LEY: Solomon, if you really wanted to do it, you have the time.


LEY: So I guess you didn't really want to do it over the last few months, OK?

EISENBERG: (Laughter).

GEORGIO: No, not at all. I have a lot of things on my list of goals that I realize I never want to do during this time (laughter).

EISENBERG: No, me too. Yeah.


EISENBERG: So clear.

COULTON: This really clarifies your list of priorities in a way that you (laughter) wouldn't - you're like, oh, wow, I guess I never wanted to do that ever.

GEORGIO: I don't ever want to...

COULTON: I was just imagining that I was the kind of person who did that.

GEORGIO: (Laughter).

EISENBERG: Yeah. I mean, some of mine were so poorly matched with - I was like, write personal essays about trauma. It's like, definitely don't feel like doing that (laughter).

COULTON: No. No, thank you (laughter).

GEORGIO: Yeah, you want step into that zone for a long period of time in the the worst possible situation?


LEY: Yeah.

COULTON: All right. This is the last clue, and it is for you, Casey.


LEY: Well, of course, I know that because I'm garbage. It's a garbage disposal.


COULTON: Yeah, it's a garbage disposal. That's right.

LEY: It's my biggest fear in the world. Don't go in there, they always say. You'll be disposed of.


COULTON: It is a very scary thing to have a hole in your sink that just destroys matter, liquefies matter.

LEY: I...

COULTON: It's like, you could easily fall in there, and something bad would happen.

LEY: No, I agree.

EISENBERG: They don't have them in New York. I've never seen...

GEORGIO: I was told that recently. And I'm like, we're - I'm over here just chucking things down the - my drain.


LEY: Seriously. What do you get for rent in New York? I don't understand.


COULTON: Hardly anything.

LEY: Yeah.

COULTON: I think there used to be a thing with the plumbing in New York City, where the plumbing was too old, and they just didn't want to deal with people flushing stuff down there.

EISENBERG: Rats - too filled with rats.


COULTON: Yeah, rats.

LEY: You guys don't have garbage disposals. You just have pizza rats to come and remove the food from your kitchen.

EISENBERG: That's right.


EISENBERG: New York is a garbage disposal. It's redundant.

COULTON: (Laughter).

EISENBERG: I remember, growing up, just turning it on and always hearing that (imitating garbage disposal). And then you would, like, turn it off and pull out a fork and be like, ooh, sorry.

LEY: Oh, yeah.



LEY: I have a very vivid imagination, and so I just have, like, fingers in garbage disposal fears. That plus having paper cuts in between my fingers. I think they're my two biggest finger fears that I have.

GEORGIO: I like how you carry, like, a pocketbook of finger fears around with you.


LEY: Oh, I've got a pocketbook full of fears, honey. Yes.


LEY: Fingers just - the finger ones just fit in the pocket.




EISENBERG: You both did great. Great job. Wonderful. Wonderful.

GEORGIO: I think I lost. I don't know if I did great. I got one right.


EISENBERG: That's - you know, what are points?

GEORGIO: (Laughter) Points are points.

COULTON: Listen - in the edit, you're probably going to get them all right. So don't worry.


GEORGIO: Perfect.

LEY: Well, is that because he has more credits than I do? He wins?


GEORGIO: I think that's important to point out. Keep that in the post, that I have more credits.

COULTON: We'll put that in the bios.


EISENBERG: After the break, we'll play another game with comedians Solomon Georgio and Casey Ley, and we'll chat with return friend-testants (ph), songwriters for Disney's "Frozen," Kristen and Robert Lopez. We're going to make them play the same game they hated the last time they were on - so much fun. I'm Ophira Eisenberg, and this is ASK ME ANOTHER from NPR.

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