Bug Me Do Jonathan Coulton performs Beatles songs re-written to be about bugs, and Busy Philipps and Shantira Jackson have to figure out what he's singing about.

Bug Me Do

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JONATHAN COULTON, BYLINE: This is ASK ME ANOTHER, NPR's hour of puzzles, word games, cocktails and celebrities. I'm Jonathan Coulton. Here's your host, Ophira Eisenberg.


That's right, Jonathan. We're playing games with the host of "Busy Philipps Is Doing Her Best," Busy Philipps, and our friend, comedy writer Shantira Jackson. But before we move on, Shantira, I've got to ask you, is that a rabbit behind you?

SHANTIRA JACKSON: Oh, yeah. We have a rabbit.


JACKSON: We have rabbit. Her name is Juniper (ph). She is a divorcee who lives in our home.


JACKSON: A quick background on my rabbit, Juniper - my partner got this rabbit, this a little angel baby, from a shelter. And her background is that she used to be married to a all-white rabbit, cis male rabbit.


JACKSON: And he - she had, like, a couple of his babies. And then she was like, you know what? This is over. Also, I'm very LA, and we talked to a pet psychic. And the pet psychic...

EISENBERG: (Laughter) You're not the first person.

COULTON: This is not the first time this has come up on the show.

JACKSON: The pet psychic said that Juniper is living her best life right now as a single queer woman.


JACKSON: And that she - we were like, should we be petting her more? And then the lady literally said, Juniper went, ew, no. Don't you know that if you hold me too hard, I could die? Do not touch me anymore (laughter).

EISENBERG: Oh, my God, Juniper.

COULTON: Wow. Strong words from Juniper.

JACKSON: So Juniper is, like, really a diva. She's like, I want to eat bok choy. You can pet me, but do not hold me too much. And I'm like, girl, say it. I love it. You want to eat bok choy. You can pet me. Do not hold me too much.


COULTON: She's a rabbit who knows what she wants.


BUSY PHILIPPS: She really is.

EISENBERG: So OK, we have another quick game for you.

PHILIPPS: OK, I'm ready.

EISENBERG: No more working together. No more working together.


JACKSON: Oh, no.

EISENBERG: So what - this is great because we're going to do a music parody game.

JACKSON: Oh, yay.

EISENBERG: And it's all about you, Jonathan Coulton.

COULTON: It is all about me. We have changed the lyrics to Beatles songs to make them about insects, arachnids, creepy crawlies and so on.

JACKSON: (Laughter).

COULTON: All right. And we're going to go back and forth. And, Busy, we're going to start with you.


COULTON: (Singing) In the summer, I'll blight you, annoy you and bite you...

PHILIPPS: A mosquito.

COULTON: (Singing) ...And leave itchy bumps on your skin.

PHILIPPS: I hate them so much.

COULTON: (Singing) Citronella or spray will not keep me away. Somehow I will find my way in.

PHILIPPS: I mean, mosquito.

COULTON: Mosquito is correct, yes. And the song was "All My Loving."

PHILIPPS: And you know what's such a bummer? It's my least favorite of all of the insects. And...

COULTON: (Laughter) It's not a very well-beloved insect, to be honest.


PHILIPPS: No, but one of the reasons why I loved LA until this past year was because we had no mosquitoes. And now we have mosquitoes everywhere. So now there's no reason to stay in LA. Let's go on.

COULTON: (Laughter) All right. So, Shantira, this one is for you.


COULTON: (Singing) I live on your dog, or should I say, your dog has me. I jump very high. That's a good thing because I don't fly.

JACKSON: That's a flea, baby, right?

COULTON: It is definitely a flea. That's correct.

JACKSON: That is a flea.

COULTON: But do you know the song, just for funs?

JACKSON: Do I know the song? OK, I'm going to be super honest with you. I only know Beatles songs from commercials. I did not grow up listening to Beatles.

EISENBERG: Fair enough.

JACKSON: So if it wasn't in a commercial at some point in the last 10 years (laughter)...

COULTON: It's fine. It's fine.

JACKSON: ...I don't know it.

COULTON: That was "Norwegian Wood."

JACKSON: Yeah, 100% never heard that song ever in my whole life. But if they tried to sell Tide with it, I'm your girl.


COULTON: Busy, this one is for you.

PHILIPPS: I'm excited.

COULTON: (Singing) In the hive, there is a swarm of fuzzy, buzzing things. They're making wax and royal jelly for the queen. And in the garden, they explore the scene as they pollinate. The stripes look great.

PHILIPPS: (Singing) Honeybees are in my mind. They're in my soul.

COULTON: (Laughter) Yes. Yes, well done - bees.

EISENBERG: They look good in horizontal stripes, which I've always held against them.

COULTON: (Laughter) It's true. It's hard to pull that off.

JACKSON: They wear fur all year long. They are thriving.



COULTON: All right, Shantira, this is the last one and it is for you.


COULTON: Here we go. (Singing) Hiding in the web, there's a big surprise, sitting still with eight legs and eight eyes, waits for flies. I know it's not an insect. Please don't write us to complain.


EISENBERG: That's one of the best rhymes of all time.

COULTON: (Laughter).

JACKSON: So here we go. I'm really proud of myself because it's (singing) a spiderweb...

COULTON: A spider.

JACKSON: ...(Singing) In the middle of the night.

COULTON: That is right.

JACKSON: And that is "Blackbird," baby, who has been used in a commercial. Oh, yeah.

COULTON: Yeah, see? There you go.

EISENBERG: There you go.

JACKSON: (Laughter).

EISENBERG: You both did amazing in the music game, knowing your Beatles and your insects to enough of a degree that is acceptable to gain all of the points and win. That's what the point is.

PHILIPPS: We did it.

COULTON: (Laughter).

JACKSON: We won. Thank you. I needed a win.

EISENBERG: That's right.

JACKSON: I needed a win.

PHILIPPS: We all need a win, Shantira. We all need a win.

COULTON: (Laughter) That's very true, very true.

EISENBERG: I feel like this was my best, so thank you so much. Thank you, Busy Philipps. Thank you, Shantira Jackson - such a pleasure to see you again and meet you, Busy.

PHILIPPS: Yeah. Thank you. Thanks for having us.

EISENBERG: Busy's podcast is called "Busy Philipps Is Doing Her Best."


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