Eat My Words Baratunde Thurston and Kiran Deol take a trip to Flavortown in this game based on celebrity chef catchphrases. Don't listen on an empty stomach.
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Eat My Words

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Eat My Words

Eat My Words

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

JONATHAN COULTON, BYLINE: Hey, everybody. It's Jonathan Coulton with ASK ME ANOTHER. I'm going to call my good friend Ophira Eisenberg on the telephone, the computer telephone. Here we go.



Jonathan Coulton.

COULTON: Hi, Ophira.

EISENBERG: Hey. Look at you, different background, different room, fresh room.

COULTON: Right, fresh.

EISENBERG: It looks brand-new.

COULTON: It is a brand-new room. I've actually moved offices.


COULTON: I spent the week moving furniture and painting and cursing...

EISENBERG: (Laughter) As you do. As you do.

COULTON: ...As I made mistakes while painting and moving furniture.

EISENBERG: But let's first just talk about the fact that you chose - I love an accent wall. It's a bold color. It is a - I'm going to say forest green.

COULTON: It is a dark color. I usually shy away from dark colors. My go-to is just to paint everything white because it's safe and you won't notice it.

EISENBERG: The good old eggshell.

COULTON: Yeah, but I wanted to - I was like, I spend all my time here. And also, you know, we're doing all these Zoom calls. Suddenly, it feels very important that it looks good...

EISENBERG: To have a background.

COULTON: ...Because before it was just a pile of garbage. Now I feel like it has to look good when I'm on screen.

EISENBERG: Yeah. And it has to be a color that complements your skin tone.

COULTON: How did I do in that regard?

EISENBERG: I think it brings out your eyes.

COULTON: (Laughter) It brings out my eyes. That's good.

EISENBERG: You know, I was thinking as I was driving around Brooklyn yesterday, and I was looking in people's windows, as you do, you sort of have this ability to gaze into people's apartments a little bit if they have nice windows and just see into their life. And I just saw ring lights, ring lights, ring lights, ring lights.

COULTON: I know, there's ring lights everywhere.


COULTON: I know. And now it's - now that I'm in this new - so the new room that I'm in is now in the front of the building. So now I'm looking across the street and I can see in the neighboring building, everybody is doing their work. There's one lady who's on the phone and pacing all day. There's another guy sitting at his desk with a ring light.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) So I was thinking they should give you a ring light that is also those same, like, therapy lamps, you know, for seasonal affective depression.

COULTON: Yeah, that's a million-dollar idea, a therapeutic ring light.


COULTON: Oh, listen to that. Do you hear my neighbor's motorcycle?

EISENBERG: I do hear your neighbor's motorcycle.

COULTON: That's the downside of this new office.

EISENBERG: Wow. Well, they drove away.

COULTON: No, I think he's just parking. Sometimes he just parks. Sometimes he uses his motorcycle to save a space for his car.

EISENBERG: Oh, that is so not OK.

COULTON: I know. It is not allowed (laughter).

EISENBERG: I mean, brilliant, but not OK. What if...

COULTON: Oh, now he's was driving away. Yeah. Bye neighbor. OK. Well, Ophira, before you start embarking upon this new business endeavor and start your billion-dollar company, why don't we start this $50 show?

EISENBERG: (Laughter) OK. OK.

COULTON: All right. Here we go.


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 accent walls, ASK ME ANOTHER. I'm Jonathan Coulton. Now here's your host, Ophira Eisenberg.


EISENBERG: Thanks, Jonathan. On today's show, two ASK ME ANOTHER alums are back for revenge. From the podcast "Welcome To Night Vale," our guest announcer, Cecil Baldwin, faces off against his frenemy, Kate Jones, who was on this show as a civilian contestant. And I'll talk to actor Zachary Quinto. He plays Mr. Spock in the new "Star Trek" films, and he's in the film version of "The Boys In The Band" on Netflix.

But first, we have writer, comedian and activist, host of the podcast "How To Citizen," Baratunde Thurston and zooming in from another continent, his good friend and star of the sitcom "Sunnyside," Kiran Deol. So let's play some games.


EISENBERG: Joining us right now from all over the world, we have Kiran Deol and Baratunde Thurston.



EISENBERG: So I know that you are now living in California, Baratunde. Kiran, I know you were in England. Are you back in America?


EISENBERG: You're still in England?

DEOL: I'm still in England. I'm still in England. I'm in a '70s time capsule...


DEOL: ...Which is my - yeah, which is my grandfather's home. And so it's really got a - yeah, it's just, like, it's really - I'm living in the past.


THURSTON: I just want to say that when you all asked, like, who do I want to do the show with, and I was like, oh, Kiran would be great. I haven't seen her in a while. We both live in LA now. This will be a great chance to hang out with, like, a neighbor friend. And I just found out she's on the other side of an ocean. So it's too late to retract, but I'm feeling a certain type of way about this.


EISENBERG: So wait a second. So you guys met a while ago through stand-up, basically, right?

THURSTON: Mmm hmm.

DEOL: Kiran, you were on a show that was your show, right, Baratunde?

THURSTON: I don't know if it was my show. I interpreted it as my show.

EISENBERG: OK, that's a great way to be.


DEOL: It was 100...

EISENBERG: Oh, this is your show? It's now my show.

DEOL: ...Look, it was 100% his show.

THURSTON: But my recollection, and it might be an egocentric memory, is that I wanted to do an event. And they're like, we have a whole bunch of other non-white people who want to talk about being non-white. Let's just do it together. And Kiran was - at least, my first memory of meeting and seeing her was performing. And I just laughed my [expletive] off and said, oh, this a very smart person who is going to abandon her (ph) nation at some point in the future and make me really jealous.


EISENBERG: So Baratunde, too, you know, that is your story of how you met Kiran. But when we asked Kiran how she met you, she also mentioned that, like, she met you through the show and that you throw amazing cocktail parties. I mean, clearly not right now, but in the past.

THURSTON: Yeah, that's really true. I helped create something when I worked for The Onion called Whiskey Friday. And it was an intra-office thing, an excuse to drink hard alcohol in the workplace. And it was glorious. It was a simpler and better time. And actually, I remember a very epic Whiskey Friday. I had moved to LA for a year. It didn't work out. Literally, girlfriend dumped me. The show that I moved there to host not only was canceled, the whole network folded.


COULTON: No. Oh, no.

THURSTON: That's how, like, terrible...


THURSTON: It was the most LA story. Like, they canceled the possibility of all shows.

EISENBERG: Well, at least that's when you know it really was not you.

THURSTON: That's right. That's right. That's right. So I threw a party to say, like, farewell, LA. And I think this is the one that Kiran was at. I almost remember. We, like, borrowed someone's house in Beverly Hills to throw this huge cocktail party. I made sure to hire Black people. I was, like, I'm going to hire this Black catering company to, like, bartend because we're rolling deep into Beverly Hills with, like, mad people of color. And we just had music and drinks and hors d'oeuvres. And it was pretty epic. So...

EISENBERG: (Laughter).

THURSTON: ...I think Kiran maybe interpreted that as all my cocktail parties (laughter).

EISENBERG: What happens all the time. That's the best.


DEOL: Guys, Baratunde is really underselling how cool he is. He's very cool. All of his parties are that cool. I love the way he's like, I failed epically, and then I celebrated. I mean, that's cool.

THURSTON: (Laughter).

EISENBERG: That is cool.

COULTON: That is pretty cool.

DEOL: Even if in failure you can celebrate big, I think you're killing in the game.

EISENBERG: OK. So, Baratunde, Kiran, we have a couple of fun games for you.

THURSTON: Awesome.

EISENBERG: Your first game is an audio quiz called Eat My Words. I'll play you a clip of a celebrity chef. You tell me who it is.

DEOL: Baratunde, did you study?

THURSTON: No. I mean, I ate food.

EISENBERG: That's all you need.

COULTON: Yeah, that counts.


EISENBERG: OK, Baratunde, here's your first one.


EMERIL LAGASSE: Bam - just like that.

THURSTON: OK. I heard of male say wham or bam, just like that.


THURSTON: And I'm going to tell you a little story.


THURSTON: My mother was really into Food Network for a period of her life. She died back in 2005. But prior to that, I would visit her a lot in her apartment in Fall River, Mass. And she was into everybody on that network but none more than a Portuguese man named Emeril Lagasse. And that dude - bam - that's Emeril Lagasse.

EISENBERG: That's right. Of course.

DEOL: Wow.

EISENBERG: Personal connection - personal connection. Do you know why he said that?

THURSTON: Not at all. It never occurred to me to ask (laughter).

EISENBERG: OK. Yeah, right.

COULTON: (Laughter).

EISENBERG: Yeah. Emeril taped eight shows a day, and he started yelling bam as a way to keep his crew awake.

THURSTON: Well, that's not fun anymore. That sounds abusive.

EISENBERG: I know. I was like, so Emeril is...


THURSTON: You know what I'm going to do? I'm going to forget what you just told me because I don't like it.

EISENBERG: OK. That sounds very American.


THURSTON: And I'm going to remember the Emeril that my mother loved. So we're going to stick with that story. Thank you very much.

COULTON: Just going to leave it right there (laughter).

DEOL: Yeah. Fake news, Ophira - fake news, fake news.


COULTON: All right, Kiran. Here is one for you. This former co-host of "The Chew" was a popular contestant on "Top Chef".


CARLA HALL: Hootie hoo.

DEOL: I am the opposite of Baratunde. I didn't grow up with the Food Network. We did a lot of Denny's, a lot of Pizza Hut. There may be two or three chicken tikka masala pizzas sitting in my fridge right now, but there's no guarantee that that's the truth.


DEOL: She's saying hootie hoo?

EISENBERG: Hootie hoo, yep.

COULTON: Hootie hoo.

DEOL: OK. So the only person I really know from "Top Chef" is Padma Lakshmi because of her love of spicy food and the fact that she's Indian, like me. So I'm just going to guess the name of another woman. Paula Deen?

EISENBERG: (Laughter).

DEOL: That's it. That's all I've got. I'm really sorry. I go to Denny's. I'm really sorry. I'm sorry.

COULTON: I'm going to give you a point because Paula Deen is, in fact, a woman. So we're going to give you a point.

EISENBERG: And it is a name.

COULTON: And it is a name.


COULTON: But what we were looking for was Carla Hall.

EISENBERG: Yeah. And that's - it's sort of her catchphrase. It started as a way that if her and her husband were, like, lost in a public setting, you know, one says hootie and the other says hoo to find each other.

THURSTON: Oh, that's cute.



THURSTON: That's really cute.

EISENBERG: I know. When my husband and I - I just leave.


EISENBERG: All right. Baratunde, this celebrity wrote several cookbooks and famously dismisses "Top Chef" contestants with this phrase.


PADMA LAKSHMI: Autumn, please pack your knives and go.

THURSTON: It was a very sultry voice.


THURSTON: It was dismissive but inviting at the same time.


THURSTON: I think I do want to go wherever you're going.


THURSTON: But I have no idea who that is.

DEOL: No, you do. You do, Baratunde. You do.

EISENBERG: Yeah, she was just mentioned.

THURSTON: Oh, Padma Lakshmi.

EISENBERG: That's right. Well done.


EISENBERG: I like this setup where now, Kiran, it seems that you actually are living in the future.


THURSTON: Anticipating the next one.

COULTON: All right. This is the last one. It is for you, Kiran.


JULIA CHILD: Bon appetit.

DEOL: OK. This woman sounds kind of French, but I'm going to go with - is this maybe - is it maybe Julia Stiles - 'cause wasn't she supposed to be French? And then she was in that movie with the other lady? This is really going badly.

COULTON: It was not Julia Stiles.

EISENBERG: Right - but very close.

DEOL: Julia Stiles is the teenaged lady, isn't she? Julia...


COULTON: That's right.


DEOL: Yeah, I can see her. She's got an apron. She loves butter. It's Julia.

COULTON: It almost rhymes. It almost rhymes with Stiles.

DEOL: Child.

EISENBERG: That's right. There you go.

DEOL: Julia Child. That was such a great help. Oh, yeah.

THURSTON: Well, you were great to say Julia Stiles because that snapped me back to, like, "Save The Last Dance".


THURSTON: And the fact that you called her that teenage woman...


THURSTON: ...Just trapped her in that character.

DEOL: She doesn't age. She lives there forever in my heart.


EISENBERG: More with Baratunde and Kiran after the break. And after that, we'll play games with "Welcome To Night Vale's" Cecil Baldwin. And after that, I'll talk to actor Zachary Quinto. As Mr. Spock would say, tuning out would be highly illogical.

I'm Ophira Eisenberg, and this is ASK ME ANOTHER from NPR.

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