McElroy Brothers Hosts of the podcast My Brother, My Brother and Me Justin, Travis, and Griffin McElroy play trivia games about Dungeons & Dragons and talk about their new book Everybody Has a Podcast (Except You).
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McElroy Brothers

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McElroy Brothers

McElroy Brothers

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(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

JONATHAN COULTON, BYLINE: This is NPR's ASK ME ANOTHER. I'm Jonathan Coulton. Here's your host, Ophira Eisenberg.

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Thanks, Jonathan. I'm here with Justin, Travis and Griffin McElroy. They host the comedy podcast, "My Brother, My Brother And Me" and make a bunch of other popular shows.

Hey, I really enjoyed your book, "Everybody Has A Podcast (Except You)."

TRAVIS MCELROY: Thank you.

GRIFFIN MCELROY: I like that you checked the cover of the book for the you in case there was, like, a different - there was, like, except for Jason Douglas (ph) of Wyoming.

COULTON: (Laughter).

EISENBERG: Well, you know, when I read it to myself, it's like, except for you. And then I realized that, you know, it was talking to me.

T MCELROY: Yeah.

G MCELROY: Right. That's not true.

EISENBERG: And I was like, wait a second.

G MCELROY: Right. It's false.

EISENBERG: So then I was trying to figure out my audience when I was reflecting that book back to everyone here who has a podcast.

T MCELROY: Aw, man. We didn't even think about that. People who have podcasts already aren't going to buy the book. Oh, no.

EISENBERG: No. You know what? Just - I mean, the book goes through all kinds of things, technical equipment. But then the last chapter is called Making Money. And I think the problem is some people start with that chapter.

G MCELROY: Right.

JUSTIN MCELROY: Most people shouldn't even read that chapter.

(LAUGHTER)

G MCELROY: Yeah. Yeah. Most people can skip right over that one.

J MCELROY: Most people would be very safe in skipping that chapter.

G MCELROY: Actually, there's only one page of content in that chapter, and if you actually go any further than that, it's just ipsum lorem ad infinitum.

(LAUGHTER)

T MCELROY: Yeah. We'll come back to that in "Everybody Has A Podcast Except You 2" (ph).

EISENBERG: Oh, do.

J MCELROY: Yeah.

G MCELROY: See, this is why we made the book. It's because this is a very difficult craft.

T MCELROY: It's harder than it looks.

COULTON: Yeah.

EISENBERG: Yeah. Well, that's...

J MCELROY: None of it's harder than it looks. That's my main fear about reading - like, I have this persistent nightmare where everyone who reads it closes the book, and they're like, that's it?

COULTON: (Laughter).

J MCELROY: That's the whole - huh. That's the whole thing.

EISENBERG: Well, to add an enthusiastic, positive counter to that, you know, just even simple things like, hey, guess what? You got to perform. Like, turn it up a notch. And guess what else? You have to listen. But I feel like it's like - that is just good. You want to make a good product. Like, this is gold standard. Sure, you could do whatever, but here's how to do the gold standard. That's how I read it.

J MCELROY: Thank you. That's very kind. We cheated because we have been building our sort of, like, rapport, if you will, for the actual content part of our shows our entire lives. I mean, that was the dinner table for us, was like - our dad was in morning radio for 40 years, so our dinner table discussion was very much, like, who can one-up the other one? It was abysmal, I'm sure, for our mother. But that was our way we communicated, was joking and goofing on each other and, like - so that was the natural part. And that was actually the hardest part to write in the book, was to slow down and be like, OK, so wait. How do you do that part?

G MCELROY: Yeah.

EISENBERG: Right.

J MCELROY: Because that part we kind of, like, lucked our way into, and it was everything else that we had to sort of trial by error.

EISENBERG: Right. The natural rapport - you're like, well, we're just around each other, so there is going to be natural rapport.

J MCELROY: Live with a - find a great co-host.

EISENBERG: (Laughter).

T MCELROY: Yep.

J MCELROY: Go back in time.

T MCELROY: Uh-huh.

J MCELROY: Be born from the same uterus as them.

T MCELROY: Yeah.

J MCELROY: And then...

T MCELROY: Only watch the same movies and TV shows that they do.

J MCELROY: Right. Yeah.

T MCELROY: Yeah.

EISENBERG: And so 2010 is when "My Brother, My Brother And Me" started. So that's, you know, obviously 11 years ago. What episode number are you at?

G MCELROY: Close to 550.

EISENBERG: 550.

T MCELROY: Well, we're - yeah.

J MCELROY: Call it 550.

G MCELROY: Around 550, yeah.

T MCELROY: April will be the 11th - like, the 11th anniversary.

J MCELROY: Final season.

T MCELROY: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

T MCELROY: The sunset season.

EISENBERG: Well, I've been - I'm wondering, do you joke about that? You know, like, this is our final season.

T MCELROY: Since we started.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Right. Right. All right.

T MCELROY: We do have - I wish it was a joke, but it is true. Every time we will hit some kind of milestone number - like 100, 200, 250 - and we'll be like, oh, wait. This is 250. We should have planned something.

(LAUGHTER)

T MCELROY: That has happened at every milestone.

G MCELROY: We - not a joke, we just skipped Episode 420 because we knew that we would not be able to come up with a great episode-long gag based on the fact that that is the marijuana number.

EISENBERG: Right.

G MCELROY: And so if you look at our feed, it just goes 419 to 421. And we said, like, it'll happen when it happens. Like a thief in the night, Episode 420 will come to you.

EISENBERG: Just all of a sudden.

T MCELROY: Yeah.

G MCELROY: Right.

EISENBERG: Like, six years from now, just 420.

G MCELROY: Yeah.

T MCELROY: It might already be published now. Go look, everybody.

G MCELROY: Go look. No, it's not.

COULTON: (Laughter).

EISENBERG: You know what? I'm just letting you know from my point of view, this is it.

G MCELROY: This is - whoa.

EISENBERG: You're on 420.

(CROSSTALK)

J MCELROY: What a twist.

G MCELROY: A backdoor Episode 420 - that's fun.

EISENBERG: (Laughter).

G MCELROY: "Star Wars 10" is actually going to be "MBMBAM" 420. Yeah, so it's worked out.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) OK, so listen. I know you just played together, and you know what? You did well. It's hard playing together, especially when you're all in different locations, but you're used to playing together. But how about some competition?

J MCELROY: Yes, please.

T MCELROY: Ooh.

G MCELROY: Oh, yeah.

EISENBERG: Good.

G MCELROY: What are we talking? Is it a little - some leg wrestle? What are we talking?

EISENBERG: (Laughter) Leg wrestle through the virtual world.

G MCELROY: Through Zoom. It'll be tough. It'll be tough.

EISENBERG: This - so you're enemies in this game.

G MCELROY: OK.

T MCELROY: Oh, in the game. OK.

EISENBERG: It's called Where Should We Eat? We're going to give you the name of a geographic location in the United States with a delicious-sounding name. You're just going to tell us if it's a real place or a fake place that we made up. This is a speed round. So to increase the pressure, we are going to put an amount of time on the clock.

G MCELROY: Not going to tell us...

COULTON: To be determined in the future.

T MCELROY: It's just like...

G MCELROY: ...What that amount is. OK.

EISENBERG: No, no. That would ruin the mystery. Griffin's going to go first.

G MCELROY: OK.

T MCELROY: OK.

EISENBERG: So, Griffin, these are for you. So you're just going to - I'm going to throw out the names of these places. You're going to say if they are real or fake.

G MCELROY: OK.

EISENBERG: Are you ready?

G MCELROY: I am ready.

EISENBERG: Here we go - Chili, Wis.

G MCELROY: True, yes, real.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: That's real. Barbecue, N.C.

G MCELROY: No.

EISENBERG: Oh.

(SOUNDBITE OF BUZZER)

EISENBERG: That's real.

G MCELROY: Oh, God.

EISENBERG: Baby Back, Okla.

G MCELROY: No, fake.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Definitely not. You're right. It's fake. Corn, Okla.

G MCELROY: Real.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Yes. Popcorn, Ind.

G MCELROY: I want to say real.

EISENBERG: Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Turkey, Texas.

G MCELROY: Fake. That one's fake.

EISENBERG: Oh, no.

(SOUNDBITE OF BUZZER)

EISENBERG: That's real.

G MCELROY: Oh, God.

EISENBERG: Chicken, Ala.

G MCELROY: Fake.

(SOUNDBITE OF BUZZER)

EISENBERG: Also real.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

G MCELROY: What's going on? Why are we naming our cities these things?

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Yeah. Chicken, Ala., was founded in the 1890s by prospectors mining for gold. They survived the harsh winter by eating those ptarmigans, those...

G MCELROY: OK.

EISENBERG: ...Like, little...

G MCELROY: Yeah.

EISENBERG: Yeah. And ptarmigans...

G MCELROY: Should have maybe called the town that, but...

EISENBERG: Yeah, Ptarmigan. But they thought...

G MCELROY: OK.

EISENBERG: ...It was hard to spell. So...

T MCELROY: They were right.

EISENBERG: They went for Chicken (laughter). But you did great. You got 4 out of 7.

G MCELROY: I can't believe I missed Turkey, Texas. I live in Austin. I am a fake Texas boy.

COULTON: (Laughter).

EISENBERG: Well, now you know where to vacation.

G MCELROY: Yeah.

COULTON: All right, Travis, it is your turn to try to beat or match Griffin's score.

T MCELROY: OK.

COULTON: Here we go - Cookietown, Okla.

T MCELROY: Fake.

COULTON: That is real.

(SOUNDBITE OF BUZZER)

T MCELROY: What?

COULTON: Kit Kat, Kansas.

T MCELROY: Fake.

COULTON: Fake.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Correct. Pop Tart, Mo.

T MCELROY: Fake.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Also fake. Strawberry, S.C.

T MCELROY: Real.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Yes. Cream, Wis.

T MCELROY: Real.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Yes. Hot Coffee, Miss.

T MCELROY: Fake.

(SOUNDBITE OF BUZZER)

COULTON: Real.

T MCELROY: What?

COULTON: Pie Town, N.M.

T MCELROY: Real.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Yes. That's correct - real.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Pie Town is a tiny historic town in New Mexico named for a bakery that used to be there.

EISENBERG: Aww.

G MCELROY: Wait a minute. Wouldn't you fight to...

T MCELROY: And they couldn't keep it?

COULTON: Yeah.

EISENBERG: So, Travis, who would know half of these things? This is, like, you know, not knowledge most people carry around with them. But still, I would do the same thing. When you get it wrong, you're like, what? Like...

T MCELROY: Yeah.

EISENBERG: How is this possible?

T MCELROY: No, it's more like when I found out Cookie Town is a place...

EISENBERG: Yeah.

T MCELROY: How have I not been there?

EISENBERG: True.

G MCELROY: Right.

EISENBERG: True.

T MCELROY: That was more the thing.

COULTON: It seems like it would be a fun place to visit. Yeah.

T MCELROY: Right?

J MCELROY: Between Huntington, where we grew up, and the state capital, there is a road. It's I-64. And along I-64 are two smaller towns. One is called Nitro, and one is called Hurricane. And we call it danger corridor because it's the most thrilling stretch of road.

(LAUGHTER)

J MCELROY: But Hurricane is pronounced Hurri-cun (ph).

G MCELROY: Yep.

J MCELROY: And if you say hurricane, it's incorrect.

EISENBERG: There's a place near where I grew up in Alberta, Canada, called Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump.

(LAUGHTER)

G MCELROY: Awesome. Wow. What's the story behind that, I wonder?

EISENBERG: It's exactly...

J MCELROY: Yeah.

EISENBERG: Yeah. It's really - it's a literal story. And you know how it ends.

J MCELROY: Yeah, it says it right there on the tin.

EISENBERG: (Laughter).

T MCELROY: Yeah.

EISENBERG: All right, Travis, you got 5 out of 7, currently our champion.

J MCELROY: I'm going to do the worst.

EISENBERG: So, Justin...

J MCELROY: I'm going to do the worst.

EISENBERG: ...This is up - it's up for you.

J MCELROY: Going to lose. Going to do the worst.

EISENBERG: Let's see if you're going to - score or match five. So are these places real or fake? Here we go. Oatmeal, Texas.

J MCELROY: Real.

EISENBERG: Real. Cereal, Pa.

J MCELROY: Real.

EISENBERG: Yes. Bagel, N.J.

J MCELROY: Fake.

EISENBERG: Correct. Toast, N.C.

J MCELROY: Real.

EISENBERG: Correct. Potato Creek, S.D.

J MCELROY: Real.

EISENBERG: Yes. Two Egg, Fla.

J MCELROY: Fake.

EISENBERG: That's real. And finally, Rabbit Hash, Ky.

J MCELROY: Real.

EISENBERG: That is real.

J MCELROY: Wow. Solid.

EISENBERG: Justin, you did it. You did it.

J MCELROY: I defeated fate there by answering the opposite of my instinct for every one.

(LAUGHTER)

J MCELROY: Take that, fate.

COULTON: It was like a magic trick. You're like a seer.

EISENBERG: You know, your brain has to work really fast.

J MCELROY: I'm the reverse of a seer.

EISENBERG: Your brain has to work fast to, like, hear what it wants to say, negate it and then make the - make - so six out of seven. Great. You all did great.

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