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Talking Heads

Sep 15, 2017
Originally published on March 9, 2018 9:57 am

TV pundits in absurdly large suits star in this music game. We rewrote Talking Heads songs to be about the hosts, pundits, and game show sidekicks who make their living as talking heads.

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JONATHAN COULTON: This is NPR's ASK ME ANOTHER. I'm Jonathan Coulton here with puzzle guru Art Chung. Now here's your host, Ophira Eisenberg.



Thank you, Jonathan. Before the break, we met our contestants Caitlin and Michael. Soon they'll play a game where Jonathan Coulton will play with fire and try not to get David burned.


EISENBERG: I'm just going to leave three more beats.

COULTON: Just wait for it.

EISENBERG: Let's check in with our contestants. Caitlin, so you've also been going through, what I understand, is a very lengthy process to adopt a cat.

CAITLIN DOYLE: They won't let just anyone. No.

EISENBERG: They won't.

DOYLE: (Laughter).

EISENBERG: OK. So let's hear a little bit about this journey and the lucky cat.

DOYLE: His name is Winston (ph). I'm picking him up next weekend. And I have FaceTimed with him.


DOYLE: I have, yes.

EISENBERG: How was he on FaceTime?

DOYLE: He was a cat.


EISENBERG: And that was - that's basically what you're looking for.

DOYLE: As advertised, yes.

EISENBERG: And so you're going to pick him up where?

DOYLE: In Pennsylvania.

EISENBERG: OK. So this is not just any cat.

DOYLE: No. This is a - he is a retired show cat.


DOYLE: Yeah. He is. His full Cat Fanciers' Association name is Lion Lily Wishmaster by Nightwish (ph), which is also an album by a Finnish metal band which I found out when I googled it.


DOYLE: We're going to have a big social media presence maybe.

EISENBERG: That's great. Fantastic. So, Michael, you and your wife are learning about wine...


EISENBERG: ...Which is something I aspire to, myself. And what are you drawn towards as a, you know, a wine enthusiast?

HEIGHT: I like reds from the Pacific Northwest.

EISENBERG: Yeah, yeah. OK, yeah. There's someone here.

HEIGHT: Portland in the house.

EISENBERG: Yeah, the Willamette Valley.

HEIGHT: Absolutely, very excited. My wife and I had a very exciting date night planned for my birthday last year at the Willamette Valley. And that was the day that the Delta crash came, where they grounded all of these flights. And so I was stuck with the company of "The Lion King" in Minneapolis for the day and didn't get that night with my wife. But it'll happen soon. It'll happen again.

EISENBERG: Is that you telling her over the radio that...


EISENBERG: ...She should make it happen for you again?

ART CHUNG: (Laughter) I love it.

HEIGHT: I love you, honey. Love you.

EISENBERG: Let's go to your next game where we'll put TV pundits in absurdly large suits in a music game based on the Talking Heads. Caitlin, you won the last game. So you win this, and you are in the final round. Michael, you need to win this. Or you may ask yourself, what have I done?


EISENBERG: Jonathan Coulton, take it away.

COULTON: We rewrote Talking Heads songs to be about people who make their living as talking heads - hosts, pundits, game show sidekicks, whatever. Ring in and tell me who I'm singing about. And if you get that right, for a bonus point, you can identify the Talking Heads song I'm parodying. Are you ready?


DOYLE: Yeah.

COULTON: OK. Here we go. (Singing) EGOT - she's one of 12 on that list. As Guinan, her hat looked like a saucer. She's the longest-running host on the show "The View."


COULTON: Michael?

HEIGHT: Whoopi Goldberg.

COULTON: That's correct.


COULTON: For a bonus point, can you name the song?

HEIGHT: I know - not at all.


HEIGHT: I know it not at all.

COULTON: That was "Burning Down The House."

EISENBERG: For a second bonus point, can you name all 19 other hosts of "The View"?

HEIGHT: No, I cannot.



COULTON: (Singing) I'm on screen to deliver the facts. Look like a model for some shirts or slacks. A silver fox, a perfect 10. I'm 360 on CNN.


COULTON: Caitlin.

DOYLE: Anderson Cooper.

COULTON: Yeah. That's right.


COULTON: For a bonus point can you name the song?

DOYLE: "Psycho Killer."

COULTON: "Psycho Killer," you got it.


COULTON: (Singing) People love her syndicated show. How you doing is the phrase that they crow. She was a DJ at New York gigs. Now has a line of of Jewelry and wigs.


COULTON: Caitlin.

DOYLE: Is it Wendy Williams?

COULTON: It is Wendy Williams.


COULTON: Can you name the song?

DOYLE: I do not know.

COULTON: It's "Take Me To The River."


COULTON: I'm right.

EISENBERG: Yeah, that's right.


COULTON: (Singing) You may find yourself as the host of "Singled Out." And you may find yourself as the host of "@Midnight." And you may find yourself hosting "The Wall" and "The Nerdist." And you may find yourself hosting "Talking Bad," "Talking Dead" and "Talking Saul." You may ask yourself, well, what else can I host?


DOYLE: Chris Hardwick.

COULTON: Chris Hardwick is the answer.


COULTON: Bonus point for you Caitlin if you can name the song.

DOYLE: I don't know this one either.

COULTON: OK. It's "Once In A Lifetime" everybody. You don't have to clap.


COULTON: You don't have to clap. You know what? They've gotten plenty of acclaim and plenty of success. They don't need your pity applause.


COULTON: Here we go. (Singing) Audience in the dog pound on his '90s talk show. Also the host of "Star Search," Paula Abdul's video. Sad shake of heads.


COULTON: Any hints from you, puzzle guru Art Chung?

CHUNG: He was also in "Coming To America" with Eddie Murphy.


COULTON: Caitlin.

DOYLE: Arsenio Hall.

COULTON: That is correct.


COULTON: Can you name the song?

DOYLE: I think you know I can't.


COULTON: I had a feeling you wouldn't be able to. It was "Road To Nowhere," everybody. This is your last clue. (Singing) This ain't no party. This ain't no disco. This ain't no fooling around. And yet, I'm drinking. And Kathie Lee's drinking. It's only 10:00 a.m. now.


COULTON: Caitlin.

DOYLE: Hoda Kotb.

COULTON: Hoda Kotb, that's right.


COULTON: And I don't suppose there's any reason I should...

DOYLE: I've got nothing for you.

COULTON: You know, this is particularly...


COULTON: This is a particularly hard one. I'm not sure I would have been able to name this song.

EISENBERG: Yeah, I know this song.

COULTON: I know this song.


COULTON: It's "Life During Wartime" is the name of the song. It's fun.

EISENBERG: Yeah, there you go.

COULTON: (Singing) It's fun to know things. Art Chung...


COULTON: Puzzle guru Art Chung, how did our contestants do?

CHUNG: Congratulations, Caitlin. You won both games, and you're moving on to the final round.

(APPLAUSE) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.