Puzzlemaster Will Shortz and Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! host Peter Sagal walk into a bar... No, it's not the start of a joke. It's the essence of Ask Me Another, a rambunctious hour that blends brainteasers and local pub trivia night with comedy and music. Host Ophira Eisenberg invites in-studio guests and listeners alike to stretch their noggins, tickle their funny bones, and enjoy witty banter and guitar riffs from house musician Jonathan Coulton.
For an hour, listeners can play along as Eisenberg puts questions to a rotating band of puzzle gurus, audience members and special mystery guests, who then takes a turn in the contestant's chair facing trivia games written especially for him or her. What you'll hear resembles the casual intimacy of game night at a friend's house: one where scores are forgotten in favor of hilarious gaffes.
The puzzle gurus behind Ask Me Another include John Chaneski, who devised tough questions and answers for "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" before becoming one of the "puzzle guys" on the radio program "A Way With Words"; Art Chung who has written for and produced television game shows including "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?," "Cash Cab," "The World Series of Pop Culture," and "Stump the Schwab"; and actor/writer Will Hines who has performed and taught improvisational comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre for years, and obsessively reads books on compiling baseball statistics, a task he will never have to do.
Ask Me Another is recorded live at The Bell House in Brooklyn, NY.
(Rebroadcast, Episode 215) Word nerds, unite! This week's show will whet your appetite for wordplay with a game that mashes up famous names and food items into portmanteaus. Our Very Important Puzzler, comedian and co-creator of The Daily Show Lizz Winstead, is a bonafide game fanatic who shares the definitions of her own, made-up vocabulary, and plays a game about her home state of Minnesota.
In anticipation of our special episode recorded live in San Francisco as part of the comedy festival SF Sketchfest, here’s a taste of host Ophira Eisenberg’s rather salty stand-up set from the evening’s pre-show.
You can hear this episode, featuring VIPs Danny Pudi and Adam Savage, as a podcast starting March 13th, 2014.
(Episode 310) It's a trivia lover's dream this week, as our Very Important Puzzler, editor of The World Almanac Sarah Janssen, shares weird and mind-blowing facts from pop culture, politics and beyond.
(Rebroadcast, Episode 216) Sorry, Beatles fans: This hour, Jonathan Coulton turns some of the Fab Four’s most beloved hits into trivia questions about famous historical figures. Is nothing sacred? We’ll also put the King of Horror’s son, novelist and B-movie aficionado Owen King, in the puzzle hot seat as our V.I.P. Plus: play a game that has nothing to do with the HBO series Game of Thrones, and translate common expressions into medical conditions.When it comes to our contestants, you never know what is going to come out of their alimentary canals.
(Episode 309) What's love got to do with it? A lot, actually. This week we explore those fuzzy feelings between families, couples and a puzzle guru and his games. Plus author and screenwriter Delia Ephron shares tales from the front lines of the romantic comedy business.
(Rebroadcast, Episode 224) Making heads or tails of the ever-changing job market can be a puzzle in and of itself. Luckily, this week's Very Important Puzzlers — Adam Davidson and Alex Blumberg, co-creators of NPR's Planet Money podcast — give the scoop on how they help listeners make sense of the global economy. Plus, a literary twist on blockbuster-style movie trailers, a tribute to city names of yesteryear, and a game all about repeating words for effect...effect...effect.
(Episode 308) In 1955, Variety predicted rock 'n roll would be dead by summer. Boy, were they wrong! We can't predict the future either, but we can invite you to learn the ups and downs of hosting your own TV show, from a comedian who's been there — this week's V.I.P., W. Kamau Bell.
In this podcast extra, comedian W. Kamau Bell shares his rather lively appearance on The View, sharing the spotlight with pop star Taylor Swift and why he was heckled by Barbara Walters.
(Rebroadcast, Episode 223) Do you like trivia? Do you enjoy food? This week, you can have your cake and eat it too. Two professional competitive eaters square off in a music round inspired by a certain Twisted Sister song. Our Very Important Puzzler, Bon Appétit editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport, dishes about culinary trends, the scourge of Yelp.com reviews and why he hates giving wine advice. Plus, trivia rounds about nursery rhymes, bad spelling and ironic facts. Find out who's the cream of the crop, and who'll be mincemeat.
In this slightly naughty podcast extra, author Elizabeth Gilbert, reveals some fascinating vocabulary she picked up researching 19th century erotica for her latest novel, The Signature of All Things.
(Episode 307) There’s lots to explore in V.I.P. Elizabeth Gilbert’s adventurous new novel, The Signature of All Things, such as botany and 19th-century erotica. Plus, eat, pray and love your way through games about Italian foods, oddly-named deities and the best part of any newspaper: the funny pages.
(Episode 306) This week’s Very Important Puzzler, designer and potter Jonathan Adler, creates his eye-catching home furnishings much like we aim to design our games — to be colorful, witty and full of joy.
Style guru Simon Doonan graced our stage in Season 1 and gave an interview deemed "too racy for radio." We never intended to air it in full, but it’s too good to keep in the Ask Me Another vault. In this podcast-only extra, hear him reveal what body part Freud compared handbags to, speak in a secret language known as "Palare," and dish out some fashion advice he gleefully calls "demented."
What do you get when you add Jay-Z's "Problems" to Three Dog Night's "Loneliest Number"? In this Season 1 bonus round, puzzle guru Art Chung challenges contestants to solve simple arithmetic problems using numbers found in pop culture. Calculus is a lot less scary when it involves your favorite band.
Plus, Jonathan Coulton performs an original and puzzling song about fractals, "Mandelbrot Set."
(Rebroadcast, Episode 221) If you believe in magic, then this week’s show is for you. Play word games based on Missy Elliott lyrics, do your own version of a TED talk, and brush up on foodie lingo. You’ll also learn about irregular plurals, and take a thesaurus to the Oscars. This week’s V.I.P. is comedian and podcaster Julie Klausner, who dishes on pop culture and her love of The Monkees.
With parodies like "Eat It," "Addicted to Spuds," and "Like a Surgeon," "Weird Al" Yankovic's songs were pretty much begging to be made into an Ask Me Another game. In this bonus round from Season 1, we pay tribute to our favorite accordion-playing, pop culture-loving, food-punning parodist. House musician Jonathan Coulton makes contestants sing along to Weird Al's songs.
The 1960s were a different time. Married couples were separated at formal dinner parties (unless they were newlyweds), women lowered their eyes while they were being toasted, and it was uncouth for men to consume a mixed drink. In this bonus round from Season 1, host Ophira Eisenberg quizzes contestants on shockingly antiquated etiquette rules from the Mad Men era.
(Rebroadcast, Episode 217) If you're the type of person who gives your pet a name like "Chairman Meow," then you'll be right at home with this week's games. We'll combine highbrow folks (world leaders) with the lowest form of comedy (puns), spend a little time in Celebrity A-A, and hear Jonathan Coulton apply his mellow song stylings to the electric wizard, Jimi Hendrix. Plus, we have the inventor of fantasy baseball, Daniel Okrent, on the show to play a game about the sport's most hilarious oddities.
It's Christmastime, and you're living on an asteroid run by evil robot overlords. You're writing one of those end-of-the-year family recap letters to everyone you know. What would it say? House musician Jonathan Coulton knows, and shares this holiday song of mirth, mistletoe and glowing red eyes, live from the Ask Me Another stage.
December 21st , 2013 is the 100th anniversary of the first published crossword puzzle by Arthur Wynne. To celebrate this centennial, please enjoy listening to the wordplay wizard (and New York Times crossword editor) Will Shortz take on our puzzle guru John Chaneski in an intense word-puzzle showdown.
We have another treat for you, too. Head to NPR.org to try your hand at a special crossword puzzle written by John Chaneski just for this occasion. Go on, it’ll be good for you. Only one question remains: will you use pencil, or pen?