Ask Me Another
9:14 am
Fri April 5, 2013

We Didn't Start the Fire, Honest

Transcript

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

From NPR and WNYC, this is ASK ME ANOTHER. I'm your host, Ophira Eisenberg, and joining me is the man with the golden guitar, Jonathan Coulton.

JONATHAN COULTON: Hello.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Hello. Let's bring up our first two contestants, why don't we? Let's welcome Rebecca Chew and Paul Dreyer.

(APPLAUSE)

PAUL DREYER: Thank you.

EISENBERG: Rebecca, you are a social science lawyer, but your hobby is quantum physics.

(LAUGHTER)

REBECCA CHEW: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

CHEW: I like quarks.

EISENBERG: And Paul, you're a bonds trader, but you are really into math.

DREYER: These are both true.

EISENBERG: You guys are like - you should talk. You should hang out.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Those skills, in this game, will not help at all.

DREYER: Awesome.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Because this game is called We Didn't Start the Fire. Now, Jonathan has been wanting to play this Billy Joel song...

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: ...since the beginning of the show, the inception, he demanded. And we waited and waited...

COULTON: That's not true.

EISENBERG: And finally, we just gave in to this guilty pleasure.

COULTON: That is not how I remember it happening, but...

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Yes, this is a game show, so we have changed some of the lyrics of Billy Joel's song "We Didn't Start the Fire" to be some trivia questions. So listen carefully; ring in when you know the answer. The winner of this round will go on to our Ask Me One More final round, at the end of the show. Are you ready?

DREYER: Yep.

CHEW: Okay.

(LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF SINGING)

COULTON: Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnny Ray, South Pacific, Walter White cooks meth on what show?

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Paul?

DREYER: "Breaking Bad."

EISENBERG: That is correct.

(APPLAUSE)

DREYER: I heard cooking math on what show.

EISENBERG: Cooking math, that's just the way your brain works.

DREYER: Yeah, and so that's why I was thrown.

EISENBERG: Yeah, that's just the way - you hear math in everything, don't you, Paul?

DREYER: It's a drug of sorts.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Is it? Flipping fractions, I understand.

(LAUGHTER)

DREYER: Dividing by zero right now.

(LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF SINGING)

COULTON: Rosenberg, H Bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom, Brando, The King and I, what seeds are baked in Jewish Rye?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Rebecca?

CHEW: Rye.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: No.

CHEW: Caraway. Sorry.

EISENBERG: That's right.

COULTON: That's right.

EISENBERG: That is right.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: We're going to give it to her.

(SOUNDBITE OF SINGING)

COULTON: Eisenhower, vaccine, England's got a new queen, Marciano, Liberace, what's Japanese for goodbye?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Paul?

DREYER: Gosh.

(LAUGHTER)

DREYER: Sayonara.

EISENBERG: Sayonara.

(APPLAUSE)

(LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF SINGING)

COULTON: Little Rock, Pasternak, Mickey Mantle, Kerouac, Sputnik, Zhou Enlai, what country's the River Kwai?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Rebecca?

CHEW: Japan.

EISENBERG: Oh, I'm sorry. That is incorrect. Paul, do you have an answer to steal?

DREYER: China.

EISENBERG: Also incorrect. Let's see if anyone out there knows.

(SOUNDBITE OF AUDIENCE YELLING)

EISENBERG: Some people did and a lot of people didn't.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Thailand is the correct answer. Thailand.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

(SOUNDBITE OF SINGING)

COULTON: Lebanon, Charles de Gaulle, California baseball, Stark weather Homicide, who's Ryan Reynolds' new bride?

(LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Paul?

DREYER: Blake Lively.

EISENBERG: Yes, that is correct.

(APPLAUSE)

(SOUNDBITE OF SINGING)

COULTON: Hemingway, Eichmann, Stranger in a Strange Land, Dylan, Berlin, state the Pythagorean Theorem.

(LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Finally, you could put this to good use. Paul?

DREYER: The sum of the squares of the lengths of the two legs of a right triangle is equal to the square of the hypotenuse.

EISENBERG: No, no, no, the kind of stuff we learned in public school.

DREYER: A squared plus B squared equals C squared.

EISENBERG: There you go.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: Yeah, for goodness sake, dumb it down a little bit, Paul.

(LAUGHTER)

DREYER: I can prove it with a pretty picture.

(LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF SINGING)

COULTON: Laurence of Arabia, British Beatle mania, Ole Miss, John Glenn, Liston beats Patterson. Pope Paul, Malcolm X, British politician sex, JFK blown away, who sang at his 45th birthday?

(LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Rebecca?

CHEW: Marilyn Monroe.

EISENBERG: That is correct.

(APPLAUSE)

(SOUNDBITE OF SINGING)

COULTON: Birth control, Ho Chi Minh, Richard Nixon back again, Moonshot, Woodstock, here's a joke, knock-knock.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Paul?

DREYER: Who's there?

EISENBERG: Yes, that is correct.

(APPLAUSE)

(SOUNDBITE OF SINGING)

COULTON: Begin, Reagan, Palestine, Terror on the airline, Ayatollah's in Iran, Russians in Afghanistan. Wheel of Fortune, Sally Ride, heavy metal suicide, foreign debts, homeless vets, what breed is Obama's pet dog?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Rebecca?

CHEW: Portuguese water dog.

EISENBERG: That is correct.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: It was a very close game, but it looks to me like Paul you are our winner, just by a hair.

(APPLAUSE)

DREYER: Thank you.

EISENBERG: You're going to be moving on to our Ask Me One More final round, at the end of the show. Rebecca, great job. Thank you for being such a wonderful contestant.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: All right, Jonathan, do you want to indulge us and finish off that song please?

COULTON: You got to hear the chorus, right? I guess.

EISENBERG: Yes, we do. Audience is crying out for it.

(SOUNDBITE OF SINGING)

COULTON: We didn't start the fire. It was always burning, since the world's been turning. We didn't start the fire. No, we didn't light it, but we tried to fight it.

Fight that fire, Billy Joel.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Thank you, Jonathan for lighting the fire.

COULTON: Sure.

EISENBERG: Would you like to play something you would choose?

COULTON: You know, I'm actually a Billy Joel fan. This is a song called "Pressure."

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

(SOUNDBITE OF SINGING)

COULTON: You have to learn to pace yourself. You're just like everybody else. You've only had to run so far so good. But you will come to a place where the only thing you feel are loaded guns in your face, and you'll have to deal with pressure.

You used to call me paranoid. But even you cannot avoid. You turn the tap dance into your crusade. Now here you are with your faith and your Peter Pan advice. You have no scars on your face, and you cannot handle pressure.

EISENBERG: Jonathan Coulton.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.