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There Are No Emergencies In Trivia

Sep 24, 2021

The Ask Me Another team has a saying whenever things get stressful: "There are no emergencies in trivia." But you can never be too careful. A long-running inside joke finally pays off as Ophira Eisenberg breaks a glass box containing an emergency word game. Comedians Aparna Nancherla and Joyelle Nicole Johnson take on the challenge.

Heard on The Final Round.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

JONATHAN COULTON, BYLINE: This is ASK ME ANOTHER, NPR's final hour of puzzles, word games and trivia. I'm Jonathan Coulton. Now here's your host, Ophira Eisenberg.

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Thanks, Jonathan. So here we are with our friends, comedians Aparna Nancherla and Joyelle Nicole Johnson. They're joining us to play the very last word game I think we're ever going to play on ASK ME ANOTHER.

APARNA NANCHERLA: Aw.

JOYELLE NICOLE JOHNSON, BYLINE: Oh.

EISENBERG: So welcome back. I know.

JOHNSON: Yay.

NANCHERLA: Aw, thank you.

JOHNSON: I'm honored to be here for the last.

NANCHERLA: I know.

EISENBERG: So since this is our last show, just wondering, do you have - are you the kind of people who plan for endings?

JOHNSON: I have a go bag.

EISENBERG: You have a go bag?

NANCHERLA: You do?

COULTON: Do you really have a go bag?

JOHNSON: (Laughter) Yeah.

NANCHERLA: Wow. If my go bag is just my purse I carry around, I mean, there is, like, many pounds of stuff in there. I don't know if any of it is useful. But if...

JOHNSON: Pounds (laughter).

NANCHERLA: ...The apocalypse calls for receipts from eight years ago...

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: You're covered.

COULTON: Yeah.

EISENBERG: Very good - so, Aparna, Joyelle, when things get hectic or stressful at the show, we have always said, you know, wait a second. Remember, everybody, there is no such thing as a trivia emergency. But you can never be careful enough. So just in case something goes wrong, we have set aside an emergency game for a very long time.

NANCHERLA: Ooh.

EISENBERG: We've kept it in a box behind glass. And that's it. This is the time. So I have it here with me. And now I've got a hammer ready. You have no idea how long I have wanted to break this. But here we go.

(SOUNDBITE OF GLASS BREAKING SOUND EFFECT)

EISENBERG: All right. I'm going to pull out the game.

COULTON: And I actually - I didn't tell you this, Ophira, but a couple years ago, I was just curious, and I already smashed my glass box, so I have the script already.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) Of course you did.

JOHNSON: (Laughter).

EISENBERG: That makes perfect sense.

COULTON: I wasn't supposed to, but I really wanted to see what was inside it, so I did.

EISENBERG: All right. Well, let me...

JOHNSON: Couldn't wait.

EISENBERG: ...Look at it. I'm looking at it for the first time. Let's see. Oh, OK. In this word game, you'll mash up two terms linked by the word box. It's a little on the nose. Yeah. All right.

COULTON: A little disappointing, actually.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: All right. So for example, if we said, once they got this Microsoft video game console, these kids from a beloved book series stopped solving mysteries and became Twitch celebrities, you would answer Xbox Car Children. So you're mashing up...

NANCHERLA: Whoa.

COULTON: ...The video game console Xbox with the book series "The Boxcar Children."

NANCHERLA: Right.

EISENBERG: All right...

JOHNSON: Let's go.

EISENBERG: ...Aparna

NANCHERLA: Yes.

EISENBERG: Movie theaters are attempting to lure back customers by installing this classic children's toy at their ticket counters. Keep turning the crank until a clown pops out to sell you two tickets to see "Space Jam: A New Legacy."

NANCHERLA: Oh - Jack-in-the-box office?

EISENBERG: Yes. Exactly.

NANCHERLA: Oh, boy. OK.

EISENBERG: Yes.

JOHNSON: Nice.

COULTON: Very nice.

EISENBERG: Yes.

JOHNSON: Yes.

EISENBERG: That was very nice - that old classic jack-in-the-box toy.

NANCHERLA: I hated that toy.

EISENBERG: Oh.

JOHNSON: Who is that for?

EISENBERG: I know.

JOHNSON: (Laughter).

COULTON: Nobody likes clowns, and nobody especially likes surprise clowns.

JOHNSON: (Laughter) Surprise - shocking.

NANCHERLA: The worst kind of clown.

(LAUGHTER)

JOHNSON: Yikes.

COULTON: All right, Joyelle, open this infamous container from Greek mythology and you'll be bombarded with all the world's evils, including a bag of zinfandel.

JOHNSON: Box wine.

NANCHERLA: (Laughter).

COULTON: Box wine - box wine is part of it.

EISENBERG: Oh, yeah.

NANCHERLA: It's also a - it was a streaming music platform.

EISENBERG: A woman's name.

NANCHERLA: Pre-Spotify.

JOHNSON: Lizzo box wine.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Lizzo boxed wine.

EISENBERG: I would buy that.

COULTON: I'm going to accept that answer...

NANCHERLA: I would buy that.

COULTON: ...Because I think that should be a real product, and I would like to drink some of it right now.

JOHNSON: What did I miss? What was the streaming...

COULTON: Pandora's - we were looking for...

JOHNSON: Ah.

COULTON: ...Pandora's boxed wine.

EISENBERG: All right. Aparna, guess what?

NANCHERLA: Yes.

EISENBERG: Canadians aren't so nice after all. Now in hockey if you break the rules, not only do you have to sit in the sin bin, you also have to strip down to your underwear.

NANCHERLA: Penalty boxer briefs (laughter)?

EISENBERG: Yes. Yes and yes and yes.

COULTON: Nice work.

EISENBERG: Well done.

COULTON: All right. This is your last clue ever.

NANCHERLA: Oh, no.

EISENBERG: Ever.

COULTON: Make it count, Joyelle.

JOHNSON: I got to get it. I got to get it.

COULTON: Joyelle, Nirvana's original version of this song was about the base of a very romantic bed.

JOHNSON: Box spring?

COULTON: Box spring is the second half. That's right.

EISENBERG: Yeah - and then the, you know, little emoji that you would associate with love.

JOHNSON: Heart box.

EISENBERG: Yes. And shove it together.

JOHNSON: Heart box spring.

COULTON: (Laughter).

JOHNSON: What's the Nirvana song?

COULTON: Yeah. The Nirvana song is "Heart-Shaped Box."

JOHNSON: Oh.

COULTON: So it would be a heart-shaped box spring. But we'll give it to you. You got that.

EISENBERG: Yeah. You totally got that.

I know that I will see you both in other places and in real life, but I just have to extend, in this moment, just a huge, hearty, over-the-Wi-Fi hug to you both and thank you for being part of our shows so many and this final episode.

JOHNSON: I'm so sad the show got canceled in person.

NANCHERLA: I know.

EISENBERG: Thank you.

COULTON: Aw. Well, we're so glad that you were here to be with us for the end. So thank you.

EISENBERG: Yes, thank you so much.

JOHNSON: Yes, thank you.

NANCHERLA: Thank you, guys.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.