Radio / Ask Me Another

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The Ask Me Another crew at The Bell House, their home-base venue in Gowanus, Brooklyn. (l to r) Josh Rogosin, Jonathan Coulton, Ophira Eisenberg, Jesse Baker, Eric Nuzum, John Asante, John Chaneski, Eleanor Kagan and Art Chung.

What do you get when take the entire trivia section and dump it into a blender with brain teasers, a warm British pub atmosphere, family game night, a weekly special guest, host/comedienne Ophira Eisenberg, and the dulcet tones of in-house musician Jonathan Coulton? NPR thought they’d find out.

Ask Me Another is an hour-long radio quiz show co-produced once a week by NPR and WNYCnote  where fans face off in various Jeopardy!-style competitions, where the final prize (often involving a custom Rubik’s Cube and various items/favors that the special guest (Very Important Puzzler) provides isn’t really the end goal.

Some of the many V.I.P.s who have appeared in the show includes:

Tropes:

  • Are You Sure You Want to Do That?: From time to time, Ophira, Jonathan, or the Puzzle Guru John Chineski will hint that a contestant or V.I.P might want to reconsider their answer.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Used during a game called Wrong!. The point of the game was that Art Chung asked seemingly easy questions with trick answers, and each wrong answer would result in Jonathan Coulton singing "Wrong!" at the contestants. After establishing this formula for the duration of the game, the final question went down something like this:
    Art: During what year did the War of 1812 take place?
    Contestsnt: 1813?
    Jonathan: Wrong!
    Ophira: ...That actually did happen in 1812.
  • The Bechdel Test: invoked They based a game on their 02/17/17 show on the test. Contestants had a scene from a movie that unexpectedly allows it to pass the Bechdel test described to them and had to name the film. Answers included Die Hard, The Phantom Menace, and Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
  • Bonus Round: At the end of every episode, the winners of each round face off against each other in the "Ask Me One More: Final Round" until only one is left.
  • Crossover: Peter Segel, from the fellow NPR show Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! was the guest for the 05.03.14 episode. Ophira has also appeared on Wait, Wait as a guest.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: For the first few months Ophira Eisenberg would drop hints about the identity of the guest throughout the show instead of announcing it at the opening.
  • Funny Answering Machine: An occasional prize, typically when a famous voice actor/comedian is the Very Important Puzzler.
  • Gratuitous Italian: Jonathan Coulton, having studied the language while he was still in school, sprinkles it in when the plot calls for it.
  • Self-Deprecation: Ophira, the token Canadian, often takes (and even supplies) potshots about her former home country.
    • Jokes are often made at the expense of their status as a public radio show as well. One such moment happens during the 11.11.16 episode in a game where the answer to each question was a pun on a sports team name.
    Ophira: Now because this is public radio, and sports are hard, you do not need to know the name of the city the team comes from to get the points.
  • Shout-Out: Accidentally played straight by some contestants who unnecessarily use “What is…” when answering a question; this often prompts the response: “This isn’t Jeopardy” or "Would you like to rephrase your question in the form of an answer?".
  • Small Reference Pools: Averted, naturally, given its audience are often people who listen to NPR on a regular basis.

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