The Carpentry

May 3, 2019
Originally published on May 7, 2019 9:33 am

Get those hammers out for a music parody game rewriting Carpenters songs.

Heard on DeWanda Wise And Taye Diggs: She's Gotta Get Her Groove Back.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

In our next game, we'll change the lyrics of Carpenters songs to be about wooden things. Does the carpentry match the drapendry (ph)? We'll find out. Let's meet our contestants. First up, Nicole Pometti. You're a video editor for a production company, and you have a superpower. You can name all of the best picture Oscar winners off the top of your head.

NICOLE POMETTI: Yes, I can.

EISENBERG: OK. So may I test you?

POMETTI: Of course. Please.

EISENBERG: Really? OK, here we go. 1951.

POMETTI: OK. So if it was the best picture winner in 1951, it was "An American In Paris." But if it was the best picture of 1950 that was awarded in 1951, it was "All About Eve."

EISENBERG: Correct.

(LAUGHTER)

POMETTI: Can you do one more? One more.

EISENBERG: One more?

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: I love that you're, like, I know I can do this. 2013.

POMETTI: "Twelve Years A Slave" or, if 2012, sadly, "Argo."

(LAUGHTER)

POMETTI: Sadly.

EISENBERG: Good. I like that I got some opinion in there. That's good. All right. Nicole, when you ring in, we'll hear this.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Your opponent is Beka Stecky. You used to be a butcher. I thought this was so cool.

BEKA STECKY: Thank you. Yeah.

EISENBERG: Yeah. So how did you get into meat mongering?

STECKY: So I needed a job.

EISENBERG: Yes. Good reason.

STECKY: It was a job as a clerk at a meat counter. And I got really into what all of the guys were doing behind me, cutting the meat and everything like that. And I started doing it myself. I just...

EISENBERG: I mean, did you have to train? Was there a...

STECKY: Well, yeah. I mean, you do - I guess you do have to learn. There is, like, art to it...

EISENBERG: Yeah.

STECKY: ...I would say.

EISENBERG: I mean, now you've moved on from that.

STECKY: I've moved on from that, yeah. I'm in grad school now.

EISENBERG: Right. For?

STECKY: For biology. Yeah.

EISENBERG: Yeah. So it sort of was your...

(LAUGHTER)

STECKY: Yeah. There is a connection there.

EISENBERG: (Laughing) There's a connection.

STECKY: I can't really say what it is, but there is a connection.

EISENBERG: Beka, when you ring in, we'll hear this.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Remember, Nicole and Beka, whoever has more points after two games will go to our final round. Let's go to your first game. This is a music parody game. So, Jonathan Coulton, take it away.

JONATHAN COULTON: We rewrote classic songs performed by The Carpenters to make them about things that are made with wooden materials. Ring in to guess what I'm singing about. And if you're right, for a bonus point, you can guess the title of the song that I lovingly ruined. You ready?

STECKY: Ready.

POMETTI: Yep.

COULTON: OK. Here we go. (Singing, playing guitar) Don't you remember you told me I'd be a real boy? Instead I'm this messed up zombie puppet kids' toy. I try to be brave and truthful, but I got no joy. Each lie shows in the size of my nose.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Beka.

STECKY: Pinocchio.

COULTON: Pinocchio is the answer. That's right.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: And for a bonus point, can you name the original song?

STECKY: Don't you remember you told me you loved me, (singing) baby.

(LAUGHTER)

STECKY: Is that the name of the song?

COULTON: That is not the name of the song. I'm sorry.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: It's called "Superstar."

STECKY: That makes no sense.

COULTON: Yep.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: That's The Carpenters for you.

EISENBERG: Yeah.

COULTON: OK. Here's your next one. (Singing, playing guitar) Different from a glockenspiel, it's wooden bars you hit with mallets. If you write an alphabet book, it's either this or x-ray.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Beka.

STECKY: Xylophone.

COULTON: Xylophone. That's right.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: Can you name the original song?

STECKY: Absolutely not.

COULTON: No, no. That's called "Let Me Be The One." (Singing, playing guitar) And when I have to do some math, I slide beads around this frame. A calculator comes out the same. I have to do some math.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Beka.

STECKY: Abacus.

COULTON: Abacus is the answer.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: That was sung at the speed of someone doing math on an abacus.

COULTON: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: I thought I'd take my time and really sell that one.

EISENBERG: That was great. That was great.

COULTON: Can you name the song for a bonus point?

STECKY: No.

COULTON: That's called "We've Only Just Begun." (Singing, playing guitar) We tell jokes and wait for them to clap while you sit on my lap. You sound like me, but that couldn't be. My lips don't move.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Beka.

STECKY: A marionette?

COULTON: I'm sorry. That is not quite what we're looking for. Nicole, do you know the answer?

POMETTI: Is it a puppet? A wooden puppet?

COULTON: Could you be more specific?

POMETTI: Charlie McCarthy? Whatever he was made out of - a wooden...

COULTON: Yeah. All right. We'll give it to you. We were looking for ventriloquist dummy. That's what we were looking for.

(APPLAUSE)

POMETTI: Yes. There we go.

STECKY: Ah.

COULTON: Now, Nicole, I'm very excited to ask you this next question.

(LAUGHTER)

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

POMETTI: "Close To You."

COULTON: Yeah, that's right.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: I don't suppose you also know the artist who sang it?

(LAUGHTER)

POMETTI: Is it The Carpenters?

EISENBERG: Yes.

COULTON: It is The Carpenters.

EISENBERG: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: OK. Here's your next one. (Singing, playing guitar) When you play the drums, beware. Always use a wooden pair. Otherwise, you might get chicken on your snare.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Beka.

STECKY: Drumsticks.

COULTON: Drumsticks is the answer.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: Beka, for a bonus point, can you name the original song?

STECKY: Unfortunately not.

COULTON: No, no. That was "Rainy Days And Mondays."

EISENBERG: I like the idea of musicians complaining about Mondays.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Come on.

COULTON: This is your last clue. (Singing, playing guitar) Every cup of hot chai, every churro smells nice. Every snickerdoodle, too, and granola you chew has spice. When your oats need a spark, you can grind up this bark. Take the challenge if you dare, but you might die.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: (Singing, playing guitar) And enough will get you high.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Beka.

STECKY: Cinnamon.

COULTON: Cinnamon. That's right.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: Beka, I hate to even ask. Can you name the original song?

STECKY: You shouldn't have even asked (laughter).

COULTON: OK. Nicole, just for fun.

POMETTI: I actually don't know that one.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: What?

COULTON: Oh, come on, Nicole. That was "Yesterday Once More" by the Carpenters. Ophira, how did our contestants do?

EISENBERG: Great game. Beka is in the lead.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: If you almost got kicked out of William Faulkner's study in Oxford, Miss., for lingering longer than allowed in an attempt to see his ghost, you should be on our show. Go to amatickets.org to find out how to be a contestant, and you can get info about our Nashville road show on May 23 at the Polk Theater. Coming up, I'll talk to Taye Diggs, who plays a dad without a dad bod in the CW series "All American." I'm Ophira Eisenberg, and this is ASK ME ANOTHER from NPR.

(APPLAUSE) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.