Elvish Presley

Oct 23, 2020
Originally published on January 15, 2021 9:56 am

Daily Show correspondents Ronny Chieng and Michael Kosta go on an epic quest in this music parody game where musician Jonathan Coulton performs Elvis songs re-written to be about characters from The Lord of the Rings.

Heard on, The Daily Show & What The Constitution Means To Me: Kids In America.

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(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Thanks, Jonathan. We're playing games with two correspondents from "The Daily Show With Trevor Noah," Ronny Chieng and Michael Kosta. So both of you are on "The Daily Show," working as correspondents in this brave new world. So, you know, what's it like now? What's it like doing your job?

RONNY CHIENG: Sometimes I feel like we're all high-frequency traders because we're kind of playing to the Internet cycle sometimes. So there's that and also just missing people.

MICHAEL KOSTA: Yeah. One thing that I love about "The Daily Show" and one thing that Trevor has done a great job with is there are all types of belief systems in that building. But right now we're all just sitting at home, searching our websites. I'm reading my news.

CHIENG: Right?

KOSTA: Ronny's reading his news.

COULTON: Yeah.

KOSTA: And I really miss sitting in a room with people I strongly disagree with, and they strongly disagree with me. And then we still go to the dog park and laugh because someone's dog is ugly at work, you know?

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Right. Right. You find your - that's your common ground.

KOSTA: That's your common ground. And that...

EISENBERG: Yeah.

KOSTA: ...Does help comedy.

EISENBERG: OK. We have another game for you.

KOSTA: Unbelievable.

EISENBERG: Are you ready for another game?

KOSTA: Yes.

EISENBERG: So Jonathan Coulton is going to sing you the clues in this game, which is called Elvish Presley.

KOSTA: OK.

EISENBERG: So first thing I'm going to ask - and we'll see how this goes - do you know anything about "Lord Of The Rings," Michael?

KOSTA: I saw the first one, and that was in - what? - 1968. And I...

COULTON: 1968 - that's right.

KOSTA: I don't know a whole lot, ladies and gentlemen.

EISENBERG: OK. Ronny?

CHIENG: Yes. I love how much of a jock Michael is. He literally is...

(LAUGHTER)

CHIENG: ...A professional athlete that - you'll ask him about...

EISENBERG: Yeah.

CHIENG: ...Video games and "Lord Of The Rings," and it is completely out of his wheelhouse.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Well, so what we've done is we have rewritten some classic Elvis songs to be about characters from Tolkien's "Lord Of The Rings" series. So you can earn a point by telling me what character I'm singing about or by telling me the name of the Elvis song that I'm parodying. Or you can just tell me who Elvis appropriated the song from, and that will also get you a point (laughter).

CHIENG: Oh.

EISENBERG: Yup. You could do that.

COULTON: OK. So...

CHIENG: Geez.

COULTON: And you guys are going - you're going to work together on this.

EISENBERG: Oh, there you go.

CHIENG: Great.

COULTON: Here we go. Here's your first one. (Singing) Return to Mordor. I don't want this ring. But it's my burden to bear this thing. Seems like I'm always misunderstood. And in the movies, I am played by Elijah Wood.

CHIENG: Wow - that last one, that last one.

EISENBERG: Yeah.

COULTON: Kind of gives it away.

KOSTA: Didn't Elijah play - didn't he play Bilbo Baggins?

CHIENG: No.

COULTON: Wrong Baggins.

CHIENG: Frodo. (Inaudible).

COULTON: Frodo Baggins.

EISENBERG: That's right.

CHIENG: Bilbo is the uncle.

KOSTA: OK. OK. I almost said Shrek.

EISENBERG: Oh, that's good.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: I was just given from my producer, who wants to sort of balance this out a little bit, an extra bonus question for Michael based on this question, which is - Michael, who won the 2020 Men's U.S. Open for a point?

CHIENG: (Laughter).

KOSTA: Oh, just so I can actually talk about something?

EISENBERG: Yeah.

KOSTA: The 2020 U.S. Open was won by the Austrian Dominic Thiem because Roger Federer had knee surgery, Rafael Nadal didn't show up and Novak Djokovic hit a lineswoman in the neck with a ball.

EISENBERG: That is all correct. That is all correct.

COULTON: All correct.

KOSTA: True.

(LAUGHTER)

KOSTA: What song - what Elvis song was that?

COULTON: That was "Return To Sender."

KOSTA: Oh, yeah - classic.

COULTON: Classic.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: All right. Here's another one. (Singing) Wise men know I'm more wise than they. I wear gray now, but I'll wear white someday.

CHIENG: Michael, you got this, man. You got this one. This one's a layup, too. It's the wizard. It's literally just the wizard.

KOSTA: With the staff?

CHIENG: Yes, that guy.

KOSTA: Gandalf.

CHIENG: (Laughter).

COULTON: Gandalf is correct.

EISENBERG: Yes.

KOSTA: Yes.

COULTON: That is right. Do you know the name of the song?

KOSTA: "Falling in Love With You," but I don't know if that's the title.

COULTON: Yeah, it's called "Can't Help Falling In Love."

KOSTA: OK. (Unintelligible) - yeah, yeah.

COULTON: That's right. All right, this is going to be the last clue for you. (Singing) You ain't nothing but a big guy spying all the time. You ain't nothing but a big guy spying all the time. Yeah, you might be lord of Mordor, but you ain't no lord of mine.

KOSTA: That's - I believe the actual title to be "Hound Dog."

CHIENG: (Laughter).

COULTON: That is correct.

EISENBERG: Yeah.

KOSTA: OK. All right.

COULTON: "Hound Dog" is the Elvis song.

KOSTA: OK.

EISENBERG: And do you know the...

KOSTA: That's the Elvis song. I do not know the character. Ronny might know the character.

CHIENG: What the hell? Michael, you didn't watch the movie at all?

KOSTA: Dude, I already...

CHIENG: Did you remember anything from the movie?

KOSTA: ...Got the thing correct for us, bro.

(LAUGHTER)

CHIENG: This one will be Sauron, the main bad guy in "Lord Of The Rings."

COULTON: Sauron - that's right.

CHIENG: Yeah.

COULTON: "Hound Dog," one of Elvis' best-known songs - actually originally recorded by Big Mama Thornton.

EISENBERG: Fantastic. I feel like you definitely worked together well in that one.

CHIENG: My back just hurts from carrying all this weight...

(LAUGHTER)

CHIENG: ...From carrying this team this entire episode.

EISENBERG: Thank you so much, Ronny Chieng. Thank you so much, Michael Kosta.

CHIENG: Hey, thanks for having us. Remember to watch "The Daily Show" election coverage, and we'll show you what happens in the end.

(LAUGHTER)

KOSTA: Bye.

COULTON: (Laughter).

EISENBERG: Ronny and Michael are correspondents on "The Daily Show With Trevor Noah," weeknights at 11:00 on Comedy Central.

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