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Call Me M.B.

Feb 28, 2013
Originally published on March 4, 2015 12:41 pm

Hey. We just met you, and this is crazy: But can you identify celebrities with a very specific pair of initials? House musician Jonathan Coulton channels Carly Rae Jepsen's smash hit "Call Me Maybe" for the clues in this game, where the answers are all famous people with the initials M.B. Plus, Jonathan Coulton prevents Jepsen's earworm from getting stuck in our heads by playing a cover of Blondie's "Call Me."

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Have no fear, we're about to dumb it down here a little bit.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: We are taking a departure from philosophy and going to pop music.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: I'm sure our next two contestants are excited about that. We have Noel Camacho and Peter Hoffman, and I believe they can handle that. Let's find out. They are behind their puzzle hot seats, although they're standing, so it's more like puzzle hot spots. Noel, you have some big things that you do with your life.

NOEL CAMACHO: As long as there are no follow-up questions, yes, yes, I do.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: That is all you have to say is yes. Biomedical engineer, that sounds like something you tell people so they don't ask you any more questions, because they'll just feel dumb. Is that right?

CAMACHO: It turns out it works pretty well.

(LAUGHTER)

CAMACHO: I'm with a company that's developing tactile printers for the blind.

EISENBERG: That's amazing.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Peter Hoffman, are you developing any tactile printers for the blind?

(LAUGHTER)

PETER HOFFMAN: You know, as often as I can.

EISENBERG: It's not your first time on public radio.

HOFFMAN: This isn't, no. I was on Small Things Considered.

EISENBERG: When you were a child.

HOFFMAN: Yes, when I was a child.

EISENBERG: Oh, that's adorable.

HOFFMAN: I was 6 or 7.

EISENBERG: Well, we are happy to have you both. Jonathan, what are we playing?

JONATHAN COULTON: This is a musical game. It is an homage to a long ago time, the summer of 2012.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: It's called: Call Me M.B.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: And it's based on the Carly Rae Jepsen song that you could not escape from in 2012, "Call Me Maybe." So we have rewritten the lyrics to that song to be about famous people with the initials M.B.

CAMACHO: Oh, dear.

COULTON: Contestants, 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.

(SOUNDBITE OF SINGING)

COULTON: I like to eat, can you tell? Italian fare is what I sell. Did "Iron Chef" stuff as well. No, I own Eataly.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

HOFFMAN: Mario Batali.

COULTON: That's right.

(APPLAUSE)

(SOUNDBITE OF SINGING)

COULTON: I'm in the toy hall of fame. Your board games all have my name, from Candy Land's fruited plain to sunken battleships.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Peter?

HOFFMAN: Milton Bradley.

COULTON: That is right.

(APPLAUSE)

(SOUNDBITE OF SINGING)

COULTON: My saddle's blazing, anxiety is raising, "Spaceballs" was amazing. It's springtime for Hitler, baby.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Peter?

HOFFMAN: Mel Brooks.

COULTON: That's right.

(APPLAUSE)

(SOUNDBITE OF SINGING)

COULTON: Hey, I'm from New York, was on the O.C. I'm in the tabloids, just look for M.B.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

HOFFMAN: I don't think Mike Bloomberg was on O.C., but...

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: It's a fantastic guess though.

EISENBERG: Yeah, thanks for the question that we had in our back pocket. No, I'm just kidding. You're good. You're good.

COULTON: Noel, do you have a guess for that? Here's a hint. I don't know who this is.

(APPLAUSE)

CAMACHO: That makes two of us.

EISENBERG: Anyone out there?

(SOUNDBITE OF AUDIENCE YELLING)

CAMACHO: Oh, it's a girl.

EISENBERG: Mischa Barton.

(SOUNDBITE OF SINGING)

COULTON: The 80s love me. My mane is curly. No ballad could be too much for M.B.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Noel?

CAMACHO: Michael Bolton.

COULTON: Yes.

EISENBERG: Oh yeah.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Are you a fan, a Michael Bolton fan?

CAMACHO: I like "Office Space."

HOFFMAN: I do, too. I was going to say the same thing.

(LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF SINGING)

COULTON: Tea Party's voting for this Minnesotan. I'm no Sarah Palin, but we have the same haircut.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Peter?

HOFFMAN: Michele Bachmann.

COULTON: That's right.

(APPLAUSE)

HOFFMAN: Can I say that again with a more Yiddish accent?

EISENBERG: Yeah, I love that you made her a little Jewish.

HOFFMAN: Michele Bachmann.

EISENBERG: Michele Bachmann.

(LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF SINGING)

COULTON: Back in the 90s, I was huge. They called me scary. They called me scary. They called me Scary Spice.

(LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Peter?

HOFFMAN: Mel B.

COULTON: Yeah, wow.

EISENBERG: Yeah.

(APPLAUSE)

(SOUNDBITE OF SINGING)

COULTON: I've been a bad boy, done Corleone. Just be my Stella and call me Stanley.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Peter?

HOFFMAN: Brando.

COULTON: Yes. Marlon Brando.

HOFFMAN: Marlon Brando.

EISENBERG: There you go.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Noel, you were a fantastic contestant. Congratulations, Peter, you'll be moving on to our Ask Me One More final round at the end of the show.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Okay, Jonathan, I think we could use a little Jo-Co brilliance to quiet the earworm that that game has recreated in my head from 2012.

COULTON: Yes, I know. It has actually forced out of my head the song that I was going to play.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Now I remember what it is. Just playing this chord helped me remember it, because I'm a professional musician.

EISENBERG: I know you are.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: This is a song that I thought would be thematically related to that song. This is another song about making a telephone call, which apparently is a popular subject for popular songwriters. This is by Blondie.

(SOUNDBITE OF SINGING)

COULTON: Color me your color, baby. Color me your car. Color me your color, darling. I know who you are. Come up off your color chart. I know where you're coming from.

Call me on the line. Call me, call me any, any time. Call me. I'll arrive. You can call me any day or night. Call me.

Cover me with kisses, baby. Cover me with love. Roll me in designer sheets; I'll never get enough. Emotions come; I don't know why, cover up love's alibi. Call me on the line. Call me; call me any, any time. Call me. I'll arrive. You can call me any day or night. Call me.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: Thank you.

EISENBERG: Jonathan Coulton. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.