Ask Me Another
11:03 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Lizz Winstead: What's That Sound?

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 11:20 pm

Ah, the sounds of the holidays: Jingle bells. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. The sound of reindeer landing on the roof. Or are those zombies with chains about to attack? Hopefully you have a keen ear for this game. Ask Me Another host Ophira Eisenberg welcomed back Lizz Winstead, comedian and co-creator of The Daily Show, as a Very Important Puzzler. We pitted her against a contestant in a game in which they had to reproduce sound effects and music. Relive Tarzan's yell and the Jaws theme like never before.

What are holiday traditions like in the Winstead homestead? "Every year growing up, my mom would set out the manger scene and hide the baby Jesus somewhere in the house," Winstead explained. "And so Christmas Eve began the hunt for Jesus."

Whoever found the baby Jesus won the prize of putting him in the manger. Then, Winstead's mother would bake a birthday cake: angel food (of course) with Cool Whip frosting and M&Ms. "She would light the candles and then we would all sing 'Happy Birthday' to Jesus," said Winstead.

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Transcript

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

You're listening to ASK ME ANOTHER from NPR and WYNC. I'm Ophira Eisenberg and let's welcome to the stage the lovely and talented writer and comedian Lizz Winstead.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Welcome back, Lizz.

LIZZ WINSTEAD: Why, thank you.

EISENBERG: Now what are the holidays like at the Winstead homestead?

WINSTEAD: Christmas a very big deal in my house and every year growing up my mom would set out the manger scene and hide the baby Jesus somewhere in our house.

EISENBERG: Are you supposed to do that?

JONATHAN COULTON: It seems non-standard.

WINSTEAD: Oh. And so Christmas Eve began the hunt for Jesus.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: The most dangerous game.

WINSTEAD: Yes. So then whoever found the baby Jesus won the prize and you know what the prize is - you get to put the baby Jesus in the manger.

EISENBERG: Oh. Boy.

WINSTEAD: Yeah. And so then we have the baby Jesus birthday cake which was always the same cake every year. It was an angel food cake.

EISENBERG: Aww.

WINSTEAD: With Cool Whip frosting and M&Ms. Yeah. And as many candles as my mother could shove on top of it as possible. And then she would light the candles and then we would sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus.

EISENBERG: That is one of the creepiest things I have ever heard.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: And lovely.

WINSTEAD: Yeah.

EISENBERG: And lovely, I think. OK. So, Lizz, let's meet your opponent Julia Lunetta.

(APPLAUSE)

WINSTEAD: Hi, Julia.

JULIA LUNETTA: Hi, Lizz.

WINSTEAD: Prepare to die.

EISENBERG: I know that you are involved in the IgNobel Committee.

LUNETTA: Yes, I am.

EISENBERG: But I don't know what that is. What is that?

LUNETTA: They're awarded every year at Sanders Theater at Harvard University for scientific achievements or general achievements that first make people laugh and then make people think.

EISENBERG: OK. And what's an example of one of those?

LUNETTA: There was a study on the effect of opera on heart transplant patients who are mice.

EISENBERG: I can tell I will never win an IgNobel, by the way. Hey, wait. What's that sound?

(SOUNDBITE OF HOOVES PRANCING)

EISENBERG: Now, if you've got a keen ear, you know that's the sound of reindeer landing on the roof. Or zombies with chains about to attack. In this game, all the answers will be a sound or sound effect. To get the point, contestants, you must reproduce the sound. Puzzle guru Art Chung, do you have an example?

ART CHUNG: If we said according to federal law a conductor must make this sound at least 15 seconds before crossing a public highway you would say choo choo!

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: They are both unimpressed by they will play anyhow. Let's really hear you make these sounds and the winner will move on to our Ask Me One More final round at the end of the show. Johnny Weissmuller made this sound when he played Edgar Rice Burroughs' famous vine swinging hero.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Julia.

LUNETTA: (does Tarzan yell)

(APPLAUSE)

LUNETTA: You should give yourself one of them Harvard awards for that.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: I have tears in my eyes. I just want to let you know that was beautiful.

COULTON: Guess you're not shy.

(LAUGHTER)

WINSTEAD: The only impression I can do is Arianna Huffington. This sucks.

EISENBERG: All right, let's hear it.

WINSTEAD: (impersonating Arianna Huffington) Al Gore.

(LAUGHTER)

WINSTEAD: (impersonating Arianna Huffington) Darling should've won the election. It was stolen from Al Gore.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: The earliest surviving copyrighted motion picture is a five second short of a man caught in a sternutation.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Lizz.

WINSTEAD: Achoo.

EISENBERG: Exactly. Beginning in 1929 the NBC Radio Network played this sound at the top of every hour.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Lizz.

WINSTEAD: Bing, bing, bing.

EISENBERG: Ah, yes.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Some solutions for stopping this sound includes sleeping on your side or having your uvula removed.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Julia.

LUNETTA: (snoring)

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Correct.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: John Williams won the 1976 Academy Award for Best Original Score by composing a theme that primarily featured these two notes in repetition.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Julia.

LUNETTA: (to the theme of "2001: Space Odyssey") Bum-bum, bum-bum, bum-bum.

WINSTEAD: (to the theme of the Olympic Games) Bah-ba-ba-ba - oh, that's the Olympics.

(LAUGHTER)

WINSTEAD: I'm sorry.

COULTON: That did not sound like the two notes that I was expecting. But, you know, I'm pretty particular about notes.

WINSTEAD: OK. Oh, wait. Does that mean I get to maybe buzz in because you're ruling it wrong? (to the theme of "Jaws") Uh-uh, uh-uh, uh-uh.

CHUNG: I think that's the winner.

(APPLAUSE)

WINSTEAD: That's also Tarzan snoring, by the way.

(LAUGHTER)

WINSTEAD: I just want you to know.

COULTON: So, Lizz, so that was "Jaws" that you were doing, right?

WINSTEAD: Yes!

COULTON: So, Julia, what were you doing?

LUNETTA: I was going for "2001."

EISENBERG: Oh.

COULTON: Oh.

WINSTEAD: Although, that, oh, it just sounds like that's Strauss, not Williams. Oh, well.

EISENBERG: You know how to make this sound, don't you? Just put your lips together and blow. Like you would when performing the theme song for "The Andy Griffith Show."

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Julia.

LUNETTA: (whistles theme for "The Andy Griffith Show")

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Beautiful and correct. In the early 1990s, whew...

WINSTEAD: Back then.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: I know.

WINSTEAD: We were all so young.

EISENBERG: In the early 1990s millions of people heard this irritating sound while connecting to services such as Prodigy and CompuServe.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Julia.

LUNETTA: (makes screeching modem sound)

(APPLAUSE)

LUNETTA: I feel like I was born to answer that question.

EISENBERG: It was awesome. It always did sound like little creatures just, like, gnawing through cables.

COULTON: Julia, have you ever thought of trying to get a job on "Prairie Home Companion"?

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: All right. This is your last clue. I cannot wait to hear this sound. Actor Peter Mayhew played a legendary character in "Star Wars" but he didn't provide this sound which was created by mixing the sounds of several animals including a bear and a walrus.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Lizz.

WINSTEAD: (breathing heavily)

(SOUNDBITE OF GROANS)

COULTON: That's the wrong one. That's the wrong one.

EISENBERG: I love that you did that one, though.

WINSTEAD: I've never seen "Star Wars."

EISENBERG: What?

(SOUNDBITE OF GROANING AND BOOING)

WINSTEAD: No, never. I don't like space.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Not a lot there. OK. So but that was a great - that was a great Darth Vader.

WINSTEAD: Yeah.

EISENBERG: But not what we were looking for. Julia, can you steal?

LUNETTA: (roaring)

(APPLAUSE)

LUNETTA: Not my best.

WINSTEAD: What was that? Remember, I've never seen so I have no idea what she did. How do I know she won...

CHUNG: It's a walking carpet.

EISENBERG: Chewbacca.

WINSTEAD: Oh, Chewbacca.

LUNETTA: Yeah, Chewbacca.

WINSTEAD: That's the furry character.

EISENBERG: That's is a furry character.

COULTON: It is a furry character. That's right.

EISENBERG: Art, how did our fantastic contestants do?

CHUNG: They did amazing and Julia is our winner.

EISENBERG: All right.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Congratulations, Julia.

WINSTEAD: That is such...

EISENBERG: A huge round of applause for Lizz Winstead, everybody.

WINSTEAD: Thank you very much.

EISENBERG: Julia, we will see you for the final round at the end of the show.

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