Ask Me Another
11:02 pm
Thu May 10, 2012

Pen It Like Porter

Originally published on Fri May 11, 2012 10:52 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

But that's great because our next game is about Cole Porter who, like you, was also a member of Yale University's Whiff and Poofs. Is that real? Come on. As well as, much like you, one of America's great songwriters. He gave us, of course, I've Got You Under My Skin, Let's Misbehave and this little ditty.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG "YOU'RE THE TOP")

EISENBERG: Of course, that doesn't mean his lyrics couldn't use a little updating. So what we've done is a little game we're calling Pen It Like Porter. We've asked our audience to rewrite a few lines of Porter's classics but with modern references. In fact, we've asked them to rewrite these lines. Jonathan, would you like to help me out?

JONATHAN COULTON: Yes, you can tell how dated these are. You're the top, your Mahatma Gandhi.

EISENBERG: Who?

COULTON: Who? Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: You're the top, your Napoleon brandy.

COULTON: I've heard of that. You're the purple light of a summer night in Spain.

EISENBERG: No that doesn't happen.

COULTON: No.

EISENBERG: You're the National Gallery, you're Garbo's salary.

COULTON: You're cellophane.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Which apparently that was an exciting thing.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Yeah. Yeah, if that's a compliment, right? Things have changed.

COULTON: I guess, yeah.

EISENBERG: You're sublime, you're a turkey dinner.

COULTON: Hooray, you're the time of a Derby winner.

EISENBERG: That's fast. I'm a toy balloon that's faded soon to pop.

COULTON: But if baby I'm the bottom, you're the top.

EISENBERG: You're the top yeah, all right, so.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: So while we've been busy playing games, our producer has chosen the best two Porter rewrites in our audience. Jonathan will sing each set of lyrics and then we'll ask you, our studio audience, to vote by applause who penned it like Porter the best, who's the top. Are you ready?

COULTON: I'm ready. We need to call these - these two contestants up to the stage, so that we may properly judge and shame you.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Is there a Nancy Taubenslag in the audience?

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

COULTON: Come on up Nancy. The other one is Samantha Henig are you here Samantha?

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Nancy and Samantha. Let's hear them Pen It Like Porter.

COULTON: Okay. So I'm going to play... Nancy, I'm going to play yours first OK, are you ready?

(SOUNDBITE OF JONATHAN COULTON PLAYING THE GUITAR AND SINGING)

COULTON: (Singing) You're the top, you're the iPhone siri, you're the top, you're the Big Bang theory. You're the mega-dough earned from JK Rowling's words. You're Blue Ivy's mamma, oh aid Obama! You're angry birds, you're elite. You're Cy Twombly's scribble. You're the heat, Jeremy Lyn's dribble. I'm a budget bill stuck on Capitol Hill, I'll flop. But if baby I'm the bottom, you're the top!

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

COULTON: That's pretty good, a little internal rot.

EISENBERG: That is great, Blue Ivy is in there?

COULTON: Yes I had to look that up myself. Blue Ivy is Beyonce's daughter apparently.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Okay Samantha, are you ready for your judgment?

SAMANTHA HENIG: I'm ready.

COULTON: Okay here we go, this is Samantha.

(SOUNDBITE OF JONATHAN COULTON PLAYING THE GUITAR AND SINGING)

COULTON: (Singing) You're the top. You're the Gates Foundation. You're the top, you're job creation. You're suburban comfort, two cars and a deck. You're a good cajon gallery, you're Romney's salary, adjusted to pretax break dollars. You're nano-tech. You're the bomb. You're a whole foods dinner, you're the song of an idle winner. I am backed up hot and faded soon to drop, but just like Beyonce's bottom, you're the top!

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: That is a last line to remember.

COULTON: Yes indeed, yes indeed.

EISENBERG: That is a last line. It's funny how both of them reference Beyonce, she is hot. She is hot. Alright audience, so it's time for you to weigh in and pick who is the top. Both incredible entries, so let's hear it right now for Nancy, our first.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Showered in praise. Okay and how about for Samantha?

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Okay, I think our audience has picked, that was very close but I think it's Nancy. Congratulations Nancy.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Both are fantastic lyricists: Nancy, for your extreme talent, we have for you an NPR music tote bag to put all your future lyrics within.

NANCY TAUBENSLAG: OMG.

EISENBERG: I know, OMG indeed, there you go. Another hand for the two of them.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.