Ask Me Another
11:05 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Stick To Your Day Job

Sometimes a career switch is all you need, but some celebs might have been better off not branching out. Whose acting makes him "Master and Commander," but his singing is "Les Miserables"?

Heard in Episode 318: O'Brother, Where Art Thou Quiz Show?

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Let's say hello to Sophia Hsu and Rob Monaco.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Now, Jonathan, before you were a nerd rock icon...

JONATHAN COULTON, BYLINE: Yes.

EISENBERG: Did you have a day job of sorts?

COULTON: I did. As a matter of fact, I wrote software.

EISENBERG: Oh, yeah? What kind of stuff?

COULTON: You know, database software for executive recruiting firms using Visual Basic and Microsoft SQL Server.

EISENBERG: Yeah, sure. That was pretty sexy. A lot of people listen right now are going to be like, oh, my God.

COULTON: I have to pull over for a little while.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: You were born into the radio, of course. You've always been here.

EISENBERG: Yeah. I did IT work. I did not go to school with it. I learned it from computer geeks. I am IT pretty. So they helped me out a lot.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: What are your day job's and side hustle, Sophia?

SOPHIA HSU: Well, I actually am director of technology.

EISENBERG: Hey, look at that. We're all the same.

HSU: And so I understood every single word you said, Jonathan.

COULTON: Oh, that's great.

HSU: Though every single one.

COULTON: Are you director technology for, like, everything, the whole world?

(LAUGHTER)

HSU: No. I wish. I wish, then things would run smoother, no?

COULTON: Right, right.

HSU: But my side job actually - I'm a food writer.

EISENBERG: Oh.

HSU: Which means I also cook and bake.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: You make that sound both mysterious, intriguing and sexy.

HSU: And hopefully delicious.

EISENBERG: And hopefully delicious. Fantastic. Rob, how about you?

ROB MONACO: Well, you know, by day, I am a mild-mannered, sixth-grade social studies teacher.

EISENBERG: Aww.

(APPLAUSE)

MONACO: Oh, teacher love.

EISENBERG: Teacher love.

MONACO: Thank you guys. Thank you.

EISENBERG: And what's the by night?

MONACO: So my secret kind of alter ego is that I have a thriving history podcast on iTunes. Yeah.

EISENBERG: I never have heard those two words together.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Well, this game is called Stick To Your Day Job because sometimes an actor really just wants to sing, a musician really just wants to act, and the world's greatest basketball player really just wants to play minor league baseball.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: In this game, you must guess the famous people who might be better off sticking to their day jobs. Puzzle guru, Art Chung, how about an example?

ART CHUNG, BYLINE: Some might folks my characterize his singing in the band 30 Odd Foot of Grunts as les miserables, but this Academy award winner is known as master and commander of the acting world. That would be Russell Crowe.

COULTON: All right. Ring in when you know the answer. Some Germans credit his singing with bringing down the Berlin wall, but in the U.S., this night rider's music went over like a talking car wreck.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Rob.

MONACO: David Hasselhoff.

COULTON: That's right.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: His acting in "Fight Club" and fighting on "The Apprentice" may leave you cold, but this heavyweight rockstar can sing like a bat out of hell.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Rob.

MONACO: Meatloaf.

EISENBERG: That is correct.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: If you asked to Bill Murray, he might kindly whisper that this actress' 2008 album of Tom Waits covers gets lost in translation.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Rob.

MONACO: Scarlett Johansson.

COULTON: That's right.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: This singer could've used an umbrella in her 2012 film debut, the action-adventure movie "Battleship," where she spent most of her time in a wet, Navy uniform yelling lines like what's wrong with you drama queen?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Rob.

MONACO: Rhianna.

COULTON: Yeah. Rihanna.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: This former Victoria's Secret supermodel and creator of "America's Next Top Model" may have stretched too far when she wrote the 2011 young adult novel "Modelland" about - what else? - a magical boarding school for models. You're both more disgusted than ready to answer.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

(LAUGHTER)

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Sophia.

HSU: I can see her face, and I know that she loves this one dessert that is extremely, horribly terrible for you. It is full of butter and chocolate and nothing else. But I cannot bring up her name and cannot summon her name at this moment.

COULTON: That is correct.

EISENBERG: We'll take it.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: I don't think we can accept that as an answer.

CHUNG: I'm not sure we can accept that. She created "America's Next Top Model." What's her catchphrase? Is it - smeyes. Smeyes. It's like you smile with your eyes.

HSU: Yes. Tyra Banks.

CHUNG: Tyra Banks.

HSU: There you go.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: This popstar came to a crossroads when it came to acting. But after winning the Golden Raspberry Award for worst actress, she did not say hit me baby one more time to additional movie roles.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Sophia.

HSU: Britney Spears.

COULTON: You got it.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: His covers of hits like "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" were much-maligned and mocked, but his role as captain of the starship enterprise has been smooth sailing for nearly 50 years.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Rob.

MONACO: William Shatner.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: That is correct.

CHUNG: In this game, Rob was our winner.

EISENBERG: Congratulations, Rob.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: We will see you at the Ask Me One More final round. Coming up, wouldn't it be amazing if John Turturro came out here and performed your favorite lines from his movies? That would be incredible, right? Well, that's about to happen so don't go away. I'm Ophira Eisenberg, and this is NPR's ASK ME ANOTHER.

(APPLAUSE) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.