Fact Bag With Thomas Middleditch And Ben Schwartz

May 1, 2020

Fact Bag re-emerges from the digital cloud to once again relay a fresh set of facts. Why? Because facts never sleep and neither does Fact Bag. Featuring comedians Thomas Middleditch and Ben Schwartz.

Heard on TV Face-Off: Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Superstore, Parks & Rec, Silicon Valley & Insecure

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.


JONATHAN COULTON, BYLINE: This is NPR's ASK ME ANOTHER. I'm Jonathan Coulton. Here's your host, Ophira Eisenberg.


Thanks, Jonathan. We're playing games with the stars of the new Netflix improvised comedy special "Middleditch & Schwartz," Thomas Middleditch and Ben Schwartz. OK, are you ready for a game where all four of us get to work together?

BEN SCHWARTZ: Wait; all four of us get to play? That's amazing. All of us get to play.

COULTON: It's an all-play.

SCHWARTZ: Oh, I love a game.

EISENBERG: It's an all-play.

SCHWARTZ: This is an all-play. And this is an AP?


COULTON: It's an AP, yeah.

SCHWARTZ: #allplay - this is a #AP, OK.

EISENBERG: This game is usually called Fact Bag, but nobody's allowed to touch the bag anymore, so it's called Fact Google Doc. I have some random trivia questions. None of us know the answers, but we're all going to talk it out and try to figure them out together.


EISENBERG: OK, so here's the first one. In 1967, the first ever Super Bowl halftime show prominently featured a demonstration of what futuristic device?

SCHWARTZ: In 1967...

COULTON: Not a robot, probably.


MIDDLEDITCH: But couldn't it be a computer? I'm a computer.

EISENBERG: A computer (laughter)? Well, yeah - right? - or, like, a laser. Or how about a Casio?

COULTON: A Casio (laughter).

SCHWARTZ: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah, yeah.

MIDDLEDITCH: A big halftime show, and this tiny, little keyboard gets carried out.

SCHWARTZ: A Casio VL-Tone.


MIDDLEDITCH: One of those, like, demo beats like Salsa 1. And, like, (vocalizing).

SCHWARTZ: Oh, a Casio piano (laughter). Yeah, that's amazing. Marvin Gaye comes out there and sings a beautiful song off of (vocalizing).


EISENBERG: I mean, what goes into a halftime show - music. So I'm thinking, like, something...

MIDDLEDITCH: Smoke machine, music, wireless microphones.

EISENBERG: Oh, yeah.

MIDDLEDITCH: No, probably not.

SCHWARTZ: I still like lasers.


SCHWARTZ: Let's just say lasers and move on.

EISENBERG: OK, lasers. Let's see.

SCHWARTZ: What a stupid answer.

EISENBERG: Can I get lasers? What? A jetpack.



EISENBERG: Yeah, they were technically called Rocket Belts. Two representatives from Bell Aerosystems held a live jetpack demo...


EISENBERG: ...For the first Super Bowl's 50 million home viewers. It could only carry enough fuel to lift someone for less than half a minute, so you really couldn't go anywhere. There's very little surviving video of the first Super Bowl halftime show. They had jetpacks, but not great recording equipment, it turns out.


MIDDLEDITCH: No, the footage.

EISENBERG: Yeah, but the jetpacks made a reappearance at the 1984 Summer Olympics and at Super Bowl XIX in '85.


EISENBERG: OK. How about this? Computer scientists created their own unit of measurement to measure the speed and detection of a computer mouse. What is that measurement called?

SCHWARTZ: Oh, I know this one. It's 15 crambles, C-R-A-M-B-L-E-S. No, no. I'm kidding, I'm kidding, I'm kidding (laughter).

EISENBERG: I know, droppings. How about droppings?

MIDDLEDITCH: Yeah. If it's mice, it's breadcrumbs or...

SCHWARTZ: Breadcrumbs, yeah. Droppings (laughter).


SCHWARTZ: Mice poops.

MIDDLEDITCH: Jerrys - or, no. Which one's the cat - "Tom and Jerry" - who's the cat in "Tom and Jerry"?

COULTON: Tom is the cat and Jerry's the mouse.

EISENBERG: Aw, Jerrys. I like that one.

COULTON: Mickeys.


COULTON: Oh, I just had an idea. I think it's a good one - whiskers.

EISENBERG: Oh, that's good. That's good.

COULTON: Right? Because a mouse has whiskers.

EISENBERG: OK. I'm going to - droppings is what I think they wanted to call it, but I'm going to go with crambles. Our official answer is crambles.

COULTON: I'm sticking with whiskers.

EISENBERG: OK, whiskers.

SCHWARTZ: Hey, thank you, everybody, for believing in me and my crambles, a word that I absolutely made up.

COULTON: By the way, the first one should've been lasers, too, but...

EISENBERG: (Laughter) That's right.


SCHWARTZ: Flicks - 20 flicks.

EISENBERG: All right, producer Travis Larchuk, what is the answer? Oh. You know what? I think you said it, Ben - a Mickey.

COULTON: A Mickey.

SCHWARTZ: Mickey. Is that true?

MIDDLEDITCH: Yeah, someone did say Mickey.

COULTON: I said Mickey, but I didn't think it was a good idea so I didn't say it again.

EISENBERG: Right. A Mickey Mouse goes back to a 1980s Microsoft mouse driver manual. Remember when you got a manual?


MIDDLEDITCH: (Unintelligible) is a mouse.

EISENBERG: And a Mickey is one two-hundredth of an inch.

COULTON: So that's about five whiskers. One Mickey is about five whiskers.

EISENBERG: Five whiskers, right. Yeah, exactly.

SCHWARTZ: That makes sense. That adds up.

EISENBERG: All right. You guys did great. That was Fact Google Doc. We learned a lot.

MIDDLEDITCH: We did terrible.

SCHWARTZ: We didn't do very well at all.


COULTON: We had some good ideas, but...

EISENBERG: Well, in quarantine, all you have is good ideas. Thank you guys so much for joining us.

MIDDLEDITCH: Thank you so much for having us.


EISENBERG: (Laughter) Perfect, yeah. You can catch Thomas and Ben in their new Netflix special "Middleditch & Schwartz."

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