Cristin Milioti and Camila Mendes join house musician Jonathan Coulton for a game where funky songs are rewritten to be about things that smell funky.
OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:
Well, you may have noticed that Jonathan Coulton is now holding a guitar.
CRISTIN MILIOTI: I actually did not notice. Stealth.
CAMILA MENDES: Yeah, not at all.
JONATHAN COULTON, BYLINE: It's because I - yeah. Stealthy.
EISENBERG: Yeah. So you have a music parody game.
EISENBERG: It's called Funky Stuff Part 2. Part 1 was fantastic (laughter).
COULTON: Yeah, we liked it. We liked it so much that we decided to do it again. We changed the lyrics of funky songs to make their lyrics about funky things - so, in other words, things that have a strong smell. So to earn a point, you only need to give us one of the following pieces of information. You need to either name the strong-smelling thing I'm singing about, name the original song or artist I am parodying or just tell us about one of your favorite smells. So have one in the chamber, just in case (laughter).
EISENBERG: Start thinking now - favorite smells.
COULTON: Start thinking now. And we're going to go back and forth, starting with Camila.
COULTON: (Singing) These are overcooked, that's why I like them scrambled or fried.
MENDES: Oh, I know this one.
COULTON: (Singing) Green around the yolks from sulfur that the whites supply.
COULTON: Eggs, that's right. Hard-boiled eggs.
MENDES: (Laughter) Hard-boiled eggs. I knew it.
COULTON: And did you recognize the song?
COULTON: Do you happen to know it, Cristin?
MILIOTI: I do. It's "Tell Me Something Good," right?
COULTON: That's right.
MILIOTI: I believe I know it because I was a big fan of "The Full Monty" soundtrack as a kid, and it's on "The Full Monty" soundtrack. It's, like, that and, like, "I Believe In Miracles," and, like, all the...
COULTON: All of the songs that I'm just about to play right now.
MILIOTI: Like, sexy disco music, yeah. Yeah.
COULTON: All right, Cristin. Here is one for you. (Singing) I know a place, microbes eating plankton. It's dimethyl sulfide from those creatures, tiny, making it smell briny.
MILIOTI: I know this song. I don't know the name. Is this about pickling something?
COULTON: It is not about pickling something. Where is the place where microbes eat plankton?
MILIOTI: Oh, I mean, the sea.
COULTON: The sea.
COULTON: Yes, that's correct, or the ocean.
MILIOTI: OK, great, the sea - I was wondering, I was like, plankton is involved in pickles?
COULTON: I suppose it could be - some sort of weird, artisanal plankton pickle.
MENDES: We take organic local cucumbers. We put it inside a whale. We use the baleen of the whale to brush the pickles.
MILIOTI: I would eat it.
EISENBERG: I'd try it.
COULTON: And you said you knew the song?
MILIOTI: I mean, I know it in the sense that, like, the melody is familiar. Do I know the name? Absolutely not.
COULTON: It's called "I'll Take You There" by the Staple Singers.
MILIOTI: Right. Of course.
COULTON: All right, Camila, this one's for you.
COULTON: (Singing) It's your hair, do what you wanna do. You can use it in your laundry, too. Whiten sheets, distress a pair of jeans. It's so basic. It disinfects and cleans.
MENDES: Bleach. Bleach. Bleach.
COULTON: Bleach is the answer. And did you recognize the song, Camila?
COULTON: It's called "It's Your Thing," and it's by the Isley Brothers.
MILIOTI: I thought it was called "I'll Take You There." No?
COULTON: That was the last one.
EISENBERG: That was the last one, yeah.
MILIOTI: No, that was the last one. Oh, God, I'm having an absolute mental breakdown. I haven't recovered, basically, since I found out that the last time I did this show was eight years ago.
MILIOTI: Ever since then I've been, like, clawing up a muddy hill.
MENDES: She's been blacked out this whole interview.
EISENBERG: You've been blacked out the entire time (laughter). Just been going in a loop. How did that go?
COULTON: All right, Cristin, here's one for you.
MILIOTI: OK, yeah.
COULTON: (Singing) Moo, I have a talent, and it's quite intestinal. Got so many stomachs it's a flatulence festival. First I eat some grass, I eat some grass, I eat some grass, I eat some grass, so much grass I have to pass a lot of mass of this gas.
MILIOTI: I mean, that's a cow. Isn't it like, (singing) doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo.
COULTON: That's the song. Yeah. Yeah.
MILIOTI: (Singing) Talk about it, talk about it, talk about it - right?
MENDES: I know that song. That's the one song I've known.
MILIOTI: That's called...
MILIOTI: Oh, "Funky Town."
COULTON: "Funky Town" is the answer.
EISENBERG: Right. Yes.
COULTON: So we were actually looking for methane there, but I will take cow and the name of the song as an acceptable answer.
MENDES: But I will take cow.
MILIOTI: I will take you yelling cow into your phone.
EISENBERG: I love that, though. What stinks?
COULTON: I mean, it's true. They don't smell great.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
EISENBERG: That was fantastic. You guys both did great. I hope to see you again, you know, before 2028.
MILIOTI: See you in eight years.
COULTON: See you in eight years.
EISENBERG: Yeah. So yeah, thank you so much.
MENDES: Oh, my God, thank you. This was such a pleasure.
MILIOTI: Thank you, guys, this was super fun.
EISENBERG: Cristin Milioti and Camila Mendes star in the movie "Palm Springs," streaming right now on Hulu. Coming up, we have another returning champion. He's here from the HBO show "We're Here." It's Bob The Drag Queen. And he's going to give us an audio tour of the basement where he keeps all of his drag stuff, so you better not go anywhere. I'm Ophira Eisenberg, and this is ASK ME ANOTHER from NPR. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.