This, That, Or The Other: Archaic British Insults Edition

Jan 31, 2020

Contestants try not to be total shabbaroons as they guess whether a word is a music festival, a children's television show, or a 19th-century British insult.

Heard on John Cameron Mitchell: Getting Shrill.

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

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Our next game involves music festivals, so pee now because the lines later will be insane. Let's meet our next two contestants. They're both visiting from California. Yeah.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: First up, Diana Hirota - you're an optometrist at UCLA. Now, I got to tell you, I've always found an eye exam very subjective - right? - because you ask me, does this look better? Does that look better? I can just make it up, right? Like, that's...

DIANA HIROTA: We actually call it a subjective refraction, so yes, it's very subjective (laughter).

EISENBERG: It's very subjective.

HIROTA: Yeah.

EISENBERG: Yeah. I want more than that. I want you to tell me what looks better.

HIROTA: Sometimes we are kind of tricking you, actually. So...

EISENBERG: How are you tricking me?

HIROTA: I mean, sometimes we change the number, but it's the same two options.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: You do?

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: You are sneaky.

JONATHAN COULTON: I knew it. I knew you did that.

EISENBERG: It is a pretty weird test, I got to say. What are some things that you find out about the person while you're doing it?

HIROTA: Ooh. Some people are very indecisive, and they say, like, oh, just show me again. So I show them. And then I have to show them actually 20 times before I'm like, OK, we're going to move on. And then we move on. They're like, no, no, no. But show me one again. One was so much better. Like, no.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: You're wrong. You're wrong.

HIROTA: That was the wrong answer.

EISENBERG: Yeah. Are eye exercises helpful?

HIROTA: Actually not.

EISENBERG: OK.

HIROTA: Sorry.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: What about wishful thinking?

(LAUGHTER)

HIROTA: I like - yeah, that works.

(LAUGHTER)

HIROTA: I like to say, you're getting more birthdays, and so this kind of just happens. Sorry.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: And then you have a big, warm smile, so I'm sure that's how you all bring it together. OK. Diana, when you ring in, we'll hear this.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Your opponent is Dan Predoehl. You're an assistant dean at an older adult learning program at a community college. So what is the average age of a student at this...

DAN PREDOEHL: Our average age is 73. So...

EISENBERG: Amazing.

PREDOEHL: ...These are people who have had illustrious careers, Nobel Prize winners, Holocaust survivors and also recent immigrants who want to experience college. So we have the whole gamut.

EISENBERG: It sounds like it would be a wonderful place to work. Every day, are you close to tears?

PREDOEHL: It's really rewarding, honestly.

EISENBERG: Yeah.

PREDOEHL: Yeah. There's 6,000 older adults all spread out through south Orange County, and it's magnificent.

EISENBERG: I know, I know.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: You're both helping people. Dan, when you ring in, we'll hear this.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Remember, Diana and Dan, whoever has more points after two games will go to our final round. This is one of our favorite guessing games, This, That or The Other. We're going to give you a phrase. You're going to tell us which of three categories it belongs to. Jonathan, what are today's categories?

COULTON: Today's categories are music festivals, international children's TV shows and 19th century British insults as found in the 1811 book "Captain Grose's Dictionary Of The Vulgar Tongue."

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Ring in to answer. Here we go - Bumbershoot.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Dan.

PREDOEHL: Festival.

EISENBERG: That is a music festival, yes. It's a music festival in Seattle. It's based on the old-fashioned word for an umbrella. Ironically, we learned recently that in Seattle, real Seattleites do not use umbrellas. That's how you tell that you're - it's like eye contact in New York.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: That's right.

EISENBERG: If you use it, we know you're not from here.

COULTON: That's right.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: "Lalaloopsy."

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Dan.

PREDOEHL: Insult.

COULTON: I'm sorry, that is incorrect. Diana, you can steal this one. You have two choices - either a children's TV show or a music festival.

HIROTA: Children's TV show.

COULTON: Yeah, that's correct.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: This recent animated Netflix show is based on a popular line of children's rag dolls - because I'd never heard this before - with names like Mittens Fluff 'N' Stuff, Cinder Slippers and Specs Reads-a-Lot.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Don't think I care for that characterization very much.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Which one listens to NPR?

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Shabbaroon.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Diana.

HIROTA: Insult.

EISENBERG: That is a 19th century British insult, yes.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: It refers to someone - to a mean-spirited person or someone who is sloppily dressed, comparable to a ragamuffin.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Shabbaroon is basically a ragamuffin.

EISENBERG: Shabbaroon sounds like something a cult chants right before they eat you alive.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Shabbaroon.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Here's your next one - "BoBoiBoy."

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Dan.

PREDOEHL: Festival.

COULTON: I'm sorry. That is incorrect. Diana, can you steal this one?

HIROTA: TV show?

COULTON: Yeah.

HIROTA: Oh.

COULTON: It's a children's TV show. That's right.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: It's how I say boy after three Chardonnays.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Pitchfork.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Diana.

HIROTA: Music festival.

EISENBERG: Yeah, that's a music festival in Chicago...

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: ...Held by the music website Pitchfork.

COULTON: Chawbacon.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Diana.

HIROTA: Insult.

COULTON: It absolutely is an insult.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: That's basically like calling someone an uncultured yokel.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: According to Merriam-Webster, in the 16th century, bacon was a food associated only with rural folks. So it's like, you're a real bacon-eater.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Aspiration.

COULTON: I know.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Clockenflap.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Diana.

HIROTA: Music festival.

EISENBERG: Yeah, that's right.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: (Laughter).

EISENBERG: Clockenflap bills itself as Hong Kong's premier music festival. In 2008, it was headlined by Erykah Badu, David Byrne and Khalid. I'm sure they have T-shirts saying, it Clockenflappened.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Right?

COULTON: Yeah - pics or it didn't Clockenflappen.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: This is your last clue - lickspittle.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Diana.

HIROTA: Insult.

COULTON: That is correct.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: A suck-up, a brown-noser, a sycophant.

EISENBERG: All right. Congratulations. Great game. Diana is in the lead.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: If you think rhyming musical terms is more fun than attending a music festival, you should be on our show. Find out how to be a contestant at AMAtickets.org. Coming up, John Cameron Mitchell returns to play a game about futurism. I hope we finish before the singularity. I'm Ophira Eisenberg, and this is ASK ME ANOTHER from NPR.

(SOUNDBITE OF DAVID HOLMES' "AGAINST ALL ODDS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.