Play By Play

Jul 24, 2020

Comedian Erin Foley (One Day at a Time writer and Sports Without Balls podcast) and actress Arden Myrin (Netflix's Insatiable and Will You Accept This Rose? podcast) guess the lesser-known sport based on fake play-by-play announcements.

Heard on HAIM & Benito Skinner: Delis And Star Charts

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JONATHAN COULTON, BYLINE: Oh. Hello, Ophira Eisenberg from NPR's ASK ME ANOTHER. How are you?


Hi, Jonathan Coulton. I'm hot. It's so hot out. It's a heat wave that never ends.

COULTON: Yeah. I know.

EISENBERG: And one of our air conditioners broke.

COULTON: Oh, no. Oh, no.

EISENBERG: Yep. So I'm back to just putting my T-shirt in freezing cold water and wearing it until it dries.

COULTON: Right, a bowl of ice in front of a fan.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) Exactly. Exactly. A little rag around your neck is good.

COULTON: (Laughter) Yeah, it's a good feeling. Nothing makes you feel more on top of the world than having a wet rag around your neck.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) Look at us. Look at us doing great.

COULTON: Look at us now. I'm doing great, actually. Thanks for asking. Yeah, also, it smells bad. New York City is not a - people don't know this who haven't visited New York City at the height of summer, but the amount and variation of smells on the sidewalk...

EISENBERG: It's crazy.

COULTON: ...Is truly stunning.

EISENBERG: So one upside of masks - I don't know if your masks have that little pocket in them where you can put a little filter in it.

COULTON: No. I just have a regular cotton cloth situation.

EISENBERG: Yeah. A few of the ones that I have have that little pocket in it. And so I just take one of those pine tree car air fresheners and stuff it in there.

COULTON: (Laughter).

EISENBERG: So when you're walking down the street, you just feel like the experience of being in a new car.

COULTON: A couple of drops of lemon oil, a slice of lemon and a slice of cucumbers for a little spa feeling.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) Got some lavender. Yeah, I got a little eucalyptus. I got some lavender.

COULTON: Some barbecue sauce and some pork if you want to feel like you're at a barbecue.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) You could create your whole world in that pocket.

COULTON: Yeah. In fact, I have prepared a special version of the theme that has a scent added. So, our listeners, let us know if you can smell this. Here we go.


COULTON: From NPR and WNYC coming to you from our respective homes in beautiful Brooklyn, N.Y., it's NPR's hour of puzzles, word games and spooning with your air conditioner, ASK ME ANOTHER. I'm Jonathan Coulton. Now here's your host, Ophira Eisenberg.


EISENBERG: Cilantro - interesting choice. Very divisive.

COULTON: (Laughter) The thing is, it's different for everybody. That's the beauty.


EISENBERG: No need to spend five bucks on a cold brew, people, because today's show is full of high-energy guests who are going to wake you right up. Later I'll talk to the band HAIM about playing music at delis across the country. Plus, Greta Titelman from "Los Espookys" plays games with comedian Benito Skinner. But first, two very funny comics, Erin Foley and Arden Myrin. Let's play some games.


EISENBERG: So excited. Comedians I've known for a while and here right now, Arden Myrin and Erin Foley, hello.


ERIN FOLEY: Hello, Ophira.

MYRIN: Nice to see you.

EISENBERG: Nice to see you, too. Erin, where are you?

FOLEY: I'm in a closet. I'm back in a closet.


FOLEY: I am now straight again.

MYRIN: Right.

FOLEY: This is day one of the Zoom. We got here, like, a week ago, so clearly I need to take my Zoom game up a notch. But right now I'm in the other bedroom while my partner's on, like, a work call, but I can't ask her to lower her volume because she's actually employed and I'm doing a game...


FOLEY: ...A live trivia game. So I'm hiding in the other bedroom.

EISENBERG: And, Arden, you - your apartment, I assume - your house, this is?

MYRIN: This is my house. This is my garage that I've turned into a podcast studio.

EISENBERG: Look at this beautiful wallpaper.

COULTON: I was going to say I love that wallpaper. Is it...

EISENBERG: Whimsical, I would say.

COULTON: ...Horses?

MYRIN: It's elephants, and it's actually fabric. It's soundproofing.

FOLEY: That's awesome.

MYRIN: Can I be so gross right now?


MYRIN: I just want to say I have a book coming out. I wrote a book.


EISENBERG: Oh, yeah. I was just going to ask you about it. I was just going to - glad you brought it up. It is in the frame.

MYRIN: I'm so gross, but I'm doing it because, guys, I've never written a book, and it's coming out during a pandemic (laughter).



MYRIN: Can't go do standup shows, can't tour, not doing any reading. This is the only promo this book is going to get.

EISENBERG: But it's great because you actually have the book. You're holding it up, so you have the actual physical product, a memoir called "Little Miss Little Compton."

MYRIN: "Little Miss Little Compton." I'm from a town called Little Compton. I will say it's not actually the book. The book is blank.

EISENBERG: Oh, it's blank inside. Good trick. Good prop.

COULTON: Arden, you forgot to write any words in the book.

MYRIN: It almost feels like they were like, let's do - let's let her feel like she wrote a book. And we'll go to Kinko's and print up a PDF of a cute cover and put it on a journal.

COULTON: And then later, they're going to just say, yeah, it's totally in stores. It absolutely is in stores.

MYRIN: (Laughter) No, you can preorder wherever books are sold. It's a comedic memoir. I'm the product of two hasty decisions. My grandparents married after knowing each other for one day. They ran off and got married.



MYRIN: And then my parents were co-workers, and in sort of a weird bid to get more vacation time, they never dated and they got married on a dare. And they stayed married for 50 years.

EISENBERG: Well, let's be honest, isn't every marriage a bit of a dare?


FOLEY: We were daring our parents to split up the entire time.


EISENBERG: I mean, the vows do sound like a dare. It's like, do you? And it's like, well, do you?


MYRIN: Yes. Do you? Do you? OK. Yeah, it's like, who is going to back - it is full chicken.

EISENBERG: All right. Well, we'll little find out. Anyone else want to get involved? No? Fine.

MYRIN: Yes. You're absolutely right.

FOLEY: That's what they say does anybody else, you know, have anything to say? And they're like, double dare.



FOLEY: Try to raise a child.

COULTON: I dare you to stop this marriage.

EISENBERG: Now, Erin, you host a podcast called "Sports Without Balls."

MYRIN: Yeah, she does. I want you to know, Erin Foley, that I watched the Michael Jordan documentary just for you. Did you watch it?

FOLEY: Oh, I think I've watched it twice now.


MYRIN: Dennis Rodman - please. Don't even kid yourself. The Pistons - they're dirty fighters.

COULTON: (Laughter).

MYRIN: I know that now. The Detroit Pistons - they played rough.

FOLEY: That was in The Palace.

MYRIN: They played rough.

EISENBERG: I don't understand what you guys are saying.

FOLEY: This is the most Arden has ever spoken to me about sports. And I just never want it to end.

MYRIN: Yeah.

FOLEY: We've known each other forever. And she's...

MYRIN: Karl Malone - why'd he get MVP? It should have been Jordan.


EISENBERG: Oh, my God.

FOLEY: That's great...


FOLEY: Research.

EISENBERG: You are killing it right now, Arden.

FOLEY: Research.

EISENBERG: OK. You know what? - perfect segue. Thank you, Arden, because we are going to do a game about sports.

MYRIN: Michael Jordan?

EISENBERG: Sports - I know, Erin, that you're a sports fan because your podcast is called "Sports Without Balls." Arden, I had no idea that you knew so much about sports. So this is going to be a really...

MYRIN: I know nothing.

FOLEY: (Laughter).

EISENBERG: ...Even competition. So in this game, Jonathan and I are going to pretend to be play-by-play announcers. And you just have to guess what sports we're announcing.

MYRIN: Good luck, Erin, even though you're playing against me (laughter).

FOLEY: I refuse to lose.

COULTON: (Laughter).

MYRIN: I refuse to win. So it works out for everybody.

COULTON: Perfect.


EISENBERG: All right. Erin, it's the fourth day of this test match. And England's up with their first innings. Oh, that's quite the doosra from the bowler. But it's a lofted drive to the boundary - a Dorothy Dix by the batsman.

FOLEY: Cricket.

EISENBERG: That is right.

MYRIN: Great.

EISENBERG: The doosra - I believe I said that correctly - is the spin equivalent of the googly. So that clears up what that means. The bowler is the term for the player on the fielding side who bowls to the batsman. And a Dorothy Dix is, of course, an Australian rhyming slang term for a hit for six.

COULTON: Has anybody ever watched a cricket match or tried to get into cricket at all? I mean, it's a beloved sport across...

FOLEY: Oh, I'm in.

COULTON: ...Across the world.

EISENBERG: I have watched it once live because I was traveling to Australia, and they wanted to take me to a cricket match.

MYRIN: Great.

EISENBERG: So I went to it.

FOLEY: That's a dream.

MYRIN: Was it fun?

EISENBERG: It was fun. I did - you know, I was an inexperienced audience member. So I didn't know how you were supposed to react. So I came in with the enthusiasm of a North American sports fan.


MYRIN: Oh, right. Yeah.

EISENBERG: So I was like, (cheering). And they were like, no.

MYRIN: Boo. No. 2, you suck.


FOLEY: Give me a Dorothy Dix, or I'll stick this bat up your butt.

MYRIN: You call that a Dorothy Dix? Please.

FOLEY: I'll give you a Dorothy Dix when you're not looking.

MYRIN: Yeah. OK. My grandmother could Dorothy Dox that better than you.

EISENBERG: Pretty much - yeah.

COULTON: All right, Arden. Here's one for you.

MYRIN: OK, Jonathan.

COULTON: Just three kilometers to go in this climbing stage on the Col de Marie-Blanque. All Thomas has to do is maintain his pace, and he will hold onto that yellow jersey. But look. Bernal - Bernal is leading a breakaway of three from the peloton. Can he hold his lead? And yes. Bernal clinches the King of the Mountain jersey.

MYRIN: All right. Well, what I think you're doing is not a Peloton but like a Zwift Tour de France race.

COULTON: It is absolutely a Tour de France race. That's correct.


MYRIN: Thank you so much. There we go. OK.

COULTON: Well done - the King of the Mountain jersey is a white jersey with red polka dots and is awarded to the writer who does the best in the climbing stages.

EISENBERG: They get, like, a rash jersey - looks like they have a rash.

COULTON: (Laughter).

MYRIN: I want to be king of the mountain and have a rash.


MYRIN: OK. This is so fun.

EISENBERG: All right, Erin. We are witnessing some true chess on ice tonight, ladies and gentlemen. Brilliant throws and sweeping by the Canadian team who executed perfectly on the skip-stones placement strategy. The Americans have the hammer. But it will take a miracle to get anywhere near the button.

FOLEY: I'm going to go with curling.

EISENBERG: You're going to go with correct.

FOLEY: I didn't know some of those terms.

EISENBERG: The skip that - you know that one. That's the team captain. And the hammer is the final stone throw at the end.


EISENBERG: And the button is just the center of the ring and the scoring area.

MYRIN: Great.

COULTON: All right. This is going to be the last question. Arden, this is for you.

MYRIN: Great. I'm so nervous.

COULTON: Don't be nervous.

MYRIN: Terrified.

COULTON: Just look at the scrum. With a devastating pack weight of 900 kilograms, New Zealand is overpowering the American team. The hooker easily finds the ball, passing it to the outside center. And it's a cheeky pass to the inside center. He's made it to the end goal. It's New Zealand, 5 - the American team, nil.

MYRIN: Well, I heard hooker. But I can't say that on NPR. I - I'm going to go polo.

FOLEY: (Laughter).

MYRIN: You're laughing at me? Excuse you. Did you just laugh at me?

COULTON: Yeah, she's definitely...

MYRIN: Rugby.

EISENBERG: Erin laughed at you. She's mocking you.

FOLEY: No. I'm laughing with America.


MYRIN: Rugby - rugby.

COULTON: Rugby is correct.

MYRIN: Thank you.

COULTON: Absolutely correct.

MYRIN: I did that as - obviously, it's rugby. I would never say polo.

COULTON: No, you're telling a joke.

MYRIN: The laughter is with you. I laughed with you at my own first guess.

COULTON: You're a comedian telling a joke. That's all.

EISENBERG: I love a cheeky pass in polo, though. I do think that happens.

MYRIN: (Laughter).

FOLEY: Oh, yeah.

EISENBERG: I think there's a lot of cheeky passes in polo.

MYRIN: I feel like Prince Harry does that.

EISENBERG: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

MYRIN: He's cheeky. He's a fun royal.

COULTON: He's the cheekiest polo player.

MYRIN: He's a cheeky royal.

EISENBERG: It happens after the game, too, a cheeky pass.

FOLEY: Also, there's tons of hookers that play polo so...


FOLEY: It wasn't a bad guess at all.

MYRIN: Yeah. Thank you. Thank you.

EISENBERG: That's right. All the hookers at polo matches are watching.

MYRIN: In "Pretty Woman," there was a whole thing when she was talking to George Costanza.

COULTON: That's right.

MYRIN: And he gave her, like, a unsolicited shoulder massage. She was in her brown-and-white polka dot outfit.

FOLEY: With the hat on.

MYRIN: And she said, big mistake - huge. She got it. After that, her trip to Rodeo Drive - all good.


EISENBERG: By the way, the hooker is a rugby position.


EISENBERG: After the break, we'll challenge Erin and Arden to a music parody game. Plus, I'll ask comedians Greta Titelman and Benito Skinner, what's your sign? I'm Ophira Eisenberg, and this is ASK ME ANOTHER from NPR. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.