Ask me another team say goodbye: NPR Extra: NPR
After nine years, 260 episodes, and over 1,700 games, this week marks the end of NPR’s hour of puzzles, puns and trivia series, Ask me another. In the final episode, host Ophira Eisenberg and house musician Jonathan Coulton play the final matches and answer listeners’ questions.
Here the current Ask me another the team thinks about what they will miss by putting on the show.
Travis Larchuk / NPR
Ophira Eisenberg, moderator: I will miss the live shows because they were so fun. I was able to forget everything else while we were playing silly smart games with stupid smart people. They were riffing on a trivial question in a way that exposed how their brain worked, it was so hilarious and insightful, or they gave an answer that was absolutely correct, that no one had thought of. In all this planning, there were only constant surprises. I’m going to miss my weekly chat with Jonathan Coulton on everything going on in the world, it made me feel better and heard. And I’ll miss accidentally learning things about America, the animal kingdom, pop culture, songs, songwriters. And I was just getting better at mash-ups. I was just starting to understand. I was about to get a good answer, everyone.
Jonathan Coulton, house musician: By far what I will miss the most is having a weekly obligation to laugh and talk with Ophira and all the guests we have had. Essentially being forced to have a good time. No matter what was going on in the world, I knew I had a regular, recurring, forced good time that always comforted me and gave me a real boost at some pretty dark times. My favorite things that ever happened on the show were times when it went off the rails in one way or another, and we all had to admit that it didn’t go as planned. It’s always my favorite, especially on a live show when something goes horribly wrong in a game. It was always my favorite.
Mike Katzif / NPR
James Sparber, producer: What I’ll miss the most is this wacky confluence of a great backstage team and truly unpredictable guest moments – whether a guest is so charming or so few.
Rommel Wood, producer: It’s funny because of course I will miss working on the show, but I think what I will miss the most is what could have been if the show had had the opportunity to continue. I am nostalgic for a future that will never be. Return to our hometown at The Bell House, return to the road, or an end-of-day PuzzGrid challenge. It’s silly! But I’ll miss hearing what everyone did over the weekend in our Monday morning production meeting. I can’t overstate how much this show has meant to me in the five years I’ve worked on it, but also how honored I am to have been able to be a listener and a fan for the duration of the show. ’emission.
Jessica Mims / NPR
Travis Larchuk, Senior Producer: I love public radio, I love game shows, I love talk shows, and it was those three things combined. NPR has given us so much freedom to mess around. Like, Ophira pretended to be a talking tree. Where else on public radio are you going to hear this? Certainly not on The Splendid Table. It was also so cool to hear from young people who grew up listening to the show with their families. I love that it can be etched into some children’s brains the same way Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego? was for me. But with Jonathan Coulton instead of Rockapella.
Rachel Neel, Senior Supervisor Producer: It was difficult for me to find the motivation to sit down and organize my thoughts around the end of Ask Me Another. It’s a sad thing, and I don’t like to think about it. This show is special and has become incredibly dear to me. Having said that, I am so proud of the fun we were able to have. You know you do it right when you’re having fun, and if it’s true, then we’ve done it right most of the time.
Nancy Saechao, booker: I’m going to run out of all the ingredients it takes to make this great tasty stew. It is truly unique to make something sweet and spicy, and I will relish all of the hands that went into making this meal that we were able to share each week with new and seasoned listeners across the country. I will miss member stations, partner sites, marketing brains and design gurus. So many machinists and my favorite doorman at the Bell House. Unpredictable publicists and thoughtful guests. Even the guests who forgot what show they had come to do. The drivers who drove me crazy or calmed me down. An unforgettable CEO and talent buyer to whom I will forever be indebted. All the security guards are the funniest people. These bartenders, house managers and technical directors are the pillars that give our stew the foundation to do what we do. There are a lot of things that I forget, but right now I will miss the redheads of people I meet the most. They say a dish is as good as their ingredients, and the team at Ask Me Another is the best. No expiration date.
What’s next for Ophira and Jonathan? Ophira continues to do stand-up and storytelling, and recently recorded a new comedy album. And after a year off, Jonathan says his annual JoCo cruise is back for spring 2022.
Mike Katzif / NPR