Actually, It Is Brain Surgery | Connecticut Public Radio
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Actually, It Is Brain Surgery

Jan 18, 2019
Originally published on May 24, 2019 8:03 am

Time to use those noggins: Contestants channel their inner neurologists to answer some head-scratching, brain-related trivia.

Heard on Terry Crews: The Man's Got Talent

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

JONATHAN COULTON: From NPR and WNYC, coming to you from The Bell House in beautiful Brooklyn, N.Y., it's NPR's hour of puzzles, word games and trivia, ASK ME ANOTHER. I'm Jonathan Coulton. Now here's your host, Ophira Eisenberg.

(APPLAUSE)

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Hello, everybody. How's it going?

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Nice. We have four brilliant contestants about to come on the show. They are backstage right now. Like us, they are living under a divided government, but are united in their love for trivia. And then one of them will become our big winner. And our special guest tonight is author, actor, illustrator, ex-football player Terry Crews.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: I know. And you heard me say illustrator.

COULTON: I did. Yeah.

EISENBERG: So Terry Crews actually had a art scholarship before he had a football scholarship. Yeah. I know. What other actor can be like, well, if acting doesn't pan out, I guess I can fall back on pro football and painting? Like...

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: ...Who else can say that? And we love Terry for his brain, but since this is radio, let's talk about his other muscles...

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: ...'Cause he's got a lot of muscles.

COULTON: He does. Yeah.

EISENBERG: Yeah. So here's a whole series of material that we've written on this.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Terry Crews is so ripped that just looking at him counts as a workout.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Terry Crews is so ripped, our producers are sewing him back together backstage right now.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Terry Crews is so ripped, the man is, like, shredded like a three-cheese blend.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: And he's successful. Terry Crews is so successful that when he hosted "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire," they changed the name to "Who Wants To Be Him?"

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Terry Crews has so many career wins. But he's human. He's had some disappointments. So he says one of his biggest disappointments was he was cut from the Chargers, and then the team went to the Super Bowl. Right? So he said that was a really hard game to watch. I get it. I have a very hard time watching "Mrs. Maisel."

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Yeah. I do. I'm like, why is she killing all the time? Really? Every episode, you have a brand-new five minutes that's amazing? Like, where is the scene where you bomb in front of your family and friends? Where's the scene where your boyfriend tells you you're not really funny? Like (laughter), where's...

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: ...Where's the scene where your agent's like, I think you're too old? You know, where's the scene where you get bumped from your spot because Louis C.K. shows up? You know?

(BOOING)

EISENBERG: Yeah. I'm just saying that it seems like, as a woman, it was a lot easier to do comedy in the '50s.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: And I do have a friend - every year, this happens. I have a friend who says that their New Year's resolution is to do standup comedy. I get it. I mean, it is hard to have someone kind of reduce something I've put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into to, like, their quirky goal for a year. But I get it.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: I get it. Anyone could do it. Right? It's a pretty low barrier of entry. And a lot of people, their first time is great. I've had beginner's luck. I mean, two New Year's ago, my New Year's resolution was to do medicine. My first surgery, pretty good. I got to say...

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: ...Pretty good. It was the next 10 surgeries where I was like, whoa, maybe not for me. You know? It's...

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: ...You got to learn to read your patient and the charts.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: So this show is a part of the Brooklyn Podcast Festival...

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: ...Which we are pretty psyched about.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Although, I will say that I feel like Brooklyn is a podcast festival all the time.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: It's pretty redundant. But in honor of the Brooklyn Podcast Festival, we will be playing our games at 1 1/2 times the speed.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: So let's do it. Let's play some games, everybody.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Our first game is about brain surgery. But don't worry. It's not rocket science. Let's meet our contestants. First up, Shira Harris. You work at The Rabbinical Assembly. So you are talking with rabbis all day long?

SHIRA HARRIS: Yeah. We have a membership of about 1,700 living rabbis and about a thousand dead ones.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: OK. And have you ever wanted to be a rabbi?

HARRIS: I have gone through phases. Everyone thinks I should be a rabbi. But now that I have this job and I'm really learning what it's like, I think that I know a little bit too much to be a rabbi now.

EISENBERG: Can you tell me a little bit more about that?

HARRIS: Everyone has files.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: (Laughter) OK. Shira, when you ring in, we're going to hear this.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Your opponent is Liz Rodwell. You're an electronic health care records analyst. How does one become a electronic health care records analyst?

LIZ RODWELL: Go to school to become a high school history teacher.

EISENBERG: Sure.

(LAUGHTER)

RODWELL: That's how you do it.

EISENBERG: (Laughter).

RODWELL: Can't find a job, and move on to a new career.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: OK.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: So you wanted to be a history teacher?

RODWELL: Yes.

EISENBERG: Any of that applicable to health care record analysis?

RODWELL: I actually had a concentration in political science.

EISENBERG: Perfect.

RODWELL: So that works really well when you're working with physicians. So there's a lot of politics that you have to deal with, and...

EISENBERG: Oh, yeah.

RODWELL: ...There's a - I don't know. They have a penchant for having a bit of an ego. So...

EISENBERG: Yeah.

RODWELL: ...You have to deal with that a little bit.

EISENBERG: Like, they think they're God? Like, they think they're a rabbi?

RODWELL: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

RODWELL: Pretty much.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) OK. Very good. Liz, when you ring in, we're going to hear this.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Shira and Liz, whoever has more points after two games will go on to our final round. This is a guessing game, called, Actually, It Is Brain Surgery. In this game, we'll pretend you're highly skilled brain surgeons answering brain-related, multiple-choice questions. OK. Here we go. You're a brain surgeon who charges by the pound. The heavier the brain, the more you earn. So should you limit your practice to A, cows, B, orcas, or C, YouTube celebrities?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Shira.

HARRIS: Orcas?

EISENBERG: That's right, yes.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: An orca, or a killer whale's brain, is about 12 1/2 pounds. Human brains are 3 pounds. YouTube celebrities, unknown.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Oops, you forgot to pay the electric bill. Which of these devices requires the same amount of power as the human brain to function? A, light bulb, B, single-serving smoothie maker, as seen on TV, or C, none because the human brain is essentially powerless?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Shira.

HARRIS: Smoothie maker?

COULTON: I'm sorry, that is incorrect. Liz, can you steal?

RODWELL: Oh, that's kind of existential.

(LAUGHTER)

RODWELL: I would go with the light bulb, though.

COULTON: Light bulb is correct. That's right.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Is that why the - in animation there is a light bulb over your head when you have a good idea?

COULTON: That's exactly the reason.

EISENBERG: I knew.

RODWELL: Oh, wow.

COULTON: The brain actually uses 20 watts, so we're talking about a very small, not very important light bulb.

EISENBERG: You lost your ruler, and you need to measure something. So naturally, you take all the capillaries in a human brain and stretch them out end to end. What's the maximum distance you could measure? A, the distance between a soldier and their dog reuniting at the airport when the soldier's finally returned from war.

HARRIS: Aw.

EISENBERG: I know. Let's just think about that.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: B, the distance from home plate to first base, or C, the distance from New York to Cleveland.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Shira.

HARRIS: New York to Cleveland?

EISENBERG: Yeah, that's right.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: There are 400 miles of capillaries in your brain.

COULTON: That's a lot of capillaries.

EISENBERG: You can get all the way to Cleveland.

COULTON: This is your last clue. Brain surgery business has been slow.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Sorry, you're a brain surgeon. So you're opening a Weight Watchers next door to supplement your income.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Why might you feel conflicted about this? A, because the brain is about 6 percent fat, B, because the brain is about 60 percent fat, or C, because when you lose weight, your brain stops working, and all you can do is take pictures of yourself in bathing suits.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Shira.

HARRIS: A?

COULTON: I'm sorry. That's not right. Liz, do you know the answer?

RODWELL: Oh, this is really tough. (Laughter). I'm going to go with a B, 60 percent fat.

COULTON: That's right. The brain is 60 percent fat.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

EISENBERG: OK, guess what? It's a great game. And right now, we have a tie.

(APPLAUSE) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.