That's How I Midroll

Sep 17, 2021

On TV, they're called "commercials." But on podcasts, they're called "midrolls." In this game, Welcome to Night Vale's Cecil Baldwin and guest house musician Julian Velard are read ads for companies that famously advertise on podcasts. The twist is— the person who wrote these midrolls has done no research into the companies... instead, they've given it their best guess based solely on the company's name. It's not lazy if it's on purpose!

Heard on The Penultimate Puzzles

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(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

JONATHAN COULTON: This is NPR's ASK ME ANOTHER. I'm Jonathan Coulton. Here's your host Ophira Eisenberg.

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Thanks, Jonathan. So we have approximately 1.33333333333 episodes left, and we're playing games with two guys who are always there for us in our time of need - our guest puzzle guru Cecil Baldwin and our guest musician Julian Velard. OK, are you ready for another one?

CECIL BALDWIN: Yes, please.

JULIAN VELARD: Yes, please.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) OK. So on TV, they are called commercials. On public radio, they are called funders. And on podcasts, they are called midrolls. So this game is called That's How I Midroll, and every answer is a company known for advertising on podcasts. We are going to read you a midroll. You are going to tell us the name of the company. But the twist is the person who wrote these midrolls has done no research as to the companies. So instead, they have just given it their best guess based on the company's name.

COULTON: And we should note that we are not getting paid by any of the companies that we're about to mention.

EISENBERG: (Laughter).

COULTON: We don't even know if they are NPR underwriters. We haven't bothered to check because, frankly, you know, we got a bad case of senior-itis (ph) at this point. We're out of here.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Exactly. So let's do it. OK, Cecil, this first one is for you.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

EISENBERG: Do you have monsters under your bed? That is so last year. Now your mattress can be made of ghosts. This company truly is changing the way people sleep because of the ghosts.

BALDWIN: You know, I'm still waiting on my free Casper mattress.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) Free?

BALDWIN: But until...

EISENBERG: You're correct. And...

BALDWIN: Until that day happens, I - you know, I just have to sleep on my sleeping bag on the floor.

COULTON: Julian, want to retool your website but don't have the time? Now you've got nothing but time. So let us put you in a 5-by-5-, 10-by-10- or 12-by-12-foot room where the only thing that's ever unlocked is your potential.

VELARD: I'm going to say Squarespace.

EISENBERG: Yeah.

COULTON: Squarespace is correct. That's right.

EISENBERG: You know what? You know who shouldn't have the power to make her own website? Me. It's not...

VELARD: I will say this, Ophira.

EISENBERG: Yeah. Yes.

VELARD: I have seen some of your attempts at graphic design on the internet, and I think that is a correct statement.

EISENBERG: (Laughter).

VELARD: You should not make your own website.

EISENBERG: I really liked my little graphics recently. I'm going to talk to you later about that. Anyways, you're correct.

All right, Cecil. Ladies, if you live alone, you've been here. You're getting ready for work, but you can't quite reach behind you to fasten your dress all the way up. Let this company analyze hundreds of online profiles so you can find the perfect candidate to close those interlocking teeth.

BALDWIN: What is that - Jdate?

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Jdate.

EISENBERG: What are you saying?

BALDWIN: I don't know.

EISENBERG: OK.

BALDWIN: That's literally the - that's the - well, SCRUFF would be the app I would...

EISENBERG: Perfect.

BALDWIN: ...Go to.

EISENBERG: Perfect.

BALDWIN: Those are...

EISENBERG: OK.

BALDWIN: ...Literally the only two I know of.

EISENBERG: It's...

COULTON: Julian - I think Julian knows it...

EISENBERG: Julian knows.

COULTON: ...Because he's...

EISENBERG: Oh, Julian's shaking.

BALDWIN: Julian's bursting.

EISENBERG: Oh, my goodness.

BALDWIN: He's vibrating.

EISENBERG: All right. All right. All right. Julian is about to explode out of screen.

VELARD: Is it ZipRecruiter?

EISENBERG: Yes, ZipRecruiter. That is right.

COULTON: All right. This is your last clue, Julian. If you have always wanted to live a real-life "Space Jam" - I mean, who hasn't? - you're in luck. Just use our DNA testing kit, and upload your personal genetic information to our online database for a chance to hang out with Chicago Bulls-era Michael Jordan.

VELARD: I mean, - this is - come on.

COULTON: (Laughter).

VELARD: 23andMe is the answer.

EISENBERG: Yes.

COULTON: That's right. You got it.

EISENBERG: Julian, Cecil, have you done 23andMe?

BALDWIN: No, I'm good.

VELARD: I'm pretty sure if I did it, I'd just, like, come back, like, 100%...

EISENBERG: Who you are.

VELARD: Exactly.

EISENBERG: (Laughter).

VELARD: I'm like - if people see me, they'd be like, oh, I know where that guy's from.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: I've seen this model before.

VELARD: Yeah, yeah.

EISENBERG: Don't worry about it.

VELARD: Absolutely.

EISENBERG: Great job. Do you want to know who won that round?

VELARD: I know who won this round.

EISENBERG: Who won that round?

VELARD: I won the round, Ophira.

COULTON: (Laughter).

EISENBERG: You won the round. Yes, you did win the round. All right. So that means that we're at a tie. So you know what? That means you have to come back.

COULTON: That's the rule.

EISENBERG: Cecil, Julian, we'll see you next week.

VELARD: See you then, Ophira.

BALDWIN: Thank you. Bye.

EISENBERG: Bye. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.