By Zach Campbell
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Manchego: Is it a type of cheese, a dance move, or a character from Moby Dick?
Whatever the answer, this Friday, National Public Radio will unveil its newest show, "Ask Me Another." The show, mixing
comedy, music and trivia, was recorded last winter in front of nightly packed houses at the Bell House, in Gowanus.
Hosted by Ophira Eisenberg, comedian and storyteller on another NPR classic, "The Moth," "Ask Me Another" tries to go
far beyond your usual neighborhood pub trivia night. It puts trivia, brain teasers and other puzzles to audience members,
mystery guests, and a rotating cast of puzzle gurus in a trivia contest where scores matter less than laughs.
The show features “mystery” guests, including actor/humorist John Hodgman, Tony Award-winner Nikki M. James and
blogger Meghan McCain, along with music by Jonathan Coulton.
“Ask Me Another is, to put it simply, fun,” said Eric Nuzum, head of programming at NPR. “It's full of surprising moments
and 'I knew that' moments, and chances to show just how much otherwise useless knowledge we've all accumulated.”
Nuzum originally developed the concept while working at a radio station in Cleveland, after seeing a colleague of his, New
York Times crossword editor Will Shortz, play puzzles to a live audience with an “amazing” response. A decade later, "Ask
Me Another" was recording in front of 13 live audiences at the Bell House, on Seventh Street near Second Avenue.
“The Bell House is kind of an anything-can-happen-there place,” Nuzum said, explaining that most of the audiences knew
the space and only had heard that NPR was taping. “Fun and entertaining things happen there all the time — people go there
because they have a reputation.”
“We originally thought this could be a really funny show,” said Nuzum, “then we realized that once we stopped writing
jokes and focused on having fun, everything came naturally.”
The Bell House is venue and bar inside a converted 1920's era Gowanus warehouse that hosts events and shows of all kinds,
ranging from circus to science, and country music to burlesque.
"Ask Me Another" is not yet airing on New York public radio stations, but will be available Friday on NPR's website and on iTunes.