Something In Monet She Moves

May 8, 2020

Pop artists meet pop music in this music parody game where songs are rewritten about artistic movements, featuring comedians Aparna Nancherla and Joyelle Nicole Johnson.

Heard on D.J. "Shangela" Pierce: Quaran-Queen.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

We're here playing games with comedians Aparna Nancherla and Joyelle Nicole Johnson. OK, are you ready for another one?

APARNA NANCHERLA: Yeah.

JOYELLE NICOLE JOHNSON: Yeah.

EISENBERG: OK, so we have a music parody game for you. You are so lucky. It's called Something In Monet She Moves.

JOHNSON: OK.

NANCHERLA: OK, OK, OK.

EISENBERG: All right, take it away, Jonathan.

JONATHAN COULTON, BYLINE: OK, we rewrote songs with the word move in the title to make them about artistic movements. Do you get it? To earn a point...

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: ...Just do one of these three things - identify the artistic movement that I'm singing about or identify the original song or the artist who made it famous or just name any painting you can think of - any painting name...

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: ...We will accept as a correct answer because not everybody knows art history. OK, so we're going to take turns. Aparna, this is for you.

NANCHERLA: OK.

JOHNSON: OK.

COULTON: (Singing) I seen eyeball under a chin. I see an arm between some ears. Picasso's style fractures images, like when I've had 12 beers.

NANCHERLA: Wow. OK, I feel lucky that I know this one.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Wow.

NANCHERLA: I think it's cubism. I want to...

COULTON: It is cubism. You're absolutely...

NANCHERLA: Yeah.

COULTON: ...Right, yeah. Well done. Just for fun, do you know the name of the song or the artist?

NANCHERLA: I - it's so familiar, but I'm so bad with song names. So I couldn't even tell you.

COULTON: That's Carole King, "I Feel The Earth Move."

JOHNSON: Oh.

COULTON: But yeah, well done.

NANCHERLA: Nicely done.

COULTON: OK, this one is for you, Joyelle.

JOHNSON: You going to start with a cubism? That's how you start?

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Well, now you know cubism is crossed off the list. You know...

JOHNSON: Jeez Louise.

COULTON: ...That's been taken.

NANCHERLA: It is off the table.

EISENBERG: It's just the other ones.

COULTON: It's just the other ones.

JOHNSON: All right. OK. I'm nervous.

COULTON: OK. Don't worry. Here we go. (Singing) Monet sat by a pond in Paris, painting with brushstrokes so choppy. It's like when Kate McKinnon does her version of Hillary. It's meant to evoke but not copy. Capturing a momentary light-light-light-light-light-light-light-light. You ought to know Renoir.

EISENBERG: Joyelle left.

NANCHERLA: (Laughter) Joyelle left.

EISENBERG: Joyelle left.

NANCHERLA: She walked off set.

JOHNSON: Joyelle is here.

COULTON: I guess I was doing a bad job, huh, Joyelle?

NANCHERLA: (Laughter).

JOHNSON: Joyelle is here. Joyelle's Purple Carrot delivery just arrived, so I apologize.

EISENBERG: Oh.

NANCHERLA: Oh.

JOHNSON: OK. So OK, OK - expressionism - expressionist?

NANCHERLA: You're so close.

JOHNSON: Oh, impressionist.

COULTON: Impressionism, that's right. Yeah.

EISENBERG: Yay. That's right.

JOHNSON: Impressionism - I was close.

COULTON: Well done.

NANCHERLA: You were close.

EISENBERG: That was great.

COULTON: Did you recognize the song by any chance, or were you too distracted by your Purple Carrot delivery?

NANCHERLA: (Laughter).

JOHNSON: I was distracted by the Purple Carrot. But also, when you started, I didn't know. And I can remember - I know songs. So who was that?

NANCHERLA: That was "Movin' Out" by Billy Joel.

JOHNSON: Yeah. I wouldn't - no. I wouldn't have known that.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: OK, Aparna, this is for you. (Singing) Cameron stares at dots, closer and closer shots. Sunday on La Grande Jotte filled up the spots, but it's only dots.

NANCHERLA: Umm..

COULTON: Dots - spots and dots.

NANCHERLA: Spots and dots.

EISENBERG: Spots and dots.

NANCHERLA: Pointillism?

COULTON: Yeah, pointillism.

JOHNSON: I just want to say that I like getting to know my friends better. And I didn't know Aparna was an art historian.

NANCHERLA: I'm not, though.

JOHNSON: She's just like a secret art historian. And she's trying to play it off. You just said pointillism, OK?

NANCHERLA: I did.

COULTON: You should teach a class in art history.

NANCHERLA: I...

JOHNSON: Yes.

NANCHERLA: I feel like I'm an oracle. I don't know where these answers are coming from.

(LAUGHTER)

NANCHERLA: I think the last time I went to the museum, I, like, read in little cards for once. And it stuck.

COULTON: Well, it's impressive. Do you know the song or artist, by any chance?

NANCHERLA: It sounded so familiar, but I could not place it.

COULTON: It's OutKast, "The Way You Move."

NANCHERLA: Oh.

COULTON: OK, Joyelle. This is the last one. It's for you. (Singing) Ellington and Hughes and Ms. Baker - Douglas was a major art-maker up in North Manhattan. It came from North Manhattan, extremely North Manhattan.

JOHNSON: OK. That was "Moves Like Jagger."

COULTON: Yeah. That's right - Maroon 5.

JOHNSON: OK. Wait. You were saying, like, Upper Manhattan...

COULTON: Yeah.

JOHNSON: ...Upper East Side Manhattan...

COULTON: Further North than that.

JOHNSON: Oh, Harlem Renaissance - Harlem Renaissance.

COULTON: Yeah, that's right.

NANCHERLA: Whoa.

EISENBERG: Yeah.

COULTON: I'm very impressed with both of you. I thought this might was going to be...

EISENBERG: I know.

COULTON: ...Just too hard.

EISENBERG: I mean, honestly, when we were talking about this game, we literally - we were like, well, you know what? They're both comedians, so it will be funny.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: It'll crash and burn, but, like, in a really funny way.

EISENBERG: Yeah. It's fine. It's fine.

COULTON: Yeah.

JOHNSON: I feel like I was in school, you know? You're teaching.

NANCHERLA: I know.

COULTON: Well, that's what we say. It's - come on our show because it's almost as fun as being in school.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Exactly. Aparna Nancherla appears in "The Standup" Season 2 on Netflix. And these days, you can catch comedian Joyelle Nicole Johnston doing standup shows all over the Internet. Aparna, Joyelle, thank you so much for joining us on ASK ME ANOTHER.

NANCHERLA: Thanks, guys.

COULTON: Thank you, guys.

NANCHERLA: Thank you.

JOHNSON: I miss you guys. Bye.

NANCHERLA: Bye.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

EISENBERG: After the break, we're going to think outside the box with DJ Shangela Pierce from "RuPaul's Drag Race" and HBO's "We're Here." And we're going to find out what happens when you quit your day job to appear on "Drag Race" only to get eliminated in the first episode. I'm Ophira Eisenberg, and this is ASK ME ANOTHER from NPR.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.