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10:17 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Don't Forget The Lah-Rics

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 11:20 pm

If singing holiday songs isn't your thing, would a carol about Las Vegas or La Toya Jackson change your mind? House musician Jonathan Coulton spices up the Christmas carol "Deck the Halls" with the lyrics rewritten to describe words or names that begin with a "la" sound. What do you call smoked salmon on a bagel? Fa-la-la-la-la la-la-la-lox!

After the game, Coulton used his clues and the contestants' answers to produce a gloriously weird recording of "Deck The Halls." Hear it in the web extra on this page.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Now let's welcome Rob Gilleece and Karen Sloan.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Now, you both have a thing for holiday carols. Rob, your family does something a little fun with "The 12 Days of Christmas."

ROB GILLEECE: Right. Just a few years ago I decided we were going to make it more fun and we put, like, 12 celebrities or different ways of singing and whatever you pulled out a hat you had to do that character and sing your day of Christmas like that character.

EISENBERG: Oh. OK. Could you do a little example? What do you got?

GILLEECE: I deliberated a lot before putting it in there. It was Adolf Hitler. It just sounded like it was really going to be funny. And we got really fortunate...

(LAUGHTER)

JONATHAN COULTON: It always does. It always does.

EISENBERG: It always sounds like it's really going to be funny.

GILLEECE: Yeah. It worked out. It worked out because they got (in Hitler voice) nine. That was the day that they got so they could say nein!

(LAUGHTER)

GILLEECE: It was brilliant. It worked out great.

EISENBERG: That is a lovely and heartwarming Christmas tradition.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Karen, you are obsessed with Christmas music? Is this fair to say?

KAREN SLOAN: I think that's pretty fair.

EISENBERG: What do you think are the ingredients of, you know, the best Christmas song?

SLOAN: Wham!.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERS)

SLOAN: Undoubtedly Wham!.

COULTON: Are you talking about "Last Christmas I gave you my heart"?

SLOAN: Of course.

COULTON: Yeah.

SLOAN: Of course I'm talking about "Last Christmas."

COULTON: Sad song.

SLOAN: I like my holiday joy with a side of heartbreak and cruelty.

EISENBERG: Sure. So does Rob.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: So this game is called Don't Forget the Lah-rics. Jonathan.

COULTON: We are going to sing the Christmas carol "Deck the Halls" because we don't need to worry about lyrics at all. Most of the lyrics are fa la la la la la la. All the answers will be words or names that begin with the sound la. So puzzle guru Art Chung, will you please give us an example?

ART CHUNG: If we said it's smoked salmon on a bagel you would sing (singing) fa la la la la la la la lox.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: And it's important that you sing the line because this is the Holiday Spectacular. And also, you're going to look like a fool if you say fa la la la la la. It doesn't make sense unless you sing it. (singing) Molten rock from a volcano.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Rob.

GILLEECE: Fa la la la la la la la lava.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: That's right. (singing) A cat named Garfield's favorite pasta.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Karen.

SLOAN: Fa la la la la la la la lasagna.

COULTON: Yeah.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: (singing) He got married to Khloe Kardashian.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Karen.

SLOAN: Oh, this is so embarrassing. (singing) Fa la la la la la Lamar Odom?

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: Yeah. Yeah, that's right. I thought it was going to be embarrassing because you didn't know the answer. But that's not what you meant.

SLOAN: No. I'm embarrassed because I do.

COULTON: Yeah. That's all right.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: (signing) Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Karen.

SLOAN: (singing) Fa la la la la la "Laverne and Shirley."

COULTON: That's right.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: (singing) Surgery on the frontal cortex.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Rob.

GILLEECE: (singing) Fa la la la la la la lobotomy.

COULTON: Yeah.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: (singing) This Brazilian dance is forbidden.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Karen.

SLOAN: (singing) Fa la la la la la Lambada.

COULTON: Yeah!

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: I'm so delighted that you people are singing. It's wonderful. All right. Big finish. This is the last line of the song and your last question. (singing) Learn to breathe in childbirth classes.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Karen.

SLOAN: (singing) Fa la la la la la la Lamaze.

COULTON: You got it.

(APPLAUSE)

CHUNG: Congratulations, Karen. We'll see you fa la la la later.

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