Easy Degrees

Jan 20, 2017
Originally published on March 6, 2017 9:04 am

What do Pitbull and Celine Dion have in common? They both have honorary degrees! In this game we play a clip of a famous person accepting an honorary degree, and contestants buzz in to guess who else has joined the exclusive club.

Heard on Eugene Mirman: Burger On A Sesame Seed Pun

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OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Let's go to your next game about people who got college degrees without having to study. Gabriela, what's something you got for free or something that you didn't have to work for?

GABRIELA LOMBA: So I was going to Borders when they were closing down - RIP Borders.

O. EISENBERG: Yeah.

LOMBA: And I was, you know, there was, like, this huge sale. It was, like, 80 percent off. And I was like, oh, I'm going to get this book that I've been wanting to buy. And, like, the book already had a discount on it. So when I went to go buy it, the person put, like, both discounts on it and she gave me 20 bucks back for the book.

(LAUGHTER)

LOMBA: She was like, I guess. Like, here's the book and 20 bucks. Have a good day.

O. EISENBERG: That's hilarious. And then you just ran with the book.

LOMBA: Yeah, yeah, I hope she didn't get in too much trouble.

O. EISENBERG: Jai, what's something you got for free or without working for it?

JAI NIMGAONKAR: This happened more in high school. But I discovered my dad had a pretty awesome collection of sweaters.

O. EISENBERG: Yeah.

NIMGAONKAR: So I just started wearing them. And...

(LAUGHTER)

NIMGAONKAR: ....They're like - they're definitely sweaters, like, my mom picked out for him. So he didn't especially miss them, and I really loved them so.

O. EISENBERG: Very good. Well, this is a trivia game called Easy Degrees. So if you become super famous, colleges will throw honorary degrees at you left and right. So we're going to play you a clip of a famous person accepting an honorary degree. You just need to buzz in and identify the celebrity. Gabriela, you won the last game, so if you win this, you're in the Final Round.

Jai, you need to win this or you're going to get an honorary degree in failure. OK, here we go. Brown gave this actor an honorary degree and may have jeopardized his bromance.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BEN AFFLECK: Among other things, today in terms of higher education, I passed Matt Damon.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

O. EISENBERG: Gabriela.

LOMBA: Ben Affleck.

O. EISENBERG: Yes, Ben Affleck is correct. Yeah, yeah, that's right. Brown gave him a Doctorate of Fine Arts, and he was just more concerned about Matt Damon. Yeah, that's right. Here's your next one. This Harvard dropout was once the richest man in the world, but he has issues that even Clippy couldn't solve.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BILL GATES: I'd been waiting more than 30 years to say this. Dad, I always told you I'd come back and get my degree.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

O. EISENBERG: Jai.

NIMGAONKAR: Bill Gates.

O. EISENBERG: Yeah, Bill Gates.

(APPLAUSE)

O. EISENBERG: The New School gave an honorary degree to this actor who was the first transgender person nominated for an acting Emmy.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

LAVERNE COX: I was thinking about going back to graduate school because maybe the acting thing was not going to work out for me. And then I got the call for the audition for a Netflix original series called "Orange Is The New Black." I think some of you might know it.

O. EISENBERG: Uh-oh, Puzzle Guru Art Chung, can you help them out?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

O. EISENBERG: Oh, Gabriela.

LOMBA: Laverne Cox.

O. EISENBERG: That is correct, yeah.

(APPLAUSE)

O. EISENBERG: This TV host got an honorary degree from - she'll tell you.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

OPRAH WINFREY: Oh, my goodness, I'm at Harvard.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

O. EISENBERG: Gabriela.

LOMBA: Oprah Winfrey...

O. EISENBERG: Oprah Winfrey is correct.

LOMBA: ...Just in case.

(APPLAUSE)

O. EISENBERG: In 2011, this late night host returned to Northwestern for redemption.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

STEPHEN COLBERT: Twenty-five years ago today, I did not actually graduate. When I went up to get my diploma and the dean handed me the folder, she leaned in and said, I'm sorry.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

O. EISENBERG: Jai.

NIMGAONKAR: Stephen Colbert.

O. EISENBERG: Yeah that's right.

(APPLAUSE)

O. EISENBERG: Actually, you know, for Stephen Colbert, by the way, he had an incomplete class that he wasn't aware of during the graduation ceremony. So he actually thought he was graduating.

JONATHAN COULTON: That's a little disappointing, a bit of a letdown.

O. EISENBERG: And then they just said, I'm sorry, and handed him the folder.

COULTON: Yeah.

ART CHUNG: They couldn't have told him that before he got (laughter)...

O. EISENBERG: I know, like, a day before. They couldn't have sent him, like, a sad face or something?

(LAUGHTER)

O. EISENBERG: OK, this is your last clue. This country music legend was honored by UT, Knoxville where she revealed the secrets to her success.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DOLLY PARTON: Wigs, tight clothes, push-up bras, high-heeled shoes - five-inch high-heeled shoes.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

O. EISENBERG: Gabriela.

LOMBA: Dolly Parton.

O. EISENBERG: That is Dolly Parton, that's right, giving career advice. Puzzle Guru Art Chung, how did our contestants do?

CHUNG: I'm afraid we have to say goodbye to Jai. Congratulations, Gabriela, you're moving on to the Final Round.

O. EISENBERG: Give it up for Jai, everybody.

(APPLAUSE)

O. EISENBERG: But it's settled. Our finalists are Charlotte and Gabriela, and they will face off in our Final Round at the end of the show. And if you've designed your own major called trivial studies, you belong with us. So go to amatickets.org to become a contestant and you can tell your parents it wasn't a waste after all.

Coming up, Eugene Mirman from "Bob's Burgers" gets grilled in our quiz kitchen with some medium-well burgers on a sesame seed pun. I'm Ophira Eisenberg, and you're listening to ASK ME ANOTHER from NPR. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.