Born To Run And Fail

Born To Run And Fail

12:15pm Apr 03, 2015

A rewritten Bruce Springsteen classic--growled to perfection by They Might Be Giants' John Flansburgh--recounts candidates who ran for President, and lost. "Champs like us, Joey we were born to run!"

Heard in Smooth Criminal

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Let's say hello to David Sibley and Fay Walker.


EISENBERG: So this game is called Born to Run and Fail.


EISENBERG: David, are you a Springsteen fan?

DAVID SIBLEY: I am not a huge Bruce Springsteen fan, unfortunately.

EISENBERG: Fine, it's fine.

JOHN FLANSBURGH, BYLINE: Thank you for playing our game.


EISENBERG: Fay, are you a Springsteen...

FAY WALKER: My dad exclusively cooks to Bruce Springsteen, so I hear a lot of it (laughter).

EISENBERG: Exclusively cooks to it?

WALKER: And, like, all yard work, all everything around the house to Bruce Springsteen, so, yeah (laughter).

EISENBERG: It's his get-stuff-done music.

WALKER: Yeah (laughter).

EISENBERG: All right, very interesting. OK. Well, as I said, this game is called Born to Run and Fail, and to lead it, let's welcome back John Flansburgh.


EISENBERG: John, do you want to share a failure story with us?

FLANSBURGH: You know, my life is an unbroken chain (laughter) of failures. It's a - no, we've - I've seen a dozen faces, and I've rocked them all. But - so this game is called Born to Run and Fail. We can't all be winners. Look at Bruce Springsteen. On the cover of Time and Newsweek, millions of albums sold, got to share a mic with Al Jarreau on "We Are The World," but he never had a No. 1 song, ladies and gentlemen.


FLANSBURGH: So to throw the boss a bone, we have rewritten the lyrics to "Born To Run" to be about famous people who have run for president and lost. So, Ophira, why don't you explain the rules from here?

EISENBERG: So you're just going to ring in when you know which presidential loser John is singing about. He'll sing. He'll clue you in. You'll be like, aha, ring in. And the winner will move onto our Ask Me One More final round at the end of the show.

FLANSBURGH: (Singing) In the past, I sweated out as VP and created an American boom. Seemed right to ride this wave of achievement, and so I shot for the moon, got momentum in my Poucho, my Internet invention and Medicare lockbox in tow. Oh, Lieberman, this vote count gives us Florida back. It's a quick add. What the hell is a chad? Why won't they tell me that I've won? 'Cause champs like us, Joey, we were born to run.



WALKER: Al Gore.

EISENBERG: Al Gore is correct.


EISENBERG: Fay, I could see you got a little bit worried when we we're giving the instructions for the game, but then you were, like, yeah, no, it's right?

WALKER: The words started and (laughter)...

EISENBERG: You were all OK. Yeah, you were all OK. Al Gore sounds like a bad cocktail chatter - I believe with him. Don't want to talk to him at a cocktail party.

ART CHUNG, BYLINE: He seems a little stiff.

EISENBERG: No, it'd be like so you lost the presidential campaign, what else is going on? Oh, the planet's dying. Oh, yeah, all right.


CHUNG: Have another drink. You know, he just keeps drinking.

EISENBERG: It's like uh (ph) (laughter).

FLANSBURGH: We're all going to die.

(Singing) Sarah, please don't wait. Please be my running mate. I'm going to take you to the masses, distract the folks from their old-man jokes and make them see past your glasses. Only mavericks can arouse this bass. You'll get to the top or maybe you'll never come back.


WALKER: John McCain.

EISENBERG: Fay, that is right.


EISENBERG: David is clicking in, but not getting through.

SIBLEY: I am - I do not have catlike reflexes, evidently.

EISENBERG: Oh, no, you're going to be just fine. It's all - the buzzers are its own little thing. But I could tell that you knew that. You were like, uh (ph) I want to say this 'cause I love Tina Fey.


FLANSBURGH: (Singing) Oh, does it seem like they don't think I'm strong? 'Cause, Kitty...


FLANSBURGH: That rehearsal's really paying off. My respect for the boss is growing by this moment.


FLANSBURGH: (Singing) Oh, does it seem like they don't think I'm strong? 'Cause, Kitty, I got to show them they're all wrong. I'm going to ride around in this tank, going to wear a big helmet. I got my PR guys to thank.



SIBLEY: Michael Dukakis.



FLANSBURGH: Well done. This even has a bridge.


FLANSBURGH: (Singing) Beyond the parties and their tire tropes, I'll ride to the winning with ease, communicate in folksy texts and, like, can I finish please? Independent peers never had these ears, oh, the billions I can spend to gain ground. I want to chat with Larry King on his show tonight about the giant sucking sound.



SIBLEY: Ross Perot.



FLANSBURGH: (Singing) One, two, three, four. The highway's jammed with crappy cars that are unsafe at any speed. Well, everybody knows I'm their advocate, so why not let me lead? Progressive Party's putting me in contention. I won't draw attention away from your pretty Al Gore.



SIBLEY: Ralph Nader.

EISENBERG: Ralph Nader.


EISENBERG: That guy always looked like he just, like, moved a couch up a flight of stairs or something...


EISENBERG: ...Right? Are you ready for your last clue, Springsteen?


CHUNG: I like how you say it to him, but not to them (laughter).

EISENBERG: Oh, yeah. Are you ready for your last clue, contestants?


FLANSBURGH: (Singing) Oh, right now, folks, we must advance. We got to disregard race, with a reverend you won't know, and my felonious son. Well, if I can't win, baby, I'll just run again. Come on, junior, if I can't win, baby, I'll just run again.


WALKER: Nixon?

EISENBERG: No, I'm sorry that is not correct - not what we're looking for.

FLANSBURGH: Felonious son.

SIBLEY: Jesse Jackson.

EISENBERG: Jesse Jackson is the correct answer.


EISENBERG: Puzzle guru Art Chung, how did our contestants do?

CHUNG: They did amazing. I think we destroyed John's voice though. But, David, congratulations. You are moving on to our final round.


EISENBERG: How about a hand for the new boss, John Flansburgh?

(APPLAUSE) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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