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NPR Arts & Life

Random Questions With: John Flansburgh

John Flansburgh, our Puzzle Giant.
John Flansburgh, our Puzzle Giant.

John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants is a Grammy Award-winning musician. He's also had his share of unusual jobs, including removing staples from medical documents and counting people on trains. Find out which jobs he left and which he got fired from in a game all about our Puzzle Giant.

Interview Highlights

On the TV theme song that almost was

[They Might Be Giants was] hired to write a theme song for America's Most Wanted, and they fired us! We had won a Grammy for the theme for the FOX show Malcolm In The Middle. The people at FOX, evidently the speed dial on their phone only holds one number. We're versatile, but not versatile enough.

On former odd jobs he has held

I worked for [the New York commuter rail] Metro North, counting people. I worked up and down the Metro North lines, and in Grand Central Station before it got nice. I removed staples from medical documents for a month. It was exactly as good as that sounds. And I worked for Random House for a while, and one of the jobs I was told I could never talk about in a public forum was touching up artwork on Dr. Seuss drawings.

(Is that the first time he's saying this out loud?!)


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