During Ask Roulette, strangers ask each other any question they want, big or small, in front of a live audience. Questions are serious or silly, and answers are short or long. Over the course of the evening, you'll get unexpected connections, surprising anecdotes, and honest conversation. You'll also laugh. You can also just watch - not everyone has to come on stage.
Here's how it works. On stage are two chairs, separated by a divider. The audience can see both chairs, and the people on stage can see the audience -- but the people on stage can't see each other. Participants are selected one at a time from questions submitted in advance. When your name is called, come on stage and sit in the empty seat. The previous participant will ask you their question. Once you've answered, the next participant will come on stage and you'll ask them your question. Your host will occasionally jump in to ask follow-up questions or move the evening along. If you're on stage, you'll be asked to close your eyes as the next participant is selected and takes his/her seat. It's this anonymity -- not knowing who you're posing your question to - that's at the heart of the experience.
Okay, that was long. But, point is: it's fun.
Jody Avirgan is the the host of Ask Roulette. He is a producer at WNYC Radio, where the Ask Roulette model was first tested out on the Brian Lehrer Show. Jody lives in Brooklyn and likes questions more than answers.
Eli Bolin is the "house band" for Ask Roulette. Eli is a composer for Sesame Street and musical director for the Story Pirates.
Mitra Kaboli helps edit the Ask Roulette podcast. She's a breakfast enthusiast and freelance audio engineer working for New York Public Radio, DCTV and various other projects. She is also one of the Executive Producers of the podcast Audio Smut, which you should listen to.
What makes a good question for Ask Roulette? Some thoughts here.
Past special guests include: Chris Gethard, Robert Krulwich (Radiolab), Pat Kiernan (NY1), Edith Zimmerman (The Awl), David Carr (NYT), Brooke Gladstone (On the Media), Kurt Braunohler, Maria Popova (Brainpicker), Starlee Kine (This American Life), AJ Jacobs (Esquire), Baratunde Thurston (How to Be Black), Kurt Andersen (Studio 360), Dave Hill (Tasteful Nudes), Lizzie Widdicombe (The New Yorker), and more!
Who's got love for Ask Roulette? Ask Roulette has recieved Editor's Pick listings in The New York Times, Time Out, New York Magazine, Daily News, and more. The podcast is featured in The Onion's AV Club and was names of of the "Best NY Podcasts" by the New York Observer.