Nevermind Watchdown: S28E10, or We Happen to Know that it’s Multiple Choice..

Now for another Buzzcocks, this one being the third-to-last in the series, and a return appearance for Kym Marsh from Hear’Say, a debut for the wonderfully dour Romesh Ranganathan, plus appearances from Charlie and Jake from Rixton, and Van McCann, lead singer of ‘Soundcheck’ rockers Catfish and the Bottlemen. That’s a cool enough panel, I’d say.

(FYI- I’m not sure which one’s Jake and which one’s Charlie, because unlike Daphne & Celeste, and unlike Rizzle Kicks, I can’t really be bothered to tell them apart.)

Charlie, setting up a story: “We were in this very small studio, VERY SMALL-”
Noel: “How small?”
Jake: “…bout the size of this room.”
Noel: “…sure it wasn’t a cupboard?”

Rhod: “I, and this may surprise a few people, I am a massive fan of Coronation street.”
Van: “Yeah, I’m a massive corry fan m’self.”
Rhod: ‘Alright, let’s have a Corry-off.”

Rhod, to Van: “Do you agree, as a fellow Corry fan, do you agree…that Kym’s character…is a MISERABLE SHIT…”
Kym even laughs this one off.

Rhod even says that he was gonna do a montage of all the ‘Kym being miserable’ moments on Coronation Street, but they wanted too much money, so he does the entire montage himself, just yelling ‘OHHHH GOD’ and stuff in different voices.
Rhod: “OHHHH GOD, OHHHH GOD, STEEEEEVE, OHHHH GOD- And I’m only in January of this year- OHHHHH GOD…”

There’s a great little moment where Rhod mentions that Van tried to get a demo tape to Serge from Kasabian, and Van motions to Noel and goes “it’s his best mate, so gotta be careful…”

Van: “We went to a…man, what’d’you call where you buy a generator from, you know-”
Rhod: ‘A shop?”

This week brings back the Rhod-infused ‘it wasn’t me’ clip, culminating in ‘IT WASN’T BLUDDY ME, ALRIGHT??”

And, as usual, one of Rhod’s offhand accusations gets me: “Did Steppenwolf disband after they accidentally stepped on a wolf?”

Romesh admits that he looks like a photo-negative version of Phill. Man, if Nish Kumar said something like that, the comments section would crucify him.

Rhod, after a Romesh anecdote: “You know what I just remembered?…you got some options, it’s multiple choice..”
Yeah, another mistake from Rhod, but it’s done in such a characteristic way that I can’t really stay mad at him.

Rhod: “Let me just bring in the other team here. Don’t give away the answer, if you know it…”
Noel, dumbfounded: “…well then what are we supposed to do, then??Just stare at you?”
Rhod: “I just wanted you to be a part of the quiz!”
Noel: “What, do we hold up thought bubbles?”

Rhod asks his question for Noel’s team.
Noel, after a beat: “…we happen to know that it’s multiple choice…”

One thing I’ve noticed about this episode is that it’s much less structured and more out-of-sorts than the rest of the show, just sort of going off the rails at any point, and not even in a particularly fun way.

Jake, on Bono’s shoes: “Yeah, I remember hearing about this one. He fell off the stage, that gig…he went too close to the Edge…”
The audience groans. Jake playfully tells them to fuck off.
Jake: “…thank you very much, thanks for coming out…”
Rhod: “This is why we brought two of them, so one of them could leave after a joke like that…”

Rhod, as Romesh started as a misguided rapper, says that all of Phill and Rixton’s will be rap tunes,
Phill, immediately: ‘I don’t know this one at all, so you two can crack on…”
Romesh, as Phill leaves: “Are you really doing this?”
Phill: “What’s the point of having two extras if I can’t nip off?”
Noel: “Look at them two, home alone…”

As Rhod, once again this series, refuses a point for Romesh due to specificity.
Phill: “You don’t want to get on the wrong side of MC Ranga!”
Romesh: “…yeah, I will BANGA!”
Rhod: “…not sure who the victim is in that…”

Romesh: “…is it Wild Thing by Tone Loc?”
Rhod: “…it is-”
Romesh: “IF YOU GO TO THE OTHER SIDE, MATE, I WILL LOSE MY SHIT!”

Rhod, on Noel and Van’s first intro: “…it sounds like a Welsh blacksmith singing along to ‘Fanfare for the Common Man’…”

Romesh, on the Little Mix track: “That sounds a bit dark and heavy though…”
Phill: “Just now when you said the words ‘Dark and Heavy’, I thought that was the name of our cop show…”

Noel and Van’s Mamma Mia intro is so iconic that the entire panel comes in on Van’s cue. It’s a pretty nice intro, too.
Plus, Kym nails the first lyric of the song, and Phill keeps the intro going. It’s a really sweet moment.

Screen Shot 2017-07-21 at 10.59.26 PM.png“#3, Push-kin comes to shove-skin”
There’s a nice 10 seconds of Noel’s team laughing at this guy’s appearance.

Romesh’s stare down, and subsequent freestyle rapping, of the ID Parade gets some points for being funnier IMO than any of Paul Foot’s.

Overall: A noticeably weaker installment, awkwardly done thanks to some botched presenting from Rhod tonight. There had been some things that weren’t really problems before, but tonight his strict scoring and lax hosting impeded what could have been a fun show. The panel was nice, with Romesh having the standout night, and the other three doing merely alright. But there was just so much that didn’t work tonight, which is sad, because I don’t want this series to end on a bad skid of shows.

Best Regular: Phill
Best Guest: Romesh
Best Runner: OHHHH STEEEVE….

Nevermind Watchdown: S28E09, or It’s That Kind of Quick Thinking That Got Me This Job!

FOUR. EPISODES. LEFT.

AUGH.

This one’s allegedly a weird one, and from the lineup I can sorta tell why. Yes, Rob “What were you doing looking at my dad?” Beckett is here, but we also have Charli XCX, who’s collaborated with Iggy Azalea and did an SNL gig a few years ago (with Martin Freeman). And we have Phil Daniels…who played the lead in the Quadrophenia movie, and did the spoken part on Blur’s Parklife song? This is a ‘bottom of the barrel’ choice that could be good, like John Cooper Clarke, or just weird. Also, we have cellist Grace Chatto, from Clean Bandit. So quality is all over the place tonight.

Charli says she’s really nervous. Phill says that a good way to relieve the tension would be to lick Noel’s face.
Charlie: “Aw, gosh, my dad’s in the audience…”
Noel: “It’s alright, he licked me earlier tonight…”

Grace: “I didn’t even invite my dad…”
Phil: “My dad would be here…but he’s dead.”
Rhod, working an insane tonal shift: “…RIGHT, PARTY ON, DUDES!”

Grace: “I actually spent an amazing night with [Craig David]-”
Phill: “Oooh, hello!”
Rob: “Normally, he gives you a week, not a night.”
Rhod: “What night was it? Was it…”
David clip: “MOOOONDAY.”

Grace talks about Craig performing their song…to them.
Grace: “When it was over, Neil, our violinist, said it was the greatest moment of his entire life.”
Rob: “…what else has Neil done with his life?”

The whole panel’s making fun of Craig’s entirely white house.
Rob: “If the microphone’s white, how did he know where it was?”
Phill: “He got attacked by a polar bear the other day, did you not hear about this?”
Noel: “Are you sure this HAPPENED? You sure you weren’t looking at a Craig David coloring book?”

Rhod: “I challenge you all to not think of another ‘white house’ joke….let’s all just sit here until another one comes…then we’ll take out this gap and look really witty…”
Noel, finally: “…did he come in on a white horse, naked, so it looked like he was just floating?”
Rhod:
Screen Shot 2017-07-14 at 9.57.41 PM.png

Rhod: “…by the time we take that gap out, that is gonna look ELECTRIC.”

Rob, trying to guess the 7 Days artist: “Is it a music person?”
Rhod: “It is…welcome to the show…”

Rhod’s positioned in front of the Mariah Carey photo
Rob: “…looks like you’re head’s getting squeezed into her boobs.”
Rhod: [reaches for her boobs]
[Bongo noise plays in]

For a bonus point, Rhod offers up another question.
Rob: “D’we buzz, or do we just…?”
Rhod: “You don’t buzz, because ya haven’t got anything to buzz with…”
Phill: “We’ve got a redundant button here, and I’m quite enjoying it…”
Rhod: “Alright, then, fingers on buzzers. No sound comes out, but I’ll try and LOOK.”
Screen Shot 2017-07-14 at 10.04.51 PM

Rob prefaces the intros round by saying he’s gonna be shit at this.
Rhod: “If you get any of these right, Rob, I will make available to you…any sexual favor you want, FROM ME.”
Phill: “…I am not entirely sure that is an incentive.”

Rhod: “I am yours for the night, if you get this.”
Rob, to Phill and Grace: “Is it hard?”
Rhod: “…not yet.”

Rob’s not getting the first intro, which is done pretty well by Grace and Phill, and Rob’s just passing off.
Rhod eventually comes over and whispers: “…you have to pretend this is a big deal, because it’s Grace’s bloody song.”

Phill, on Noel and Charli getting up for Intros: “Oh, it’s like the bit at the end of the Jungle Book where Mowgli’s with Shere Khan.”
Screen Shot 2017-07-14 at 10.13.03 PM.png

Noel, taking this a step further: “You sit there, I’ll stand over here, so it’ll be like Life of Pi..”

Phil, guessing randomly for Intros: “Turning Japanese!”
Noel: “…that is a better song…”

Phil, on the Say You’ll be there intro: “I’ll Give You Everything, Spice Girls.”
Charli raises her hands in the air triumphantly, and the audience applauds.
Rhod, standing up: “NO NO NO NO NO NO…”
Even Grace is going ‘THAT IS NOT WHAT IT’S CALLED!”

A huge scuffle breaks out, with Grace yelling at Charli, Charli yelling at Rhod, Rhod yelling at Grace AND Charli, Phill yelling at everyone, and Rob yelling ‘I DON’T KNOW WHAT’S HAPPENING!’

Rhod decides to let Grace, an unabashed Spice Girls fan, do the intro with Noel and Charli. It leads to a great moment, where all three are doing a nice intro, and Phil…without any real options, just gets up and starts going ‘BONG BONG BONG BONG…’

ID Parade, Noel: “Well, Phil’s getting strong vibes off of #5.”
Rhod: “Oh, really? What kind of vibes you getting, Phil?”
Phil: “…strong ones.”

Noel: “I feel like #1’s got the boy band…nose.”
Rhod: “The challenge is not to build one band member out of everyone else’s face.”

Rhod…tells us a story, that’s 100% true.
Rhod: “We’d booked the drummer from Bad Manners…but he got the wrong day…we’ve got no lineup for you this week.
However, Rhod is able to pluck someone out of the audience who’s been in a band, and concocts an ID Parade out of absolutely NOTHING. It’s absolutely fantastic.

Hell, Rhod even invites CHARLI’S DAD, who’s still in the audience, to be a part of the lineup. This is fantastic!

Then, once he gets all 6 set up, Rhod realizes- ‘OH, I’VE GOT TO WRITE THE ‘IS IT #1, #2’, THAT SHIT!” So he races back to his desk. Meanwhile, Phill’s team is still blindfolded.
Noel: “Phill, you look like a ninja turtle…”

And then…Rhod, one last time, asks the guy what the name of the band was.
Phill, with his glasses over his blindfold: “IT’S NUMBER FOUR!”
And…they switch numbers.

And then, Rhod starts announcing the numbers…and Phill’s team is still blindfolded. So Rhod just breaks, looks at the camera, and motions for them to take off the blindfolds. This was a hot mess to film, but it’s a FUN hot mess.

Now, Rhod has to completely improvise the ID Parade intros
#1; Dr. Zero
#2: “Dr….BEARD. IT’S THAT KIND OF QUICK THINKING THAT GOT ME THIS JOB!”

Phill: ‘When were they active? Normally they give us a time-period.”
Rhod: “…it’s very difficult to ask them now, to be honest.”

Phill just guesses 2.
Phil, who’s SEEN THEM: ‘CAN WE HAVE A GO?”
Rhod: “SHUT UP!”

After Charli’s literally screamed 3 straight next lines.
Phill, a la Comic Book Guy: ‘SHOUTIEST…CONTESTANT…EVER.”

Overall: Not to the high caliber of the season, and generally kind of boilerplate for most of the show, with some exceptions. But that ID Parade round was the right kind of insane.  Yes, Phil and Rob had some nice moments, yes the Intros kerfuffle was great to watch, but it was a strangely edited show that had one takeaway, the ID Parade, that the rest of the show couldn’t match up to. The editing on the panelists wasn’t great, even if Charli was having a phenomenal time, and Grace was in a great mood. It was a flawed show, but not near enough to bring Series 28 down.

Best Regular: Rhod
Best Guest: Charli
Best Runner: Craig David’s extremely white house.

Nevermind Watchdown: S28E08 or GIVE BRITAIN WHAT THEY WANT, LOYD!

I blink and we’ve got 5 Never Mind the Buzzcocks episodes to go until the end. I feel like I’m enjoying the Rhod Gilbert series too quickly. Ah, well, onto another one.

Tonight on the panel, we’ve got long-awaited returns from former Busted member and current posh person Charlie Simpson, Canadian comedian and utter goddess Katherine Ryan, NOEL’S WIFE Paloma Faith, and a first appearance from TV personality and gastronome Loyd Grossman.

Okay, first of all…Loyd’s accent is confusing me. It’s this incredibly weird amalgamation between a British accent and an American accent. It’s not even like John Barrowman’s or Brian Molko’s, where one accent sort of won over and banished the other one to the shadow realm or something. Loyd is trying to make both his American accent and his acquired British accent work at the same time. Dear lord.

Loyd talks about the crowd at Glastonbury chanting ‘WE LOVE LOYD’S TESTICLES’ to the tune of some aria.
Noel: “…d’you have to produce them at that point?”

Paloma talks about doing a gig with Prince, and him inviting her back to his hotel for ‘lemon drizzle cake’
Katherine: “Was he giving you any flirty vibes?”
Paloma: “Oh, not even remotely…”
Charlie, being Charlie: “…was it good lemon drizzle cake?”

This new round involves an entire panel putting on a bizarre article of clothing, and matching it with an artist, which leads to this visual:
Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 9.54.57 PM.png

Phill: “There is nothing here that I haven’t seen in Fielding’s wardrobe…”

Paloma: “Are they all separate, or are they one act?”
Rhod: “no, they’re all separate artistes-”
Phill: “No, we are…ONE BAND. One unforgettable band…we open for Loyd Grossman every year…”

Phill, for his article, guesses “Kenny Rogers having’ a nervous breakdown…”

Rhod asks what happened to Prince on the set of his 1999 music video.
Phill, without options: “…he was crushed by a hamster.”

Noel has an amazing, early-QI-esque point: “If a smoke machine gives you diarrhea, does it come out like a blizzard?”
After the strained, winced response, Noel goes: “…that’s a proper joke from ME. I can LEAVE now, probably…”

On Prince’s lips getting stuck in his guitar.
Katherine: “Hey, stranger things have happened. One time Beyonce’s weave got stuck in a fan onstage, and what did she do? She kept on singing.”
Phill: “And that fan’s name…was Barry.”
Noel: “And in court, when the judge said ‘and did you bite at Beyonce’, the fan went:
Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 10.07.41 PM.pngScreen Shot 2017-07-10 at 10.07.48 PM.png
Rhod: “THAT’S TWO! TWO PROPER JOKES!”
Noel: “I’M GOING!”

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 10.11.23 PM.pngPaloma, feeling up her Gaga balls, goes, as she comes up, “I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts…”

Loyd, with his cool whip bra, tops a cake for Rhod, though the stunt doesn’t go as planned, as Rhod walks away, going ‘it’s actually become rather offensive.”
THEN, Phill just walks over, going ‘feed me Loyd.”
Loyd, ever the gastronome, is refusing, saying it’s horrible for him, but Phill just keeps insisting.
Paloma: “GIVE BRITAIN WHAT THEY WANT, LOYD!”

Rhod, as Phill sits on Noel’s lap to catch whip cream from Loyd Grossman’s bra: “I promise you, it won’t get any weirder than that this series…I promise you, this is the benchmark for weirdness.”

Phill, of course, takes a mouthful…and then Noel chimes in with ‘LOYD’S MILKSHAKE BRINGS ALL THE BOYS TO THE YARD…”

And then, Noel chucks a piece of lemon drizzle cake across the room, and just as Phill goes to grab it, Charlie…again, being Charlie, stuffs it in his mouth.
Charlie, not at all aware: “oh, sorry mate.”
Phill: “There are MANY PEOPLE on British television you can do that with…but when there’s cake coming at me at 120 miles an hour… That’s the first time I’ve ever been cake-blocked.”

Rhod, being an insanely harsh judge, deducts a point from Paloma’s team for getting a Gaga bauble into the lemon drizzle cake. The audience, spurned on by Loyd, boos this.

Noel: “That’s the kind of thing your teacher does at school, and then all the kids whisper ‘I think his wife’s left him!’

Rhod gives Charlie, being a multi-instrumentalist, a bunch of contraptions combining instruments, and lets them do intros with them. This seems like a shitty idea, but the intro Phill and Charlie do for Jay-Z’s ‘N-Words in Paris’ makes up for it.

Thanks to the top-heavy (no pun intended, Loyd) edit, we only see this first intro from Phill and Charlie, but dare I say that it was worth it.

Paloma, after reading the first intro, in a plummy voice: “…We have our fingers WELL AND TRULY on the pulse here, LET ME TELL YOU…”
Phill just doubles over laughing at that.

Yeah, thanks to the edit, both teams only get one intro. Odd, but…thanks to the quality of the episode, I’m not worried.

For Jive Bunny, Rhod threw in some pun options, like ‘#2, Chive Bunny’ and ‘#4, Live Bunny’, which is, in fact, an actual rabbit.

ID Parade:
Loyd: “I rather fancy #5, actually.”
Phill, background: ‘hello…”
Rhod: “Yeah, well there’s no time for that.”

#3, drive-by bunny.
Noel: “3’s just sort of drifted off…staring at the audience.”
Rhod: “That’s because he’s carrying a fully-weighted car door…”

Paloma: “#2 has these new converse on that he’s worn specifically for the show.”
Rhod: “Listen, the ‘look at shoes’ is quite a useful thing in a normal lineup. When all of them have got rabbit heads on…I’d say you’re looking in the wrong area.”
Loyd: “Can we see what shoes the rabbit is wearing?”
Rhod, after a sigh: “…CAN WE HAVE A LOOK AT THE RABBIT’S SHOES?”
Noel: “Better not be DMs…”
Paloma, taking a look: “AWWW…UGGS!”

Noel, making a final decision: “It’s #4.”
Paloma, hugging Noel: “I LOVE YOU FOR THAT!”

It’s great- Rhod announces who the real Jive Bunny is, Noel goes over and shakes his hand…and then goes over to pet the rabbit.

Phill, knowing his panel, ID Parade: “UK Garage…Charlie?”
Charlie, the posh guy: “….”

Next Lines: “There’s a she-wolf in the closet.”
Phill: “…AND SHE WANTS…WOLF-SEX.”

Phill gets pissed at Rhod for yet another visual clue (this one being Eye of the Tiger), so he goes “I’m with Paloma, now. In fact…I’M GONNA HELP THEM.” And he goes over to Noel’s side for the round.

Rhod’s visual Next Line for Noel’s side is a lot better, as he gets a LIVE dog dressed in camouflage, for ‘Dogs of War’…and then throws a bunch of red hearts on him for ‘Hounds of Love’. Plus, it’s Rhod Gilbert with a dog, which adds to the already-high adorable factor of this episode.

Plus, after a while, the dog messes up Rhod’s Next Line cards, so Katherine comes over and starts handing some to him. To quote Phill on the post-Moyles show, ‘everyone’s so NICE…ON THIS SHOW…”

Plus, Rhod reveals that the dog from Next Lines was actually his dog Rosie, which makes this whole thing even cuter.

Rhod, motioning under the table: “Charlie, could you get this sponge away?”
Phill: “NO, DON’T LET *HIM* NEAR IT!”

Overall: Another show where everything just fit together, but also the single most adorable Buzzcocks in history. On the same show, you have such adorable items as Charlie Simpson eating lemon drizzle cake, Loyd Grossman being Loyd Grossman, Noel Fielding petting a rabbit, Paloma Faith…existing, Rhod bringing his dog out, and everyone banding together for a really fun Next Lines. Everyone had great material, everyone had great lines. The best show probably belonged to Paloma, because she’s always so amazing whenever she’s on. Just another amazingly feel-good show.

Best Regular: Phill
Best Guest: Paloma
Best Runner: Charlie and the cake.

Nevermind Watchdown: S28E07, or I JUST GOT THAT!

Onto yet another Series 28 Buzzcocks. This series is making a case for one of the best full-season showings in the show’s history, going up against Series’ 4, 5 and 20. How the hell is this happening at the very end of the run?

They managed to put together some more really nice panelists, too- Lethal Bizzle, who was really game the last time he was on, Sarah Millican, who’s always fun, Michael Ball, now sporting a goatee, who knocked two episodes out of the park, and Gemma Cairney, representing Buzzcocks’ occasional inclination to just have a TV presenter and DJ on every once in a while.

You can tell this is gonna be a fun one when Rhod cracks up literally as he’s doing his opening standup. He’s already kinda gone, and nothing’s happened yet.

This week’s Rhod-improved round clip is “Workin'” “NINE” “to 5…”
Rhod, afterwards: “…that was that…”
and then he breaks. Again.

Among his pre-round suggestions are ‘Do Steps now come ’round and help old people get into swimming pools? Did Hall and Oates later develop a cereal for people too busy to eat in the kitchen?”

One of the options for ‘What is Vanilla Ice doing now’ is that he’s become a motivational speaker, who’s even done a TED talk, entitled ‘Stop, Collaborate and Listen’.
Michael: “…I just got that…”
Rhod: “You don’t need to tell us when you get it, just laugh…”

Rhod, to Michael: “Have you got chandeliers in your house?”
Phill, who KNOWS the guy: “HE’S GOT CHANDELIERS IN HIS *CAR!*”
Rhod: “He’s got chandeliers in his underpants!”
Phill, taking the easy joke: “Yeah, plenty of ball room…”
Michael, post-applause: “..OH! I JUST GOT THAT!”

Michael reveals that all of his characters have to smell a certain way.
Sarah: “Have any of your characters ever smelt of fart?”
Michael: “Well-”
Phill: “That was a very memorable Les Miserables…”

Gemma: “I went to a panto once, and the Cinderella let out a fart that everybody could hear.”
Rhod, taking the one good panto joke: “Did you yell ‘IT’S BEHIND YOU’?”

Rhod, after the fart digression: “…I’m not sure if you’ve remember that we’re on television, sorry…”
Michael, breaking, to Noel: “I can’t believe I’ve just done that!”
Rhod, trying, rightfully, to get the game back on track: “What do we think about Vanilla Ice?”
Michael: “Aw, who cares?”
Rhod, under applause: “‘Who cares, let’s have a farting competition!”

There’s a great moment where Phill keeps trying to get Sarah to do ‘both parts’ of the Dion/Streisand song, by singing one of the parts. Phill gets a lyric wrong…then Sarah gives him the right lyric…then MICHAEL gives them BOTH the correct one. It’s hysterical.
Michael: “If you’re gonna do musical theatre, GET IT RIGHT!”
Rhod: “Oh, look at that, Michael Ball is turning in his live grave…”

Lethal, deliberating the Public Enemy question: “I dunno, mate, I’m stuck between the monks and the ostrich…”
Phill: “And we’ve all been THERE…”

Rhod, opens up, for a bonus point, and asks what everyone on the panel did before becoming famous.
Phill: “…Michael Ball used to kill people for the Corleones..”
Michael: “DAMN!”
Phill: “I’ve said too much…”
Rhod: “His weapon of choice…the bum-trumpet.”

One of the options is that somebody did erotic fiction
Phill: “I can imagine Millican doing that. ‘OOH, AND THEN HE ‘ELD EM…WITH ‘IS BEEG….MEATY HANDS….and he…TOOK ME OUT FER OUR SUPPAH…”
And then Phill AND Sarah absolutely break. My gosh.
Sarah: “…You’re right, all of my eroticism was based on food…”
Noel: ‘Every word in Geordie sounds funny. ‘POOUULSAAATIN'”

And then Phill AND Noel start attacking Rhod while still using the Sarah Millican erotic voice. AND THEN…THEY START BEATING DOWN ON RHOD’S BALL-BONGOS!

I’ll say that the bongos subscribe to the law of diminishing returns, but it’s still pretty damned funny whenever they’re rolled out.

AND THEN…Rhod gets everybody to read excerpts of the steamy adult fiction. Gemma’s given a very funny passage. Michael, complete with reading glasses, tries reading his without cracking up, but Phill just starts licking his ear. Michael, whilst reading, just side-eyes Phill, to make sure this is all really happening.

Lethal, reading his: “She ran her hands up and down his shaft.”
Phill, taking this the wrong way: “SHAFT!”

And then, as they hand the book off to Sarah, Phill goes ‘this is the one we’ve all been waiting for…”

Sarah: “…Clive…”
The whole room breaks EVEN HERE. DEAR GOD.
Sarah: “I’VE ONLY SAID ONE WORD.”

Lethal says that working in the file factory gave him a phobia of Sophie Ellis Bextor.
Rhod, with the button in hand: “And if he hears her music one more time, he’ll kill himself.”
They’ve pulled back. We all know what’s about to happen.
[music plays in]
Lethal: “….TURNITOOOOOOOOFFF!”

Lethal and Phill’s intro combo is really nice, and they do a really good version of Easy Lover by Phil Collins. Again, Lethal’s just really happy to be here, and just throws himself headfirst into everything.

Phill, on Michael and Noel getting up for intros: ‘LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, KENNY ROGERS AND ALICE COOPER…”
Both of them die laughing at this one. Phill’s having a career show
And then Michael leads Noel in a brief rendition of ‘Islands in the Stream’

And then, of course, Noel and Michael are great at intros. I would have preferred pairing him with Phill again, but he works well enough with Noel that it’s not a problem.

We have the THIRD CONSECUTIVE GARLICKING in ID Parade. Big Ben Ofoedu, from Phats and Small, who was on a bunch of times, is in the lineup tonight. Just like last time, Noel’s team has to locate him solely on his voice.

Gemma seems to think it’s #3, when..it’s pretty obvious that it’s 4. Gemma even says she wants 3 on her show every day, but when #4 pops out, Gemma just drops.

Rhod, to the real Buddy Ascott: “You’ve played with the Clash, the Buzzcocks, Ronnie Wood.”
Buddy: “Yeah…not all the same night, but…”

Instead of Next Lines (!!!!!!!), Rhod intros a ‘DENCH NEW ROUND’ called Brand or Band, where the panel has to determine whether a name is of a band or a brand. Seems fine enough.

I don’t think this round worked as well as Rhod wanted, as they barely got any in due to time. Other than lamp shading that Pork Queen is Sarah Millican’s nickname, not a ton happened.

Overall: Another truly strong Buzzcocks, possibly better than the last two. It helped that the ‘jobs’ round got everyone out of control, and led to Sarah Millican (and everyone) reading adult lit, but Gemma and Lethal had some really nice moments, Sarah was herself, and Michael Ball possibly had a show better than his last two. The slight deviations from format worked, and it was just a very loose, very fun show.

Best Regular: Phill
Best Guest: Michael
Best Runner: Michael farting.

Nevermind Watchdown: S28E06, or ‘There You Go, End With Some Dignity’

Onto another fun-filled Rhod Buzzcocks. This one features Lisa Stansfield, who hasn’t been on since the pregnant Claudia Winkleman episode, funny Irish lady and panel show staple Aisling Bea, a return for Scissor Sister and unexpected panel dominator ANA MATRONIC, and a return for effetely funny friend of Tony Blackburn Joe Lycett. That’s a very, very nice panel.

Rhod: “And we start the show this week with the IDENTITY PARADE??”
Phill: ‘WHAT? GILBERT, YOU’RE MAD WITH POWER!”

This is an insane ID Parade twist- the guest for Phill’s is Dane Bowers- he’s been on a billion times. But the trick is that they need to figure out solely from the singing voice which one is Dane. That’s pretty interesting.

It’s amusing as hell hearing the ones who can’t even sing. #2 makes Lisa cringe a bit. #4 sounds downright demonic, and is just ridiculous from the start.
Ana: “Definitely #4…”

Screen Shot 2017-07-02 at 11.23.40 PM.pngAisling: “They look a bit like the Village People, and then their mad friend at the end…”

Aisling, with the help of Joe, gets them all to do the ‘YMCA’, except for 2, who just looks around, bewildered.
Phill: “No, #2 is the ALL-SEEING EYE OF SARUMAN…”

Lisa, as opposed to her usual somber mood, goes over to #4, being over like he’s on the loo, and draws a little poo underneath him. Time really helps her smooth out, I guess..

It’s amusing as hell, because Aisling wants them all to sing other things, but all they can sing is ‘I WANNA GET FREAKY WITH YOU’. Heck, Rhod asks #4 to do it again, and he cracks up halfway through.

And once Dane breaks through the silhouette, Noel goes over and takes his spiky helmet, saying ‘I’m having this’.
Aisling: “Aw, if he’s getting’ the hat, can I have the angel wings?”
Noel, as Joe runs over: “Joe, leave the trousers on him…”

Rhod asks if Dane’s still touring.
Dane: “Yeah, still touring, DJing…otherwise just showing up on TV dressed as a bellend…”

And NOEL’S ID Parade has the second Garlicking in a row, this one also coming from the early days of Buzzcocks: Ashley Slater from Freak Power, who was literally on Episode 2 of the show, and did an insanely good rendition of Blue Monday with Phill, is on the ID Parade, and he’s obviously #2.

Once Rhod talks to him afterwards, he shows a ton of the laid back, droll, ironic humor he showed back in S1. Obviously times are a bit tougher, though.

Joe does a really nice impression of the X-Factor announcer…prompting Ana to wonder who that is. Pretty soon, Aisling’s doing a surprisingly good Louis Walsh impression. Just a very nice, fun dynamic.
And then Ana asks what impression Lisa Stansfield can do…and she tries doing a Jane Horrocks impression, but Noel even says ‘that’s the same as your OWN voice!”

Rhod: “Joe doesn’t like other people doing impressions.”
Joe, X-Factor voice: “GET OFF MY TURF.”

Joe: “Can you imagine if you were having sex with [Peter Dickson] and he was just going ‘AAACH’, like that?”
Rhod: “Yeah, that would be the worst thing about having sex with him, his voice.”
Joe, summing up the room’s reaction: “awwww, poor Peter…”
Rhod: “Quite right, that was awful, I’d LOVE to have sex with you, Peter Dickson. I take it all back, Peter, I’d like nothing mo-”
Phill: “AND NOW, THE SOUND OF PETER DICKSON HAVING SEX WITH RHOD GILBERT!”
Joe, Peter voice: “AAAAH, I’M ABOUT TO CUM, RHOD!”

After the 10 second clip from D’Angelo’s ‘Untitled (How Does It Feel)’
Joe, ever the thirsty one: “…I’m gonna need a minute.”
Rhod: “allow me, Joe.”
Screen Shot 2017-07-02 at 11.44.51 PM.png

Aisling: “There’s probably a guy out of frame yanking on his balls so he can hit the high note.”
Rhod, hearing the word balls: “WAIT A MINUTE!”
And then Rhod pounds on D’Angelo’s balls as the bongo noise returns. Heck, the audience even gives some recognition applause.

Noel, channeling Bill Bailey: “i think…the reason they’ve cut this video there is that he’s a mermaid.”
Ana: “MerMAN.”

Rhod is extra strict in his intros judging with Aisling, nearly docking a point as she gives ‘Teardrops’ when it wasn’t plural, and throwing it over when she doesn’t get the actual title to the Vengaboys song.
The audience, sure enough, boos Rhod.
Rhod: “This isn’t a pantomime, calm down…”

Rhod: “I’m sorry, but it’s come from the top.”
Aisling: “What, JESUS told you to give me…”

Rhod: “In 2003, Frontman 3D and Damon Albarn paid for a full-page ad in the NME, against the Iraq War. Unfortunately, George Bush was still reading Smash Hits at the time [breaks] and the war went ahead as planned [breaks harder]”

Ana’s rendition of Larger Than Life by the BSB consists of a lot of misplaced loud screaming, and one or two confused looks to Rhod. Can’t write someone like her.

Joe, on Noel’s intro: “The last time I’d had a man in a glittery top sing at me, I’d been on Grindr earlier…”
Noel, as a Grindr profile: “I like anal and dressin’ up as Tron.”

However, Ana and Noel’s rendition of, I assume, the Norman Cook remix of Brimful of Asha, completely makes up for the misplaced BSB screams. It’s pretty damned perfect.

Rhod, on the BSB: “In 2006, Kevin Richardson left the band to pursue other interests…and he’s now in the music industry…”

Right before next lines, Phill and Lisa share a brief staring contest, with Lisa just wiping out with a scary expression. Man, she’s having so much fun tonight.

Rhod: “So I’m moving to New York.”
Lisa: “….when?”

Rhod: “And you can hear it in my accent when I talk.”
Phill: “AY’M FROM THE VALLEY!”

Rhod, for a visual clue, throws a bucket of sand on his head.
Joe: “…I have a serious mental health problem?'”

Rhod basically keeps everyone late until they guess the correct song title, as he put in too much effort to look like that for no reason.

Aisling guesses it’s Bastille.
Aisling: “It was really worth the prop, Rhod, I think it went really well…”

Rhod just sits there, covered in ash, embarrassed that the gag went wrong.
Phill: “Rhod Gilbert exposes crippling drug habit on television.”

Sure enough, Noel hands his helmet over to Rhod, and Aisling gives him the wings, saying ‘here, end with some dignity.”

Overall: Better than Episode 5, though not as good as 3 and 4…but STILL PRETTY DAMNED GOOD! The entire panel had something funny to do throughout the show, without a single dull moment. Ana was a few pegs down from last time, though she didn’t have Peter Andre to screw with. Lisa was just having a ball. The comedians won this one, with Joe having some hysterical moments, and Aisling making a name for herself outside of QI and tussling with Rhod for points. Solid show, complete with a really nice ending capper, and a great, but odd, ID Parade.

Best Regular: Phill
Best Guest: Joe
Best Runner: Peter Dickson

Nevermind Watchdown: S28E05, or NO, NOT EXPLODING FEET!

Way back in Series 1 of the show, a bespectacled, bald man sat next to Phill Jupitus and claimed to be 80’s star Adam Ant. I’m not sure what happened to that guy, because the real Adam Ant, complete with wild facial hair, cowboy hat and neckerchiefs, is in the building tonight, along with Paul Foot, Sara Cox, and rapper Fuse ODG. Can they keep the momentum of Series 28 going?

Adam even talks about his last appearance on the show, 27 series ago, saying, with a chuckle, ‘I’ve just got over it.’ He talks about the suit he wore and the cropped hairstyle, saying he looked like an egg.
Rhod: “How can you remember what you wore 18 years ago?”
Adam: “…it’s important.”

Rhod confirms that Paul’s one of the lowest scoring NMTB contestants of all time. This makes sense, as Paul even says “I don’t know anything about pop music.”
Rhod: “That doesn’t mean nothing.”
Adam: “Well, I’ve…I’ve heard of certain things, like…D-Duran?”

Fuse eventually gets Paul to get up and dance with him to a traditional Ghanan dance. This is quite the visual. Paul dancing is something so wonderful and unexpectedly joyous.

Fuse, afterwards: “Uh, Paul…you’d actually get stoned in Ghana for doing that.”

As Fuse offers to teach Paul the proper methods.
Noel: “This is like the weirdest episode of Strictly Come Dancing ever…”

Paul tries it with the new, Fuse-approved technique, which is great…and then he goes back to his crazy-dancing from before. Fuse, obviously getting a kick out of this, just mimes throwing stones at him.

Phill, after the number: “And if you turn over to BBC News 24 now, we are at war with Ghana…”

Adam thinks the chainsaw corresponds with Aerosmith, saying “we’ve stayed in a lot of the same hotel rooms they’ve stayed in, and they’re pretty rock and roll.”
Sara: “And were any of the legs shorter on the beds?”

Adam tells a story about Aerosmith leaving a log behind a tile in a hotel bathroom.
Phill: “Ever since Right Said Fred were on, I no longer have Toblerones from the minibar.”
Now…I, as someone who’d been watching Buzzcocks for years, GET this reference. But Rhod has to ask Phill for clarification.
Phill: “They would unwrap them, insert them, remove them, re-wrap them, put them back in the fridge.”
The whole audience takes a moment to recover.

Noel: “What, a TOBLERONE?” [He does an impression of the sides colliding with the sides of the…you know]
Phill: “They’re ridged for your pleasure.”

There’s a nice gag where Rhod uses the prop of a blowdart to fell a rogue crew member and catapult him down to the floor.
Rhod: “Noel, g’head and finish him off.”
Noel: “What should I do to him?”
Paul: “PUT THE CAKE ON HIM!”

As Paul and Noel run over to the crew member with a cake, Fuse picks up the dart and goes ‘I think it’s really unfair that you leave the African with this weapon.’
Gosh, Fuse is just naturally funny. He’s making Wretch 32 look calm.

Fuse even admits that he’s watched this show so much that he’s thrilled he gets to be a part of it, as Adam and Rhod are going over all the people Adam hasn’t dated.

Noel and Rhod have a disagreement and call each other some names. Unlike Simon and Noel, they know it’s all in good fun, and they don’t actually question each other’s methods or character. It’s just some nice joshing, sort of like Mark and Bill. There’s no hard feelings, it’s just a show.

Noel crouches down during Rhod’s standup, and is looking at the bag of tricks…and he’s trying to get his head to pop up through the bag. So they orchestrate it, and Noel’s head just pops out of the bag of tricks on Rhod’s desk.
Rhod: “Okay, round two.”
Noel: “Let’s just do the show like this!”

They pan back to see the caked crew member is still on the ground, while Noel’s head is still in the bag. Man, this episode is weird.

Then Rhod, cracking up, has to give Noel, still in the bag, his intros for he and Fuse. Noel’s just entertained as all hell.
Noel: “It’s not even funny, I’m ACTUALLY stuck! Fuck you!”

Noel, after Paul fails to get another intro: “Look, it’s literally like a dog watching a play…”

Rhod, to Adam: “Whose idea was the white lines? Was that yours?”
Adam: “Uhhh…the native American indians…the Apache…”

This is odd- even if Adam is in the ‘ejector seat’, Sara has to do intros with Phill instead of the other way around. Maybe Adam just didn’t want to do Intros, last-minute?

Phill and Sara’s ‘Run to the Hills’ intro is fantastic, not only in execution, but because Adam seems to get a tremendous kick out of it, even if he has no idea what it is.

Phill and Sara’s second intro…is Prince Charming. So they just start with the guttural scream from the top of the song. Adam immediately gets it (obviously), and just laughs out loud.
Then, of course, Adam chimes in with the correct pronunciation of the guttural scream at the top of Prince Charming, so they’re sort of doing it back and forth to each other.}
Phill, afterwards: “I am AROUSED.”

Rhod even cracks up delivering the scores. And, as they pan back out, the caked crew member is STILL on the ground.

Hell, the passed out crew member is pegged in at #6 in Phill’s ID Parade, billed as ‘Nasty Fall’.

Phill: “Adam, there, has gone with his gut instinct, and that’s fabulous…of course, the whole card that we have…is that [Sara] interviewed him two weeks ago…”
Rhod cracks up here. Even Adam’s just amused.

And, as per usual with a Paul Foot episode, Paul has to go up to the ID Parade and sniff out the real guy. Like usual, I’m not gonna write all of this down, but it’s some funny stuff.

Rhod’s visual next line is Madonna’s Into the Groove, and he does this by trying to fit his feet inside a vinyl record.
Paul: “Exploding Feet!”
Rhod: “No, NOT EXPLODING FEET!”

Rhod: “You waste your time…huh!” [he looks at Phill, as if to say ‘go figure’]
Noel: :TRYING TO GUESS INTO THE GROOVE WHILE A WELSHMAN DANCES ON A DESK.”

Rhod: “You waste your time with hope and regret, you’re broken.”
Noel: “Yeah, I know, but PAUL’s on my team.”

Overall: “While not quite as good as episodes 3 and 4, still a really nice show, with some just plain odd moments, and a fantastic retrospective for Adam Ant. It felt like everybody had some real appreciation for the guy, and it was even better that he was game enough to come back. Noel’s team did have the better edited show, as Fuse had some hilarious moments, and Paul was himself. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I don’t like Paul as much as everyone else seems to, and I don’t think his ID Parade moments are too great, but he still had some nice lines. But yeah, good enough show, thanks to some nice moments, and to the unconscious crew member.

Best Regular: Rhod
Best Guest: Adam
Best Runner: passed out crew member

Nevermind Watchdown: S28E04, or I CAN’T WORK WITH THIS BALL-BONGO MAN!

To recap:
Episode 1: Good.
Episode 2: Great
Episode 3: FUCKING AMAZING.

Series 28 is doing its best to end this big, smashing series on the highest possible note. Tonight, we continue, with a return appearance from oft-shirtless, oft-bizarre HarMar Superstar, as well as a return appearance from Mock the Week semi-regular and generally hilarious person JAMES ACASTER, plus turns from 20% of the Pussycat Dolls (tm James Blunt), ballroom dancer and Moana’s mom, Nicole Scherzinger, and Derek actress and insanely recent Mock the Week panelist Kerry Godliman. That’s a pretty damned nice panel.

Rhod, reading off the intro-card: “James, I have to mention this-”
James: “Yeah.”
Rhod: “Breathing through your ears?”
James: “Yeah?”
Rhod: “You can breathe through your ears?”
James: “…Well, no-”

Rhod takes a few seconds before the quiz to test out James’ ear-breathing skills, which is a silly, Simon-esque digression, but the fact that it’s James Acaster, and that it’s not in the middle of a question, makes it a ton better.

James: “I mean, I enter into this fully knowing it’s not going to work.”
Rhod: “Really?”
James, to the audience: “Imagine that. Imagine being in my position right now.”
The whole panel’s losing it as James effetely tries this.

Kerry’s trick is bouncing a cigarette off her nose, which gets some wows, especially from Nicole.
Kerry: “Better than your trick, James…”
James: “I dunno, I can smoke that through my ears…”

Rhod, continuing with odd talents: “Nicole, I read in your notes-”
Noel: “…peace pipe through the anus?”
Nicole has a good 10 second appalled reaction to this…and this statement ends the talent segment of Buzzcocks.

Rhod brings back Rumor Has It this episode, and…the intro clip still cracks him up. It’s not hard- inserting a deadpan Welsh voice into any song has to make it funnier.

Nicole, on the intro: “You didn’t even try…”
Rhod: “I DID TRY! I GAVE THAT EVERYTHING!”

Rhod’s rumor examples in this show are “were Chris DeBurgh’s eyebrows grown artificially on the back of a mouse? Is Ed Sheeran just a bit of Jimmy Nale that fell off?”
HarMar has a nice reaction at that one.

It’s amazing- within seconds of introducing Gene Simmons’ rumor with a cow, a tape measure, and a surgeon, I know exactly what it is. If Phill doesn’t, I’ll be very disappointed.

HarMar, in describing cow genitalia, says the udders are a group of ‘smaller cocks to be pulled upon’
Rhod: [looks towards the other American on the panel]
Nicole: “NNNNO…We’re drinking something else if it’s that…”
HarMar, earnest: “Well…I was raised a different way.”

After Rhod has a marginally-racist joke about Nicole’s heritage.
James: “I can’t see Nicole’s face, Rhod. How’s that going down?”
Annnnd I’m reminded why I adore James Acaster.

There’s a nice moment with Noel and James threatening to beat Rhod down…and it’s a two-shot of these two incredibly weak white guys. Noel feels James’ muscles. James, perfectly in his character, says “careful…you might hurt yourself.”

Nicole talks about being really grossed out by Gene Simmons upon meeting him.
Noel: “Were you not turned on by a man in typex waving his giant tongue at you?”
Nicole: “…I’m thinking no.”
Noel, to James: “…d’you get rid of that typex?”
James: “Yeah, ‘ts good…”

James, on Noel: “Backstage, he balances a bottle of dandruff shampoo on his nose, like a little dog.”
Rhod: “I’ve never seen a little dog balancing any type of shampoo, let alone an anti-dandruff shampoo…”
James: “Have you seen a cow with cocks for udders? Because you believed THAT earlier…”

Nicole talks of, on her rider, ‘fresh ginger slices.’
Phill: “They really, really hate Geri Halliwell…”
Nicole, for the umpteenth time tonight, laughs uncomfortably.

Noel’s astonished by the concept of raw ginger, sliced.
Kerry: “I can’t understand how you’ve gone through life without seeing a slice of ginger. You’ve seen ginger, Rhod! Don’t play this ‘Oh, I’m from Wales, I haven’t seen anyth-”
Rhod: “I didn’t say anything about being from Wales, YOU FUCKING RACIST!”
And Kerry’s gone. Man, everyone’s just been dying this episode. Dunno if it’s as hard as the John Cooper Clarke one, but still.

Noel: “Last time I bought ginger, there was a root that looked a bit like a hand, and so I spent most of the shopping trip with it…as my hand.”
And he has this whole story of scaring the cashier, bringing it round, and everything.
Noel: “And then I went home… and I did NOT touch myself with it.”
Rhod: “I’M GONNA ASK YOU THIS ONCE, NOEL. Did you touch yourself with it?”
Noel: “…I had a ginger wank.”

Rhod realizes this round has a bonus question: “I deep beavered it away, and-”
Nicole: “What’s deep-beaver?”
Rhod: “You know, rummage-”
Phill: “I tell you what…when I GOOGLE THAT, It’s not gonna say ‘rummage’.”

James, after some more deep-beavering jokes: “When this goes out, I want my face pixelated, please.”

Rhod’s standup for the Oasis fan who mistook Liam’s dandruff for cocaine, and took a sniff: “To be fair, the fan was completely shit-faced….at least, he WAS, when he tried to smoke Liam’s crack.”
He breaks in the home stretch of this joke. I think we all did.

HarMar and Phill’s Walking on the Moon intro is another series highlight. Kerry gets it within seconds.  It helps that Phill and HarMar work really well together, as evidenced by his last few times on.

As the clip comes in, Phill sings along to the vocal in this higher-pitched, Northern accent. It’s one of the oddest things, but it’s so entertaining.

Ah yes, the return of an outstanding runner- for the ‘Apache’ intro, Phill directs HarMar to go over and play Rhod’s ‘balls’, or his bongos, which he does, and they keep going throughout the intro. Rhod’s of course flattered by the whole thing.

Kerry, after the intro, to Rhod: “And now I will never hear that without thinking of your testicles…”

James: “Just a request. In the future, when a man starts playing your testicles like a bongo…could you not make eye-contact with me for so long?”
…that might be the quote of the show right there.

Rhod: “The flat where Sting grew up is now a Chinese takeaway called Happy Chef. What a travesty. They should have called it WOK-XANNE!”

Rhod brings up a rumor that whenever James hears George Harrison’s ‘I Got My Mind Set On You’, he has to dance.
James: “No, that’s not true-”
Rhod, reaching under his desk: “So it’s definitely not true, is it?”
James: “No, it’s not-”
Music: “I’VE GOT MY MIND. SEEEEET ON YOU.”
James: Screen Shot 2017-06-29 at 7.06.18 PM.png

And of course, he ends up just moving his shoulders…and eventually his entire body, to the song. It’s hysterical.

James: “Please never do that agai-”
Music: “I’VE GOT MY MIND SEEEET-”
James: [dances in seat]

And then, right after the Harrison clip ends, Rhod does this:
Screen Shot 2017-06-29 at 7.08.42 PM.pngScreen Shot 2017-06-29 at 7.09.48 PM.png

THE BONGO NOISE DOESN’T EVEN PLAY! Rhod’s just left doing the invisible bongo motion in silence, which led to the hardest I’ve laughed at a Buzzcocks episode since Stacey Solomon’s animal impressions. He just goes “NNNNOOOOOO!” at the sound guys.
Rhod: “I CAN’T WORK WITH THIS BALL-BONGO MAN!”

Noel, getting up for Intros, to Nicole: “Just remember, I’ve got a ginger claw I can get out at any moment…”

James, after Noel and Nicole’s first intro: “Noel…you have risen above and beyond everything we’ve asked of you on this show. You’ve done your family proud, and you’ve made me proud. NICOLE….this is hard…I feel like we haven’t seen…then real Nicole yet. I think you’ve got more.”
Pretty much every pause is filled with laughter, especially from HarMar and Phill.

After Nicole and Noel, cutely, start complimenting each other on the Running Up That Hill intro
Phill: “It’s not bad, but it’s no George Harrison!”
Rhod, without a choice, presses the button.
Music: “I’VE GOT MY MIND SEEEEET ON YOU-”
James: [dances in seat, rolling his eyes]

And then, as they’re still in Intros:
Phill: “Rhod, was that I’ve Got My Mind Set on You by George Harrison?”
Rhod: “.,..certainly was, one point.”

There’s an even better moment where James can’t get the 2nd intro, and it ends up being one of his own bands’ songs.

They have a similar ID Parade twist to last episode’s only now featuring HarMar Superstar in the lineup. Noel, James and Nicole have to pick out HarMar’s BELLY from 4 imposters. That’s a very nice twist, especially considering that #1 in the lineup is, according to James, ‘essentially a butt’

James goes up to inspect the bellies.
Rhod: “James, why don’t you just stick your head through? I’ll hold your legs”
James: “I’ve fallen for that trick before. ‘AAAH, JUST PUT YOUR HEAD THROUGH THE BELLY WINDOW!”
Rhod: “It’s like a Weight Watchers glory hole, that…”

Rhod, like with Sara, goes: “HarMar, what are you doing now?”
HarMar: “Oh, you know, I’m just hanging out over here…”

Next Lines: “I just died in your arms tonight.”
Kerry: “Must have been something you…ate? SAID.”
Rhod, not letting that past him: “MUST HAVE BEEN SOMETHING YOU ATE?”
Phill: “WHAT’S SO WRONG ABOUT THAT? Food poisoning is VERY COMMON.”

Then, Phill’s entire panel try doing impressions of Dolores O’Riordan’s vocal hooks from ‘Zombie’. Jesus, this episode.

Rhod, as usual, does another visual next line by shoving a banana in his eyes.
Noel: “James just said my favorite line of the series, which is ‘POTASSIUM VISION!”

Overall: I did not think it could get any better than Episode 3…AND YET IT DID. OH MY GOD THIS SERIES IS UNBELIEVABLE. James Acaster was even better than his first appearance, working so well with Noel, and having SEVERAL of the best lines of the show. HarMar, like his previous appearances, had a ball, having great lines, showing his belly, and getting along with Phill. Nicole was slightly horrified by the experience, but I think she had a great time. And Kerry, while bringing up the rear edit-wise, still had a pretty nice show. The number of running gags, even bringing back the invisible bongos from two episodes ago to go with the cow cocks, the ginger hand, the deep-beavering, and James’ George Harrison dancing, were through the roof. I don’t think an episode has been this top-to-bottom good since, dare I say it, the Donny Tourette show.

Best Regular: Noel
Best Guest: James
Best Runner: ‘I’ve Got My Mind Set On You’

Nevermind Watchdown: S28E03, or I’m Only Here for the Company!

Onto another Buzzcocks. I rather like how this series is turning out, even if I know that it doesn’t end particularly well, ratings-wise.

Tonight’s show features the…well, incredibly odd-looking punk poet John Cooper Clarke, vegan and John Robins’ dartboard Sara Pascoe, pop-singer Amelia Lily, and Last Leg panelist and Whitehall-annoyer Alex Brooker, who’s basically become Math Priest 2.0 for this show.

In Rhod’s intro for Sara, he says ‘a comedian who says she’s getting tired of being mistaken for other blonde comedians, so PLEASE WELCOME, RUSSELL HOWARD!”

Alex talks of talking to someone who spent an hour thinking he was the guy from Mumford and Sons. He says, deadpanned, ‘THIS IS A GUY WHO PLAYS *GUITAR*.”

Of course, outright, as John talks of being mistaken for Ron Wood and Siouxsie Sioux, Phill just says ‘you look like Noel Fielding’s nan…”

Rhod basically says that Amelia hasn’t been mistaken for anyone. “How old are you, anyway?”
Amelia: “nine’een.”
John: “No one, anywhere is nineteen…”

John: “Tell ya what, Rhod, I thought I was 19 a couple of years ago…when I read me birthday card upside down…”
I didn’t know what to think of this guy going in, and he’s surprising me so far.

This week’s new round, featuring the Rhod addition: “VIDEO-” “hurt” “THE RADIO STAR…”

One of the options for ‘what went wrong on the set of the Eyes Without a Face’ video was “Billy convinced a female dancer to ride sexily above a dry ice machine, and it burnt her….Dean Gaffney.”
The whole place takes a few seconds to recover, especially Alex.
Rhod: “IT’S BECAUSE THE CARD just said ‘and it burnt her DOT DOT DOT’, and I had to think ‘well, what the fuck…”

Noel reiterates the question to Amelia.
Amelia: “Yeah, I don’t think I’d want anyone burning MAH FOO-FOO…”
I can’t tell if I prefer this in her accent, or Sarah Millican in her accent saying ‘DOON’T PUT A SCORPION UP ME NUNNY!”

One of the other options is that Billy got lip paralysis from all the sneering-
Phill: “I bet SHE got lip paralysis as well. D’you see what I did there?”
John: “She could have actually just snapped her pubic hair off…”
Phill: “DOCTOR COOPER-CLARKE HAS EXTENDED THE METAPHOR A LITTLE BIT…”

John, deliberating: “D’you know, I’ve changed me mind about the whole ‘foo-foo inferno’ unpleasance and all…”
Dear God, this episode’s off to an insane start.

Rhod has a nice standup for Billy Idol, saying that Dancing with Myself was a euphemism for masturbation: “I never knew that dancing was a metaphor for masturbation, but it does explain why Lionel Ritchie has a ladder in his bedroom.
And Phill’s entire panel is GONE.

After the fallout of that joke, Rhod just goes over a bunch more possibilities.
“Dancing in the street, that’s illegal. Bowie and Jagger got arrested for that.”
“Dancing with tears in my eyes…”
“Dancing in the Dark. Fair enough, nothing wrong with that.”

Phill laughs throughout the entirety of Amelia’s anecdote about her dozens of guinea pigs. There’s more Jupitus giggling here than there has been in a while.

And then John interrupts, saying Amelia would enjoy a guinea pig farm in Ipswich. Phill’s basically crying art both of them now, even if John is earnest and doing this for a sort of laugh.

I’m not even writing down anything, but so far, this episode is just pure joy for everyone involved. I have no idea how they got somebody like John on the show, but he’s just bringing out the giggles in EVERYONE.

John has to do intros, which is kind of hysterical, but Phill, who’s in a good mood, guides him through Daft Punk’s ‘Harder Better Faster Stronger’. And Sara, as she’s AMAZING at Intros, gets it almost immediately.

Even better, on the next one, which Phill also has to help John with, the entire panel, AND THE AUDIENCE, start clapping along. I swear, the mood in this room hasn’t been this insanely high since John Barrowman’s episode.

Rhod makes Amelia do her ‘crying baby’ impression, which, according to Sara, “only works on women who’ve just given birth”.
Noel, afterwards: “OH MY GOD..my nipples are SOAKING.”

Heck, in the middle of Noel and Amelia’s first intro, Amelia throws in the crying baby noise, just to crack up Alex.

Rhod has to give Alex a clue…and once Alex gets it, Rhod won’t accept the point.
Noel: “Aw, this is BULLSHIT!”
Amelia: [BABY NOISE]
Rhod: [runs away]

Phill’s ID Parade has an amazing twist- Rhod reveals that Sara, in an effort to get closer to Robbie Williams, became a backup singer for Robbie’s dad. Robbie’s dad was asked about Sara, and says he doesn’t remember which one she was…so Robbie Williams’ dad will be playing the ID Parade to pick out Sara Pascoe. This is insane.

Rhod, to Pete Conway: “What’s it like, being Robbie Williams’ dad?”
Pete: “Well, I’ve been at it for a long time, so…”

Rhod: “I mean, prove you’re Robbie Williams’ dad, just for the audience.”
Pete: “I was there for the conception.”
Phill breaks here.
Pete, still earnest: “It was a nice night. I was…dancing in the dark.”
He raises an eyebrow for the camera. My gosh, Robbie must be so proud…or embarrassed.

Of course, Pete comes in the clutch, and says ‘there’s no doubt- hello Sara, it’s #4.”
Sara, even if the charade didn’t exactly work, drops character and waves. It’s actually a very sweet moment.

It’s even funnier when Rhod, at the end, says “Sara, what’re you doing now?”
Sara: “Just…doing a bit of panel show shit…”

Alex is trying to guess his ID Parade.
Rhod: “Play the old disabled card!”
Alex, slightly confused: “…alright, #1…this is sort of like my Make a Wish…”

The real Janet Kay says she’s doing a covers album, including ‘Dancing Shoes’
Sara, picking up on it: “Oh, that’s just…”
Rhod: “WE ALL KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN BY DANCING SHOES.”

If you’d have polled me for what was going to happen in this episode, I don’t think I would have given you ‘John Cooper Clarke reciting Busted lyrics from memory’. I mean, WOW. That guy is something else.

Rhod, afterwards, to John: “Who knew you were so well-versed in Boybands.”
John: “Well, Busted wasn’t really a boy-band, cause one of ’em wore a guitar…”

Rhod: “Noel’s team, you need 5 points to win.”
John: “Noel, you can have it all for me. I’m only here for the company.”
Again, the whole place goes wild. This guy is too damned funny.

Overall: I don’t know how a 64-year-old poet instilled more life into Never Mind the Buzzcocks than any pop-star or young comedian has in years, but goddammit, it happened. There was more laughing and giggling in this episode than there has been since Christopher Biggins was on. Everyone on the panel had a moment to shine. Alex had his Make a Wish joke, Amelia had her baby voice and just odd moments, and Sara had one of the most memorable ID Parades in history, featuring an incredibly game father of Robbie Williams. But…John Cooper Clarke was the revelation. I have no idea how he was so into this game, and I have no idea how literally everything he said not only made me laugh, but made Phill Jupitus absolutely cry, but I don’t question the miracles. That was an insanely funny episode, possibly funnier than E2. And Rhod, even in its last hours, is saving NMTB.

Best Regular: Phill
Best Guest: John
Best Runner: ‘dancing’

Nevermind Watchdown: S28E02, or We Don’t Believe in Time

Yep, Rhod’s got me hooked. Onto another Buzzcocks, this one featuring the immortal, kooky, animal-impersonating pea-brain Stacey Solomon, new-by-2014 standards pop-star Ella Eyre, Harry Koisser from indie-rock-ish band Peace, and Part-time lion and fan of Anal Danger, SEANN WALSH. Nicely balanced panel for ya.

Rhod, to Harry: “I’ve heard that you’ve got this party trick where you play a guitar ’round the back of your head.”
Harry: “I mean, they say the worst thing to do at a party is to pull an acoustic guitar out-”
Rhod, pulling an acoustic guitar out: “YEAH, ‘S TERRIBLE!”

Rhod tries one-upping him by playing invisible bongos…which Ella immediately says looks wrong. Noel goes over to play them.
Ella: “Where is this going?”
Noel: “Where ISN’T it going?”

This week’s new first-round is ‘It Wasn’t Me’…featuring a Rhod-assisted version of the famed Shaggy track, which gets Phill laughing.

After Seann basically says he can’t imagine Noel eating anything.
Noel: “Two things I can’t stand are food and time.”

Noel, to Harry:”Where’s the weirdest place you’ve ever weed…”
Harry: “I’m not gonna say who, but a member of my band-”
Rhod, reading the anecdote card: “Hang on…it was Doug.”

Harry eventually reveals that Doug pissed on him when he was in the shower.
Harry: :Yeah, I was on the phone, in the shower.”
Seann: “HOLD ON-”
Noel: “There’s so much wrong with this story…”

Rhod has Seann put on a bald cap, as he’s confusing him with Ella on both hairstyles.
Stacey, to Seann: “SHAKESPEARE! That’s who you look like!”

Harry keeps talking about how he doesn’t have a house, or go shopping, or anything.
Harry, later: ‘Look, later on I’m gonna go back home and just-”
Rhod: “SO YOU DO HAVE ONE!”

Rhod: “AT THE END OF THAT ROUND…[plays invisible bongos]”

Stacey prefaces Phill and Ella’s intros by saying ‘I’m so sorry, guys, I’m terrible at this…I never get it, my ear doesn’t hear it…”
Noel: “I like how you blamed your ear.”

Stacey just looks absolutely bewildered and confused as Phill and Ella do ‘Waterloo Sunset’.
Rhod: “Can I just interrupt this? Stacey, do you know what’s happening?”

Stacey: “At first I was looking at Phill, then I was looking at the other team, seeing if they knew it, so I was trying to read their lips.”
Rhod: “THAT…is a bold strategy.”
Stacey: “…I’m short-sighted, so it didn’t work very well…”
The panel takes a moment to recover.
Rhod: “so LET ME GET THIS STRAIGHT. Your EARS don’t work, AND you’re short sighted.”
Stacey: “No, I’m a mute!”
Rhod: “Why don’t you just stand up and feel the two of them for vibrations?”
Stacey: “Will I get sued?”
Rhod: “…depends where you feel them…”

Rhod: “I’ll give you a clue! It’s big and red and always hangs out by the river?”
Stacey: “…IT? You know, that clown, who’s always in the drains?”
Noel’s entire panel loses it. None of them can believe this. Phill has to stop, bend over and compose himself.
Stacey, walking off: “I hate you all.”
Rhod: “OH, IT, THE FILM. Let’s see if you’re right, is it IT, BY STEPHEN KING.”

Stacey: “Well, that was a really bad clue, then.”
Rhod: “It wasn’t a really bad clue, it was a really bad answer!”

Noel says he even had a full IT dress picked out for this episode, but Stacey keeps getting hung up by the whole ‘man in a dress’ thing. Noel has to stop and reiterate several times.
Noel: “What I’m saying is-”
Stacey: “YOU ARE IT!”

Sure enough, during the ‘here’s how it should have sounded’, Noel runs out and throws on his clown dress, and gets a nice applause coming back in with it.

Of course, the very next intro…Stacey gets it in 10 seconds. Our House, by Madness. And everyone’s FLOORED.

Of course, after the applause dies down, Noel throws in: “now, you know whose house it wasn’t?” And points to Harry.

Ella says that Noel looks like a stay at home wife.
Seann: “No, he looks like a stay-at-home wife in the Nightmare Before Christmas…”

Seann doesn’t exactly bring back Anal Danger, but he does guess, for Harry and Noel’s second intro, “Is it ‘Don’t Forget to Lock Me’, by the Backdoors?”

On Phill’s ID Parade:
Seann: “Phill, I know I’m on the other team, but I can help you out. It’s not #4, because i went to SCHOOL WITH HIM…”

This is another one where Phill obviously knows that it’s #2, but the other ones are still a few steps behind, and still on #4 being Seann’s friend.
Phill, eventually: “IT’S NUMBER TWO, DO YOU NOT RECOGNIZE HIM??? I DIDN’T GO TO SCHOOL WITH HIM, BUT IT’S #2!”

#2 is given the ‘will he please step forward’…and for 10 seconds, he doesn’t. Rhod eventually has to go over and threaten to push him for him to actually step forward.

Rhod’s spruced up the ID Parade by giving the correct one a wireless mic, so he can ask what they’ve been doing. In Stedman’s case, since he used to be a bricklayer, Rhod goes over and asks what work needs to be done on his house, and Stedman, playing along but honest, gives him a blunt dissertation.

The East 17 ID Parade is done, in the style of their video, on a rotating circular track, all five done up in snow-parkas. Rhod has to wait for #3 to come around to do his intro, ‘TED BUNDY’.

Rhod: “#2’s really got it in for lazy susans. Wait for him to ‘come round- LOOK AT THAT MISERABLE PRICK!”
Noel: “If they got off that now, would they all fall over?”

After #4, Jon, is revealed.
Rhod: “Jon, what ‘you up to?”
Jon: “…spinning ’round?”

Jon mentions he’s been doing roofing.
Rhod, coming back up with his phone ‘WELL LISTEN…’

Rhod gets on the track to talk to Jon about the roof, and the lazy susan starts up again, making it even funnier, and interlaying the disgruntled other three in there as Rhod and Jon talk in the background.

Rhod plays out the round by playing the invisible bongos.
Rhod: “I know what you’re thinking- can I do it one-handed?”
VO: …..
Rhod: “…no.”

Rhod, to Noel’s team: “Your time starts now-”
Seann, harkening back to Noel’s earlier conversation: “We don’t believe in time…”

Rhod: “In the summertime, when the weather is hot.”
Noel: “…you can sleep outside, or live in a drain…”

Overall: SMASHING SUCCESS. It helped that the panel was on, but there were a number of great runners, like Harry’s houselessness, Stacey’s inability to get intros, Noel’s clown dress, the concept of time, Seann’s friend from school, and Rhod’s contracting. Seann probably had the best day off everyone, but literally everyone had nice moments. Stacey was a great sport, Ella and Harry had great lines, and Rhod improved on an already-great E1.

Best Regular: Noel
Best Guest: Seann
Best Runner: Rhod’s invisible bongos.

Nevermind Watchdown: S28E01, or ‘OOOH, I FEEL LIKE SINGING!’

Well…I’ve waited long enough…time to start the LAST EVER SERIES OF NEVERMIND THE BUZZCOCKS.

The good news is that they got the bright idea to add Rhod Gilbert as the permanent, full-time host. Rhod’s episodes were wonderful, as he let his trademark dour-with-a-sunny-side mood infiltrate the show, and it led to some really nice moments. Here, he’s got a whole series to play with, and I’m very excited to see what it looks like.

Well…about 15 seconds in, I’m already won over. In a cold open (man, haven’t seen one of those since S25), Rhod is filmed waking up, and walking to the studio, set to Hall and Oates’ ‘You Make My Dreams Come True’…and with the addition of animated birds, a flash mob, a jazz band, and well-timed fountains, it’s a complete send-up of the scene in 500 Days of Summer, which I have even more props for the crew for sending up. It’s fantastic, and shows exactly who Rhod is…culminating with Rhod pummeling an intern for getting his coffee wrong.

Even better, this episode marks a return for rap battler and Cluedo character Professor Green, sports presenter Gabby Logan, and a debut for two people I have heard of- comedian and BFF of Katherine Ryan, Roisin Conaty, and LEAD SINGER OF HUGE GLAM-POP BAND THE 1975, MATTY HEALY!

Rhod introduces a new round, called Rumor Has It…whose audio-intro-clip is just Rhod’s voice interspersed into Adele’s ‘Rumor Has it’. Which is quite the sound, as Prof just doubles over laughing.
Phill: “WATCH OUT, PROFESSOR GREEN! HERE COMES THE COMPETITION!”

Rhod explains this round is about celebrity rumors, including “Was Cee-Lo Green the first man on the moon?”, and “Is Rhianna a Horse?”. Even he can’t get through that one without laughing.

(This also reminds me how great it is to hear the word ‘rumor’ in Rhod’s accent. Not since his MTW ‘is it, RUMOR, Flooding has begun?’)

On James Blunt, a turkey, a coffin and a microphone.
Phill: “James Blunt moved to Norfolk, and started East Anglier’s first…necrophiliac turkey karaoke night!”

Rhod says that Blunt was #4 on a list of most annoying things, and asks what else he was more annoying than.
Prof: “Stubbing your toe?”
Rhod: “STABBING YOUR TOE? You’re the real deal, man…”
(Prof laughs for about 15 seconds at this. Hell, I don’t think he laughed this hard the whole Frankie Boyle show…)

Rhod, during the intro-clip for Van Halen: “In Welsh, their name means Salt Van, but what…”
The amount of cracking up THIS FAR IN proves we’ve hit upon a great dynamic here.

Screen Shot 2017-06-25 at 4.41.45 PM.pngRoisin: “Did he chop a man’s legs off with a guitar, put him in a tent…and that man said ‘NO MORE OF THAT!'”

Noel: “Was that tent getting a new pair of shoes?”
Phill: “Those are SHOES? I thought it was a rabbit taking a bad selfie…”

Matty: “Mick Jagger liked to get blowjobs when he was in the recording studio…”
Noel: “Wow, you won’t be supporting THEM again, will you?”
Matty, in character: “NO! IT WAS A NIGHTMARE!”

Matty: “I didn’t even get to talk to Mick or anything-”
Noel: “PRETEND YOU DID!”
Matty, changing immediately: “So Mick comes over to me, and he’s like ‘LOVE THE BAND’…”
Noel, as Jagger: “But I REALLY like to get a blow when I’m doing vocals, so if you could just…”
He even bends Matty’s head towards his crotch.

Noel: “This is the rudest show I’ve ever been on…[to Rhod] YOU’RE a pervert!”
Rhod: “Sorry, mate…”
Prof: “His name is ‘Rod’…”

Matt ends up leading the whole panel in the Potato Lattice game, which is a quick fire back and forth, having everyone say names of foods without hesitating. Rhod is eliminated quickly, which he protests.

Rhod: “GUYS, GUYS! This has TOTALLY backfired. I thought this was gonna be a shit game, and you’re all loving it!”

Phill and Prof’s first intro is just a long, repetitive, alarming-sounding one, with Prof constantly doing a singular-toned ‘AAAAAAH’ every few seconds.
Gabby: “Is that the whole thing?”
Phill: “No, he’s just very good at that bit.”

An exhausted Prof slumps down onto the desk, near Phill’s crotch.
Phill, quick as hell: ‘OOOH, I FEEL LIKE SINGING!”

Gabby: “Is it Prodigy?”
Phill: “OOOOHHHH No…”
Rhod: “I’ll pass it over.”
Noel: “NAAN BREAD! Oh, wait, that’s a different game…”
Rhod, Simon-esque: “YOU’RE WRONG.”
Noel: “What’dyou mean, we didn’t even say anything!”

Phill: [Guitar riff from ‘Should I stay or Should I Go]
Prof: “…bip..bip..bip”
Phill, to Prof: “….really?”

Rhod’s standup jokes, rather than being scathing put-downs, are just fun little puns, which sums up his era of the show quite nicely.

Noel and Matty’s intro is reminiscent of a Sean Hughes round- Roisin gets it from Matty’s bit, and not from Noel’s more-accurate guitar riff. He just slumps over as Matty hugs him and fives Roisin.

Noel and Matty’s quibbling continues on the Galvanize intro, which Noel can’t quite get the main synth bit from. They eventually get it, but not without more arguing.

Rhod: “The video for Papa Don’t Preach marked the unveiling of Madonna’s 2nd look: short, cropped platinum hair, and a more muscular physique. For anyone who’s counting, she’s now on her 37th look: Unconvincing Malawian Ice Cream Man with net.”
And THERE’S THE SCATHING BUZZCOCKS WRITERS AGAIN!

Rhod has a nice little put-down of Gabby’s blogs, and while it does take away from the quiz, Gabby’s enjoying it, and Rhod’s still in his element as host.

Rhod, still on the blogs: “Can you tell me a bit more about the green drink?”
Gabby: “…NO, YOU TWAT!”

Rhod, doing ID Parade Intros: “IS IT…”
Screen Shot 2017-06-25 at 6.03.43 PM.png
Rhod: “…have I got to say something funny about him?…WHAT’S IN HIS ARMS? Okay, it’s not #1…”

He even gives #3 a copy of the book of Gabby’s blogs, and he’s reading them as they do the ID Parade intros. Gabby’s semi-amused.

Matty, still on #1 arms: “He’s gotta have legs like shrubs.”
Noel: “What’s ‘shrubs’ in Welsh?”
Rhod: “…we don’t have shrubs.”

Other thing I’ve noticed about this series is that there are a ton of sweeping camera shots of the set, wider shots, less static. I understand they’re trying to blend in with other programming, but it’s a bit odd.

Rhod is spicing up Next Lines by introducing a category theme each week, which is a nice idea, and works  better than replacing it with other, lesser rounds.

Overall: Fun way to start the series, even if it had a few moments of lulls. Rhod obviously proved his worth as host, though the runner with Gabby didn’t work as well as he planned. Matty had so much fun, both in doing intros with Noel and taking barbs from Rhod. Gabby and Roisin had a few good lines, and Prof, despite laughing up a storm in the early part, stuck to a quieter edit, like usual.

Best Regular: Noel
Best Guest: Matty
Best Runner: The sex-tent.