QI Watchdown: I6 (Inventive)

Five episodes in, and we’ve still yet to hit an episode below ‘great’. Tonight, we have a rather inventive pairing of Bill Bailey and Sean Lock, plus an assist from ventriloquist and scene-stealer from Christopher Guest’s Family Tree, Nina Conti, along with her friend Gran. I’m not sure how Conti’s stuff will translate to QI, but having Bill and Sean’s a nice enough start.

Observations right off the bat- Sean’s already there with his insincere ‘thank you’ right off the bat, and as this is his second-to-last QI episode ever, there’s probably a reason for the insincerity. Bill’s wearing a Naruto shirt. Wow.

Gran sounds a ton like Mrs. Doubtfire. As they demonstrate the ‘Nobody Knows’ card, Bill, patronizingly, asks if he should hold the card for her.

Bill: “There was a bloke the other day, went through a machine, and his whole body went through a tunnel the size of a CD. And…he survived.”
Stephen: “…what?”
Sean: “Was it Ronnie Corbett?”
(Man, if only Rob Brydon were here)
Bill, stifling laughter: “..yeah, that’d explain it…”

Stephen talks of the man who invented the parachute suit, and died while jumping from the Eiffel Tower.
Stephen: “He ripped a page from a book to see which way the wind was blowing-”
Bill: “Unfortunately, that was the instruction manual…”

There’s a nice discussion about putting Gran in the overhead compartment…and how she feels about that.
Sean: “I don’t know why you even go on the plane! Why don’t you just post yourself?”
Gran: “…too expensive, dear. I’m heavy.”
Nina: “I once lost her once, actually, on a plane…by an airline, of which, for legal reasons, i’m not supposed to name.”
Gran: “…Ryanair…”

Having Nina and Gran on is great, and they have very funny stuff, though their digressions are very independent, and it’s difficult for them to build off of other people. Sean and Bill, of course, have no trouble building off of them.

For a question about ventriloquism, Bill and Alan wind up with their own puppets, and try to say the phrase ‘pig in a poke’ (which Nina did so masterfully before). Bill rolls his over to Gran, trying (and failing) and ventriloquism.
Gran: “You’ve had a stroke, dear…”

It’s an amusing sequence, having everybody try ventriloquism. Sean doesn’t even try, he just doesn’t say anything, while moving the puppet around. Unlike the bug runner from last show, it doesn’t exactly take off, but it’s still amusing.

Even better, Bill tries pressing the buzzer with his puppet, is successful…and ends up breaking the thing. He just starts playing Hungry Hungry Hippos with the plastic pieces of the buzzer.

Gran, summing up Bill’s failed puppeteering attempt: “You know, the first rule of show-business is to make everything look easy…and this half-wit over here…”

Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 8.19.16 PM.pngStephen talks of a woman who used ventriloquism to protest to Anne Boleyn.
Gran: “…nice tits, too…”
Alan: “No, look at the bloke looking at her tits…”

Gran: “Nina is a ventriloquist, apparently…though I’ve yet to see evidence of that…”

There’s a semi-Mastermind-ish aspect to this one, sort of like Imbroglio, where Nina, for a while, talks about her specialized subject (ventriloquism, of course), sort of like Frank Skinner talking about George Formby, or Anneka Rice talking about her racing or whatever. Unlike Anneka Rice or whatever, Nina and Gran are pretty active, and still contribute a lot to the show, aside from the specialized subject material.

They show a picture of this ‘vent-haven’ place, (‘where dummies go to rest’)
Sean: “AAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIGGHHHHHH!”

Stephen asks Nina if ventriloquists get too close to their dummies and characters, and if Keith Harris ever went too far down
Nina: “Well, I can’t speak for him-”
Gran: “No, cause you’re not that good a ventriloquist…”

Stephen asks Sean if he had an imaginary friend when he was younger.
Sean: “:I’m not aware of it. They didn’t use to come around much…”

Stephen gives everyone inventions, and has them guess what they do. Bill’s is done with him specifically in mind.
Bill: “Is it a beard-measuring device?”
Stephen: “Well, I wouldn’t call your beard of quality…”

Stephen: “And what have you got there, Sean?”
Sean: “…’ts a BOTTLE, Stephen.”
Stephen: “And what d’you think it’s for?”
Sean: “…for putting stuff in.”
Stephen: “…okay, so NEXT, moving onto Nina…”

Nina get some sort of ‘suppository for Charlie McCarthy’ as hers, and hands it to Bill so he can unscrew it. Alan guesses it comes with preparation H, and he’s right.
Bill: “Wait, this has been up someone’s ass?”
He frantically drops the device.

GREAT MOMENTS IN PHRASING!
Stephen talks of a Policeman’s ‘lady-reviver’, a bit of smelling salt.
Stephen, explaining: “So when a lady would faint, in the street, the policeman would whip it out, and-”
He has to stop there, because the audience beats him to the punch.

Stephen asks a question with a convoluted sort of wind-up.
Bill: “Uhh…NOBODY KNOWS!”
Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 8.51.10 PM.png
Stephen: “…he’s put up the card backwards.”
Bill: “oh…you CHEAPSKATE! You just put it on one side? Ya cheap…BASTARD!”
Alan: “Yeah, that’s THEIR fault…”

It’s nice when Stephen starts GI by saying ‘fingers on buzzers, those that are still working…”

Once again, Alan gets the Nobody Knows answer, though this time the question is something as ridiculous as ‘how did dinosaurs have sex?’

Overall: A cute little middle-of-the-road show to bring Series I back to earth a tad. There were some nice moments, Bill had some great lines, and the entire sequence of 3/4ths of the panel trying ventriloquism was inspired, but a lot of the show was more factual and less fun. Sean was quieter than he’d been in a while, mostly keeping to himself. Nina and Gran were a fantastic presence, having great lines and giving great knowledge, though they seemed to take up the show a bit too much.

MVP: Bill
Best Guest: Nina
Show Winner: Nina
Best QI Fact: the parachute suit guy.

QI Watchdown: I5 (Invertebrates), or ‘I TRIED A SCORPION, I TRIED AN ANT..’

Ah, the old ‘one anchor, one newbie, one oddball’ approach, mastered by the show best in the Differences episodes, where Dara O’Briain was forced to fend for himself against a bizarre humorist (Ronni Ancona) and a new player to the fold (Julian Clary). Tonight, Jimmy Carr finds himself in a similar conundrum. On one hand, he works with the lovable Sarah Millican, making her first of many appearances on the show. On the other, for the first time since Series E, he has to make sense of Johnny Vegas. If anything, it’s gonna be an interesting show.

Stephen adds to the Nobody Knows intro, that ‘if you use it at the wrong time, you’re gonna look like a bit of a tit…”
Jimmy: ‘…right.”
Johnny, holding up his: “…what’s the point?”

Stephen, on the first question of the night: “What do bees do better than dogs?”
Jimmy, not finding any alternatives: “…make honey?”
Stephen: “…that is probably true, but-”
Jimmy: “PROBABLY true…YOU’RE GIVING ME *PROBABLY* on making honey. Okay. FINE.”

Sarah: “They’re better at sneaking up on you than dogs are. Like, ye’d never know if a bee had sniffed your crotch, had ye…”
Stephen: “Oddly enough you’ve used a word in there-”
Sarah: “Is it crotch?”

5:30 in, not a word from Alan. It’s mostly Sarah and Johnny doing the work, and while Sarah’s great and all, Johnny’s not wowing me so far.

Stephen: “What are some of the advantages of breeding insects for food…”
Johnny: “…you get to pretend to be a giant…”

Stephen does say that some scientists believe that when we run out of natural food, about 2030, that eating insects will be one of our only viable options.
Screen Shot 2017-06-08 at 7.54.17 PM.png
Jimmy: “If that is the case, could you maybe have picked a picture of someone that looks LESS NUTS? You know, if you’re trying to market it. Because if he’s supposed to be Captain Birdseye of the Insect World…he couldn’t look any creepier!”
Stephen: “He looks as if he’s auditioning to play The Master in the original Doctor Who..”
Johnny: “Even the frame of the picture looks like you’re about to black out…’OOH, ME VOCAL CHORDS ARE SWELLING UP…”
Stephen, trying to get the show back on track: “But there is no real reason to-”
Johnny, still there: “I EXPECT YOU TO DIE, MR. BOND…”

Stephen, out of nowhere, starts coughing hardly, and the entire panel starts panicking, as he ate a chocolate-covered ant earlier.
Johnny: “Oh, ‘they’re amazing, they could solve the problems of starvation’, BY KILLING THE PEOPLE…”
Stephen: “I have got a problem in my throat, though-”
Alan: “AND LOOK AT THAT MAN, LOOMING OVER YOU, he’s going “AT LAST, I GOT YOU, FRY! MUAHAHAHA!”
Jimmy: “One brave ant, and they’re going ‘okay, what we’re gonna do- we’re gonna cover you in chocolate…we’re gonna put you in front of Stephen Fry…you’re gonna go down there, and you’re gonna sort things out.”

Stephen, summing up the whole situation: “Here i am, advertising this as the future of humanity, and I have to say…I feel like SHIT at the moment…”

Stephen: “Why aren’t there any vegan venus flytraps?”
Sarah: “Maybe there are…but people just don’t invite them round for dinner because it’s too complicated.”

Johnny: “If you fell asleep next to [a venus flytrap] for long enough…and it closed on your finger…would it be able to digest part of your finger?”
Stephen: “I…I’m gonna send you one. And you can do the experiment for us, and let us know. You can try your knob as well, it’d be funnier…”
This gets a nice reaction, too.
Stephen: “…it’d be a penis flytrap then, wouldn’t it?”
Johnny, as if THAT’s below him: “NNNOOO….”

Stephen brings up that ‘worm-charming’ is indeed a thing in the states, and shows a picture.
Alan: “Oh, for God’s sake…”
Stephen: “I know you’ve got your ‘get a life’ look on…”

Johnny, on the worms: “yeah, that’s that myth, isn’t it? That’s where they’ve been cut in half?”
Jimmy: “You can do that with any animal…”

Alan, still judging: “That girl is hitting the ground with a flip-flop. She’s got flip-flops on, and she’s taken EXTRA flip-flops.”
Jimmy: “She’s only done it to annoy you..”
Johnny: “It just looks like a car-boot sale, where everyone’s just forgotten the cars…”
Man, Johnny’s humor is just the right kind of bizarre…

Stephen talks about a sport where people have 30 minutes to summon all the worms they can.
Jimmy: “And why the time constraint? Are they just out on day release?”

Stephen mentions that one year, nobody could catch a single worm.
Sarah: “Were they inside at the time? Like, in a building?”
Jimmy: “Yeah, it was raining, they had to do it in the church hall…”

Alan: “At least when you go trainspotting, there ARE trains…”
Johnny: “That’s the thing! All the trainspotters are sitting on the hill going ‘LOSEEERRRS!”

Jimmy asks if greenflies are pests.
Stephen: “Well, they’re a pest if you’re an aphid…”
Sarah: “I thought you said ‘if you’re an atheist!”
Stephen, under laughter: “It’s a fantastic idea…”
Jimmy: “Bloody ladybirds! Proving the existence of God again!”

This episode is good, but it’s succeeding in smaller places. Like, Stephen shows the footage of the mantis shrimp punching a predator in the face. Johnny, towards the background, goes ‘it’d better have a ‘kapow'”. Not a ton of people hear it, but I can’t help but adore it.

Stephen shows footage of a shrimp on a running machine, then “there are some excuses that scientists have given, for-”
Alan: “FOR DOING THAT TO THEM!”
Jimmy, who is killing it this episode: “Was it mainly boredom?”

Stephen: “The person responsible for this study was named-”
Johnny: “He gives his NAME OUT?”

And then, after the clip, Johnny: “I’m waiting to see a crab with some dumbbells…”

Johnny does volunteer to eat the scorpion brittle from earlier, and says he’s gonna break it in half, then singing ‘HALF THE POISON, HALF THE FUN!” Man, there’s nobody else like this guy.

As everyone’s having the bug-infused candy, Johnny: “Can I just say,…what if we all develop super powers as a result of this?”

Alan: “I tried a scorpion, I tried an ant…I’m done.”
Johnny: ‘it’s like the first line of a musical- ‘I TRIED A SCORPION, I TRIED AN ANT!”

Jimmy, as everyone’s trying things but he and Sarah: “I think you should try an ant…”
Sarah: “Well, you’re not me mom, so…”

Sarah: “My mum said you don’t have to put anything in your mouth you don’t want to…that was my sex chat…”
Johnny: “You’re talking to the man with the scorpion lolly…”
Jimmy, still on Sarah’s bit: “THAT was your sex chat?”
Alan: “She didn’t mention your vagina, then? Just your mouth?”
Alan THEN…DOES THIS:
Screen Shot 2017-06-18 at 8.34.07 PM.png
And the entire room blows up. Sarah’s absolutely losing it, as is Alan.
Alan: “I don’t know what came over me…”
Sarah, holding back tears: “It’s my FIRST TIME ON THE SHOW! DON’T MAKE ME PUT A SCORPION UP ME NUNNY!”
Jimmy: “Sarah, if you could just entertain the thought, because if you did, I’M NOT SAYING NOW, but if you did…FIVE MINUTES before a gynecological appointment…and you went ‘I’ve got a bit of an itch…'”
Stephen: “You would be the subject of a medical paper that would be published round the WORLD!”

Sarah, on bugs: “I’ve got a rule that, if it comes in my house, then I’m allowed to kill it…”
Stephen: “Right. So how many Jehovah’s witnesses…”
Sarah loses it.
Alan: “You may be laughing, but…”
Stephen: “Under the floorboards…”

Stephen: “What shouldn’t you breathe in if you’re a stink-ant?”
Johnny: “You’re friend’s anus.”
Jimmy: “…I think that’s a general rule. I don’t think…”

GI happens with 8 minutes left in the show, and we’ve yet to hit a klaxon, even with Johnny Vegas on the panel. Weird, weird show.

Stephen: “Name an vertebrate with no backbone.”
Jimmy: “NICK CLEGG!”
Hell, there’s some nice audience response from this one!

Stephen: “What’s the strongest creature for its weight in the world?”
Jimmy: “…is it Johnny?”

With four minutes left to go, Johnny finally gets the first klaxon by guessing that oyster catchers eat oysters.

Stephen: “Which animal has the most genes?”
Alan: “Des Lynum…oh, or Jeremy Clarkson.”
KLAXON

Once again, Alan nabs the ‘Nobody Knows’ bonus, because, again, it occurs late in the show and he’s the only one still thinking about it.

Johnny ends up winning, which he’s legitimately excited about. I don’t know how it happened, but it did.

Overall: I had moments of skepticism, but this show turned into a surprise hit thanks to the insect-eating runner that just kept on giving throughout the show. All four had great showings, and great lines, with Johnny somehow bringing up the rear despite having some really nice lines. Sarah had a great debut, already getting the spirit of the show. Jimmy had the best night, just supplanting everyone’s jokes and giving great lines. Wasn’t expecting to enjoy this one as much as I did.

MVP: Jimmy
Best Guest: Sarah
Show Winner: Johnny
Best QI Fact: The spore killing ants
Best Runner: Edible insects.

QI Watchdown: I4 (Indecision), or ‘IT’S TRUE, GIRLFRIEND!’

So far, this season of QI has been more than making up for the quieter, less amusing Series H. Up next, we have a combination that’s never really failed on QI, and that’s Jimmy Carr, Phill Jupitus and Rich Hall. All 3 have carried funny episodes on their own, and all three are wholly capable of collaborating.

Right off the bat, Stephen asks why someone was thrown out of the Magic Circle.
Jimmy: “Was he using…REAL magic?”

Phill reveals the trick was ‘find the Lady’, or ‘3-card Monty’ as they call it in America.
Jimmy: “I rather prefer calling it ‘3-Card Monty’ myself, because…’Find the Lady’…I had a really bad experience in Thailand once…”
Stephen: “Did you feel a bit of a dick?”
HA!

Phill, on the ‘Find the Lady’ demonstration: “…right, you three put money on a card each, and I’ll stick this [hundred] in a lady’s knickers from the audience…”
Stephen: “That’s a whole different game. That’s a whole other lady to find.”
Phill, standing by it: “There’s a lady that’s put her hand up, Stephen…”
Stephen: “She put her hand up what?”
Phill: Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 12.24.57 AM.png

During Stephen’s discussion on tossing, as he holds a wad of money up, someone from the audience sprints onstage, yells ‘AAAH!’, grabs the money and leaves, prompting an audible ‘what the fuck?’ from Stephen.
There’s a few beats where nobody really knows what to think.
Stephen, finally: “…I think somebody thought it was real money.”
Alan, to the audience: “I’M NOT IN ON THAT! I just want you all to know…”

Great moment: Stephen asks, in all earnest, who expected the Spanish Inquisition.
Jimmy: “Was it, uh…no.”
The fact is that they were all waiting to make the Monty Python reference…none of them actually did.

Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 12.30.38 AM.pngJimmy: “Was it the Klu Klux Klan? Because those two fellows…”
Phill: “I’m sorry, I thought that was the Pet Shop Boys…”

Stephen: “The fact is that the Spanish Inquisition always gave you 30 days notice.”
Phill:
Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 12.32.15 AM.png
Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 12.31.40 AM

Stephen, trying to continue: “If you were selected to be-”
Phill, miming a phone call: “Hello, is there a Mr. Rabinowitz? Yeah, it’s the Inquisition here…HOW AAARE YOU…listen, we’re gonna come ’round and we’re gonna pull your balls through your mouth.”
Jimmy: “We’re in the area…but only for the next 30 days…”
Rich: “So ya had to wait around the house all day. They’d be there ‘between 8 and 5’…”
Stephen: “Yeah, ‘torture my neighbor, I won’t be in’…”

Rich guesses the Spanish Inquisition was started in 1483, which Stephen is dumbfounded by, as it’s shocking close.
Stephen: “Was that a guess?”
Rich: [starts dealing out the fake money from earlier.]

Stephen: “It’s actually 1478, but you’re 5 years off-”
Rich: “Well originally it was 5 years- they’d call you and say they were coming around within the next 5 years…”

In the audience tonight is a winner of the IgNobel Prize, a guy who did research on scrotal asymmetry.
Jimmy: “I’ve got an issue- maybe you could help, because you’re an expert…”
Chris: “Perhaps I should examine you afterwards, it’s probably easier…”
Jimmy: “I think I should explain- one of mine is bigger than the other two…”

Chris: “Usually the right one is higher, and the left one is lower…and that’s the normal way around…”
Rich: “wait a minute…”
Phill: Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 12.43.33 AM.png
Stephen: “PHILL, IT’S OKAY…”

Chris brings up the Aristotelian theory that testicles were used as sort of ‘weights’ to lower voices in people.
Jimmy: “And that’s NOT the case?”
Phill: “THAT is why Barry White never ran marathons…”

Phill, noticing the mouse on the behind-screen: “I think…if I were to stage an all-mouse production of West Side Story…”

Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 12.49.14 AM.png

Alan: “The way this is set up, though, it does look like the hippo’s slowly sneaking up on the mouse…”

Stephen: “What could an Irishman never be if he didn’t have nipples.”
Rich: “SYMMETRIC!”

Stephen asks what the tactic is to make the correct decision, and he gives a hint by taking a drink.
Phill: “Drink lots of water!”
Stephen: “Yes, so that in forty minutes’ time-”
Alan: “You’ll be in the loo and you won’t have to make the decision…”

Stephen confirms that people make their best decisions when they really have to go to the loo.
Phill, absolute disbelief: “SHUT UP! SHUT UP!”
Stephen: “IT’S TRUE, GIRLFRIEND!”

Phill: “I think I’m gonna do Celebrity Mastermind now. Just 20 bottles of Evian before I go on…”
And he just starts writhing around, uncontrollably, in his seat, needing a wee.
Phill: “RED! ORANGE! HITLER! I’VE GOTTA GO, JOHN!”
Jimmy: “Red Orange Hitler- I’m trying to think what that would be the answer to…WHAT IS YOUR SPECIALIST SUBJECT???”
Phill, naturally: “…PAINTING!”

There’s a great moment that goes unnoticed by half the room. Stephen talks of twins that committed a robbery, and went unconvicted because police couldn’t tell them apart.
Jimmy: “What if they were conjoined twins?”
Alan, in the background: “If we get caught, split up!”
Phill laughs here, but Stephen’s explaining so nobody else really does.

There’s a discussion on Identity Parades, and Stephen brings up the money-thief from earlier, and SURE ENOUGH…
Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 1.13.04 AM.png
Stephen: “Was it #1, Stealing Our Money
or #2, stealing our hearts…or is it just me?
#3, stealing himself for a spanking
or #4…stealing a format idea from Never Mind the Buzzcocks…”

Before Phill can even respond, Rich gets an idea:
Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 1.14.41 AM.pngScreen Shot 2017-06-05 at 1.14.28 AM.png

Stephen asks everyone to give who they thought the culprit was, and asks Phill to go first.
Jimmy: “This isn’t fair, Phill’s had much more experience in this game than any of us…PHILL’S BUILT A CAREER on this game…”
Alan: “…he knows which one is in the Kooks…”
Phill does laugh at this one.
Phill: “Just stick a bass-player in there for me…”

Stephen, post-ID Parade: “Shows it isn’t always useful having an ID Parade-”
Phill: “It is on a pop quiz…”
Rich: “I got it right, too! You know how I got it right? I wet my pants!”

Stephen, top of GI: “Who was the first person to go ’round the world in 80 days?”
Jimmy: “Michael Palin…”
KLAXON
Jimmy: “REALLLY?”

Stephen discloses it’s a real person, and that it’s not Phileas Fogg
Alan: “BLUE WHALE!”

I will say…I’m kind of disappointed that none of the panelists knew it was Nellie Bly because I knew that from a Hollywood Squares question.

Stephen, on finding the genitalia of chicks, phrases it as “in 1929, the Japanese finally found a way to sex chicks, and-”
Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 1.25.02 AM.png

Stephen: “1927, at the World Poultry Congress in Ottawa, it was-”
Phil, in hysterics: “THE *WHAT?*”
Alan: “That is a LOT of chickens…”
Phill: “WOULD THE REPRESENTATIVE FROM ALBANIA MAKE HIMSELF KNOWN!” “ALLLLBANIAN CHICKEN!”

Stephen says that may have been a very big gig at one point, and Jimmy says ‘I probably did the last 15 minutes of it one year without knowing it.”
Stephen: “We’ve all been there. I once did Phillips’ Small Appliances.”
Alan, taking this the exact wrong way: “Poor boy…”
Stephen: “It was a long time ago-”
Alan: “Leave his appliances alone!”
Stephen: “…which is why I won’t have him in the house anymore…”

Stephen: “And the Zen-Nippon Chicken Sexing School was founded…”
Phill:
Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 1.30.10 AM.png

Jimmy: “…and you’re looking at a graduate!”

Stephen, on sexing techniques: “You’re not going to like this- they do a slight squeeze-”
Alan: “And if they go ‘OW!’- GIRL.”
Jimmy: “and if they go…’steady on, mate’…”

Stephen: “In Norfolk, there is a community of Vietnamese Turkey Sexers…”
Phill: “I CAN NEVER WATCH PLATOON AGAIN!! YOU RUINED APOCALYPSE NOW FOR ME!”
Stephen: “I’m sorry-”
Phill, miming a gun to his head: “WHAT SEXY CHICKEEEEENNN…YOU TELL ME NOWWWWW..”
Stephen: “I know it sounds-”
Alan: “They live in tunnels under the fence…”

It’s great- Stephen asks what direction the moon sets in, and I already know there are two running gags that could be in play here. Rich, thankfully, sets off one by going “which moon are we talking about here, Stephen…”
KLAXON
Rich turns around in awe.
Jimmy: “This show is getting TOUGH…”

I am very sad that when Stephen asks ‘where does the moon set’, Phill didn’t buzz in and go ‘IT’S NOT THERE!’ But at least we got a ‘Rich and Cruithne’ moment out of this.

Phill wins, and he’s absolutely flustered. He turns to Alan and goes “I don’t know how that happened. I have NO IDEA how that happened…”

Overall: Our 3rd A+ of the season, and we’re already four episodes in. Jesus, Series I is just THAT GOOD. The panel was even sharper than it’s been all series, with literally everyone jumping in at all times, even Rich, who acted like he did back in Series B tonight, even if he did bring up the rear in the edit. Jimmy also had a good night, but his jokes didn’t always hit. Alan and Phill were tremendous tonight, not only in giving some of the best lines of the show, but just having so much fun together, joking aside and helping each other out with jokes. You can tell Phill and Alan are quite friendly outside the show. A ton of moments, like the Chicken Sexing discussion, Rich bringing up Cruithne again, and Phill getting yet another ID Parade, truly stand out.

MVP: Alan
Best Guest: Phill
Show Winner: Phill
Best QI Fact: Chicken Sexing
Best Runner: Rich and the fake money.

QI Watchdown: I3 (Imbroglio), or MAY CONTAIN NUTS.

Two people that have never been on before, and Sean Lock. Well then.

I’d be more worried about this show if one of the newbies wasn’t Frank Skinner. He’s wound up on the majority of the shows I watch- he worked really well on Never Mind the Buzzcocks, and he didn’t work very well at all on Mock the Week. He’ll probably be great here. He’s joined by John Bishop, who’s like Mark Steel, but scarier-looking, and with a thicker accent- I didn’t love him on his MTW episode, but…then again, Susan Calman bomber her MTW and is great on QI, so who am I to judge?

The buzzers are nice tonight- John’s is an annoying fly that goes on for 10 seconds…which causes a prolonged wince from John. Frank’s is a high-pitched barking that goes on for…what, 20 seconds? He nearly cracks up.
John: “Can I ask- how long is this show?”
Stephen: “…it depends on how often you use the buzzer…”

Sean’s is an insanely loud baby scream, which causes him to grow concerned. Alan’s is…an automatic klaxon.

Stephen brings up the Nobody Knows card for John and Frank…which makes me wonder if this episode taped after a later Sean Lock episode, as the rule doesn’t need to be explained to him.

Frank, on the Nobody Knows card: “It looks like if they had Strictly Come Dancing one night, and someone had a dance that was so experimental that the judges…”
Screen Shot 2017-05-22 at 11.12.05 PM.pngFrank is already perfect for this show.

Sean gets the first klaxon of the night right off the bat for guessing that ‘double entendre’ is french for Innuendo.
Sean: “…oh, I’ve just remembered that double entendre is actually french for ‘big tits’, isn’t it?’

Stephen: “You could say double entente, which is-”
Sean: “Two-man tent.”

John, summing up the whole thing surprisingly well: “So it’s a french phrase that the french don’t use…so it’s not french.”

Stephen asks for what they’d shout if you want more at a concert.
Alan: “ENCORE!”
Stephen: “Right. What do they say in France?”
Alan: “…MORE!”

Stephen: “No, they shout a LATIN word, which means twice.”
Alan, after a beat of nothing: “…anyone?”

John: “Ya’d HATE to do a show where everyone in the crowd goes ‘BIIIIIIIIIIISSSS!’ It’s like that:
John’s buzzer: “ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ”

John: “Do they at least use ‘bidet’?”
Stephen: “Bidet they do indeed have, though it’s easier, really, to do a handstand in the shower, to be honest….”
The whole room takes a second to recover.
Stephen: “If you’re as NIMBLE AS I AM!”
Sean: “I’d pay good money to see that! NO, I SEE YOU, with a camera, like that, going ‘tweet this!'”

Frank: “There’s a greek phrase…the greeks say catytrius diephtica (the spelling’s probably nowhere near that), and it means ‘who gives a shit?’. But LITERALLY it means ‘There is trouble in the Gypsy Village.”

There’s a very nice moment where Frank reveals he has a wealth of knowledge about George Formby, as he’s a huge fan. Stephen hands him a banjalele, in the hopes that he’ll play some on the spot.

Frank, tuning the banjalele: “My dog has fleas is what you need to remember. [tuning the strings] My dog has fl- [one of them’s really out of tune]…actually this dog has distemper..”

Frank actually does a few ‘When I’m Cleaning Windows’ lyrics, because he can, and because he’s been given the opportunity, which is a pretty nice moment.

Stephen gets everyone in the room to shout their favorite color. Then he asks Frank what John shouted.
John: “…I was mainly listening to me, there…”
Stephen: “John, d’you know what Frank shouted?”
John, looking Frank over: “…pink?”

Alan, on teamwork professions: “The one I like where people come ’round to your house and tell you what to do so it’ll sell.”
Sean: “Yeah, ‘specially when you don’t want to sell it…”
Alan: “Went in the toilet, put the toilet seat down, went “…Lid down when showing…”
Stephen: “Really? So…no floating solids?”
Alan: “Yeah, ya got to flush it first…”
John: “I’d stop my family from doin’ handstands in the shower…”

Frank, on the interrobang: “And what happens if it’s an exclamation point done upside down?”
John: “…it means someone’s in the shower?”
(This is the QI equivalent of Rob Beckett’s dad in the bath, I think.)

Frank has a very nice, David Mitchell-esque rant on the semi-colon getting preferential treatment on the keyboard.
Frank: “If I was a colon, I’d think ‘surely I take precedence in this…you are merely a SEMI version of me. I should be the one that only gets one key.”
Sean: “…I share your pain, Frank….I’ve stayed up til DAWN, with whiskey, going ‘WHY???”

Stephen introduces a round called ‘HOW IRONIC IS THAT’, where the panelists have to judge if scenarios are ironic or not.
Frank: “Are we judging on a scale from 1 to 100? I was just worried about how we grade the irony…”
Sean: “i’d say ‘SHINY’…down to ‘RUSTY’.”

Stephen: “I say this because people seem to be using the term ‘ironically’ incorrectly, like ‘IRONICALLY, HE WASN’T THERE”…which-”
Frank: “The Invisible Man!”

Frank even quotes a line from Richard III in regards to dramatic irony.
Sean: “Ladies and gentlemen, an all-around entertainer!”

Frank talks of an argument he had with David Baddiel, about whether or not Peter Falk’s glass eye played the part of a real eye during Columbo.
Sean: “How did this argument go on for so long?”
Frank: “David wasn’t having it!”
Sean: “Were you wrestling naked in front of a fire?”

Stephen brings up the old ‘Lincoln was shot in Ford’s Theater, and Kennedy was shot in a Ford Lincoln’ fact, but he dismisses it as coincidence.
Sean: “Reagan was shot in Washington, and Washington was shot with a ray-gun…”
Stephen: “IF ONLY THAT WERE TRUE! It would almost be worth inventing a time machine, AND GOING BACK WITH A RAY-GUN JUST TO DO THAT!”

Stephen brings up the fact that brazil nut allergies are transmittable through sex.
Sean: “Boy, that’s a good murder plot, isn’t it?”
John: “I feel as if I’m on an episode of House. Who found that out?”
Alan: “Surely the woman would FEEL the brazil nut…”
(And I’m gone.)
Stephen: “I think you may have slightly misunderstood-”
Alan: “The man would too…”
Stephen, motioning to his crotch: “MAY CONTAIN NUTS.”

Stephen: “Does anyone know why, in a packet of nuts, the brazils always rise to the top?”
Alan, fetching his ? card and cracking up: “Surely nobody knows…”
Stephen: “YOU’RE RIGHT!”

Stephen: “What do the signal bars on your phone mean?”
Alan, cautiously trying to avoid a klaxon: “Well, it means…how much…signal you can…”

Stephen: “What’s the use of an inflatable anchor?”
John: “Is it for hot-air balloons?”
Frank: “Is it to stop submarines…from going too low?”
The audience applauds, and Stephen even goes “that’s so sweet…”

Stephen: “There were lions [during Richard III’s reign] all over Africa.”
Sean: “They were bloody everywhere. Y’ad a picnic in those days? Not wasps. LIONS. EVERYWHERE. “GET OFF ME SANDWICH!”

Frank, of course, talks about he and Baddiel doing Three Lions for the ’96 Euro, and Germany adopting the song as their own after their victory.
John: “THAT…is irony.”

Stephen talks of a distinguished council member and fan of Clint Eastwood, who emblazoned a motto of the latin translation of ‘Go Ahead, Make My Day’.
Frank: “On my coat of arms it says ‘catytrius diephtica’….’There is Trouble in the Gypsy Village’…”

Stephen: “Name an animal whose scientific name is the same as its regular name.”
Frank: “Isn’t a gorilla called ‘Gorilla Gorilla’?”
Stephen: “yes, but-”
KLAXON

Stephen says that bananas are radioactive, as they have a ton of potassium…and so, evidently, are certain private parts.
Frank: “Is that why they’re shaped like bananas?”
Sean: “SPEAK FOR YOURSELF!”
Frank: “I’m waiting for mine to stop being green…”

Stephen: “And finally, an easy one, which country is the world’s largest supplier of Brazil nuts?”
Sean: “COSTA RRRRICA!”
Stephen: “…no.”
Sean: “oh, well…BRAZIL.”
Stephen: “NOOO!”
KLAXON

Stephen: “Well, we have a TIE for first place”
Alan: ‘FIGHT!”
Stephen: “…We’re not Harry Hill here…”

Overall: Another fantastic episode, though slightly below the caliber of the last two. All four panelists were on tonight. I was really amused by John, even if he was a bit quieter than the rest- his material was very sly, and really nice. Frank had a great night, proved he was definitely a great fit for this show. Sean probably had the best night out of everyone, just in doing Sean Lock things and building off of other people’s stories. The dynamic was definitely there, and there were a ton of really nice moments.

MVP: Sean
Best Guest: Frank
Show Winners: Frank and John
Best QI Fact: Radioactive Brazil Nuts
Best Runner: Upside Down in the Shower.

Nevermind Watchdown: S6E9, or ‘How did I know that would please you?’

WE INTERRUPT THIS QI OVERLOAD TO BRING YOU THE LONG-AWAITED MISSING BUZZCOCKS EPISODE!

I swear, if there’s one thing that keeps me up at night, it’s the fact that out of all the Mark Lamarr NMTB episodes, there’s one that was lost to the online public, thanks to copyright laws, youtube takedowns, and just…rarity. And I’d gotten, thanks to the ‘LOST EPISODES’ spree recently, a great deal of my missing pieces posted…but not 6×09. Which, as I’m a completist, kinda stunk.

However, thanks to, as I’ve come to believe, the internet’s patron saint of Buzzcocks, antster1983, the lost episode fell into my hands. Before I head into Buzzcocks’ Last Crusade (aka the Rhod Gilbert season)…I figured I’d post this sucker up.

As it’s been tattooed in my brain for two years, the panel goes like this- Davina McCall and Junior Simpson on Phill’s team; DJ and electronic artist Chandrasonic and fading-memory Radio DJ Tommy Vance on Sean’s team. And this is back in Series 6, or the ill-fated ‘series 7’ that didn’t end up actually being Series 7.

Mark, doing Tommy’s standup: “Tommy was the first voice heard on Live Aid. Who could forget those moving words: “…BURGERS, HOT DOGS, FANTA…sorry, I’ve run out of onions…”

The odd part of this configuration is that Chandra is in position to RECIEVE intros on Sean’s team…which means Tommy Vance is expected to do intros. This will be fun.

On Motley Crue and the Beatles:
Sean: “Did one of Motley Crue try to kill George Harrison?”
[OOOOOH, TOPICAL JOKE!]
Mark, ever the smartass: “…he had a good stab at ‘im…”

Sean: “Is the connection burning records? Like, in America people started burning Beatles records when they said they were bigger than Jesus. Or…they burned Motley Crue records, you know, when they ran out of firewood…”
Tommy chuckles at this…
Sean: “…what’chu laughing at, Tommy, YOU LIKE THEM!”
Tommy: “I do…but I also like a nice fire…”

Sean: “Is it to do with Pamela? She’s dating the drummer for Motley Crue. And she got rid of her implants, because they were useless, and the Beatles-”
Mark: “HEY! TAKE THAT BACK! I’m not having that kinda talk on the show. Implants are never useless, ladies. They enhance a saggy breast…”
Sean: “They were a NUISANCE…”
Mark, still going: “COME TO PAPA!”

Tommy eventually says that it costs 4 grand for a breast operation, 2,000 pounds each.
Junior: “TWO THOUSAND POUNDS A TITTY?”
Phill, still to Tommy: “…what, a breast?”
Junior: “TWOOOOO THOUSAND? For ONE TITTY?”
Tommy: “Yeah…you can use two hands, so it’s a thousand each.”
Phill: “I could buy a couple capris for that! Obviously it wouldn’t get me in a bra…”
Mark: “…still look a tit in ’em…”

The reason I love Mark so much, is that when this digression happens, he doesn’t let it stop the show cold. He goes “We’re looking for the connection between Motley Crue and the Beatles. I know we went off on a little titty tangent there, but…”

Mark: “I’ll give you a clue, it has specifically to do with the bass players.”
Sean: “Oh, they’ve both shagged Pamela Anderson?”

Junior, reminding me how quick in the clutch he could be: “Is it a domestic violence type of thing, because Tommy Lee used to beat Pamela Anderson…and Yoko Ono used to sing to John…”

Sean: “Does Tommy Sixx live on the Mull of Kintyre?”
Phill: ‘Do they fly ’round in a JET…ooooh-ooooh…”
Mark: “I’m gonna have to tell you the answer because I’m getting quite angry…”

Davina says the connection between Geri Halliwell and Pavarotti is intense anal wind.
Sean: “Was that on an episode of Don’t Try This at Home?”
Davina: “Yeah, it’s not a bad idea for a challenge-”
Mark: “Try and blow a midget over with a fart?”

Junior: “Her first single was called ‘Look at Me’…and [Pavarotti’s] the only guy who’s visible from space.”

Phill: “I believe Geri’s had some sort of nose job or something. Pavarotti, liposuction, horribly wrong, the machine backfired…he got thirty pounds of Judy Chalmers”

Mark gives them a clue that it has something to do with political service.
Phill: “SHE’S in the UN, Pavarotti was invaded by BURMA!”

And, what kind of Mark Lamarr episode would this be without a Geri slam:
Mark: “Geri Halliwell was brought up as a Jehova’s witness. And although she doesn’t practice anymore, she still enjoys being knocked up on a Sunday morning.”
Phill laughs so hard at this he nearly chokes on whatever’s in his mug.

Chandra, like the rest of us, is bummed that he doesn’t get to do intros. Mark actually comes down and has him do any intro he wants…just so Mark can do the drumbeat or whatever. It’s actually a pretty cool moment. However, it’s made ridiculous by Phill, halfway through, singing Pavarotti-esque opera in the background.

I’ll give Tommy credit that he’s a ton less senile than he was in his Series 10 appearance, and he’s actually relatively coherent in Intros.

Sean, pointing to Tommy’s shirt: “I was actually there on my holidays last summer…”
Tommy, turning his shirt around: “Ah, but what about the back?”
Sean, taking this the wrong way: “…No, I never went THAT far…”

And then…halfway through intros, the Tommy I remember returns, with him not remembering how the song goes, barely remembering the name of it (from the card), and going “…can’t see through these damn glasses…”…through his SUNGLASSES. INDOORS.

Phill’s entire team is in sync tonight- all three of them dancing to Red Alert by Basement Jaxx is something that’d be gif-worthy in the modern era.

I missed Mark’s ID Parade name prattling so much. #6 in Sean’s is “Lord of the Ring…RINGS! SORRY!”

On the Baron Knights ID Parade, Sean: “Tommy, you know when they did that Smurf song? Why did they kidnap Papa Smurf, #5?”
Screen Shot 2017-05-25 at 10.21.25 PM.png

Sean: “#6 had a good CHRISTMAS!”
Mark: “…this is goin’ out in February, by the way…”
Sean: “…#6 had a good JANUARY!”

Tommy knows who it is, so he guesses: “#1 and #3, but I’m half blind in these glasses, so it could be anybody. It could be YOU!”, motioning to Sean.
Mark: “So you’re going for…SEAN…”
And sure enough, Sean goes up to the lineup with that…
Screen Shot 2017-05-25 at 10.24.53 PM.png

Mark: “Well, let’s find out if Sean is either Pete or Butch…well, certainly not Butch…”

As an added bonus, Phill’s team has to guess which one of the 5 is Carl Douglas, of Kung Fu Fighting fame, which is a big deal.

Mark: “Is it #1, Fast as Lighting…#2-
Screen Shot 2017-05-25 at 10.28.08 PM.png
Mark: “…a little bit frightening.”
Screen Shot 2017-05-25 at 10.28.19 PM.png

Davina: “#2 looks so dark and mysterious, and when he smiles, it’s ‘AWWW…”
Phill: “You have to say #2’s cheer-him-up catchphrase, which is, as we all know…’a little bit frightening!”
Screen Shot 2017-05-25 at 10.31.08 PM.png

Phill: “…I’m just having a laugh. I just MET Carl Douglas last Thursday! It’s #3!”
Mark: “Yes, I’ve worked with Carl a few times, and he’s been on television quite regularly, BUT NONETHELESS…LET’S FIND OUT!”

Next Lines:
Mark: “J and D here, united”
Chandra: “…black and white here to show you how we…the…[to the audience] that’s one of ours, too…”
Mark: “Is this your resignation letter from the band?”

Overall: Not perfect, as it definitely fell off right after Sean’s team went for Intros, but still a fun episode. The panel was imbalanced, as I didn’t really get to know people, but maybe I say that because I’m used to new-NMTB, where everyone’s over-edited. Actually, the emphasis, when it wasn’t on Junior, was more on Phill and Sean. Davina, Chandra and Tommy all had nice moments, but not nearly enough of them. Junior was great, but had his moments of overexposure. Still a fun enough episode, with a ton of runners in Connected, Phill as Pavarotti, the entire Junior/Mark banter which was too funny to write, and the fact that it felt real, and it felt fun back in S6.

Best Regular: Phill
Best Guest: Junior
Best Runner: Junior’s roots.

(Thanks again to antster for the help with this episode. Truly appreciated it.)

QI Watchdown: I2 (International), or ‘Do What Ya Like, Wing Commander..’

We started with a great one, and now Series I rolls towards a pretty strong lineup- David Mitchell, Bill Bailey and Jack Dee. Three people that are well-suited to take this one pretty seriously. No Lee Macks or Johnny Vegases hiding in the distance, waiting to throw everything off.

The buzzers, as this an international theme, are all flight calls between countries/cities with I names (India to Islamabad). Alan’s is ‘UNEXPECTED ITEM IN BAGGING AREA…”

Stephen goes over the Nobody Knows bonus for the new members.
Bill: “What are the points that you gain by using it correctly?”
Stephen: “…I think we all agree that nobody in this universe understands the QI scoring system…”
Bill: “So, by that logic, were someone to raise the subject of the scoring system and I were to raise the card…”

After a discussion on the scorekeepers
Alan: “I wonder what the score is NOW?…”
Stephen, checking: “…amazingly, Bill has 3, and everyone else has zero…”
David, amid applause: ‘WHY *THREE?*”

Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 9.20.31 PM.pngStephen asks what would happen if the pilot and co-pilot were unable to land the plane
David: “I’d stop reading the kindle on the steering wheel…”

There’s a disagreement over what they call the guy on the plane who takes money for duty free. Jack says that he calls himself the Bursa-
Bill: “Yeah, he calls himself that…”
David: “Or is that the PURSA? The BURSA is the one who does the money for public schools.”
Bill: “Yeah, what kind of planes are you flyin’ on? ‘YES, THE BURSA will be coming around, collecting money for the end-of-term Jamboree…”
Stephen: “Here on this charterhouse flight…”
David: “The Bursa with the trolley…and then with the drinks, the groundsman.”

Stephen, bringing up another point: ‘Now, why do I say LuncHES here?”
Bill: “…because there’s more than one.”

Alan, listing a fact: “There are nearly 400,000 people in the air at any given time.”
Stephen, post-applause: “There’s no question that trampolining is a very popular sport…”

Stephen shows an example of the feats of the early auto-pilot:
Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 9.32.19 PM.pngJack: “…you wouldn’t want to be ball-boy, would you…”

Bill gets a question right, which even he’s surprised by.
David: “Another 4.5 points!”

On the world’s shortest commercial flight:
Jack: “Do they just lift off, throw peanuts at you, then land?”
Stephen: “Even worse is that the return ticket is 39 pounds!”
David: “Why don’t they just build a BRIDGE?”
Bill: “It’s a great flight. They just go over the exits, and go “…well, here we are!”

Stephen talks about how before World War I, the British army was required to all have mustaches. They cut back to him, and all of the sudden:
Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 9.40.17 PM.pngHe even throws in a ‘BAAAAHHHH’ after it’s subsided.

Bill: “I’m just imagining, Stephen, that that moustache is gonna have its own website by the time this is over…”

Stephen spins a story about the Disney head of PR sending out an email to staffers saying “The Disney Corporation takes strong exception to the use by many employees of the phrase ‘Mauschwitz’ to describe the Disney corporation. If it is used again, anyone who is caught using it will be summarily fired.”
Stephen: “WITHIN A HALF AN HOUR…they were using the phrase ‘Duck-au'”
David: “Perhaps they didn’t see the irony…of people using a fascist term to describe their organization- ‘OH, WELL, WE’LL PUT A STOP TO THIS!”

Stephen shows of a device (like Albert Finney used in Murder on the Orient Express) that guards the moustache while they sleep.
David: “What’s that FOR, though? You say you want to keep your moustache- keep it from WHAT, though?”
Bill: “ESCAPING!”

Stephen reveals that peeing on a jellyfish to suppress a sting actually doesn’t work…but peeing on a machine gun and a tomato is encouraged.
David: “I’ve never been stung by a tomato before…”

David: “If people would have known about [weeing on] machine guns in the first World War, it would have saved a lot of casualties…”
Stephen: “Well it did, actually. They did use them.”
David: “What, after the first wave in the Psalm, everyone’s firing with their cocks out?”

Jack: “When you said ‘urinate on tomatoes’, I thought you meant, like, instead of salad dressing.”
Jack is the quietest of the panel tonight, but he’s still having some great moments.

David: “I think it comes from our own self-loathing that we find our own excrement more disgusting than other creatures’..”
Bill: “Oy, speak for yourself…”

Stephen: “Now, what is the issue with machine guns?”
Alan: “They kill you, DEAD!”
Stephen, continuing: “Obviously we-”
Alan: “DEAD, STEPHEN, DEAD!”
Stephen, trying to continue: “We have here-”
Alan: “A GUN?? CHRIST!”

Stephen: “The russians actually made a gun with a hole in which to pee…”
Bill: “So you can pee, and shoot…WHILE you’re firing the gun?”

Stephen, moving on: “What was Italy’s biggest export in the year 1953?”
Bill: “…frozen urine.”
KLAXON
Bill: ‘What, URINE? URINE [sets it off]?”
Stephen: “We KNOW you, Bill Bailey!”

Stephen, describing the thing in question: “It had thousands of parts-”
Bill: “JIGSAW! JIGSAW!”

Stephen’s looking for an italian dish. Alan guesses ‘POLENTA’, and says it in a very similar accent to ‘DE PEENK POLENTAAAA, I LOOOOVE IT…”

Stephen: “And Mussolini was joined by…surely you know of the Futurists, the futurist movement-”
Bill: “Not yet.”
Dear god, Bill Bailey’s on FIRE today.

Stephen, continuing a conversation: “If I want to torture my mother…”
He then realize he may not have phrased that correctly.
Bill: “Then…it’s a free country!”
Stephen: “In a RESTAURANT!”
Bill: ‘Do what ya like, Wing Commander!”

Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 10.12.22 PM.pngStephen’s telling a story about Jesse Owens’ treatment at the 1936 Olympics, how Hitler didn’t congratulate him…and Alan just starts laughing hysterically. Stephen stops the story to wonder what the hell’s the matter.
Alan: “The bloke on the far-right’s just going like that…”
Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 10.13.41 PM.png
Stephen: “THAT BLOKE ON THE FAR RIGHT…IS CALLED HERMAN GOERING, ALAN…”
David: “I think…surely they’re ALL on the far right…”
Stephen: Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 10.15.35 PM

Bill: “They’re all just taking bets on how high’s the high-jumper’s gonna go…”
Alan: “The one on Hitler’s left is going ‘oh, I didn’t get the memo…”

Alan gets the NOBODY KNOWS answer by saying that nobody really knows where the rainwater from a certain part of a creek in Wyoming ends up. He does sort of end up mimicking Stephen as he’s doing the full answer, in this muted, garbled tone in the background, which the audience notices.
Stephen: “But in THIS PARTICULAR PLACE…”
Alan, grunted: “…no…nobody knows…”

Stephen: “Name the Largest Pyramid in the World!”
[A picture of the Egyptian pyramids shows up on the behind-screen]
Jack: “…that one, there, in the middle…”
KLAXON: THE ONE IN THE MIDDLE.
Jack: “…Am I really that predictable?”

David says the pyramid’s an Aztec one, and Stephen says he’ll give 40 points if he gives the full name.
David: “…I don’t know it’s name, but I’ll spit out some consonants…”

Stephen: “There is a word for a pyramid with a flat top…”
Alan: “…unfinished.”
Bill: “And the sign- ‘DUE FOR COMPLETION, EARLY BC, 447…”

Stephen asks for the world’s fattest country, and everyone just starts yelling out wrong answers like Fiji, Vanuatu and Tonga.
Stephen: “I’ll give you a clue, it starts with N…”
Bill: “….NNNNNINNN…..NNNNNOT TONGA! NEAR TONGA! NORTH TONGA! NEVER TONGA!”

Ah, yes.
Stephen: “When was the first World War named as such?”
Bill: “Uhh…the outbreak. The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand.”
Stephen: “You think they called it that straight away?”
Bill: “BEFORE IT STARTED!”

David: “It’s gonna be some point after 1939, isn’t it?”
Bill: “A REALIST, A REALIST…SURE…”
KLAXON: 1939
David: “EXCUSE ME! I *THINK* I SAID…I THINK WHAT I SAID, people in the box, was ‘AAAFTER 1939′, which may CONTAIN 1939, but does not mean it!”
KLAXON: AFTER THE SECOND WORLD WAR.
David, still riled: “OKAY… NONONO…’AFTER 1939’ AND ‘AFTER THE SECOND WORLD WAR’ are NOT synonymous. Now…this is just GIVING YOU TIME TO *TYPE*, *AFTER 1939*!”
KLAXON: DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR
David: “…Why don’t you just type ‘MITCHELL IS A COCK’.”
Stephen: “…I wouldn’t put it PAST THEM…”

Stephen: “Why were the colonels and chief of the Royal Dragoon and the First King’s Dragoon Guards fail to turn up for duty at the start of the first World War?”
Alan: “They were entwined…in an embrace.”

David, thanks to his many run-ins with the Klaxon, gets -44 tonight, which is hysterical.

Overall: Dare I say even better than I-Spy? Literally every panelist was supremely on tonight. There were no rifts, everyone was collaborating with each other, and the jokes and runners were flying the entire night. The Bursa jokes, the mustache jokes, the pissing machine guns, Goering’s funny salute, Alan’s nobody knows grunting, and the ENTIRE KLAXONING DAVID MITCHELL BIT…all of that in one episode. Fantastic. A standard of excellence on the series, by far.

MVP: Bill
Best Guest: David
Show Winner: Bill
QI Fact of the Day: Piss-Powered Machine Guns.
Best Runner: Goering’s wave.

QI Watchdown: I1 (I-Spy)

It’s been a while since I’ve done a QI episode, so I might as well FINALLY get onto Series I, which has been described as the ‘last of the Golden Age’. To be honest, I don’t know how the dynamic’s going to be tonight- on one hand, you have Lee Mack, who’ll probably keep the panel in disarray, and on the other, you have Sandi Toksvig, who’ll try to keep the panel in order. And then you have Jimmy Carr ebbing and flowing in between. Interesting to see how it goes.

Alan’s back to his James-May-esque long hair in this episode.

The buzzers are actually pretty amusing:
Sandi: a sexy ‘aye, aye…”
Jimmy: a captain’s ‘AYE, AYE!”
Lee: a German “AY YI YI YI YIIIEEE”
Alan: “I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts…”

Also new this season is our first big season-long runner since the Elephant card, which is the Nobody Knows card- once per episode, there will be a question that legitimately has no recorded answer, and they’ll play the card at that point.

Stephen asks for the difference between an Ai and an Ai-Ai. Sandi correctly says that it’s a sloth, but Stephen asks for what an Ai-Ai is-
Jimmy: “…Two sloths?”

Stephen reports that the Ai only comes down from its tree to defecate.
Jimmy: “Surely the whole benefit of living in a tree is you can just…”
Stephen: “…poo on whomever you’d like?”
Lee: “Maybe they’ve got a downstairs toilet?”
Alan: “Yeah, once you’ve had it put in, you’ll want to use it…”

Sandi inches closer by guessing it’s a Lemur.
Stephen: “Right, which means it can only come from one place…”
Lee: “OOH! Bradford!”

Sandi: “I’d imagine the animal on the left has an easier job finding a well-fitting hat.”
Lee: “…and a girlfriend.”

After Lee describes a Jimmy joke as just two old codgers on the streets trading insults about their wives.
Stephen: “They do that on the streets of New York, only with ‘yo momma’…”
Lee, channeling Rob Beckett: “They do what with my momma?”
Screen Shot 2017-05-19 at 10.32.03 PM.png

Stephen does slide in one really nice joke about the Navy: “D’you know how they separate the men from the boys in the Navy? With a crowbar.”

Stephen: “Why won’t the Mona Lisa stop staring at you?”
Jimmy: “I mean…she’s only human…”

Stephen describes the phenomena of eyes following you around the room on a painting.
Lee: “What if you’re behind her? That only works with paintings of owls…”

Stephen, still to Lee: “There are other paintings- what’s the most famous painting in the Wallace Collection in London?”
Lee: “…you know you’re looking at the wrong person, eh?”

Lee brings up a very good, and correct, point about looking through the artist’s eyes, instead of just looking for the subject’s eyes. Sandi, for some reason, keeps batting this down, calling it inconsequential, while Lee now has to sort of fight to keep the idea alive.
Sandi: “You know what? In a really nice way, Lee, I’m going to say I don’t think you fully understood it.”
…Even though that is played for laughs, that’s an insanely condescending thing to say to a person on national television.
Even Lee goes “if you had changed the word ‘nice’ to ‘patronizing’, then that would have made sense…”

Stephen shows an example, a sculpture of Einstein that looks like it’s going outward when in reality it’s buckling inward. Jimmy, wowed, goes “…oh, you’re twisting my melon, man…”
Shaun Ryder would be proud.

Jimmy’s absolutely wowed by this phenomena, and is even more wowed that his eyes make the same mistake when it goes round a second time.
Lee: “Listen, we’re not gonna fall for it this time…”

Jimmy: “Are we gonna bother with the rest of the show? Because I could happily watch this all day…”

Stephen: “There is this whole science called gaze detection, and it’s-”
Stephen then realize it may have another meaning, and everyone’s already gotten it. Jimmy’s just going “DON’T LOOK AT ME…”
Lee: ‘Oh, it’s a SCIENCE, is it Stephen???”

Sandi talks about going to a wedding in front of a huge field, and as people were taking photos of the couple, “there was a horse in the background with the most…gigantic…areas of expertise I’ve ever seen…and that’s all you can see in the photographs! They couldn’t actually crop it out, it was so large…”

Sandi tells another anecdote about rafters on the Zambezi who bring dogs with them incase they’re attacked by a crocodile.
Alan: “…and they throw the dog at the crocodile?”
Stephen: “…as a peace offering?”
Sandi: “Yes, as a sort of a tapas…”
Jimmy: ‘And, sorry, did your boat have a dog, or did they just have YOU…’We’ve got a small lady from the BBC we’re using…”

Stephen: ‘Who finished off Russia’s Greatest Love Machine?”
Lee: “BONEY M!”
Alan: “…I can’t believe that hasn’t set [the klaxon] off…”

Stephen talks of a prohibition-era scheme to get people to sign life insurance and let them drink themselves to death.
Jimmy: “Had they not met Irish people before??”

Alan’s joyously riffing this bit as it’s going on, already going “they ran out of booze!”, and “we’re gonna need a bigger pub!” as Stephen’s talking.

There’s this whole story about this guy Mike Malloy, who survives several drink-related attempts on his life, including drinking antifreeze, turpentine, and being stuck naked in the snow covered in ice water. He’s eventually killed by someone sticking a gas hose down his throat, which the audience responds to with ‘awwws’
Jimmy: “But BEFORE THAT, when they were trying to kill the man…you were going ‘well that just sounds like bloody good fun! But with the gas hose, you went ‘that’s not playin’ straight…it’s an interesting morality you’re working with…Take a good, hard look at yourself..”

Stephen, wrapping it up: “Well, that’s the story of durable Mike Malloy”
Jimmy: “Did he tell you that?”
Lee: “AND HE’S HERE TONIGHT!…and he comes in naked, full of gas…’OH, THEY DIDN’T GET ME, YA KNOW…”

Stephen: “There are a few myths on the internet that most people might eat eight spiders a year…”
Sandi: “OOF…”
Jimmy: ‘No, the myth is that when you’re sleeping, spiders crawl down your throat.”
Sandi: “Oh, please, PLEASE tell me that’s not true…”
Stephen: “It’s not true…often.”
Lee: “No worries, it’s not true- it’s hedgehogs!”

Stephen, top of GI: “What can you tell me about the lifespan of this lobster?”
Lee: “I dunno, but look at the size of the fish he’s just caught…”
Screen Shot 2017-05-19 at 11.21.21 PM.png

Stephen mentions that it’s not possible to know how old a lobster is, and Sandi adds that some may be sitting on the ocean floor the size of submarines…but we learn that the largest, on record, was “oh, 3 and a half foot long.”
Lee: “That’s a lot smaller than a submarine…”
Stephen, taking him literally: “Yes, it’s a lot smaller than this studio…it’s a lot smaller than many things, but it’s the largest lobster that’s been caught.”
Lee: “Sandi did say that there may be ones the size of a submarine…”
Stephen: “Oh, sorry, I missed that bit…”
Lee: “Just so you know, I didn’t just RANDOMLY say “THREE-AND-A-HALF FOOT…I’VE GOT AN INTERESTING FACT ABOUT THREE-AND-A-HALF FOOT! LOT SMALLER THAN A SUBMARINE! BACK TO YOU, STEPHEN!”
Stephen: “I’m sorry, I’ve gotten too used to you saying rather stupid things…and I apologize, on bended knee.”
Lee: “What, stupid things like ‘lobsters can live forever and grow to the size of submarines?’ That kind of thing?”

Sandi, just noticing: “What doesn’t make sense is that in the photo, if it’s underwater it shouldn’t be red…”
Stephen: “Ah?”
Sandi: “No, it should be black-”
KLAXON.
Who’d of thought that Sandi, who tried to out-intelligent Lee earlier, would wind up with the first klaxon of Series I?

Stephen, still on lobsters: “They also, rather like the people of Doncaster, they communicate by urinating…”

Jimmy complains about having to pee, on this discussion of peeing in a bag, so Sandi hands over the inward Einstein sculpture from earlier as Stephen vocally rejects the idea.
Jimmy: “Which side do I piss into? I can’t tell?”
Lee: “GET IT THE RIGHT WAY ‘ROUND, JIMMY!”
Sandi: “D’you know…I never thought I’d see Einstein in that position…”
Jimmy: “Not so clever now, are ya?”
Stephen, making the obvious joke: ‘Suddenly it’s…PEE = MC squared!”

Lee gets a klaxon by pronouncing ‘Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe’ incorrectly, so after Ye is revealed as just The, he incorrectly does Olde and Shoppe again.
Lee: “Okay, at least I’ll get this one…pie!”
Stephen: ‘YES!”
The audience even applauds this one.
Jimmy: “How Northern is that? If someone’s just flicked onto this show, and they go ‘oh, Lee Mack’s on’, and they you just go ‘PIE’ and there’s a round of applause.”

Stephen: “What went up by 57% during the Blitz?”
Jimmy: “…house prizes?”
Lee: “Was it Mother Brown’s knees?”
(-_-)

Sandi wins, Alan loses, and Stephen ends with a quote from Yogi Berra, though I wouldn’t be shocked if half the viewing audience had no idea who Yogi Berra even was.

Overall: MAJOR success going into Series I, with a panel that wasn’t afraid to connect with each other, with Stephen, and with concepts from earlier in the show. Lee Mack had the most composed show I’d seen him in, as he was willing to connect facts and keep the dynamic going, even with Sandi, with whom he had a major disagreement with tonight. Jimmy had some nice moments, but hasn’t really stood out in an episode since the early days. Sandi did vex me a bit tonight, but she still had a nice enough show, and Alan was kind of quiet but still himself. Tons of material, tons of fantastic moments, a truly impressive start to the series.

MVP: Lee
Best Guest: Jimmy
Show Winner: Sandi
Best QI Fact: Lobsters
Best Runner: Einstein sculpture.

Nevermind Watchdown: S27E13, or The Vegan’s on FIRE!

To quote tonight’s guest host, “I DID IT. *I* DID IT…[oh, sorry…]”

This is the last guest-hosted episode of Buzzcocks. After five series of it, countless classics, a few clunkers (looking at you, Westwood), and two Frankie Boyle episodes, the Guest Host era came to a close in 2013. I have gotten a ton out of this, proving that there didn’t need to be a host anchor to amount for a ton of great Buzzcocks moments. However…I am excited to see how Rhod Gilbert does in Series 28.

So, tonight’s Guest Host, the final one, is a guy I’m honestly mixed on. On one hand, Johnny Vegas is capable of being very funny, and capable of bringing out the best in people just by osmosis. On the other hand, I’ve never quite been a fan of him on NMTB. He’s just never won me over here. Tonight, he’s got the helm, and it’s the CHHRRRRRRIIIISTMAAAAAASSSS Show so it’ll at least be nice (I hope).

Of course, Johnny is lifted onto the set, dressed as a snowman, while Aled Jones’ Walking in the Air’ plays triumphantly. Can’t help but love an opening like that.

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 12.11.49 AM.pngAnd from here, he begins to yell the intros: “ON PHILL’S TEAM TANIIIGHT…”

The panel’s a nice bunch- Brian McFadden hasn’t been on since he kept repeatedly calling Mark Lamarr a duck. Sara Pascoe’s never been on Buzzcocks before, but tonight that all changes, and it’s about time. DJ Locksmith is an EDM DJ, and they were all the rage in 2013. Jessica Hynes hasn’t been on since the infamous ‘arm-wrestling’ episode with Simon. Hopefully she does better tonight.

Johnny, to start, has a series of ‘this-or-that’ Christmas questions that go from commonplace to bizarre pretty quickly.

I’m not writing down a ton of this, but it’s so wonderful, and it’s so insanely Johnny Vegas, going from bizarre and funny to emotional from one-second to another.

Johnny’s set-up is “How has Cliff Richard annoyed One Direction this Christmas?”
Sara: “Has he joined?”

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 12.31.34 AM.pngJohnny: “That looks like it was just removed from my ass…with a snowman doctor goin’ ‘it’s okay, they’re benign…”
Yeah,there is absolutely nothing quite like Johnny Vegas’ humor.

On the ID and Cliff mugs:
Johnny: “Cliff just wants to know, and I want the other four out me house before the police arrive…”
Phill: “There’s 5 of them.”
Johnny, channeling Stephen Fry: “Yeah, well, you’ve got to keep one in the basement, haven’t you?”

Noel, on his “Fleet of Cars” prop, which is just a big window pane: “Is this a fleet of cars? Because it just looks like the scene from Midnight Express…”
Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 12.41.53 AM.png

Noel: “This is like Week 1 of Marcel Marceau’s training cottage. “…and now without the glass…”

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 12.44.41 AM.pngJessica: “…problem is I just feel like Lady Gaga…”
Locksmith: “Call me kinky, but I probably would…”

Johnny: ‘I’m gonna have to press you for an answer…”
Noel: “THE WINDOW!!!”
Johnny: “IT’S NOT A WINDOW, IT’S A FLEET’TA CAAAHS!”
Noel: “A FLEET OF CAAAAHS!”

Johnny, on the playback for When a Child is Born: “This is the point where me mum would drop a quiche and wet herself.”

Also, this image:
Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 12.49.59 AM.png
Noel Fielding is the greatest.

After Sara steals both of Noel’s Intros
Noel: “The Vegan’s on FIRE! The red meat’s slowing us down, but the vegan’s on FIRE…”

Mid-standups, Johnny just randomly breaks into the Cheers theme song. I swear to god, nobody can write something this funny.

Johnny questions Phill’s ‘driving’ mime.
Phill: “I WAS PLEASURING *TWO*…*LORRY DRIVERS!*”

Johnny stops Phill and Brian’s 2nd intro, and suggests that Brian play him as bongos, as he literally lies down on top of the desk. Sure enough, Brian starts patting his chest for the percussion…which Johnny responds with ‘OW!’ noises.

(For the record…Sara Pascoe answered every single intro correctly tonight. I never thought she’d be THIS GOOD at this game. She’s like the Kim Newman of Buzzcocks.)

Johnny, on #2, aka Craig Phillips: ‘He’s got that Robbie Williams look to it. LET’S PEEL HIS FLESH OFF…AND LET WOMEN SKATE AROUND HIM…WHILE WE’VE GOT THE OPPORTUNITY!”

(For the record, the reason that DJ Locksmith hasn’t been very vocal this show is because I think everytime the camera’s done a wide shot of Noel’s panel, he’s been laughing hysterically. So if you’re wondering why Locksmith’s underedited…blame it on Johnny for being so damned funny tonight.

This season wouldn’t be complete without one more fuck-up. Johnny, right before next lines, flips the envelope of Next Lines Questions AND Answers to Phill’s team…and seconds later, an embarrassed producer has to VO in and go ‘no, you read them out…”
The whole panel just facepalms, giggling. Noel gets a huge kick out of it.

Johnny just goes on this ridiculous, slightly-drunken, semi-serious rant, which ends with him looking over at Phill and going “…you know, if you weren’t so honest, you could have won this…it was all there for the taking, and you kept sliding the envelope back like I was some bloke in a car park trying to offer you money to put me willy where it shouldn’t be…”

Johnny, finally getting to the Next Lines: “He had a broad face and a round little belly…”
Phill: “That’s why they let him HOST!”

Overall: As a Christmas show, a bit uneven, a bit uneventful…but goddamn if I didn’t laugh hard. The problem is that, with most Johnny Vegas episodes, the focus was more on him and less on everyone else, and the panel was kind of underedited, as they had to edit around Johnny’s shenanigans. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as Johnny was friggin hysterical. It just wasn’t a great Buzzcocks episode, because there are people like DJ Locksmith, whose sole purpose in the edit was just dying at Johnny’s lines, and Brian McFadden, who at least didn’t annoy the host but came off as bland. At least Sara had some nice moments and a kickass Intros round, but Jessica didn’t do much. Still, a nice enough funny episode, even if it wasn’t very substantial.

Guest Host Rating: 8/10
Best Regular: Noel
Best Guest: Sara
Best Runner: …just Johnny Vegas existing, I guess.

SERIES 27 SUPERLATIVES!!!!

Guest Hosts, Ranked Best to Worst:
Russell Howard, Episode 2
Peter Andre, Episode 3
Warwick Davis, Episode 10
John Hannah, Episode 1
Michael Bolton, Episode 8
Eamonn Holmes, Episode 6
Johnny Vegas, Episode 13
Sara Cox, Episode 4
Jack Whitehall, Episode 9
Dizzee Rascal, Episode 11
Rizzle Kicks, Episode 7
Kristen Schaal, Episode 5

Best Episode: Episode 3, the Peter Andre episode, one I was dreading…but Peter managed to turn it around, not only with a willingness to play and make fun of himself, but with the immortal ‘Insania’ round, giving me some of my biggest belly-laughs of the season. Tony Law was his usual, insane self, and Scissor Sisters’ Ana Matronic was surprisingly amazing.
Second Best Episode: Episode 10, featuring Warwick Davis, an emphasis on music from cinema, and some of the best runner-based humor we’ve had since Mark Lamarr hosted. Other than ‘Squirrels Ate My Cake’, which…again, fantastic, there was Chris Ramsey giving his best Buzzcocks performance, some really nice hosting from Warwick, and a surprisingly funny tiebreak round.
Third Best Episode: Episode 2, with Russell Howard. I almost gave this to Episode 9, surprisingly the Jack Whitehall episode, but I could not forget Episode 2, especially considering Stacey Solomon’s animal impressions, Russell bagging on Lethal Bizzle (Hashtag Fannys), and the fact that Russell may have given the smoothest ‘audition’ of any guest host Buzzcocks had on in this era.
Worst Episode: Episode 5. Nothing got off the ground. The panel was comprised of three TV personalities that all knew each other…and David O’Doherty, who only knew host Kristen Schaal and didn’t have a great show. Kristen was loud, boorish, annoying, and wasn’t always great for the position. There were some nice moments, supplied by Rylan Clark and Noel calling James Arthur a koala, but on a strong season, this is the weak link.
Hardest-to-Watch Episode: Episode 7. I had to make a category for this one. Episode 7, while funny, and amusing in some pieces, cannot be watched without choosing a side in the debate over who wronged who. Did Rizzle Kicks annoy Huey Morgan to such a state that he couldn’t take it anymore? Or was Huey drunk, high, over the hill and grumpy, to the point where his ego couldn’t take these ‘kids’ bashing him in? No matter where you stand, it’s an ugly show.
Best Regular: Phill Jupitus, for keeping his boost of energy from last series going, dominating some episodes and returning to his active, jovial mood from Buzzcocks’ Golden Age.
Best Comedian Panelist: Seann Walsh, Episode 8. I nearly gave this to James Acaster for his performance in E1, but Seann had the bigger show, and bounced off of Michael Bolton with his bizarre, lion-esque humor. Plus, his ‘WHAT’S THAT COMING OVER THE HILL, IT IS A BLENDER’ line still kills me. Honorable mentions go to Sara Pascoe, Alex Brooker, Paul Foot, Sarah Millican, Tony Law, Chris Ramsey, James Acaster.
Best Musician Panelist: Ana Matronic, Episode 3. Last season Mark Hoppus got this spot, for coming from a very serious, well-known group and absolutely defying my expectations by having a shit-ton of fun on the program. Ana Matronic did that arguably better, by delivering a nasty, but good-natured, dig at Peter Andre, as well as getting some of the best lines in the show and collaborating well with Phill in intros. I also considered Lethal Bizzle, Iggy Azalea, Conor Maynard, Jamie Cullum, Shaun Ryder, Shane Filan, Alfie Boe, Aston Merrygold.
Biggest Dartboard: Stacey Solomon, Episode 2. Like usual, people had their fun with Stacey, but Russell at least put her to good use with the ‘animal impressions’ runner.
Most Confused Panelist: Shaun Ryder, Episode 6. He seemed very strung-out, but as a member of the Happy Mondays, it’s part of the contract. He at least had a nice time, unlike my other option for this category (Huey Morgan).
Best Runner: Johnny Borrell dating Jack Whitehall’s sister, Episode 9. I loved this one because Jack got more and more irritated every time someone brought it up (I laugh at his initial, annoyed “shut up” every time). Plus, Alex, Noel and everyone get in on it, and the joke is on Jack for once. (To be fair, I almost put Stacey Solomon’s animal impressions here as well).

Next up…the LAST EVER SERIES OF BUZZCOCKS. PERMANENTLY hosted by a guy with a potato tattooed on his arm.

Nevermind Watchdown: S27E11, or For the Record, I Don’t Write this shit, so..

The penultimate guest-hosted Buzzcocks…EVER. This one’s hosted by a POSITIVELY BONKERS RAPPER….I’m sorry about that pun…it’s Dizzee Rascal. I’m guessing he’ll have more of a Ne-Yo show than a Tinie Tempah show, but…we’ll have to see.

Tonight we’ve seen all-but-one of our guests before. Katherine Ryan’s back after a nice first go. Aston Merrygold, after bowing out due to sickness in the Whitehall show, finally comes back for this one. Jamie Cullum had a nice show back when David Tennant hosted. Foxes, pop singer and collaborator, is also on the bill.

Dizzee: “So, we begin with a round we’re calling…”
Clip: “BONKERS.”
Dizzee: [long sigh]

Jamie, on his stuffed panda prop: “This panda’s got really heavy legs…”
Phill: “That’s the thing about bamboo, goes straight to your feet…”

Jamie: “I mean, do any animals actually find humans sexy?”
Phill: “My labrador used to…”
Noel: ‘Yeah, I got humped by a, uh…”[pauses so the audience can laugh]”I think it was a greyhound. I was about 7.”

The whole first round, Jamie and Noel and everyone are talking about animals humping them, and Dizzee is just sitting there, watching…possibly forgetting he has to host the show. This may be what we’re in for, folks.

Katherine: “I know that Britney has a tour in Vegas- it’s not really a tour, she just plays in one place.”
Phill: “I bet she still gets lost.”

Once Dizzee sees that he has to read some standups on the autocue next, he has a Hugh Dennis-esque “oh, I forgot about this part” moment, and asks Jamie to help him with mood music, in response to how badly he fucks up the jokes. To be fair, the first one goes well.
Of course, afterwards he checks the camera and goes “yo, for the record, I don’t write this shit, so…”

Noel, trying to start conversation: “D’you have a train set, Foxy?”
Foxes: “Yeah, I did.”
Noel: “…you ending that answer there? ‘Yeah, I did. Moving on.”

I’ve noticed that so far, Dizzee is insanely laid back in his hosting techniques. He knows he’s just reading off an autocue, and just having a good time, not taking the whole thing seriously. To his credit, though, he’s smirking a bit as he reads off the next round, ‘JLS or JLNo”, which Aston does get a chuckle at.

Aston: “I actually technically know the right answers her-”
Dizzee: ‘You need to FALL BACK, PLAYA.”
Aston laughs for about 10 seconds here. You can even hear some Jupitus Giggling in the background. Yeah, even if he’s laid back, Dizzee’s still having a nice time.

There’s also a nice 30 second sequence where Dizzee cannot for the life of him say the word ‘contractually’. Aston just keeps laughing at this.
He eventually settles on: ‘…Aston’s been told he has to FUCKIN’ BACKFLIP EVERY TIME…”

Aston, of course, does one of his trademark backflips.
Noel, to Foxes: “D’you still want to do a cartwheel?”
Foxes: :I’ve gone off the idea.”
Noel: “What about a handstand, and I catch your legs like a weird PE teacher?”

They eventually agree on doing the inverse arrangement, which the audience applauds but Noel’s already going “NO! NO!”

Sure enough, Noel’s ENTIRE PANEL pushes him to take part in the stunt, with Jamie egging him on by playing on the piano. He’s still adamant about not doing it, which is hysterical.

HOWEVER…PHILL COMES BY, points to his lap, and gets him to do it…which fails miserably:
Screen Shot 2017-05-15 at 11.26.20 PM.png
Screen Shot 2017-05-15 at 11.26.36 PM.pngScreen Shot 2017-05-15 at 11.26.44 PM.pngScreen Shot 2017-05-15 at 11.26.56 PM.png

Noel: “I’ve broken both my knees.”
Jamie: “You could take that to Vegas…”
Noel: “I’ve gone blind in one eye…my cock’s loose in my pants…I’ve no idea what went on, then…I’ve got INTERNAL BLEEDING, DIZZEE. HELP ME!”
Phill: “YOU LANDED ON…*ME*!”

Dizzee, bringing the round to a close: “…well, the answer was Yes, ANYWAY…”

Dizzee, taking the prompter reading a bit too literally: “Now it’s time for the Intros round….hand over card.”
Phill: “THAT IS THE KIND OF HOSTING I LIKE!”

Annnd add Phill and Jamie’s rendition of Grandmaster Flash’s The Message to the list of all-time great Buzzcocks intros.

AND OF COURSE…Foxes and Noel’s 2nd Intro is, of course, Bonkers by Dizzee Rascal, which he just glares at them for, hoping they get it right.

In a very nice moment, after Phill guesses it, Dizzee offers to do some live in the studio, as Aston and Foxes give him a beat. He spits it off like it’s his job, and even throws in the sound-clip from earlier of ‘BONKERS’ just as a cherry on top.

Dizzee: “In 2009, I gave an interview criticizing the expense and inconvenience of the London 2012 Olympics…an opinion I held right up until the moment they asked me to perform…”
He has a nice chuckle here, even at his own expense.

Screen Shot 2017-05-15 at 11.53.36 PM
Aston: “I LIKE #5…#5 looks like he could have a proper good time, like out on the town-”
Phill: “WHERE??? VICTORIAN LONDON?”

Foxes: “I feel like he’s seen the world.”
Phill: ‘Oh, he’s SEEN THINGS…”
Noel: ‘This round isn’t just ‘Whose Van Would You Get Inside?’…”

Overall: Imperfect, but still a fun watch. Dizzee wasn’t great at keeping the show going, but was still laid back and having fun, which I’ll accept. Panel was kinda down. Katherine wasn’t giving her best stuff tonight, Foxes was silent, and Jamie, while having a great night, didn’t do a ton of memorable work outside of the recurring piano. Aston had a nice night, but I don’t know if he was the best one. The stunt in the middle elevated this from being ho-hum.

Guest Host Rating: 7.5/10
Best Regular: Phill
Best Guest: Jamie
Best runner: Bonkers clip.

Nevermind Watchdown: S27E10, or Squirrels Ate My Cake

3 Guest Hosted Episodes remain, and this one’s being hosted by a film legend. Warwick Davis, who’s been in charge of more animatronic and small characters than you could possibly realize, as well as being the star of Life’s Too Short, is in the building. He’s a heck of a personality, so he’ll probably do well tonight, on the “MOVIE SPECIAL”.

Warwick has a nice intro- the announcer plays him in as ‘one of the most beloved characters of all time’, complete with ET music. Once the smoke clears, Warwick has this confused, almost betrayed expression. Once he gets to the desk, he asks “…did they just play in the ET music?” It works, as Warwick just sounds like David Mitchell, just deepened a bit.

The panel seems fit enough- Tom Fletcher from McFly is back, as well as occasionally incoherent comic Chris Ramsey. Also, TV presenter Emma Willis and West End actor and part time Jean Valjean, Alfie Boe.

As the captains have come in costume.
Phill: “Warwick, I’ve come as the Captain from Das Boot.”
Warwick: “…you look a bit like Bluto, from Popeye…”

Chris’ prop is a very small minibar.
Warwick: “Can I just ask why that fridge has been removed from my dressing room?”

After a tangent that leads to Chris suggesting the squirrels were diabetic by the end.
Noel: “Diabetic squirrels…another good band name…Punk band. ‘Yeah, we’re the diabetic squirrels, what’cha gon’ do about it?”
Phill: “THIS ONE’S CALLED ‘I SHIT SNICKERS’. ONE TWO THREE FOUR!”

Chris: “I reckon it’s the money thing, if it’s true.”
Alfie: “I think it’s the minibar…”
Noel: “Yeah? [to Chris] Dyou think it’s the minibar?”
Chris: “…Noo, because I just said I thought it was the money…DON’T USE YOUR JEDI MIND TRICKS ON ME…”
Noel, Alec Guinness impression: “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for…”
Warwick, even BETTER Alec Guinness impression: “These aren’t the SQUIRRELS you’re looking for.”

Of course, sure enough, they go with the minibar answer…and Chris’ money one ends up being right. He flips the minibar’s door shut in anger.

One of Phill’s answers for Keith Richards is ‘he got a bad sunburn’.
Phill: “In terms of the Rolling Stones, given that they’re so ‘ooh, don’t forget to put sunscreen on’, as they’re all like [DOWNS ALCOHOL AND SNIFFS COCAINE]”

The Intros round this week is…okay, a pretty great gimmick, to be honest. They’re all songs from films, and the person has to guess what movie they came from.

It’s even better when Phill and Tom’s version of Goldfinger is one of the better intros of the Guest Host era. EVEN NOEL, immediately after, goes “can I just say that that’s the best rendition I’ve ever heard on this show…”

Emma: “…[Phill,] your bit is making me think…Secret of My Success.”
Phill: “IS IT REALLY? [deep, camp voice] THEN IT WOULD BE DOING SO ERRONEOUSLY, MADAM.”

Warwick passes it over to Noel’s team
Noel: ‘Was it…The Squirrels Ate the Cake?”

Warwick, pre-Intros: “You should be really good at this, Alfie, as a singer…”
Chris: “…I notice ya didn’t say that to Tom…”

Alfie does a few big ‘DOOH- DOOH- DOOH’ drum noises…then has to stop and go ‘NOT EASTENDERS.” Yeah, he’s on the right show, I think..

Alfie, after an intro: “This is what I did to audition for the Les Mis movie…and I didn’t get it…”
Noel: “Who did?”
Alfie, matter-of-factly: “Hugh Jackman…”
Someone in the audience does a ‘WOO!’
Chris: “WHAT’DYOU DOING???”
Warwick: “DON’T ‘WOO’…LOOK WHO’S HERE!”
Noel: “That’s unacceptable…except if that was Hugh Jackman then…WHOOPING HIMSELF.”

Warwick: “You were quoted, Emma, in saying that you’d get naked for a million pounds.”
Noel: “Where’s the fake money [Chris] had earlier?”

Emma, inspecting the money: “Hold on…this is all fake. This is PAPER!”
Phill: “…at the end of the day, isn’t that what money is?”
Screen Shot 2017-05-14 at 11.14.50 PM.png

Warwick: “Kenny Loggins’ wife is a doctor, and they met while she was inspecting Kenny’s prospect. He was so smitten with her that, right then and there, he popped a ring on her finger.”
Chris, after a good 10 seconds of reaction: “I’d high-five you for that one…”
Warwick, deadpan: “Not too high.”

ID Parade:
Tom: “Look at #4, he’s swaying back and forth-”
Phill: “Of COURSE he is, he’s built like a redwood!”

Emma: “I think I’m feeling four…”
Phill, taking this the exact wrong way: “RRREEALLY?”
Warwick: “He’s REALLY swaying now…”

Once they have the real movie voiceover guy, they have him, sort of like the CinemaSins guy, say some random stuff.
Noel: ‘Can you say ‘Squirrels Ate My Cake’
#4: [breaks, then] “…SQUIRRELS…ATE MY CAKE.”
Funniest part of this is Noel takes a pause after ‘Squirrels’, forgetting the exact quote of the runner. I feel like he had to ask Chris or somebody what the line was.

Chris, on the Lineup of Jareths: “#4 looks like he’s had some of frontward prolapse…”
Warwick, likely as the cameras are re-setting: “OHHH…DON’T DO A CLOSE-UP OF IT!”

Chris admits, right after Warwick talks about playing some goblins in Labyrinth, that the only time he’s seen the movie, he slept through it.
Warwick: “EXCUSE ME…what have YOU done in your career? How many Hollywood movies have YOU appeared in?”
Chris: “None.”
Warwick: “…I rest my case.”

Warwick brings up a nice point, that #3 in the lineup, a little person, was actually Warwick’s own stunt double in Willow. Fantastic that they managed to get that in there.

Also, using the gimmick very nicely, all the Next Lines are from movie themes. Again, I don’t hate gimmicks and things like that if they actually make sense, and these ones work well, especially for Warwick Davis being the host.

I do applaud Tom’s Next Lines skills, though Emma’s read of ‘the Sound of MUUUUSIIIIIC’ does, in fact, put Phill off, as he stops the round to go ‘WHAT WAS THAT??’

Noel, being Noel, gives the entire next line from Flash Gordon, and even throws in a ‘GORDON’S ALIIIIVE!’

Warwick: “Watching, I keep waiting.”
Noel: “Squirrels ate my cake.”

Warwick: “This is the end.”
Chris: “This is the end, I’ve been in loads of Hollywood films and I never mention iiiiiit…”
Warwick: [spit take]

There is a tie, which leads to some impressively dramatic tiebreaker round music.
Phill, post music: “….FANCY A CURRY???”

The tiebreak round involves the guest voiceover guy reading out hints about an artist, complete with pre-recorded buzzers saying the captain’s voices.
Phill, after pressing his: “I have an erection.”
Red: “oh, man…”[breaks]

Red: “At a young age, I found I could sing like an angel and dance like the devil.”
Chris: “JESUS!”
Phill: ‘DANNY DYER!”

Overall: The patron saint of Buzzcocks episodes that gain momentum as they go on. At the beginning, squirrels jokes aside, it was a tough one. But slowly…traction built, and by ID Parade we had an insanely funny episode on our hands. It helped that Warwick Davis managed to be a ton of fun, as well as holding the panel tightly. The panel was strong- Chris Ramsey had the best day, Emma and Tom had a nice time, and Alfie, while a bit shy, did have some great moments. Just a solid, wonderful episode with lots of gags to keep me coming back.

Guest Host Rating: 9/10. Excellent job, Warwick!
Best Regular: Phill
Best Guest: Chris
Best Runner: Squirrels ate my cake.