QI Watchdown: A11 (Arts)

Have a bit of time tonight, so might as well knock out an episode or so. This one features yet another Special Guest, so we might as well dive right in:

Bill’s back after a few episodes away, with his usual look of confusion and thinning hair. I can see why he’s one of the more memorable guests, as he’s never ceased to make me laugh on this program.

I can’t get over Linda’s mushroom haircut. Here I’ve been through two episodes of it and it’s…odd. Maybe I’m just used to her longer hair on Mock the Week, but…it’s interesting and odd.

Richard E. Grant is our Special Guest, having starred in a couple cult-ish movies during the 80’s, and having been in a few bit parts in much better movies during the 90’s and 00’s. A lot of people say that if Richard Grant had had one or two good movies that he’d be as big as Dudley Moore was. Sadly that didn’t exactly happen. Good news is I’m excited to see he’s on QI.

Onto the buzzers. Richard’s is a pompous horn that even cracks him up. Bill’s is pretty funny; it’s a bagpipe player that stops randomly and rolls off key. Alan’s is a donkey noise.

You know it’s gonna be a good show when the first joke of the episode makes me laugh.
“Why don’t pigeons go to the movies?”
Bill: “I dunno, because…nothing much is made with them in mind. Pigeons are much more into German expressionism.”
Just the sheer absurdity of that makes me laugh.

Alan has a good point, as pigeons have a small life expectancy, so “they could only see a ‘U’ film anyway”.

Alan makes me laugh again by doing an impression of how an animal with eyes on the sides of its head would watch a movie, turning back and forth. This may be stupid humor, but it’s still funny.

Linda’s excellent line about pigeons’ slowed movie-watching “so they’re sitting there, watching The Matrix, and they’re thinking when is something gonna happen?” Jeez, all four of them are really good tonight.

Bill’s is even funnier: “Who is funding research into what pigeons like in films?”

Richard accurately replicating a pigeon noise made me smile, especially how enthusiastic he’s being tonight.

Alan may in fact have the quote of the night:
Stephen: “Something else about pigeons. They can suck. They’re the only bird that can suck.”
Alan: “It’s how they’ve raised 105,000 pounds!”

It may seem like I’m copying every line, but the episode is really that good. All four of them are ON tonight!

I can see why Stephen retired the practice of having all of the cards with the Klaxon words on them. When Alan guesses ‘human’, he has to leaf through the whole pile of cards to grab the ‘human’ one, and this takes him a little while.

Stephen’s moment of madness when Bill guesses ‘ant’ and other people chime in is wonderful. He points at Bill and makes numerous incoherent noises until Bill repeats it.

Stephen: “I’ll give you points if you can tell me, to the nearest hundred, how many species of ants there are.”
Alan: “One hundred.”
The look Stephen gives Alan is priceless.

Richard suggesting that they make chutney out of red ants was a nice one. I like how comfortable he is in this scenario, similar to Peter last episode.

Richard’s main tactic here is telling ridiculous answers, and telling them as if they’re really true, like the exploding pigeons story, or the one about grease making butchers hit a High C.

Bill made me severely crack up with his answer to the ‘headless goats’ question. “Is it like bobbing for apples, only bobbing for- OH! GAH!”

Leave it to good old Stephen Fry for a great religious joke. When Alan says he hasn’t read the book of Genesis, Stephen says “You shouldn’t. It’s hilarious.”

Once again, with his question, Richard tells a ridiculous story utterly seriously, especially in saying “Erectus Permenantus”. Very funny.

Stephen’s intro to “the unknown, the unknowable and the never-known” reminds me of something Greg Proops would say to introduce a round on Space Cadets. The panelist react the same sort of way, especially Bill.

Wow, GI is starting early this episode. Cool!

Ah, yes, this is the GI round that turned Alan’s ‘blue whale’ klaxon from an affectation into a frequent occurrence. He guesses ‘blue whale’ because he remembers this question from Episode 3, and tries to guess again. Even funnier is he gets MORE points off a second later for guessing ‘redwood’ in the same question. Bill, however, has the funniest answer, in saying “FRANCE!”

NOW WAIT A MINUTE! I’m taking a class on Mars right now, and it is certainly news to me that there was someone before Copernicus that said the earth moved around the sun.

Hippopotamus was the answer that I thought would rob Richard of ten points. Surprisingly he was right after all.

Bill ‘captioning’ the hippo photo made me laugh so hard. “So, I bit him in half, and I said,  funny thing is, I’M A VEGETARIAN! HAHAHAHAHA!”

Stephen: If you were to skin a hippopotamus…”
Alan: “IT’D BE LIVID!”

Good thing that Richard wins. He was responsible for some of the more interesting material of the night.

Final Thoughts:

Hell of a night for all four. Alan probably had the best jokes of everyone, but Linda and Bill were both spectacular, and Richard was a great guest panelist.

MVP: Alan
Best Guest: Bill
Show Winner: Richard
Best QI Fact: The Pigeon’s Asshole’s curative powers.

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QI Watchdown: A10 (Aviation/Alan)

Last episode wasn’t as funny as I would have liked. This one features not only Rich Hall, but Peter Serafinowicz, who may be considered a ‘special guest’, and one of the first ones, at that, unless you count Gyles Brandreth as a special guest, in which case, why exactly?

——

Rich is back tonight, wearing an equally flashy poker jacket, and still adorned with his usual craggy facial expression. I usually enjoy Rich episodes, so this one will be nice.

Julia Morris is our female guest tonight. I really don’t know her other than knowing she’s pretty big in Australia. Interesting to see what she brings to the table.

DARTH MAUL. IN THE FUCKING HOUSE. Peter Serafinowicz is known to different people for different roles. Some people know him as Pete, the eventually-zombified flatmate who spends most of the latter half of Shaun of the Dead without any clothes on. Some people know him from popping up on most Adult Swim programming. Some people know him as the guy who says “what a bunch of a-holes” in Guardians of the Galaxy. Most people know him as Darth Maul, or more accurately the voice of Darth Maul, because apparently Ray Park is not allowed to talk in any of his movies. I’m interested to see how funny he is tonight.

As for the buzzers, Rich pounds his with indifference. Julia seems amused by her train noise. Alan’s is the outlier, the only one that isn’t a horn, the sound of a perturbed elephant.

Obviously the American guesses that the Wright Brothers invented the airplane. Least it wasn’t Alan. Thankfully, Peter reassures me that British people can be hysterical by guessing “Is it the Wrong Brothers?”

Rich amused me by randomly breaking into a Cajun accent. I thought Dr. John had entered the room all of the sudden. Equally amusing is Stephen’s southern accent. It’s exceedingly difficult to go from one voice to another without taking much of a breath.

Stephen gets away with uttering the first f-bomb on QI, by saying the abbreviation for Fukioyoko, Japan. “It’s actually not what you think it is. It’s fuck.”

Stephen has a very good point by calling Guy Ritchie, then Madonna’s husband, a ‘baggage handler’

Julia only says something when Stephen gives her the floor, which never is a good sign. However, she does warm up as the show goes on, especially with her “JAPANESE-Y!” answer.

Once again, Rich gets increasingly agitated once he gets a simple, according to Stephen, question wrong. He keeps going back to the Wright brothers question, even in the smoking question. “Well, what the fuck do I know? I don’t even know who invented the plane!”

Also, Rich makes a Meet the Parents reference by saying “I have nipples, Steve, can you milk me?”

More wordplay from Darth Maul
“Where is Alan the most popular name?” “Aland.”

Stephen and Alan arguing about whether the name Alan means a rock, a boulder, or a pebble, was definitely very interesting. This whole round about Alans is great because it’s a chance for Stephen to assault Alan.

I saw this punchline a mile away, but I still laughed.
Stephen: “My father is actually an Alan, so there is a bit of Alan in me. Is there any Alan in you? (Motioning around)
Alan: “D’you want some?”

After Peter and Rich reveal that their names mean some sort of rock, Alan goes “How can all these names mean ‘rock’?” To which Stephen, bringing up a great point, says “when human beings first arose, there wasn’t much to name things after!”

In describing Poe, Stephen said that he “embarked on drinking sprees that make Liam Gallagher look like Ned Flanders.”

“He married his thirteen-year-old cousin and he lived a life of drinking”, says Rich on Poe, “so he predicted Jerry Lee Lewis’ career.” Probably the best quote of the night.

Peter trying to say that nothing rhymes with ‘rhyme’, and then everyone else chiming in with words that do, was funny. Rich even chiming in with “ORANGE!” was the kicker.

Peter has another great joke in saying “I didn’t see American History X because I hadn’t seen the first nine.”

It’s interesting that Rich is getting most of the klaxons tonight, as Alan is getting none so far. Man, Rich is having a great night but probably won’t win.

I love Peter’s face when he gets his Klaxon. He’s like ‘HE MADE ME DO IT, MUM! IT’S NOT FAIR! Funny thing is that Peter was probably winning up until that point.

Hell, even JULIA gets a Klaxon tonight, prompting Stephen to go “OHHHHH, SHE’S DONE IT!” Alan has not gotten a single Obviously Wrong Answer. This is fantastic. Is he actually gonna win this one?

I love Alan’s face the second his win is announced. Ten episodes in and he FINALLY wins one. He must have felt triumphant.

Final Thoughts:

Much better showing from all four, giving a nice contrast. Sad part is that this is the last time we’ll be seeing half of this panel, as Peter and Julia only did this one show, and they were both refreshingly fun. Julia was a bit more quiet than Peter, but Julia did have a lot of fun answers. Peter I think was a standard for all future guest stars, and displayed a nice amount of knowledge and humor.

Alan finally got a win this episode, and Rich got the most Klaxons out of everyone. Weird, weird episode. But very funny.

MVP: Alan
Best Guest: Peter in a squeaker, though Rich was close
Show Winner: Alan
Best QI Fact: Edgar Alan Poe

QI Watchdown: A9 (Africa)

Onto another night’s worth of QI episodes. Last night was filled with really funny ones. Tonight, we’re starting off with a Jo episode, so…it’ll probably be funny.

Onto the watch:

Maybe I’ve been watching too many of these, but Alan seems to have this universal sneer/open-mouthed-smile whenever Stephen introduces him.

Jeremy’s back, and this is good news- his last two episodes have been hysterical, and he’s capable of a lot of jokes while still not being over-present.

Dave Gorman I do not know, but I admire his beard. I hope he’s not on the panel to supply information rather than tell jokes.

Jo is Jo. We knew that.

The buzzers this episode are a tiny bit more commonplace, yet all connected, except for Alan’s. Jeremy, Jo and Dave have descending bells, and Alan has machine-gun fire.

Stephen has an amusing joke after the buzzers, with “and…I go after the show, if I can wait that long.”

One question in and I already like Dave, in semi-arguing with Stephen about ‘the obvious answer’ of what a Bongo is. He seems very quick.

Jo’s syllogism made me chuckle: “All men have bollocks, and all men talk, so all men talk bollocks.” I also like how Alan didn’t get a single word of Jo’s initial joke.

Alan: “Is there such a thing…as silly-gism?”
Jeremy: “Like a cheap version of Plah-Doh, d’you mean?”
(Jeez, with that phrasing you’d think Phill was making that joke.)

Alan’s anecdote about someone he knew who was visited by the Queen made me laugh in its grossness. Even Stephen winced in pain yet laughed.

Jeremy has a nice, Frankie-esque gag, in saying “Thatcher’s grave is gonna be a permanent urinal to all decent people…” Alan’s joke about putting an arcade machine on her grave was just as dark.

Speaking of disgusting things, the fact that Alan was trying to mask the ‘poo spitting’ question by asking ‘is it pellets?’. Stephen’s replay- ‘yes, it is pellets, but it’s pellets of poo, so there’s no getting away from it.’

Dave: “Are you using the phrase ‘old lady’s cupboards’ in any kind of euphemistic sense?”
Dave is very funny, but isn’t saying a whole hell of a lot. Not exactly at NPC range, but he’s still very funny whenever he shows up.

Jeremy is an early front-runner for quote-maker of the episode.
Alan: “Persia’s in Iraq now, right?”
Stephen: “No, it’s in Iran.”
Jeremy: “Oh, you’re like George Bush, aren’t you?”

Stephen: “Aristotle and Alexander the Great are connected how?”
Alan: “Umbillically.”
Stephen: “No.”
Alan: “They went to the same sculptor.”

I love how one of the biggest arguments of the episode has to do with calling Van Gogh ‘a happy bunny’. May be one of the highlights of a comparatively quiet episode.

Jeremy had another nice gag in representing a snake with a hand puppet. This is a weak episode, but Jeremy is one of the best parts of it. Even funnier is Stephen calling him “Wristy the Snake, ladies and gentlemen…”

More than 20 minutes in, no Klaxon. Either this is a good episode or a boring one.

Stephen starts off GI by reminding everyone that OWAs cost 10 points, even if none have occurred yet, which makes me think that one is probably going to, and it’s probably gonna come from Alan…and lo and behold, it does.

Alan gets another OWA for giving an answer that I probably would have given.
“How do hedgehogs make love?” “Carefully.”

Stephen even gets away with a rather juvenile joke:
Alan: Homo erectus
Stephen: Glad to hear about that, but could you introduce us?

Stephen: Who are the lords of shouting?
Alan and Jo: WE ARE!!!

Glad they squeezed the three Klaxons towards the last round.

Final Thoughts:

Not as funny as the last few, but not without merits. Jeremy and Jo did have a nice day, Jeremy in particular. Dave was quiet but had a couple nice gags, and ended up winning.

MVP: Jeremy
Best Guest: Jo
Show Winner: Dave
Best QI Fact: Poo-spitting.

QI Watchdown: A8 (Albania)

Might as well fit one more in there tonight. Good news is it’s another Clive one, and Sean Lock and Linda Smith are here as well. Bad news is we’ve had two really good ones and one boring one tonight, and I’m really hoping this doesn’t follow the pattern, especially considering that I adore all four of these panelists.

On with it:

Alan is Alan. Moving on.

Linda Smith I remember from Mock the Week, and I have nothing but the highest amount of respect for Linda, as she was one of the funnier comedians on the show, and I’ve heard that she sadly died of cancer not long after her episodes on MTW. All I’ve seen of her stuff is funny, so I have the highest of hopes for her on QI.

Sean Lock is gonna pop up a lot on QI, and he’s mainly used as Jimmy Carr’s sidekick, though I’m happy to see he’s around without Jimmy. It’s sort of like seeing Jim Sweeney without Steve Steen just to see him move on his own.

CLIVE’S BACK! YAAAAAAYYY! Clive was wonderful his last episode, so I imagine he’ll be wonderful here as well. The odd thing is that this episode is only five years after the last Whose Line one in the UK, so…he hasn’t really aged that much.

The buzzers are thankfully funnier in this episode. Clive’s got me laughing, as it’s an overly excited trumpet player (sort of like the one from Muse). Sean’s confused by the simplicity of his, even saying ‘that it?’ Alan’s is the funniest, even eliciting an ‘oh, Alan…’ from Stephen.

The very first question off the bat delves into an argument about whether elephants drink. Sean has a good line, saying ‘so all the footage of elephants standing by water holes…they’re just acting.’

More evidence that Clive is one of the funnier recurring panelists:
Alan (on elephants drinking): Do they take it down the trunk?
Clive: After a few drinks, they’ll take it anywhere…

Clive has another amazing line, about elephants getting drunk: “They drink to forget, obviously.” This makes it the second funny joke about elephants’ memory in the last two episodes.

Alright, I believe we have our first recipient of the Frankie Boyle Award for Filthiest Joke of the night, and it comes…from Alan.
Stephen: “Bond has this idea that homosexuals can’t whistle, for example…”
Alan: “What, cause they’ve got a cock in their mouth?”
Stephen’s reaction to this was outstanding. He even relished in its filthiness, which is odd for Stephen, eventually going “I want you to go and stand in the corner.”

Linda has her first good joke of the night, on C.B. Fry: “was the mantlepiece with or without ornaments?”

I love how long it took for Clive to get to the right answer on the Albania one. Stephen must have been having a good time with that one.

Alan’s reaching for odd ideas, such as ‘self-cleaning asshole’ had me laughing.

And THEN Clive had the best idea of the show, of having an exhaust pipe for farts, which cracked me up, and pretty much everybody in the room.

At the appearance of bare bums against the changing screen, Alan has a nominee for the best line, with ‘Geri Haliwell’s not looking too thin…’

About 20 minutes into the episode Alan supplies us with our first OWA. Even Stephen is relieved, going “OH! FINALLY!” Even funnier is A SECOND LATER, Alan gets his second by saying Baked Beans, and Stephen is forced to go “OHHHHHHHHH!” He guesses mayonnaise, and Stephen retorts, ‘no, but you’re safe on that one.’

Also, for the umpteenth time, somebody changed the buzzer sounds halfway through the episode.

Clive, two appearances in, finally makes a bald joke HIMSELF. “I’m just fascinated to know that hair grows after you die, because I’m looking forward to that.” Well…bloody…done, Clive.

For the first time, Stephen rescinds a wrong answer buzzer, as even if Clive says the word ‘tree’, he explains that they call them banana trees, but they’re not really trees, even as the buzzer is going off.

Sean: “They walk.”
Stephen: “What was that?”
Sean: “Banana plants, or whatever they call them. They walk.”
Stephen: “NURSE? NURSE? HE’S OUT OF BED AGAIN!”

Possibly the quote of the episode:
Stephen: And if a lion mates with a tiger, you get a…
Alan: …scandal.

In announcing the scores, Stephen doesn’t even need to say Alan’s name at this point for everyone to know what’s happened.

Final Thoughts:

Not as good as the last episode, or possibly the Brandreth one, but a deliciously good one indeed. Lots of good laughs and good guests.

Sean took a little while to start talking, but he had a lot of very funny answers as the night went on. Linda took more of a defensive approach, but still made a lot of really nice jokes.

Clive was the runaway winner, both intellectually and humor-wise, proving how ridiculously well he fits into this dynamic. I didn’t think it possible, but I may enjoy Clive Anderson better on a panel than behind a desk.

Alan had a very funny night himself, having some really ridiculously stupid, yet funny, answers, and not having a greal deal of OWAs.

MVP: Clive
Best Guest: Sean
Show Winner: Clive
Funniest QI Fact: Benjamin Franklin’s farts.

QI Watchdown: A7 (Arthropods)

Third episode I’m watching tonight, after one really good one, and one really…not as good one (thanks a ton for that, Howard). Thankfully, Jimmy Carr is on the bill tonight, and he’s as close as we’re getting to Frankie Boyle on this one, which is promising.

Let’s get to it:

Jo is back for the second episode in a row, which is nice, because most of her jokes hit last time. It’s disconcerting that a lot of people in the YouTube comments feed seem to not particularly enjoy Jo Brand. I think she’s funny. I think she’s very funny.

Jackie Clune I do not know. I’m tempted to throw her into the NPC category for this episode, yet I should probably watch some of the damn episode before I throw any labels around.

Ah, yes. Jimmy Carr, Lord of the Eyeliner. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Jimmy, mainly that he’s got a similar sense of humor to Frankie Boyle, which I am delighted to hear. I haven’t seen any of 8 out of 10 cats, so I don’t really know how he is, but I’m very excited. Him and Phill Jupitus are the ones I was looking forward to, and now we’ve hit a Jimmy one, so…yeah.

Tonight’s Stephen standup is rather rushed, as he goes right to the buzzers without any intro.

Jo’s buzzer is very similar to Alan’s from a few episodes ago, and just as funny. The others are just other cashiers, while Alan’s is just a ‘sorry for the delay’ message. Clever, and similar to later buzzer stuff.

What’s this? The first answer of the show is an Obvious Wrong Answer…but it’s not given by Alan? JO GIVES IT? FASCINATING!

Not even three minutes in, and Alan’s buzzer has already changed. And, again, nobody noticed but Alan.

I love Alan’s reaction when 4/5ths of the talent just start talking about scrotums. He has this confused expression, and starts laughing very hard.

Not only did Alan’s buzzer change, but suddenly Jimmy’s is a DJ revving. Does that usually happen? Do the elves just randomly change the buzzer noises as the episode goes on?

Jimmy gets egged into saying an OWA (by Alan of course), which is a guess of ‘I don’t know’, and gets the noise rung. It’s funny, because when he said ‘I don’t know’, I half-expected a gallon of green slime to drop on his head (somebody please get the fucking reference).

Two OWAs so far. Neither of them from Alan. (Twilight Zone theme plays)

Jo gets her SECOND Obviously Wrong Episode of the night, and flails her arms’ round excitedly. NO, JO! YOU DO NOT *WANT* THAT!

Jimmy had a very nice anti-joke with “Why did the lion get lost? Because the jungle is MASSIVE.”

I do like Jimmy’s delivery. I think he’s very quick, and very dry. However, he lacks a Scottish accent, so his delivery is not as good as Frankie Boyle’s. Kidding of course. I think it rather helps the pace of his jokes, as he can just shoot right through them without huddling over twirled consonants like Frankie does.

Jo made me laugh with the comment about the He-He tribe. “I think it’s pronounced Hey-Hey, and they were an early boy-band, and they went around going ‘Hey, Hey, we’re the Monkees’. She even cracked up through that.

Jimmy had a very good point about pointing to the King’s Hut. “Which one is it? ‘that one…aaauuughhh…” Even better, he uses that detail about Swaziland in the very next question. That is how you reuse a gag.

Jo: “Yeah, I know something about the King’s mum.”
Stephen: “Who, the Great She-Elephant?”
Jo: “Yeah. She has a great memory…(cracks up)”
Stephen: “Jo, you’re having a wonderful time of yourself!”
That might be the quote of the episode. Jo is on fire tonight.

Jackie has the first relevant and funny thing she’s said all night:
Stephen: “Which ham did King Henry VIII wipe his bottom with?”
Jackie: “Anne Boleyn’s.”

Jo expects to get a wrong answer by saying an obvious one, which one have been her third of the night, but it ends up being correct. She even does an impression of the buzzer sound (“WOH!”)

Jackie is very far from the funniest person on the panel, but she’s also far from a NPC, having a few funny lines here and there. She is, however, more insistent on answering the questions than making jokes, though she has made a bunch of really nice jokes. She’s just not answering as much as the other three.

Okay, now I have Jackie’s full and unedited respect:
Jackie: “Did you know that the latest edition of the Oxford english dictionary does not contain the word ‘gullible’?”
Stephen: “Is that really true?”
Jackie: (points and laughs)

Jimmy has another good one with noting that the male European earwig has a peculiar moustache. Funnier still is the fact that he keeps going. “Is he greying at the temples? Is he wearing a monocle?”

Jo gets her THIRD OWA of the night. Keep in mind…Alan has not had one yet. Jimmy’s had one, Jo’s had three. Alan’s had zero. What a night.

…Not even a second later Alan gets his first OWA of the night by saying that water is clear. Knew it was gonna happen eventually, but at least it doesn’t look like he’ll be in last this time.

Stephen’s demonstration of how a duck sneezes made me laugh.

Would you believe it, Jo has gotten the obviously wrong answer FOUR TIMES THIS EVENING! HOLY CRAP! The funny thing is this is the first time she’s done it and had the actual required response. The other times she’s either been too excited or too shocked.

…FIVE. NOT EVEN A MINUTE LATER JO GETS HER FIFTH ONE WRONG! She is having a hell of a night. Meanwhile, Alan’s still in the positive range, and even got points for the one wrong answer he had.

The little package of vulva-volvo wordplay amused me, especially Stephen’s “it’s recently gone in for a cervix.’

I love how Jackie ends up winning by being one of the few people to stay above zero. Wow. Nicely done.

Not everyday you hear the phrase ‘AND SECOND, ALAN DAVIES WITH ZERO!’

Final Thoughts:

Wow. What an episode. All four players were really on, and a lot of great moments of jokes tonight.

In an episode where I thought Jackie would be the NPC, she ends up being a perfectly funny force, and a very good presence on the show. This is her only episode, but it was a nice one.

Jimmy had an outstanding debut, making the most of his answers, and while not approaching the riske factor Frankie Boyle would hit every time on Mock the Week, he definitely was entertaining.

Jo caught a great deal of the OWAs, and made herself very amusing tonight, even cracking up at some of her own jokes.

Alan had a more modest night, not getting many wrong, or right even.

MVP: Jo
Best Guest: Jimmy
Show Winner: Jackie
Loser of the Week: Jo, for getting five OWAs
Best QI Fact: The Kangaroos.

QI Watchdown: A6 (Antidotes)

For the first time this series, tonight’s episode of Mock the Week features four people we’ve seen before, so I don’t need to do too much in the ‘first impressions’ round of this post. Granted, of these four people, there is one that I wish I hadn’t seen before, and wish I’d never see again (and thankfully this is his last episode).

Let’s get on with it:

Danny’s hair seems to be in a bit better condition than it was in Episode one. I assume someone took a comb to it before the show.

Howard looks as bland as ever.

Jo looks like she used a bit more makeup than usual to prepare for this episode, and a bit too much lipstick as well.

Sadly the buzzer noises in this one are closer to the caliber of the first and third episode- commonplace, and not necessarily funny, except for Alan’s, which is a prolonged howl.

Alan has a very nice point, when, in response to Stephen’s quoting Bohr in saying “if you’re not shocked by [the Schroedinger problem], then you probably don’t get it”, he went “sort of like this show.”

Howard is a source for knowledge, like in the last episode, but hasn’t been telling too many jokes. Again, one of the reasons why he’s not great for this show.

Alan trying to relate Barbara Cartland to Lionel Ritchie’s ‘Hello’ video made me laugh, especially considering the fact that it just downright amused Stephen.

Stephen is an early frontrunner for quote of the night, when, to break the argument of sorts, and the conversation that’s been derailed with Alan and Danny, he says “I feel like we’ve got an insight into what life would be like in an old people’s home.”

“I was in a room with Paul Merton and Nicholas Parsons…just to show off my show-business crudentials.”- Stephen. Sadly, that’s as close as we’re gonna get to Paul Merton showing up on QI.

Alan: “And where do you get a black jackass these days?”
Jo: “Kentucky Fried Jackass…”

Just an observation: this episode isn’t as funny and quick as episode 5, which was a loud, sprawling free-for-all. I blame the stacking of people like Danny and Howard, who are more inclined to be factual than be funny.

I love how Howard notices halfway through that he’s the only person using his buzzer, which prompts Jo and Alan to barge in buzzing theirs. Also, yet again, the producers decided to change Alan’s buzzer noise, and only he notices.

Danny: “Disney has the fourth-largest Navy in the world.”
Stephen: “They’ll be making films next…”

Jo made me seriously laugh, at myself really, when she suggested that the troops gave Americans hamburgers to prevent them from swallowing their own tongues.

Biggest laugh I got in the episode pertains to Alan’s buzzer, which was switched to a sheep noise. When Stephen asked what sound the world’s largest frog makes, Alan pressed his buzzer, and just motioned to it, as if to say “BAA.”

Alan on Ribbit: “Now, that’s Rabbit in New Zealand!”

Stephen: “Most female frogs don’t make any noises at all.”
Jo: “BECAUSE WE CAN’T GET A BLOODY WORD IN EDGEWISE!”

Howard has managed to guess two obvious answers over the course of two episodes. I would not have guessed that he had it in him.

Danny gets his second win. Good thing too, or else it would have been Howard.

Final Thoughts:

Not the most heart-wrenching episode. A lot of facts and not a great deal of laughs.

Jo at least had the right idea, coming up with some of the best jokes of the night. Thankfully, we’ll be spending the next episode with her as well.

Danny is good for being factual and occasionally funny, even if he’s not the most interesting man on the panel.

Howard…finally goes back into the music booth after this episode. Thankfully.

MVP: Jo
Best Guest: Jo
NPC of the Week: Howard
Show Winner: Danny
Best QI Fact: The 1933 World’s Fair one. Quite Interesting indeed.

QI Watchdown: A5 (Advertising)

Last night I took down 5 QI episodes in a row. I dunno how many I’ll do tonight, but if I’m on the same pace, I’ll be on Series B very, very shortly. This episode’s a nice one, as it’s the first appearance of Rob Brydon, whose sheer existence makes me laugh (“come come, Mr. Bond…”).

Let’s dive right in:

Alan, I think, personifies the ‘lovable idiot’ trope in this serious, partially because that’s how he is as a person.

Happy to see Rob, as I’ve seen The Trip, and I’m a big fan of his Michael Caine impression (though Coogan did his a bit better). I’ve yet to witness Rob on a panel show, so this will be rather interesting.

Rich looks just as craggy and mopey as he did last time he was on the show, although he’s wearing a less flamboyant jacket.

Gyles Brandreth…can’t say I’ve heard of him, but I know that he’s a big deal. I remember a Whose Line Scene from the Hat, with Jim Sweeney and Tony Slattery, involving the Queen Bee searching for a mate. Tony came on and said ‘I don’t think you’ll want me, I’m Gyles Brandreth’. So, if he’s good enough to wind up as a Whose Line obscure reference, alongside Jeremy Beadle, Lord Lucan and Anne Diamond (and those three were just from Tony), he’s gonna be a treat tonight.

This one’s obviously been filmed after a few episodes have gone by, as Stephen announces that Alan’s been so…obvious in his answers that he’s part of the intro-demonstration.

As for tonight’s buzzers, everyone seems moderately alarmed by theirs tonight, as Gyles is confused by his ‘party horn’ sound. Rob’s is majestic trumpet music, which cracked me up, especially when he started nodding, in a ‘damn right’ kind of way. Alan’s buzzer is just the ‘HOPELESS’ deduction that Stephen addressed earlier, and yeah, still makes me laugh.

“Minus ten to Alan already before we’ve even begun…” Yeah, this is gonna be a fun one.

So…I’ve only now just heard Gyles begin to speak…and wow. Either this guy is the most British person I’ve ever heard, or simply the most pretentious.

Rob buzzes in, really just to permeate the conversation, and his buzzer noise amuses not only me BUT the audience.
Stephen: “Do you have a question, Rob?”
Rob: “No, I just like the tune.”

Already, the array of accents is fascinating. You have Rob’s Northern/Welsh accent, Alan’s general British accent, the kind people do impressions of, Rich’s asshole American accent, and Gyles’ pompous prince from a Disney movie set in Medieval times accent.

I’ve just figured out who Gyles sounds like. He sounds like either Hank Azaria in Night of the Museum 2, or a bad Boris Karloff impression. Which means, on the same panel, we potentially have two Hank Azaria characters (Rich is basically Moe the bartender).

I love how Stephen awards Gyles ten points…simply for being Gyles Brandreth. All the while, Alan is making weird faces and…being Alan Davies.

Gyles and Stephen gave Rich a bit of crap for not knowing that the London Eye was behind them, and not a Ferris Wheel. He’s American. He doesn’t know those things about British architecture!

I still think the best accent of the episode is Rob’s, because not only does the Welsh accent make everything he’s saying more interesting, but it factors into his delivery. Not since Frankie Boyle have I encountered someone patenting how they tell jokes upon their nationality.

Gyles gives the obvious answer (MR2= Merde), despite the fact that Alan probably wouldn’t have known french. Good thing it turns out to be correct.

Wow. If only Stephen would have known that the episode that started with a good minute and a half of ‘Alan always guesses the obvious answer’ jokes would result in Alan not giving an obvious answer until 8 minutes in.

Okay, best non-quote of the episode happens when Gyles starts talking about the Guinness fellow. Alan and Rob turn to each other, realizing that Gyles is gonna go on another large tangent, and just sit back, cross their arms and smile.

The good news is that Gyles sets up Stephen for one of the best quotes of the evening:
Gyles: “I learnt something about how to handle somebody if they’re not being very interesting.”
Stephen: “Oh, do tell me! Do tell me!”

Rich takes on the Alan trope of trying to say interesting things just to get points, i.e. “You know, Venus is made entirely of felt. I would like three points please.”

Let it be written down in the history books that the very first time Rob Brydon broke into an impression during QI was this episode, and said impression was one of Sir Alec Guinness. I do love the fact that his James Dean impression sounds more like Marty McFly, or ‘Stuart Little’ according to Alan.

Wonderful transition: After Rob is finished telling his Alec Guinness story, Rich yells out, in an attempt to garner points, “RADISH IS A MEAT!”

Second Amazing Quote of the Episode:
Stephen: “How do the Ancient Greeks suggest otters kill crocodiles?”
Rob: “Softly, with their songs.”

The second that Stephen began describing the punishment by radishing, you could immediately see Rich perk up- it’s as if he knew that gag was coming. The next few seconds you can see him waiting, impatiently, for Stephen to finish, to go ‘you know, a radish is a meat…”

Christ, is there anything that Gyles does NOT know? This is pretty ridiculous.

You know this is a great episode when GI comes around and you’ve already written a book.

Alan gets around a potential OWA by asking “is it…is it actually not a hundred?” His astonished, “do you see what I’ve done there?” made me chuckle.

Rich’s persistence on claws, even as Gyles was readying the correct answer, made me laugh. He pressed the buzzer three or four more times afterward. The payoff of this joke, which I’m not exactly sure that Rich knew of when he started it, was worth it: one more buzz after Stephen’s explained the answer, and Rich goes “so you’re saying there’s no centi-claws? (Santa Claus)”

I didn’t think Gyles would get one wrong, especially the ‘nothing rhymes with purple’ one, which reminds me of the chilver one from last episode.

Alan’s insistence on going through all of the letters of the alphabet and seeing what rhymes with purple made me laugh, especially Stephen’s response of “do you know what you’re doing on National Television?”

Of course Gyles wins. He knows everything.

Final Thoughts:

Alan didn’t screw up that many times tonight, in fact only once. He’s still the representation of the lovable idiot, and he’s still a great regular.

Rob had a terrific debut showing, and I felt like he was having a lot of fun with it, especially given his reaction to his buzzer noise.

Rich had an even funnier night, if possible, than the last episode he was in, cracking more jokes and holding insistence on a lot of gags. He’s slowly becoming one of the more reliable recurring panelists.

And Gyles…well, Gyles was a very interesting addition to the panel, and he definitely seemed to be having a wonderful time. However, I am very happy that I don’t have to listen to him every episode, or else I’d want to stop watching. I’m glad he doesn’t come back for another few seasons. Better in smaller increments.

MVP: Rob
Best Guest: Rich
Show Winner: Gyles
Funniest QI Fact: Radishes up the anal cavern.

QI Watchdown: A4 (Atoms)

Four in one night. And no, I’m not describing how many Obviously Wrong Answers Alan gets per episode. I mean this is my fourth QI tonight. And it’s a good one, seeing that this is Jo Brand’s first episode, and she’ll be with the series until the present season.

Let’s dive in:

Alan is looking like he wants to kill Stephen at the top of the show. This is gonna be a good one.

Howard Goodall is the show’s composer, and that’s basically all I know about him. I’m thinking this is the kind of Jimmy Mulville sort of thing where someone from production will sit in on a few episodes to ruin things a bit.

Jeremy Hardy is back. Is this the second british panel show that he’s stayed on for a series and a half for? Mock the Week first, now this?

Jo Brand I already knew from Mock the Week’s first couple series’, and I remember her being one of the few funny female panelists they had on. Like, they’d have like a Gina Yashere or a Holly Walsh, but I think Jo Brand did more shows than them. And like I said, she’ll be around for a while.

I like the rhyming Stephen’s doing right off the bat. You can see the panelists are amused by it, especially Jo.

I feel like the last few tapings have been out of order of filming. Like, 1 and 3 are similar in their simpler buzzer sounds, but 2 and 4 have been wacky right off the bat. For instance, Jeremy’s, which was the first one shown, made me laugh. Jo’s was funny, but her reaction to it made me laugh harder. Alan’s was a ‘only-Brits-will-get-this’ one, but still made me (and Alan) laugh.

You know you’ve been watching this show for four episodes when, even when Stephen says ‘this is ridiculously easy’, you know it’s going to end up with Alan pulling a OWA. I still laughed, because I would have guessed that.

“Always take a tree into a lift with you.” Well done, Jeremy. Thought he was still a funny guy.

I’ve figured it out. Howard looks like a cross between Bill Clinton and a science professor. And THAT’s why he’s not said anything.

Not even four minutes in, and Jo already had a great line.
Stephen: What is the most boring place in all of Britain?
Jo: Is it the Big Brother house?

Stephen made me crack up with his impression of a Newcastle accent “DEEEA EEEEAAAGHT!”

Five minutes in, not a damn word from Professor Clinton. That’s what you get when you make your crew go on the show. What, was he a last minute replacement for somebody? Did Rich Hall not show up because he was too bitter about life in general?

5:30. Howard finally says something, but it’s only when Stephen basically hands him the floor. How pathetic. Good news is this loaf of bread is in only one more episode.

I got a genuinely large laugh out of Jeremy pointing out the ‘terrifyingly large moorhen up on the top’, and the map ZOOMING IN to the moorhen. That is too funny.

Leave it to Jeremy to turn a boring speech by Howard into a really funny bit, by saying ‘it might have been because they weren’t entirely sure she was dead’. Jeremy is on fire tonight.

“Now, I put it to you, that if you were to go into the ozone layer and sniff, you would die.” Alan cracked me up with that one.

Stephen: “It’s kind of like if you cut a word in half and add another word, like Abso-blippin’-lutely, or sen-fucking-sational
Jo: “Or Scunthorpe”
THAT…made me laugh.

The best part of having four really, really odd sounding buzzers is that when all four of them ring in at once, you get to hear a combination of all of them. Even funnier is Alan’s coming in seconds later.

Once again, the second I heard the word ‘easy’ out of Stephen’s mouth, I foretold the “OOOOOOOHHHH!” that would follow Alan’s wrong answer.

Alan trying to justify the fact that Henry VIII did indeed have six wives cracked me up. Especially ‘think of all the family members going ‘WE WERE THERE!”

Alan: “Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.”
Stephen: “GOOD LORD, YOU ARE EXTRAORDINARY!”

I never would have thought that, of all people to have been first to get an Obviously Wrong Answer, that it would have been Howard. I would have guessed Phill Jupitus. But nope, Howard got an OWA here.

More than halfway through the show and Alan’s buzzer is still cracking me up.

Howard (on light): Someone slowed it down.
Alan: So they could get into bed before the light went out.
Okay, that is fucking genius. I don’t care how many OWAs he gets. Alan is very, very funny.

I think Stephen shouldn’t have given Alan an OWA for saying environment, but whatever.

Final Thoughts:

Alan was very argumentative today, trying to fight his way onto points, which is a really nice showing from him.

Jo was a nice breath of fresh air, getting a lot of really nice laughs, and reminding me of how funny she was on Mock the Week. Jeremy had a nice night as well, but not as nice as Jo’s.

Howard…sadly didn’t do too much other than spout mildly interesting details.

MVP: Alan
Best Guest: Jo
Show Winner: Jo
NPC of the week: Howard
Funniest QI Fact: Henry VIII and his wives.

QI Watchdown: A3 (Aquatic Animals)

Burning through as many of these episodes as I can tonight. Besides, they’re fun, and I enjoyed the last one simply due to Cruithne, and Rich’s bitterness towards Stephen following that one.

Onto Episode III:

CLIVE! CLIVE’S HERE! AAAAAAHHHHHH! I’m so excited, because in 10 seasons of Whose Line, the man never got out from behind the desk to perform, except for cracking a few jokes here and there. I knew he was capable of being very, very funny, and him appearing on QI confirms this. Best part of Clive Anderson showing up is I can make bald jokes. YEEESSS!

Bill’s back. Wonderful.

Meera Syal I do not know, but I’m not sure if we’ll be hearing a lot from her this episode.

For a second I did a double take because from the swoop-in after the credits, I thought Alan was Chris Addison, and started spazzing out because Chris Addison represented the last golden era of Mock the Week. But, of course, it was only Alan wearing a pink shirt.

The buzzer noises are creative, in each is like a gavel, except for Alan’s, which is a ping pong ball. My first thought when I saw Clive’s gavel was ‘THIS COURTROOM IS A MOCHRIE!’ And then I thought sad because I don’t think Colin Mochrie ever did an episode of QI.

NOT EVEN TWO MINUTES INTO THE SHOW and Alan has his first run-in with the Elves. Man, that guy is good!

I find it very ironic that Bill is the one arguing about a blue whale when in a span of two years he’d end up voicing one in the Hitchhiker’s Guide movie.

“It’s a tapeworm INSIDE a blue whale!” Well done, Clive! Good to see the man’s still got it. And by it, I do not mean hair.

Makes me very happy when Stephen speaks of a Sherlock Holmes story, partially because I know he’s a huge fan of Conan Doyle, but mostly because in a span of eight years he’ll be playing Mycroft.

Five minutes in and Meera Syal has not said a word. I didn’t know we invited Shappi Khorsandi to this panel (I say that because I do not believe Shappi said a single word on her episode of Mock the Week).

OKAY, FIVE MINUTES 45 SECONDS IN, MEERA FINALLY FUCKING SAYS SOMETHING. ABOUT DAMNED TIME! Jeez, I thought we just had three panelists on this one for a second.

“The blue whale, a very vain animal. Perhaps the largest thing it’s able to swallow is its pride.” A great quote from Bill. Reminds me why I enjoyed him on Space Cadets.

Alan’s motion involving the whale’s lack of erections made me laugh harder than I should have.

Alright, Clive Anderson may be the frontrunner for quote of the episode
Meera: “You know how the octopus mates? They mate with their third right arm!”
Clive: “Well, we ALL do that..”
Well…done. I didn’t know Clive could manage a masturbation joke like that.

I find it quite ironic that Stephen’s the first one to mention Pamela Anderson’s, in his words, “BIG TITS!”

Another great Clive quote:
Stephen: “They were both the offspring of a cobbler and a washer-woman”
Clive: The same one.
Stephen: NO!

Wow, either this was a quick episode or there were too few rounds, because it felt like GI snuck up on us.

Also, a wonder that Alan’s second obvious answer of the episode came twenty-one minutes after his first one.

I love how I can tell when an obvious wrong answer is coming whenever I hear Stephen go “OOOOOOHHHH!” It cracks me up every single time.

I love that it took 20 minutes for Alan to get his second Obviously Wrong Answer, but he gets three in a span of two minutes. Even funnier, when Alan gets his third wrong, Stephen goes “OOOOHHHHH MY GOD…”

“The Sahara is LUSH by comparison. LUSH, ALAN!” I just love how 75% of this round is just Stephen screwing with Alan.

You know a joke has gone well when by the fifth time Alan’s on the verge of a OWA, Clive and Meera are going “NO! DON’T DO IT, ALAN!” in an attempt to dissuade him from saying 24 hours.

I love how Stephen and Clive’s relationship is different here than on Whose Line, solely because Stephen is the host. The best example of this is Clive, nearly cutting him off, and Stephen responding “Oh, shush your mouth for once, will you please, Clive.” In Whose Line, Clive would sort of be annoyed with Stephen’s antics.

Final Thoughts:

If anything, this episode made me appreciate the great comedic talent that is…former TV presenter Clive Anderson. I see him more as a host, but I forget how funny he can be in a panel situation, especially seeing as he only did one or two episodes of Mock the Week. Clive was in top form here tonight, and deserved his intellectual win.

Bill had a much funnier round today, especially with his ‘bees’ running gag, which reminded me of the ‘he’s been eating peas’ one from Space Cadets. I forget how funny and quick Bill can be sometimes.

Alan came very close to having FIVE…FIVE OWAs tonight, which is not only pathetic but hysterical. Even funnier was seeing Stephen react to them every single time.

Meera Syal…I guess she was on the show, but she didn’t do much other than state information. She didn’t crack many jokes, and until she and Clive started pleading with Alan, I forgot she was on the show. So much for the first female panelist on the show. Good news is that arguably the best female panelist in the show’s history is coming up next show.

MVP: Bill
Best Guest: Clive
Show Winner: Clive
Best Loser: Alan, for his multiple OWAs
Non-Player Character of the Week: Meera.
Best QI Fact: The Blue Whales.

QI Watchdown: A2 (Astronomy)

Just watched the first one. Now onto the second. Yep. That simple.

Unlike the last episode, Alan is introduced first? I don’t know what prompted that.

Jeremy Hardy I knew from a few early series of Mock the Week. I don’t remember a great deal about him, but I remember he was moderately funny.

Rich Hall…damn, what happened to him? He looks like Jim Breuer on crystal meth. For anyone who doesn’t know, Rich got a start of Not Necessarily the News, on HBO, which landed him on SNL for one season. Rich was a lower key member of a cast that included Billy Crystal, Martin Short and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. So…now he’s on a panel show in England. Glad to see everything turned out fine.

BILL BAILEY! As one of the two fans of the Scottish panel show Space Cadets, I’ve already been acquainted with Mr. Bailey, and he’s right up there with Stephen on the list of awesome British people. Hell, he was great in Hot Fuzz.

Already, the buzzer noises are funnier. Last episode it took me until Alan’s to laugh, but even Rich’s was kind of funny, and Jeremy’s was funny because it was abrupt.

Rich’s joke about how the lavatories are in America reminds me that Rich is the first American on the show. On Whose Line it took one episode for an American, Archie Hahn sadly, to show up. On Mock the Week it took twelve episode for one to show up, and it was thankfully Greg Proops. Speaking of Greg, the argument about how lavatories are in America reminds me of something Greg would take up with Clive Anderson.

Rich banging on his buzzer and saying ‘I just want to say that it’s 9 PM’ made me laugh. Also, does that man ever open his mouth wider than a half-inch?

Bill’s joke about how Croatia put a weasel on their flag made me laugh (‘the others were gone. The lion’s gone, the tiger- what have we got left? A weasel!’)

Surprisingly, I’m enjoying Rich. He has this dry, wordplay-esque way about him, which is weird because the way he looks he comes off as cynical and craggy. Also, I can see why Matt Groening based Moe the bartender off of him.

To introduce the second topic, Stephen quotes Douglas Adams. Respect points through the roof.

Once again, halfway through the episode, someone had the bright idea to change Alan’s buzzer noise. And once again, only Alan notices this.

A friend of mine already told me about the ‘moon’ answer, so I’m finally watching it, watching reactions, knowing what ends up happening. Alan’s initial guess makes me laugh, especially ‘it’s called THE moon!” Additionally, Rich going ‘who comes up with this shit’ got a nice reaction out of me.

I think the biggest laugh I had in that one was after this remark:
Rich: ‘Well how come there hasn’t been any romantic songs with the word Cruithne in it? Blue Cruithne of Kentucky? Cruithne River?”
Stephen: ‘BECAUSE…IT WAS DISCOVERED…IN NINETEEN…NINETY…FUCKING FOUR!”
Just the rear-back-and-punch way that Stephen said that made me lose it.

One more quick gag that I loved.
Stephen: Where is 90% of the universe?
Jeremy: IKEA!

Alan’s dissection of Ikea made me laugh because I’ve always made jokes about how they get the names of their products by recording the sound they hear when they throw them down the stairs.

For the second time this episode, Alan gets points off for the obvious answer. This will be a theme in later episodes. To be fair, unlike the moon one, the Pluto one is correct. Stephen Fry knew this before Neil DeGrasse Tyson made it an official law.

By the third obvious answer that Alan gives it becomes very clear that Stephen is just doing it to screw with him, and I adore that. And then the FOURTH TIME! “OOOOOH, YOU’VE DONE IT AGAIN!”

In Summation:

Bill didn’t pop up as much as I thought he would this episode, which is odd, because in Space Cadets (and later in the series) he becomes a more comedic presence.

Again, Rich had a lot of great moments, mostly because he seemed bitter and hopeless for most of the episode, yet still coming up with a lot of the best lines. I sort of counted him out when I heard he was on the show, yet I feel like he’s going to come off as a strong presence.

Jeremy didn’t have a lot to say tonight, but when he spoke, he had a couple of nice jokes, one-liners, more along the lines of the ones on Mock the Week.

Alan’s episode wasn’t nearly as odd as the first one, yet he did have a bunch of nice moments in getting the obvious answers.

MVP: Rich
Best Guest: Bill
Winners: Rich and Jeremy
Best QI Fact: Cruithne