QI Watchdown: C2 (Cummingtonite)

After a rousing start, we’re in for what looks to be a curious episode. Aside from Alan, the panel features one guy we’ve seen before, Arthur Smith, and two new guests, one of which will recur throughout the next few seasons, the other won’t appear again for another few. I’m not sure if there will be a standout performer tonight, because Arthur is funny, but I’m not sure if he can carry a show.

Arthur looks a bit more put-together than he did last series, and I’m happy that he’s back, albeit for his second of three appearances. He does have a nice style of humor.

Andy Hamilton, because every panel show needs at least one balding guy named Andy, looks like some kind of cartoon character, with a gruff beard, and round head, and a disgruntled expression. I’ve heard he’s been on a few of these, though I don’t know his humor.

Doon Mackichan I’ve never heard of, but she looks kind of quiet, yet interesting enough. I predict she’ll bring up the rear tonight.

Stephen has a nice pun tonight, introducing the episode as an opera-themed one, and introducing the guests, describing them as ‘The Three Tenors, and a fiver”

Tonight’s episode-long runner is for each contestant to break a wine glass using only their voice. Man, if only Yoko Ono was on this program…and that regard is the only reason I’d ever want her on.

The buzzers are all opera-themed. Doon’s is a high-pitched female opera singer, which amuses her. I love the look on Arthur’s face once he hears his- first confused and then flattered. Alan’s is just a prolonged howl, which amuses him.

Stephen: “Now, gentlemen, which one of you would like to smother Doon Mackichan in goose fat.”
Andy (deadpan): “Again?”

Andy’s voice amuses me. You expect some tough, deep voice to come out of something like that, sort of like Andy Parsons’, but you get a more high-pitched voice, sort of like Pee-Wee Herman’s. It’s hard to explain.

Stephen mentions that Cummingtonite is one word. Arthur guesses it’s a website. Back in 2005, this was still a joke.

Damn, Alan gets this right by comparing it to Kryptonite. I didn’t know he had it in him!

There’s a nice moment when the tech booth fucks a question up. Stephen allows the panel to guess what the molecular structure is named after, and the screen shows the structure WITH the name, causing a facepalm. Doon raises her hand anyway, exclaiming “this is the only question I’m gonna get right!”

Doon sets herself up for a nice joke, in describing the grease on the fried Curly-Wurly bar, she makes a motion that resembles stroking a certain organ. Literally everyone on the panel begs her to stop.

They’re all talking about deep-fried mars bars like they’re mythical beings. No, not really. I was at a fair this weekend in Purchase, NY, and there were fried Snickers bars. And I got a fried oreo. So yes, frying ridiculous food as certainly caught on.

Stephen gets some laughs in trying to imitate a Scottish accent, badly if that. Andy even asks ‘what part of Scotland’s that from?’

Note- Not a ton of stuff from ALAN, of all people, so far. The one guy I thought would be holding this show together hasn’t done a lot yet.

AND THE AWARD FOR BEST TRANSITION OF THE CENTURY GOES TO…
“So now we move from Scotland to something quite unconnected, and that’s the world of crime.”
The audience laughs at this for a good ten seconds. The irony is not lost on them.

When asked what Ordeal by Bean is, Arthur answers, quite wryly, “I’ve certainly had that. You know when you’re stuck on an airplane, and you’re forced to watch seven episodes of Mr. Bean.” I’m already laughing. But what made me laugh harder is that the elves knew someone would say that, and Arthur gets Klaxon’d for it. Besides, violence against Rowan Atkinson is never a good thing, especially when the host used to be on a show with him.

I do love the runner with Alan constantly bringing up Heinz baked beans, as if it’s a product placement, which Andy points out. And then he just keeps bringing up the beans throughout the rest of the show.

And then they go into someone else making baked beans, like Gordon Ramsay. Doon even suggests they call them “Fucking Beans!”

I love how Arthur just rings his buzzer because “I HAVEN’T HEARD IT!”

I love how all four of them buzz in together, and it sounds ridiculous. I laughed at the combined sound, especially Alan’s face the whole time.

More proof that the Elves are just fucking with people: When asked how long a platypus is, and Alan stretches out his arms, the Klaxon rings, and “ABOUT THIS BIG” is shown on the screen. So, they just knew no matter what people measured, it would be wrong.

We finally get a parallel to Doon’s Curly-Wurly moment. Stephen is describing the mammaries of platypuses, and Andy, seeing the hand movements, goes ‘could you stop doing that?’

For the dialogue question, Alan just buzzes in and stares at Stephen, afraid of getting the obvious answer. He eventually just says ‘two’ just to give into Stephen.

Alan in his safety goggles manages to crack up Stephen, in its ridiculousness.

Oh my gosh, Alan’s glass actually breaks. I didn’t think anybody was going to, but Alan was so off-key and high-pitched that he broke his. WOW. Awesome.

…and then it’s revealed that Alan pulled a string and broke it, because nobody can actually break a glass with their voice. Had me for a second.

Stephen reveals that his glass is a fake…and then Arthur manages to break his own, REAL wine glass, thinking HIS is fake too, and frightening the entire panel. Stephen, at this point, says “If you at least cause a second’s misery to the Health and Safety people, I’m very pleased.”

WOW, *ARTHUR* of all people ends up in last. Andy wins, but not a lot of his points were shown.

Final Thoughts: An okay episode. The panel was not bad, but not as funny as a panel of pros. Arthur was probably the best player tonight, being especially loose and funny, though Andy and Doon also did commendable jobs. Alan and his baked beans managed to secure a few nice gags.

MVP: Arthur
Best Guest: Arthur
Show Winner: Andy
Best QI Fact: Deep Fried Curly Wurly.

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QI Watchdown: C1 (Campanology)

Wow, we’re already at the first episode of Series C. Damn, that means it’s 2005. Well, at least both time periods are heading for a shitty Fantastic Four movie.

This looks like a nice one, because it has a nice-looking panel, featuring three well-trusted, very funny guests- Bill Bailey, Rich Hall, and Rob Brydon.

It’s funny what a season can do. Rich has decided to wear one of his more subtle jackets, having nothing to do with poker.

I’m actually really happy that Rob came back, because last season Rob didn’t make an appearance at all, and he was really, really funny his first time out. Also, there’s something about his accent that makes everything he says interesting.

Alan has grown his hair out a tad since last season.

Rich’s buzzer is one of the few that isn’t road-related, as it’s just a coyote howling. Stephen asks him “how is that a bus?”, and Rich goes “it’s a dog being hit by a bus.” Stephen thinks of the best pun for the situation (“a greyhound, presumably), and literally the entire audience starts booing.

There’s a nice moment where Alan presses his buzzer to reveal that it’s just ‘the wheels on the bus’ sung by children. The second they stop singing (“all…day…long”), Bill presses his ‘ding-ding’ buzzer perfectly in time with the song. It’s actually pretty nice.

Stephen has a nice way of rebounding from a fuck-up. He says ‘warm-holes’ instead of wormholes, and right after, he said “and the warm holes, too.” When Rob chuckles at that, Stephen replies, “You like a warm hole, don’t you Rob?”

Rob has a great line about SatNavs: “It’s not good if you’re insecure, because she says, “you have *missed* your destination.” And that can get you RIGHT THERE!”

Rob and Stephen get into this hysterical argument about how to pronounce “Richard Burton”. Stephen has some of his General Melchett glands seeping in, and keeps saying it “BAAH-ton”, to which Rob keeps yelling back “BUUUH-TON!” After a good 10 seconds of this, Stephen just says “will you stop yelling Burton at me, please? It’s beginning to frighten me.”

Bill jumps off Rob’s point about the rats all facing the same way in London to bring a point about magnetic rats, which is so bizarre that I love it.

5:30 in- not a word from Rich yet. Once he does talk, he says something very funny. “5 million pounds for a map- I would want a map that shows me looking at the map I just bought.”

Rob trying to defend his heritage while instantaneously destroying its legitimacy made me laugh very hard. Stephen sets him up for a sort of Welsh-bashing joke, and Rob complains that it’s the kind of insult that’s only okay when directed towards Wales, and then proceeds to tell the joke, cracking up most of the audience, and losing his point entirely.

Stephen, trying to needle out a hint: “It’s as big of a musical instrument as you’ll ever find.”
Bill: “A WHALE!”
Sadly, it takes more than a few seconds for someone to make the whales-Wales connection. Stephen eventually goes “he’s making jokes about whales.” And Rob gives him a ‘YOOOUUUU…” look.

Rob mentions “hell’s bells and buckets of blood”, as something his father used to say, and I’ve heard it’s not the last time we’ll hear this. Stephen applauds this, says “It sounds good, it’s a good way to get it out of your system.” He lets a beat go by, and then says, “I say ‘fuck it’, but, still…”

Bill gets a nice gag out of ‘Tip-Cat”, because he can just mime tipping a cat over, like it’s easy. Bill’s jokes are so simple, but he’s very silly.

Rich somehow ends up with the funniest answer to the ‘Last part of England to convert to Christianity’ question. He says “Is it ‘Satan-is-my-master on Rye?”

Rob, who is OWNING this episode, keeps yelling Squirrel until well after Stephen has said ‘yes, you’ve got it’, annoying the hell out of Bill.

I love how, when Stephen compares red and grey squirrels to the ebony and ivory on his piano, Alan immediately says he’s making pianos out of squirrel hides, and the entire panel starts yelling at Stephen for it. Rob even goes “That’s barbaric. Are you saying you want pianos clad in the pelt of a squirrel, because if that’s what you’re saying, Fry, you should be stopped.”

The joy Rob gets in explaining what happened with Jesus and the custard still cracks me up. The line “Look what I’ve got for dessert…somebody hold my shoes.” I think it’s just the delivery, or how REAL he makes it.

Stephen unintentionally throws an innuendo in the custard bit. “The more pressure you put on it, the more weight you put on it, the harder and firmer it gets.” Rich sees this coming, and goes “Oh, boy…here we go.”

I was amused by Rob’s answer of ‘the christians and the lions’ as the ‘teams’ at the colosseum, because I hadn’t really thought of them as teams before. Even funnier is it gets a Klaxon.

Stephen: “What is a taffy pull.”
Rob (just staring at Stephen for a few seconds): “Is this another dig at my forefathers?”
Stephen: “You have *four* fathers? Man, the Welsh are WEIRD!”

As an American, I knew that taffy question, and I didn’t know until now that they don’t have taffy in the UK. They’re missing out, too.

I love how this show has gotten so maniacal that when Stephen asks “How many sheep were there on Noah’s ark?”, all four panelists are scared to buzz in, knowing that ‘two’ won’t be the answer.

Bill improvises new lyrics to that ‘hurrah, hurrah’ song, with the 7 clean, 2 filthy rule about the ark, and it’s hysterical.

Rob, after the Simon A Becket question, asks “is the same true of Simon Le Bon?” He’s on a roll tonight.

Once again, Rich manages to win without many of his points being documented during the show.

Final Thoughts: GREAT start to the season. Bill and Rob were tremendous, and Rich, even if he wasn’t as vocal as usual, had some nice jokes. There was a nice runner with Stephen making fun of Wales.

MVP: Rob
Best Guest: Bill
Show Winner: Rich
Best QI Fact: The Animals on the Ark

QI Watchdown: B12 (Birth)

Thus we’ve arrived at the last episode for Series B. This has been a pretty nice season, and there have been a few nice episodes, helped with the inclusion of episode-long runners (“JO’S GOT QUIM!!”). We come to our closer, a Christmas episode, featuring two excellent recurring guests, and a guy who seems to recur on a lot of panel shows.

Mark Steel was on a few episodes of Mock the Week, so I know him, but, like Jeremy Hardy, I really don’t remember his humor. All I remember is him laughing in the corner whenever Frankie would have a great joke. I think he was present for the taping that gave us the Richard Hammond Wedding Day joke, and the David Blunkett SpecSavers joke. He didn’t really do anything, he was just laughing in the corner. I imagine he’ll be alright here.

Another Rich Hall appearance, another poker jacket.

Glad to see Phill back, after a hefty wait between his last episode. Maybe it’s nice that he spaces them out, so I won’t tire of him like I’ll probably end up doing with Rich.

Buzzers are somewhat-musically-themed. Rich’s is a drum-beat, like the beginning of a march, which he amusedly bobs along to. Mark’s is a piano riff. Phill’s is a triumphant British trumpet theme, which is rises in salute to, which was pretty funny. Alan’s is a weird yodel tune.

For the first time EVER, we get to see what the audience looks like on QI, as Alan points out that someone in the ‘Alan’ rows looks like Crocodile Dundee.

I expected Alan to get the ‘helium’ question wrong, but it gets him two points. No, what gets him the Klaxon is his guess that helium makes your voice go up.

Wow, Stephen said they were gonna have everyone suck helium, but “Heath and Fucking Safety” declined. Even Rich is baffled by this. “What did they think could possibly happen? We’d float away?”

I laughed at Mark’s Eastenders joke without even seeing the show, the fact that they all suck the stuff behind the fridge to get their voices like that.

Phill cracks me up just being Phill. To answer the Santa/penguin question, he just changed his demeanor entirely and goes “KIDS…LOVE ‘EM!”

Alan notices that one of the penguins on the screen is a bit more frisky and energetic than the other. Phill says this as a headline: ‘Scientists give ecstasy to ONE PENGUIN.” And then he starts doing an impression of a penguin on ecstasy. Already Phill’s on fire.

On orgasming penguins:
Phill: ‘What sound do they make?”
Stephen: They sound a little like Angela Rippon.”
Alan: (taking him literally) “‘Good evening, and this is the news…'”
Phill: “….THIS JUST IN!”

The whole bit about penguins trying to find each other while making love is great too.
Stephen: “You can use GPS these days…”
Alan: “Only if you’re doin’ it in the Jag…”

Okay, my first laugh-so-hard-I-cried moment of the episode concerned the castrated Italian whom they had recorded and played for the panel. After a few seconds of high-pitched singing, Rich just says “wait, this is the sound of the actual operation.” I nearly died. Alan helped it out by going “in a minute you’d hear SSSSSHHHHUMMM!”

You know the Elves are having fun when the word ‘ASS’ flashes across the Klaxon screen, even when Alan guesses “donkey”. The audience gets a nice laugh at that.

The bit keeps getting better when LITERALLY every animal they guess is wrong.

Mark’s style of jokes is nice, but it’s the kind that builds on itself, rather than other people’s. On QI, jokes are more collaborative. Maybe that’s why Mark did more Mock the Week, which definitely rewarded the individual.

I love how Stephen mentions he did an interview with the president of Uganda, and all of the sudden Phill starts laughing hysterically. Mark even adds “No other person could say that.”

Mark starts telling a story about David Frost, and Stephen interrupts him by going, “NO, THIS IS MY STORY!” This cracks up Mark.

Phill’s reaction to finding out that King Herod’s wife was name Doris cracked me up. He just has this confused expression, and yells “DORIS HEROD!?!?” Kinda like ‘Adolf Elizabeth Hitler?’

Phill even makes a Life of Brian reference at the Doris Herod gag. Respect points to Phill.

Rich has the best way of ending the round- “I just wanted to move on because my mom’s name is Doris.”

On a picture of the ‘water bear’, Phill goes “That’s not a bear! It’s the Sydney Opera House!” He’s just full of great lines tonight.

And then, after the Water Bear joke, Phill just goes, in a Yogi Bear voice, ‘that’s not a nice way to treat a BEAR!’

A good indication of how well a panel can work together- Phill has a joke about a worker putting his tongue on the absolute zero machine, and Stephen and Alan both chimed in and aided the joke, Stephen by yelling “FRANK!”, and Alan by acting as the ‘warning’ buzzer.

This episode does lead to a classic QI moment- Alan and Stephen switch places for General Ignorance. I don’t care how staged it looks, I don’t care if they producers planned this. It still leads to one of the most amusing rounds in the show’s history.

Yeah, Alan’s first question off the bat for Stephen is ‘who plays goal for Aston-Villa”, which is a football reference that he KNOWS Stephen won’t get. Hell, the elves even have pictures of the goalkeeper behind him and everything. The even funnier part is that he gets it.

Alan has this little, weak realization after Stephen gets that question right.

There’s nothing more satisfying that Alan forcing Stephen to get a klaxon, and the joy he gets when he gets to go ‘OOOOOOHHHHHHH!” at Stephen’s expense.

Dear Gosh, even ALAN was surprised that Stephen’s guess of ‘Four states of matter’ was Klaxon’d. Man, this is a hell of a show for Alan.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Phill episode without an impression of Stephen, with the bathroom question. “I’M THE MAAAAASTER, OF THE BAAATH! BAAAAAA!”

Alan gets a lot of joy when Stephen gets another klaxon, and even goes, almost rehearsed, “Oh, Fry. You idiot.”

Stephen does have a great moment when, from the India question, he just starts yelling “DO NOT SAY COW! DO NOT SAY COW!” And then Phill, absolutely deadpan, goes “….the cow.”

I love how Rich and Mark are sitting back and not saying much this round. They’re just letting Stephen fail a bit.

Rich wins because he got his lead and let Stephen piss away anybody else’s chance at winning.

I love the fact that Stephen announces that he got 4 less points than Alan, getting -56.

Final Thoughts: MAN THAT WAS A NICE ONE! Literally everyone on the panel was on par tonight, even Mark, who was still funny despite being more suited to Mock the Week. Phill and Rich had landmark performances, and Alan had the night of his career, stepping in for Stephen for a round, and just having fun with it.

MVP: ALAN!!!
Best Guest: Phill
Show Winner: Rich
Best QI Fact: Italian Barbers.

QI Watchdown: B11 (Beats)

Last season, the QI team made it a point to rope in episodes featuring a special guest or two, someone who’d appear on one episode and that’s it. Hugh Laurie did one, and he felt out of place. Richard E. Grant did one, and he weaved his own humor into the show, making it a great appearance. Peter Serafinowicz did one, and his is the best, because he made a ton of really nice jokes, and blended right into the show’s dynamic. To me, Serafinowicz is the best example of a guest star.

Tonight, we have a potential rival to his throne, in Mark Gatiss. For those uninitiated, Mark Gatiss plays Mycroft Holmes on the BBC’s Sherlock. He’s only in this episode, and I’m rather excited to see what he does here. Plus, him and Stephen make TWO MYCROFTS in the same room. This will be amazing.

Sean Lock is here this episode, which means, if anything, the show won’t be short on comedy.

OH MY GOSH MARK LOOKS SO YOUNG HERE! He’s kind of adorable, in the way he waves at Stephen. I see the flirting’s begun early.

Linda Smith’s hair is even shorter than it was last series. Sadly, this is gonna be Linda’s last episode, as she’s not on anymore after this one, and this is two years before her death. So, kind of sad, but let’s at least enjoy her.

The buzzers are cute. The first three have well-known pieces of classical music. Alan has a xylophone rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

Okay, the first joke already has me laughing.
Stephen: What kind of music do snakes like?
Mark: Kraftwerk!

And, right after that, a play on words.
Mark: ‘Imagine those fakirs’
Stephen: “I’m sorry, what?”
Mark: “Fakirs, they are…”
Stephen: “Oh, you’re right. They are fakirs. Every one of them.”
The Elves even throw in a rimshot after that one.

Alan guesses that violins have catgut strings, Stephen says it’s a myth put about by-
Alan: “by dogs.”

The similar question is done for spiders, and they all give a bunch of music-related puns. Sean follows this up with “but, you see, I don’t think spiders are that into puns…”

I find it very amusing the way Stephen says ‘The Mamas and the Papas’. The MamAAAAs and the papAAAAAs.

Linda: If monday makes you think of blue, does blue make you think of monday?
Alan: Makes me think of mold.
(Bleu-Blue) Very nice.

Linda’s exasperation about whether or not people are hearing sound was very funny, completely confused and against it, yelling at the audience ‘can anyone hear a sound, or is it just me?’

I love how everyone just kept messing with the sound man, doing the D major on command, with Stephen and Sean doing it perfectly.

Synesthesia is a very good point, because a few friends of mine have it. It’s generally attributed to the autism spectrum. Funny thing is that I have a very specific type of synesthesia. I attribute songs to colors, by the chords it uses. For instance, that D major sounded yellow, and a song, like The Fool on the Hill by the Beatles, that uses it is yellow to me. However, songs that use like darker chords, like Rebellion, by Arcade Fire, feel more dark blue or purple. It’s very hard to explain.

Alan brings up a good point about Happy Birthday. ‘Well then what did people sing before 1923? They bring out the cake, and everyone just stood about, and slightly awkward silence.”

The ‘most disasterous song’ had a lot of really good lines. Linda guesses ‘the wombling fucking party’. Sean, most memorably, guesses “FREE MYRA HINDLEY!”, which cracks up most of the crew.

Linda’s story about her friends who did the Wind and the Willows cracked me up, especially the punchline, and Stephen asking if the children were still in therapy.

Sometimes putting the picture up on the screen can lead to some good jokes. The photo for the ‘no news tonight’ question was a picture of a BBC anchor and a microphone. Sean then said “Well, what about the story of the giant microphones invading the BBC?” THAT made me crack up. Reminded me of the one with Bill Bailey and the hippos. “And so I eat the guy, and I said ‘FUNNY THING IS, I’M A VEGETARIAN!’ HAHAHAHAHA!”

Alan has probably the best joke about the guy who invented the Hokey Pokey.
Stephen: What happened at his funeral?
Alan: “They couldn’t get him in the coffin. They put the left leg in…and the trouble started.”

Sean gets in another amazing line.
Stephen: What was the first invention to break the sound barrier?
Sean: “Mae West’s vibrator!”
Even funnier, he kept making RRRRRRRRRR sounds as Alan tried to answer.

Linda sees two Alans on the back screen, and says “Are those Anne Robinson’s twin daughters?” She may not be having the best night of everyone (that would be Sean), but Linda is having a great time.

Mark Gatiss says that Anne Robinson looks like she’s “regenerated.” Somewhere in London, a young Steven Moffat says “ah, he looks like a good guy, that Gatiss lad. I’ll remember him.”

Linda wins by only getting 2 points. Awfully nice of her to snag a win.

Sad to say, but Mark Gatiss didn’t do a whole hell of a lot. I mean, he had some nice answers, and was a little funny, but wasn’t as present as other guest stars have been. A shame.

Final Thoughts: A bit of a letdown, but still very funny. Linda, Sean and Andy were great, but Mark wasn’t as cooperative as I’d have liked.

MVP: Sean
Best Guest: Sean
Show Winner: Linda
Best QI Fact: Spiders on Drugs.

QI Watchdown: B10 (Bills)

Well, to quote Michael Scott, this is gonna hurt like a motherfucker.

This is the second of two consecutive John Sessions episodes, and the second of two Phil Kay episodes. So, there may not be a ton of funny going on tonight. However, this is a Clive Anderson episode, and he’s usually very creative with his answers, so it could theoretically be okay. I guess we’ll have to find out.

Phil’s hair is even more out of sorts than it was earlier this season.

This episode’s runner is for each guy to draw a wigwam in the style of a famous artist, which reminds me of a skewed version of the old Whose Line game, authors. Maybe he’s just doing this to stick it to John Sessions.

The buzzers are a little more interesting. Phil’s is a chirpy ringtone that seems to amuse him. John’s is probably the best, as it sums up John on the show- an annoying child yelling “OOH! I KNOW! SIR! I KNOW!” Even John gets a laugh out of this one. Alan’s is a flushing toilet.

John is basically ringing his buzzer just to annoy everybody, and it changes slightly to a different, yet still childish, “SIR! I KNOW SIR!”

Clive and his wordplay strike again:
Stephen: What is bottomry?
Clive: ‘It’s the opposite of topiary.”

Okay, I’m a John hater, but I even laughed at his guess that bottomry is “a website for all Japanese men who are crazy about Virginia Bottomley.” It’s a bit racist, but I laughed.

If you could sum up John Sessions in one single quote, it would be this one: “I, uh, I don’t actually know the answer to this one, BUT WHAT I DO KNOW…”

7 minutes in and Phil’s not done a hell of a lot. Like last time, he’s taking his sweet time, letting Clive and John have the floor. Come to think of it…not a whole lot of ALAN thus far either. Which is odd, because he’s always talking.

Of course, literally after that, he interrupts the bison conversation to say ‘my wigwam is fucking huge…”

I did enjoy them all conversing about the bison stampeding over the cliff. Phil made me laugh in saying ‘I mean, if you’re a buffalo, there’s that moment, like ‘when’s the stampede over?’ Like, you’re stampeding, you’re stampeding…then you’re not stampeding.” Clive goes “well, when you hit the ground at the end of the cliff, you know you’re not stampeding anymore.”

Clive is very silly in these, and I love that. When Stephen asks what Sitting Bull’s real name was, Clive guesses ‘bison’, because “it worked for the last one.”

Okay, you know you’re in for a good one when even the reactions are making you laugh. Stephen’s trying to explain that bulls really can sit, by mentioning Ferdinand the Bull. For a good five seconds after that, Alan has this absolutely baffled facial expression, and the camera lingers on it.

Stephen: What does Billy the Kid have in common with Ben Hur?
Phil: Capital B.

Okay, the Ben Hur argument is classic, because it’s Stephen yelling at Alan because of Alan’s lack of knowledge of something. Alan says that Ben Hur is just a book about a chariot race, and Stephen just starts yelling at him. Even better is Alan’s perturbed, confused, and slightly amused reaction. He’s just trying not to crack up, but he’s been caught off guard by the whole thing.

Okay, the Elves got John Sessions GOOD on this one. John starts telling a story about having supper with Robert Redford, and he’s interrupted by a special klaxon, called the ‘Luvvie Alarm’, that’s a forfeit for John whenever he brings up a random celebrity he’s got a hardon for.

Upon revealing that the Sundance Kid was in fact Welsh, both Phil and John both start doing Welsh accents doing Western lines.

The conversation about throwing cats out the window got very funny very fast. Clive asking if any other animals were tested, and Alan asking if they did it with cows, and then doing an impression of a cow being pushed out a window.

Clive sadly gets a Klaxon for guessing oxygen. The funny thing is that, besides John’s Luvvie Alarm, it’s the first Klaxon of the show.

Also, right after guessing ‘oxygen’, Clive guesses ‘jam’, which either means he was channeling Eddie Izzard, or there was an asteroid full of it headed straight for the planet earth.

Alan dons an italian accent for the Mt. Vesuvius joke, but it’s not as good as his Mexican (“DE PEENK POLENTAAAA!”)

John: “Didn’t the Finetians go the same way?”
Clive: “It’s a volcano! We’re fin-eeshed.
That was a great pun.

Alan’s Mexican accent somehow returns for the Gladiator joke (“HEY GLADIATAAAAH! EET’S OVAH FOR YOOOOU!”)

Another line that sums up all of QI, comes from Clive: “Alan, even I can work out that if you know the answer, never give it, because there’s always…that’s the one they’re hoping we’ll say!”

Okay, I laughed way harder than I should have at Clive saying the ‘Vietmin’ in a cheesy, munchkin-like voice.

Clive ends the episode with a great pun. Instead of drawing a wigwam, he draws a ‘Wham Wigs’, which is George Michael and Andrew Ridgley wearing wigs. Very clever.

I love how Clive won by one point. Like, everybody else had negative numbers that must have been cut out.

Final Thoughts: I didn’t think I’d like this episode as much as I did. A lot of nice moments, thanks to Clive and Alan being on top of their game. People usually flock to this one for the Ben Hur argument, but there are a lot of funny moments, and a lot of great puns. Again, John was manageable here.

MVP: Clive
Best Guest: Clive
Show Winner: Clive
Best QI Fact: Buffalo= Bison.

QI Watchdown: B9 (Bats)

So, the BAD news…is that this is the first of two John Sessions episodes. The GOOD news…is that this episode features the only appearance of someone who I’d watch in basically any comedy show, and the third of three straight appearances for Rich Hall. There is a lot of good to take with the, uh, bad. Nevertheless, we soldier on.

JOSIE FUCKING LAWRENCE EVERYBODY! Forgive the expletive, but it’s not often that you see Josie outside of an improv program. For those unacquainted, Josie was, really, the one constant on Whose Line in the UK from start to finish. She went the first nine seasons, appearing in at least one episode, including the very first, and being a part of some of the best singing games in the show’s history (“who would have thought that our love would glitter/just standing here, looking at shit and cat litter.”) Josie appeared on one taping of the American Whose Line, and one episode of the short-lived WL retread ‘Trust us With Your Life’, though her episode was never aired thanks to the exploits of host Fred Willard and his ding-a-ling. It’s great to see her here, and it’s a bit off-putting to see her with blonde dye, but it’s Josie, so it’s manageable.

Speaking of hair dye, John Sessions has inexplicably become a brunette again, as opposed to his natural grey last season. Makes it all even more infuriating. Also, a bit alarming that Stephen introduces him as ‘Johnny’, rather than John.

Rich is wearing a red jacket, and introduced as ‘the gorgeous, pouting Rich Hall’, which makes a lot of sense, actually.

By the way, this episode features three people, Josie, Stephen and John, who you would likely find on an episode of Whose Line from 1988. Now all we need is Paul Merton or Mike McShane and we’ll have a real party on our hands. Or, even better, TONY SLATTERY! GET TONY! IT’S NOT LIKE HE’S DOING ANYTHING AT ALL!

The buzzers tonight are ascending bells, except for Alan’s, which goes, in a deep, sexy male voice, “WELL HEL-LO! DING DONG!” Not as good as “AHOY! HELLO, SAILOR!”, but funny nonetheless.

1:30 seconds in, and the first Klaxon of the episode occurs, thanks to Alan. Record time, too.

Stephen’s moth ball joke is very clever. Again, he’s great with wordplay. Fantastic, even.

I hate to say this, but Alan’s comment about a scene from Jurassic Park 2 where a tyrannosaur kills a guy sitting on the toilet isn’t that accurate. It’s actually from the original Jurassic Park, aka the better one.

The Rich Hall joke about eating animals because he thought they contained the food in their namesake got funnier as they went on. First the butterfly. Then the honeybee. Finally the hamster. THAT ONE was good.

I did especially love Josie’s David Attenborough anecdote, because I enjoy the man almost as much as she does. I especially enjoy imitating him.

…And then John brings it crashing to the ground by turning it into a Richard Attenborough story…a bit too late, as the Jurassic Park reference was earlier.

Rich’s jokes are simple, but funny. “That’s why they call it an owl. OW!”

I love how Alan can just simply go “no it’s not” or “yes it is” to anything Stephen says. This episode, when Stephen says there are several hundred different species of blackberry, Alan just goes ‘no there isn’t.’

Okay, the next question after that is funny, not only because of Alan’s answer, but the fact that the Elves knew he’d say it. Alan guesses that batophobia is the ‘fear of blackberries’, only for that to be Klaxoned.

Once again:
Stephen: ‘What is battology?”
Alan: “The study of batteries”
Stephen: “No, it’s not, now-”
Alan: “Yes it is.”
I love the fact that he can just do that.

This olympic games question is one of the funniest in a while, because every single thing that Alan guesses turns out to be wrong, and the Elves have it pre-planned and everything.

I also love how even when Alan guesses a variable extremely close to the right answer (200 meters rather than 192), he STILL gets a Klaxon!

Alan and Josie talking about the naked olympics:
Josie: “I’d have loved to see the triple jump.”
Alan: “Or the pole vault.”

OOOOH YES! I’ve never been happier to see someone get a Klaxon. John Sessions thought the first modern olympics were held in Athens, and he gets buzzed. Alan just says greece and gets ANOTHER penalty. My gosh, Alan’s going for the pantheon tonight.

Okay, I think Stephen has a last-minute submission for the line of the episode. Josie is telling the audience that whenever she loses something, she just says ‘help me, St. Anthony’, and in about a half and hour she finds it. She is interrupted by atheist Stephen, who goes “*cough*BULLSHIT!”

Josie and Rich tie for first. I love that Josie won this one, even if she wasn’t the funniest person on the show.

Alan received a “record-breaking -72” for his finish, which was phenomenal. Even he winced at the mention of it.

Final Thoughts: Not a bad episode, but not as good as the last two. I’ll admit that John was manageable, and that Rich and Josie were both doing really well. Alan was great in being so argumentative, and so wrong, so many times.

MVP: Josie
Best Guest: Rich
Show Winners: Josie and Rich
Loser of the Week: Alan, for getting -72
The Gyles Brandreth Award for Knowing Too Goddamn Much: John Sessions
Best QI Fact: The Naked Olympics.

QI Watchdown: B8 (Bees)

I feel like this season is a bit inconsistent in quality. There’ll be a really good episode, and a boring episode, and then an amazing episode, and so on. So, judging by the pattern, this episode is supposed to be on the downslide. However, the episode does feature two really good recurring panelists, and one guy that I’ve rather enjoyed on other panel shows. So, maybe it won’t be that bad.

Rich is wearing a bit of a flowery poker jacket, but still definitely normal for Rich.

Fred MacAulay I know from TWO different shows I’ve watched. The first one was Space Cadets, the old scottish panel show with Greg Proops and Bill Bailey that I keep going on and on about. Fred did an episode of that one. And then he did a bunch of Mock the Week episodes, acting as the ‘other scotsman’ when Frankie Boyle was around. I think he’s pretty funny, and I imagine he’ll do a nice job here.

The buzzers are introduced rather abruptly. Rich’s is a cork being popped. Fred’s is a drink being poured, and now he gets the connection. These buzzers are funny, but are mostly used to set up Alan’s, which is a burping noise.

Proof Alan might have learned something- on the first question, ‘who first discovered that the world is round’, he knows it’s a trick, and tries to work around it.

Once Stephen announces said discoverer is an animal, Alan just starts naming off animals. I’m just waiting for him to guess ‘whale’, which he does…with no consequences, somehow.

I adore Fred’s accent, almost as much as Frankie Boyle’s. He has a nice joke, about bees and wasps that die after stinging someone, saying “I think if a bee stings me inside my house, it’s likely to die.”

So far, and by so far I mean roughly 5 minutes in, this episode is the Alan and Fred show. Jo and Rich are taking their sweet time buzzing in, or doing it fleetingly.

Stephen: “Why do bees buzz?”
Jo: “…because they can.”

Around eight minutes in, Alan gets the first Klaxon of the episode, by just innocently answering something in the middle of the ‘why do bees buzz’ question.

Jo’s confusion about ‘barnacles growing on chips’ made me laugh. Just her facial expression alone was interesting. She legitimately thought of a plate of chips with barnacles all over them.

Okay, Rich finally got my attention, on the Nelson question. “I just think the men would be inspired by the fact that he basically…slowly dismantled rather than dyin’ all at once. I mean, there was an arm, then there was an eye, then there was, like, a testicle, right? Like, dropping parts like a Volkswagen.”

Okay, the Admiral Nelson story was already really funny, but Fred pushed it over the edge, by miming the sailors drinking through the macaroni straws and accidentally swallowing some of Nelson. THAT was great.

I could see Jo’s anglerfish joke coming a mile away, but i still laughed a little. Remember, I don’t hate Jo as much as everyone else does, so I still think she’s funny.

Once again, we get Stephen breaking into a random accent (“DEEEEA EEEAAAGGHT”), only this time, he breaks into a Glasgow accent on the word ‘gravy’, which cracked me up.

Alan and his fungi joke made me laugh, but what made me laugh harder was Stephen first trying to stop him from telling the joke, and then, rolling his eyes and succumbing to it, as in, ‘yes, why DID the mushroom go to the party?”

Jo’s reaction was just as funny, throwing her head in her hands, saying ‘that’s like a joke for an imbecile.” Even funnier is her reaction when Alan tells another one (‘what’s brown and sticky? A stick!’)

Stephen outdoes Alan’s silly jokes, by going ‘What’s red and silly? A blood clot.” Alan gives him a confused expression, only for Stephen to yell back “OH, DON’T LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT! YOU FUCKING PIG-EYED SACK OF SHIT!” I think that might be the quote of the episode, however vile.

Rich joins in on the fun by making a really nice pun: “What’s green and sings? Elvis Parsley!”

Oh, dear. Stephen made the mistake of bringing Mexico into the equation, and there’s only one outcome for that. Alan repeats his mushroom joke in a bad mexican accent, a la “THE PEENK POLENTAAAA, I LOOOOVE EEEETT!”

Wow, maybe it’s because I’m not british, but I knew that coffee had more caffeine than tea. I guess it’s just a british thing, having an ego about food like that.

Jo is incorrect in guessing that baseball is the only sport originated in America. To quote Eddie Izzard, “and everyone else is going ‘yeah’, and I go “NOW HOLD ON! ABSOLUTELY NOT!” Baseball was invented by Abner Doubleday in Cooperstown, NY. None of this Australia bullshit.

Okay, at least Rich’s guess of Basketball was deemed correct, or else I would have gone down there and rioted.

I forget how tedious it can be if they replay the same clip over and over. Fred even admits, during the basketball question, “Can I just say that that little kid in the purple shirt is really startin’ to annoy me. WILL YOU SIT DOWN ALREADY?”

Man, if QI was filmed in the US, Stephen would get killed for this next comment
Rich: You can tell this is old footage because-”
Stephen: “They’re all white people.”

Stephen: “What were Nelson’s last words?”
BUUUURP
Stephen: “I think those were the last words of someone who sucked at Nelson’s body…”
Fred: ‘I’ll race you to the bottle of brandy!”

After Stephen explained that Nelson’s last words were ‘drink drink, fan fan, rub rub’, Alan added, in a wild burst of thought, ‘also, give us a quick handjob…’

I barely heard anything about scores in this show. Rich sort of won by default, I guess.

I’d like to add that before ending the episode, Stephen bids the guests and audience a ‘good night, good night’. Is this a tip of the cap to Clive Anderson, who ended every Whose Line by saying “and this is me, Clive Anderson, saying good night, good night!” I hope so, because Clive is on in a few episodes, I think.

Final Thoughts: It took a little while, but this episode turned into a really, really nice one, thanks in part to the exuberance of people like Fred and Rich. Alan had a nice episode as well with his bad jokes. The dynamic wasn’t as strong as I’d have liked, but Fred played the connector role very well. A shame he only did two episodes.

MVP: Rich
Best Guest: Fred
Show Winner: Rich
Best QI Fact: Drinking Nelson.

QI Watchdown: B7 (Biscuits)

Oh MY are we in for a good one.

Not only is this the first of THREE Rich Hall episodes, but this episode is also the first for two guests that I *HAVE* heard of, and can assure you that both are very funny, as I’ve seen them on other British shows before. So, we’re going into this episode with some high stakes, I guess.

Rich is wearing yet another poker jacket. But does that really shock you?

Arthur Smith looks pretty good. I don’t know a hell of a lot about Arthur Smith, but I know he’s a bit of a gonzo humorist, sort of like the UK’s answer to a David Sedaris type (the irony is that Sedaris currently resides in the UK). I also know that he was on an episode of Whose Line WAAAAAY back in Series 2 of it, and made a very impressive showing. He did a scene with Josie Lawrence, who’ll be showing up here in a few episodes, where Josie asked him for a cigarette, and Arthur, quite meta, said ‘no, you’re not allowed to smoke on television…unless you’re Peter Cook.’ So yeah, I enjoyed Arthur then, and I imagine I’ll enjoy him now.

DARA!!!!!! WITH HAIR!!!!!! Man, it’s FANTASTIC to see Dara here, as I’m a big fan of his ever since watching through Mock the Week. He’s the kind of host who lets his personality into the show, and is just as big a character as say Frankie or Hugh on that show. I am a fan of his comedy, so I’m very excited to see him on the show here. It’s great, because he’s on QI  a shit ton more times, too.

Rich is kind of caught off guard by his buzzer, which is someone sawing through wood. Dara’s makes him laugh, as it’s the chant for the All-Blacks (and guess which American had to look THAT up??). Alan’s is just an annoying ringtone.

You can tell this is gonna go well when the very first joke of the episode makes me laugh.
Stephen: “Rich, what would you say if I told you that the entire British empire was built on diarrhea?”
Rich: “I’d say you were full of shit.”

And then the NEXT ONE succeeds, too.
Rich: ‘Any word that ends in ‘rea’ is bad news. Diarrhea. Pie-a-rhea. Gonorrhea. North Korea.’
Dara: Chris Rea.
(Reminded me of Greg Davies’ joke from Mock the Week: “And the winner of Rear of the Year…CHRIS REA!”)

First of all, I adore Arthur’s voice and accent combination. Hasn’t changed too much since Whose Line.

Arthur: “More feces with your food…actually improves your health.”
(Stephen and the audience react confusedly)
Arthur: “…I’ve overstated it a touch…”

Stephen, responding to Arthur’s question: ‘If everyone lived in a plastic bubble, the moment the bubble is removed, they’d die of something or other very fast.”
Dara: “Particularly if the bubble is underwater, for example.”

Rich: “People say the wheel was the greatest invention ever, but I think it’s probably the second wheel, because…”
He picked the right time to trail off, because the joke was funny enough at that point. He did eventually explain it, saying “You ever seen a guy on a unicycle? What an asshole!’

Arthur: “I think we’ve pretty well done diarrhea.”
Stephen: “You’re right, we’ll move onto a question for Dara.”
Arthur: “I thought we were done with diarrhea.”
(Dara=diarrhea. very clever).

Rich (on Turkmenistan): “There must be some kind of underground Ballet dancing club.”
Alan: “Yeah, Ballet Club, with Brad Pitt.”
Okay, that was a nice one.

When Arthur and the rest of the panel start making jokes about flatulence biscuits, Rich reports “we’re heading right back down the diarrhea highway.” Reminds me of the lavender passageway.

Stephen trying to get Rich to describe to the audience what biscuits are in America made me laugh. He even starts signing broadly, “WHAT…DO YOUR PEOPLE…EAT…”

Alan has the perfect line when Stephen is conjecturing Alan on the cakes. He turns to Dara, and goes “you see, what happens on this show, Dara, is that he thinks I’m an idiot.” I think it sums up the entire program. And then Dara has the perfect rebuttal, doubling as a callback joke, in saying “yeah, well you think my name is an anagram for diarrhea, so…”

You know you’ve been watching too many QI’s when you hear the question, in this case, ‘who invented straight roads’, and you can already envision Alan getting a klaxon, and exactly what he’s gonna guess (I would have guessed the Romans as well).

The thing about this group is that they’re not all combining on each other’s jokes, but they’re all doing great work independently. Dara I think would be better with a more friendly four, like a Jimmy or a Phill.

Rich’s attempt at giving an interesting answer to get points cracked me up tonight. He said ‘Did you know that in Montana, a policeman will pull you over because he’s lonely.”

Arthur: “Why do the Americans drive on the right?”
Rich: “Uh, I guess it’s because we invented the fuckin’ car…”
Rich is having a great episode, mainly for being Rich Hall.

Dara does this thing whenever he’s done a joke; he’ll do a joke, then almost to dissuade the audience he’ll try to go to the next subject fleetingly, going ‘ehhh…’. Billy Crystal has a similar tactic at the Oscars (‘…but you know ladies and gentlemen…’), but Dara’s is a bit more frequent, I think.

Rich gives a serious candidate for the quote of the episode.
Stephen: ‘What is the collective noun for a group of baboons?’
Rich: “The pentagon.”

Stephen brings up ‘Not the Nine O’Clock News’ in the baboon question. The funny thing is that Rich Hall appeared on the American counterpart, Not Necessarily the News.

On the ‘bones in their noses’ question, I thought Alan was gonna answer ‘blue whale’. Instead he goes for ‘crocodiles’.

Arthur: “I was gonna say elephants, but I think it’s really stupid.”
(KLAXON GOES OFF)

Dara won because Arthur kept getting klaxons.

Final Thoughts: THAT was an outstanding episode. All four players did an excellent job, and our two rookies made a wonderful impression. There were enough running gags to keep all four players in on everything, and enough diarrhea jokes to keep Dara ahead of the game.

MVP: Dara
Best Guest: Rich
Show Winner: Dara
Best QI Fact: Diarrhea.

QI Watchdown: B6 (Beavers)

I’ve got some time tonight for QI. Especially after the landmark Bears episode (‘Put Smarties Tubes on Cats’ Legs, Make Them Walk Like a Robot’). Tonight’s episode features two very funny recurring guests, and someone I’ve never heard of. Sure to be an interesting one.

Stephen is in a really good mood at the top of the show. People on the Youtube comments thread are thinking he smoked something beforehand.

Anneka Rice is apparently big in Wales, having starred on numerous iterations of something of a game show, Challenge Anneka. She kind of looks horrifying. That teeth- eyes combination is never a good sign.

Tonight’s buzzers are all musical instruments. Anneka’s is a wild lead guitar. Bill Bailey’s is a saxophone. Sean Lock is on drums, and sort of relishes in that one. Alan is only given a single ‘ding-ding’ noise, rather than an instrument.

Bill loves his sax buzzer so much that he presses it again before he answers. Sean even chimes in with the drums. Anneka buzzes in afterward, and just for good measure, Alan ding-dings. These buzzers tonight are so cool, and they’re all having fun with them.

Alan (pointing to the backdrop of The Pope and a beaver): “they really look like little people’s arms.”
Stephen: “That is a person, that’s the Pope there.”

Stephen: “How would you tell a male beaver from a female beaver”
Alan: “The male would have a penis…”
Stephen: (chiming in) “Well yes, but we’re looking for-”
Alan: “And the female would have a beaver.”
I knew the joke was coming, and I have to admit that was a great way to tell it.

Stephen: “If aliens arrived to abduct our most successful inhabitant, where would they look?”
Alan: “Neverland.”
Alan is already on a roll tonight.

Bill has a nice joke about the amoebas: “How many amoebas does it take to change a lightbulb? One. NO- TWO! NO-FOUR! NO- EIGHT!”

Stephen: “It’s a homophone, they do sound the same. …and they hate gay people. No, that’s not it.”
Stephen once again proves himself master of wordplay.

Anneka has one or two funny moments, but is mostly giving information. Sadly, I might add, because the other three are having a grand old time.

Stephen: “What bulges up and down by about 30 centimeters twice a day.”
Sean: “Is it a fat pilot’s ankles?”
Again. Just the absurdism of Sean’s answers is making him one of my favorites.

I did enjoy Stephen trying to explain to Alan how the moon’s gravitational pull works without getting frustrated himself.

SPEAKING OF MOONS…We get the continuation of last series’ Cruithne question (“Why aren’t there any songs about it, like Blue Cruithne of Kentucky, or Cruithne River?” “BECAUSE…IT WAS…DISCOVERED…IN…NINETEEN…NINETY…FUCKING…FOUR!”) Alan, trying to finally get the question right, guesses 2 (the moon, and Cruithne), only for the Klaxon to tell him otherwise.

Alan: “WE DID THIS LAST SERIES!”
Stephen: “Yes, Alan, but that was last year. There’ve been three more discovered!”
Alan: “OH FOR…”

Stephen tells Alan that there’s no truth to the myth that people go crazy whenever there’s a full moon. Sean, concerned, asks “then why do I go out killing?” Brilliant.

I think the episode picked up when they started talking about the moon, because now we’re onto GI and it looks like the energy’s risen.

I think Stephen’s “OHHHHHHHHHH” yells get more animated as an episode goes on. Upon Alan’s wrong tennis answer, Stephen has a very loud, very unsurprised, “OOOOOHHHHHH ALAN!”

The entire panel came alive when it came time to guess how many vaginas a kangaroo has. Alan guessed none. Sean guessed eight-hundred. It just got sillier as it went on.

I’d point out that Anneka only got asked something that A.) Had to do with something she was plugging, and B.) Because she’d barely spoken the entire episode.

Okay, I think we have the quote of the episode.
Stephen and the gang are talking about the fact that the clitoris is only used for pleasure, not for any other use.
Anneka: “It’s just there…for decoration.”
Stephen: “In my case of course, that’s true for the penis, too.”
Sean (playfully): “So, Stephen! What you pissin’ through these days?”

The ‘Cesaerian Section’ question was brilliant by the Elves. They didn’t really have an answer planned; to quote Stephen, “we just wanted laughing boy here (Alan) to fall into the trap.” This is the first time the team has deliberately staged a Klaxon. They’ll do this a lot later on (“What, Charles Darwin, you mean?”)

I love how Sean loses most of his points on the ‘put to death’ question, by getting all the Klaxon answers.

Anneka wins, despite not giving a lot of funny answers.

Final Thoughts: Okay episode. Bit of a letdown after Bears, but it picked up a lot of steam thanks to the reappearance of Cruithne. Sean, Bill and Alan were all in top form. Anneka was a nice addition, even if she wasn’t the funniest.

MVP: Sean
Best Guest: Sean
Show Winner: Anneka
Losers of the Week: Sean and Alan, for tying for last with 18.
Best QI Fact: 5 Moons.

QI Watchdown: B5 (Bears)

Okay, this one could be one for the pantheon.

After a disappointing episode, featuring another famous git, Jeremy Clarkson, we have an episode featuring four hilarious people. Jo, Jimmy and Bill are some of the best guests in the show’s history, and from what I’ve heard the running gag for this episode is a mighty one indeed. So, we may be more than making up for the last episode.

The ‘brainteaser’ for this episode involves making the best response out of a mix of jumbled magnetic letters, each one provided. Stephen gets the ball rolling with ‘QI is a Queer Idea’, which is the sleekest of double entendres. I think the best part of this is when Jo shows hers to Alan, and some of the audience, but not to the camera, so Stephen, and the people watching at home, know something is up, yet not exactly what. Alan, meanwhile, is yelling out “SHE’S GOT QUIM! SHE’S GOT QUIM!”, like a little schoolboy. By the time the camera finally has shown us what Jo had (just the word ‘quim’, above the rest of the jumbled letters), the joke has worked its magic.

Alan’s is just as funny- VAGINA DOOM. Even better is his reaction, waving it around proudly, as Stephen shakes his head.

All of the buzzers have to do with ships, and horns and things. Alan’s is the funniest, as it’s a sexy voice saying “Ahoy. Hello, sailor.” Alan got a kick out of that one.

Bill’s impression of the koalas eating the eucalyptus leaves is another reason why I’m happy he’s on this show so many times.

After the discussion on Koala soup, Bill has the best callback joke of the episode. Alan says he had a day with a koala, and they went out for dinner. Bill interjects with ‘what’d you have? Soup of the day?’

Stephen: Where do bears do their business in the winter?
Jimmy: Is it the Cayman Islands, for tax purposes.
Good god, the man’s wordplay is on par tonight! I missed having HIM on the show too!

Okay, I’m not british, but this made me laugh.
Stephen: What has huge teeth and only one facial expression?
Literally the entire panel: JANET STREET-PORTER!
(klaxon)

People on the boards don’t like Jo. So, how could they not like Jo when she answers said question with “A shark that’s just had a bad stroke.” Like, that’s the right kind of tastelessness.

Bill wins again: “Or, a botox panther”, and does an impression of said panther.

Alan once again has his sexy ahoy buzzer changed to a more manly ‘AHOY!’ halfway through the show. His confused expression made me laugh.

I love the dynamic in this one. Bill, Jimmy and Alan are all in sync with each other. Jo sort of acts alone, but she’ll join in every once and a while.

Jo answers a question by showing her board, which now reads ‘I Love a Fry Up’, whatever that means. I do love this gag, as it just keeps getting funnier.

Alan: “When you’re a psychiatric nurse, if someone came in to you, and said ‘i believe there are little people living in me, what would you do?”
Jo: (in mid laugh) “Punch them to the ground.”

Now Bill puts up his own board, glaring into the camera while it says ‘Frodo Lap Shame’.

Alan buzzes his buzzer, to contradict Bill’s point, and a THIRD voice says ‘HELLO, SAILOR!”, now sounding a lot like Eric Idle.

The perfect response to the ‘Hullo’ answer is Bill’s saying, “Oh, yeah, if we lived our lives like a 1950’s detective film’, and then putting the pen in his mouth like he’s Basil Rathbone.

Alan, while everyone else is yelling and being ridiculous, makes one of the funniest jokes of the episode, and no one can hear it. “When they were at Jeffrey Dahmer’s house, and they found a human head in the fridge, they went ‘HEL-LO!’

Alan presses his buzzer, to counteract the ‘hello’ conversation, but a FOURTH voice says ‘AHOY, SAILOR!’ Now the Elves are just screwing with him.

Alan: ‘Stephen, what was the last thing that made you go HEL-LO’?”
Stephen: “…it was a genital wart.”

As Stephen finishes up Edison, Alan has his next jumble on the board: Sit Look Rub Panda. He nods, approvingly, as he holds it up to the camera.

Jimmy announces that he’s got one, and it’s taken up the entire board, AND IT MAKES SENSE. In that time, he’s managed to build ‘Put Smarties Tubes on Cats Legs; Make them Walk like a Robot’, which is probably the most brilliant thing I’ve seen on this show since starting the binge. Even Stephen is impressed.

Bill undermines this a second later by saying, ‘no, mine’s exactly the same’, only for the entire panel to look at his board, which reads ‘Gay Elf Romp’. Jimmy starts laughing at this before the camera sees it.

Alan has another chance to show his board, which now reads ‘Tiberius can look mad’, which, to his credit, cracks up Stephen a little bit.

Stephen: How long can a chicken live without its head?
Jo: ‘As long as it takes to cross the road’
Jo may be bringing up the rear this episode, but she’s still giving a ton of nice gags.

The second Stephen mentions a website about Mike the headless chicken, Bill rushes to write it down. Way to extend such a nice gag.

Alan probably has the funniest response: ‘Why didn’t they just cook him??’

Jo’s last entry into the magnet board contest is one that even befuddles her: ‘OH BUM’

Final Thoughts: That more than made up for Episode 4. Not only did you have for people who were on top of their game, but you had one of the best runners to date, and you had a lot of really thought-provoking topics. Even without the letters this would be a great episode. Jimmy and Bill were the stars of the show, though Alan and Jo had a lot of great moments as well. And for the record, Jimmy’s white board answer has almost become synonymous with Jimmy Carr, and with Smarties.

MVP: Bill
Best Guest: Bill
Show Winner: Jimmy
Best QI Fact: HEL-LO!