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