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