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

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