QI Watchdown: C9 (Creatures), or CUTTLEFISH!

After a string of really nice episodes, we’re onto another one that looks a bit…suspect. True, there’s one recurring panelist that I can always rely on, but there’s one that I don’t know very well, and another that’s this episode’s special guest. Hmmm. Well, it’s worth a watch.

Andy Hamilton has earned the nickname ‘The Gnome’. At least with me. He’s small, has a misshapen head and eyes, and talks in a higher-pitched voice than I’d expect. In his last episode he didn’t do a hell of a lot.

Helen Atkinson-Wood, as I looked up, is another one of Stephen’s Blackadder friends, appearing as the sort of Carol Cleveland of that group, and also on a bunch of other british comedy shows. I imagine she’s at least funny enough to be on this show, so I won’t question it.

All the buzzers are animal themed. Bill’s does make him wince. Andy’s is a loud hog-esque belch. He does, however, break character, as in break persona, and says, meekly “I’m terribly sorry…”Alan’s is the sound of a housefly or mosquito, a high-pitched squeakish sound. Alan shrugs, and goes “i do actually sound like that.”

So, tonight, Stephen is setting up a runner that anyone who gets a specific difficult question will receive 200 points. Being that Rory McGrath is not on this show, I’m not necessarily tilting at this idea.

Stephen also introduces a ‘Spot the Cuttlefish’ competition. Alan, jokingly, points to the cuttlefish the second it comes onscreen behind Stephen, going “THERE IT IS! THERE IT IS!” Stephen teases that a cuttlefish, or ‘a part’ of a cuttlefish, will appear later on in the show. Alan, on ‘a part’, says “I bet it’s the penis.”

Wow. 3 minutes in and Andy already gets the first klaxon.

I already like Helen thanks to her answer, guessing it’s a chicken due to the eggs it lays. Stephen mentions that the mosquito also lays a ton of eggs, and Helen goes from a yes to a ‘wait a minute’. It sounds like ‘yeeeewwwhhhaaa…”

Stephen on chromosomes: “The world record is 320.”
Alan: “Is that you, SIR?”

Bill, contradicting Stephen’s point: “Well, then, what was a potato before it was a potato? What did it evolve from? A chickpea?”

Observation: Andy only has nine fingers. How did I miss this last show? That’s pretty out-of-the-ordinary.

There’s a nice conversation about swimming through treacle, but other than Alan asking “is there a cuttlefish hidden in that treacle?”, nothing really stood out to me.

The second Stephen sticks out a stick of chalk, and asks Alan, referring to him as ‘boy’, what it is, I know we’re in for a klaxon. Alan, of course, refuses to believe it’s not chalk, and even writes on his desk, and flips so Stephen can read it, “CHALK”.

Bill has a nice line when he guesses the chalk is “a very, very old worm.”

Also, as Stephen is explaining where chalk really comes from, Bill starts drawing something. As he finishes, he exclaims that he’s drawing a “CUTTLEFISH!!”

Stephen: “Why’s it called Plaster of Paris?”
Andy: “Marketing? Fancier name?”
I really like Andy now. I think he’s doing a lot of nice stuff this episode.

Stephen unveils a huge chemical formula, and asks the panel to guess what it is. Alan, of course, guesses it’s a cuttlefish.

Andy drives it further; “That’s a text message from someone who’s VERY PISSED.”

Helen does in fact guess that it’s custard, because she took a type of chemistry that gave her the knowledge of what an explosion looks like in a chemical formula, and then put it together to make it look like foodstuffs. It’s very intricate, but I’m glad somebody got it, especially Helen.

Stephen: “What do the french call custard?”
Alan: “CU’TA!”

I love the reactions when Stephen says that the French don’t have a word for custard, as “they don’t believe it exists.” Bill is confused, then face palms. Helen just laughs.

They play the audio clip of the singing dog. Andy even says ‘it sounds like Gracie Fields falling off a cliff.” Reminds me off the castrati they played the audio clip of, and Rich said ‘is that from during the surgery?’

Right after Alan gets two or three questions in a row correct, a fish appears on the screen, and he immediately points and yells “CUTTLEFISH!”…which gets him a Klaxon. Classic Alan.

Stephen: “After a lifetime of working with radiation, what did Marie Curie have two of?”
Alan: “Lesbians.”
My favorite part of this is Stephen’s reaction. He forces him to repeat himself.

Stephen announces that the cuttlefish clue has passed. Andy says “it was in Marie Curie’s hair.” Stephen, amazed, says he’s right. Andy, even more amazed, goes, “it’s a shame I was joking.”

Thankfully, Alan does get the cuttlefish, and it’s hidden somewhere in the Florence Nightingale picture. I personally couldn’t find it.

Andy, in the tiger question, gives the comedian answer, ‘zoos’, and STILL gets a klaxon. Incredible.

I do love this: there’s a bunch of ‘-y’ adjectives thrown on the board. Nobody knows, so Alan suggests they throw it to the audience. One guy in the audience guesses ‘dwarves’, and that one is a klaxon. So, for the first time ever, the AUDIENCE loses points.

And the award for best story of the episode goes to Bill with: “I went to a town in France called BITCH! Spelled BITCHE. BEEETCHE. WE AH LEAVING BEETCHE.”

Helen obviously wins, but Alan and Andy come very close with 15 and 22. Very nice, high-scoring episode.

Final Thoughts: A solid episode, with a ton of really funny moments, and TWO runners, both of which supplement the show perfectly, and give the contestants a goal. Alan is at his best here. Sad to say Bill was a little lower key than usual, but still funny. Helen was a nice addition to the cast, had some good answers, was interesting and funny, and didn’t remind me of Meera Syal. All I could ask for. And Andy, of all people, wins for most improved, for taking this episode by storm.

MVP: Alan
Best Guest: Andy
Show Winner: Helen
QI Fact: No French word for Custard.

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QI Watchdown: C8 (Corby)

Oh, MAN are we in for a good one.

I couldn’t have casted a more perfect episode m’self. Not only do we have two of my favorite recurring guests thus far, Phill Jupitus and Bill Bailey, but we have the debut of someone who’ll no doubt eventually become one of my favorite recurring guests, in David Mitchell. So, all around, cast-wise, it’s gonna be fun.

I’d like to point out that Phill tonight is wearing a Fenway Park sweatshirt. Fenway Park, for those not in the know (read: Brits) is the home stadium of the Boston Red Sox. My least favorite baseball team. Mild deduction for Phill.

As the episode’s China-themed, all the buzzers sort of reflect that. Phill’s is a majestic gong, but it rings a second time and catches him off guard. Bill’s is a high-pitched chinese song, which cracks him up. Alan’s is, I don’t know what it is, but it’s supposed to be racist and pathetic I think.

I love Phill’s reaction to getting the first Klaxon of the episode. He yells repeatedly in pain as if he’s just been stabbed.

Bill motioning how to make a panini on a trouser press amused me. I dunno how he does it. He just has the oddest ways to look at commonplace things. Even better is Phill set him up.

Still backtracking on the Corby question, Alan guesses ‘crisps’. Stephen says “funny you should say crisps. They weren’t invented there-“. Alan interrupts him and says, plainly, “but they were eaten there.”

David brings up a good point about the Corby thing, when Stephen brings up that the railway will be built in 2010. “Surely, that’ll mean Corby will lose its one claim to fame. It’s just crisps and the no station.”

On the ‘porridge and Corby’ question.
Phill: “That would be definite evidence for life on Mars, if you went and found a bowl of porridge.”
Bill: “…and three bears.”

Phill: “Could it be the Scottish space program? WE’RE SENDIN’ PORRIDGE TA MARS!”
Dear God, everybody’s on a roll tonight.

The most random moment of the episode. Stephen commands Alan to open his desk, and Alan pulls out an Alan Davies Mr. Potato Head. It’s random, and isn’t really mentioned again.

Bill has a great reaction when asked what citizens of a chinese city build their houses out of. First, he stops and waits for his buzzer to end. He then says, concerned, “I dunno, is it dinosaur eggs?” Stephen enjoys this, and says “I’m almost inclined to tear up the real answer and say yes.

Phill, hard to believe, has an even funnier answer, because he precedes it with an “OOH! OOH!” He guesses “Bootlegged Coldplay CD’s!”

I love how at the mention of the Thomas Crapper question, all four guys wince and go “eeeerrrrgghhh…”, not really wanting to guess, or probably, not wanting to say the obvious answer. It’s very amusing.

David eventually guesses the obvious one, that he invented the flush lavatory, and of course, he’s wrong. I didn’t think David Mitchell would be able to get a klaxon.

The confusion of everyone at the mention of umami is very nice. Even Phill guesses that it’s just people’s reaction to it. “OOOOOOOOOH MAMMMI!”

Phill on Marco Polo. “A lot of people thought he was Dalmatian. Turns out he’s Irish. Marc O’Polo. HULLO!”

Phill saying that Stephen would go into a pub in disguise, going “OH, BLIMEY.” as Stephen was excellent. Bill pushed it further by saying “he’ll give it away by swearing in Latin.”

Great moment on the ‘Chinese businessmen’ question. Bill guesses ‘trouser press’ under his breath as Stephen and Alan are arguing. The Elves hear it, as the Klaxon goes off, which gets Stephen’s attention. He knows somebody said it, but he doesn’t know who. So he’s literally pointing at everyone, and figures out it was Bill, speaking into his hand.

Phill does a great impression of a mercenary wearing a cravat.

Also, Bill is very quick to make fun of Stephen resorting to do a french accent to imitate a French person. He goes, “Oh, so they don’t even speak their own language?”

Coffee-tites.
Bill: “A, uh, prudish person might place them under the legs of a coffee table?”

And now, courtesy of David Mitchell, the quote of the episode:
Stephen: “It does seem unlikely that slipping on a pair of tights is gonna dissolve a fat ass.”
David: “It can stop your leg going to sleep…”

I think this is the first time the QI Elves are mentioned in name, as they correct a fact just as Stephen is saying “I’m gonna take it up with them.”

Wow, funny how the Brits are so disillusioned by the phrase ‘John Hancock’ for a signature. It’s pretty common over here. Phill does do a great bit about the actual meaning, doing a way over the top signature by yelling “JOHN…HANCOCK!”

I love how David Mitchell ends up winning with 0. That takes skill.

Overall: Very, very nice episode. The cast didn’t disappoint. I’ll say that it was missing a singular, solitary amazing moment, but there were a lot of laughs, and a lot of teamwork, which this kind of group is excellent at. David had an excellent debut, being a bit quiet but still giving a ton of excellent answers.

MVP: Phill
Best Guest: Bill
Show Winner: David
Best QI Fact: Porridge on Mars.

QI Watchdown: C7 (Constellations)

And now, for another episode of QI. Like the one before it, this one features two people I adore on this programme, Rich Hall and Sean Lock, and one I’d rather do without, Jeremy Clarkson. Still, hopefully they’ll put in a good showing.

Jeremy already has his ‘fuck off Fry’ face on, which means he’s himself.

The buzzers are a bit commonplace, as they’re all dog noises. The only unusual ones are Rich’s howl and Alan’s higher-pitched dog.

You can tell this show’s definitely found its footing when Stephen introduces the topic as “Alan’s least favorite subject, the ancient greeks.” And he winces.

This is a cool little episode-wide runner. Each of the four is given a constellation, and they have to figure out the best ways to connect the dots. Very clever, and could lead to some excellent possibilities.

Rich reminds me why I adore his humor. Stephen asks how long it would take to drive to outer space. Rich says “wouldn’t it depend on the traffic?”

Jeremy keeps trying to refute Stephen’s claim that outer space starts at 62 miles up. He brings up a point that a man called Joe Kittenger jumped out of a hot air balloon at 62 miles up. To which Rich goes “Oh, you mean Dead Joe Kittenger?”

Sean Lock on building a lift up to outer space: “Once you get up there, there isn’t really anything there. It’s a lot like Norfolk.” Stephen wags a finger, and says “you just be careful..”

Jeremy is a bit of a twat, but his dick moves do call for some nice comedy. Stephen mentions the world’s smallest dog, which could fit into a rather small box, which he shows around. Jeremy goes “or, between two pieces of bread.” Stephen has the best reaction- he asks Jeremy to repeat it so the audience can hear it.

Sean starts screwing with Stephen after he says that Chihuahua is a province, rather than a state. He goes ‘you’re really gonna be beating yourself tonight’, and then motions being hung by the wrists, yelling “ALRIGHT FELLAS, WINCH ME UP!”

Stephen, also attributed to the show’s longevity, says to Alan, “I believe you do a Mexican accent.” Alan just goes, “Si.”, and smiles. Not the caliber of ‘THE PEENK POLENTAAA! I LOVE EET!”, but still funny.

And then a second later Alan goes “Queso.”

Okay, I don’t think the QI production team knew what they were dealing with when they asked what flint was made up of, and asked it to a panel featuring a guy who wrote an entire book made up of fake words. So, when Rich answered “fluff and lint”, I not only laughed, but I was impressed.

On the reveal of Timothy the tortoise.
Jeremy: “Isn’t that the one that just died?”
Alan (pointing to the screen): “No, there he is, he’s fine.”

Alan provided me with the biggest laugh of the episode so far, with his interpretation of the soldiers throwing Timothy at the enemy, him crawling back, and them throwing him again.

And then Rich caps it off by going ‘I hope they didn’t use him to send messages’. I love Rich’s humor because it’s quick, simple, and funny.

Wait, holy shit, the episode’s not even halfway done and it’s already time for GI? Holy crap! This could be a good thing, but still, DAMN it’s early.

Stephen: “And where do loofahs come from?”
Alan: “…the bathroom.”

This does, however, lead to the episode’s first klaxon, when Alan guesses they’re in the sea.

Sean has this anecdote that leads to the episode’s best quote. “I got the worst Christmas present ever, ever in my life. My sister gave me a ‘Grow your own Loofah’ kit. It was a clay pot, a bag of earth, and five seeds. I think the clay pot hit her the hardest.”

Stephen has to take away Alan’s loofah after he starts miming beating off with it. He says “that’s going into the artifacts bin and you’re going into the naughty corner”, which I think evoked memories of Greg Proops and the pain-stick. But then Rich goes “is that going in the penis tin?”

Jeremy now does his best to save Alan from saying the obvious answer to the Model T question. As Alan buzzes in, Jeremy starts going ‘don’t say it, don’t say it, don’t say black.” Alan guesses black anyway.

Also, I noticed that Alan’s buzzer changed to a goat noise in this part of the game. Very interesting.

Alan then goes “You can have any color as long as it’s black”. Stephen was even expecting that, going “OH, YOU SAID *THAT* EVEN!” as the klaxon goes off.

Jeremy: “I ate a puffin last week, I didn’t like it, but I ate it because i’d never had one before.”
Sean: “Y’ever try one of my turds?”
Stephen (turning around): “Did you just say what I thought you said? Get out.”

I love how vulgar everybody’s getting in this episode, and how Stephen keeps herding them like eight-year-olds.

Alan’s Australian accent, about cooking a Galaar or however it’s spelled, is actually pretty nice, though not as memorable as his mexican.

Alan: “If you could glue one person’s mouth shut, who would it be?”
Rich: “I would do it to a ventriloquist.”

Context for this next joke: Alan guesses ‘diary’ for the buried in the fire joke, and is buzzed. The answer turns out to be cheese. Stephen goes “so, it’s more dairy than diary, really”, which is met by boos from the audience, to which he goes “thank you.”

Rich calls his constellation “George Foreman delivering a powerful right hand to a parakeet.” Gotta love his odd humor.

Stephen does himself go for the lowbrow, in calling the actual constellation for Sean, a goat with his arse high in the air, ‘a goat waiting to be fucked.”

Jeremy ends up winning. I’m not even mad. Jeremy is far from the worst, as he’s still funny enough to keep me interested.

Overall: A wonderfully fun and vulgar episode, this one outdid my expectations, and all four players contributed a lot of nice bits. One of the better ones this season, though not the overall tippy top.

MVP: Alan
Best Guest: Sean
Show Winner: Jeremy
Best QI Fact: the loofahs.

BTW- I’ll probably get a new one up soon. Our first David Mitchell episode is next. I can’t wait.

QI Watchdown: C6 (Cockneys)

Whew, it’s been a while. It’s nice to be back home after a long semester. Let’s see, who’s on the slate for tonight- OH, LOVELY! Phill and Bill! Who else.

(realization pause)

Oh no…

Yep, tonight’s episode, Cockneys, also counts as Episode II in this Series C saga, the Massive Git Strikes Back. Rory McGrath did so well ruining Common Knowledge that he’s back for this one. Thankfully, my two favorite guests are here with him, Phill Jupitus and Bill Bailey, and Alan is always at his best. So, this episode could be salvageable…that is, if Rory behaves. And it’s very unlikely that he’ll behave.

Might as well get into the fuckin’ thing:

Not sure if anybody notices, but when Stephen introduces Rory, there are about four or five people in the audience that boo, but they’re mostly drowned out by the cheers. Which begs the question: WHO DID THIS GIT HIRE TO CHEER FOR HIM?

Interestingly enough, Stephen wants to start with Bill tonight, obviously knowing something Bill doesn’t, rather than Phill, as he usually would. It’s only when Bill says something that Stephen actually listens to him and does the rotation like he usually would. Of course, when he gets to Bill’s buzzer, it’s Patsy Cline’s ‘Bill Bailey, won’t you please come home?’, which is most notable for Bill’s reaction, because he’s obviously heard it a million times. Just going ‘yeah, right, whatever…’ Alan follows this up by playing the idiot, going ‘it’s very clever what they’ve done there.’

All the buzzers are very cockney-ish songs, most of which I’ve never heard of but the audience definitely has. Alan’s is, of course, a fake cockney, Dick Van Dyke from Mary Poppins singing ‘Chim-Chim-Chiree’

Stephen starts the episode speaking in a lot of Cockney slang, so he even says that if anyone gives an answer in slang, he’ll award extra points…however, he says it in that slang, causing a confused Alan to yell “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT??”

Phill is most confused by the fact that ‘woman’ equals ‘buzz’, because women means ‘does’. Phill responds by going ‘so now we’re doing middle class Cockney rhyming slang!?”

Stephen and Rory are trying to figure out something that rhymes with ‘Davies’. Stephen suggests going to a restaurant and asking about the different types of Davies, ‘gravies’. And Bill, outraged, goes “HOW MANY DIFFERENT TYPES OF GRAVY DO YOU KNOW OF??”

4:40 in: Rory gets his first correct answer. And I guess it’s all downhill from Guinness, to coin a Cockney phrase.

Okay, eventually Stephen introduces a nice game of ‘Pin the Taste Buds on the Catfish’, which everyone has to play with a toy catfish and taste bud stickers. I sometimes adore how inventive this show can be.

Bill realizes he has to press his buzzer, which starts playing ‘bill Bailey’, and he’s already going ‘no…NO…NO!’ I just love his general disgust whenever he hears that song. He just presses Alan’s, which plays Chim-Chim-Chiree, which Alan blankly bobs his head to.

Phill proves he’s been paying attention this entire series, by saying that bamboo’s a grass, not a tree. Stephen responds by saying ‘well done, little one’, to which, Rory and Phill, at the same time, go “LITTLE?”

All four are trying to guess the ‘coal and toothbrushes’ question. Alan just reaches and guessed ‘toothbrushes used to be alive billions of years ago…’

Okay, now I’m back onto this episode’s reins. Rory tries to get more points by pointing out an obscure fact about nylon, only for Stephen to subtract points, because he knew he’s try to say that and set the klaxon trap. That’s ingenious, and wonderful.

I adore the discussion about ‘Stephen Fry’s all-endangered-species bathroom cabinet’, sparked by using ivory for a toothbrush handle, and then everybody, especially Phill and Bill, taking it further. Bill ends it by going “I’ll use this coelacanth to rub my back!”

Stephen is caught in a very-rare fuck-up. He says someone committed suicide by ‘taking saliva’ when his wife was pregnant. Of course Rory’s the one to catch him on that, calling it a ‘freudian blowjob- I MEAN SLIP!’

At this point in the episode, a bit more than halfway, I think I’ve heard Rory’s buzzer more times than I heard the Lord of the Rings theme at the 2004 Oscars, which, if you’ll remember, was every goddamned second for three and a half hours.

Stephen describes what goes in to a baby’s stool. Bill says ‘yes, we laminated it.’ Bill is having a very nice night. Matter of fact, all four are doing really well in terms of jokes. It’s just that Rory just knows too goddamned much.

Stephen: “Why shouldn’t I strip Alan naked and cover him in gold paint?”
Phill: “You…win your Oscar properly like everyone else.”
(Probably the quote of the episode)

Stephen says that Ian Fleming once wrote that homosexuals can’t whistle. After which, he tries, and fails, at whistling.

Once Stephen announces the question, “how many senses do you have”, and Alan buzzes in, you can hear Bill, from off camera, go “I sense a buzzer coming…” And sure enough…

I love how Alan just writes ‘CATFISH’ in taste buds on his catfish. Gotta love Alan

wait…BILL WON??? I mean…what? how? why?

I don’t care. I’m just overjoyed that Rory didn’t win.

Even better, Rory has negative points! YES!

Final Thoughts: Not a bad episode, but not a flawless one. Phill and Bill were in top form, even if Phill was a bit more quiet than usual. Rory wasn’t as trollish as he was last time, but still took a lot of the fun out of it. Alan looked like he was having a lot of fun tonight.

MVP: Alan
Best Guest: Bill
Show Winner: Phill
Gyles Brandreth Award for Knowing Too Goddamned Much: Rory
Best QI Fact: toothbrushes.

QI Watchdown: C5 (Cat’s Eyes)

After a string of less-than-enthusiastic panel combinations, we’ve finally got a generally familiar one, featuring three people who’ve appeared on the show before, and are generally pretty funny. Jo Brand, Sean Lock, and Rich Hall. And if anyone out there doesn’t particularly enjoy Jo Brand, fear not- she’s only in two episodes this season.

All the buzzers are seasonally themed tonight. Sean’s is like a flatulent-esque ‘vroom’ sound. Rich is funny, as it’s a guy obnoxiously coughing. He even gets a kick out of that one. Jo’s is a simple sneeze. Alan’s is an overly-long digestive sound.

One line in, we’re already off to a nice start:
Stephen: “So Jo…can you smell the fear?”
Jo: “Of course.”
Stephen: “What’s it smell like?”
Jo: “Jeremy Beadle.”
(somewhere, Tony Slattery gets a royalty)

Alan rolls off a fact about lady mosquitoes, and expects Stephen to give him points. Stephen goes “well, you’ve made a point, but you don’t get one.”

Okay, I’m back to adoring Rich’s humor. “I think fear smells like crab salad. I was at the deli the other day, and I asked for a crab salad sandwich, and the lady said ‘we’re all out of crab salad…*I’M AFRAID*”

Stephen: “What did Cat’s Eyes Cunningham have for supper?”
Sean (raring back): “It’s a shot in the dark, this. Is it chicken fajitas?”

Okay, very nice job by the Elves for knowing that Alan would guess that a guy who wanted to see at night would have carrots for dinner. That was a nice one.

Rich, once again, returns to his method of trying to get points by making up crap. This time he said ‘did you know…the guy who invented the Phillips screw…his hair parted in four different sections?’ I still really, really love his stuff.

Sean gets another nice gag by guessing the buzzing noise that Stephen plays is “a bee under a sink”. I think Sean is one of the most consistently funny people on this show.

Stephen tries giving the panel a hint, saying “it’s something Marco Polo heard and was astonished by”, which only causes Jo to guess “Kajagoogoo?”

Another great Jo joke.
Stephen: “What do you get when you cross a camel and a leopard?”
Jo: “You get a Fireside rug, you can have a good hump on.”
Immediately after that, she gives an embarrassed facepalm.

And then Sean has a great answer to that: “you get sacked from the zoo.”

Stephen punctuates Alan’s story about leopards liking rotten meat, with a bad pun. He goes “well, eating rotten meat is terrible, it gives you spots.” And the best part of this is him watching the audience reaction, holding up a finger and trying to get onto the next question.

Great Alan-Stephen exchange.
Alan: ‘Is it true, that you gave Prince Charles, as a wedding present, some coffee made out of weasel shit?”
Stephen: “…not exactly. It was Cambodian weasel vomit…coffee.”

On the  vomit coffee, Stephen just says “I just thought it’d be something he wouldn’t have.” And then Sean takes the joke further, saying “d’you think he just put it in a cupboard at home, and there’s loads of ’em in there? Going ‘Oh, Fry, thinking he’s so original…'”

On Nero:
Stephen: “His dying words were ‘what an artist dies in me’.”
Alan: “Was there someone in him at the time?”
This not only had me laughing, but literally everyone had to stop and compose themselves in the studio.

Stephen: “[Nero] blamed a small sect of people for the fire-”
Alan: “The gays.”
Alan is on fire tonight. Matter of fact, they’re all coming up with a lot of really nice answers, with the exception of maybe Jo.

Okay, Stephen has a nice joke with roman lettering, the u’s and the v’s being the same. He refers to I, Claudius as “I, Clavdivs”. THAT made me laugh.

Rich has a nice joke about how the elephants were caught. “The truth is that many of them volunteered. They came from small towns, no future, no circus comin’ through town, so they just…”

Sean’s anecdote about the Koala’s ass and his finger made me laugh, especially his impression of the face that the Koala made.

Jo is asked if she’s ever been in bed with a certain type of jerk. And a photo appears on the screen. Jo points and says “well, i’ve had *him*…”

Okay, now you see how the audience has turned against Jo. Jo finally says her line, “my husband”, the thing that people were expecting her to say…and nobody laughs.

Final Thoughts: An alright episode, with some definite highlights, and some great performances by Alan, Sean and Rich. Not as good as some of the very early stuff, but still worthy of a watch.

MVP: Alan
Best Guest: Sean
Show Winner: Sean
Best QI Fact: The Elephants

QI Watchdown: C4 (Cheating)

The name of this episode is ‘Cheating’. It would have been better suited for last episode if you ask me, but that’s besides the point.

This episode features two people that I’d rather do without, John Sessions and Jeremy Clarkson, and one person that may in fact save this episode from being another crappy one.

Alexander Armstrong I know from Space Cadets. He was on there with Ben Miller, his comedy partner at the time, and I remember him being very funny there. I don’t remember a ton about his style of humor, but I have faith that he’s gonna put on a good showing tonight.

Okay, not even one second in and I already love Alexander. He hears a whistle from the audience, and a single eyebrow lifts in that direction. Just the charm he has is amusing enough.

John Sessions’ hair dye is a tad bit more potent than it was last season.

Jeremy’s buzzer seems to amuse him, as it’s a rocket that doesn’t seem to go off. His eyes follow the rocket, half expecting it to go ‘boom’. It doesn’t. Stephen passes it over to Alexander, and by that point Jeremy’s explosion has JUUUUST occurred. Alexander’s is an animal roar which he plays a few times after the explosion, so the audience can hear it. John’s is the return of ‘FRUITY’, which Alan had last season, and he seems rather pleased by it. Alan’s is a cuckoo clock that ends in gunfire. Very weird buzzers tonight.

Okay, this is a very inspired runner that Stephen establishes, that reminds me of the letter-board from last season (“JO’S GOT QUIM!”) Stephen gives everyone a chalkboard and expects all four to keep their own scores. Alan immediately writes 100 on his board. Stephen, already cracking, says ‘you see, I told the producer there was a flaw in this system.” Even funnier is the cut over to Jeremy, who’s written ‘1,000,000’ on his, and stares at the camera blank faced.

Stephen says that he’s gonna deduct points for how far off people are, and award 100 to anyone who’s spot on. Now Jeremy changes his board to say ‘I Like Stephen’. And for the first time, I’m actually enjoying Jeremy Clarkson.

Alan gave me a nice visual of a car on the Olympic podium, and the guy’s sitting in the car, waving to the crowd.

Alan once again brings out his Mexican accent, this time as the Cuban mailman who got 5th in that marathon. “I HAVE A LET-TAH FOR YOOOUU!”

Stephen: “In 1900, there was a sport where Great Britain won a gold medal, but the only other country that competed was France. What was it?”
John: “Arrogance?”

Funny thing is John and Jeremy are behaving in this one. Alexander hasn’t said all that much, sadly.

I love how Stephen tests Jeremy in a question about vehicle speed, he gets it right, and Stephen yells “OOOHHH! GOOD, ISN’T HE???”

Okay, great visual moment. Alan gets a question right, and goes to his board. Alan goes to Stephen, ‘okay, how many did I get?”. Stephen goes “how many do you think you deserve?” And then Alan looks back up, frightened almost. Not too many people caught it, but I laughed hard. It’s like Alan has no idea what to do with all that power.

Jeremy: ‘I bet I’m the only person here that grows their own parsnips.’
Alan: ‘Is that a euphemism?”

Another great Alan moment. On the ‘first creature in space’ question, Alan hears John say dog, but the Klaxon guys are too busy buzzing out Alexander for ‘monkey’. So once they’re done, Alan starts pointing to John, going “HE SAID DOG!” until they finally buzz him for that.

Stephen: “What’s interesting about the sperm of the fruit fly?”
Alexander: “Smells of guava.”

Okay, the funniest part of that fly sperm fact was Alan trying to mime a fruit fly ejaculating, and it being more like an Alien chestburster.

Alan has a great moment with wordplay, saying that the womb is a cell in the body, and Stephen chastises him for that. Alan does say ‘well, it can be seen as a cell, you know, for nine months’, giving the other meaning to cell.

Alan complains he’s lost 20 points, and Stephen, to make up for it, asks him to name something made by the swiss. Alan guesses the cuckoo clock, and Stephen yells “OH, DEAR!” as the Klaxon goes off.

Alan takes over the last half of the episode by trying to get little points by pointing out things. He keeps saying that the guillotine was last used in 1960, and even if it’s wrong, he writes it down.

Stephen: “Now, if anyone was spot on the money, what did I say would happen?”
Alan (lisping): “They’d have…thex…”

I love that Alexander manages to get his right, and ends up winning the whole thing. Because I couldn’t take another John victory.

Overall Thoughts: Decent episode. A lot better than I thought. Jeremy did some of the heavy lifting here, and seemed to be in a better mood than last time. John and Alexander had some nice showings, but Alan did have a very nice night, in terms of jokes.

MVP: Alan
Best Guest: Jeremy
Show Winner: Alexander
Best QI Fact: Fruit Fly Sperm

QI Watchdown: C3 (Common Knowledge)

I haven’t done one of these in a while, so I might as well. Tonight’s episode features the first time in QI history that Jimmy Carr and Sean Lock perform in the same show. This is also the first appearance of a comedian I’ve not seen since Whose Line, and thankfully at that.

DISCLAIMER ABOUT TONIGHT’S EPISODE: A lot of people really don’t like this one because the common rumor is that Rory McGrath knew all the answers ahead of time, and essentially ‘hi-jacked’ the show, leading to a lot of people calling this one of the worst episodes of the series. I’m just going to see for myself.

Rory McGrath has gained a bit of weight since Whose Line. I never really liked him when he was on there, because he was never the funniest guy on the show, and I always liked the other Rory (Bremner) a bit better. And seeing as he’s basically going to be the goat of the audience tonight, I’m just gonna watch him implode.

All four buzzers are common noises, like fire alarms, sirens and lawnmowers. Alan’s is a parade of boos.

Stephen teases that tonight, there’s a question so difficult that he’ll give 100 points to anyone who gets it right. This is an interesting runner, one that I’m guessing Rory’s gonna take advantage of.

Rory basically sums up this episode by buzzing in, giving the correct answer, and saying to the audience, bashfully, ‘it isn’t very funny.’

Okay, all four guys do have some fun with the ‘having sex with the chicken’ question. This is mostly Alan and Sean, saying stuff about the egg-shaped girth and things.

Sean does have a nice twist to this, ‘or did they catch one in six men in Iowa, going’, and he does this intricate pantomime of a guy screwing a chicken.

Jimmy’s first line of the episode is ‘well, they definitely didn’t get a blowjob, obviously.” I like how all four guys are not beneath joking about having sex with a chicken.

Jimmy has a nice line about the decimal point guy and his black cock (rooster). “Did he do that purely for double-entendre? Like, have you seen my massive black cock?” Jimmy is still one of the funnier guys on this show.

Stephen, upon Rory’s THIRD correct answer of the night, turns to the rest of the panel, possibly dying on the inside, and goes “isn’t he good?” I think the fan theory about this one is that Rory had gotten all of the answers ahead of time, and it definitely shows.

The thing about Rory that especially vexes me is that he claims to be a comedian, and yet he’s not especially funny. He’s tried to make a few jokes this episode, and I haven’t laughed. On the ‘chevin’ question, Rory says, jokingly, that it’s a portmanteau word for ‘a Chav named Kevin’. And the part that made me laugh was the fact that it gained him a Klaxon.

Rory even admits that he’s forgotten about the forfeit. And the rules, evidently.

He also tries making another joke about a Chavender being the episode of Eastenders where there was a Chav, and says ‘but I’m not going to say that’. Thankfully, the elves give him a Klaxon anyway. Poetic justice, I guess.

Sean: “The thing about the koala is that they are the most law abiding of all the bears.”
Alan (after a pause): “They’re not bears.”

Alan: What’s your favorite bit of the koala? D’you like the little hands?
Jimmy (not missing a beat): “I like the cock.”
Sean: “I like the lips, toasted.”

Stephen asks “what’s the commonest metal in the human body?” Immediately, I’m thinking “ALAN, DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT SAY IRON!”

AND OF COURSE, Rory rings in with ‘calcium’, and not only gets it right, but gets a special alarm reading GENIUS. I mean, CHRIST! That’s NOT how this game works, man!

Jimmy does have a candidate for line of the episode once Rory gets his umpteenth point. Jimmy looks at Stephen and goes ‘this is a team game, right? I’m on his (Rory’s) team? Because we’re KILLING them!”

Alan: “Something’s 98 percent liquid, I know it…”
Jimmy: “Is it the sea?”
Okay, that’s brilliant.

But then Sean goes “No, the sea is only 4% water.” And Stephen, exasperated, defers to him.

Alan: “if you took all the fish, and the whales, out of the sea-”
Sean: “They’d die!”

Again, Sean, Jimmy and Alan are doing so well that I’m really wishing this episode had somebody like Phill or Bill, or even Rich, instead of Rory, who’s just ruining this game. Even Gyles Brandreth is going OH, FUCKING STOPPIT! And to be clear, I actually liked Gyles Brandreth. I thought that even if he knew a lot, he was still interesting, and it was because he was that smart, not because he looked up all the answers the night before. Gyles is a great person. Rory’s just a twat.

Jimmy even gets respect points for doing a Stephen Wright joke: “Imagine how deep the ocean would be if there weren’t sponges.”

YAAAAAAY, RORY GETS ANOTHER KLAXON! I know, he’s still gonna win, but I DON’T CARE!!!

GI’s early this episode. Which means, yay, the episode’s almost over and I’m almost done dealing with Rory…for a few episodes.

Sean trying to recall all of the stuff Rory said was hysterical. After a while he just starts making shit up. “Uh, koalas invented rice?” Sean and Jimmy are saving this episode.

Again, after another Rory fact, Sean feels the need to screw with him. He goes, “probably about four blokes at Oxford going, “heheh””

Okay, I think the funniest part of the episode just happened. Rory and Stephen are arguing about a technical term for something, and Sean decides he’s going to take the attention for himself. So he looks under his desk, and motions around, nervous. Then after a few seconds he starts playing like he’s being sucked under the desk, getting the attention of Alan. Stephen and Rory hear the audience reacting, but are still arguing. After this, Sean gets back in his seat, and goes “I’m sorry about that. There’s a portal to the underworld underneath here…”

Then, immediately after that, Rory and Stephen go RIGHT BACK INTO IT, and Sean, still not believing it, goes, ‘SORRY, I MISSED THAT, COULD YOU GO OVER THAT AGAIN?” Sean is KILLING IT this episode.

And Jimmy manages to sum up the entire episode with one single quote:
“You know how the show’s called Quite Interesting? Yeah, I think we’ve veered off that a bit…”

Sean continues trolling Rory, this time going “Hey, would you give me more points if I say it in a different language? OCHO! OCHO CARDIGAN-ES!”

Rory ONCE AGAIN gives a latin name, this time for a puffin, and Stephen, now a bit annoyed, goes “you’re just beginning to try my patience.”

Stephen: “Why does the House of Commons smell of urine?”
Jimmy: “Is it because they’ve got one of those Glade plug-in things?”

Jimmy, jokingly, goes “Tweed, as we all know, is made with urine.” To which Stephen goes “yes, that’s the answer.” Jimmy’s reaction is hysterical- he meant for that to be a joke. He goes “WHAT? IS IT…YES! YES IT IS!”

WAIT, HOW DID JIMMY LOSE THIS ONE??? This is a very odd episode.

So…Rory wins with 88. Uhm, yay, I guess.

Final Thoughts: Well…that certainly was an episode, wasn’t it? I’m not even sure how to categorize it. On one hand, you had Rory McGrath basically destroying everything the game held dear, and making a case for the worst ever showing from anyone ever on QI. On the other, you have Sean Lock completely owning Rory at every chance he gets. So it’s a mixed bag. I think that it’s a weak episode, because Rory definitely weighs it down, but it definitely has its moments, especially as far as Jimmy and Sean are concerned.

MVP: Sean
Best Guest: Sean
Show Winner: Rory
The Gyles Brandreth Award for Knowing Too Goddamned Much: Rory
Best QI Fact: Urine in Tweed Jackets.