Ah, yes, up to Cleve Crudgington, AKA ‘A Gentleman’s Guide to QI’. In which three of the least loud or crass recurring guests appear alongside each other, in an attempt to calm everyone down from the previous episode’s Cuttlefish-o-rama. Tonight features Clive Anderson and Mark Steel, two guys that I’m certain will bring great moments tonight, and also John Sessions. After withstanding two episodes of Rory McGrath, I’m feeling a lot better about watching a John one.
Off we go:
The buzzers tonight seem to be spy-themed. John’s is the James Bond theme. Clive’s is the Mission Impossible theme. Mark’s is the Hawaii Five-O theme. Alan’s is apparently the theme to Z-Cars. As an American, I don’t see why this is a punchline.
Stephen is, very early on, trying to stop the panel from going for the innuendo when he says the C in question is Cumming. He already sees Clive trying to make the joke, so he’s already going ‘stoppit…’ Clive does indeed go ‘how did he get the job, then?’
I love that Stephen admits that Alan’s pumping him for information, as he’s scurrying back to his info card on the C of MI5 question.
Stephen: “He was born with two legs, you see-”
Clive: “There was nothing particularly remarkable about that! If that’s what you count as Quite Interesting on this programme-”
Stephen: “No, no, it builds…”
Stephen (on Clives): “There’s a generation of Clives on television. Clive James, Clive Anderson-”
Clive: “They’re all the same, actually. No eyes, no neck, no hair…”
I LOVE THAT because Clive hits the two most frequent jabbing points of his on Whose Line.
Alan asks about the corks and Crudgington, “did he insert them into his person.” Stephen, a bit unfazed, says “you will never know how thin the ice you skate on…We have a little forfeit all ready for you.” And A SECOND LATER, the words ‘RAMS IT UP HIS ARSE’ appear on the screen. Man, those Elves are that good.
Well, I for one never thought I’d see someone other than John get a Luvvie Alarm. BUT…Stephen begins a conversation, preceding it by saying ‘at the risk of a terrible name dropping’, and talks of a party at the Duke and Duchess of Westminster’s mansion, and the Luvvie Alarm goes off.
John riles off a long phrase, which is used as the Pigeon English word for piano. To this, Clive goes, ‘maybe you’d be better off saying piano.’
Sad to say, but other than a bunch of Clive lines, there’s not a lot going on in this episode. It’s sad, too.
They’ve just found out that the word cat comes from the latin word for dog.
Clive: “interesting thing about the word rabbit-”
Mark: “It comes from the latin word for giraffe!”
Stephen: “Do you know what a cataglotism is?
Alan: “It’s when you’ve got a cat stuck in your throat.”
Alan: “Why is pussy another word for front bottom?”
Stephen (deadpan): “I don’t know, it’s not my area of expertise, NOW…”
It’s not until GI that the buzzers real start going off, and one after the other in succession, they do sound quite funny.
BLUE WHALE UPDATE! This utterance of the gag is early on, and not enough that it’s a punchline yet. But, Alan indeed gets it wrong.
This is classic. Stephen asks Alan to name a berry. Alan says, obviously, ‘blackberry, strawberry, raspberry, loganberry-“, and is stopped by the Klaxon, which plays more like a slideshow of everything he just said. Stephen is so amazed that he has to go back and explain why every one of them is wrong.
Now Stephen names, and lists, a dozen or so fruits that are indeed berries. Alan, being Alan, interrupts him and says ‘SQUIRREL SHIT!’, which does manage to crack up Stephen.
The James Bond question is pretty funny, because Clive thinks he can outsmart Stephen. First he guesses Sean Connery as the second person to play James Bond, which is wrong. He knows that ‘the fellow who went onto host Blockbusters’ was the first, so then he guesses somebody from Casino Royale, ‘perhaps, uh, David Niven’. THAT is also Klaxoned. Now Clive is slamming his head on the desk.
Alan manages to cement the ‘blue whale’ status as a running gag later on in the episode, when Stephen, as part of the Buddha question, says it’s about an animal. Alan, not taking any chances, guesses “BLUE WHALE!” Thankfully, no klaxon.
Funny how Mark wins with 2. That’s fantastic. Even he’s going ‘how did that happen?’
Alan’s score of -84 is deemed by Stephen as a personal record. It’s damn close, I think.
Final Thoughts: Bit of a nondescript episode, not much happens until QI. Only Clive and Alan’s ineptitude save this one from being a complete clunker. It’s not any fault of the people involved. Mark and John are good on this show, but stayed very quiet. Clive had a tremendous show, showing the extroverted attitude that I wish we saw more of on Whose Line.
Best Guest: Clive
Loser of the Week: Alan with -84.
Show Winner: Mark
QI Fact of the Week: berries and droop sacks.