QI Watchdown: C11 (Carnival), or, OH NO IT ISN’T!!

OOOOH BOY we’re in for a good one!

This episode is the second of two Clive episodes, and the first of two Phill episodes. It’s also the last Jo episode of the season, but people apparently don’t seem to like Jo. Still, it’s not often that you get consecutive Phill episodes, so I’m embracing it.

Okay, you can tell this is a good episode, because as Stephen’s doing his opening standup, you can hear a ‘party horn’ noise from Stephen’s right, which has to be Alan. He looks over to Alan, and starts cracking up, as he’s doing his standup. So you can tell, by the fact that he’s already losing it, and the show’s not even started yet, that we’re in for a good one.

All four panelists are wearing either little plastic hats or holding plastic horns in their mouths, or both. And they seem pretty enthused about it.

As for the buzzers, they’re carnival themed. Phill’s is the little carnival theme, which he dances around to. Clive’s is a drumroll that leads to someone landing in the water, followed by horns; this amuses Clive. Jo’s is a serious of horns. Alan’s is a parade of mad laughter (I think)

Stephen says that each of the four has been equipped with a ‘swozzle-stick’. Clive and Phill demonstrate this with flying colors. Alan tries it and fails. Phill, however, uses his noise to make it sound like over-the-top hysterical laughter, which Clive tries to beat out of him. The energy at Second Zero is already making me laugh.

And our episode-long runner involves a joker card with a squirrel on it. It entails that whenever a question seems to have ‘squirrel’ as an answer, which will be one point in the show, a contestant must buzz in, play the card, and yell ‘squirrels’! This reminds me of ‘CUTTLEFISH!’ from a few episodes ago.

Phill asks if said ‘squirrel’ should be done with or without swozzles. Stephen says ‘without, because you might swallow it’. Right as he says that, Alan keeps yelling “SQUIRREL” with the swozzle in his mouth, which is equally amusing.

And then, an early candidate for quote of the episode: “If you don’t take your swozzles out very soon, I will kill you.”

So, as Stephen explains, the right answer will get 50, and the wrong will get -10, and as he says that, a slide of Stephen in clown makeup with a smile and frown are shown for each one. As to the frown, Phill goes “Stephen Fry sings Simply Red is not available in the shops.” He pauses, for emphasis, and then gives out a Melchett-esque “Baaah”, as he loves to do. The even more priceless part of this is immediately after Phill does this, Stephen lets out a genuine Melchett noise, a “neeehh”.

I’ve written a book, and the game’s not even started yet. YES!

I do love that Stephen quotes a ‘deep thought from Jack Handey’ to start, about clowns. That’s actually brilliant.

The funniest part of the whole runner is Alan gets a forfeit literally the first opportunity he gets. Stephen asks what the panel’s afraid of. Alan yells, with card in hand, “SQUIRRELS”. Of course, the Stephen clown frown shows up, and then Alan goes ‘that was a joke…’

Stephen: “Does anyone have a cuckoo in their pants?”
Jo: “Can I apologize in advance for this one? No, because I had a big cock in my pants last night…”
And already, she starts cracking up. And, of course, she gets a klaxon, but only for going ‘no.’

Stephen (trying to explain): “But the greek for cuckoo is…”
Alan: “…bumhole.”
Stephen’s reaction to this is priceless.

Stephen: “What goes around in a Greek frock?”
Jo: “Demis Roussos.”
NOT ONLY is this a ridiculously funny answer, but it also gets Klaxoned. My gosh, they’re not letting Jo have a joke, aren’t they?

Jo then gets ANOTHER KLAXON, when she guesses Squirrels. I do, now, understand that the sound-bite that plays over the Clown Stephen screen is “OH, NO IT ISN’T!!” My gosh, this episode is bonkers.

And now, Phill Screws with Stephen:
Stephen: What’s coconut milk?
Phill: TASTY!
Stephen: Nono, where does it come from?

Stephen gives a hint that he’s looking for an animal, and he looks at all four panelists as they grapple with whether or not they want to guess if this one’s the squirrel question. Phill is close to grasping his card. Clive eventually has no choice but to guess squirrel, only to be proven wrong.

Clive offhandedly mentions that he’s the president of the Woodland Trust, to which Stephen dramatically announces, “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE PRESIDENT OF THE WOODLAND TRUST!” The audience applauds, and Phill even holds his squirrel card next to Clive. Phill then asks “how do you get voted that position. Did the squirrels vote you in?”

Clive mentions a wasp fudge. Phill brings up a good point “leave it out for an hour, and all fudge has wasps in it…” My God, Phill is on an absolute ROLL tonight. This may be his best episode ever.

For the first question of GI, Stephen asks what goes around gathering nuts in May. Alan literally commands everyone to raise their cards on the count of three, and Clive and Phill indeed do. However…it’s wrong.

Jo summarizes this entire episode by saying ‘is it ‘we’? Here we go gathering nuts in May?’ I think she’s referring to when this was taped, because QI usually tapes in May and June, and that’s exactly what QI does…they gather nuts and ask them questions.

Phill answers the ‘custard’ question with a very smart and thought-provoking answer, which is deemed very wrong by Stephen. So, on a whim, Phill yells out ‘IS IT SQUIRREL?’ Stephen face palms as the wrong answer screen comes up.

Stephen, on cocking, reads a comment as “a good cocker would think nothing of cleaning his cock’s wounded head by sticking it in his mouth and sucking it clean.” There’s a nice amount of silence, and then Phill gives the line of the episode, “You’re watching QI for the Straight Guy.”

The next question, which Stephen says is an animal, Phill doesn’t even need to say it, just holding up his card, and waiting for Stephen’s head to pop up behind him.

The funny part is before he made a zillion guesses for squirrels, Phill was probably winning. I guess that means Clive’s going to win??

Phill correctly guesses that the tortoise was dropped by an eagle. Alan marvels that the guess was ‘quite a far shot’. Phill then, jokingly, guesses ‘thrown, by a rival philosopher.’

Clive eventually ruins the chance for the squirrel question by saying the shoes were made of fur, answering the question without actually saying ‘squirrel’. Phill was even raising his card as the question was asked. The upside is at least there’s the visual of a slipper made of squirrel fur.

As predicted, Clive wins with zero.

Final Thoughts: Far and away the best episode of this series. Not only did this episode have the best runner, but it had some of the best jokes and the best chemistry between the contestants. Clive had his Woodland Trust gag, which Phill and Jo would add to, and all four would add to the main gag. Phill was on top of the world, giving some of his best material. Clive and Jo should not be counted out, having spectacular games themselves. Alan, even in his score-wise ineptitude, was still funny in those rounds.

MVP: Phill
Best Guest: Phill
Show Winner: Clive
Best QI Fact: tortoise dropped by an eagle.


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