QI Watchdown: D4 (Dictionaries)

Don’t think I’ve ever been excited for an episode with two newcomers in a while. This one seems very promising, not just because it’s the first Phill episode of Series D (although that helps), but because a Whose Line/Mock the Week alum, and a Space Cadets alum are both joining the panel tonight. And both are pretty funny and trustworthy. So I’m very excited.

Stephen introduces the panel as ‘four people who look uncannily like someone else’. Rory is introduced as Tony Blair, and that works, as he’s known for that impression. Phill is introduced as Tommy Cooper, which means he has to race to throw a fez on his head. Ronni is introduced as Ruby Wax, and already goes into the impression. Alan is just introduced as himself. After a disappointed expression, Stephen caves and gives him Brian May.

Rory Bremner is somebody who I know very well, and enjoy. He was on a ton of Whose Line episodes back in the day, and became one of the few british semi-regulars to stay with the show in its last few seasons, before its complete Americanization. He was also a regular on the first two seasons of Mock the Week. He’s a pretty nice impressionist, and he’s a generally funny guy. This is his only episode, so I call it a guest spot.

Ronni Ancona I know from the short lived Scottish quiz/panel show (that I keep talking about), Space Cadets. She was on an episode. She was funny. I wasn’t expecting her to look like this after a span of nine years. I am impressed.

The buzzers are done in alphabetical order, in musical note form, except for Alan’s, which is a deep-voiced fellow going ‘DEEDEEDEEDEEDEEE…”

Stephen: “Name the subject of the three-volume book, whose first volume is entitled ‘the long years of obscurity'”
Phill: “The career of Phil Collins.”
And, it takes one answer to remind me why I adore Phill. Wonderful.

Ronni has this nice explanation, long, about the life of the word obscurity, being the only noun in a house of verbs, being beaten by his father adjective. So clever, and lets me know we’re in for a good one. And then she turns it into a Big Brother slam, which always works. Not as well as “DEEEA EEEEEAAAGHT”, but still.

Rory describes something as ‘the third worst eyesore in the country. D’you know what the first one is?’ Phill gives a second’s beat before chiming in with “PEOPLE! PUBLIC PEOPLE! WORKING CLASSES!”

Then Stephen describes something in Didcutt as the ‘second-oldest’. Phill goes “second-oldest, third-ugliest…always a bridesmaid, Didcutt’

Stephen: “What can’t the Boobay people Byoko do in the dark?”
Ronni: “See very well?”
Her stuff is very clever yet commonplace.

Alan, when he discovers the Boobay people can’t talk in the dark, says “well then, they can talk about each other behind their backs.” Stephen tries doing just this, doing sign language behind his back, which was rather amusing.

The way Rory describes how George W Bush talks with his hands, “like he’s carrying two sheep”, made me laugh hard. He’s good.

And then Rory and Stephen start making fun of his mispronunciations, how he calls himself a ‘merkin’, and does not approve of ‘tourism’.

On the ‘what does the queen say when knighting people’ question, Alan knows the ‘wrong’ answer, and halts himself. He goes “Arise…” and then stops, pondering if he should go on. However, the elves catch this, and give him the forfeit anyway on ‘Arise sir Alan’.

Ronni has the best comeback after this, the question being ‘what should the queen say in knighting Alan.” She says “no, she’d say ‘I’m sorry, but the line has to be drawn somewhere…”

Alan gets a klaxon for guessing a teardrop is pear shaped, and drawing it. After which, he shrugs, and goes “I’m gonna do another one.” He brings up the pad, revealing a square shape, which is also wrong. Earnestly, he asks “should I do a cock-and-balls?” Stephen puts his head in his hands, embarrassed.

Okay, this is a rather mean one. Stephen sets up the question, “Where might you find the world’s biggest drip?” And on the screens, a picture of Hugh Laurie is shown. Ouch. And to his own friend, no less.

A classic Stephen-Phill exchange:
Phill: “How big is it?”
Stephen: “Vast.”
Phill: “Well, that’s nice. ‘How big is it?’ “OH, VERY! I find that to quantify its bigness would be DOING IT A DISSERVICE! BIGLY BIG! VASTLY BIG! BIGNESS..OF THE BIG…DRIPPING THING” Anything! Feet, meters, centimeters! Throw me a fucking BONE here, Fry!”

And the fact that Phill keeps chiming in with things every five sentences. “FRY, PUT ON THE FIFTEEN DENEER AND SEE ME IN MY STUDY!” “FRY YOU OAF, THOSE ARE FISHNETS!”

Stephen: “Where is the largest floater under the sun?”
Rory: “In the office of the deputy prime minister?”
I didn’t think we’d be getting a John Prescott slam in this one, since it’s not a mock the week episode, but still, maybe he was warming up.

Alan remarks that “one day, the blue whale will be the answer to something.” It hasn’t.

Stephen: “How many different species of plant are there in the world? Are there more than you think? Fewer than you think? Or about the same as you thought?”
Ronni: “I can’t think. Does that count?”

Rory, Phill and Alan all tie for second. That is bizarre.

Overall: Fantastic episode. All four were giving great answers, and were in top form. Rory, in hindsight, may have been more suited towards Mock the Week than QI, but he was still pretty nice. This show happens to benefit Ronni’s style of humor, which is why she had a phenomenal evening. Phill gave some of his most inspired answers of his career.

MVP: Phill
Best Guest: Ronni
Show Winner: Ronni
Best QI Fact: Boobays can’t talk in the dark.

FYI: Next episode I’m very excited for, because we have the guy that ended up REPLACING Rory Bremner on Mock the Week appearing on his first and only episode. Plus, it’s a Halloween episode, so that’ll be fun.

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