QI Watchdown: D10 (Divination), or, The One Without Alan, and With Donkey Cheese

I’ll start with this, and this’ll defend Alan’s choice to miss this episode in order to see Arsenal in the champs. I’m a fan of the New York Yankees, a baseball club. In 2009, they were in the World Series for the first time since my infancy. I had a choice to either complete the school day, including taking a rather important quiz, or go see the Yankees in the World Series. I picked the Series.

So I can understand why sports > QI for Alan in this case.

I’d be more worried if there was no one worth a damn on the panel, and while 2/3rd of the guys are kind of unknown to me, at least there’s Phill Jupitus to sling some jokes, and maybe be in a good mood this week now that Jonathan Ross is gone.

This is one of the first episodes in a while where Stephen is in costume, looking like a cross between Morocco Mole and I Dream of Genie.

Graeme Garden I remember from an episode of Whose Line. I don’t remember him being especially funny. For whatever reason, he seemed older in 1989 than he does in 2006. Weird.

Johnny Vaughan I don’t know. His Wikipedia page doesn’t say a lot else.

Tonight, as the runner is divination, the panelists are required to guess their scores, and the person closest at the end will receive 666 points. Clever, reminds me of the one from Cheating (“I Like Stephen.”)

Phill’s method of divination is through tea bags. One of his has ‘you are going to die’ written on it. Always a nice sign.

As for the buzzers, they’re all sort of mysterious. Fairly run of the mill. Graeme’s is a child’s voice saying “IS THERE ANYBUDDY THEEERE?”, which confuses him. Phill’s is great, because it’s the Tabitha noise from Bewitched, so he does it again with the nose twitch.

Johnny: “Did everyone come here tonight mainly to see Alan?”
Audience: “YES!”
Johnny: “Can I just say, very unlucky. BECAUSE YOU GET US…FOR THE WHOLE NIGHT!”

Once the ‘twist’, that Alan leaves after buzzers to go to the Arsenal match, which actually did happen, is sprung, there’s this great shot of Phill looking around, bewildered, with Alan’s ass prop. It’s obviously staged, but it’s fun.

Johnny has a very animated style of speaking and EMPHASIZING every other WORD he SAYS, which makes me THANKFUL, that he’s only HERE for one EPISODE.

Stephen does an impression of a horse who keeps getting surprised by seeing commonplace things he’s seen before. Phill goes “you look so much like my nan-nan when you do that.”

Stephen: “What’s the best thing to do with a dead donkey?”
Phill: “Christmas dinner. LOVELY Christmas dinner. Big old cavity, plenty of stuffing…”

Stephen: “The word donkey…when did it first come into the English Language?”
Graeme: “When was Don Quijote published?”

Phill’s mind being blown when he finds out that the male donkey has to screw a female horse. “That means he has to find a box…”

Stephen: “What about donkey milk? D’you know anything about that?”
Phill: ‘Donkey milk. It probably makes an amazing cheese.”
Stephen: “Well, surprisingly that’s the one thing it isn’t used for…”
Johnny: ‘Come on, you’re so naive! Sometimes, honestly, you can’t just-”
Phill (adamant): “I WANT DONKEY CHEESE!”
Dear gosh, Phill is saving this episode.

Stephen: “What’s the right word for someone who’s from the USA?”
Johnny: A beast.”
Graeme: “Is it burger-eating invasion monkey?”

Johnny, I’ve come to a verdict on. Johnny does have some really funny moments on this episode, but like Jonathan Ross I feel like he’s better with this one appearance. Good news is he does get along with Phill and Stephen. Graeme isn’t doing great in terms of banter. He’s making his jokes and keeping to himself, sadly.

I’m sorry, but Graeme’s buzzer may be one of the best ones in history, because the frightened “ANYBUDDY THEEEEERE?” makes everything it precedes funnier. The bit where Stephen plays this pricy blues recording, and it ends…and Graeme buzzes in. The audience laughs at how out of place it is. It’s like Alan buzzing in with ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’ to stop the depressing Billie Holliday song.

Phill: ‘Yes, but you can’t write a good blues song if you live a lovely life, and go jogging…”
Stephen: “The GYLES BRANDRETH BOOK OF BLUES!”
THAT made me laugh. Especially considering that I actually enjoyed Brandreth when he was on back in season A.

When Stephen reveals that the number of the beast is actually 616
Graeme: “Nono, that’s the fax number of the beast…”

Okay, this is great. Stephen asks who’s done the most damage to the environment. Alan, from beyond, guesses George Bush, Stalin, Mao, all these people…and gets klaxoned for every one of them. Funny how, without even being here for most of the game, Alan’s likely gonna lose.

Johnny realizes that he doesn’t get points taken off for every wrong answer, just the Obviously Wrong ones. So…he keeps buzzing in with all these car manufacturers, all of which are wrong.

Phill quote of the episode: “Then he decided to cut out the middleman and just kill babies with hammers.”

Stephen: “Then, he was struck by polio by the age of 51.”
Phill: “WELL FUCKING GOOD!”

Alan still managed to get -70 even if he wasn’t there. Wow.

Final Thoughts: Strange episode, but surprisingly great. Phill did a great job of carrying the game on his shoulders, and Johnny had a ton of nice moments. Even Graeme had some nice jokes, though he was a bit to himself. And yes, it was very sad to not have Alan around, but this is the last Alan-less episode we have, which is nice.

MVP: Phill
Show Winner: Graeme
Loser of the Week: Alan, for getting -70 while at an Arsenal match.
Best QI Fact: The story of the man who piped lead into the atmosphere, destroyed the ozone layer and strangled himself to death.

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