We’ve gone through 13 very tumultuous, though for the most part more high than low, episodes, through people we loved to see (Andy! Ronni! Arthur! Vic! David!), and people we’d love to never see again (mainly Jonathan Ross and Roger McGough). We’re down to the last one, featuring four people I’ve enjoyed on a ton of episodes: Rich Hall, Jo Brand, Dara O’Briain and, of course, Alan.
As it’s the Christmas special (also, another one with no Phill Jupitus appearance), the set’s decorated with white and wreaths and all of that.
The introductions are supposed to be like an office Christmas party. So when Stephen introduces Rich as ‘the skinny geezer from Accounts’, he turns to him with this incredibly confused expression, like ‘the fuck, Stephen?’ Jo is ‘the scary woman from Human Resources’, and even she goes “I like the sound of that.” Dara is ‘the big guy from Marketing with the giant goatee’. Alan’s, I think, is the least funny.
Dara, with his buzzer of ‘Sleigh Ride’, gets into the habit of sarcastically bobbing his head along with the music. Dara will do this very often. Dara, like clive, has some of the funnier buzzer reactions around (just wait for ‘Europe’ and ‘Fingers and Fumbs’.)
Rich’s is just a children’s choir singing Jingle Bells, which makes him give a shrug, as if to say, ‘you could have done better.’
Alan’s is the funniest, as it’s an overly long and obnoxious ‘ring-a-ding’ song.
Jo, after the Mythras story, gives the first amazing line of the episode: “There are a couple flaws in that story. I’ve never heard a man go ‘Oh, Mythras’ when he’s cumming’.
Stephen says that the Christian Nativity story took a lot from other religions, and ‘certainly wasn’t original.’ Dara, with a great line, goes “Interesting direction to start your Christmas Special with…”
Stephen vs. Dara’s accent:
Dara: “Does that mean they stuck All Saint’s day and All Souls day after the-”
Stephen: “I don’t think there’s an arsehole’s day.”
Stephen: “Memorial day, memorializes what?”
Stephen: ‘And, according to Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jesus’ birth was on the 1st of October.”
Dara: “Well, they saw it, so…”
Stephen: “What does the Queen do after Christmas lunch?”
Alan: “has a fuck.”
The dynamic here is very nice, because all four, even Rich at times, are kind of collaborative, especially Dara and Jo. Dara is doing a good job of embodying the Phill role of fucking with Dara whenever he can, especially about the Christmas Special theme.
Stephen: “This is Christmas Eve, remember. Why do they open presents on Christmas Eve?”
Jo: “CAUSE THEY’RE ALL FUCKIN’ MAD!”
Stephen: “No…because they’re all fucking *GERMAN!*
Jo, for whatever reason, has had a renaissance in the last two episodes, returning to the funny persona she had in Series A. I’m all for this, too.
Stephen: “What suffers the most at the Holiday Christmas Party?”
Jo: “It’s the photocopier, for having so many arses on it!”
The funniest part of this is that it’s the right answer.
Dara, confused: “Well then who put the cat IN the photocopier?”
Rich, matter-of-factly: “A copy-cat.”
Dara talks of not being able to have Guinness at a pub for sometime, and Stephen does a fake Irish accent, an unintelligible one. Dara’s like “no, the pub I went to was not something out of a 1950’s movie.”
The Catalunian phrase, ‘eat well, shit hard’, was so random and out there that it made me laugh. It leads to the line, by Alan, “SHIT HARD, FRY! SHIT HARD!”
Stephen: “Who got little leather boots for Christmas in Norfolk?”
Rich: ‘The Norfolk Gimp.”
Rich is doing a lot less this episode, but he’s still very funny.
Rich, on where Saints are actually from, says ‘St. Bernard is actually from a shelter.’ His wordplay is actually really good.
Stephen displays a zoomed in photo of what looks like the famous Michaelangelo painting on top of the sistine chapel, and asks who painted it. Alan already goes “you’re not gonna get me this time.” Jo, always being the one to stab in the dark, goes “is it Jackson Pollack?”
Stephen: “When did Father Christmas die?”
Alan: “Oh, come on. He’s not dead, he’s still al-”
“HE’S NOT DEAD” Klaxon shows up.
Alan: “Well…I hope all the children are in bed. There’s gonna be some tears, now!”
Rich: “It’d be great if his wife was named Mary.”
Stephen: “Mary Christma- (gets the joke)”
Dara wins, despite bagging on Stephen the whole episode.
My favorite Rich reaction of the episode happens when Stephen announces he had -9 this episode. As the audience applauds, he has this confused, bewildered expression, and as the camera cuts back to Stephen, you still hear Rich going “WHY ARE YOU CLAPPING? I HAVE *MINUS NINE*, AND THEY’RE APPLAUDING!”
Overall: A nice episode, and a nice way to end the series. There were, however, a few lulls, and Rich was noticeably quiet tonight, but Dara, Jo and Alan were all excellent, and the banter between Dara and Stephen was delightful.
Best Guest: Jo
Show Winner: Dara
Best QI Fact: The Catalunian Shitter
SERIES D ACCOLADES!
Best Episode: D5: Death
2nd Best Episode: D4: Dictionaries
Worst Episode: D11: Denial & Deprivation (Not Even Vic could save this one)
Episode Worth a Second Look: D2: Discoveries, or D7: Differences. Both flawed but very funny episodes.
Best Runner: Giving the Contestants Stuffed Dogs to Play With, from D3: Dogs (especially Jeremy)
Best Recurring Guest: Phill Jupitus
Most Underused Recurring Guest: Rich Hall
Most Improved: Dara O’Briain, for being able to completely take control in two packed panels.
Worst Guest: Roger McGough.
Guest We Wish Wasn’t Done After This Season: Arthur Smith (runners up: Andy Parsons and Neil Mullarkey)
Guest Who Thankfully Never Showed Up Again: Jonathan Ross. Funny, but not a great fit.
Rookie of the Year: Vic Reeves (Runner Up: Ronni Ancona)