QI Watchdown: F2 (Fire & Freezing)

Well, we’re just one episode into Series F of QI, which means it’s about time for…a…Christmas…special?

(Checks schedule)

Oh, I see. Starting with this series, QI’s schedule flipped, starting the series around the end of one year, and going into the next year. So now the Christmas special is earlier in the season, rather than the last episode. Also, this is the last season before the XL demarkation line, and I’m pretty sure from here on out I’m gonna be looking at the XL episodes. More material and all that.

Tonight’s episode is, as mentioned, the Christmas special, featuring a welcome appearance from Clive Anderson, the first of TWO (!) Rob Brydon episodes this season, and a rookie appearance from someone I’ve not heard of, Dom Joly. Let’s dive in.

Dom Joly is wearing a knitted cap. On first inspection, I thought he was Craig Charles, or Jack Black.

Of course Stephen’s intro for Rob includes a Wales joke. Of course it does.

Dom’s buzzer is ‘chestnuts roasting on an open fire’, which he gives a very Jimmy Carr-ish ‘okay’ signal to Stephen. Clive’s is ‘Light my Fire’ by the Doors, which he dances around to. Rob’s is ‘Fire’ by the Crazy World of Arthur Brown, and he appreciates how obscure, and awesome, the song is. Alan’s is Sir Alan Sugar saying “Alan, you’re a bloody disgrace. You’re fired!” Best part is Stephen, acting shocked, going “ALAN, YOU’RE FIRED! OH NO!”

The question about smoke signals turns into, via Dom, a conversation about how the pope signals work. Dom even guesses the black smoke means “what, for an African pope?”

Alan: ‘Since they’ve banned smoking in the vatican, quite a lot of people hang out the window for a fag, and it causes all sorts of trouble.”
Stephen: “Who would imagine Catholic Priests hanging out for a fag, it seems so unlikely…”
Yeah, that’s one of those reasons why I love Stephen

Dom, examining the smoke signal: “Looks more like a question mark, though. Do they do grammar?”
Alan: “They should have just gotten a light aircraft that just writes words in the sky.”
Stephen, as said sky-writing appears on the behind-screen, appropriately: “What, like that?”

Rob, on smoke signals: “Was that before or after email?”
Stephen: “It’s, uh, close. They were spamming, though. You’d get endless, like (with his hands, the smoke signal), DO-YOU-WANT-A-BIG-GER-COCK?”
Rob: “I dunno how you’d get a bigger cock, slapping it around like that?” (does the same hand movements Stephen did). “I think with me it would have the opposite effect, to be honest.”

Stephen gives the panel fans to swing around in order to communicate, and flirt with each other, like smoke signals. Dom starts swinging his around, and Stephen asks Rob, booklet in hand, what Dom is saying. Rob says “I am having a fit, the tablet is in my pocket…”

Clive: “What if you’re fanning yourself because you’re really hot, but you’re really saying “HELLO, I LOVE YOU! COME OVER HERE!”
Stephen: “or ‘DO YOU SWALLOW?”
Dear God, this episode is killing me already

Stephen: ‘What happened to the Fireman’s Pole?”
Rob: “He tiled the fireman’s bathroom.”
And once again, I’m absolutely losing it.

Dom is guessing something about the Fireman’s Pole, and then goes “of course, it was probably because of Health and Safety’, and at that moment, the Klaxon goes off, saying “Health and Safety Gone Mad.” Alan is pretty amused by this exact Klaxon, and goes “It’s the new Political Correctness Gone Mad’, which is a callback to a previous Jo episode.

As they’re answering the fireman question, they’re a repeating clip of firefighters coming down poles, and it keeps looping. Alan even goes “I must say, there are a lot of firefighters…” Rob takes it further, and goes ” The driver of the fire engine is there going ‘no, I can’t go yet, I’ve gotta wait for all of ya…meanwhile, a whole family is burning to death…”

Clive, in answering a question, goes “There are vegetarian restaurants, aren’t there, where you can’t get meat…”
Stephen: “Yes, all vegetarian restaurants, I think qualify…”
Rob: “To quote the great John Cleese, ‘what’s your specialist subject, the bleeding obvious?'”

Dom brings up the fact that if clothes are urine-soaked enough, they can be flammable, and mentions that there have been many cases of flammable grannies. So, at the ‘fire-eater question’, he offers this:
“I would have thought, at a Christmas event, if a fire-eater was thinking “I haven’t showed my family yet, this skill”, and there was a urine-soaked granny…who’d been brought out of the home just for a day, for Christmas, that would probably not be the time to say “So what are you up to now…Bruno?”

Stephen: “What happens when you blow out the candles on your birthday cake?”
Alan’s buzzer: “You’re fired.”

Rob, in answering the question, quotes Richard Burton by going into his impression of him. Halfway through the quote, however, someone in the audience starts laughing, which causes him to turn that direction and go “Shut up.” He shakes his head, and says ‘You wouldn’t know a good impression if it sat on your face!”

Rob: “My father grew up on, literally, the same street as Anthony Hopkins.”
Stephen: “Very nice. (beat) In England, we live in houses.”
Even as Stephen finishes up the question, Rob is still holding this strong glare in his direction, hilariously.

Clive wins, which even seems to surprise him. Clive was probably the quietest of the four, yet he still had a pretty nice show.

An episode that’s so good, that even the stinger-joke is hilarious, involving Darth Vader on Christmas (“I know what you’re getting for Christmas, Luke!” “How do you know?” “I have felt your presents.”)

Overall: Now I see why everyone was telling me the greatness begins at Series F. That was an unbelievable episode, aided by unstoppable performances from Rob and Dom, and great teamwork courtesy of Alan and Clive. The panel was absolutely on, and Dom was actually pretty funny, which makes me sad that this is his only episode. Rob, however, was the revelation, giving most of the episode’s highlights, and continuing his QI hot streak.

MVP: Rob
Best Guest: Dom
Show Winner: Clive
Best QI Fact: Flammable Grannies

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