QI Watchdown: F11 (Films & Fame)

Ooh, I’m very excited for this one, for a number of reasons. First of all, the topic of this episode, Films and Fame, is a really good one, especially within the confines of QI. Secondly, we have David Mitchell, who’s proved that he can carry a panel, as the sole anchor here, other than the returning-after-a-much-deserved-season-long-break John Sessions. And lastly, this episode features one of the most grand guest appearances since Hugh Laurie…which is funny, because tonight’s is Hugh Laurie’s wife, Emma Thompson, star of tons of Merchant/Ivory films and Harry Potter. So I think this should be a fun one, to say the least.

Thank Christ, John’s back to his old hair color.

The buzzers are all film-themed. Emma’s is Indiana Jones, which she seems to really enjoy. Alan’s is the Looney Tunes theme, which I think is one of the least flattering ones he’s had, and the most awesome.

Aaaaannnd one John Sessions answer in and I’m glad that he hasn’t been here for over a season. Good god, he’s such a pompous knowitall twit.

However, Emma Thompson, who obviously knows John, has the best reaction. As John riles off the death date of Man Ray, Emma turns to him and goes “Are you gonna be like this all night?”

The thought occurs to me that since Hugh Laurie was on the show the last time John started pedantically rolling off dates, and since Hugh and Emma live in the same house, maybe Hugh could have warned his wife about how awful John Sessions is on QI, and prepared her for his pedantic nature by saying “why, erm, don’t you just fuck with ’em a bit, hun?”

Stephen: ‘Almost all the Oscars were won by Walt Disney, who won…how many?”
David: “109.”
Stephen: “No, 26…”

Stephen, on his Oscar-making experience: “I did to a bit of buffing…”
Alan: “On the bum area, I presume…”
I had a big laugh at that one, and so did Stephen

Emma’s presence on this show is actually really cool. She’s won two Oscars, and she’s come off as a very genuine, wonderful person who tells great stories and can laugh at herself. John Sessions has won 0 Oscars and is a genuine tit.

Third straight correct answer from John. WHO GAVE THIS BLOKE ALL THE ANSWERS? This is becoming as bad as the Rory McGrath debacle from ‘Common Knowledge’.

Stephen asks the panel to close their eyes. David goes “you won’t do, like when I open my eyes, and you’ll all have gone, right?”

Stephen: “So what’s this time?”
Alan: “A guillotine!”
Stephen: “And how’s it made?”
Alan: “With a guillotine and a person…”

Stephen: “Where have you heard this [scream] before?”
Alan: “In the green room, ’bout a half an hour ago…”

Okay…I can give John Sessions crap for being a know-it-all…but I will give him some serious respect points for his amazing Alan Rickman impression. Like, as an impressionist myself, that is really close to his actual sound. I’d say a bit better than Ben Cumberbatch’s impression, but I might have to listen to his again.

Alright, even more brownie points to John for his Alan Rickman anecdote. Especially his change from the kid’s voice to Rickman’s: “A-A-LAN?” “yes?”
And then of course, the great line, “I don’t play villains…I play very…interesting…people.”
I think I might be coming close to actually liking a John Sessions performance.

And then, a terrific moment. Stephen asks what American movie Peter Cushing played the villain in. John buzzes in, turns, and goes “I don’t know…”, feeling almost beside himself. Stephen, deadpan, says “THEN DON’T BUZZ!”

Alan starts fantasizing about putting Mary Poppins in The Sound of Music, and “having a Maria-Mary face-off.”
David: “Like Alien vs. Predator?”

This is a good episode for facts, and for the interesting factor, but it’s not the best one in terms of jokes. This isn’t a bad thing, as all four are at least saying interesting things, and at least Alan and David are telling some jokes, but it’s more along the lines of Europe, where it’s more of an educational thing than an entertainment thing, though it’s not completely boring.

Great Emma anecdote. She talks about getting a genuine horrified reaction out of Stephen, “just from appearing nude at the top of his stairs.” The fact that a panelist has a good relationship with Stephen, especially one that goes back as far as Stephen and Emma’s has gone, does a lot for the show dynamic, because Emma can just embarrass Stephen over and over.

Stephen shows a Greek statue of a naked guy holding his cock in one hand and a baseball bat in the other. Alan, curiously, asks “is he about to bash himself on the cock?” And the impression that Alan does of the guy slamming his cock with a baseball bat made me nearly spit out food. His hair even moved.

On the subject of Brazillian waxes:
Stephen, to Emma: “Do you wax yourself down there?”
Emma, getting up: “Do you want to see it?”
Stephen: “NOOOOOOOO!!!!”

Stephen ends up disproving a fact that David said on The Unbelievable Truth.
David, in defense: “Yeah, yeah, people give you this shit and you read it out…”
Stephen, off the card: ‘I’VE NO IDEA WHAT YOU MEAN.”

And then, on the Shakespeare and cricket question, Stephen refers to an exact date on David’s radio show where he said that cricket did not appear in Shakespeare’s time, and he disproves it. David, now uncouth, goes “IS THIS WHOLE ROUND…”

And then Emma sets Stephen up for one of the greatest jokes on this program in a while. She asks his opinion of the word ‘luvvie’, and he says that he thinks it’s overused, and it’s a rubbish term for people, especially actors.
Emma: “Do you know what the first citation of it is, in the O.E.D.?”
Stephen: “No, what is it?”
Emma: “It’s you…”
And then Stephen has a shocked, horrified expression on his face, almost like the one Emma described when he saw her naked at the top of the stairs. Then the Luvvie Alarm, best seen in most John Sessions episodes, appears onscreen.

How funny is this: ALAN ACTUALLY WINS THE SHOW! I thought it was gonna be John or Emma, but Emma evidently klaxon’d her way out of the top spot in GI.

Overall: A show that started slow and charming, but picked up and became fast, funny and charming. This is mostly due to the presence of Emma Thompson, who made the most of her only appearance, and took advantage of her relationship with Stephen. David didn’t hold the panel as well as he did the last time, but still had some great moments. This was probably the best Alan episode in a while, as he had some really funny shit throughout. John…well, thankfully we don’t have to see him for a little while, although I did really enjoy his Alan Rickman impression.

MVP: Alan
Best Guest: David
The Gyles Brandreth award for Knowing Too Goddamned Much: John Sessions
Loser of the Week: David Mitchell, for defying the system and losing points.
Show Winner: Alan
Best QI Fact: by default, the Alan Rickman story, because I knew a lot of these movie facts already.

QI Watchdown: F10 (Flora & Fauna)

Part of the new tradition of keeping some semi-regulars and mixing them with someone who’s never been on the show before, tonight’s QI features Jimmy Carr and Jo Brand, and also features journalist, politician, and failed-ballroom-dancer John Sergeant in a guest appearance. Sounds like a low-profile panel, but let’s see how it turns out.

John Sergeant and Jo Brand look remarkably similar. Just thought i’d throw that out there.

All the buzzers match the theme, of course. John’s is a lion’s roar, which seems to startle him. Jimmy’s is a wolf howl, which he reacts well too, even trying to mimic the wolf. Jo’s is an elephant noise, which Jimmy seems to love. Alan’s is a small dog.

Stephen: “What does my button-hole [containing a flower] tell you about me?”
Jo: “That you’re a closet heterosexual.”

I do like the fact that John is loose and playful with Stephen. After Stephen mentions that the red flower indicates a current period, John flirtatiously goes “so are you saying I can have you or I can’t have you?” He reminds me a lot of Clive Anderson in that way, in a manner very unmatching the way he looks.

Alan: “Menstruate is a weight in boxing. You know, fly-weight, menstruate…”
Jimmy: “It’s the most aggressive of them, too…”

Stephen then asks them to name the opera the book was turned into by saying “and it became the opera, for five points”, and then sticks his head around waiting for an answer. Jimmy goes “is that the answer. ‘For Five Points’, very good…”

Stephen describes this opera, featuring the girl and the seven men who bring in several separate drawers, that became a film. Jimmy adds, “called Snow White. The seven guys with a one girl is a bit…”

Stephen: “And the film based on [the flower book] is…”
Jo: “Carry On Menstruating.”

I love how we’re one question in and all four are having fun. Even John, who I’ll admit is a bit quieter than the others, is even contributing some.

John describes the vacuum cleaners, that they ‘go woof-woof-woof’ and then suck up the fleas. Jimmy, on a roll tonight, goes “I think your vacuum cleaner may be broken, if it’s going woof-woof-woof. I think you might wanna take that one back, get a new one.”

John: “Isn’t the other thing that makes them interesting is that they’ve got two penises…I mean, I don’t want to bring it up so suddenly…”
Stephen: “Nono, we’re always at home to penis news.”

Then everybody starts talking about how both flea penises would ejaculate at the same time, and both Jimmy and Jo go, “yeah, from experience, that wouldn’t really work…” John, deadpan, goes “of course, we’re talking about very tiny penises though

And then Alan, relating this to the fleas that can jump 80 times his height, which, if applied to humans, would allow them to jump over the Eiffel Tower, goes “Can they ejaculate eighty times their own…I mean, if you had your own flea-power, would you be able to cum over the eiffel tower?”
Stephen: “It’d serve those damn Frenchies right, wouldn’t it?”

John is nice because he’s more inclined to give information, but at least he’s very interesting about it, and not pedantic about it (like John Sessions or Rory McGrath). He’s closer to like a Vic Reeves or a Gyles Brandreth, because they have personality there.

They turn on the flea circus clip, and QI turns into Mystery Science Theater, because you here Jo and Alan start riffing. Jo even asks, of the guy with the magnifying glass, ‘why’ve they got a serial killer operating that thing?”

Literally an episode after having Rob Brydon and Ben Miller, two likely clones, on the same panel, Stephen turns to Jo and John and says “you two aren’t related, are you?”

Stephen: “What is the only odd thing about the only fish in the world that lives in a tree?”
Jimmy: “It’s a squirrel.”

Stephen asks why flamingoes stand with one leg only. John gives the right answer (because they want to go to sleep), and as the audience applauds, you can hear Jimmy go “I was gonna say ‘land mines'”. And just then, fascinatingly, the applause turns into full-on laughter.

Stephen, on flamingoes: “They’re really interesting, because they can drink boiling water?”
Jimmy: “How the hell did they find THAT out? Probably a very cruel man found that out. ‘ERE YA GO!'”

Stephen: “D’you know the difference between a frog and a toad?”
Alan: “Spelling!”

Stephen tells this curious story about exploding toads in a factory or something. And he asks, “do you know what the cause of this was?”
Jimmy, without missing a beat, goes “Al. Qaeda.” Alan, adding on, goes “SUICIDE TOADS!”

Stephen: “What’s the worst thing that could happen in a Fairy Ring?”
Jimmy, misconstruing: “Well I’m not…you know there’s a time and place for this sort of thing…and it’s 10:30, Graham Norton show.”

Stephen: “And if it’s a living thing, and it’s neither flora nor fauna…”
Jimmy: (GASP) Leprechaun!”

Jimmy, on the one frog onscreen: “Now hang on there. That frog has gone from being bummed by another male frog to having someone else’s pee injected into him. This frog’s having a horrible day!”

Here’s what I like about John Sergeant. He’s very smart. He’s got this way of connecting the louses from the second bit of the show all the way back to the fleas from the 2nd question, and makes a very good point about animals dying out. He’s not the funniest person on this panel, but what he says is very interesting, and makes sense. I really like his presence on the show, because I feel like I’m learning something…unlike Rory McGrath, who just shouts information and doesn’t even begin to present conclusions.

Stephen: “How does a ferret build an airliner?”
Jo: “Really weasily.” (cracks up)
Jimmy: “If it’s any consolation, I was SECONDS behind you…”

Stephen: “What’s the fastest thing in the natural world?”
Alan, and everybody watching at home: “Blue Whale!”

Stephen reveals the question has to do with sex, and Jimmy is outraged. “Scuse me, the FASTEST THING ON EARTH? Is this a slight at me?? Because I had a very busy week.”

Stephen: “It’s the fastest thing in biology. Nothing moves faster.”
John: “But what about an aircra-oh-”
Stephen: “In biology…”

Stephen: “What do you call a slug with a shell?”
Alan, looking up at his buzzer: “Not falling for that one…”

The audience wins, but the contestant with the highest points is Jimmy Carr, which is actually pretty surprising.  I would not have called that. I would have said John.

Overall: A very nice episode marred by a mid-episode lull. Jimmy, Jo and Alan are all on a roll this episode, and John gives some of the more intriguing observations we’ve had in a while. The dynamic worked, even with John, and there were a bunch of great moments. Not a flawless show, but one worth another watch.

MVP: Jimmy
Best Guest: John
Show Winner: Jimmy
Best QI Fact: The bumming frogs.

QI Watchdown: F9 (The Future)

This is one of those where the topic and the panel are both amazing. Not only is this our third and final Rob Brydon episode of the series, and so far I’d say he’s this series’ MVP, but this is another Sean Lock episode, and this is a GUEST APPEARANCE (one and only) from a guy who I’ve seen before in a bunch of things.

Ben Miller was a comedy partner of Alexander Armstrong, another one-time guest, and they both appeared on Space Cadets together. Ben was also known for playing Rowan Atkinson’s sidekick Bough in Johnny English, one of my favorites. So I know Ben Miller’s humor, and am happy to see him on the show.

Sean’s buzzer is the Twilight Zone theme. Rob’s is the Star Trek theme, which he seems to adore. Ben’s is the Doctor Who theme, which he relishes in. Alan’s is Nat King Cole’s ‘There May Be Trouble Ahead’, which ends in a train wreck.” Even better is Stephen’s “THANK YOU…ALAN.”

Stephen: ‘Alan, what are you doing?”
Alan: “Nothing.”

Ben mentions the Hadron Collider in Cern, which I remember Frankie Boyle bitching about on Mock the Week. Appropriately enough the solution to that involved the studio being taken over by Daleks…which brings us back to Ben’s buzzer.

We’ve already got good stuff at the beginning, as Ben is trying to rile off interesting facts, Rob checks his watch, Stephen sighs, and Sean goes “no, this is me being interested”, and then holds a very dissatisfied facial expression.

Stephen: “All matter has its corresponding antimatter…and I can’t help but look at you, Ben, and you Rob, and see…” and then it comes into vogue- Ben and Rob are wearing similar shirts, but Rob’s hair is thinner and his face has more lines. It’s actually pretty perfect.
Stephen then goes “I mean, there are a lot of horse-faced people in the world…”

Stephen compliments Ben for his knowledge on the subject. And then Rob goes “there’ll be a fair number of a viewers watching now, thinking “that Rob Brydon knows a lot about science…”

This is a great episode for just reading facial expressions. Whenever Ben tries to talk about a lot of thing, everyone else just acts really bored. It’s a nice little running gag. Though, unlike Gyles Brandreth, Ben Miller isn’t really a boring person.

The ‘Ben explains things and Rob and Sean act very bored’ gag does get old after a while, but Sean does keep the facial expressions fresh, but looking over-interested at one point.

Rob, after another fact from Ben, “I think for people who find it hard to tell us apart, I think we’ve hit upon a good way, now…”

Stephen: “In 1955, Variety magazine predicted that what would be gone before June?”
Rob: “May.”
Even if that’s a remarkably clever answer, they still give it the klaxon.

Rob exclaims that the klaxon for that one makes him look stupid. So, after he answers the question correctly, he says “NOT SO STUPID NOW, AREN’T I?” Stephen, of course, goes “not as stupid, yes, but that is a relative term.’

Stephen: “In 1977, (someone) said that there is no good reason for anyone to have what in their home?”
Sean: “A butler.”
Alan: “A Japanese prisoner of war!”
Again, Alan’s bizarre humor just gets to me sometimes

Rob, who is RULING this show, is talking about hover-boots., and how nobody has made them possible, and then, smoothly, he goes “and Ben, now, is gonna talk for a little while about how…”

Alan: “They had vacuum cleaners, in America, in the 19th century, and they were huge, and they had to go on the back of a cart, drawn by horses.”
Stephen: “I remember seeing that on a program called QI, yeah…”
I love how the show’s gone on so long that it’s become self-referential

I feel like, while this episode is very light so far, the ‘Ben and Rob are the same person’ gag is basically the defining point, because every gag keeps going back to it. Rob even goes “I like you, because you remind me…of me.”

And then Rob and Ben form a siamese twin thing, and join at the arms, which almost leads to a kiss, which Stephen objects to, somehow. They back away…and then they do in fact give each other the first ever kiss on QI. The audience goes wild, too. Even better, for a good minute after both Ben and Rob are really pumped up, going “THAT WAS GOOD!” Rob even deadpans “that explains why my wife married me…”

Stephen asks what ‘Lay Leo’ means in english. Rob- “is that instructions from Mrs. Sayer?”

Alan: “You know what they said to me once in singapore? “YOU! LICK ASH-LEE!”
Stephen, trying to understand: “Lick ass please?”
Alan: “It was 1988, and I was mistaken for the pop-star Rick Astley.”

Stephen explains about people who translate all of these things into Klingon. Sean goes “Is there any word for ‘what have I done with my life?'”

One of my favorite things about Sean Lock is that he can take a serious, pressing matter, and ruin it with a joke. Stephen tries to make a statement about deforestation, and asks what percentage of the rainforest in Guyana were cut down. Sean guesses “400%”

Rob even suggests they’d cut down those forests with a Mach 4 razor. “The first time gets it close. The second time, closer still. The third time, gets rid of ANY TREES AT ALL, and the fourth time, you KNOW you’re treeless.”

Stephen: “What kind of weather kills more people in Britain than any other?”
Rob: “Bad weather.”

Stephen: “When will they finish painting the fourth rail bridge-”
Rob: “Never, because by the time they get to-”
And Rob just rolls his eyes.

I love how, even if Sean loses or wins or whatever, he still goes “THANK YOU!” when his score is announced. Very Sean.

Of course Ben wins, but what surprises me is the fact that Rob got third. I thought he was gonna get last. Still, Rob had -31. Alan ended up with -60.

Overall: The episode picked up as it went along, but it wasn’t enough to raise it from the depths of ‘merely passable.’ Rob was on fire, as per usual this series, and Sean did some great stuff. Ben, however, wasn’t as funny as I would have thought, unless he was interacting with Rob. The show had a ton of nice moments toward the end, and is a solid show, but there were a ton of spotty moments.

MVP: Rob
Best Guest: Sean
Show Winner: Ben
Best QI Fact- The special bridge paint.

QI Watchdown: F8 (Fashion)

Well, we’re eight episodes into Series F and we’re JUST NOW getting to our first Rich Hall episode. That says a lot about how often he’d stop by in his later seasons. This is also a Clive episode, which is always nice, as he’s usually really funny. And this is a first appearance for another American, Reginald D. Hunter, which marks the first time we have two Americans on the same panel, a feat that wouldn’t be duplicated until Greg Proops stops by.

Trouble is a lot of people in the youtube comments section don’t seem to enjoy Reg’s performance tonight. So, I’ll try to keep an open mind.

Rich is wearing an oversized cowboy hat with one of his usual poker jackets, which is kind of hysterical. Reg has his hair in pigtails, for some reason, yet his look to the camera assures us he’s not to be fucked with. Alan is wearing a loudly fluffy hat and blue-tinted glasses, looking even more ridiculous than the black man wearing pigtails.

Clive’s buzzers is an older standards piece that seems to confuse him. Rich’s buzzer confused him (“cause he’s a dedicated follower of fashion…”) at first, but once he hears the fashion part, he nods, as if to say “oh, I get it.” Reg’s is Right Said Fred’s ‘I’m too sexy’, which he says ‘you know, I can’t complain.’ Alan’s is the continuation of ‘My Old Man’s a Dustman’ from seven episodes ago, although it helps that nobody in the audience attempted a mexican wave (“NOOO!”)

Stephen talks of the Brighton soccer team’s chant “YOU’RE BETTER THAN US…YOU’RE BETTER THAN US…WE’RE CRAP WE’RE CRAP WE’RE CRAP…”

Rich: “My grandfather used to say “you’re dumber than a bag of wet mice.”

The Phillips head screwdriver joke that Rich tries has been done before, but his complete seriousness as he tells it is what makes it funny.

Stephen: “[the queen] was so cross [at King Louis cutting all his hair off] that she divorced him, although probably for other reasons as well-”
Alan: “He also cut his cock off.”

Reg’s jokes don’t always land, but, upon hearing that King Louie chose to die abstinent rather than cheat on his wife, he says “see, that leads you to believe that he had a bad sexual experience as a child…maybe he wasn’t ready yet, and said ‘maybe I just lick your elbow’…and the woman said ‘you do what you do best'”, bringing back his catchphrase.

Stephen: “What would be the worst faux-pas imaginable?”
Rich: “I’d reckon if you wore Calvin Klein to Yves St. Laurent’s funeral.”

Reg’s style of answering is very complex. He’ll go on a long story and sort of make it sound true, like a very Richard E. Grant style, only x100. His delivery isn’t great either, as he goes for the sort of stereotypical urban black guy voice. I’m not sold on him, but I’m not at the point where I absolutely despise him, either

Clive, on Wellington: “Did he say, “well look here I won this war, i can come in any trousers i’d like!”
Stephen: “You’d think that, but no. Also, that’s my catch phrase. I can cum in any trousers I’d like!”
Reg: “Yeah, i sure enjoyed that long, winding story so we could get to that.”

Alan: “What about those older gentlemen, who pull their trousers right up to their nipples? First of all, WHAT’S GOING ON *THERE*? Why don’t they stop somewhere along the way?”
Stephen: “No pleasure in life except to give themselves a wedgie every time…”
Alan: “Why don’t they pull their trousers up to right under their eyes? They’ll have an enormous fly…”

Stephen talks about the women who drew the nylon stocking line on themselves to save money.
Rich: ‘Why didn’t the male soldiers just draw pictures of trousers on themselves?”

As Stephen is interviewing Gabor in the audience about his self-righting little device, Rich yells over in his direction ‘HEY, GABOR! D’you ever think of making these into salt-and-pepper shakers?” Alan even joins in. “YEAH, C’MON! DRAGON’S DEN!”

Gabor eventually reveals that the self-writing structure was sort of trumped by turtles, who can do the same thing. Rich goes “so, do you feel like you’ve wasted your life?”
This episode may be very limited, but Rich has been taking over, just like back in Series A.

Stephen: “If life began on January 1st, and now we’re at the very end of the year, when did the dinosaurs appear?”
Alan: “Tuesday.”

Alan: (After it was revealed that ‘saurus’ was latin slang for penis) “So what’s Thesaurus, then? Is that latin?”
Stephen: “it means treasure house, or a depository, in this case of words.”
Alan: “In that case, you might refer to your backside as a thesaurus (cracks up)”
Stephen: “I’d like to think…My bottom is a treasure house? Yes, Alan. Thank you.”
Alan: “My bottom is a treasure house…really good catchphrase.”

Stephen: “Yankee Doodle put a feather in his cap to be fashionable, but why on earth did he call it macaroni?”
Rich: “Because he was dumber than a bag of wet mice.”

This anecdote about the Macaroni club is one I already knew, from Robert Wuhl’s Assume the Position show on HBO. However, this same show had a piece of information about british soldiers holding up middle fingers at the 100 years war, which QI disproved. So, as of now, Robert Wuhl is correct.

Stephen: ‘What rhymes with month?”
Alan, as per usual: “Dunth, bunth, yunth, JUNTH!”
Stephen: “This word probably isn’t very well known. It’s…sikhism, it’s what the-”
I nearly fell over laughing. Well done, Clive.

Clive: ‘So loads of Sikhs watching this program have been screaming at the television “FOR GOODNESS SAKE IT’S GRUNTH!!”

Reg has a great moment. For the Michelin Stars question, Reg guesses Paris, then buzzes in, as the Klaxon is going off. he then says “WAIT, THAT DON’T COUNT, BECAUSE I GUESSED PARIS…BEFORE I PUSHED THE BUTTON! So I get a free guess.”

Reg has another nice moment when he says ‘definitely not London’, and the klaxon goes off saying London, and there’s an entire scandal as to who actually said london, Reg keeps denying it.

Reg: “And I’m not just trying to offend London…I’m trying to offend the UK in general…”

Rich wins with a positive score, which is odd, but Rich wins a ton of these.

Clive, when he’s announced as second, exclaims “I WAS PLAYING TO LOSE!!”

Stephen even ends the episode by saying “My name is Stephen ‘My Bottom is a Treasure House’ Fry, good night.”

Overall: Not the greatest episode, but had its moments. Rich and Clive were quieter but funny. Reg was very abrasive and sort of stole his moments of spotlight, which wasn’t very nice, but he was funny at points, if a bit wrong for QI. The dynamic was definitely down, as only Clive was looking to bounce jokes off of people.

MVP: Rich
Best Guest: Clive
Show Winner: Rich
Best QI Fact: King Louis’ abstinence and haircut.

QI Watchdown: F7 (Fingers & Fumbs), or ‘JUST DO A STONE!’

Now, I could be mistaken, but we might be in for a really, really good one.

Not just because of the panel. Having Phill, Dara and Jo on their own is good enough, but TOGETHER? THAT’S MAD. No, I’m excited because I’ve seen a lot of clips from this one in best of’s, and I’ve been very excited for this one, because it looks to be one of the funnier episodes around. Plus, it’s a spiritual sequel to Eyes-and-Ears, topic-wise.

The buzzers are all body-part-themed songs. Phill’s is ‘Twenty Tiny Fingers’, which confuses him, as he looks at his fingers. Dara’s, which never ceases to crack me up is, ‘Knee Bone’s Connected to the…’, and as he hears it, he changes to a joyful facial expression, bobs along for a few bars, and then returns to his dissatisfied look. Jo’s is ‘Shattapa You Face’, which Stephen even catches himself singing along to.

Stephen: “Now, there is a forfeit. If you use a particular f-word during any stage of this eveni-”

Stephen mentions that anytime someone gets a forfeit, they have a chance to go double-or-nothing in a game of rock-paper-scissors.

Stephen: “What’s the best opening move for paper-scissors-stone?”
Dara: “Say…’you go first!”
Jo: “Is it having a real rock?”

And then Jo has an answer that Frankie Boyle would applaud: “Make sure you play with a Saudi shoplifter. Because they could only do rock, couldn’t they?”
Phill: “That’s it. Avoid doing it with Abu Hamza.”
Dara: “Abu Hamza can’t do that. Abu Hamza can only do a question mark. ROCK! PAPER! QUIZZICAL EXPRESSION!”
Stephen: “He can do, quizzical expression, corkscrew, or thing for digging stones out of horses’ hooves.”
Phill: “He’s not a swiss army…cleric.”

Stephen says that in India and Indonesia they do R-P-S with animals.
Phill: “Right, so they play…Elephant…Cow-”
Stephen: ‘No.”
Phill: ‘Elephant, kestral.”
Dara: “KESTRAL? Does the kestrel carry off the elephant or does the elephant eat the kestrel?”
Phill: ‘Elephant…covers kestral. Kestral eats ant.”

Stephen instructs Dara and Phill to put the pencil sideways between their teeth. Phill gives a line that made me lose it for a few seconds. “Would you rather we had a ball gag, Stephen?”
And then continues, “it all started, innocently enough, with pencils. They all woke up…in Dortmund four days later”, and he mimes being tied up with the pencil in his mouth.

Stephen: “They did a test where people held the pencils like [Phill and Dara], which makes you smile.”
Dara: “It’s not making me fookin’ smile.”

Dara and Stephen square off and end in a draw for the second time of the night. Alan, exasperated and still muffled, goes “SOMEBODY THROW A ROCK!”

The entire sequence with the pencils in the mouths made me laugh very hard. There was just something so amusing about the whole thing. Even better, Phill continued to keep the pencil in after Stephen said to take them out, saying “LET’S SEE HOW THIS WHOLE SERIES GOES WITH PENCILS IN OUR MOUTHS!”

On the ‘kisses in France’ question, they put up a map of the French area, and it says in different areas how many kisses on the cheek are customary. Phill, on a roll, goes “and now, the snogging forecast…”

Stephen: “What can you tell about a footballer from the size of his fingers?”
Jo: “Is it his position on the wag-penetration index?”

Stephen talks of a guy who researched the science of the middle two fingers.
Phill, calling back to an earlier joke: “Did he take the duck into the echo chamber?”
Alan: “that sounds so much like a euphemism I don’t even…’Is this the key for taking the duck into the echo chamber?”

Great Jo moment. As Phill is answering a question there’s a sound coming from Jo’s desk. They turn over and she’s already having water. The panel is confused. She goes “sorry, I just coughed and sneezed…and wet m’self at the same time.”

Conversation on dreams:
Alan: “I was…on a boat…with Elvis Presley.”
Dara: “….oh, this is in a dream! Ah, go on. Sorry.”

There’s a great moment when both Phill and Dara start doing Elvis impressions telling Alan to wake up. Phill goes “stop peein’ on yourself, Alan.”

Phill, on Elvis: “There’s always that moment where he’s on stage that you could tell [he was shitting himself], going “we’ll have…a…BLLUUEE….Christmas…WWWWITHOUT-YOU!”

Stephen asks what would make someone think that Alan is a criminal.
Jo: “is it the shifty little eyes, pointy nose, and general sort of little pug face?”
And after that, Jo literally falls over laughing, as Alan sort of laughs a bit at himself, but peers over at Jo in confusion. Alan goes “I’ve never seen you happier”, as Jo continues to flail about cracking up.

Jo’s Aristotle description has the word ‘venerous’ in it, “as in venerial.” Alan turns to her and goes “HAHA!”

Literally all four are bouncing off of each other, which tends to happen with a panel of people who’ve worked together. phill is obviously having the best night, but is aiding other jokes and wrangling other panelists in.

Phill does this whole Shakespearean verse about the duck in the echo chamber, which is hysterical…only Stephen tells him he mistook a dost for a doth. And he gets all antsy about it. Phill goes “English Lit- U. English Language C. Good fucking luck, my friend.”
And already, Phill has his fist out and ready.

Once again they both get scissors. Alan, even more frustrated now, yells “DO A STONE!!!”

Stephen: “How would you describe the famous Thatcher effect?”
Phill: ‘Yes. You get the country to bend over…and you give it one until its eyes water.”

Jo on Thatcher: “It was great when she became Lady Thatcher, because she sounded like a device made for removing pubic hair.”

Stephen reveals that the upside down pictures of Thatcher were really inverted right-side up, which frightens Phill, to the extent where he points to the photo and yells “BUUUUUURN THE WITCH!!!”

They do the same photo effect to Alan, to which Dara goes ‘that’s a face you wouldn’t want to see after a 69, eh?”

There’s a great bit where Stephen says “JEEEEEEEESUS’, after the conversation about seeing faces in things (not to be confused with Sean’s ‘JEEEAAAAMMMM!”) And then he goes on about sacrilege.
Phill: “You make Richard Dawkins look like a fuckin’ Buddhist.”

Phill finally wins a battle because Stephen picks paper. Alan’s reaction is great. He’s like “finally!”

Stephen: “What use did [David] have for 200 foreskins?”
Jo: “Who cares, it’s a feminist’s dream?”
Phill: “He deep-fried them and invented hula-hoops.”

Stephen: “Where would you find the world’s largest organ?”
Alan: “In a cathedral like St. Peter’s in Rome, or (reaching) somewhere, like Seville”
Stephen: “Good answer, but not the correct one-”
Alan (out of options): “A blue whale!”
Stephen puts his head in his hands, nearly ashamed.

Phill: ‘Rik Wakeman’s house.”

Alan: ‘Then why do people think that your cock has to do with your foot size?”
Phill: “It was a rumor started by clowns. ”

Stephen: ‘Now, how many muscles are there, incidentally, in your fingers?”
Phill: “One if you play your cards right”(wink)

AS IF THAT LINE WERE NOT ENOUGH, as the audience (and Stephen) rebound from that joke, Phill puts the pencil back in his mouth and looks at Stephen, flirtatiously. It’s the funniest thing I’ve seen on this show in a while.

Alan tries smiling and frowning at the same time, saying “I’M USING 23 MUSCLES!” he then flips off the other side of the panel and says “STILL 23!”

Once Alan goes “fuck off” and gets his klaxon, the whole panel starts buzzing. “PLACE YOUR BETS!” goes phill. Dara goes “He’s been talking stone all night, you think it’s gonna be stone?”

You know it’s been a hell of an episode when Stephen starts the scores with “In first place…with -24….”

Phill wins, which is pretty great, as I did not see it coming. Alan loses, which you could have called at the beginning.

Overall: An episode that undoubtedly belongs in the QI Hall of Fame. Smashing performances all around, great teamwork from all four, great lines from Dara and Jo, and, most importantly, the quintessential Phill Jupitus performance. From flirting with Stephen to yelling with a pencil in his mouth to arguing grammar with a Shakespeare scholar, the man was unstoppable tonight, and proved why he’s the King of QI.

MVP: Phill
Best Guest: Phill
Show Winner: Phill
Best QI Fact: the duck in the echo chamber.

QI Watchdown: F6 (Fakes & Frauds)

Nowwww we’re getting into the swing of QI things. We’ve had a Phill and Jo episode, and now that the regulars are rolling in, we have our first Sean and Jimmy episode of the season. This is a magic duo, one I trust wholeheartedly, so I imagine it’ll be a fun show.

Also on this episode is Marcus Brigstocke, a guy who I’ve not really heard of. So, at least it’ll be interesting.

Stephen starts the show, keeping with the Fakes & Frauds theme, in saying “Welcome to Never Mind the Buzzcocks, I’m Natasha Lipinski and I’m not wearing any underwear.”

The panelists are all introduced as other panelists, with cardboard cutouts and all. As Sean rings his buzzer, Alan throws the little cutout Sean head into the frame, which kills me.

Jimmy hears that the lyre can mimick anything. “I’d get it to woof. How neat would that be, if you had a bird that could woof?”

Marcus: “I’d probably get it to do Bill Audey.”
Stephen: ‘Surely that should be a bearded tit.”
Alan: “You’re thinking of Rory McGrath.”

There was a great moment when Alan buzzes in yet again after Marcus gets his buzzer wrong, and yells “LYRE BIRD!!!” And then, once the other three have been revealed as lyre bird, he guesses his own, a cell phone, is a lyre bird, and gets a klaxon. Just to interesting to watch.
Stephen: “That was a TELEPHONE! Couldn’t you tell?”
Jimmy: “Ironically, Alan, the big siren that went off there? That was a lyre bird.”

Sean wonders aloud why there aren’t any horses named Fred or anything
Marcus: “There was a Simon. He had my 40 quid.”
Jimmy (amusedly) “Simon the horse…”
Marcus: ‘Not anymore. He’s dog food now…”

Stephen: “What was unusual about the pig-faced lady?”
Sean: “She’d eight tits.”

Jimmy: “They’d get a bear drunk? And shave it? They’d probably show it backwards. THAT’S what you want to see! Forget about a pig-faced woman, I want to see a man try to shave a BEAR!!!”

Stephen: “There was once a tale of a bearded lady who fell in love with a contortionist…”
Jimmy: “This sounds like an old joke…”

Brief dynamic note- The Jimmy-Sean-Alan dynamic is working really well, as they can work off each other easily, while Marcus is sort of keeping to himself, and just saying a few jokes of his own, without really making an effort to connect. He’s generally pretty funny, but so far his stuff hasn’t stood out.

Stephen mentions other acts such as ‘Ursa, the bear girl.”
Jimmy (mishearing him) “Is that just a naked lady?”
Stephen: “No, B-E-A-R”
Jimmy: “That means a lot of people paid their money and went ‘ah, this is rubbish. she looks like a bear! If anything, I’m turned off!”

Stephen: “There was…I don’t know why this is funny…”Bonita the fat Irish midget.”

Marcus: “Well, listen, how long can a salamander go in fire?”
Sean, matter-of-factly: “Til it’s cooked.”

Alan gets another question right and goes “I’M ON FIRE! LIKE A SALAMANDER!” and proceeds to do this excited salamander impression as Stephen cracks up.

Stephen mentioned that this salesman who sold the Eiffel Tower tried to sell the Statue of Liberty to an Australian, but it didn’t work. Alan, in a perfect Australian accent, goes “aw, come on mayn…how’m I gonna git it home?”

Stephen has a story about a woman who opens her own jam factory to combat the array of fake ones. Jimmy, who’s already on a roll tonight, has the perfect line: “it does sound  like a euphemism for something else. ‘Yeah, she’s opened her jam factory…'”

Stephen: “What do they call jam in America?”
(Jimmy gives the right answer)
Sean, still: “I want some jaaaaaaam on my pancakes. Gimme jam.”
Stephen: “No. Jelly.”
Sean: “…I’m still saying’ JAAAAAAMMM. Ah think it’s funny when I say JAAAAAMM…”

Stephen talks about the headline for the ‘bosom robbers’ story, which is a long, drawn out account. Sean goes “Where as now, in the Sun, it’d be just “MONEY IN THEIR TITS.” “TITTY CASH.”

Alan is trying to figure out how  a gold crown is genuine in a bathroom. He guesses he’d “put it in the bath?” Jimmy asks “does gold go small and wrinkly in the bath?” Sean goes “that’s your crown jewels…”

The behind-screen shows pictures of all four panelists with blank expressions. Sean looks at Marcus’ and goes “You look like you’ve been arrested at a foreign airport for drug dealing…”

There’s an amazing shot of Alan trying to sword-swallow with the Sean popsicle. This episode does have its ridiculous moments.

Stephen says that anything under a certain height of sword means people aren’t actually recognized as sword swallowers.
Marcus: “What about height? Surely height would factor into is…”
Stephen: “You’d think that, but not really-”
Jimmy: “Yes, because if you’re a midget you’ve got to stab yourself through the arse!”

Marcus, on the commandments question: “Ah, now you see I’ve buzzed, but I fear that if I said ten…(points to the screen as the klaxon goes off)…that might happen…”

Wow, Sean ends up winning somehow, which is nice for him. and MARCUS of all people falls into last. A very odd show.

Overall: Solid show with a few speed bumps. Jimmy and Sean were fantastic, and worked off each other very well, as well as Alan. Marcus was a quieter addition to the panel, but still had his moments, even if there were less of them. A lot of big moments in this episode, but not a lot going on in GI.

MVP: Jimmy
Best Guest: Jimmy
Show Winner: Sean
Best QI Fact: The lyre bird