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?”
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?”
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.
Best Guest: Sean
Show Winner: Ben
Best QI Fact- The special bridge paint.