Well, two episodes in and we get a lot of big additions. First of all, we have a pentagonal panel for the first and only time, squeezing a third panelist onto the non-Alan side. Secondly, we have our first Bill Bailey episode since the Christmas Episode in Series E, and it’s so good to have him back. We also have our first Sean Lock episode of the year, and this episode also features two newbies. One is a very nice special guest, and the other is the first appearance of someone that will become a well-used QI recurring guest.
Sandi Toksvig is someone I’ve thankfully heard of, and one I respect. She was only a recurring guest on three seasons of the UK Whose Line, but she managed to become a standout, because of her energy and delivery. She also had a way of screwing with Clive Anderson that became classic. She left the show after a while, came out, and suddenly wound up on QI. I love that she’s here, and I hope she’s as funny here as she was on Whose Line.
John Hodgman, who Americans best recognize as the human representation of a PC in the “I’m a Mac, and I’m a PC” commercials with Justin Long. He’s also a noted humorist, and is famous for very dry, witty jokes. He’s on QI tonight, squeezed between Sandi and Sean, because of his efforts to get QI onto BBC America, which succeeded. I’m glad they gave back to a fan like that.
Buzzers are commonplace. Core 4 get animal noises. John gets a duck call.
Stephen: ‘What use is a goose?”
Sandi: “Is it toilet paper? (waits for audience to laugh, then, in earnest) “No, seriously.”
Yeah, I think she’s definitely the right sort for this show.
Stephen reads the full Gargantua quotation, explaining all the places on a goose that he can wipe his bum with.
Bill: “And that’s why he was thrown out of the pet shop!”
Alan: “YOU’RE BARRED!”
Four minutes in and John is just watching the main four go at it, not really saying anything. I feel bad for John, because he’s not the type who can jump in and start aggressively telling jokes. He’s basically the anti-Reg Hunter.
I dunno what it is, but Sean’s voice sounds different. Like, possibly deeper. Maybe he was battling a sinus infection, or a throat thing, because his voice sounds off.
And then John, Sean and Alan start arguing about which animals not to shove up a bum. John says he won’t shove a goose up, and Sean suggests a scorpion, ‘especially one of those pinchers.’ John disagrees, saying “not absorbent.” Alan even goes “What about a hedgehog. Is that absorbent?”
Stephen: “Who made a famous appearance at the Nottingham Goose Fair-”
Sean: “Puff Daddy.”
Stephen explains that ‘the gooseberry bush’ was slang for a, in his words “female pudenda”. Sandi goes further, saying “was this before a Brazilian? Cause it’s more of a landing strip now, for the geese.”
Stephen: “[the geese] have a technique for increasing their range by 70%”
Alan: “Landing on a boat.”
And he just says it so blankly, too.
Sean: “Lying, as to where they’ve been. “Yeah, just MILES…over there…”
Sandi, on the V formation: “How do you suppose they take those photographs? Do you think it’s a passing parachutist who goes “Ooh, there’s a bit of luck, there’s a flock of geese passing by.”
Alan: “It’s a goose going like that…” And he does this most ridiculous impression of a goose trying to hold a camera with one wing while flying with the other.
Stephen, segueing: ‘But the uses of gooses, or eese of geese-”
Sean: “Is the next question ‘the habits of rabbits’? Or, “How far can you shove a dove?””
As Stephen is trying to needle out an sneer for a question about giraffes, Alan, on the behind-screen, notices that in the gaggle of giraffes, one reaching over and licking another one’s ass. he then reacts frightened as the giraffe does indeed do it…and then in fear as he realizes it’s going to loop and lick the ass again. Now he’s got everyone’s attention, pointing at the ass-licking. They have to put it on the main camera now, the zoomed in shot.
Sean: ‘The other giraffes are going ‘what are you looking at?”
Alan: “They’re going ‘YOU SHOULD HAVE USED A GOOSE FOR THAT!”
Bill: “GO FOR IT GARY! GO FOR IT!”
Alan: “D’you know they’ve got a really long tongue. Really, really, really long…”
Sandi says that Giraffes have long tongues to clean out their ears. Sean, pointing back to the screen, goes “that’s not where the giraffe’s ears are…”
Stephen: “Ears is an anagram [for arse]”
Stephen segues back into the question with ‘so, as we watch THE LOOP OF SHAME…”
Sean, bringing it back to the ass-licking, goes “the thing about that clip is that there must be something a lot weirder going on, that they’re looking at…It’s probably like, a wildebeest just pleasuring himself on a rock.”
Stephen: “What do giraffes eat? What’s their main staple?”
John, briefly channeling Rich Hall: “Children.”
Stephen explains that the plant warns neighbors when the giraffe is coming.
Sandi: ‘What, are they going, “psst, giraffe!”
Alan: “Then what do they do? Run away? “THERE’S A GIRAFFE COMING!!” “REALLY? WELL, THANKS! NOW I’LL BE ALL FEARFUL BEFORE I DIE!”
Stephen: “What is the commonest cause of death amongst mountain goats?”
Bill: “Brian Blessed!”
And then, simultaneously, Stephen and Bill both do incoherent, but wonderful, Brian Blessed impressions. I’m just awaiting his appearance on this show in 2 seasons.
Alan: “But when you put that beard on, that noise turns into words…”
Stephen: ‘Three to four times every hour they…”
Bill: “They flip over like those toys you wind up…”
Stephen: “They use their horns…to…”
Alan: “Scratch their arses!”
I’m just gonna say it…John Hodgman is not really adding anything to this episode. He’ll have a line every once and a while, but this is a crowded panel, with four very loud and vivacious panelists already. Hodgman can’t really fit in this dynamic.
Stephen explains that seagulls aren’t actually sea-birds, and don’t go that far out to see. As the other four panelists respond, and ask Stephen to clarify, Sean just shakes his head, in complete disbelief, smirking, going “no they’re fucking sea-birds” in his head. He puts his head back, fingers in his ears, and shakes his head, blissfully.
Sandi, on the claim that camels with more testosterone have bigger gullers: “Rubbish. It’s like that nonsense that bald men have more testosterone, right?”
Bill suddenly turns around, outraged
Stephen: “It’s cause the sand in Saudi Arabia is the wrong kind of sand for…”
Sean: “throwing in people’s eyes.”
Stephen has to stop saying the right answer and process Sean’s answer, which cracks him up
Stephen: “What other advantages does [the Mongolian Gerbil] have as a pet?”
Sandi: “Doesn’t live very long…”
Stephen says that gerbil poo is dry and non-smelly
Bill: “So you can freeze them, and them bash them against a wall with a cricket bat…”
Alan, bringing it back to the top of the show: “And THAT’S why he was banned from the pet shop…”
Sandi: “That’s another potential olympic sport, I think.”
Bill: “PULL!” (smash!)
Stephen: “Who stopped flying the Jolly Roger in 2003?”
Bill: “erm ugh umm…the queen.”
Stephen: “Who Goose-stepped their way across Europe in the 1940’s?”
Sandi: “Was it a goose?”
And once she gets klaxoned, she turns to Stephen and gives this nonchalant yet confused little arm stance, like “I don’t get it and I’m mad at you.”
Two people got last place, and neither one of them was Alan. Weird. And of course, even getting last, Sean does his usual ‘thank you’.
John wins, which is sort of nice.
Overall: I’m gonna be blunt. If this episode was just Sandi-Sean-Bill-Alan, it’d be a 10/10 episode for sure. John Hodgman’s inclusion dials it down to a 9, but that doesn’t NOT make it a great show, because it was excellent. From the goose gag, to the giraffes licking anuses, to the pet shop gag. It just kept…going…on. Hard to pick a real MVP, but extra props go to Sean, for keeping things going despite his more-than-obvious laryngitis, and Sandi, for making a spectacular debut and feeling like a regular.
Best Guest: Sandi
Show Winner: John
Best QI Fact: Goose neck=toilet paper