Yep. As if my schedule wasn’t stacked enough, I’ve decided wholeheartedly that I require more Phill Jupitus in my life.
Airing from 1996 until this very year, Never Mind the Buzzcocks was a celebration of music, comedy, and fucking with people until they walk off. I’m going in, like I did with QI, not knowing too much about the show, other than it gets amazing once Simon Amstell steps in. Still, like with QI, I’m starting at the very beginning, the Mark Lamarr days, because that’s what you’re supposed to do. Sure, we’ll get to Bill Bailey and Simon eventually…but I figure you get the best picture of the show by starting here.
Also, working against me is the fact that I don’t know a ton about a lot of these UK music acts, but I’ll have wikipedia on my side for those I don’t know.
Already liking Mark’s delivery. Very quick. Snaps out jokes in a single bound.
Sean Hughes is the Andy Parsons side regular for the first few series (until Bill Bailey gets here), and he’s described as “the Irishman who answers the question ‘who’s that bloke over there?” I don’t know his humor, but hopefully he’s good.
Oh my gosh Phill looks so young here. Oh, 1996. You with your plaid shirts and your party-popping. Take me back…
Okay, I like what he does with introducing guests, especially musicians. He shows a clip from a music video, and intros them fully, so I may not need too much Wikipedia for this one.
Matt Priest is the drummer for Dodgy, a britpop band I imagine. Looks a bit like a young, hat-wearing Andy Hamilton.
Oh god no they got one of the guys from Right Said Fred. Yeah, this is a band I have heard of, and I really don’t like that. Richard Fairbrass, the RSF-er they got, has these weird sideburns that I thought was his bluetooth.
Holy shit they got Bruce Dickinson. I mean, it’s weird enough that Space Cadets got him a year later, but WOW…Bruce Dickinson, lead singer of Iron Maiden, rock and roll icon. That’s pretty cool. He still had longish hair back then, too.
Donna McPhail, who’s the only comedian guest this week, looks as if she’s the British answer to Rosie O’Donnell.
This first Freeze Frame round is basically another thing Space Cadets stole from them, which is they have to guess what happens the second the music video stops.
Richard says he was fixated on ‘the geezer in the Calvin Kleins’.
Sean: “Richard, that wasn’t a bloke. That was Michelle Smith, the Irish swimmer, and she doesn’t take steroids…”
Matt, the realist: “What probably happened next was they made one more album and their career nosedived…”
Sean, fucking with Matt, “Did they all put on hats because that’s what all popstars do these days?”
Mark, doing a play-by-play of the video: “Coming up, we’ve got the dancing frog…and for Richard, there’s top male model Richard Kirke.”
Mark: “Of course, the real King of Rock and Roll was Elvis, to whom huge dancing hot dogs were a common sight…and probably his breakfast.”
Mark’s jokes are pretty dry, and he seems to use the show as a showcase for his jokes, which I guess works.
All of Phill’s team’s answers have to do with the model’s ass. Donna says she puts the bike in between the crack. Richard even chimes in and says she farts fire…which turns out to be the right answer, and, according to Mark, “a drastic end to ass-hair misery”
Mark: “According to Jerry Hall, a good wife should be a cook in the kitchen, a whore in the bedroom, and a bunsen burner in the living room.”
Good god, the ass-fire keeps going…
Mark ‘doing an impression of John Major having an orgasm’ did make me nearly spew water across the room.
The intros round I do know, and is a classic. It does, however, get funny once Noel Fielding gets on this show, but I’ll wait. I’m patient.
The intros round is a bit harder when they don’t put the actual song on their. When it’s something easy like Dancing Queen, no problem. But the second one, where Bruce and Phill start attacking Donna with guitar riffs, I loved it, but I had no idea what it was. Donna eventually goes “it’s by…that group…”
Great moment. Bruce starts with a riff, and Phill has to look at him and go ‘no, no Bruce, that’s not it.’ He starts the same one again and Phill, infuriated, goes “BRUCE. LOOK AT ME. I know you’re in THE MAIDEN…”
Phill and Bruce eventually do get one going, but Donna just ends up face palming onto the desk. So Bruce jumps onto the desk and starts getting louder. I love his complete enthusiasm tonight. Really great.
Mark says that ABBA got their name because of the first initial of all four members. He says “four english singers tried to repeat ABBA’s success, but William, Annie, Nigel and Keith (WANK), couldn’t think of a name…”
Mark: “Agneath eventually left, and they replaced her with Ursula, and formed ABBU. They went on a mad spree of terror throughout the middle east.”
Christ, Mark’s jokes are ruling this episode. I dunno if that’s the whole point of these earlier episodes, if it’s this host-centric, or if the panel gets more into it later, but he’s doing these Dara-esque stand ups a lot these days.
Richard, stepping up to the intro round: “Motivation…motivation…oh, right, 500 quid…”
Mark: “Or as you call it, two little boys.”
Richard: “I’ve kissed girls too, you know…”
Mark, under his breath: “Not in the same way, perhaps.”
In doing Parklife, Sean makes Richard do most of the guitar work, while he just goes “OY!”
Okay, I did laugh hysterically at the impression of Morrissey that Sean does. He spikes his hair up, and when Matt doesn’t get it, he lifts up his shirt a bit.
The Smiths bit is so bad that Mark has to play the actual clip just to remind people how it actually sounds. Richard and Sean keep justifying that the song actually sounds like what they were doing.
Mark dedicates the next round to “anyone who’s ever sung along to a song without knowing what most of the words are…the Pogues through most of their career, for instance…”
Bruce says the lyrics to the Costello song are “I’ve been a doo-doo-head/living here in Hempstead/eating up a tootsie-roll/living in a wookie hole.”
Phill stops him and goes “WHAT EXACTLY IS A WOOKIE-HOLE BRUCE? I’ve never seen that version of Star Wars!!”
Bruce also says the lyrics end with “doody on the slag”
Mark: “Elvis Costello, known for the line ‘doody on the slag'”
Mark says that Costello’s marriage ended the year he released Pump it Up. “Apparently his wife didn’t understand him.”
Sean, after the Earth Wind and Fire clip: “I had a lot of trouble concentrating, because I thought it was Mick Johnson from Brookside.”
Richard: “I wonder what happened to Earth, Wind and Fire?”
Phill: ‘Perhaps they got a job with the Rolling Stone’s lighting that girl’s ass! WIND AND FIRE, YOU SEE?”
Donna: “#3 looks like somebody’s dad, so it can’t be him-”
Mark: “Yes, because they’re very young, aren’t they, the Glitter Band?”
I like these IDs round, because occasionally I will know who these people are. For instance, Paul Hardcastle. 19 is pretty well know. Plus, it’s nice seeing the panel arguing who they are.
Richard: “I think it’s #2 actually.”
Mark: “Why’s that?”
Matt: “Because that’s Paul Hardcastle?”
Amazing Phill moment. Phill realizes what song is being danced to, and then his entire body freezes up. He does not want to hear that song again. He LOATHES that song. So, teeth clenched, grimacing, he goes “is it…Bank Robber by the Clash?” And once it’s revealed to be the right answer, Phill goes “NOOOOOO!!!”
And now the other round that lives in infamy in this game, Next Lines.
Mark: “The history book on the shelf.”
Sean: “Don’t read it!”
Mark: “Why don’t you all.”
Matt: “Piss off- no.”
Mark: “Don’t know much about Science book-”
Sean: “Well then you should have read the history book on-”
Richard: “SHUT UP!”
Mark: “Knock three times on the ceiling if you want me.”
Richard: “Knock three times on the pipe if you’re…”
(Richard’s expression turns gleeful)
Mark: “See me in me pants and ting.”
Richard: “NOW YOU’RE TALKING, MARK!”
Mark: “Which means Phill’s team only have to get 18 points to win”
(Phill gets up and starts to leave)
Overall: A very quick but still very nice show to start on. I feel like the music personalities did more than the actual comedian, as Donna was the quietest of everybody. Richard looked like he was having so much fun, and Bruce was also really into it.
As for the regulars, obviously Phill was the funniest, but Sean is a quieter, and still pretty fun guy. His cadence is really nice, as it’s a lower, Vic-Reeves-esque tone, and his jokes are similar to Vic’s too. I can deal with Sean as an anchor for a while, I guess.
Best Guest: Richard
NPC of the week: Donna