Figure I can squeeze in a QI tonight, because this is one I’ve been waiting to get to for a while now. Not only is this the Christmas show (okay, fine Noddy, “IIIITTT’S CHRIIIISTMAAAAASSS!”), and not only does this show mark a return for Bill Bailey, and a debut for a very funny fellow who’ll be making a few appearances down the line, but this is also a Guest Appearance for somebody huge that I’ve been waiting a little while for, and that is David Freaking Tennant, best known as the Tenth Doctor.
Lee Mack is here, and he’s most famous for being the yin to David Mitchell’s yang on Would I Lie to You, as well as being on a few other panel shows. So, I’m not too worried.
The buzzers are all Christmas songs. Lee’s is ‘It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas.” Bill’s is Slade (and I’m not even joking, even with the Noddy Holder reference at the top) and he bobs along. David’s is ‘Last Christmas’. Alan’s is something out of a bar mitzvah handbook. Classic genre change for Alan.
The first gag of the show is of Buttercup the QI Christmas Cow, who does an impression for the panel, and they have to guess what it’s of.
Lee: “Is it of two out-of-work actors?”
Buttercup does his normal walk, which seems to confuse the panelists. Lee goes “He’s drunk.” Bill goes “is it a cow creeping up on someone?”
Stephen talks of Edward Muybridge, who took pictures to demonstrate how the horses ran. He also, according to Stephen: “He murdered his love rival in cold blood.”
David: “Did he take photos of that as well?”
David is racking up a lot of points by giving quirky, yet educated answers. Plus, he looks like he’s having a ball.
Alan’s response: “It’s all the time-traveling he does. He knows something about every era.”
Stephen: *COUGH*he’s acting!”
Bill: “WHAT’D YOU MEAN?”
David: “Don’t listen to ‘im.”
Bill: “WHAT’D YOU MEAN???”
After a rather-scathing argument with Lee, David is told by Stephen to, “go on, get your sonic thing out.” So, in making a point, he raises his pen. Lee, astonished, goes “IS THAT IT???”
Plus, whenever he waves the pen in Bill’s direction, Bill reacts, physically, by flying out of the chair.
David: ‘Where did [the tank] get most money? GLASGOW!!!”
Lee: “That’s because they all thought it was a fruit machine. “LOOK, I’VE WON A SOLDIER, MUMMY.”
Alan: “Yeah, [cannabis] is seven times more carcinogenic than tobacco.”
Lee: “SO HERE IT IS…MERRY CHRISTMASS…”
Stephen: “We’re actually going to move onto various forms of narcotic in a minute.”
Alan, taking him literally: “Are we? Hurrah!”
Stephen: ‘The nazis actually had very strong anti-smoking laws.”
Bill: “THE MORE I HEAR ABOUT THEM…THE LESS I LIKE THEM!”
Alan: “Well, that’s the FINAL STRAW! I mean, I can rationalize everything else, but THAT!”
Alan: “Jackass the Movie is the funniest movie ever made.”
Bill: “I prefer Jackass the Novel.”
Stephen: ‘What year did the word ‘cool’ first mean fashionable?”
Lee: “Had to be the 60’s, the sort of Beatnik poet era.”
Bill, without hesitation: “Hitler.”
Stephen: “It’s actually the year Hitler came to power, 1933…”
Bill: “MMM, ZEZE NEW UNIFORMS AH COOL.”
Alan: “I joined ze Nazi party! They’re cool, daddy-o!”
Stephen: “How about Groovy? When did that first come about?”
Bill: “Groovy? Plowing. Plowing in the 17th century.
My God, Bill is on a roll tonight.
Lee: “Had to be Top Cat. He was the coolest cat in town!”
Bill: “It was the musical, Cats.”
Lee: “THAT’S NOT COOL!”
Stephen: “What about ‘dude’?”
Bill: “Uh, the Amish.”
Stephen: ‘When, not who.”
Bill: “170…2. ‘WHY, LET US BUILD BARN, DUDE.”
Stephen: “How many wives do most mormons have?”
Bill: “Up to eight.”
Lee: “If a policeman stops you and asks if you were drinking, you can’t go “no, I’ve only had up to nine!” “YOU’VE HAD MANY, HAVEN’T YOU?” “No, i’ve had between one and nine, officer…”
They’re talking about the Osmonds.
Alan: “I loved Little Jimmy Osmond, he was a long-haired lover from Liverpool.”
Bill: “Of course, there was Big Graham Osmond, the one they kept in the attic…”
Stephen: “He had terrible teeth.”
Bill: “Horrible, yellow teeth.”
Alan: “He actually wrote all the songs. He groaned them into a tin can that was collected by a piece of string.”
Bill and Alan start doing these impressions of what he might look and sound like, and it’s killing me.
Lee: “BRING ME ANOTHER WIFE! I’M ALLOWED TO HAVE UP TO NINE, AS BILL BAILEY SAYS!”
It’s great, Stephen’s trying to get the quiz back on track, and Bill is still Graham Osmond, clutching across the table, moaning.
Lee even goes: “That’s a great idea for an episode of Doctor Who, isn’t it? The doctor goes up into the attic and finds the elderly secret brother of the Osmonds…AND THAT’S HOW THEY KILL OFF DAVID TENNANT! Imagine that!”
Bill and David share a frame together, Bill still doing his Graham face.
Stephen: “Is that the plot to the Christmas show?”
Lee: “PLAYED BY BILL BAILEY!!”
Lee, on what The Beatles are spelling out in semaphore: “Paul’s going ‘We’, George is going ‘All’, John’s going ‘Live’, and Ringo’s going ‘Yellow Submarine.’
Stephen: “But not in one.”
Lee: “No, not in one. That’s the elderly brother of the Beatles that’s not allowed to be seen.”
Stephen: ‘Oh, don’t start again…”
Lee: “I’M LIVING IN A YELLOW SUBMARIIIIINNNEEEE!!!”
(Alan is lying his head on the desk, completely gone.)
Bill: “AAAAAYRRREEEAMMM EEEELIIIEAAAHHH! oh, wait, that’s the Monkees. …..ELP!”
David explains that Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds came from a drawing Julian Lennon made at school.
Lee: “And he wrote the whole song out of that? Must have been a bloke upstairs going “IT’S MY JOOOBBB!”
David: “INSTEAD OF A PAINTING!”
Lee: “GET ME A PEN!”
David eventually leads everyone in a rendition of Auld Lang Syne, that the whole panel, and the audience, starts singing. At once point, however, Lee starts singing with his Graham Osmond voice “OOOOHHH AUUULLL LAANNNNN SYNNN..” And it only lasts a second, but I never watch that without laughing.
Lee, upon learning he’s gotten last place, whispers to Alan “is that good or bad?” And then smiles.
Alan wins, and as Stephen says “it’s not only a White Christmas, but a Blue Moon.”
Overall: Man, this was exactly what I needed to get the QI momentum going again, because that was a fantastic show. All four panelists were on, even if David was comparatively quieter. Bill gave some classic jokes, and David Tennant was, of course, David Tennant, but special thanks need to be given to Lee Mack, for powering through this episode with his running gags, and there were several, and for making me cry whenever he brought back the brother in the attic.
Best Guest: Bill
Show Winner: Alan
Best QI Fact: The Beatles Semaphore Flags.
Best Runner: Graham, the brother in the attic.