I don’t know what I’m more excited about. The fact that we have a return appearance from Lauren Laverne, the fact that one of my favorite Whose Line semi-regs is on tonight, or the fact that JIMMY CLIFF…*ACTUAL REGGAE LEGEND JIMMY CLIFF* is in the building tonight. ‘The Harder they Come’ Jimmy Cliff. On Buzzcocks. Wow.
I should also devote a paragraph to Steve Frost, because he is quite possibly the greatest Whose Line cast member you’ve never heard of. Sure, you can name Ryan and Colin, and UK fans can name Tony Slattery, Josie Lawrence and Paul Merton. but Steve Frost came in right when the Americans were taking over and stayed right until the end of the UK series, giving some of the most inspired and fun episodes of the later run. Plus, his Scene to Music with Tony Slattery, where they did an advert for washing powder made very heavenly all of the sudden, is stuff of Improv legend.
Aside from JIMMY CLIFF, Steve and Lauren, Sheila Ferguson, an American soul singer and member of the Three Degrees is also in the building. From the panel alone, this is gonna be a pretty great episode.
Mark mentions, while introing Steve, that Steve used to be the opener for Sean Hughes. “How times have changed…Steve is guesting on a BBC2 premier music quiz, and where is Sean Hughes?…no one knows…but Bill Bailey’s got a new [something]”
Mark while introing Jimmy can barely contain himself over the fact that he’s announcing the phrase “IT’S JIMMY CLIFF!” Like, he’s still in disbelief, and you can tell him his voice.
Sheila, after the Gene Vincent song: “But I thought Elvis, did this song…faster.”
Mark, deadpan: “No, Gene Vincent did it, about the same speed…”
Bill: “And right there, you see, the microphone’s turned into a dandelion”
Mark: “If you meant a Dandy Lion, like ‘HEY MAN, I’M A LION”, then yeah.”
Steve: “It’s like a lion with a coif.”
Former 50’s Throwback Mark Lamarr: “We don’t mention coifs on this show…”
Bill: “How did he actually get the steel pin in his leg?”
Mark: “Motorbike accident. He was a dispatch courier in the navy.”
Steve: “Hang on…so, motorcycle in the navy- what, you’d drown!”
Once again I’m reminded how much I adore Steve Frost
Sheila tells a story that gets so long and drawn out that Mark has to stop her and tell her to go on.
Sheila: “Well, it’s not good unless you tell the whole story, cause I’ve listened to you…”
Mark, invisible earpiece: “DID SOMEONE TELL HER THIS WAS A CHAT SHOW??”
Mark, making fun of Sheila, tells a long, drawn out story about how he bought a Diet Coke from a store.
Mark, raising his glass: “I’ve got a million of these…”
Steve, taking him literally: “Then you shouldn’t buy so many!”
Sheila: “I have a question. You used to be a poet, didn’t you?”
Mark: “Yes, back in the day- do I have an interview?”
Sheila: “Could you do some poetry for us?”
Phill: “Now on BBC2, it’s time for The Third Degree…”
Mark: “I’ll write you a poem right now. What rhymes with ‘shut the fuck up’?”
Sheila, absolutely serious: “‘Kiss my black ass.'”
Steve and Bill give her high-fives for that one.
Mark: “The real thing is, Steve HAS got a black ass!”
Jimmy: “I don’t think the hurricane was at that time, I don’t remember a hurricane.”
Mark: “You’d notice a hurricane, wouldn’t you?”
Jimmy: “Yeah, I would have…”
Mark: “Okay, 1 point, HE’D NOTICE A HURRICANE…”
Sheila begins to give Mark shit for giving Jimmy a point for nothing, but Mark holds up a paper plate of him smiling, and turns it toward her, going “what was that, I wasn’t listening.”
Mark: “Jimmy, were you in the film The Harder they Come?”
Jimmy: “Yes, I certainly was-”
Mark: 1 point.”
Sheila: ‘Hey, I was in The French Connection!!”
Mark: “Is that why there was that big car chase, cause you were telling a story?”
Jimmy: ‘I think it’s the third one-”
Mark: “Hang on, I’ve just got to change the order…”
During a Bill-Sheila intro, Bill comes in too soon, and Sheila just yells “HEY, WHERE YOU GOIN!”
Mark, sassier: “WHERE YOU GOIN’, CHILD?”
Steve starts to go on a joke about Sheila, and eventually Sheila just says “EYEBROWS! HUSH!” Steve really has no choice but to crack up here.
When Steve eventually gets the 2nd intro, Sheila starts running around the studio screaming ‘YES!!”, eventually nearly putting Mark into a stranglehold, until he has to put up the paper plate.
Mark: “MAAAANY RIVERS TO CROOOOSS- did you write that?”
Mark: “Extra point. Would you sing it?”
Jimmy: “MAAAANY RIVERS TO CROSS…”
Both Phill and Mark faint due to music-geeking. It’s fantastic.
Mark: “You see, he opens HIS mouth, THAT HAPPENS!”
As Phill and Jimmy due a comparatively quiet intro, Mark: “He invented ambient music, Jimmy. You might not be able to hear him, but he’s doing some great work…”
Bill: “Jimmy, what is that you’re playing?”
Steve: “He’s checking to see if it’s plugged in…”
For the ID Parade for ‘A Little Lovin’, Mark named #4, “A Little left on the plate wouldn’t kill ya’, as he’s rather large. Mark then has to hide behind his paper plate, as he’s trying not to crack up.
Phill and Lauren think it’s #2, Jimmy thinks it’s #4. Mark, of course goes “I really want Jimmy to get the point now, so could #2 and #4 switch places?”
Mark: “Round round, baby, round round”
Jimmy, sung: ‘Wonderful world, beautiful people-”
Mark: “That’s not what I had written down, but that’s what it should have been…”
Mark, summing up this episode with one line: “Bill’s team you need 11 to win. And if you get that, [Jimmy] gets some more go’s.”
Mark: “Gary don’t need his eyes to see.”
Bill: “He’s got special equipment in his knees!”
Mark: “Gary and his eyes are perfect company.”
Mark: “Ah, thank you. Good, I get a point at LAST…”
Mark, at the end of the round: “It was a valiant effort, but none of you, as far as I know, are Jimmy Cliff.”
Overall: Wonderful episode. If all we had was the Jimmy Cliff runner, we’d have been okay, but additionally we had Sheila and Mark bickering, Steve being hysterical, and Lauren having a few good lines in there, all the while Mark throwing his paper plate around, and giving random points to Jimmy. It was a phenomenal episode, one that’ll set the tone of the series.
Best Regular: Mark
Best Guest: Steve
Best Runner: Jimmy gets extra points.