FINALLY we’ve reached the end of this holey and ho-hum series, and what better way to cap it off than a return appearance from Dave Johns, who gave us one of the funnier guest bits of the last few series.
Additionally BOTH HALVES OF SPARKS are on one panel, Phill’s which should be interesting. Pete Tong, a well-known Radio One DJ, is also here tonight, so this finale has some promise.
It’s hysterical. As Bill’s team has their first bit of dialogue, they keep cutting back to Ron, who just keeps glaring at them with his very thin mustache. Like nothing amuses him.
Bill: ‘So then…it’s up to us…to deduce…the right answer?”
Dave: “I shall do my special stroking of my chin that will help me think.”
Bill: “I can do that, but I have a real beard, y’see?”
Dave: “If I pull harder, I’ll get a beard.”
Bill, not really knowing what to say: “…yeah.”
Mark: “You know what? When Bill Bailey can go to someone “…yeah..”
Bill, after the one-armed drummer story, about the Def Leppard video: ‘now you see there’s a strong man making fun of ‘im. ‘TWO ARMS! TWO ARMS!’
Dave: “It’s a gear-chuckle brother!”
Bill, and Dave, in unison: “TO ME! TO YOU! TO ME!”
Ron (still glaring)
Bill: “Oh, no, that’s a horrible thought…”
Mark: “Ron enjoyed it…”
Dave keeps going on these amazing, hysterical tangents. All the while, BOTH RON AND RUSSELL are looking over at him, going “what the fuck…”
Mark: “You also can’t imagine them running from a lion in New York, can you?”
Phill: “If you see a lion…YA RUN!”
Mark: “You’ve been watching that animal channel again, haven’t you?”
Russell says the IRA shut down one of their gigs because they wanted to blow up Brighton pier.
Phill: “So the IRA probably came down there and said “Let’s not blow up the pier, cause it’s crackin’! Let’s do that hotel!”
Mark: “That’s like 15 years later!!”
Dave: “Could be the IRA time travelers.”
Mark: “Why would you travel forward in time to blow something up??”
Dave: “To see if they did it? Mark, you haven’t grasped time travel, haven’t ya?”
Phill, noticing the one guy in a pith helmet: “He thought he was going to a recording of It Ain’t Half Hot Mum.”
Mark: “I dunno, I think he heard that wherever the Ramones go, they’re chased by LIONS…CAUSE YOU *WOULD RUN!*”
Russell: “Lot of bobbing during Ramones concerts, so maybe that’s the protective wear.”
Mark, referencing Animal Crackers: “Here comes Captain Spaulding, the African Explorer!”
(No one in the audience laughs)
Mark: “The Marx Brothers. Famous comedy trio.”
Ron, SAYING HIS FIRST LINE OF THE SHOW: “I know the Marx Brothers!”
(The audience applauds, as he’s FINALLY said something instead of glaring at the camera).
Ron after a round: “Can I ask you something? Is there somewhere I can go to learn how to me more…you know, lively, or bubbly?”
Mark: “Maybe a library.”
Bill, for his first intro, does a little spin, but ends up falling immediately afterwards. Mark has to stand back and applaud him.
Ron for his first intro, guesses it’s either ‘Je’Taime’ or a track by the NWA. He then guesses it’s In Da Club by 50 Cent.
Mark: “You a rap man, Mark?”
Ron: “It’s all I listen to.”
Mark comes over and starts singing Wu-Tang Clan by Ron, which Ron eats up and bobs along to, AND KNOWS. Mark’s even in awe.
Mark: “Your first single could be, I could go “WHAT’S MY MUTHAFUCKIN’ NAME? (beat) Ron.” Or “HI, MY NAME IS, UP, MY NAME IS, UH, MY NAME IS- WIKKA-WIKKA- Ron.”
#1 on Phill’s ID Parade looks a TON like Bill, so I knew they’d do something. Sure enough, Phill goes: “Is #1…Bill, having an acid flash-forward?”
Mark: “Now we’re doing acid time travel?”
Phill: “Were you in the West Country around 36 years ago? He probably knows a lot about badgers and weasels…”
Phill: “Ron, can you sense musicians? Do you have a mystical power of some kind?”
Ron: “Obviously not.”
Mark: “Well, thanks for the help, Ron..”
Before introducing the Omar ID Parade, Mark replays the clip from a few episodes ago of him completely slamming Omar. Once he’s back, he says “thanks again for coming on”. He also says that it’s very obviously #3.
Dave: “I don’t know.”
Mark: “You do know, it’s #3, I’ve already told you 4 times!”
Mark, Next Lines: “Come Together, right now-”
Phill, hesitating: “well-”
Russell: “Over me.”
Mark: “Exactly. Phill was trying to get some smutty little innuendo in there, weren’t you?”
Phill: “I was trying to work in a bit of a sperm gag, but it was too late.”
Ron, absolutely serious: “Me too.”
Mark: “OKAY RON, LET’S HEAR YOURS.”
Overall: Second series in a row we get the best episode right at the end. It helps that the panel was really on, and it also helps that there was a surefire comic on both sides, between Dave Johns’ bizarre material being perfect for NMTB, and Ron Mael’s stoic yet still hysterical performance being one of the oddest things ever to be on Buzzcocks. And I sincerely think he, as well as Russell, had a great time. He just has an odd way of showing it, I guess. Pete was good for a few lines, but wasn’t as good as the other 3. Between Ron’s rap fixation, Dave and time travel, Omar and Mark reconciling, and a ton of other stuff, this episode made up for the rocky rest of the series.
Best Regular: Mark
Best Guest: Dave
Best Runner: Time travel
SERIES 12 SUPERLATIVES:
Best Episode: Episode 11, featuring Ron Mael and Dave Johns and all the things I just wrote about.
2nd Best Episode: Episode 7, featuring Rich Hall saying the phrase “I wanna fuck your mother”, Mark threatening to edit out Nick Bracegirdle, and a nice runner about the German army.
Worst Episode: Episode 3. June Sarpong alone can’t give you much.
Best Regular: Mark, because he had the most episode wins.
Best Musician Guest: Kathryn Williams, for making me forget she is a musician and completely jelling with the dynamic, especially with Bill. Though Jaret Von Erich and (WIKKA WIKKA) Ron Mael come close.
Best Comedian Guest: Dave Johns. Who else? Actually, if not for Dave’s awesome episode, I would have gone with Rich Hall.
Most Confused Panelist: probably Dan Hipgrave in Episode 2. Not a ton of competition this season.
Best Dartboard for Mark: actually, Bill Bailey. The middle of this season was just him slamming Bill tons of times, from Klingon jokes to LOTR references to just screwing with his woodland schtick.