Because there’s such an emphasis on mixing semi-regs with newcomers, there aren’t a ton of repeat panel combinations on QI, but tonight is a combination we have seen before, way back in Series B, in the Bombs episode, which was one of the funniest, in my opinion, that series.
Now, Clive Anderson, Rich Hall and Phill Jupitus, as the former two were beginning to phase out of their QI semi-reg days, reunite for one more episode, this one concerning Greece.
Phill, on Stephen’s question about wealthy Athenians purchasing ships: “Well, if you were rich, did you have to-”
He then realizes there is indeed a Rich sitting next to him, and a golden opportunity.
Phill: “Not if you were Rich, because that would…Have you ever funded the greek navy?”
Rich: “I have never funded the Greek navy, not to my knowledge, no, but if history has taught us anything, it’s that I should’ve.”
Stephen reveals the origin of a Roman orgy came to describing a dinner party.
Rich: “There was also stuff for kids, at an orgy. It wasn’t all just adults. What, a petting zoo?”
Stephen: “What else do we know about the Spartans?”
Alan: “They were really good in that film, 300. Very erotic. Quite camp, actually.”
Stephen: “Very camp. Oddly enough, it could have been much camper, because in the actual historical fact, those 300 spartans were accompanied by 700 thespians!”
Phill: “LET’S DO THE SHOW HERE!!”
Stephen describes how the Spartans beat the Athenians, how they weren’t in favor of math, science, the arts, and just in favor of war, how much of a travesty that was.
Stephen: “It’s a bit like if the Klingons beat the Vulcans, in the world of Star Trek.”
Alan: “That would be AWFUL.”
Stephen: “Do you know the word Laconic?”
Phill: “I DUNNO! IS IT FROM *STAR TREK*?”
Stephen: “Athens sent a message to Sparta, they said “if we beat you, we will not spare your children, we will destroy your civilization, we will kill everybody, we will spare no one.” The Spartans sent back a one-word reply.”
Stephen: “No. Similar…”
Stephen: “He won the gold medal for poetry.”
Phill, not buying it: “SSSHHHUT UP…”
Stephen: “OH, YOU THINK THAT’S WEIRD? All the way up to 1948, there was a gold medal for town planning in the Olympics.”
Clive: “Won by Milton Keynes.”
Stephen: “LOST by Milton Keynes, you would imagine…”
Stephen mentions that sculpture was also an early Olympic competition.
Phill: ‘AND LOOK AT HIM GO! THE YOUNGER GREEK’S MALLET IS FLYING!”
Stephen: “Who knows what Olympic Gold Medals are made of…”
[silence for give seconds]
Alan: “They might be…partially…”
Clive: “WE’VE ALL BEEN ON THIS PROGRAM BEFORE…”
Eventually Alan just says “gold, they’re made of gold.”
Stephen: “OH, BLESS YOU…”
Phill: “Hang on, I think they might have another one in there…CHOCOLATE!”
Clive: “Why are they so big. Like, they used to be smaller-”
Phill, looking at the ones on the behind-screen: “THEY’RE NOT ACTUAL SIZE, CLIVE.”
Stephen: ‘If it left a mark, it wasn’t gold.”
Phill, over-serious version of what Stephen just said: “and if you were eating lead, you would…DIE.”
Alan, remembering an old QI fact: “But there’s no lead in pencils…”
Alan, on Greek plate-throwing: “I can remember when I was on holiday, but there were too restaurants, one with plate throwing, and one there wasn’t.”
Clive: “Camden, then…”
Alan: “It was the main choice you made of an evening. Plate-throwing or not-plate-throwing? And you sit in the quiet one, having a nice quiet meal, and about half-ten you can hear them kick off..”
Stephen: “Nowadays it tends to be something softer…”
Alan, serious: “Women.”
Stephen literally has to stop to compose himself. It’s ridiculous.
Stephen: “I don’t even know where to begin with that one.”
Alan: “Obviously not the best women, the second…”
And then he mimes throwing a woman across the room, which made me laugh hard.
Stephen: ‘Because I can say that Alan is coming in last.”
Alan: “It’s one of my best features…”
Overall: Fairly strong show with great moments, though the slow parts in the middle detract from its greatness a bit. Panel was on, and Phill, Rich and Clive interacted like their S2 selves, with a lot of teamwork and good gags. Alan was also really fun tonight. It was just strong in the beginning and ending, and couldn’t keep the momentum going all throughout.
Best Guest: Phill
Show Winner: Clive
Best QI Fact: Naked gym