Every once and a while, NMTB will book a guest that’s so huge, and out of the show’s league, that I’ll just watch in awe, thinking “how the hell did they get them”. Slash was like that. Lemmy was like that. Jimmy Cliff was like that.
Tonight, Alice Cooper is in the building. Yes. THE Alice Cooper. Prince of Darkness. Star of Wayne’s World. I’m already freaking out.
Good news is Tony Hadley, lead singer of Spandau Ballet, is also here, and he gave a very fun showing last time he was on, so I’m optimistic. Katie Melua is a jazz singer/songwriter. Jane Moore’s on Loose Women.
The whole beginning starts out as a joke about Stephen Hawking “shagging his nurse”, but it just turns into everyone doing Hawking impressions saying random song titles.
Phill: “NOWADAYS…EVERYBODY WANT TO TALK…”
Mark: “STOP…HAMMER TIME.”
Alice talks about a riot in Toronto that made him have an asthma attack.
Alice: “People were wearing buttons saying ‘Alice, you’re a riot’, ‘I survived the Alice riot'”
Mark: “To have a riot named after you, how fantastic is that…”
Alice: “That’s how you know you’ve arrived.”
Phill: “That’s such a breathing image, “WELL THEY GOT NO NOISE” [Asthma Inhaler]”
Alice: “Although there is a band in Denmark that ate their lead singer. Just killed him and ate him. That’s going pretty severe…”
Phill: “Whoever heard of ‘Musical Differences’…”
Mark: “It’s very hard to tell someone they’re fired…”
Alice: “How do you get the NEXT lead singer? That’s what I wanna know. Do they put an ad in the paper going ‘lead singer wanted; we ate the last one.'”
Bill: “‘No time wasters, no cannibals’…”
Mark: “That’s what Bill’s family did to Sean Hughes.”
The phone on Mark’s desk goes off twice during the round.
Katie: “There it goes again…it could be someone’s mobile backstage.”
Mark: “Or it could be this SOUND EFFECT BUTTON I have under here…THE MAGIC OF TV!”
Mark, after announcing the real answer, that the Darkness cancelled a gig after the lead singer cut his finger. This is a huge diatribe here:
“Yeah, it must be really difficult, playing with a cut finger. Last week I was at a charity gig with Tony Hadley. Stinky flu…STILL did the raffle. Def Leppard’s drummer LOST HIS ARM…CARRIED ON GIGGING. Curtis Mayfield, I kid you not, was in a coma…STILL MADE ANOTHER ALBUM. Otis Redding crashed into the dark, bleak, unforgiving waters of Lake Minona, and after he drowned…he did a gig…he did three encores, and he gave every member of his band a foot massage. Shane Ritchie has NO TALENT WHATSOEVER. HE CAN’T SING, HE CAN’T ACT, HE CAN’T TELL JOKES. HAS IT STOPPED HIM? HAS IT *BUGGERY*! [dramatic pause] STING…IS *SHIT!* A cut finger? Yeah, YOU’RE rock…so-called Darkness! [another pause] Sorry, I meant to say…two points!”
And with that, he cracks up and collapses onto the desk. This is just the first round.
Katie, in the 1st intro, does some melodic piano, then basically says “piano” in the middle. Mark has to stop all of this to yell at her.
Mark: “EITHER HE GUESSES IT FROM [Piano Motion]…”
Katie: “I have to give him some clues…”
Mark: “HE’S ALICE COOPER! HE *KNOWS*!”
Next intro, Katie mimes holding a guitar.
Mark: “hold on…WHAT COULD THIS BE? Could be a guitar, could be a bass.”
Phill: “She’s holding Alice’s snake.”
Mark: “That’s an image I don’t wanna pursue…”
Alice guesses the intro five seconds in, so Mark has them do it again so they can actually hear the intro.
Mark: “Alice, you ever done any acting, in films?”
Alice: “Yeah, I have.”
Mark: “Well, let’s see it put to the test.”
They do the intro again, and Alice is more thoughtful, does a chin-stroking thing. Then, after they finish, Alice goes “wow”, and before he can answer, Mark goes “I’ll have to pass it over then…”
Mark’s phone rings again. This time he answers it, and says to Alice “It’s the casting director at EastEnders. They’ve given you a part.”
Mark: “Patsy Cline recorded “I Fall to Pieces” right before she died in a plane crash. But before you read too much into that, Tony Hadley recorded “Gold” right before he went bankrupt.”
Tony tells Mark to fuck off, playfully.
Tony: “Shall I do the drums?”
Bill: “You do the drums. I’ll provide some eye-candy.”
He just starts posing joyfully all of the sudden.
Mark, phone ringing: “It’s the black lagoon. They’re wondering when you’re getting home.”
Mark, in introing the ID Parade for Counting Sheep, Mark realizes he doesn’t know how to pronounce the guy’s last name, and “I was about to ask. And that would really give the game away, wouldn’t it? So for now, I’ll say Sam…Kesterman, but I’ll find out in a minute. And that might have given you a clue by one of ’em going “that’s not my name!”
Mark knows it’s #4, because he keeps cracking up, but Jane keeps insisting he’s too young, and that it’s really #1. Sure enough, when #4 is revealed, Jane asks “How old are you, then?”
Mark: “HANG ON, HANG ON. “How old are you?” Do you think you’re gonna convince him he wasn’t in the band?”
Jane: “He looks about 17.”
Mark: “Alright, then it wasn’t him. Apparently you weren’t in the band…the piper that never lies has just told you you’re younger than you thought you were…”
Oh, no. Oh, nononononono. For “I’m a Man not a Boy” ID Parade, not only is Athelston there as #5, but the Pirate guy from last episode is #3. So already I’m dying.
#3 is introed as “I’m about to singe the King of Spain’s beard.”
#5, Athelston, is “I’m hoping to shake this coma off this year…”
Katie: “Well, it can’t be 3 and 5.”
Phill: “WELL WORKED OUT YOUNG LADY!!!”
Alice: “#4 seems to have melancholy syndrome. He looks so depressed.”
Mark: “Yeah, because #5 looks so joyful by comparison…”
Next Lines: “His son is working for the daily mail.”
Tony: “Oh, bugger…”
Mark: “The beatles would hardly have that for a next line, would they? “His son is working for the daily mail….oh, bugger.”
Overall: Jesus, two fantastic episodes in a row. Series 14 is already a classic one. Man, it helps that everybody was on, but Alice fit in well with the panel, Katie was gonzo enough to be funny, Jane and Tony gave good funny answers, and there were some great runners with Jane not believing the ID Parade was correct, Athelston and the Pirate, Katie pointing out what a piano sounds like, and Alice guessing the intro again. Just a wonderful episode all around.
Best Regular: Mark
Best Guest: Alice
Best Runner: Phone calls.