How appropriate. An episode called ‘Happiness’, and a panel of three people that make me very happy indeed.
The show made a grand success last year by putting Phill and Andy together, and had a less applauded success by putting Phill and Rich together. No sign of an Andy-Rich combo, though.
Tonight’s episode-long runner concerns the audience ‘pleasure gauge’, like the ‘noise-o-meter’ at a sporting event. The meter hits its highest (with laughs), and somebody on the panel gets a bonus point.
Stephen: “What would make Britain a happier place?”
Stephen: “The Pope?”
Andy: “No, HOPE, not the Pope!”
Stephen: “I was gonna say, that seemed odd.”
Alan: “I thought you said a GROPE!”
Stephen: “A grope of the Pope-”
Andy: “I’LL WORK ON MY DICTION…”
Alan: “I think moving us slightly south in order to improve the weather would make us happier-”
Phill: “Could you do that by just putting an outboard motor on Aberdeen?”
Rich: “You’re never in the same latitude. Britain just keeps cruising the globe. Like Somali Pirates…”
Alan: “Give everyone the mental age of six…”
Andy: “Well, the media are working on that, aren’t they?”
Huge audience response.
Stephen: “I mean, six-year olds cry 70 or 80 times a day”
Alan: “Yeah, because they can’t go up and down stairs without falling. Whereas I can.”
Phill: “70 or 80 times- WHERE IS this lachrymose six year old??? What does Uncle Stephen do???”
Stephen: “I try to teach them Latin, I just…”
Alan: “‘not the british museum, agaaainn!”
Phill: “I DON’T *LIKE* FOIE GRAS, I DON’T EVEN-”
Stephen talks about the ‘Make Slough Happy’ campaign
Rich: “I think one of the important things would be to get rid of the name ‘Slough’.”
Stephen: “I fear you’re right. It’s not a very happy name, is it?”
Alan: “Yeah, change it to ‘YIPPEE!'”
Phill talks about trying not to laugh at a mine disaster in the Wanky Colliery
Rich: “It’s like a headline I read in Ireland once- ‘Cork Man Drowns'”
THAT is why Rich Hall is still hysterical. Heck, he even gets a bonus Pleasure Gauge point.
Rich: “You know what…his name was Bob. COME ON!”
Even more applause. At this point all the applause just annoys him.
Rich: “Well…I think I’ve won this. I’m not gonna answer another question.”
Stephen: ‘But how many real friends do you have?”
Rich: “Just one. James Taylor.”
Phill bursts out laughing.
Andy: “Four. Actually, I’m not sure about him. Because he once spiked my drinks and stole my trousers when I was…he’s coming off the list, yeah.”
Phill: “Which d’he do first?”
And Phill holds this jackass-like expression, just getting Andy’s goat.
Andy just looks at him and goes, like he’s an idiot, “drinks first, Phill”, and goes back to his notes. The Phill-Andy dynamic is actually a pretty good one, only touched on briefly in Gallimaufrey, when Andy stole Phill’s identity for a round.
Stephen: “How can you tell if a friend is really pleased to see you?”
Alan: “They will….be engorged…”
Stephen: “You know 150 people that become engorged at the sight of you?”
Alan: “I know THOUSANDS…”
Phill: “I know Alan well enough for a light twitch…”
Alan: ‘You’re not in my 150, bruv…”
Stephen describes this set of photos from a guy trying to find sincerity in smiling by wiring people to smile when they didn’t want to.
Alan: “These are all the QI researchers. Bending over backwards for the show.”
Phill: “Couldn’t he GET a DIFFERENT VOLUNTEER?? POOR BARRY. Day 60 “EEEUUUGHHH” Day 61. ‘EEERRAAAGHHH”.
Andy: “Second one from the bottom, he looks like the bloke’s coming in from a different side. He’s been surprised.”
Phill: “Actually, Andy, there is a third probe you can’t see…”
Phill: “I imagine they gave them names, like ‘Fifty Eight, I forgot my mother’s birthday!’ ‘Sixty One, left the gas on!'”
Alan: “That’s not ‘left the gas on’. That’s ‘trod on a cat and it’s died.'”
Stephen: “The Duchenne smile, with only the mouth and not the eyes, is known by people who study this as-”
Alan: “A Gordon Brown.”
On how there’s no tipping in Singapore: “There used to be signs in the little rickshaws and things that said ‘no tipping’.”
Phill: “That’s like something drunk students do. Rickshaw Tipping.”
And then…Stephen gives Phill this look.
And then literally everyone looks at Stephen. Phill’s feeling kind of gratified.
Alan: “That came out out loud, Stephen.”
Stephen: “I’m sorry, I didn’t-”
Andy: “We were all thinking it, but you said it!”
Stephen: “Why was everybody in the world expected to die laughing in 1910?”
Andy: “Was Michael McIntire going on tour?”
Alan: “That IS Arthur Smith on the far right…”
Rich’s story of John McCririck falling out of a boat is a pretty nice one, especially the part where he just gets back in the boat and says “alright, where were we?”, like nothing happened.
Stephen: “So, the bees, they…suck on your misery.”
Stephen: “What, don’t look at me like that! It sounded rather poetic when it came into my head!”
Phill: “There’s your cue to make your first Heavy Metal album, and you have to call it…suck on my misery.”
The show’s sort of slowing down in the last half, but there’s still some great stuff going around.
Stephen asks what dictates a convincing laugh.
Alan, channeling Johnny Vegas: “Ice cube in the anus.”
Stephen: “….RIGHT. Yeah, that might do SOMETHING…”
Alan: “It’ll make you laugh. Try it later.”
Stephen: “What is the five-pound note made of?”
Alan: “Let’s just get that one out of the way…”
Overall: Fell off toward the end, but overall a pretty nice episode. Only Andy really stood out, as Phill and Rich gave their usual performances with a few standout lines. Andy’s become very good at weathering a packed QI panel, and Alan had a much more prominent show than his last few.
Best Guest: Phill
Show Winner: Phill
Best QI Fact: Bentham’s Front Lawn