Well…we’ve made it to the end of the Bill Bailey era of Never Mind the Buzzcocks…and like with the end of the Mark Lamarr era, I’m not ready.
You see, Sean Hughes was funny, and the show worked with him on it, but Bill Bailey added a whole different level of absurdity to the show, and had a better rapport with Mark, as well as bringing some experienced panel show humor to refresh the Simon era. And now he’s leaving, and we’ll be bringing in Noel Fielding, who’s good, but…obviously not the same.
So, tonight, they brought in some nice, familiar faces to send him off, like Jamelia, of ‘Javine’s a slag’ fame, Dale Winton, the gayest guest host we’ve had on (so far), and Moby, the EDM pioneer who released ‘Natural Blues’, ‘Southside’, and ‘We are All Made of Stars’, becoming the foremost electronic star of…1999-2002. Also, this is our first David O’Doherty episode, and I’m told that he’s a ton of fun.
Moby, after the first ‘What have we pixelated?’: “Is this pixelation that you guys have done, or is this actually in the video?”
Simon: “We have done this pixelation.”
Moby: “Oh, so you know the answer.”
Simon: “I do, yes.”
Bill: “We haven’t set up the whole quiz to actually find out what it is…’WHAT IS IT? WE NEED TO KNOW! LET’S BUILD UP A QUIZ!”
Simon mentions Bjork being against the paparazzi, but also that Dale has a different take on being photographed:
Simon: “HELLO! D’YOU WANT TO TAKE A PHOTO OF ME???”
Dale: “You have doctored that photograph!”
Phill: “It’s like if Jesus had taken a different path, isn’t it? ‘MOTHER…I’VE GOT *NEEEWSSS!*”
Dale: “What you can’t see is the guy behind me…”
Simon: “Dale, that’s a bin…”
Jamelia: “It’s a clothes bank, you should have put those trousers in it.”
Jamelia, in the midst of a political statement: “I mean, me and Leona Lewis are two completely different entities.”
Simon: “Of course. You’re almost as good, as well.”
Jamelia tells him to fuck off, though playfully.
After Simon asks Jamelia about her shampoo: “I hate when you ask me questions because I know you’re gonna come up with some horrible bitchy punchline at the end of it…”
Simon, smirking: “Shit…I’ve been found out.”
This could probably sum up the entire Amstell era.
David has a little stand-up aside about how he’s had the same hair since he was 12.
Moby: “Can I just say something? So, imagine we were doing this show, and say one of us had no legs, and you were complaining about, say, your trousers. The person with no legs would be sitting over here thinking, like, “well, I’m sorry you have bad trousers…'”
The audience gives him a nice round of applause for this.
Moby, to cap it off: “So you’re complaining about your hair? God hates me and stole my hair. There ya go.”
Simon tells the panel that they might not have enough material for next week’s Best of show, so he tells Moby to put on a sombrero (still leftover from last year’s ‘The Hat’ episode), and dance around. He does so…right in front of Simon, on top of the desk.
After Bill’s team gets the question wrong.
David: “Bill’s looking a little down, might need something to cheer him up, like…say…something from South America?”
Simon, pulling out a top hat: “How about Victorian London?”
Phill: “The bloke sitting next to Mr. Nelly, this would be his lap.”
Dale: “So it’s his lap? Is the answer Dannii Minogue?”
Moby: “I understand that in this we’re supposed to poke gentle fun at the artist being featured here? I have poked fun at hip-hop artists in the past, and had nothing but trouble. All I’m gonna say about this is whatever’s pixelated is probably fantastic and valuable.”
Moby on this show is a tiny bit out of place, but in the right way, similar to Charles Grodin’s self-effacing appearance on SNL back in the day. Moby’s a very white, nerdy dude that’s sort of deconstructing the show as it goes along in the most intelligent of ways, and it’s giving the show a nice boost so far.
Of course, the ‘probably fantastic and valuable’ joke is immediately followed by:
Dale: “And if I were judge, quite large.”
Simon: “For viewers just tuning in, Dale Winton is a homosexual.
Right back to the lowest common denominator.
Simon: “Moby, I looked on the internet-”
Moby: “Oh, I don’t like where this is going…”
Simon: “Why not?”
Moby: “This is gonna end wrong…”
Yeah. Charles Grodin + Rich Hall.
Simon: “I think it’s that people hate you, and don’t know why, whereas people love Dale Winton, and it’s a MYSTERY…”
Moby even gets a kick out of that one.
Simon pulls out a Dale game-show bit, which I was just going to skip, however, Moby took his lamp shading powers to a good use by pointing out something on the prop and showing it to the audience.
Simon: “Dale, what can Moby do about his personality?”
Dale: “What star sign are you?”
Dale: “…Oh, well…”
For the Best of, Jamelia smashes a breakaway bottle over Bill’s head. In the background, you can hear Moby going “d’you have more?”
Bill, fake-woozy from under the table: “YOU’RE CRAZY, LADY!”
Another great intros moment- Moby decides to beatbox the intro to ‘I Can’t Dance’ right up to his mic, which leaves a confused and uninterested Phill to do the melody himself. Right when he finishes, Moby’s mic pops off. Intros is supplying some nice little moments, like Bill getting bashed with bottles.
I will say Moby’s fantastic at Intros, and the rendition he and Phill do of ‘Kashmir’ is pretty nice, even though I do get the feeling at times that Moby’s OCD-ness can overwhelm Phill at times.
Moby, trying to give Dale a hint: “Imagine long, beautiful hair, a Hammer of the Gods-”
Phill: “DON’T GET HIM RILED UP!”
Moby: “…riding a steed on the footsteps of dawn.”
Dale, purposely missing the point: “Is it Girls Aloud?”
For another ‘Best of’ moment, Simon releases a live chicken onto the set, scaring the shit out of Jamelia. Fortunately the chicken makes its way over to Moby, who’s a animal rights activist, and suffice to say Moby and the chicken get along famously, to the point where Moby waves at the “well-behaved” chicken as the trainer takes him away.
Phill’s ID Parade involves the Blazing Squad, so there are ten of them. One of them’s an older woman. At least they had fun with this one.
Simon: “Phill, you need six points to win.”
Phill: “READY THE TROLLEY, DALE.”
After Simon gives Moby a line from Natural Blues
Moby: “Actually I stole it from someone, but it’s okay.”
Simon: “Who’d you steal it from?”
Moby: “Some dead person, I dunno…”
Simon: “Next time you’re at the register and you hear a beep.”
Dale: “THINK OF THE FUN YOU COULD BE HAVING ON…”
THE ENTIRE AUDIENCE: “SUPERMARKET SWEEP!!”
Simon just completely cringes in response. He’s clearly disappointed in the audience for following along.
Unlike the Sean show, this has no real mention of Bill leaving- he’s make his decision in the offseason- but it is nice that Bill’s team gets the V this ep.
Overall: Series 21 finishes with an absolute classic, with all four panelists on, both regulars on, and Simon in a great mood. I’ll say that David contributed the least, but David’s a low-key humorist by trade and will get better as he goes on. Dale and Jamelia had a ton of fun playing off of Simon. However, the MVP BY FAR…would have to be Moby, for having a great time while still deconstructing the entire show and pointing out how out-of-place he is. He was a very fun character and incredibly likable, in my opinion. Still, as a send-off for Bill, and the series, this was a pretty solid one, without too many dull moments, and some of the highlights of the series as well as the Amstell era.
Best Regular: Simon
Best Guest: MOBY.
Best Runner: Best of Moments.
SERIES 21 SUPERLATIVES!
Best Episode: It’d have to be this one Episode 12, for just being wall-to-wall perfect and not letting up for a single damned second.
2nd Best Episode: Episode 9, featuring the all-important Biggins laugh, the entire panel screwing with Robyn about her cage-fighter boyfriend, and Mark and Bill and the Stalin round.
3rd Best Episode: Episode 8, featuring the most concise panel in years (Lauren Laverne, Phill and KT Tunstall), Jeremy Edwards not knowing what Emmerdale sounds like, a random staffer being thrown into the ID Parade, and Jon McClure accepting tea and cake.
Honorable Mention: Episode 2. Even though it was overshadowed by the rocket-fueled latter half of the series, this one was still pretty great, featuring the world famous Kurt Cobain joke, Jermaine Jackson putting up with Simon’s barbs, Noel fielding making a serious case for his regular status, David Cross reading British jokes off a cheat card and Katy Brand asking Phill to take her to musical heaven.
Worst Episode: Episode 1. Nothing got off the ground this time, and Simon was intervening WAAAY too much.
Best Regular: Incredibly close race, but Simon gets it for mastering his host persona and not getting too mean this season- a lot of the better episodes were when Simon was acting out of admiration.
Best Comedian Panelist: Tim Minchin Episode 10, for being one of the brighter spots of his still-crowded-and-good episode. David Cross, Katy Brand, Martin Freeman and Mark Watson were in the running.
Best Musician Panelist: Moby, Episode 12. Read this over and tell me why I shouldn’t. Robyn, KT Tunstall, Jon McClure and Ryan Jarman came close.
Best Dartboard for Simon: I almost put Dappy, Episode 3…but then I remembered the Antony Costa episode, Episode 7…and oh my gosh, those ones were so good. This also leads to…
Best Sport: Antony Costa, Episode 7. For all that he went through, he still came out smiling. He’s a pro, and I’m happy about it.
Most Confused Panelist: Ryan Jarman, episode 2. But he’s just being himself.
Best Runner: “IT’S….JAMES LANCE!” (Episode 10).