So, we’re already one show into the Guest Bill era, and we’ve already had a nice turn from Mark Ronson. Okay, who’s next?
…YOU’RE SERIOUS?? OH MY GOSH, I CAN’T WAIT!
The lineup for this episode is pretty extraordinary. On…ON GUEST PANELIST STEPHEN FRY’S PANEL (And this has been a few years in the making), are two people I’ve heard of- Matt Shultz from Cage the Elephant and comedian Josie Long. Also, Phill’s got Dominic Cooper, aka Howard Stark from the Marvel movies and GODDAMNED PREACHER. Frankie Sandford’s also here, former S-Club-7 personality, then singing with The Saturdays.
As Stephen’s announced as Guest Host, they cut over to Phill nodding in appreciation, which is a nice little callback to their time on QI. And, of course…
Of course, Simon even has Stephen press a buzzer, in QI fashion, which goes “…I’M A NATIONAL FUCKING TREASURE!”
Simon also invokes some of the random existential conversations by just going on a whole over-arching rant about a pretzel, to the camera and to Stephen.
Simon: “But do you know anything at all about Akon?”
Stephen: “I’m afraid I do not. He seems to have come standard with the uniform of the, uh…Hippity Hoppity Brigade…”
Stephen, going on about the pretzel: “But there is, in music, a sort of history of the, uh, recto-vaginal insertion…”
Simon: “You know, I thought you were gonna bring this show up to a standard…”
After Matt talks about being raised on a Christian hippie commune and sort of abandoning religion.
Simon: “Are you afraid you’ll go to hell?”
Matt, in an over-the-top Southern accent: “Well, I’ve accepted Christ into mah heart, and once he’s in your heart he won’t ever leave…”
Simon: “…Stephen, is there a God?”
Stephen: “Oh, NOOOOO, Darling.”
After Phill gives Simon a rare fact about the red squirrel and he just answers with “…okay…”
Phill: “Oh, when I hit YOU with the facts, you’re nonplussed, but when your BOYFRIEND OVER THERE…”
Simon: “Don’t mock our intellectual Greek love.”
After Simon just starts throwing more useless facts at Stephen (to sort of lampoon QI)
Phill: “I feel like…I’m being beaten up by a fucking encyclopedia salesman!!!”
Simon: “And it’s great to have Dominic Cooper here, eh? Sexy, hunk actor Dominic Cooper?”
(A small portion of the audience screams.)
Simon: “Eh, ya hear that? You hear those three people there?”
Simon: “I think your problem is…you’re too sexual.”
Dominic: “How can somebody be too sexual?”
Phill: “I THINK IT WAS RIGHT SAID FRED WHO SAID…”
(So far, Phill is absolutely killing this episode. I think it’s the presence of Stephen Fry.)
Simon’s joke ends with a reference to Tufty…which confuses 19-year-old Frankie. Stephen explains it’s a squirrel mascot for road safety.
Phill: “Isn’t that ironic? What do you see over the roads sometimes?? If there’s one person you’re not gonna listen to about road safety, it’s a bloody squirrel…”
Stephen, standing up for Intros: “If you get any of these…to be honest, you should be burned as a witch, because there is no…possible way. I’m really sorry, I apologize in advance.”
Josie’s just wincing the whole time.
After the….admittedly overlong rendition of Coldplay’s Viva la Vida
Josie: “I just wanted to say that…hearing Stephen Fry doing something like that is how I’d get myself to sleep at night. Could I hear it again?”
Stephen: “Oh, DAMN YOU…”
Josie: “Can I just hear Stephen’s bit-”
After Stephen does his bit.
Josie: “Can I just ask if there’s any chance of you considering to adopt any or all of us?”
Stephen: “…Oh, how sweet. Of course I’d consider it.”
Josie: “FUCK YEAH! BAD LUCK, MUM!”
After Simon reveals that Matt’s brother got caught with a bag of weed at a gig.
Matt: “HEY! YOU SAID IT!”
Simon: “…*YOU* TOLD THE NME!”
Matt: ‘I’d just like to say that we’ve now changed our ways…and…”
Stephen: “…gone onto HARD drugs.”
God bless. I wouldn’t expect him to be this quick on a show like this.
As Stephen works with Matt to figure out what the 2nd intro sounds like.
Phill: “COME ON, DUMBLEDORE, SING IT!”
Matt and Stephen’s 2nd one is so bad that they even ask Simon to do it…and Josie asks for his part alone, at which point he gets up on the desk and…does a sillier version of what Matt was doing.
Phill, standing up with Frankie: “…I feel like I’m going to Parents’ Evening…”
Stephen, as Phill’s first intro is passed back to him: “Oh, no no not mee…uh…do you know the answer, darling?”
Matt…taken aback, but: “Well, baby…”
They all start talking about Mamma Mia, which Simon hasn’t seen but Frankie has.
Frankie: “Yeah, you should go see it! (stops…to Dominic) Were you the boyfriend?”
Phill: “NO…HE WAS MERYL STREEP!!!”
Simon: “That is the power of Dominic’s acting.”
Frankie, after another Simon joke about CSS: “I haven’t got most of these jokes all night…”
Simon: “It’s alright. It’s not your fault.”
Stephen, bluntly, on the ID Parade: “Well, whenever I watch this round, it’s very terrible that so many guests are so unpleasant about these lovely people who volunteer to be laughed at, and it’s very rude of them…having said that, however…”
He gives the audience some time to recover….and then he goes for the jugular.
Stephen: “When I was growing up, that operation wasn’t really much of a success, but now it seems to be working very well indeed…”
The whole audience is in shock. EVEN SIMON’S SHOCKED. This is the kind of thing that the PC Police would throw him off Twitter for today, so I’m glad he came out unscathed, but…WOW.
Josie: “I will put everything I have on #3….I mean that in several ways.”
Even Stephen looks over, impressed.
Dominic: “How are we supposed to do this? We don’t know what the person looked like!”
Phill: “I KNOW! *THIS* WOULD BE…THE QUIIIIZ ELEMENT OF THE SHOWWWW!”
Simon: “How were the love scenes with Keira Knightley in The Duchess?”
Dominic: “They were…uhh…after a while-”
Frankie: “THAT’S WHAT I SAW YOU IN!!!”
After Frankie misses her own lyrics.
Frankie: ‘What part of the song is that?”
Phill: “The one with the WWWOOOOOORDS IN IT!”
After Matt gets his own lyrics.
Simon: “You see, when he WRITES HIS OWN…”
Overall: Another really nice show, boosted by a surprisingly game Stephen Fry performance that I wasn’t expecting to be as good as it was. In terms of panelists, everybody had something to do- Josie probably did the least but was still one of the funnier people there, and had a lot of great moments during the wall-to-wall stellar Intros round. Matt was probably high, and had a funny, great show. Frankie and Dom were great putting up with Simon, and both had a pretty nice time.
Guest Bill Rating: 8.5/10- Pretty nice job, Stephen.
Best Regular: Phill
Best Guest: Matt
Best Runner: Recto-vaginal insertion.