Nevermind Watchdown: S23E09, or Oh, get spanked!

Was so happy with last ep that I’m onto another one, this one featuring Little Britain star and ubiquitous TV personality David Walliams. Also on the bill are Josie Long, who was great in her last appearance (in the Stephen Fry show), and ANDY BLEEPING SERKIS, motion capture king and star of the Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Avengers and Planet of the Apes movies.

Basshunter’s a swedish dub/pop star. Gareth Malone was a vocal teacher who was on The Choir. Also, as if my adoration for Andy wasn’t evident by the last paragraph, the show even used ‘Wheels’ by Foo Fighters as his intro music.

David knows who he is, judging by his opening line: “I’m Matt Lucas…no, not really, he’s the short, fat, gay one. I’m David Walliams…the BIG TALL gay one.”

Noel: “What was the name of that Rihanna song?”
David: “Disturbia. She said it 10 times in the clip.”
Noel: “Is that a real word?”
David: “Disturbia, no it isn’t.”
Noel: “I was just checking, becau-”
Josie: “It’s like a really old joke. “What’s the name of Rihanna’s new song?” “Disturbia” “YES IT DID, BUT WHAT’S IT CALLED?”

David, to Basshunter: “Also, you were apparently in some pornographic photos, SO I’VE HEARD…”
Bass: “My friend and I were part of a little orgy-”
David: “What, define a LITTLE orgy. Is it two people, cause that’s not really an orgy.”

Bass: “The Swedish mentality’s a little too much for you, I think.”
David, after holding a glance for five seconds: “….well, we’ll see…”

David: “Noel is there anything you banned from the Boosh tour? Jokes, or…”
Noel completely breaks here. David’s delivery was nice enough that Noel had a moment to breathe first, before the jugular hit.
Noel: “…catchphrases.”
This somehow causes Phill to laugh even harder from across the studio.

David, after the Rihanna question: “Of course, it’s bad luck to open an umbrella indoors. Other bad luck symbols include black cats, walking under open ladders, and overcooking Chris Brown’s dinner.”
The WHOLE AUDIENCE GASPS, AND OHHHHHs at this. It’s absolutely hysterical though.

David’s schtick, or a lot of it, is him sort of flirting with Bass or Gareth, or pointing out gay stuff or whatever. In real life, he’s bi (or pan I think), but he was playing up the gay aspect tonight. It works better here than someone flamboyantly gay (like, hm, I dunno, Dale Winton perhaps), because Walliams is quite funny, and can balance the gay jokes with actual humor.

David: “Now, for those of us who haven’t seen it, could you sum up the Lord of the Rings movies in a sentence?”
Andy: “uh, yeah. Frustrated boy loses ring.”
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Bass and Noel’s Intro for A-Punk by Vampire Weekend is a pretty great one, and Josie knows what it is immediately, but has them do it again anyway. Bass and Noel start arguing about the instruments, but Josie exclaims that she’s already got it, so Noel says ‘let’s just do the bad version’.
Later, they do the ‘Boomerang version’-Bass and Noel have such great comic timing on that one that I’m surprised that Bass isn’t a full-fledged comic.

Plus, once they play in the actual A-Punk, Bass just starts dancing, in his seat, to it. He’s having a ton of fun on the program so far, and it’s great that he’s getting along with Noel.

The second intro takes them more time, and causes Bass to jump into the bottomless pit behind the stage.
Bass: “Last time- you can spank me if I get this wrong.”
David, in response, warms up his hands.

Sure enough, they try it again, and it fails miserably, mostly because Noel doesn’t really know the song.
Noel: “GOOOOING UP AND DOWN THE- get spanked!”

David: “Super furry animals have signs at concerts, telling their fans how to react at certain moments. I suppose they’ve confused the Reading festival with the…READING Festival.”
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(That one gets a big laugh out of Basshunter.)

Also, having Gareth and Phill do intros was another wise idea, as Phill was playing Edna Turnblad at the time (‘filling Michael Ball’s spot’ “Only on weekends”). Their version of ‘West End Girls’ is a pretty great one, but the presence of that one AND the Eurythmics one is making this one of the gayest Buzzcocks ever, and that includes Boy George episodes.

On the ID Parade, finding the Bassist for Shut Up and Dance.
Gareth: “You are the Basshunter, right?”
Bass: “I am indeed…choir boy.”
Gareth: “Now’s your opportunity…”

Gareth: “I’m leaning towards #1, he’s got that look in his eye of sadness, of good times lost.”
David: “…we all have that…”
Phill: “It’s a whimsical pop quiz, not ‘In the Psychiatrist’s Chair'”

David, for Bass’ Next Lines, does a bunch of Swedish references, like a line from Swedish Chef, or a direction from the IKEA catalogue. Bass is indeed losing it.

Overall: Not perfect, but a nice show, fueled by the electric dynamic between the panelists. Josie didn’t say a ton, but her overall demeanor is ‘OH MY GOSH I LOVE THIS SHOW’, so that helps. Basshunter and Gareth did a lot just flirting with David, and Andy…sadly didn’t say a great deal, or even do any voices. David was a nice, energetic guest host, even if he did go a few too many times to the gay well, he kept the game moving and had a nice amount of jokes and attitude.

Guest Host Rating: 9/10. Solid job, David.
Best Regular: Phill
Best Guest: Basshunter
Best Runner: Basshunter’s orgy.

Nevermind Watchdown: S23E08, or YOU’VE BROKEN THE SHOW!

The good news is that tonight’s guest host is NMTB recent favorite and pop culture’s favorite unsung hero, Martin Freeman. The also-good news is that Charlie Brooker, comic and creator of OH MY GOD SHOW of the minute Black Mirror, is also in the building.

The bad news…is that this, sadly, is a Dappy episode. So, we may not score very highly on coherency. I’m just hoping that Martin took Simon’s notes on fucking with him.

Simon Bird, from the Inbetweeners is here, and, I’m guessing, was a last-minute replacement for David Mitchell. Still, he’s from the Inbetweeners, so he’s probably funny. Martha Wainwright’s a singer songwriter- her brother’s Rufus, her dad’s Loundon the third, so you’ve probably heard of one of them.

Martin’s first lines sum up his entire career: “Hello, I’m Martin Freeman. You may recognize me.”
Heck, he may have used that one for his SNL appearance…

Of course, as this is the third episode for Dappy, and since this show’s basically brought him to the mainstream, his entrance is LITERALLY DESCENDING FROM THE CEILING, with smoke and everything. At least he knows who he is.

For some reason, instead of his usual little toof-hat, Dappy is wearing a genuine black Houston Astros cap. In 2009, the Astros were circling last. Good for Dappy, being with the times.

On the Bonnie Tyler video:
Martha: “My hair looks like that when I wake up…”
Noel: “When you wake up at the Grand Canyon?”
(Sidenote- Martha has the look of Tiff Stevenson and the sound of fellow Canadian Katherine Ryan. So yeah.)

Screen Shot 2016-10-31 at 12.09.28 AM.pngNoel: “Ah, there IS a man there. I thought it was just a horse…”

Dappy, to Noel: “If me and you went to a club, which one of us would get more girls?”
Martin: “It depends on which club, to be fair…”

After Martin calls Soulja Boy a twat in the intro clip (“If you want more information, text TWAT to this number”)
Dappy: “He’s got enough money to pay off the mortgages of his mum, his dad, his bruv. Why you calling him a twat?”
Charlie: “…he looks like one?”
Martin: “Sorry, I should have been a bit number. I retract that. If you want more information, text INTERESTING NEW POET to this number.”

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Classic Martin Freeman Reaction #1

Phill: “DAPPYYYY…stop sulking. Tell us about Soulja Boy. We don’t know anything about him, me and Charlie, we’re white and middle class.”
Simon: “…SO’S DAPPY!”

Martha, getting up for intros: “Very tough to stand…top with baby in it” [she points to her pregnant belly.]
Noel: “…Martha brought her baby on the show…I told her it has a green room…”

Noel and Martha’s first intro consists of Martha awkwardly dancing and writhing around, nearly sexually. After she finishes, she says “…that’s how I got pregnant.”

Simon: “I have no idea. I feel bad asking a pregnant woman to do it again…”

Then Simon tries guessing which Beyonce song it was.
Simon: “…she had a song about putting a ring on something…or putting something in a ring, I don’t…”
Phill’s absolutely losing it across the room. Simon’s just savage, even if he doesn’t mean to be.

Great moment…Dappy starts complimenting Martha for a song of hers…and it’s actually a song of Cerys Matthews’. The entire panel knows it’s the wrong person, even Martha does. Simon even goes “well, this is awkward.” Noel has to tell Dappy that it’s the wrong person, and Dappy completely crumbles.
Dappy: “You may be smarter than me on this show…”
Noel: “You know the way Dappy came in? Can he go out the same way?”

Simon knows the first few lines of Addicted to Love (‘the lights are on, and you’re not home…’), but he has no idea what the song is or who sang it.
Simon: “Oh, this is frustrating. Very frustrating.”
Phill: “I’ad no idear a quiz would be like this, I really…”

Martin: “You may as well take a guess.”
Simon: “….Yellow Submarine, by the Beatles.”
Martin: “…it’s not that. It’s…actually In My Life, by the Beatles.”
Simon, astonished: “IS IT???”
Martin: “No.”

Martin, summing up the show so far: “Me and Dappy having a cuss-off…Martha’s having an affair with Noel. I think the best behaved one of us so far has been TV’s potty mouth Brooker.”
Charlie: “…I’ve jerked off three times under this desk…”

I stand firm in my belief that Dappy is surprisingly good at Intros, and has nice teamwork with Phill- he and Dappy do a nice rendition of Two Tribes that Charlie’s able to guess instantly. So yes, Dappy is thick, but he’s a very good panelist in this regard.

Heck, after that intro, Charlie’s going “that was one of the most arousing experiences of my life. Would it put you off if I just started masturbating??”

Phill and Dappy’s next one is ‘Life in the Fast Lane’ by the Eagles, which is a great Intro…until Dappy starts adding, in the beats, ‘PHILL AND DAPS’.
Charlie: “HE’S PUTTING ME OFF. He’s adding new lyrics!”

Dappy, on the ID Parade: “How much do they get paid to come on the show?”
Martin: “Not enough, uh, for us to keep them waiting too long…”

Simon: “Personally I think 3 but I could see it being 4.”
Noel: “Well, I did see #4 coming out of the office earlier today-”
Simon: “That’ll do it…it’s four.”

Phill’s ID Parade is for ‘Fairweather Friends’ band Symposium, so they’re all given weather related names. The best of which is “…#3, wet patches.”
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…and “#4, not as bright as forecast…”

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(you can hear Charlie give an audible ‘…oh’ if you listen closely)

Phill: “#3’s giving it the hard one, but he just giggled at ‘wet patches’ so we know…”

Oh dear lord…
Martin: “I should probably point out that Symposium were famed for their extremely energetic live shows.”
Dappy: “Okay, okay, so it can’t be #4 then, wait…”
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Phill, in response, walks off the program, towards the lineup…and gives #4 a high-five as he leaves.

Dappy, to Martin: “You started being all rude to him, and now look what you’ve done to by bloomin partner!”
Martin: “*I* was being nice…”
Charlie, to Martin: “YOU’VE DID IT, YOU’VE BROKEN THE SHOW!”

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Classic Martin Freeman Reaction #2

Dappy: “Where is Phill, is he seriously not coming back?”
Martin, dead serious: “He’s left. He’s gone.”
Dappy: “Look, has he done a Preston, cause IF HE HAS…”

Dappy even threatens to stop the show unless Phill comes back, even yelling “PHILL” towards the offstage area. I can just imagine Phill, sipping some soft drink off to the side of the backstage area, laughing his goddamned ass off at the fact that Dappy’s BEGGING for him to come back. He must have just taken some time to just compose himself, because he knew, obviously, that this’d throw Dappy off…BUT NOT LIKE THIS.

Martin’s still playing the ‘Phill’s serious’ card, which is classic.
(Simon audibly loses it here.)
Noel: “Can I take Phill’s breakdown to go to the toilet?”

Dappy: “If it’s true [that Phill’s not coming back], then I’m walking off too…”

Martin, begging Dappy to answer: “What is your vibration telling you?”
Dappy: “It’s telling me that Phill needs to get back on this blooming stage.”
Martin: “I don’t know if Phill can hear you. He may already be on the A1.”

Phill eventually does return, sort of chagrined.
Dappy: “Babe, are you gonna give me a hug, or-”
Phill: “Honestly, I’ve left a pie on, so…”
Dappy: “So you didn’t get pissed off about it?”
Phill: “No, of course I didn’t. It’s #5.”

Next Lines:
Martin: “I’m bringing sexy back.”
Dappy: “YEAH.”
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Martin: “You’ll find that life is still worthwhile…”
Phill: “…no I won’t…”

Dappy’s exit is basically the exact same as his intro, with Martin wishing him a tearful goodbye before signing off.

Overall: Proof that Buzzcocks could go on stronger without Simon Amstell. This may have been one for the pantheon, folks- an entire episode with more laughs, more panelists on top of their game, more moments of hilarity, and an incident that elevated this one from just another great episode to an all-time classic. In terms of panelists, I’d rate Martha last, even if she had some fantastic moments in Intros, followed by Simon, and that’s a hard #3 as his lines made up the bulk of the middle half, Charlie, who nearly saved the last half, and Dappy…who, even if he was intentionally funny, made this one a joy and a thrill altogether. In terms of Martin…his guest-hosting skills were already prime, but his ability to take something like the Phill-walking-off incident and make it gold just by playing absolutely serious and screwing with Dappy made him truly a master of the Guest Host era. Not a dull moment overall, and something I’d gladly rewatch.

Guest Host Rating: 10/10. Would recommend.
Best Regular: Noel
Best Guest: Dappy
Best Runner: Dappy…just existing.

Nevermind Watchdown: S23E07, or THIS IS NOT STOMP

I don’t know a ton of the participants in tonight’s Buzzcocks, but the ones i do know…I am excited for.

Mark Watson’s the guest host, and he’s very fit for it, having been stellar on his previous gigs, and having rocked a guest Bill gig last season, so he’ll be great. Tim Minchin’s also on the panel, and he’ll probably be hysterical.

Daniel Merriweather’s an Australian singer-songwriter type. Donal MacIntyre’s a TV investigative/undercover journalist, sort of the british answer to Chris Hansen, I’d guess. Shingai Shoniwa’s the lead singer of R&B/pop group the Noisettes.

After reading through the incredibly odd answers for the Leona Lewis question (swarm of spiders, a falcon running off with shoes, or a seahorse costume), Mark just says “I think Noel wrote these answers…”

Phill: “I mean, she’s halfway there to play the seahorse…”
The audience ‘AWWWW’s
Donal: “That’s a bit harsh…”
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Phill: “Oh, no, it’s positively spherical…”

Mark, Noel and Donal are all trying to figure out who Mark Ronson went as for his birthday party (Daniel was a banana).
Donal: “Where am I gonna hide, undercover, as a banana?”
Noel, channeling Bill Bailey: “greengrocers…”

It was a year after Lewis-mania, and you could tell Mark was already tiring of her:
“Interesting fact about Leona Lewis…..nnnnope.”

Also on the bill: Pete Dockerty slams:
Noel: “I like Pete Dockerty, because he manages to be skinny and flabby at the same time.”
Phill: “They actually shot this [black and white] video in color- that’s just the color he is.”
Noel: “…he sucks the color out of life…”
Tim: “I’m trying to be respectful, but it’s just so hard with his face…”

This whole conversation they have about Pete Dockerty swallowing a plimpsoll onstage, and him developing a plimpsoll habit, is one of the most inclusive, QI-esque conversations, because literally everyone’s in on it, even Shingai. About how the habit moves to trainers, then boots. People cutting him up with flip-flops. It’s absolutely absurd in the best way possible.

After Donal can’t get the first intro.
Tim: “We know what it is. I mean, I’d like to pretend that I know what it is to look cooler, but…Noel knows what it is.”

For Phill and Daniels’s 2nd intro, Daniel has this really nice drumbeat, that’s loud on the desks, and literally the entire panel just starts copying it, even Donal who’s trying to guess.
Phill, disgusted: “THIS IS NOT STOMP.”

Great moment. Mark does the whole ‘Noel and Shingai, here are your for Tim”. 5 seconds go by. Then Mark realizes he should probably hand them the envelope (“you want this?”)
Mark: “I was so pleased that I read it right that I didn’t even bother giving it…”

Shingai and Noel’s intro for ‘Me and Julio (Down by the Schoolyard)’ is another one of the all-time classics, I think. I got it almost immediately.

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Donal: “I know who it is!”
Phill: “Look at this, MacIntyre, who actually hid in the band for some years…”

This is a fun little scripted bit, but it works. Mark claims that Donal’s been letting his guard down for a number of conspiracies on the show, the biggest of which is Chico coming on and feeding Noel’s team answers. And yes, we get another nice Chico appearance, which was the norm in the late 00’s.

Of course, once Chico leaves, Mark deadpans “…he’s been down there since 2006.”

Donal actually has a wonderful callback: “I know it’s #3, because the bastard sold the story to the mirror last week…”
Mark: “Yeah, it was about you, Jamelia and him…”

Overall: Light, but breezy. Mark was very high-energy, but sometimes was a bit too into it. I sort of preferred him as a panelist. Tim, Donal and Shingai were really into it. This one had its moments, just not enough of them.

Guest Host Rating: 8/10.
Best Regular: Phill
Best Guest: Tim
Best Runner: Leona Lewis

Nevermind Watchdown: S23E06, or IF THIS IS THE WAY THIS QUIZ IS GOING NOW….

Bit of a puzzler tonight.

The guest host is Claudia Winkleman- she’s been on a lot of panel shows, and Big Fat Quizzes, so she could be great. I just don’t know a ton about her. In terms of panelists, one has been on before, and that’s Jamelia (of ‘Javine’s a slag’ fame). The other panelist I’ve heard of is Harry Shearer, best known for being in Spinal Tap, as well as playing hundreds of characters on The Simpsons and being a sort of cranky guy in person, so I’m not sure how he’ll do here.

Little Boots is a popstar/solo act. Tom Basden’s a member of the sketch group Cowards.

Claudia, for a digression, asks what a gnu is.
Noel: “It’s basically a wildebeest, yeah.”
Tom: “If a dyslexic is holding a gnu, you’d ought to be careful.”

Jamelia tells an entire story about being on set with Vinnie Jones, and having a bear on set, and Vinnie keeps pushing in chicken sausages to deter the bear.
Jamelia: “When the bear doesn’t want anymore, they have this, they made it themselves, it’s a large broom, and on the end there’s a bottle of coke…”
Harry: “This is important: was it diet coke?”
Jamelia: “No, full Coke.”
Harry: “yeah, that drives bears nuts…”

Noel: “I love the idea that Vinnie Jones was getting into character. What, the character of a slightly-thick cockney?”

Noel: “I’d just love to paint that image, of Vinnie Jones pushing you toward a bear who’s been eating chicken sausage sandwiches.”
Jamelia: “Well, you’re never gonna see it cause the film’s shit…”
(‘Magic Boys’ has a 3.0 on IMDB. So, yes it was.)

Jamelia: “And I’m not really into the sort of…what, animology? the study of animals, what’s that called?”
4/6ths of the panel: “Zoology?”
Jamelia: “Yeah, zoology.”
Phill: “No, from now on, it’s ANIMOLOGY!”
Jamelia: “Right, zoology, I swear I knew that. But what would a bison, I mean aren’t bison from Africa?”
Harry: “Nono, North America.”
Jamelia: “Right, but AS I WAS SAYING…LET’S PRETEND they all live in Africa.”
Noel: “That’s geography, not place-ology.”

Also, tonight Noel is wearing a sort of knitted Navajo-esque sort of cover.
Phill: “Noel, tonight, is dressed as a Bjork roadie. ‘Hullo, would you like some herring?”
Noel: “I look like a Swedish film director…’I SHALL PUT ZE CAMERA HERE…AND HERE.'”

‘A fan’ is one of Phill’s choices for the ‘Hurt me’ round.
Phill: “If it’s a fan, are we talking ‘ooh, Mr. Darcy’, or are we talking ‘I LOVE METALLICA.” ?”

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Phill: “This is what I look like after I listen to Metallica.”
Noel: “This is a Marmite advert…”
(Noel’s had me laughing for a while, by the way.)
Jamelia: “Why isn’t anyone stating the obvious? It doesn’t look like marmite, it looks like shit….”
Phill: “Madam, you have bested us…”

Claudia is a decent enough proctor. What she’s doing, which I sort of like, is letting the madness go on a bit, and only sort of punctuating it every once in a while, like Mark. But she’s also keeping people into the conversation. She’s lower-key, but nice.

After Little Boots reveals she’s so short she’s sitting on a cushion.
Harry, to Phill: “You’re sitting on a cushion too, right? Or…oh, that’s just you.”

Also, what I’ll say about Harry Shearer is that he’s very good with keeping the crowd into it, and motioning toward the audience. For someone who’s been perceived as ‘difficult’ so often, I’m surprised how chill and fun he is so far.

As Jamelia and Noel get up for Intros:
Harry: “Is this gonna be worse than your movie?”
Jamelia: “No, not quite…”


Tom: “Do you do Smithers as well?”
Harry: “Yes, I do.”
Tom: “So you have to talk to yourself then?”
Harry, as Burns: “YES, HE DOES!” then as Smithers: “Yes, he does.”
…good god I love that he’s actually into this.

Harry, after the first intro: “You’re very good…you get the job. I’m very ashamed to not know it, so I’m letting you down, i’m letting the team down…[as Burns]…BUT I’M GOING TO SAY IT IN A SIMPSONS VOICE SO I GET THE POINT ANYWAY!”

As Phill does the main riff of ‘Money for Nothing, Tiny Boots just politely pats the desk.
Harry: “I love what you’re doing.”
Tiny Boots: “I don’t wanna overpower the main guitar riff.”
Harry: “That’s very considerate, most drummers won’t feel that way….that’s probably why they die so frequently I THINK…”
Spot on. Probably the best panelist performance since Josh Groban, or even Moby.

Harry: “The first part was the call of the African Bison…and [as Kent Brockman] THIS JUST IN, HERE’S ANOTHER SONG I DON’T KNOW THE NAME OF!”
Jamelia: ‘Why don’t you give him one he knows, like [hums the Simpsons theme].”
Harry: “…hahaha…don’t pity me.”

This is great- The ID Parade for Noel’s team is a rapper that not only Jamelia KNOWS…but he tried to sell a story on her.
Jamelia: “I just find it kind of funny that I’m over here and he’s in the lineup…”
Claudia: “This is suddenly Trisha, isn’t it?”

Noel: “I mean, I’ve not been on Buzzcocks for long, but that is a pretty big faux pas right there…”
Phill: “If you bring out my P.E. Teacher on our go…IF THIS IS THE WAY THIS QUIZ IS GOING NOW…”

Tom: “What kind of story was it?”
Jamelia: “You don’t wanna know…”
Tom, motioning to the lineup: ‘Anyone?”

Claudia, announcing the real Maxwell D: “With a new solo single out next year…yeah, good luck with that…”

Harry, after Maxwell’s left: “Oh, I envy you. I’ve never seen revenge get served up like that…”

Phill: “I’ve got my eye on #1, I’m gonna be honest with you…”
Harry, channeling Stewart Francis: “For these purposes?”

Claudia: “I get knocked down, but I get up again.”
Jamelia: “I drink a whiskey drink, I drink a vodka drink, I drink a lager drink…”
Tom: “No, but Jamelia, the song!”

Claudia: “Well, you can bump and grind.”
Harry: “Thank you- OH.”
Yeah, he’s basically an American Stewart Francis at some points.

Great moment. Claudia gives Phill’s team the line of ‘See my Vest’. Harry realizes what it is…in Burns’ voice…and then crumples and realizes he doesn’t remember it.

And to cap it off, right after that Claudia gives Harry a line from ‘Stonehenge’…which he gets half of.

Claudia: “Wayne’s world, party time.”
Little Boots: “It’s excellent.”
Claudia: “Right. Mr. Burns voice if you don’t mind.”

Claudia: “Can you feel the love tonight?”
Phill, as Elton: “DAVID, I’VE LEFT A PIE IN THE OVEN!!!”

Overall: WHOA. After a few thinner episodes, this one brought us RIGHT BACK on track. Very proud. It wasn’t even Claudia’s doing- she wasn’t the funniest, but she facilitated a pop quiz to the best of her ability, and was solid enough. No, the real heroes were Jamelia, nearly cracking, Tom, who had some of the episode’s greatest jokes, Noel, who finally is beginning to come into his own, and HARRY SHEARER, who took back my trepidations and had a fun, relaxed performance. Yes, they rested on the Simpsons laurels a bit too much but Harry was surprisingly game, as well as giving a ton of great lines. Fantastic show all around.

Guest Host rating: 8.5 out of 10. Nice enough job, Claudia.
Best Regular: Phill, by a hair.
Best Guest: Harry
Best Runner: Jamelia and the bear.

Nevermind Watchdown: S23E05, or You’re Getting Taller Every Minute

This season was going so well until Jack Whitehall showed up. Quick, we need someone legitimately funny who’s been known to rule this show in the past!

WONDERFUL! Frank Skinner’s here! That’ll make a nice enough show!

The panel doesn’t look too shabby either. Future 8 out of 10 standout Jon Richardson is here, alongside pop producer and remixer Calvin Harris, ubiquitous presenter Fearne Cotton, and rapper Tinchy Stryder

Already, just from Frank’s opening standup, he proves he can host a show, be funny and be fresh enough given the previous talent. 0/3 Whitehall.

Phill does a fantastic impression of Mika trying to round up a bunch of pigs, just as this incredibly gay guy running after pigs. The dynamic on Phill’s side is already nice, esp with Jon and Phill

Frank: “I had a friend once who had a fully-physical relationship with a donut.”
Phill: “I hesitate to ask, Frank, but ring or jam?”
Frank: “Well…for three weeks, it was ring…”
The audience takes 10 seconds to respond. Phill’s already gone- you can see he loves having Frank around. Fearne’s just trying to expunge it from her memory.

Noel: “You saw Bono once, right?”
Fearne: “Only in a magazine! No, I-”
Frank: “That’s not a very good anecdote, is it?”

Tinchy’s great. Noel and Fearne are talking about Bono and stuff, and Tinchy goes “I dunno how you’re talking about U2 when Shakira’s right there…”

Frank reports that Tinchy’s had so many knickers thrown at him during shows that, quoting him, “I could open a shop.”
Noel: “What’d you do with ’em, Tinchy?”
Tinchy, in his accent: “de knickaz?”
NoeL: “Yeah, d’you try any of ’em on?”

Tinchy: “I really think it’s U2, but I wanna pick Shakira.”
Noel: “…you ever played a quiz before?”

Frank, on Bono and the Edge writing songs for the Spiderman Musical: “Bono himself can relate to the story of Peter Parker: when he was younger, he was bitten by a radioactive twat.”
THAT is why I love Frank Skinner.

Jon says he loves Phill and Calvin’s intro, but he has no idea what instruments they were trying. So, Phill and Calvin do an INCREDIBLY SARCASTIC version, with Phill sarcastically strumming guitar notes, and Calvin slowly pounding on a keyboard.

After Frank brings up Tinchy’s height again.
Frank: “Is there such a thing as height-ist comedy? Like, if you were a registered dwarf we wouldn’t even mention it. It’s only because you’re borderline…”

Tinchy: “Shall I drum out on the table?”
Noel: “Tinchy, you can use anything you want. Use Frank’s face if you’d like.”
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Frank: “D’you want to use my face? You know, I never thought I’d be asking Tinchy Stryder that.”

Tinchy: “It’s alright, I’ll use this. Your face is alright.”
Frank: “I really appreciate that. You’re getting taller every minute.”

Noel: “Actually, first time I ever saw your name on a poster, I thought “Wow, Tinchy Stryder, what kind of super-powers does he got?”

On the accusation that Calvin only drinks Red Bull.
Phill: “He was hovering three feet above the ground earlier…before Tinchy pulled him down.”
Calvin: “He tried pulling’ me down, but he was only…”
Tinchy recoils into his hood.
Noel: “The thing is…someone calls you short, the best idea wouldn’t be to put your hood up, because then the whole hobbit thing comes up…”
(I also like the fact that Noel continues Bill’s trend of mentioning Lord of the Rings.)

Next Lines:
Frank: “Like a virgin.”
Jon: “Touched for the very first time.”
Frank: “Right, Madonna. Finished with my woman.”
Jon: “…touched for the very last time.”

Perhaps the greatest culmination of a gag in Buzzcocks history. Throughout all of Intros, all Jon is able to guess for songs is ‘Winds of Change’, by The Scorpions- as if it’s all he knows. And it’s always wrong, whenever he guesses.
So, in Next Lines, the very last one they give to Phill’s team is, in fact, a line from Winds of Change…AND JON GETS IT WRONG. He collapses in absolute defeat and everything.

Overall: Not perfect, but a nice show. kind of quiet considering the panel, but at least some nice moments came from Tinchy and Jon. Frank was a wonderful guest host, perhaps the best one so far, and he was great at keeping the game, and conversations, going, in the spirit of Mark Lamarr.

Guest Host Rating: 9/10. Frank should be commended.
Best Regular: Phill
Best Guest: Jon
Best Runner: Winds of Change.

Nevermind Watchdown: S23E04, or Me and You are Gonna Fall Out!

Right, three pretty solid episodes down. Who’s guest hosting next?

…Ah. Shit.

The general internet consensus about Jack Whitehall is that he’s not funny. More specifically, he’s an unfunny, talentless twat, but…details can be much somethings. I only know him from Mock the Week, and….he’s okay. He’s not the BEST, but I don’t have many reasons to hate him yet. Though I’m pretty sure this episode is about to give me some.

I only know one panelist tonight, and it’s Stephen Mangan, a TV personality, actor and star of Episodes. He should probably be guest hosting tonight, and, to his credit, he will eventually. Mr Hudson’s a producer, writer and Kanye West collaborator. Andrea McLean’s the host of Loose Women (pray for her). Rochelle Wiseman was a member of pop-girl-group the Saturdays.

Within the first 3 minutes of the show, Jack has called the Saturdays “Girls Aloud with less catchy songs”, and “a group of talentless scantily clad women that dance around to songs that they didn’t even write”.
Rochelle: ‘You know what? Me and you are gonna fall out!”

There’s a conversation, courtesy of Mr. Hudson, about the way they used the word ‘retarded’ in the US, sort of as a complement.
Phill: “You can say retard in Hull, because there it means you’ve given up your job.”
…That is the kind of wordplay I love him for (similar to “PHEEAANS. THEY MEEK A CUNNY NOISE!”

So far, Jack’s doing a lot of the Simon Amstell patented game-hijacking. Matter of fact, between his harshness and his steering off course, this really does feel like a Simon episode so far.

Stephen, on James Blunt: “I mean, he was a soldier…”
Jack: “Where’s friendly fire when you need it?”

Jack’s grilling Rochelle about how S-Club Juniors ended.
Jack: “Did someone leave first?”
Rochelle: “No…”
Noel, basically becoming Bill Bailey: “Someone’s mum came to pick them up…”

Hudson and Noel’s first intro…Noel does an AMAZING Mick Jagger impression, just writhing around on top of the chair, while Hudson just does a Charlie Watts impression and stays on the drums.

The actual song plays, Noel keeps doing his Mick.
Phill: ‘I’ll do Brian”
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Hudson: “I actually was stung very badly by some bees when I was younger. My uncle threw me in a bath with cold water.”
Noel: “….and there were bees in there?”

Look, while this is a very weak episode, there are still some nice performances. Stephen’s doing a great job in working on the quiz with Phill, again, bringing back to my theory that he should have hosted. Hudson’s had some nice moments and lines. Also, the ‘who goes with what’ round works, for Phill, because there’s an INPECCABLE Elvis impersonator. Rochelle notes that he even walks like Elvis.

Next Lines:
“I’ve been to the Year 3000.”
Stephen: “…and it’s shit.”

Overall: Not AS BAD as I thought…but still a bit too paltry for my tastes. Jack tried, and i’ll give him credit for that, but he wasn’t very funny and was reminding me a bit too much of Simon. At least Stephen, Hudson and Andrea were there to spruce things up.

Guest Host Rating: 6/10. Just…just not my cup of tea.
Best Regular: Noel
Best Guest: Stephen
Best Runner: Hudson disowning his friends.

Nevermind Watchdown: S23E03, or AT LAST WE WILL HAVE REVENGE…AND CHEESE.

Last time they did a Guest Host season, they had a lot of comedians and TV personalities, and then in the middle they threw in Ricky Wilson, lead singer of the Kaiser Chiefs, just because they needed an actual musician. And it went…REALLY WELL. Ricky wasn’t the most professional, but he had so much fun, and also the panel, featuring Jim Jeffries, Rick Wakeman, Bez and Jeff Green, was something to be beheld.

So now…Alex James, the bassist from Blur is hosting. Which…could be really cool. Especially considering that two comedians that I absolutely adore, Peter Serafinowicz and Holly Walsh, are on the program tonight as well. This could be really nice. Also Jessica Origliasso was in The Veronicas, and Newton Faulkner’s a dreadlocked singer-songwriter type.

Immediately, Alex is a fantastic on-camera presence, and is just really happy to be hosting, even pulling out a buzzer and blasting Song 2 as confetti and smoke fly everywhere. This could be a nice one, even if his auto cue reading is a bit slow currently.
Also, the second the smoke clears, Peter and Phill start coughing loudly.

First second of the game, Phill and Peter have to explain to Jessica, a young person, who Peter Stringfellow is. Phill’s already like “aw, here we go…”

Peter has the first ‘just-cerebral-enough’ joke about babbles
“If you leave them on the side of the road for enough time, they become adult bels.”
Noel: “Or maybe ameo-bels. They split in two, and Keanu, or whatever his name is, puts ’em in his cheeks.”
Screen Shot 2016-10-15 at 5.11.34 PM.png

Alex permeates the Stringfellow bashing by saying the man took him under his wing and made him feel cool when he was still with Blur
Peter, immediately after: “He’s got a WING? That doesn’t surprise me, actually. Like, sort of webbed arms.”
Phill: “…like a sex-kestral.”
Peter: “yeah, a disgusting griffin.”
Man, the Peter-Phill dynamic is already electric.

Alex: “I have to pass it over-”
Noel: “No cloakroom, so he had to put his coat in his cheeks?”
Peter: ‘He must have tipped the stripper with change.”

There’s a nice runner- Alex, on the side, makes his own cheeses, so he keeps giving out a tray of them to the panels, which is nice (sort of like the vodka Mark was giving to people back in the day)

Noel: “Makes me slightly horny…is it supposed to?”
Alex pops the cheese in his mouth…then presses the button and ‘Song 2’ starts playing again.

Phill and Jess’s first intro, Loser  by Beck, is so good that Peter gets it in five seconds. To be fair, it’s a pretty recognizable hook, but they did it pretty damn well.

Generally great moment- Alex has a moment to geek out to Peter, because his four kids wish that ALEX was the voice of Darth Maul. I forget that Peter did that, but he’s very game about it, and it’s a very out-of-character moment for both of them.

Noel: “Alright, do a little Darth Maul…”
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For the 2nd intro, Jess has this sort of vocal refrain to do (“AAOOOO-OOHHH!”)…and it gets so repetitive that Phill orders her to stand over ‘by cheese-man’ and do it.
Screen Shot 2016-10-15 at 5.26.33 PM.png

Holly: “Is it something by Girls Aloud?”
Alex: “Yes! What’s the title?”
Newton: “……AAOOOO-OHHH!”

Alex reads a story about a report of Girls’ Aloud being brutally murdered. “However, the judge dismissed it as pure fan-fiction after reading the graphic sex scenes with the ginger one.”
Screen Shot 2016-10-15 at 5.30.25 PM.png
Newton: “….you watch it.”

Noel: “When I was a kid, I wanted to be ginger-”
Newton: “WHHHY???”

Holly: “I know this one.”
Noel: “Yeah?”
Holly: “…I don’t know the title.”
Noel: “…pffff…”

ID Parade:
Alex: “I have some 911 facts here. They announced their split live on the Chris Moyles show.”
Peter: “Yeah, that was their 9/11…”

Noel’s ID Parade features Fuzzbox. The last time a member of Fuzzbox was on an ID Parade, they were used to completely screw over Phill’s team, who’d just talked shit about them in the preceding round.

Next Lines:
Alex: “The best thing about being a woman.”
Newton: “…is the nipples.”
Alex: “…close.”
Noel: “Not having to shave?”

Overall: Not perfect, but fun. Alex was having a wonderful time, and kept the cheese and blur jokes coming at high speed. Not really about the panel as much, though Peter and Newton were fun, and Holly had some nice lines.

Guest Host rating: 8/10. Not perfect but the energy was there
Best Regular: Noel
Best Guest: Peter
Best Runner: Cheese

Nevermind Watchdown: S23E02, or Not as Easy as it Looks, is it Welsh Boy?

For the next Episode of the Guest Host series, NMTB turns to the man with the potato on his sleeve, Rhod Gilbert, to hopefully bring a nice enough performance. I imagine he’ll do pretty well, seeing as they end up giving him the gig 5 years later.

On the program tonight are Greg Davies, back again after a nice showing last time, former gymnast and current presenter Gabby Logan, Spandau Ballet’s Martin Kemp, and Jeremy Reynolds from Hockey.

Rhod’s demeanor is already killing me at the start of the show. Introing Martin, he says “BRILLLIANT. SPANDAU BALLET IS BACK. LET’S BOOK THE ONLY ONE THAT’S AVAILABLE!” He’s just killing the delivery by being loud enough, yet still charmed enough to be back.

Even better, they make Rhod read this: ‘SOOOO, WE BEGIN WITH…WOOP. WOOP. DAT’S DA SOUND OF DA POLICE’. And he says it in such a commonplace and, well, white way. Noel’s reaction of just cracking immediately is also mine.

Rhod: “Not quite as cool in a Welsh accent, I just figured…”
Phill: “I always wanted to know what it’d sound like if Snoop came from the Valleys.”

Noel: “I have no idea.”
Rhod: “Well, then. At least try and banter around it.”
Noel: “I’m like Columbo, I’ll get around to it…”

Noel, on Manson: “He’s got one of Hitler’s coat-hangers, apparently?”
Gabby: “Where’d he get that?”
Rhod: “…from his wardrobe.”

Jeremy, explaining what Manson did: “And he, uh, he stuck his ‘wee-ey’ on the top of this guy’s head. Is that what you call it? Wee-ey?”
Phill: ‘He stuck an entire video game system on his head?”

Phill: “What was that?”
Rhod: “A wallaroo?”
Phill: “What’s that, some kind of mythological welsh creature?”
Rhod: “I don’t know, I’m just guess-”

Rhod’s close friends with Greg, so he takes the mick a number of times towards him.
Rhod: “Vanilla Ice found show-business hard. It’s a tough business- one minute you’re the star of one of Britain’s best-loved soaps, the next you’re sitting on a panel show with a teammate who looks like the bloated corpse of Rik Mayall!”
Greg doubles over. The odd part was Mayall was still alive at that point…

Phill: “Everytime I see Noel come towards Gabby, I feel like I’m watching 1970’s science fiction.”
Noel figures out what he’s referencing, even asking him “Blake 7”, before cracking up.

Rhod: “You know, Gabby, you can just say it when you think you know it…”
Gabby: “Do you know it?”
Rhod: “Of course I do, or else it’d be a long bloody quiz, now wouldn’t it?”

Gabby: “Gotta be something like The Four Tops…or the Jackson 5-”
Rhod: “You’re just going with numbers?”
Phill: “She thinks she’s doing the results. TOPS FOUR, JACKSONS FIVE…”

Greg takes Phill and Martin’s first intro, and just turns it into a melodically sung duet with Phill, that’s probably not the one they’re doing but is still a wonderful duet and a great moment. Phill even ends it with asking Rhod “IS IT THAT?”

Rhod’s hint to Greg is that it’s what you use to put on glasses. Greg guesses hands and ears. Everyone knows it’s ELBOW, and is trying to get Greg to guess it, especially Phill’, who’s beginning to lose his shit.

Rhod: “I’ll pass it over”
Gabby: “It IS Elbow”
Greg: “WHATTT?!?!?”

Rhod: “In 2006, Elbow performed at the Manchester Against Cancer gig. If you don’t want to know the result, look away now.”
Gabby’s lost it completely.

The latest stowaway from the Lamarr era to be Garlicked- Keedie, singer of ‘I Believe My Heart’, now on the ID Parade. A shame, because she had a great game when she was on.

Greg: “It’s quite a musical number, isn’t it-”
Rhod: “Yeah, it’s a song.”
Greg: “…I will take you down.”

After Noel’s Next Lines
Rhod: “At the end of that round…you didn’t score much.”
Noel: “You were panicking more than we were. I mean, there was a sense of urgency, and you were going ‘UUUUE,SDGDSHAGREHAE'”
Rhod: “Yes, there WAS a sense of urgency because it’s meant to be a quick fire round. That’s not panicking!”
Noel: “But you’re welsh, AND with the sense of urgency. He’s American, he had no fuckin’ idea what you were talking about!”
Rhod: “Yeah, I know I am one for talking gibberish, Noel…”

Rhod: “He lives in a big house- HE LIVES IN A HOUSE. Sorry.”
Phill’s entire panel: “A VERY BIG HOUSE IN THE COUNTRY.”
Gabby: “Not as easy as it looks, is it, Welsh boy?”

Overall: Just a phenomenally fun show, even if it was a bit sparse in some parts. Rhod’s presence brought an incredible energy to the show, one that wasn’t malicious, even when he was giving Greg a hard time, but in the friendliest way possible. The panel was sharp- Gabby Logan was enjoying herself, Martin and Jeremy had nice moments, and Noel’s warming up to the show.

Guest Host Rating: 9/10. Fantastic job, Rhod.
Best Regular: Phill
Best Guest: Greg
Best Runner: Greg and Rhod

Nevermind Watchdown: S23E01, or I TOLD ONE JOURNALIST!

Ding dong, Simon’s gone. Now maybe we can get back to enjoying the quiz show.

Tonight’s show marks the first of five series of Guest Hosts. In Series 18, Buzzcocks employed some friends of the show (Jonathan Ross, Lauren Laverne, Huey Morgan), some hip and now personalities (Simon Amstell, Ricky Wilson and Dale Winton), and…for some reason, Jeremy Clarkson. And this round’s gonna be similar. There are some familiar faces, many of whom, like tonight’s Guest Host, also Guest Billed last series, and others who are just here for a cash grab (a la Clarkson).

Tonight’s show is hosted by James Corden. He did a fine job of Guest Panelist-ing last series, and he’s still a big presence in America, so having him host the first of the new and improved Guest Host era was…a wise idea, I guess.

Ah, yes, and I almost forgot. Tonight’s episode is the first of the NOEL FIELDING ERA. Noel’s gonna be team captain for the rest of the run, and, judging from what I’ve seen of him, he’s a great choice, even if he won’t necessarily be Bill Bailey.

The very first thing that James promises, which is definitely a major statement for Buzzcocks, is that it’s gonna be a nicer show, that’s not gonna start attacking people. Immediately they’re straying away from Simon’s ideologies, which is great.

As for the actual panelists, we’ve got the return of Ben “Rearview” Miller, plus we have American comedian, Saturday Night Live alum and Larry Sanders show scene stealer Janeane Garofalo, incredibly wacky singer Paloma Faith, and singer for the Enemy, Tom Clarke.

James asks Janeane in what order would she snog the members of Blue. She says Simon first, which isn’t shocking.
Janeane: “Guy in the sweater last.”
James: “COSTA! Again, the choice WE’D ALLLL MAKE!”

Ben: “I mean, what kind of personalities are there in Blue? I don’t know my way around-”
Phill: “PERSONALITIES? Thick, thicker, thickest, GAAY!”

James reads that Paloma once put two Kylie tickets in the middle of a stack of her records in a shop, in the hopes that they’d find a good home.
James: “They were used tickets, old tickets.”
Ben: “She told everyone, too-”
Phill loses it, but JAMES DIES LAUGHING. Probably the best laugh I’ve heard on this program since Biggins was on.

James is taking after Simon by having some notes and prepared material from contestants. He’s reading some quotes from Tom about people, one of which says “I won’t be surprised if this bloke’s unheard-of in a year.”
Tom: “…James Corden?”

Ben loves Phill and Paloma’s first intro, but has no idea what it is.
Ben: “Do you do clues? Can I have a clue?”
James: “The only clue I can give you is…BOW BOW BOW BOW [whistles]”

Paloma, decked out in this elaborate, foam-ball-covered outfit, keeps leaning into Ben to give him a hint.
Phill: “She keeps leaning into me, and all I can feel is her balls…”

The difference, I’m thinking, between Sean and Bill…and Noel, is that Sean and Bill knew music. Noel, the second he picks up the card, goes “okay, no chance.”

Though, somehow, with a very, very simple first intro (Africa, by Toto), Janeane gets it within seconds. So, maybe Noel won’t be that bad.

James is a little shaky in terms of hosting, but he’s having so much fun nonetheless. When he plays in the ‘how it should have sounded’ for Kings of Leon’s Use Somebody, he ends up lip-syncing along, and he dances through one or two of the intros. He’s definitely showing signs of the future, here.

Noel: “Yeah, cause if we had gotten to the vocal part it would have been easy…”
James, channeling Mark: “Yeah, that’s why it’s called Guess the Intro, Noel…”

Also, James has indeed gotten the hang of the ID Parade Names:
#1, Bonnyface
#2, Funny face
#3, Not-so-funny face.
#4, Shit-faced (she breaks here)
or #5, …face it, love…

Phill: “I like #2…for being in 411. What about you, Ben?”
Ben: “As far as I’m concerned, this whole thing could be a practical joke on me and there never was such a band!”

Ben: ‘I’ve narrowed it down to 1, 2 or 4.”
Paloma: “So have I”
Phill: “…not quite so narrow, then.”

Noel: “I think I saw #2 earlier. I think I did the thing where I went into #2’s dressing room by accident, so….bit of a giveaway, I think…”
#2 starts cracking up.
Noel, to James: “If you want, I’ll string it out for a bit longer.”
James: “You know, you’re not helping, #2, by going “YEEAHHH….”

James: “Just to throw a curveball in, I went into #3’s dressing room… don’t wanna know what he was doing.”

Again, James’ demeanor towards #2, even telling him DIRECTLY to step forward, is very similar to Mark Lamarr’s. This is exactly what Mark would do in this exact same situation.

Next Lines: “I’m so 3008”
Noel, channeling Bill Bailey: “…come in and shut the garden gate…”

This is a FANTASTIC Callback: So, early in the episode, Noel’s talking about Toto, and the fact that they had this fantastic line in Africa about the serengeti that he couldn’t remember. Well, during next lines, James GIVES HIM THAT LINE. It’s fantastic, and reminiscent of an early-era NMTB gag.

And another thing: James’ supervision during Next Lines gets a ton more actual guesses down, in this quick fire round, as opposed to Simon just stopping the round to screw with people.

James: “Noel’s team has 8, Phill’s team, you have 3…”
Phill: “…right…”
James: “You’ve also got Paloma.”
Paloma’s just giving a ‘bring it on’ pose.

Overall: Very refreshing show, and the series may in fact be back on track. Funny thing is from a panelists standpoint there wasn’t anything out of the ordinary- Ben and Paloma had some good moments and Janeane was a funny enough presence. What helped was the presence of James Corden as a more disciplined host than Simon, and Noel Fielding as the kind of anchor I’d feel trustworthy in.

Guest Host Rating: 8.5/10. Much better than last time.
Best Regular: Noel
Best Guest: Paloma
Best Runner: Toto, Africa.

Nevermind Watchdown: S22E11, or WHAT ABOUT ALL OF THAT COOKING THAT YOU DO???

The thing about Simon Amstell’s tenure on Never Mind the Buzzcocks is that he tried to treat it like Popworld, and he tried to be his nasty self towards popstars and celebrities…but he lost control of what Buzzcocks was all about, as a quiz show, and as a comedy show. Phill, Bill and the guests did what they could to steer it back, but it was mostly about Simon. When Mark Lamarr hosted, yes, he’d be kind of selfish sometimes, but he’d keep the game going, as well as at least keeping things funny and relating it to the game. It wasn’t often that he’d bring things from outside of the game environment against people…which was essentially what Simon’s entire schtick was.

So yeah. Mark > Simon. This is my last Simon episode. It’s been nice, and it’s led to some nice episodes, but Mark was better.

Tonight, the guest Bill, the LAST GUEST BILL, the last person to sit in that chair other than Noel Fielding (and eventually Professor Green), is Omid Djalili. I vaguely know of him. The rest of his panel is people I HAVE heard of, like piano sensation Josh Groban and Actual Badass Martin Freeman. Also, Phill has Grant Nicholas from Feeder and famed celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal.

Simon: “Josh, you’re American-”
Josh: “APPLE PIE!”

First of all…I love Josh Groban on this program, mainly because he’s a legitimately funny person, and he’s a wonderful personality, outside of singing very sappy operatic songs. In the first 5 minutes of showtime, he talks with his hand, gives it a Spanish accent, and dodges a masturbation joke. He really is the best.
Omid, afterwards: “That’s the most sophisticated knob joke I’ve ever seen…”

Simon, explaining Josh to the UK audience: “That’s kind of what Josh does, he sings American pop songs in a sort of operatic voice. You’re like an American Paul Potts, right?”
Omid: “I never knew Pol Pot was a singer…”

Simon brings up ‘You Raise me Up’, and plays it just randomly
“When I hear that, it’s like I’ve just got out of boot camp.”
I foresee this cue coming back sometime soon, sort of like the Lee from Blue cue that Simon had so much fun with.

Simon: “How are you Heston?”
Heston: “…great, thanks.”
Simon: “What about all that cooking you do?”
Heston: “…I dunno, what about it?”
Phill: ‘I love that you get a world-class chef on the program, and your very first question to him is “WHAT ABOUT ALL OF THAT COOKING THAT YOU DO?”
Simon: “That’s how Parkinson got started.”
Phill: “That’s why Parkinson QUIT…because there was GOOOLD like this in the wings…”

Heston: “My goal is that [my restaurants] are places where people can come in and sit down and have fun.”
Simon: “Right. And is there also a place afterwards where they can eat?”
Heston: (threatens to walk off)

Josh and Omid’s first intro is really good, because Josh does an amazing impression of a slide guitar.
Martin: “First of all, I just want to say that was a brilliant rendition, almost perfect-”
Josh: “Thank you.”
Simon: “Say thank you, Omid.”
Martin: “He did, but with his eyes.”
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Josh: “Would you like it done in a different way?”
Martin: “Please. Reggae.”

Sure enough, they do a reggae version, complete with Josh throwing in a ‘MON!’ right at the end of the slide guitar.

Simon tells Josh he looks like the son that people buy Josh Groban CDs WISH they had, and urges him to talk “right into camera 5”, and record a message for kids everywhere to NOT buy the new Josh Groban CD for their moms for Christmas. And sure enough…he does it, earnestly, and he absolutely owns it. I absolutely adore him on this show, because you can tell he loves every second of it, similar to Moby, except sans the Charles-Grodin-ness of the performance.

Phill, to Heston pre-Intros: “Do you listen to much contemporary pop music?”
Simon: “Or do you EAT IT!”

Heston can’t get Phill’s first intro.
Phill: “Do you want it again in a different genre?”
Heston: “Yeah. Mexican.”
Phill, looking at Grant: “Okay, doable…”

Simon: “Oh, Heston, we haven’t discussed your anger issues. Do you have anger issues?”
Heston: “NOT ANYMORE!!!”
Simon: “…you get that? Eh? Acting?”

Simon gets Josh to do another ‘Into Camera 5’ bit, this time begging for a single woman from England to date.
Josh: “…daughters of England…”
Simon: “Come on, go for your target- Mothers!”

Ah, another Garlicking, which, by NMTB Definition, refers to a former panelist who appears again on the show in the ID Parade. The reverse of this, a former ID Parade showing up on the panel, is known as an Otwaying. Here, SuElise Nash, former Mys-Teeq member that isn’t Alesha Dixon, is on Phill’s ID Parade.

Simon: “If Alesha was on in the panel, and SuElise is here in the lineup, we have to assume that somewhere, Sabrina is living in a bin.”

Simon: “Well, are we FANS of Mys-teeq? Heston Blumenthal, what would you do with Mysteeq if you had a frying pan?”

This is fantastic. Omid’s intros round ends with Josh doing his own ‘You Raise Me Up’ lyrics (in true Josh Groban fashion), and then Simon, carried by Phill, singing the rest of the song, as tributes to all the Guest Bills of the season flash by on the screen. It’s a great sendoff to the series, as well as for Simon.

So, the Simon Amstell era ends with Simon waving to the crowd, carried by an adoring Phill Jupitus. I’ll give him this, he had a better prepared exit than just Mark Lamarr shooting himself.

Overall: A very nice episode to end on, with great material all the way through, and some great performances all around. Omid wasn’t the greatest Guest Bill- as a matter of fact, Josh Groban would have been a better choice, as he gave a fantastic performance. Omid was very funny, but didn’t do enough to carry the panel. Martin did some quieter stuff, Heston put up with Simon, and Grant had one or two good lines. It was a good enough sendoff for Simon, who had some good lines, and had a bit more of a spike than the last few episodes.

Guest Bill Rating: 8.5/10. Not perfect, but still pretty nice for Omid.
Best Regular: Simon
Best Guest: Josh
Best Runner: Josh’s message for Camera 5.

Guest Panelists Ranked, Best to Worst
Frank Skinner, Episode 7
Mark Watson, Episode 9
Russell Brand, Episode 4.5
Stephen Fry, Episode 2
James Corden, Episode 5
Jack Dee, Episode 6
Omid Djalili, Episode 11
Mark Ronson, Episode 1
Dermot O’Leary, Episode 10
Bob Mortimer, Episode 3
Davina McCall, Episode 8
Johnny Vegas, Episode 4

Best Episode: Episode 4.5, the episode most of the world waited years to see. This was a very middle-of-the-road season, with a lot of ‘good’ episodes, and not a ton of great ones. Only this one, with some boosts from Russell Brand snogging Greg Davies and generally ruling the show, as well as the 2nd best, elevates above a ton of ‘okay’ ones.
2nd Best Episode: Episode 2, aka the Stephen Fry episode, featuring a wonderfully game Fry, Matt Schulz being high, Josie Long fangirling, and Frankie thinking Dominic Cooper played Meryl Streep in Mamma Mia.
3rd Best Episode because I’m generous: Episode 7, the Frank Skinner episode, boosted by Frank being wonderful, as well as Mel C checking out Lil Chris’ underpants, and Simon absolutely schooling James Rushent.
Worst Episode: Episode 8. Dynamic just wasn’t there, though Davina tried.
Best Regular: Phill, for keeping a stable ship and elevating some episodes from Simon’s…Simoning.
Best Comedian Panelist: David O’Doherty, Episode 3, for ruling his episode to the point where I thought he should have been guest Bill over Bob Mortimer. Greg Davies, Rhys Darby, Richard Herring, Katy Brand and Alexei Sayle were considered.
Best Musician Guest: Josh Groban, Episode 11, for being himself and still being one of the best characters on the show. Just funny, self-effacing and all-around awesome. Adele, Mel C, Lee Ryan, Matt Schulz and Jack Osbourne (yeah, he counts) also were considered.
Best Sport: Lee Ryan, Episode 9, for putting up with all the Blue jokes.
Most Annoying: Dappy, Episode 10. But that’s just Dappy. Heck, he was a lot better this series.

Right…next is the first of the Guest Host series…this will be fun.