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.'”
Phill: “PUT ZE SAUSAGE WAISTCOAT ON HER…AND PUSH HER TOWARDS ZE BEEEAAR…”
‘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.” ?”
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…”
Phill, on Noel and Jamelia: “IT LOOKS LIKE MATCH.COM HAS FAILED AGAIN!”
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.