After a siesta from QI to finish up Series 25 of Buzzcocks, I figured we’d dip back into a series that has taken over a year to finish, with an enjoyable looking episode, featuring a matchup that last hung together on QI back in Series C, in Campanology- Bill Bailey, Rich Hall and Rob Brydon. Rich has been quiet so far this series, but Rob and Bill have had some standout episodes, and putting them all together for a semi-Christmas episode is an inspired idea.
The episode begins with an odd digression, where Stephen gives all four panelists a country, and they have to come up with a quite interesting fact about them. Bit of a gamble.
Rob talks about going to Hungary, and on a picture of some spandex-decked Hungarians, Stephen asks him if they all dressed like that.
Rob: “Well I did, which was a bit odd…with the long sock-”
Stephen: “WE KNOW ABOUT YOUR LONG SOCKS!”
Rob’s fact involves hands, so everyone starts guessing
Alan: “They don’t wipe their bums!”
Rob: “I don’t think there’s a need for that, Alan…”
Alan: “They DO wipe their bums…but they don’t use their hands to do it…”
Rob, very confused: “How else would- UNLESS YOU HAD ANOTHER APPENDAGE BACK THERE…”
Bill gets distracted by Rob’s ‘welsh harp’ buzzer
Bill: “It’s like whenever you press the buzzer we go back in time. Like, TELL US ABOUT IT…TELL US…”
Rob: “It’s 1974, and goulash…”
Rob attempts a bad joke on Alan’s stamp-collecting story.
Rob: “I collected stamps myself, when I was about that age, and eventually I gave it up, because I thought to myself ‘philately will get you nowhere…'”
The audience groans.
Bill: “ROB! QUICKLY! PRESS THE THING! GO BACK IN TIME!”
Rob: “I collected stamps when I was an early teenager, and, uh, I loved it.”
Stephen: “YES! GOOD!”
Bill, on Bhutan: “It’s written into the constitution that the forest area of Bhutan shall never dip below 60%.”
Alan: “And the cows are not allowed to fart.”
Even though that the Holiday Report bit is imperfect, and just involves pre-show googling, Rich Hall being Rich Hall makes it all worthwhile, in describing Hawaii
“This wood is called willy-willy…which means ‘Willy’ twice.”
Rich says that Hawaii has twelve letters in the language.
Rob: “Five of those are ‘o’…”
Rob: “…Hawaii 5-0?”
Bill: “Some of his jokes come with a pamphlet…”
Stephen: “Where in the world are you most likely to see fish falling from the skies?”
Rich: “Oooh. Sardinia.”
To the audience’s credit, they do applaud this one. Adv- Rich.
Alan: “How much, in comparison, does a human excrete in a year?…I’m looking at you, and I’m like ‘How would you know that?’
Stephen: “I mean…”
Alan: “YOUR CLASSICAL EDUCATION HAS FAILED YOU!”
Stephen talks of the Unluckiest Man in the World, and says, as his name is Yamaguchi, that he’s from somewhere beginning with H.
This question’s about the fellow who lived through both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, whom Stephen says “was a very cheerful fellow” after the fact.
Bill: “Doesn’t look so cheerful there.”
Stephen: “Yes, well..wedged between two mushroom clouds…”
Bill: “He’s going ‘AW, NO…IT’S HAPPENING AGAIN!”
Rob: “I mean, is the glass half full, is the glass half empty? Well, either way, it’s radioactive, so don’t drink from it…”
30 minutes into the episode, Rich gets the first Klaxon of the show by saying that the tree in question requires moss.
This is a pretty light episode, but Rich does revert back to his old tactic of giving out information for points ‘you can float a pine needle on the water…you know, just to kill time…”
Stephen reveals a fact that if we’re blindfolded and told to walk in a straight line, within 66 feet we’ll have ended up back where we’ve started, and asks why this is.
Alan: “Homing pigeons. We’re descended from homing pigeons.”
Bill: “What, we’re asymmetrical?”
Stephen: “What, one foot shorter than the other?”
Rob: “We have a lot of loose change in one pocket.”
Once the first GI question, which is which country contains the most of the river Nile, Bill is giddily quick to get the Klaxon for ‘Egypt’. Alan just keeps spitballing: “CHAD! UGANDA! BELGIUM!”
There’s a great moment where Stephen asks if land in between belongs to Sudan or Egypt. Bill guesses Sudan on a whim, and gets the Klaxon.
Bill: “Could have been the other one, then…”
Alan: “Yeah, the one above…”
Alan does ask what a similar striped territory is, next to the one in question.
Bill: “Oh, wait a minute, isn’t that the loose coalition area between Egypt and Sudan? The lib dems- THE LIB DEMS OWN IT!”
Stephen says that, because of the oil wealth of the second territory, neither territory wants to claim ownership of the first, which is smaller and arid.
Alan, to Bill: “it’s available, let’s snap it up!”
Rob: “So this is ongoing?”
Alan: “Yeah, meanwhile Saudi Arabia have tunneled beneath the red sea…and STOLEN THE TRIANGLE!”
Stephen, as a last-question stinger, reveals that the age of consent in Vatican City is TWELVE!
Stephen: “There are odd reasonings behind it-”
Rob: “I think we know what the reason is, Stephen…”
Stephen: “What would you say is the population of Vatican City?”
Stephen also says that Vatican City has the highest crime rate in Europe.
Rich, deadpan: “Lot of eleven year olds getting married…”
Overall: The only momentum this show had was gained in the last fifteen minutes- before then it was quiet, with only a few tremors. When the dynamic here was on, it was alright, but this is a very ho-hum episode from a great panel. Nobody did a particularly bad job, though Rich was, like usual this series, quiet, and Bill and Rob were funny, but there weren’t a ton of funny moments until GI. Also, the Holiday Report that opened the show did a bit to slow the dynamic. An imperfect show, but not horrible.
Best Guest: Rob
Show Winner: Rob
Best QI Fact: Vatican City
Best Runner: Rob’s jokes.