Nevermind Watchdown: S27E01, or Come Round and see me Licking Ball!

Well, I think that was a long enough gap. We’re finally onto Series 27 of Buzzcocks. Last series of Guest Hosts, 2nd-to-last series of the ENTIRE SHOW, and a series filled with some insane personalities, some less-obvious bookings, and a mug-smashing that is gonna be painful to write up. Nevertheless, we endure.

Tonight’s Series 27 premiere features a guest-hosting gig by John Hannah, a definite ‘that guy’ actor, who I remember as the tearful Scottish pallbearer in Four Weddings and a Funeral, and a veteran of the Mummy films and Agents of SHIELD.  At the time of the broadcast, he was pushing A Touch of Cloth. Lovely.

In terms of panel presence, all four haven’t been on. Three of them I don’t know. One of them, which I do know, is one of the funniest Mock the Week semi-regulars of this current era, James “RoboBongoCuckooCop” Acaster.

(…or James “Goddamn I Love These Peaches” Acaster. Either one works.)

The opening shows that there’s a bit more budget this season, so Phill’s got a larger mug and Noel has ‘a chair made from 100% crow’s skin’, which are nice touches. John eventually enters, and he plays off of the fact that no one knows who he is. He mentions some of the things he’s been in, no one reacts. He says he was “the gay one in Four Weddings and a Funeral who had that really sad speech”, and everyone applauds. Yeah, can’t lie and say that wasn’t be pre-this episode.

And, appropriately, John strolls in to the sounds of ‘Love is All Around’ by Wet Wet Wet, a Richard Curtis film staple. He just seems jazzed to be here, which is nice. They also cut to Phill, who just seems pretty happy that John’s in as well.

John, as he’s a method actor, asks aloud “what is my motivation?” Just then, a barrel of cash falls from the ceiling. It’s a staged bit, but he sells it.

Aluna Francis was singing lead for pop-duo AlunaGeorge. Dave Myers is a celebrity chef and ‘One Half of the Hairy Bikers’…as well as runner-up in the Kim Newman lookalike contest. Felix Buxton’s in dance-pop-duo Basement Jaxx. Wonderful mix of anonymity.

John introduces a new round called ‘Buzzcocks Content Advisory Warning’- it’s like Jimmy Kimmel’s Unnecessary Censorship, only with 3 unnecessary clips and one truly bleeped clip. Interesting idea.

There’s some amusing insinuations here- one saying ‘Perfect Day’ features the line ‘fucking animals in the zoo’, and the other saying Coldplay’s big song ended with the line “I will try…to fuck you.”

Aluna’s defending 1D, saying “I’ve met Harry Styles, and he’s very bright, and-”
John: “…d’you fuck ‘im?”
Aluna, after taking a good 5 seconds to laugh: “…ON THE RECORD, no-”

Noel on Chris Martin: “He’s singing in the middle of the motorway ‘lights will drive me home’- not if I’m driving….YOU WOULD BE ROADKILL!”

Dave, on Miley: “I liked her when she was Hannah Montana…when she was wholesome..”
[Noel cracks up at Dave’s pronunciation of ‘Hannah Montana’]
Aluna: “Everybody’s got to grow up sometime…”
Dave: “Well, not like THAT…”

Dave keeps talking about a ‘licking ball’, that horses use, and this keeps coming up.
Phill: “Noel Fielding just said ‘stop saying Licking Ball, that’s weird. NOEL FIELDING…SAID THAT!”
Dave: “I out-weirdoed him…”

James thinks their answer is Cliff Richard, whose crotch-area was fake-censored in their round.
John: “…wouldn’t it be great?”
James: “We genuinely think it’s Cliff…and we do intend to talk about it for a bit longer, but our opinion’s not gonna change…”

One of the options for why Avril Lavigne was banned from performing in Malaysia was that women aren’t allowed to skateboard there.
Noel: “I have seen Avril skateboarding in another part of the world.”
Felix: ‘Where?”
Noel: “Bromley…”

Noel, for his first intro, does this weird ‘LA-LA-LA’ thing against Felix’ beat. When the audience chuckles, he just flips them off.

James jokes that ‘Rhythm is a Dancer’ is his ringtone. Sure enough, once the ‘How it should have sounded’ bit ends, he mimes picking up his phone and talking.
James: “John Hannah’s here, wanna talk to him?…..yeah, Four Weddings…”
He eventually passes the invisible phone to John.
John: “What’s her name?”
James: “Miley.”

James Acaster gets a nerd-dom A+ from me for NOT ONLY detecting that Noel and Felix’ second intro is ‘God Gave Rock and Roll to You’ by Kiss…but KNOWING IT’S THE END-CREDITS SONG FROM ‘BILL AND TED’S BOGUS JOURNEY!’ 5,000 POINTS TO GRYFFINDOR!

Just like the phone, as the Kiss track plays in, John mimes hitting a blunt, then passing it to Aluna…who takes a hit herself. She passes it to Phill, who dunks the invisible joint into his bigger mug. This is actually a pretty cool, chill panel so far.

Fantastic. Phill and Aluna do their first intro, Dave has no idea, so he just goes “…I am siamese, if you please…”
Right to Lady and the Tramp logic. Just random enough, Dave…

Phill’s having a lower-key day, thanks to some kind of sore throat, but his rendition of Daft Punk’s Get Lucky, right down to breaking off from Aluna and covering the Nile Rodgers riff himself, is pretty fantastic.

As the real Daft Punk track plays in, Aluna and Phill start dancing around…and then, with this sudden burst of energy, THIS HAPPENS:
Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 7.00.47 PM.png
Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 7.01.14 PM.png

I’m not writing down all of James’ stuff, because he’s a very elaborate humorist, and it’d be a lot of effort to get it all down, but…his digression about Wigfield is pretty great.

James hints that he danced to this song at his school disco.
John: “SHOW US!”
Music starts playing. The whole audience is egging him on. James is just standing, slumped over, by the panel desk, going “I wish I were dead.”

#3 in Phill’s ID Parade is this big, strong, scary black guy.
Phill: “#3 probably ate eggs for breakfast. #3 is probably taking time out of his extensive workout regiment. Later on I’m gonna see if he can bench me.”

This is great- for Next Lines, John is seeing if people can do the next lines from his speech from Four Weddings.
John: “Stop all the clocks…cut all the telephone…”
James, getting the wrong idea: “Ring the plumber.”
John: [sigh]
Noel: “Put the cat out?”
Felix: “Have a bath? Take a shower?”

John, still trying: “My noon, my midnight…my soul…”
James: “…My Sharona.”
John, and the whole room, can’t help but break here.

John: “Hey girl, I’m waiting on you, I’m waiting on you…”
Aluna: [realizes it’s her lines and pauses}

Overall: Really solid show to start the season. John was having a ton of fun, Phill’s panel was tightest and had the most material, with Dave having some nice lines and Aluna having some good moments. James, while a bit too monologue-based for NMTB, was still fantastic here, having great moments in Intros and the ID Parade. Felix was a bit underedited, though.

Guest Host Rating: 9/10. Solid job, John.
Best Regular: Phill
Best Guest: James
Best Runner: Licking Ball.

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