Nevermind Watchdown: S28E05, or NO, NOT EXPLODING FEET!

Way back in Series 1 of the show, a bespectacled, bald man sat next to Phill Jupitus and claimed to be 80’s star Adam Ant. I’m not sure what happened to that guy, because the real Adam Ant, complete with wild facial hair, cowboy hat and neckerchiefs, is in the building tonight, along with Paul Foot, Sara Cox, and rapper Fuse ODG. Can they keep the momentum of Series 28 going?

Adam even talks about his last appearance on the show, 27 series ago, saying, with a chuckle, ‘I’ve just got over it.’ He talks about the suit he wore and the cropped hairstyle, saying he looked like an egg.
Rhod: “How can you remember what you wore 18 years ago?”
Adam: “…it’s important.”

Rhod confirms that Paul’s one of the lowest scoring NMTB contestants of all time. This makes sense, as Paul even says “I don’t know anything about pop music.”
Rhod: “That doesn’t mean nothing.”
Adam: “Well, I’ve…I’ve heard of certain things, like…D-Duran?”

Fuse eventually gets Paul to get up and dance with him to a traditional Ghanan dance. This is quite the visual. Paul dancing is something so wonderful and unexpectedly joyous.

Fuse, afterwards: “Uh, Paul…you’d actually get stoned in Ghana for doing that.”

As Fuse offers to teach Paul the proper methods.
Noel: “This is like the weirdest episode of Strictly Come Dancing ever…”

Paul tries it with the new, Fuse-approved technique, which is great…and then he goes back to his crazy-dancing from before. Fuse, obviously getting a kick out of this, just mimes throwing stones at him.

Phill, after the number: “And if you turn over to BBC News 24 now, we are at war with Ghana…”

Adam thinks the chainsaw corresponds with Aerosmith, saying “we’ve stayed in a lot of the same hotel rooms they’ve stayed in, and they’re pretty rock and roll.”
Sara: “And were any of the legs shorter on the beds?”

Adam tells a story about Aerosmith leaving a log behind a tile in a hotel bathroom.
Phill: “Ever since Right Said Fred were on, I no longer have Toblerones from the minibar.”
Now…I, as someone who’d been watching Buzzcocks for years, GET this reference. But Rhod has to ask Phill for clarification.
Phill: “They would unwrap them, insert them, remove them, re-wrap them, put them back in the fridge.”
The whole audience takes a moment to recover.

Noel: “What, a TOBLERONE?” [He does an impression of the sides colliding with the sides of the…you know]
Phill: “They’re ridged for your pleasure.”

There’s a nice gag where Rhod uses the prop of a blowdart to fell a rogue crew member and catapult him down to the floor.
Rhod: “Noel, g’head and finish him off.”
Noel: “What should I do to him?”
Paul: “PUT THE CAKE ON HIM!”

As Paul and Noel run over to the crew member with a cake, Fuse picks up the dart and goes ‘I think it’s really unfair that you leave the African with this weapon.’
Gosh, Fuse is just naturally funny. He’s making Wretch 32 look calm.

Fuse even admits that he’s watched this show so much that he’s thrilled he gets to be a part of it, as Adam and Rhod are going over all the people Adam hasn’t dated.

Noel and Rhod have a disagreement and call each other some names. Unlike Simon and Noel, they know it’s all in good fun, and they don’t actually question each other’s methods or character. It’s just some nice joshing, sort of like Mark and Bill. There’s no hard feelings, it’s just a show.

Noel crouches down during Rhod’s standup, and is looking at the bag of tricks…and he’s trying to get his head to pop up through the bag. So they orchestrate it, and Noel’s head just pops out of the bag of tricks on Rhod’s desk.
Rhod: “Okay, round two.”
Noel: “Let’s just do the show like this!”

They pan back to see the caked crew member is still on the ground, while Noel’s head is still in the bag. Man, this episode is weird.

Then Rhod, cracking up, has to give Noel, still in the bag, his intros for he and Fuse. Noel’s just entertained as all hell.
Noel: “It’s not even funny, I’m ACTUALLY stuck! Fuck you!”

Noel, after Paul fails to get another intro: “Look, it’s literally like a dog watching a play…”

Rhod, to Adam: “Whose idea was the white lines? Was that yours?”
Adam: “Uhhh…the native American indians…the Apache…”

This is odd- even if Adam is in the ‘ejector seat’, Sara has to do intros with Phill instead of the other way around. Maybe Adam just didn’t want to do Intros, last-minute?

Phill and Sara’s ‘Run to the Hills’ intro is fantastic, not only in execution, but because Adam seems to get a tremendous kick out of it, even if he has no idea what it is.

Phill and Sara’s second intro…is Prince Charming. So they just start with the guttural scream from the top of the song. Adam immediately gets it (obviously), and just laughs out loud.
Then, of course, Adam chimes in with the correct pronunciation of the guttural scream at the top of Prince Charming, so they’re sort of doing it back and forth to each other.}
Phill, afterwards: “I am AROUSED.”

Rhod even cracks up delivering the scores. And, as they pan back out, the caked crew member is STILL on the ground.

Hell, the passed out crew member is pegged in at #6 in Phill’s ID Parade, billed as ‘Nasty Fall’.

Phill: “Adam, there, has gone with his gut instinct, and that’s fabulous…of course, the whole card that we have…is that [Sara] interviewed him two weeks ago…”
Rhod cracks up here. Even Adam’s just amused.

And, as per usual with a Paul Foot episode, Paul has to go up to the ID Parade and sniff out the real guy. Like usual, I’m not gonna write all of this down, but it’s some funny stuff.

Rhod’s visual next line is Madonna’s Into the Groove, and he does this by trying to fit his feet inside a vinyl record.
Paul: “Exploding Feet!”
Rhod: “No, NOT EXPLODING FEET!”

Rhod: “You waste your time…huh!” [he looks at Phill, as if to say ‘go figure’]
Noel: :TRYING TO GUESS INTO THE GROOVE WHILE A WELSHMAN DANCES ON A DESK.”

Rhod: “You waste your time with hope and regret, you’re broken.”
Noel: “Yeah, I know, but PAUL’s on my team.”

Overall: “While not quite as good as episodes 3 and 4, still a really nice show, with some just plain odd moments, and a fantastic retrospective for Adam Ant. It felt like everybody had some real appreciation for the guy, and it was even better that he was game enough to come back. Noel’s team did have the better edited show, as Fuse had some hilarious moments, and Paul was himself. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I don’t like Paul as much as everyone else seems to, and I don’t think his ID Parade moments are too great, but he still had some nice lines. But yeah, good enough show, thanks to some nice moments, and to the unconscious crew member.

Best Regular: Rhod
Best Guest: Adam
Best Runner: passed out crew member

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Nevermind Watchdown: S28E04, or I CAN’T WORK WITH THIS BALL-BONGO MAN!

To recap:
Episode 1: Good.
Episode 2: Great
Episode 3: FUCKING AMAZING.

Series 28 is doing its best to end this big, smashing series on the highest possible note. Tonight, we continue, with a return appearance from oft-shirtless, oft-bizarre HarMar Superstar, as well as a return appearance from Mock the Week semi-regular and generally hilarious person JAMES ACASTER, plus turns from 20% of the Pussycat Dolls (tm James Blunt), ballroom dancer and Moana’s mom, Nicole Scherzinger, and Derek actress and insanely recent Mock the Week panelist Kerry Godliman. That’s a pretty damned nice panel.

Rhod, reading off the intro-card: “James, I have to mention this-”
James: “Yeah.”
Rhod: “Breathing through your ears?”
James: “Yeah?”
Rhod: “You can breathe through your ears?”
James: “…Well, no-”

Rhod takes a few seconds before the quiz to test out James’ ear-breathing skills, which is a silly, Simon-esque digression, but the fact that it’s James Acaster, and that it’s not in the middle of a question, makes it a ton better.

James: “I mean, I enter into this fully knowing it’s not going to work.”
Rhod: “Really?”
James, to the audience: “Imagine that. Imagine being in my position right now.”
The whole panel’s losing it as James effetely tries this.

Kerry’s trick is bouncing a cigarette off her nose, which gets some wows, especially from Nicole.
Kerry: “Better than your trick, James…”
James: “I dunno, I can smoke that through my ears…”

Rhod, continuing with odd talents: “Nicole, I read in your notes-”
Noel: “…peace pipe through the anus?”
Nicole has a good 10 second appalled reaction to this…and this statement ends the talent segment of Buzzcocks.

Rhod brings back Rumor Has It this episode, and…the intro clip still cracks him up. It’s not hard- inserting a deadpan Welsh voice into any song has to make it funnier.

Nicole, on the intro: “You didn’t even try…”
Rhod: “I DID TRY! I GAVE THAT EVERYTHING!”

Rhod’s rumor examples in this show are “were Chris DeBurgh’s eyebrows grown artificially on the back of a mouse? Is Ed Sheeran just a bit of Jimmy Nale that fell off?”
HarMar has a nice reaction at that one.

It’s amazing- within seconds of introducing Gene Simmons’ rumor with a cow, a tape measure, and a surgeon, I know exactly what it is. If Phill doesn’t, I’ll be very disappointed.

HarMar, in describing cow genitalia, says the udders are a group of ‘smaller cocks to be pulled upon’
Rhod: [looks towards the other American on the panel]
Nicole: “NNNNO…We’re drinking something else if it’s that…”
HarMar, earnest: “Well…I was raised a different way.”

After Rhod has a marginally-racist joke about Nicole’s heritage.
James: “I can’t see Nicole’s face, Rhod. How’s that going down?”
Annnnd I’m reminded why I adore James Acaster.

There’s a nice moment with Noel and James threatening to beat Rhod down…and it’s a two-shot of these two incredibly weak white guys. Noel feels James’ muscles. James, perfectly in his character, says “careful…you might hurt yourself.”

Nicole talks about being really grossed out by Gene Simmons upon meeting him.
Noel: “Were you not turned on by a man in typex waving his giant tongue at you?”
Nicole: “…I’m thinking no.”
Noel, to James: “…d’you get rid of that typex?”
James: “Yeah, ‘ts good…”

James, on Noel: “Backstage, he balances a bottle of dandruff shampoo on his nose, like a little dog.”
Rhod: “I’ve never seen a little dog balancing any type of shampoo, let alone an anti-dandruff shampoo…”
James: “Have you seen a cow with cocks for udders? Because you believed THAT earlier…”

Nicole talks of, on her rider, ‘fresh ginger slices.’
Phill: “They really, really hate Geri Halliwell…”
Nicole, for the umpteenth time tonight, laughs uncomfortably.

Noel’s astonished by the concept of raw ginger, sliced.
Kerry: “I can’t understand how you’ve gone through life without seeing a slice of ginger. You’ve seen ginger, Rhod! Don’t play this ‘Oh, I’m from Wales, I haven’t seen anyth-”
Rhod: “I didn’t say anything about being from Wales, YOU FUCKING RACIST!”
And Kerry’s gone. Man, everyone’s just been dying this episode. Dunno if it’s as hard as the John Cooper Clarke one, but still.

Noel: “Last time I bought ginger, there was a root that looked a bit like a hand, and so I spent most of the shopping trip with it…as my hand.”
And he has this whole story of scaring the cashier, bringing it round, and everything.
Noel: “And then I went home… and I did NOT touch myself with it.”
Rhod: “I’M GONNA ASK YOU THIS ONCE, NOEL. Did you touch yourself with it?”
Noel: “…I had a ginger wank.”

Rhod realizes this round has a bonus question: “I deep beavered it away, and-”
Nicole: “What’s deep-beaver?”
Rhod: “You know, rummage-”
Phill: “I tell you what…when I GOOGLE THAT, It’s not gonna say ‘rummage’.”

James, after some more deep-beavering jokes: “When this goes out, I want my face pixelated, please.”

Rhod’s standup for the Oasis fan who mistook Liam’s dandruff for cocaine, and took a sniff: “To be fair, the fan was completely shit-faced….at least, he WAS, when he tried to smoke Liam’s crack.”
He breaks in the home stretch of this joke. I think we all did.

HarMar and Phill’s Walking on the Moon intro is another series highlight. Kerry gets it within seconds.  It helps that Phill and HarMar work really well together, as evidenced by his last few times on.

As the clip comes in, Phill sings along to the vocal in this higher-pitched, Northern accent. It’s one of the oddest things, but it’s so entertaining.

Ah yes, the return of an outstanding runner- for the ‘Apache’ intro, Phill directs HarMar to go over and play Rhod’s ‘balls’, or his bongos, which he does, and they keep going throughout the intro. Rhod’s of course flattered by the whole thing.

Kerry, after the intro, to Rhod: “And now I will never hear that without thinking of your testicles…”

James: “Just a request. In the future, when a man starts playing your testicles like a bongo…could you not make eye-contact with me for so long?”
…that might be the quote of the show right there.

Rhod: “The flat where Sting grew up is now a Chinese takeaway called Happy Chef. What a travesty. They should have called it WOK-XANNE!”

Rhod brings up a rumor that whenever James hears George Harrison’s ‘I Got My Mind Set On You’, he has to dance.
James: “No, that’s not true-”
Rhod, reaching under his desk: “So it’s definitely not true, is it?”
James: “No, it’s not-”
Music: “I’VE GOT MY MIND. SEEEEET ON YOU.”
James: Screen Shot 2017-06-29 at 7.06.18 PM.png

And of course, he ends up just moving his shoulders…and eventually his entire body, to the song. It’s hysterical.

James: “Please never do that agai-”
Music: “I’VE GOT MY MIND SEEEET-”
James: [dances in seat]

And then, right after the Harrison clip ends, Rhod does this:
Screen Shot 2017-06-29 at 7.08.42 PM.pngScreen Shot 2017-06-29 at 7.09.48 PM.png

THE BONGO NOISE DOESN’T EVEN PLAY! Rhod’s just left doing the invisible bongo motion in silence, which led to the hardest I’ve laughed at a Buzzcocks episode since Stacey Solomon’s animal impressions. He just goes “NNNNOOOOOO!” at the sound guys.
Rhod: “I CAN’T WORK WITH THIS BALL-BONGO MAN!”

Noel, getting up for Intros, to Nicole: “Just remember, I’ve got a ginger claw I can get out at any moment…”

James, after Noel and Nicole’s first intro: “Noel…you have risen above and beyond everything we’ve asked of you on this show. You’ve done your family proud, and you’ve made me proud. NICOLE….this is hard…I feel like we haven’t seen…then real Nicole yet. I think you’ve got more.”
Pretty much every pause is filled with laughter, especially from HarMar and Phill.

After Nicole and Noel, cutely, start complimenting each other on the Running Up That Hill intro
Phill: “It’s not bad, but it’s no George Harrison!”
Rhod, without a choice, presses the button.
Music: “I’VE GOT MY MIND SEEEEET ON YOU-”
James: [dances in seat, rolling his eyes]

And then, as they’re still in Intros:
Phill: “Rhod, was that I’ve Got My Mind Set on You by George Harrison?”
Rhod: “.,..certainly was, one point.”

There’s an even better moment where James can’t get the 2nd intro, and it ends up being one of his own bands’ songs.

They have a similar ID Parade twist to last episode’s only now featuring HarMar Superstar in the lineup. Noel, James and Nicole have to pick out HarMar’s BELLY from 4 imposters. That’s a very nice twist, especially considering that #1 in the lineup is, according to James, ‘essentially a butt’

James goes up to inspect the bellies.
Rhod: “James, why don’t you just stick your head through? I’ll hold your legs”
James: “I’ve fallen for that trick before. ‘AAAH, JUST PUT YOUR HEAD THROUGH THE BELLY WINDOW!”
Rhod: “It’s like a Weight Watchers glory hole, that…”

Rhod, like with Sara, goes: “HarMar, what are you doing now?”
HarMar: “Oh, you know, I’m just hanging out over here…”

Next Lines: “I just died in your arms tonight.”
Kerry: “Must have been something you…ate? SAID.”
Rhod, not letting that past him: “MUST HAVE BEEN SOMETHING YOU ATE?”
Phill: “WHAT’S SO WRONG ABOUT THAT? Food poisoning is VERY COMMON.”

Then, Phill’s entire panel try doing impressions of Dolores O’Riordan’s vocal hooks from ‘Zombie’. Jesus, this episode.

Rhod, as usual, does another visual next line by shoving a banana in his eyes.
Noel: “James just said my favorite line of the series, which is ‘POTASSIUM VISION!”

Overall: I did not think it could get any better than Episode 3…AND YET IT DID. OH MY GOD THIS SERIES IS UNBELIEVABLE. James Acaster was even better than his first appearance, working so well with Noel, and having SEVERAL of the best lines of the show. HarMar, like his previous appearances, had a ball, having great lines, showing his belly, and getting along with Phill. Nicole was slightly horrified by the experience, but I think she had a great time. And Kerry, while bringing up the rear edit-wise, still had a pretty nice show. The number of running gags, even bringing back the invisible bongos from two episodes ago to go with the cow cocks, the ginger hand, the deep-beavering, and James’ George Harrison dancing, were through the roof. I don’t think an episode has been this top-to-bottom good since, dare I say it, the Donny Tourette show.

Best Regular: Noel
Best Guest: James
Best Runner: ‘I’ve Got My Mind Set On You’

Nevermind Watchdown: S28E03, or I’m Only Here for the Company!

Onto another Buzzcocks. I rather like how this series is turning out, even if I know that it doesn’t end particularly well, ratings-wise.

Tonight’s show features the…well, incredibly odd-looking punk poet John Cooper Clarke, vegan and John Robins’ dartboard Sara Pascoe, pop-singer Amelia Lily, and Last Leg panelist and Whitehall-annoyer Alex Brooker, who’s basically become Math Priest 2.0 for this show.

In Rhod’s intro for Sara, he says ‘a comedian who says she’s getting tired of being mistaken for other blonde comedians, so PLEASE WELCOME, RUSSELL HOWARD!”

Alex talks of talking to someone who spent an hour thinking he was the guy from Mumford and Sons. He says, deadpanned, ‘THIS IS A GUY WHO PLAYS *GUITAR*.”

Of course, outright, as John talks of being mistaken for Ron Wood and Siouxsie Sioux, Phill just says ‘you look like Noel Fielding’s nan…”

Rhod basically says that Amelia hasn’t been mistaken for anyone. “How old are you, anyway?”
Amelia: “nine’een.”
John: “No one, anywhere is nineteen…”

John: “Tell ya what, Rhod, I thought I was 19 a couple of years ago…when I read me birthday card upside down…”
I didn’t know what to think of this guy going in, and he’s surprising me so far.

This week’s new round, featuring the Rhod addition: “VIDEO-” “hurt” “THE RADIO STAR…”

One of the options for ‘what went wrong on the set of the Eyes Without a Face’ video was “Billy convinced a female dancer to ride sexily above a dry ice machine, and it burnt her….Dean Gaffney.”
The whole place takes a few seconds to recover, especially Alex.
Rhod: “IT’S BECAUSE THE CARD just said ‘and it burnt her DOT DOT DOT’, and I had to think ‘well, what the fuck…”

Noel reiterates the question to Amelia.
Amelia: “Yeah, I don’t think I’d want anyone burning MAH FOO-FOO…”
I can’t tell if I prefer this in her accent, or Sarah Millican in her accent saying ‘DOON’T PUT A SCORPION UP ME NUNNY!”

One of the other options is that Billy got lip paralysis from all the sneering-
Phill: “I bet SHE got lip paralysis as well. D’you see what I did there?”
John: “She could have actually just snapped her pubic hair off…”
Phill: “DOCTOR COOPER-CLARKE HAS EXTENDED THE METAPHOR A LITTLE BIT…”

John, deliberating: “D’you know, I’ve changed me mind about the whole ‘foo-foo inferno’ unpleasance and all…”
Dear God, this episode’s off to an insane start.

Rhod has a nice standup for Billy Idol, saying that Dancing with Myself was a euphemism for masturbation: “I never knew that dancing was a metaphor for masturbation, but it does explain why Lionel Ritchie has a ladder in his bedroom.
And Phill’s entire panel is GONE.

After the fallout of that joke, Rhod just goes over a bunch more possibilities.
“Dancing in the street, that’s illegal. Bowie and Jagger got arrested for that.”
“Dancing with tears in my eyes…”
“Dancing in the Dark. Fair enough, nothing wrong with that.”

Phill laughs throughout the entirety of Amelia’s anecdote about her dozens of guinea pigs. There’s more Jupitus giggling here than there has been in a while.

And then John interrupts, saying Amelia would enjoy a guinea pig farm in Ipswich. Phill’s basically crying art both of them now, even if John is earnest and doing this for a sort of laugh.

I’m not even writing down anything, but so far, this episode is just pure joy for everyone involved. I have no idea how they got somebody like John on the show, but he’s just bringing out the giggles in EVERYONE.

John has to do intros, which is kind of hysterical, but Phill, who’s in a good mood, guides him through Daft Punk’s ‘Harder Better Faster Stronger’. And Sara, as she’s AMAZING at Intros, gets it almost immediately.

Even better, on the next one, which Phill also has to help John with, the entire panel, AND THE AUDIENCE, start clapping along. I swear, the mood in this room hasn’t been this insanely high since John Barrowman’s episode.

Rhod makes Amelia do her ‘crying baby’ impression, which, according to Sara, “only works on women who’ve just given birth”.
Noel, afterwards: “OH MY GOD..my nipples are SOAKING.”

Heck, in the middle of Noel and Amelia’s first intro, Amelia throws in the crying baby noise, just to crack up Alex.

Rhod has to give Alex a clue…and once Alex gets it, Rhod won’t accept the point.
Noel: “Aw, this is BULLSHIT!”
Amelia: [BABY NOISE]
Rhod: [runs away]

Phill’s ID Parade has an amazing twist- Rhod reveals that Sara, in an effort to get closer to Robbie Williams, became a backup singer for Robbie’s dad. Robbie’s dad was asked about Sara, and says he doesn’t remember which one she was…so Robbie Williams’ dad will be playing the ID Parade to pick out Sara Pascoe. This is insane.

Rhod, to Pete Conway: “What’s it like, being Robbie Williams’ dad?”
Pete: “Well, I’ve been at it for a long time, so…”

Rhod: “I mean, prove you’re Robbie Williams’ dad, just for the audience.”
Pete: “I was there for the conception.”
Phill breaks here.
Pete, still earnest: “It was a nice night. I was…dancing in the dark.”
He raises an eyebrow for the camera. My gosh, Robbie must be so proud…or embarrassed.

Of course, Pete comes in the clutch, and says ‘there’s no doubt- hello Sara, it’s #4.”
Sara, even if the charade didn’t exactly work, drops character and waves. It’s actually a very sweet moment.

It’s even funnier when Rhod, at the end, says “Sara, what’re you doing now?”
Sara: “Just…doing a bit of panel show shit…”

Alex is trying to guess his ID Parade.
Rhod: “Play the old disabled card!”
Alex, slightly confused: “…alright, #1…this is sort of like my Make a Wish…”

The real Janet Kay says she’s doing a covers album, including ‘Dancing Shoes’
Sara, picking up on it: “Oh, that’s just…”
Rhod: “WE ALL KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN BY DANCING SHOES.”

If you’d have polled me for what was going to happen in this episode, I don’t think I would have given you ‘John Cooper Clarke reciting Busted lyrics from memory’. I mean, WOW. That guy is something else.

Rhod, afterwards, to John: “Who knew you were so well-versed in Boybands.”
John: “Well, Busted wasn’t really a boy-band, cause one of ’em wore a guitar…”

Rhod: “Noel’s team, you need 5 points to win.”
John: “Noel, you can have it all for me. I’m only here for the company.”
Again, the whole place goes wild. This guy is too damned funny.

Overall: I don’t know how a 64-year-old poet instilled more life into Never Mind the Buzzcocks than any pop-star or young comedian has in years, but goddammit, it happened. There was more laughing and giggling in this episode than there has been since Christopher Biggins was on. Everyone on the panel had a moment to shine. Alex had his Make a Wish joke, Amelia had her baby voice and just odd moments, and Sara had one of the most memorable ID Parades in history, featuring an incredibly game father of Robbie Williams. But…John Cooper Clarke was the revelation. I have no idea how he was so into this game, and I have no idea how literally everything he said not only made me laugh, but made Phill Jupitus absolutely cry, but I don’t question the miracles. That was an insanely funny episode, possibly funnier than E2. And Rhod, even in its last hours, is saving NMTB.

Best Regular: Phill
Best Guest: John
Best Runner: ‘dancing’

Nevermind Watchdown: S28E02, or We Don’t Believe in Time

Yep, Rhod’s got me hooked. Onto another Buzzcocks, this one featuring the immortal, kooky, animal-impersonating pea-brain Stacey Solomon, new-by-2014 standards pop-star Ella Eyre, Harry Koisser from indie-rock-ish band Peace, and Part-time lion and fan of Anal Danger, SEANN WALSH. Nicely balanced panel for ya.

Rhod, to Harry: “I’ve heard that you’ve got this party trick where you play a guitar ’round the back of your head.”
Harry: “I mean, they say the worst thing to do at a party is to pull an acoustic guitar out-”
Rhod, pulling an acoustic guitar out: “YEAH, ‘S TERRIBLE!”

Rhod tries one-upping him by playing invisible bongos…which Ella immediately says looks wrong. Noel goes over to play them.
Ella: “Where is this going?”
Noel: “Where ISN’T it going?”

This week’s new first-round is ‘It Wasn’t Me’…featuring a Rhod-assisted version of the famed Shaggy track, which gets Phill laughing.

After Seann basically says he can’t imagine Noel eating anything.
Noel: “Two things I can’t stand are food and time.”

Noel, to Harry:”Where’s the weirdest place you’ve ever weed…”
Harry: “I’m not gonna say who, but a member of my band-”
Rhod, reading the anecdote card: “Hang on…it was Doug.”

Harry eventually reveals that Doug pissed on him when he was in the shower.
Harry: :Yeah, I was on the phone, in the shower.”
Seann: “HOLD ON-”
Noel: “There’s so much wrong with this story…”

Rhod has Seann put on a bald cap, as he’s confusing him with Ella on both hairstyles.
Stacey, to Seann: “SHAKESPEARE! That’s who you look like!”

Harry keeps talking about how he doesn’t have a house, or go shopping, or anything.
Harry, later: ‘Look, later on I’m gonna go back home and just-”
Rhod: “SO YOU DO HAVE ONE!”

Rhod: “AT THE END OF THAT ROUND…[plays invisible bongos]”

Stacey prefaces Phill and Ella’s intros by saying ‘I’m so sorry, guys, I’m terrible at this…I never get it, my ear doesn’t hear it…”
Noel: “I like how you blamed your ear.”

Stacey just looks absolutely bewildered and confused as Phill and Ella do ‘Waterloo Sunset’.
Rhod: “Can I just interrupt this? Stacey, do you know what’s happening?”

Stacey: “At first I was looking at Phill, then I was looking at the other team, seeing if they knew it, so I was trying to read their lips.”
Rhod: “THAT…is a bold strategy.”
Stacey: “…I’m short-sighted, so it didn’t work very well…”
The panel takes a moment to recover.
Rhod: “so LET ME GET THIS STRAIGHT. Your EARS don’t work, AND you’re short sighted.”
Stacey: “No, I’m a mute!”
Rhod: “Why don’t you just stand up and feel the two of them for vibrations?”
Stacey: “Will I get sued?”
Rhod: “…depends where you feel them…”

Rhod: “I’ll give you a clue! It’s big and red and always hangs out by the river?”
Stacey: “…IT? You know, that clown, who’s always in the drains?”
Noel’s entire panel loses it. None of them can believe this. Phill has to stop, bend over and compose himself.
Stacey, walking off: “I hate you all.”
Rhod: “OH, IT, THE FILM. Let’s see if you’re right, is it IT, BY STEPHEN KING.”

Stacey: “Well, that was a really bad clue, then.”
Rhod: “It wasn’t a really bad clue, it was a really bad answer!”

Noel says he even had a full IT dress picked out for this episode, but Stacey keeps getting hung up by the whole ‘man in a dress’ thing. Noel has to stop and reiterate several times.
Noel: “What I’m saying is-”
Stacey: “YOU ARE IT!”

Sure enough, during the ‘here’s how it should have sounded’, Noel runs out and throws on his clown dress, and gets a nice applause coming back in with it.

Of course, the very next intro…Stacey gets it in 10 seconds. Our House, by Madness. And everyone’s FLOORED.

Of course, after the applause dies down, Noel throws in: “now, you know whose house it wasn’t?” And points to Harry.

Ella says that Noel looks like a stay at home wife.
Seann: “No, he looks like a stay-at-home wife in the Nightmare Before Christmas…”

Seann doesn’t exactly bring back Anal Danger, but he does guess, for Harry and Noel’s second intro, “Is it ‘Don’t Forget to Lock Me’, by the Backdoors?”

On Phill’s ID Parade:
Seann: “Phill, I know I’m on the other team, but I can help you out. It’s not #4, because i went to SCHOOL WITH HIM…”

This is another one where Phill obviously knows that it’s #2, but the other ones are still a few steps behind, and still on #4 being Seann’s friend.
Phill, eventually: “IT’S NUMBER TWO, DO YOU NOT RECOGNIZE HIM??? I DIDN’T GO TO SCHOOL WITH HIM, BUT IT’S #2!”

#2 is given the ‘will he please step forward’…and for 10 seconds, he doesn’t. Rhod eventually has to go over and threaten to push him for him to actually step forward.

Rhod’s spruced up the ID Parade by giving the correct one a wireless mic, so he can ask what they’ve been doing. In Stedman’s case, since he used to be a bricklayer, Rhod goes over and asks what work needs to be done on his house, and Stedman, playing along but honest, gives him a blunt dissertation.

The East 17 ID Parade is done, in the style of their video, on a rotating circular track, all five done up in snow-parkas. Rhod has to wait for #3 to come around to do his intro, ‘TED BUNDY’.

Rhod: “#2’s really got it in for lazy susans. Wait for him to ‘come round- LOOK AT THAT MISERABLE PRICK!”
Noel: “If they got off that now, would they all fall over?”

After #4, Jon, is revealed.
Rhod: “Jon, what ‘you up to?”
Jon: “…spinning ’round?”

Jon mentions he’s been doing roofing.
Rhod, coming back up with his phone ‘WELL LISTEN…’

Rhod gets on the track to talk to Jon about the roof, and the lazy susan starts up again, making it even funnier, and interlaying the disgruntled other three in there as Rhod and Jon talk in the background.

Rhod plays out the round by playing the invisible bongos.
Rhod: “I know what you’re thinking- can I do it one-handed?”
VO: …..
Rhod: “…no.”

Rhod, to Noel’s team: “Your time starts now-”
Seann, harkening back to Noel’s earlier conversation: “We don’t believe in time…”

Rhod: “In the summertime, when the weather is hot.”
Noel: “…you can sleep outside, or live in a drain…”

Overall: SMASHING SUCCESS. It helped that the panel was on, but there were a number of great runners, like Harry’s houselessness, Stacey’s inability to get intros, Noel’s clown dress, the concept of time, Seann’s friend from school, and Rhod’s contracting. Seann probably had the best day off everyone, but literally everyone had nice moments. Stacey was a great sport, Ella and Harry had great lines, and Rhod improved on an already-great E1.

Best Regular: Noel
Best Guest: Seann
Best Runner: Rhod’s invisible bongos.

Nevermind Watchdown: S28E01, or ‘OOOH, I FEEL LIKE SINGING!’

Well…I’ve waited long enough…time to start the LAST EVER SERIES OF NEVERMIND THE BUZZCOCKS.

The good news is that they got the bright idea to add Rhod Gilbert as the permanent, full-time host. Rhod’s episodes were wonderful, as he let his trademark dour-with-a-sunny-side mood infiltrate the show, and it led to some really nice moments. Here, he’s got a whole series to play with, and I’m very excited to see what it looks like.

Well…about 15 seconds in, I’m already won over. In a cold open (man, haven’t seen one of those since S25), Rhod is filmed waking up, and walking to the studio, set to Hall and Oates’ ‘You Make My Dreams Come True’…and with the addition of animated birds, a flash mob, a jazz band, and well-timed fountains, it’s a complete send-up of the scene in 500 Days of Summer, which I have even more props for the crew for sending up. It’s fantastic, and shows exactly who Rhod is…culminating with Rhod pummeling an intern for getting his coffee wrong.

Even better, this episode marks a return for rap battler and Cluedo character Professor Green, sports presenter Gabby Logan, and a debut for two people I have heard of- comedian and BFF of Katherine Ryan, Roisin Conaty, and LEAD SINGER OF HUGE GLAM-POP BAND THE 1975, MATTY HEALY!

Rhod introduces a new round, called Rumor Has It…whose audio-intro-clip is just Rhod’s voice interspersed into Adele’s ‘Rumor Has it’. Which is quite the sound, as Prof just doubles over laughing.
Phill: “WATCH OUT, PROFESSOR GREEN! HERE COMES THE COMPETITION!”

Rhod explains this round is about celebrity rumors, including “Was Cee-Lo Green the first man on the moon?”, and “Is Rhianna a Horse?”. Even he can’t get through that one without laughing.

(This also reminds me how great it is to hear the word ‘rumor’ in Rhod’s accent. Not since his MTW ‘is it, RUMOR, Flooding has begun?’)

On James Blunt, a turkey, a coffin and a microphone.
Phill: “James Blunt moved to Norfolk, and started East Anglier’s first…necrophiliac turkey karaoke night!”

Rhod says that Blunt was #4 on a list of most annoying things, and asks what else he was more annoying than.
Prof: “Stubbing your toe?”
Rhod: “STABBING YOUR TOE? You’re the real deal, man…”
(Prof laughs for about 15 seconds at this. Hell, I don’t think he laughed this hard the whole Frankie Boyle show…)

Rhod, during the intro-clip for Van Halen: “In Welsh, their name means Salt Van, but what…”
The amount of cracking up THIS FAR IN proves we’ve hit upon a great dynamic here.

Screen Shot 2017-06-25 at 4.41.45 PM.pngRoisin: “Did he chop a man’s legs off with a guitar, put him in a tent…and that man said ‘NO MORE OF THAT!'”

Noel: “Was that tent getting a new pair of shoes?”
Phill: “Those are SHOES? I thought it was a rabbit taking a bad selfie…”

Matty: “Mick Jagger liked to get blowjobs when he was in the recording studio…”
Noel: “Wow, you won’t be supporting THEM again, will you?”
Matty, in character: “NO! IT WAS A NIGHTMARE!”

Matty: “I didn’t even get to talk to Mick or anything-”
Noel: “PRETEND YOU DID!”
Matty, changing immediately: “So Mick comes over to me, and he’s like ‘LOVE THE BAND’…”
Noel, as Jagger: “But I REALLY like to get a blow when I’m doing vocals, so if you could just…”
He even bends Matty’s head towards his crotch.

Noel: “This is the rudest show I’ve ever been on…[to Rhod] YOU’RE a pervert!”
Rhod: “Sorry, mate…”
Prof: “His name is ‘Rod’…”

Matt ends up leading the whole panel in the Potato Lattice game, which is a quick fire back and forth, having everyone say names of foods without hesitating. Rhod is eliminated quickly, which he protests.

Rhod: “GUYS, GUYS! This has TOTALLY backfired. I thought this was gonna be a shit game, and you’re all loving it!”

Phill and Prof’s first intro is just a long, repetitive, alarming-sounding one, with Prof constantly doing a singular-toned ‘AAAAAAH’ every few seconds.
Gabby: “Is that the whole thing?”
Phill: “No, he’s just very good at that bit.”

An exhausted Prof slumps down onto the desk, near Phill’s crotch.
Phill, quick as hell: ‘OOOH, I FEEL LIKE SINGING!”

Gabby: “Is it Prodigy?”
Phill: “OOOOHHHH No…”
Rhod: “I’ll pass it over.”
Noel: “NAAN BREAD! Oh, wait, that’s a different game…”
Rhod, Simon-esque: “YOU’RE WRONG.”
Noel: “What’dyou mean, we didn’t even say anything!”

Phill: [Guitar riff from ‘Should I stay or Should I Go]
Prof: “…bip..bip..bip”
Phill, to Prof: “….really?”

Rhod’s standup jokes, rather than being scathing put-downs, are just fun little puns, which sums up his era of the show quite nicely.

Noel and Matty’s intro is reminiscent of a Sean Hughes round- Roisin gets it from Matty’s bit, and not from Noel’s more-accurate guitar riff. He just slumps over as Matty hugs him and fives Roisin.

Noel and Matty’s quibbling continues on the Galvanize intro, which Noel can’t quite get the main synth bit from. They eventually get it, but not without more arguing.

Rhod: “The video for Papa Don’t Preach marked the unveiling of Madonna’s 2nd look: short, cropped platinum hair, and a more muscular physique. For anyone who’s counting, she’s now on her 37th look: Unconvincing Malawian Ice Cream Man with net.”
And THERE’S THE SCATHING BUZZCOCKS WRITERS AGAIN!

Rhod has a nice little put-down of Gabby’s blogs, and while it does take away from the quiz, Gabby’s enjoying it, and Rhod’s still in his element as host.

Rhod, still on the blogs: “Can you tell me a bit more about the green drink?”
Gabby: “…NO, YOU TWAT!”

Rhod, doing ID Parade Intros: “IS IT…”
Screen Shot 2017-06-25 at 6.03.43 PM.png
Rhod: “…have I got to say something funny about him?…WHAT’S IN HIS ARMS? Okay, it’s not #1…”

He even gives #3 a copy of the book of Gabby’s blogs, and he’s reading them as they do the ID Parade intros. Gabby’s semi-amused.

Matty, still on #1 arms: “He’s gotta have legs like shrubs.”
Noel: “What’s ‘shrubs’ in Welsh?”
Rhod: “…we don’t have shrubs.”

Other thing I’ve noticed about this series is that there are a ton of sweeping camera shots of the set, wider shots, less static. I understand they’re trying to blend in with other programming, but it’s a bit odd.

Rhod is spicing up Next Lines by introducing a category theme each week, which is a nice idea, and works  better than replacing it with other, lesser rounds.

Overall: Fun way to start the series, even if it had a few moments of lulls. Rhod obviously proved his worth as host, though the runner with Gabby didn’t work as well as he planned. Matty had so much fun, both in doing intros with Noel and taking barbs from Rhod. Gabby and Roisin had a few good lines, and Prof, despite laughing up a storm in the early part, stuck to a quieter edit, like usual.

Best Regular: Noel
Best Guest: Matty
Best Runner: The sex-tent.

QI Watchdown: I6 (Inventive)

Five episodes in, and we’ve still yet to hit an episode below ‘great’. Tonight, we have a rather inventive pairing of Bill Bailey and Sean Lock, plus an assist from ventriloquist and scene-stealer from Christopher Guest’s Family Tree, Nina Conti, along with her friend Gran. I’m not sure how Conti’s stuff will translate to QI, but having Bill and Sean’s a nice enough start.

Observations right off the bat- Sean’s already there with his insincere ‘thank you’ right off the bat, and as this is his second-to-last QI episode ever, there’s probably a reason for the insincerity. Bill’s wearing a Naruto shirt. Wow.

Gran sounds a ton like Mrs. Doubtfire. As they demonstrate the ‘Nobody Knows’ card, Bill, patronizingly, asks if he should hold the card for her.

Bill: “There was a bloke the other day, went through a machine, and his whole body went through a tunnel the size of a CD. And…he survived.”
Stephen: “…what?”
Sean: “Was it Ronnie Corbett?”
(Man, if only Rob Brydon were here)
Bill, stifling laughter: “..yeah, that’d explain it…”

Stephen talks of the man who invented the parachute suit, and died while jumping from the Eiffel Tower.
Stephen: “He ripped a page from a book to see which way the wind was blowing-”
Bill: “Unfortunately, that was the instruction manual…”

There’s a nice discussion about putting Gran in the overhead compartment…and how she feels about that.
Sean: “I don’t know why you even go on the plane! Why don’t you just post yourself?”
Gran: “…too expensive, dear. I’m heavy.”
Nina: “I once lost her once, actually, on a plane…by an airline, of which, for legal reasons, i’m not supposed to name.”
Gran: “…Ryanair…”

Having Nina and Gran on is great, and they have very funny stuff, though their digressions are very independent, and it’s difficult for them to build off of other people. Sean and Bill, of course, have no trouble building off of them.

For a question about ventriloquism, Bill and Alan wind up with their own puppets, and try to say the phrase ‘pig in a poke’ (which Nina did so masterfully before). Bill rolls his over to Gran, trying (and failing) and ventriloquism.
Gran: “You’ve had a stroke, dear…”

It’s an amusing sequence, having everybody try ventriloquism. Sean doesn’t even try, he just doesn’t say anything, while moving the puppet around. Unlike the bug runner from last show, it doesn’t exactly take off, but it’s still amusing.

Even better, Bill tries pressing the buzzer with his puppet, is successful…and ends up breaking the thing. He just starts playing Hungry Hungry Hippos with the plastic pieces of the buzzer.

Gran, summing up Bill’s failed puppeteering attempt: “You know, the first rule of show-business is to make everything look easy…and this half-wit over here…”

Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 8.19.16 PM.pngStephen talks of a woman who used ventriloquism to protest to Anne Boleyn.
Gran: “…nice tits, too…”
Alan: “No, look at the bloke looking at her tits…”

Gran: “Nina is a ventriloquist, apparently…though I’ve yet to see evidence of that…”

There’s a semi-Mastermind-ish aspect to this one, sort of like Imbroglio, where Nina, for a while, talks about her specialized subject (ventriloquism, of course), sort of like Frank Skinner talking about George Formby, or Anneka Rice talking about her racing or whatever. Unlike Anneka Rice or whatever, Nina and Gran are pretty active, and still contribute a lot to the show, aside from the specialized subject material.

They show a picture of this ‘vent-haven’ place, (‘where dummies go to rest’)
Sean: “AAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIGGHHHHHH!”

Stephen asks Nina if ventriloquists get too close to their dummies and characters, and if Keith Harris ever went too far down
Nina: “Well, I can’t speak for him-”
Gran: “No, cause you’re not that good a ventriloquist…”

Stephen asks Sean if he had an imaginary friend when he was younger.
Sean: “:I’m not aware of it. They didn’t use to come around much…”

Stephen gives everyone inventions, and has them guess what they do. Bill’s is done with him specifically in mind.
Bill: “Is it a beard-measuring device?”
Stephen: “Well, I wouldn’t call your beard of quality…”

Stephen: “And what have you got there, Sean?”
Sean: “…’ts a BOTTLE, Stephen.”
Stephen: “And what d’you think it’s for?”
Sean: “…for putting stuff in.”
Stephen: “…okay, so NEXT, moving onto Nina…”

Nina get some sort of ‘suppository for Charlie McCarthy’ as hers, and hands it to Bill so he can unscrew it. Alan guesses it comes with preparation H, and he’s right.
Bill: “Wait, this has been up someone’s ass?”
He frantically drops the device.

GREAT MOMENTS IN PHRASING!
Stephen talks of a Policeman’s ‘lady-reviver’, a bit of smelling salt.
Stephen, explaining: “So when a lady would faint, in the street, the policeman would whip it out, and-”
He has to stop there, because the audience beats him to the punch.

Stephen asks a question with a convoluted sort of wind-up.
Bill: “Uhh…NOBODY KNOWS!”
Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 8.51.10 PM.png
Stephen: “…he’s put up the card backwards.”
Bill: “oh…you CHEAPSKATE! You just put it on one side? Ya cheap…BASTARD!”
Alan: “Yeah, that’s THEIR fault…”

It’s nice when Stephen starts GI by saying ‘fingers on buzzers, those that are still working…”

Once again, Alan gets the Nobody Knows answer, though this time the question is something as ridiculous as ‘how did dinosaurs have sex?’

Overall: A cute little middle-of-the-road show to bring Series I back to earth a tad. There were some nice moments, Bill had some great lines, and the entire sequence of 3/4ths of the panel trying ventriloquism was inspired, but a lot of the show was more factual and less fun. Sean was quieter than he’d been in a while, mostly keeping to himself. Nina and Gran were a fantastic presence, having great lines and giving great knowledge, though they seemed to take up the show a bit too much.

MVP: Bill
Best Guest: Nina
Show Winner: Nina
Best QI Fact: the parachute suit guy.

QI Watchdown: I5 (Invertebrates), or ‘I TRIED A SCORPION, I TRIED AN ANT..’

Ah, the old ‘one anchor, one newbie, one oddball’ approach, mastered by the show best in the Differences episodes, where Dara O’Briain was forced to fend for himself against a bizarre humorist (Ronni Ancona) and a new player to the fold (Julian Clary). Tonight, Jimmy Carr finds himself in a similar conundrum. On one hand, he works with the lovable Sarah Millican, making her first of many appearances on the show. On the other, for the first time since Series E, he has to make sense of Johnny Vegas. If anything, it’s gonna be an interesting show.

Stephen adds to the Nobody Knows intro, that ‘if you use it at the wrong time, you’re gonna look like a bit of a tit…”
Jimmy: ‘…right.”
Johnny, holding up his: “…what’s the point?”

Stephen, on the first question of the night: “What do bees do better than dogs?”
Jimmy, not finding any alternatives: “…make honey?”
Stephen: “…that is probably true, but-”
Jimmy: “PROBABLY true…YOU’RE GIVING ME *PROBABLY* on making honey. Okay. FINE.”

Sarah: “They’re better at sneaking up on you than dogs are. Like, ye’d never know if a bee had sniffed your crotch, had ye…”
Stephen: “Oddly enough you’ve used a word in there-”
Sarah: “Is it crotch?”

5:30 in, not a word from Alan. It’s mostly Sarah and Johnny doing the work, and while Sarah’s great and all, Johnny’s not wowing me so far.

Stephen: “What are some of the advantages of breeding insects for food…”
Johnny: “…you get to pretend to be a giant…”

Stephen does say that some scientists believe that when we run out of natural food, about 2030, that eating insects will be one of our only viable options.
Screen Shot 2017-06-08 at 7.54.17 PM.png
Jimmy: “If that is the case, could you maybe have picked a picture of someone that looks LESS NUTS? You know, if you’re trying to market it. Because if he’s supposed to be Captain Birdseye of the Insect World…he couldn’t look any creepier!”
Stephen: “He looks as if he’s auditioning to play The Master in the original Doctor Who..”
Johnny: “Even the frame of the picture looks like you’re about to black out…’OOH, ME VOCAL CHORDS ARE SWELLING UP…”
Stephen, trying to get the show back on track: “But there is no real reason to-”
Johnny, still there: “I EXPECT YOU TO DIE, MR. BOND…”

Stephen, out of nowhere, starts coughing hardly, and the entire panel starts panicking, as he ate a chocolate-covered ant earlier.
Johnny: “Oh, ‘they’re amazing, they could solve the problems of starvation’, BY KILLING THE PEOPLE…”
Stephen: “I have got a problem in my throat, though-”
Alan: “AND LOOK AT THAT MAN, LOOMING OVER YOU, he’s going “AT LAST, I GOT YOU, FRY! MUAHAHAHA!”
Jimmy: “One brave ant, and they’re going ‘okay, what we’re gonna do- we’re gonna cover you in chocolate…we’re gonna put you in front of Stephen Fry…you’re gonna go down there, and you’re gonna sort things out.”

Stephen, summing up the whole situation: “Here i am, advertising this as the future of humanity, and I have to say…I feel like SHIT at the moment…”

Stephen: “Why aren’t there any vegan venus flytraps?”
Sarah: “Maybe there are…but people just don’t invite them round for dinner because it’s too complicated.”

Johnny: “If you fell asleep next to [a venus flytrap] for long enough…and it closed on your finger…would it be able to digest part of your finger?”
Stephen: “I…I’m gonna send you one. And you can do the experiment for us, and let us know. You can try your knob as well, it’d be funnier…”
This gets a nice reaction, too.
Stephen: “…it’d be a penis flytrap then, wouldn’t it?”
Johnny, as if THAT’s below him: “NNNOOO….”

Stephen brings up that ‘worm-charming’ is indeed a thing in the states, and shows a picture.
Alan: “Oh, for God’s sake…”
Stephen: “I know you’ve got your ‘get a life’ look on…”

Johnny, on the worms: “yeah, that’s that myth, isn’t it? That’s where they’ve been cut in half?”
Jimmy: “You can do that with any animal…”

Alan, still judging: “That girl is hitting the ground with a flip-flop. She’s got flip-flops on, and she’s taken EXTRA flip-flops.”
Jimmy: “She’s only done it to annoy you..”
Johnny: “It just looks like a car-boot sale, where everyone’s just forgotten the cars…”
Man, Johnny’s humor is just the right kind of bizarre…

Stephen talks about a sport where people have 30 minutes to summon all the worms they can.
Jimmy: “And why the time constraint? Are they just out on day release?”

Stephen mentions that one year, nobody could catch a single worm.
Sarah: “Were they inside at the time? Like, in a building?”
Jimmy: “Yeah, it was raining, they had to do it in the church hall…”

Alan: “At least when you go trainspotting, there ARE trains…”
Johnny: “That’s the thing! All the trainspotters are sitting on the hill going ‘LOSEEERRRS!”

Jimmy asks if greenflies are pests.
Stephen: “Well, they’re a pest if you’re an aphid…”
Sarah: “I thought you said ‘if you’re an atheist!”
Stephen, under laughter: “It’s a fantastic idea…”
Jimmy: “Bloody ladybirds! Proving the existence of God again!”

This episode is good, but it’s succeeding in smaller places. Like, Stephen shows the footage of the mantis shrimp punching a predator in the face. Johnny, towards the background, goes ‘it’d better have a ‘kapow'”. Not a ton of people hear it, but I can’t help but adore it.

Stephen shows footage of a shrimp on a running machine, then “there are some excuses that scientists have given, for-”
Alan: “FOR DOING THAT TO THEM!”
Jimmy, who is killing it this episode: “Was it mainly boredom?”

Stephen: “The person responsible for this study was named-”
Johnny: “He gives his NAME OUT?”

And then, after the clip, Johnny: “I’m waiting to see a crab with some dumbbells…”

Johnny does volunteer to eat the scorpion brittle from earlier, and says he’s gonna break it in half, then singing ‘HALF THE POISON, HALF THE FUN!” Man, there’s nobody else like this guy.

As everyone’s having the bug-infused candy, Johnny: “Can I just say,…what if we all develop super powers as a result of this?”

Alan: “I tried a scorpion, I tried an ant…I’m done.”
Johnny: ‘it’s like the first line of a musical- ‘I TRIED A SCORPION, I TRIED AN ANT!”

Jimmy, as everyone’s trying things but he and Sarah: “I think you should try an ant…”
Sarah: “Well, you’re not me mom, so…”

Sarah: “My mum said you don’t have to put anything in your mouth you don’t want to…that was my sex chat…”
Johnny: “You’re talking to the man with the scorpion lolly…”
Jimmy, still on Sarah’s bit: “THAT was your sex chat?”
Alan: “She didn’t mention your vagina, then? Just your mouth?”
Alan THEN…DOES THIS:
Screen Shot 2017-06-18 at 8.34.07 PM.png
And the entire room blows up. Sarah’s absolutely losing it, as is Alan.
Alan: “I don’t know what came over me…”
Sarah, holding back tears: “It’s my FIRST TIME ON THE SHOW! DON’T MAKE ME PUT A SCORPION UP ME NUNNY!”
Jimmy: “Sarah, if you could just entertain the thought, because if you did, I’M NOT SAYING NOW, but if you did…FIVE MINUTES before a gynecological appointment…and you went ‘I’ve got a bit of an itch…'”
Stephen: “You would be the subject of a medical paper that would be published round the WORLD!”

Sarah, on bugs: “I’ve got a rule that, if it comes in my house, then I’m allowed to kill it…”
Stephen: “Right. So how many Jehovah’s witnesses…”
Sarah loses it.
Alan: “You may be laughing, but…”
Stephen: “Under the floorboards…”

Stephen: “What shouldn’t you breathe in if you’re a stink-ant?”
Johnny: “You’re friend’s anus.”
Jimmy: “…I think that’s a general rule. I don’t think…”

GI happens with 8 minutes left in the show, and we’ve yet to hit a klaxon, even with Johnny Vegas on the panel. Weird, weird show.

Stephen: “Name an vertebrate with no backbone.”
Jimmy: “NICK CLEGG!”
Hell, there’s some nice audience response from this one!

Stephen: “What’s the strongest creature for its weight in the world?”
Jimmy: “…is it Johnny?”

With four minutes left to go, Johnny finally gets the first klaxon by guessing that oyster catchers eat oysters.

Stephen: “Which animal has the most genes?”
Alan: “Des Lynum…oh, or Jeremy Clarkson.”
KLAXON

Once again, Alan nabs the ‘Nobody Knows’ bonus, because, again, it occurs late in the show and he’s the only one still thinking about it.

Johnny ends up winning, which he’s legitimately excited about. I don’t know how it happened, but it did.

Overall: I had moments of skepticism, but this show turned into a surprise hit thanks to the insect-eating runner that just kept on giving throughout the show. All four had great showings, and great lines, with Johnny somehow bringing up the rear despite having some really nice lines. Sarah had a great debut, already getting the spirit of the show. Jimmy had the best night, just supplanting everyone’s jokes and giving great lines. Wasn’t expecting to enjoy this one as much as I did.

MVP: Jimmy
Best Guest: Sarah
Show Winner: Johnny
Best QI Fact: The spore killing ants
Best Runner: Edible insects.

QI Watchdown: I4 (Indecision), or ‘IT’S TRUE, GIRLFRIEND!’

So far, this season of QI has been more than making up for the quieter, less amusing Series H. Up next, we have a combination that’s never really failed on QI, and that’s Jimmy Carr, Phill Jupitus and Rich Hall. All 3 have carried funny episodes on their own, and all three are wholly capable of collaborating.

Right off the bat, Stephen asks why someone was thrown out of the Magic Circle.
Jimmy: “Was he using…REAL magic?”

Phill reveals the trick was ‘find the Lady’, or ‘3-card Monty’ as they call it in America.
Jimmy: “I rather prefer calling it ‘3-Card Monty’ myself, because…’Find the Lady’…I had a really bad experience in Thailand once…”
Stephen: “Did you feel a bit of a dick?”
HA!

Phill, on the ‘Find the Lady’ demonstration: “…right, you three put money on a card each, and I’ll stick this [hundred] in a lady’s knickers from the audience…”
Stephen: “That’s a whole different game. That’s a whole other lady to find.”
Phill, standing by it: “There’s a lady that’s put her hand up, Stephen…”
Stephen: “She put her hand up what?”
Phill: Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 12.24.57 AM.png

During Stephen’s discussion on tossing, as he holds a wad of money up, someone from the audience sprints onstage, yells ‘AAAH!’, grabs the money and leaves, prompting an audible ‘what the fuck?’ from Stephen.
There’s a few beats where nobody really knows what to think.
Stephen, finally: “…I think somebody thought it was real money.”
Alan, to the audience: “I’M NOT IN ON THAT! I just want you all to know…”

Great moment: Stephen asks, in all earnest, who expected the Spanish Inquisition.
Jimmy: “Was it, uh…no.”
The fact is that they were all waiting to make the Monty Python reference…none of them actually did.

Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 12.30.38 AM.pngJimmy: “Was it the Klu Klux Klan? Because those two fellows…”
Phill: “I’m sorry, I thought that was the Pet Shop Boys…”

Stephen: “The fact is that the Spanish Inquisition always gave you 30 days notice.”
Phill:
Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 12.32.15 AM.png
Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 12.31.40 AM

Stephen, trying to continue: “If you were selected to be-”
Phill, miming a phone call: “Hello, is there a Mr. Rabinowitz? Yeah, it’s the Inquisition here…HOW AAARE YOU…listen, we’re gonna come ’round and we’re gonna pull your balls through your mouth.”
Jimmy: “We’re in the area…but only for the next 30 days…”
Rich: “So ya had to wait around the house all day. They’d be there ‘between 8 and 5’…”
Stephen: “Yeah, ‘torture my neighbor, I won’t be in’…”

Rich guesses the Spanish Inquisition was started in 1483, which Stephen is dumbfounded by, as it’s shocking close.
Stephen: “Was that a guess?”
Rich: [starts dealing out the fake money from earlier.]

Stephen: “It’s actually 1478, but you’re 5 years off-”
Rich: “Well originally it was 5 years- they’d call you and say they were coming around within the next 5 years…”

In the audience tonight is a winner of the IgNobel Prize, a guy who did research on scrotal asymmetry.
Jimmy: “I’ve got an issue- maybe you could help, because you’re an expert…”
Chris: “Perhaps I should examine you afterwards, it’s probably easier…”
Jimmy: “I think I should explain- one of mine is bigger than the other two…”

Chris: “Usually the right one is higher, and the left one is lower…and that’s the normal way around…”
Rich: “wait a minute…”
Phill: Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 12.43.33 AM.png
Stephen: “PHILL, IT’S OKAY…”

Chris brings up the Aristotelian theory that testicles were used as sort of ‘weights’ to lower voices in people.
Jimmy: “And that’s NOT the case?”
Phill: “THAT is why Barry White never ran marathons…”

Phill, noticing the mouse on the behind-screen: “I think…if I were to stage an all-mouse production of West Side Story…”

Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 12.49.14 AM.png

Alan: “The way this is set up, though, it does look like the hippo’s slowly sneaking up on the mouse…”

Stephen: “What could an Irishman never be if he didn’t have nipples.”
Rich: “SYMMETRIC!”

Stephen asks what the tactic is to make the correct decision, and he gives a hint by taking a drink.
Phill: “Drink lots of water!”
Stephen: “Yes, so that in forty minutes’ time-”
Alan: “You’ll be in the loo and you won’t have to make the decision…”

Stephen confirms that people make their best decisions when they really have to go to the loo.
Phill, absolute disbelief: “SHUT UP! SHUT UP!”
Stephen: “IT’S TRUE, GIRLFRIEND!”

Phill: “I think I’m gonna do Celebrity Mastermind now. Just 20 bottles of Evian before I go on…”
And he just starts writhing around, uncontrollably, in his seat, needing a wee.
Phill: “RED! ORANGE! HITLER! I’VE GOTTA GO, JOHN!”
Jimmy: “Red Orange Hitler- I’m trying to think what that would be the answer to…WHAT IS YOUR SPECIALIST SUBJECT???”
Phill, naturally: “…PAINTING!”

There’s a great moment that goes unnoticed by half the room. Stephen talks of twins that committed a robbery, and went unconvicted because police couldn’t tell them apart.
Jimmy: “What if they were conjoined twins?”
Alan, in the background: “If we get caught, split up!”
Phill laughs here, but Stephen’s explaining so nobody else really does.

There’s a discussion on Identity Parades, and Stephen brings up the money-thief from earlier, and SURE ENOUGH…
Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 1.13.04 AM.png
Stephen: “Was it #1, Stealing Our Money
or #2, stealing our hearts…or is it just me?
#3, stealing himself for a spanking
or #4…stealing a format idea from Never Mind the Buzzcocks…”

Before Phill can even respond, Rich gets an idea:
Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 1.14.41 AM.pngScreen Shot 2017-06-05 at 1.14.28 AM.png

Stephen asks everyone to give who they thought the culprit was, and asks Phill to go first.
Jimmy: “This isn’t fair, Phill’s had much more experience in this game than any of us…PHILL’S BUILT A CAREER on this game…”
Alan: “…he knows which one is in the Kooks…”
Phill does laugh at this one.
Phill: “Just stick a bass-player in there for me…”

Stephen, post-ID Parade: “Shows it isn’t always useful having an ID Parade-”
Phill: “It is on a pop quiz…”
Rich: “I got it right, too! You know how I got it right? I wet my pants!”

Stephen, top of GI: “Who was the first person to go ’round the world in 80 days?”
Jimmy: “Michael Palin…”
KLAXON
Jimmy: “REALLLY?”

Stephen discloses it’s a real person, and that it’s not Phileas Fogg
Alan: “BLUE WHALE!”

I will say…I’m kind of disappointed that none of the panelists knew it was Nellie Bly because I knew that from a Hollywood Squares question.

Stephen, on finding the genitalia of chicks, phrases it as “in 1929, the Japanese finally found a way to sex chicks, and-”
Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 1.25.02 AM.png

Stephen: “1927, at the World Poultry Congress in Ottawa, it was-”
Phil, in hysterics: “THE *WHAT?*”
Alan: “That is a LOT of chickens…”
Phill: “WOULD THE REPRESENTATIVE FROM ALBANIA MAKE HIMSELF KNOWN!” “ALLLLBANIAN CHICKEN!”

Stephen says that may have been a very big gig at one point, and Jimmy says ‘I probably did the last 15 minutes of it one year without knowing it.”
Stephen: “We’ve all been there. I once did Phillips’ Small Appliances.”
Alan, taking this the exact wrong way: “Poor boy…”
Stephen: “It was a long time ago-”
Alan: “Leave his appliances alone!”
Stephen: “…which is why I won’t have him in the house anymore…”

Stephen: “And the Zen-Nippon Chicken Sexing School was founded…”
Phill:
Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 1.30.10 AM.png

Jimmy: “…and you’re looking at a graduate!”

Stephen, on sexing techniques: “You’re not going to like this- they do a slight squeeze-”
Alan: “And if they go ‘OW!’- GIRL.”
Jimmy: “and if they go…’steady on, mate’…”

Stephen: “In Norfolk, there is a community of Vietnamese Turkey Sexers…”
Phill: “I CAN NEVER WATCH PLATOON AGAIN!! YOU RUINED APOCALYPSE NOW FOR ME!”
Stephen: “I’m sorry-”
Phill, miming a gun to his head: “WHAT SEXY CHICKEEEEENNN…YOU TELL ME NOWWWWW..”
Stephen: “I know it sounds-”
Alan: “They live in tunnels under the fence…”

It’s great- Stephen asks what direction the moon sets in, and I already know there are two running gags that could be in play here. Rich, thankfully, sets off one by going “which moon are we talking about here, Stephen…”
KLAXON
Rich turns around in awe.
Jimmy: “This show is getting TOUGH…”

I am very sad that when Stephen asks ‘where does the moon set’, Phill didn’t buzz in and go ‘IT’S NOT THERE!’ But at least we got a ‘Rich and Cruithne’ moment out of this.

Phill wins, and he’s absolutely flustered. He turns to Alan and goes “I don’t know how that happened. I have NO IDEA how that happened…”

Overall: Our 3rd A+ of the season, and we’re already four episodes in. Jesus, Series I is just THAT GOOD. The panel was even sharper than it’s been all series, with literally everyone jumping in at all times, even Rich, who acted like he did back in Series B tonight, even if he did bring up the rear in the edit. Jimmy also had a good night, but his jokes didn’t always hit. Alan and Phill were tremendous tonight, not only in giving some of the best lines of the show, but just having so much fun together, joking aside and helping each other out with jokes. You can tell Phill and Alan are quite friendly outside the show. A ton of moments, like the Chicken Sexing discussion, Rich bringing up Cruithne again, and Phill getting yet another ID Parade, truly stand out.

MVP: Alan
Best Guest: Phill
Show Winner: Phill
Best QI Fact: Chicken Sexing
Best Runner: Rich and the fake money.

QI Watchdown: I3 (Imbroglio), or MAY CONTAIN NUTS.

Two people that have never been on before, and Sean Lock. Well then.

I’d be more worried about this show if one of the newbies wasn’t Frank Skinner. He’s wound up on the majority of the shows I watch- he worked really well on Never Mind the Buzzcocks, and he didn’t work very well at all on Mock the Week. He’ll probably be great here. He’s joined by John Bishop, who’s like Mark Steel, but scarier-looking, and with a thicker accent- I didn’t love him on his MTW episode, but…then again, Susan Calman bomber her MTW and is great on QI, so who am I to judge?

The buzzers are nice tonight- John’s is an annoying fly that goes on for 10 seconds…which causes a prolonged wince from John. Frank’s is a high-pitched barking that goes on for…what, 20 seconds? He nearly cracks up.
John: “Can I ask- how long is this show?”
Stephen: “…it depends on how often you use the buzzer…”

Sean’s is an insanely loud baby scream, which causes him to grow concerned. Alan’s is…an automatic klaxon.

Stephen brings up the Nobody Knows card for John and Frank…which makes me wonder if this episode taped after a later Sean Lock episode, as the rule doesn’t need to be explained to him.

Frank, on the Nobody Knows card: “It looks like if they had Strictly Come Dancing one night, and someone had a dance that was so experimental that the judges…”
Screen Shot 2017-05-22 at 11.12.05 PM.pngFrank is already perfect for this show.

Sean gets the first klaxon of the night right off the bat for guessing that ‘double entendre’ is french for Innuendo.
Sean: “…oh, I’ve just remembered that double entendre is actually french for ‘big tits’, isn’t it?’

Stephen: “You could say double entente, which is-”
Sean: “Two-man tent.”

John, summing up the whole thing surprisingly well: “So it’s a french phrase that the french don’t use…so it’s not french.”

Stephen asks for what they’d shout if you want more at a concert.
Alan: “ENCORE!”
Stephen: “Right. What do they say in France?”
Alan: “…MORE!”

Stephen: “No, they shout a LATIN word, which means twice.”
Alan, after a beat of nothing: “…anyone?”

John: “Ya’d HATE to do a show where everyone in the crowd goes ‘BIIIIIIIIIIISSSS!’ It’s like that:
John’s buzzer: “ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ”

John: “Do they at least use ‘bidet’?”
Stephen: “Bidet they do indeed have, though it’s easier, really, to do a handstand in the shower, to be honest….”
The whole room takes a second to recover.
Stephen: “If you’re as NIMBLE AS I AM!”
Sean: “I’d pay good money to see that! NO, I SEE YOU, with a camera, like that, going ‘tweet this!'”

Frank: “There’s a greek phrase…the greeks say catytrius diephtica (the spelling’s probably nowhere near that), and it means ‘who gives a shit?’. But LITERALLY it means ‘There is trouble in the Gypsy Village.”

There’s a very nice moment where Frank reveals he has a wealth of knowledge about George Formby, as he’s a huge fan. Stephen hands him a banjalele, in the hopes that he’ll play some on the spot.

Frank, tuning the banjalele: “My dog has fleas is what you need to remember. [tuning the strings] My dog has fl- [one of them’s really out of tune]…actually this dog has distemper..”

Frank actually does a few ‘When I’m Cleaning Windows’ lyrics, because he can, and because he’s been given the opportunity, which is a pretty nice moment.

Stephen gets everyone in the room to shout their favorite color. Then he asks Frank what John shouted.
John: “…I was mainly listening to me, there…”
Stephen: “John, d’you know what Frank shouted?”
John, looking Frank over: “…pink?”

Alan, on teamwork professions: “The one I like where people come ’round to your house and tell you what to do so it’ll sell.”
Sean: “Yeah, ‘specially when you don’t want to sell it…”
Alan: “Went in the toilet, put the toilet seat down, went “…Lid down when showing…”
Stephen: “Really? So…no floating solids?”
Alan: “Yeah, ya got to flush it first…”
John: “I’d stop my family from doin’ handstands in the shower…”

Frank, on the interrobang: “And what happens if it’s an exclamation point done upside down?”
John: “…it means someone’s in the shower?”
(This is the QI equivalent of Rob Beckett’s dad in the bath, I think.)

Frank has a very nice, David Mitchell-esque rant on the semi-colon getting preferential treatment on the keyboard.
Frank: “If I was a colon, I’d think ‘surely I take precedence in this…you are merely a SEMI version of me. I should be the one that only gets one key.”
Sean: “…I share your pain, Frank….I’ve stayed up til DAWN, with whiskey, going ‘WHY???”

Stephen introduces a round called ‘HOW IRONIC IS THAT’, where the panelists have to judge if scenarios are ironic or not.
Frank: “Are we judging on a scale from 1 to 100? I was just worried about how we grade the irony…”
Sean: “i’d say ‘SHINY’…down to ‘RUSTY’.”

Stephen: “I say this because people seem to be using the term ‘ironically’ incorrectly, like ‘IRONICALLY, HE WASN’T THERE”…which-”
Frank: “The Invisible Man!”

Frank even quotes a line from Richard III in regards to dramatic irony.
Sean: “Ladies and gentlemen, an all-around entertainer!”

Frank talks of an argument he had with David Baddiel, about whether or not Peter Falk’s glass eye played the part of a real eye during Columbo.
Sean: “How did this argument go on for so long?”
Frank: “David wasn’t having it!”
Sean: “Were you wrestling naked in front of a fire?”

Stephen brings up the old ‘Lincoln was shot in Ford’s Theater, and Kennedy was shot in a Ford Lincoln’ fact, but he dismisses it as coincidence.
Sean: “Reagan was shot in Washington, and Washington was shot with a ray-gun…”
Stephen: “IF ONLY THAT WERE TRUE! It would almost be worth inventing a time machine, AND GOING BACK WITH A RAY-GUN JUST TO DO THAT!”

Stephen brings up the fact that brazil nut allergies are transmittable through sex.
Sean: “Boy, that’s a good murder plot, isn’t it?”
John: “I feel as if I’m on an episode of House. Who found that out?”
Alan: “Surely the woman would FEEL the brazil nut…”
(And I’m gone.)
Stephen: “I think you may have slightly misunderstood-”
Alan: “The man would too…”
Stephen, motioning to his crotch: “MAY CONTAIN NUTS.”

Stephen: “Does anyone know why, in a packet of nuts, the brazils always rise to the top?”
Alan, fetching his ? card and cracking up: “Surely nobody knows…”
Stephen: “YOU’RE RIGHT!”

Stephen: “What do the signal bars on your phone mean?”
Alan, cautiously trying to avoid a klaxon: “Well, it means…how much…signal you can…”

Stephen: “What’s the use of an inflatable anchor?”
John: “Is it for hot-air balloons?”
Frank: “Is it to stop submarines…from going too low?”
The audience applauds, and Stephen even goes “that’s so sweet…”

Stephen: “There were lions [during Richard III’s reign] all over Africa.”
Sean: “They were bloody everywhere. Y’ad a picnic in those days? Not wasps. LIONS. EVERYWHERE. “GET OFF ME SANDWICH!”

Frank, of course, talks about he and Baddiel doing Three Lions for the ’96 Euro, and Germany adopting the song as their own after their victory.
John: “THAT…is irony.”

Stephen talks of a distinguished council member and fan of Clint Eastwood, who emblazoned a motto of the latin translation of ‘Go Ahead, Make My Day’.
Frank: “On my coat of arms it says ‘catytrius diephtica’….’There is Trouble in the Gypsy Village’…”

Stephen: “Name an animal whose scientific name is the same as its regular name.”
Frank: “Isn’t a gorilla called ‘Gorilla Gorilla’?”
Stephen: “yes, but-”
KLAXON

Stephen says that bananas are radioactive, as they have a ton of potassium…and so, evidently, are certain private parts.
Frank: “Is that why they’re shaped like bananas?”
Sean: “SPEAK FOR YOURSELF!”
Frank: “I’m waiting for mine to stop being green…”

Stephen: “And finally, an easy one, which country is the world’s largest supplier of Brazil nuts?”
Sean: “COSTA RRRRICA!”
Stephen: “…no.”
Sean: “oh, well…BRAZIL.”
Stephen: “NOOO!”
KLAXON

Stephen: “Well, we have a TIE for first place”
Alan: ‘FIGHT!”
Stephen: “…We’re not Harry Hill here…”

Overall: Another fantastic episode, though slightly below the caliber of the last two. All four panelists were on tonight. I was really amused by John, even if he was a bit quieter than the rest- his material was very sly, and really nice. Frank had a great night, proved he was definitely a great fit for this show. Sean probably had the best night out of everyone, just in doing Sean Lock things and building off of other people’s stories. The dynamic was definitely there, and there were a ton of really nice moments.

MVP: Sean
Best Guest: Frank
Show Winners: Frank and John
Best QI Fact: Radioactive Brazil Nuts
Best Runner: Upside Down in the Shower.