Every Never Mind the Buzzcocks Guest Host, Ranked (Part One)

I’ve got a few different ways of wrapping up the ubiquitous Nevermind Watchdown planned for the next few days. I figured since this one only refers to a specific timeline of Buzzcocks history, I’d start with that one. So, we’re gonna count down every single person who’s ever guest-hosted an episode, from the bottom to the top.

Several criteria have been taken into account, including hosting skills, funny material, the overall quality of the episode, and the memorability/repetition. So if you were a host who ran a shipshape panel show, made a ton of great jokes, hosted a fantastic episode and came back for an equally great appearance, you’re probably gonna rank highly. People who’ve hosted multiple songs will be subjected to an average- so if you hosted one fantastic show and one terrible show, the average might drag you down a bit. Or, in the case of a certain Mr. Whitehall, if you hosted two terrible shows and one surprisingly fantastic show, you’re only gonna rise a smidge.

Everyone who hosted from Series 18, as well as from Series’ 23-27, is illegible, save for two names…Simon Amstell and Rhod Gilbert. As they ended up hosting series’ of the show, it’s kind of obvious that their ‘audition shows’ in the Guest Host series were successful. Additionally, one of them may have hosted a show that wasn’t really indicative how how their full-series went. So, for the sake of continuity, they’re not included here.

On with the rankings, from #s 59 to 41:

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#59: Tim Westwood (Series 24 Episode 7)

(fixes palm to temple)

Somebody had to come in last, and if it was somebody other than Westwood, I’d have seriously question the quality of guest hosts Buzzcocks had. Westwood, to his credit, was himself, didn’t change for the recording. However, that was also his biggest problem- this childish, unsophisticated, boorish DJ was the absolute wrong fit for the show, constantly referring to Phill Jupitus as ‘Uncle Phill’, and trying to keep the show hip and cool while simultaneously dating it with every colloquialism and slang phrase. The show’s runner, the ‘wheel of JLS’, was even shoddier with Westwood at the helm, and not even Aston Merrygold could escape from the banality. Hell, Noel had to stop the show at one point to correct Westwood’s atrocious delivery on a joke, which resulted in an even more painful, awkward telling of it.
Just…the absolute worst. And probably my least favorite episode of the show.

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#58- Mark Ronson (Series 24, Episode 1)

Say what you will about Mark Ronson’s achievements in the world of producing, helping Adele produce ’18’, and currently prepping the latest Queens of the Stone Age album, but when he showed up on the Series 24 premiere, something felt…off. Especially considering his boilerplate-but-harmless appearance guest-captaining the Series 22 premiere. This Mark felt distracted, lost, and…for lack of a better word, high off his tits. I’m not sure what kind of substance Mark was on that night, but his autocue readings were a series low, and his joke-readings were just as appalling as Westwood’s. Plus, his appearance looked straight out of a bad sequel to The Mask.
Despite this, I will say his moment of geeking out to ‘Captain Cabinet’ with Noel was pretty great, but he seemed dead and blurred for the rest of the show.

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#57: Kristen Schaal (Series 27 Episode 5)

As much as I love Kristen on Bob’s Burgers, and on 30 Rock, leaving her to her own devices as guest host was a mistake, as she was annoying and yelly for most of the show. Kristen’s known for this childlike, high-pitched, goofy, borderline psychotic demeanor (So Louise Belcher, essentially), and it was off-putting for the panelists, as well as for the audience. The producers’ decision to stock the show with 3 X-Factor personnel who all knew each other…and David O’Doherty, who only knew Kristen, was also a mistake, as the dynamics were mixed and flawed from the start. The boorish show was capped off by a dastardly plot to give the show to Kristen’s pal Noel by swerving next lines in his favor, which pissed off Phill’s team. Just an unfortunately unwatchable show from someone who’s best suited for an ensemble.

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#56- Ne-Yo (Series 26 Episode 6)

That picture just about says it all. Ne-Yo just thinking to himself ‘how the fuck did I get here?’

To be fair, Ne-Yo tried, quite hard actually, to make the most of a booking that’d obviously been handed off at random, but his autocue readings, his unexcited demeanor, and his slowly growing confusion as to what the hell was going on around him, led to a less-than-favorable performance, one where it seemed like the well-stocked panel was carrying the show forward despite him. It didn’t help that Noel, David O’Doherty AND Stacey Solomon were there to take his relaxed demeanor and make him regret it. In all fairness, this was a pretty nice show, and the panel was pretty sharp, but Ne-Yo’s performance detracted from what could have been a great one, ironically, by simply not wanting to let himself love us.

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#55- Juliette Lewis (Series 24 Episode 10)

Along the same school as Ne-Yo, in that the people who do the bookings for the show probably put up their hands and shrugged, and Juliette Lewis probably wasn’t doing anything that week…and probably agreed thanks to the promise of booze. I mean, on one hand she was happy, and in a great mood, but on the other hand she was so wasted that you really couldn’t have expected a coherent show out of her. She also didn’t really know how to host, as she gave teams points for deliberating between the correct answer, and just sort of kept the game on autopilot, again, leaving the panelists to carry the game by themselves. I mean, with Vic Reeves there you really didn’t need her, but the fact that she was so out of it definitely detracted from the show. That’s the main problem with Juliette- she was a distraction rather than an addition.

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#54- Cilla Black (Series 25 Episode 10)

When someone with legitimate old-school mystique around them hosts the show, you kinda want them to pull through and knock it out of the park. Sometimes things don’t go according to plan, and the people you’ve been building up in your head as these legendary, indestructible figures are a now kinda senile and scattered. This was unfortunately the case for the great Cilla Black, who seemed a bit out of her element hosting Buzzcocks, and aside from a nice little anecdote about the Beatles’ sex habits, never really got the laughs she wanted (that weren’t unintentional). It felt like she was being carried by the mystique of what she used to be, rather than what she was trying to be then. Plus, having Angelos Epithimieou on the panel may not have been the best idea for someone who’s easily confused like Cilla Black. So yeah, the thought was in the right place, but it didn’t work out, and that’s kinda sad for someone who had a career like Cilla’s.

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#53- Rizzle Kicks (Series 27 Episode 7)

Ah, yes, the two guys responsible for one of the hardest-to-watch Buzzcocks episodes of all time. It’s not that they weren’t funny- they actually had some nice moments, especially Jordan’s cry of racism when Noel didn’t invite them to watch Grease with him and Paul- but how they handled the Huey Morgan meltdown was pretty mean-spirited. First of all, they kind of goaded him on throughout the show, annoying him to the point that by the time Next Lines came around, he was sick of them, to the point where he, yes, smashed a mug and stormed off. The sadder part is that up until that point, Rizzle Kicks were merely okay at hosting, without any real memorable moments, or anything that lifted them above par. It’s just the Huey incident, and the way they followed it by making fun of them, that damages their case. They tried, but no matter whose side you’re on in the Huey-Rizzle Kicks debate, you have to admit that they could have handled the whole thing MUCH better.

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#52- Jack Whitehall (Series 23 Episode 4, Series 26 Episode 3, Series 27 Episode 9)

When I was going through a few message boards for Buzzcocks, I got a lot of people saying that Jack Whitehall’s episode was one of the worst, because he’s not at all funny. And as someone who agrees that Jack Whitehall is not funny, I tried to find a silver lining in his episode in Series 23…and I couldn’t. Not for the life of me.

The biggest problem I have with Jack Whitehall, especially on this show, is that he’s way too cheeky and outwardly mean towards people, especially people on the panel. After a low-energy Series 22, I thought that Buzzcocks was trying to get away from someone like Simon Amstell, someone who was busy making it fun for him rather than making it fun for an audience. And through Jack’s first few gigs, that’s what we got- direct meanness, takeaways from the quiz, unfunny jokes, bad hosting technique, and just some really poor shows.

What keeps him off of the bottom spot is the fact that his Series 27 episode was a ton better, but only because he had the kind of panel to buttress his cheekiness. Kriss Akabusi and Alex Brooker swerved the offensive from Jack onto the panel…to the panel onto Jack, thanks to the running gag about Johnny Worrell’s sister. So they managed to get a good episode out of Jack Whitehall, thanks to someone finally getting the best of Jack Whitehall.

#51 – Dale Winton (Series 18 Episode 7)

Series 18’s guest hosts stand out to me, because it’s clear that the producers tried to farm from a wide range of BBC talent, but mainly stuck to a bunch of presenters (Ross, Laverne, Clarkson, Amstell). Dale Winton was the umpteenth presenter to, well, present Buzzcocks, and definitely brings up the rear as far as Series 18 efforts are concerned.

Dale’s main schtick is being an orange gay guy who occasionally hosts Supermarket Sweep- I’ll argue that he was used a ton better in the Series 21 episode he was a panelist on, rather than this episode, where I can barely remember any of his material, mostly just lines had at his expense. I don’t think I need to tell you that he can read a prompter or be good on camera, but I don’t think he was the greatest fit for the host’s chair. Not really for any appalling things he did, but for what he didn’t do, which was make any real impact.

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#50- David Hasselhoff (Series 25 Episode 1)

In 2011, David Hasselhoff was plucked from his steady gig judging for America’s Got Talent to judge…Britain’s Got Talent. It was so close to his old job that the Hoff couldn’t have been able to fuck it up…and yet, he did. Still, while he was farming his comeback in the UK, he stopped by Buzzcocks to host, and it was…memorable. Yeah. Memorable.

Part of Hoff’s appeal is that he’s not exactly what you’d call intentionally funny. The guy’s made a career out of being a joke, whether he’s taking himself too seriously or not seriously enough. He kept the former ideology while hosting Buzzcocks, with some over-the-top autocue reads, bombastic hosting, and general bizarre Hasselhoffishness. Honestly, his biggest problem was his ultimate inability to take the show seriously, taking some time out of autocue jokes to break character and go ‘this is true’ or ‘this is gonna get me fired’. You could see Hoff the character cracking to reveal Hoff the man.

Like Whitehall, Hoff’s finest moments here were when the joke was on him, including a moment where he had to read a nasty joke about Simon Cowell and Sinitta, and you could see the enthusiasm drain from his face with every word, knowing he’d be losing his job soon.

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 9.55.35 PM.png#49- Dizzee Rascal (Series 27 Episode 11)

While Dizzee’s show was a solid middle-of-the-road one, fueled by some insane panel moments, a botched backflip, and Jamie Cullum’s piano playing, Dizzee’s hosting was less middle of the road and more tar off the road. The guy’s idea of hosting was just sitting around and watching the panelists go, instead of realizing that he could occasionally chime in. He kept a very low-key, defensive approach to the game, which ultimately stopped his episode from making a real impact.

His only highlights were his brief abilities to be himself, breaking into an impromptu version of Bonkers, and laughing at an autocue joke about himself. Other than that, not much lifted him off the ground.

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#48- Mark Watson (Series 23 Episode 7)

My main gripe with Mark Watson’s show wasn’t his humor, his hosting, or anything. I simply thought he was a much better panelist than he was a host. Mark’s best stuff comes from adding onto material rather than initiating it, and with him as the anchor this show, it wasn’t as successful. The show was fine enough, if kinda low-key, but Mark took a quieter, less animated approach to reading and hosting, and fell victim to a gimmicky bit involving Chico, who, according to Mark, had ‘been down there since 2006′. So yeah, while he’s a funny chap, and had some great Buzzcocks’, his hosting gig was disappointing to me.

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#47- Stephen Mangan, (Series 26 Episode 10)

What the producers would do rather often during this era was take a host that didn’t bring too much to the table and assign them a gimmick to weave through, rather than spin them on their own merits. With Stephen Mangan, they made his episode the ‘World Music Special’, which detracted from a quiet enough panel. While the gimmick was initially amusing, there wasn’t a great deal that was fresh after a while, and once you took away the theme, Stephen didn’t have a ton of great material, despite having his usual charisma and quick lines. I mean, Stephen tried, but what can you do when the producers are more focused on what the theme/gimmick can do than what you can do?

#46- Lauren Laverne, (Series 18 Episode 4)

Another presenter-friendly Series 18 booking, and another great personality that failed to break out of a ho-hum show. I’ll give Lauren credit for trying, as she’s one of the better recurring guests of the show’s history, and she used the personality to her advantage with her autocue reads, but I can’t remember much at all about her material, or her dynamic with the panel. If anything, this was more Rhod Gilbert’s show than it was Lauren’s- the fact that you could see that a panelist would be a better pick as host than the person actually hosting wasn’t a great sign. Again, Lauren would have much better luck as a panelist, but her hosting gig, while not particularly bad, couldn’t really make itself memorable.

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#45- Claudia Winkleman, Series 23 Episode 6

Even from her opening moments, Claudia Winkleman knew she wasn’t necessarily the producers’ first choice: “I’m Claudia Winkleman, and that can only mean one thing…Biggins is busy.” With Buzzcocks, you can’t really be sure if this is an indirect slam or an allusion to a booking that fell through, but if it’s the latter, that does explain why Claudia didn’t have a ton to do that set her apart from the pack, other than having fun and doing good-enough hosting and reading. Honestly, what brings her down this low is the forgettability of her hosting- I remember more about Harry Shearer and Jamelia than I do about her hosting, which is kinda sad. Yeah, Claudia’s a great addition to the fold, and her stuff as a panelist, and on the Big Fat Quiz, is exemplary, but she didn’t have a ton to do here. Maybe an appearance from Christopher Biggins would have at least been more memorable.

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#44- David O’Doherty, Series 24 Episode 5

David O’Doherty HOSTING Buzzcocks. In my head, this was a fantastic idea, and I was kinda looking forward to the show as it got closer, knowing his bizarre humor, especially relating to pandas or megaphones. But when I got there…the producers decided to throw me a curveball, and, like the Mangan show, made it entirely gimmick based, with almost no room for David to be himself and make weird, fun little jokes, because the entire show was beating the one-joke premise that Shakira was supposed to host, and David O’Doherty is absolutely nothing like Shakira. Maddeningly, that’s really the only takeaway from this show that it was the ‘Shakira show’, not the ‘David O’Doherty show’. Again, as funny as he is, especially on shows where he was a panelist, the producers shafted him when it came time for him to host.

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#43- Liza Tarbuck, Series 26 Episode 11

We’ve gotten to the part of the countdown where some of these guest-hosts were so middle of the road, so good-but-passable that honestly anybody could have hosted, and the game would have gone on the exact same way. Liza, despite her enthusiasm and the fact that her birthday was the day after the taping, hosted a very middle of the road show. She was good, didn’t make any wrong moves, but didn’t do anything too memorable, either. When it came time to screw with guest Rita Ora for her dog fixation, it was mostly Jason Manford and Noel Fielding who took the offensive. I’d actually compare her material here to anything from an episode of QI with her- amusing, good for a second’s glance, but nothing too extraordinary.

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#42- Alex James (Series 23 Episode 3)

I’m not gonna sit here and lie and say that Alex James wasn’t happy to be here- he was thrilled, enthusiastically blasting his band’s ‘Song 2’, and handing out his trademark cheeses throughout the show. What keeps him this low is the fact that he didn’t especially do much else, other than cover those same two bases over the course of the night. It’s obvious he loves the show, and he loves the experience, but his reads were slightly askew, and he let Peter Serafinowicz and Holly Walsh do most of the comedic heavy lifting for the night. That’s not to say that James made no impact on Buzzcocks history- his eventual return as a panelist was pretty cool, and his role as narrator of the eventual retrospective series ‘What A Load of Buzzcocks’ was a charismatic touch on the generally pretty good run. But the hosting gig of his wasn’t as good as could have been because it only scratched the surface.

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#41- Will Young (Series 25 Episode 5)

Yeah, you can tell by that first shot that the former Pop Idol winner wasn’t 100% into this hosting gig. Young stuck with a very laid-back approach to hosting, and a general demeanor that said that the producers had waited about 8 years too late to book him. I mean, he was harmless enough, and did well enough keeping the game going, but his autocue reads were less than favorable, and he didn’t seem terribly interested in the proceedings. The one saving grace of his episode was the fact that Phill and the panel were able to rip him a new one over allegedly having sex in a bin, and the fact that Will didn’t really know how to break from his hosting demeanor in order to respond.

That’s all I’ll do for tonight- expect #s 40 to 21 to come very soon. Expect a bit more optimism in those.

The Final Nevermind Watchdown: S28E12, or ‘This is the wrong show for THAT shit!”

(long sigh)

Well, this is it. The last Never Mind the Buzzcocks episode ever. The series went for 28 seasons, three permanent hosts, four permanent captains, and seven Richard Fairbrass appearances. And it wasn’t angry guests, or appalled network execs that did the show in, but a lack of ratings, and a network that wanted to move on to other programming. While I’d normally criticize BBC for not giving Buzzcocks a chance…they’d given them 27.

So tonight’s not only the last episode of the show, but the last Christmas episode of the show. A few returning players are here, like hateable X-Factor judge Louis Walsh and legendary Sex Pistols member Glen Matlock, as well as some newcomers, like comedian Lloyd Langford and R&B/Pop singer Melissa Steel.

Everyone’s in costume, too- Louis is early Yoko Ono, Glen is a ‘Cockney John Lennon’, Melissa’s wearing a puffy coat like the East 17 music video, BOTH PHILL AND NOEL are Roy Wood, and Rhod…is dressed like Mariah Carey.
Noel: “You look like Benedict Cumberbatch in drag!”

Rhod eventually asks Lloyd, in choir boy garb, who he’s come as.
Lloyd: “I’ve, uh, come undercover from Operation Yewtree”

Rhod, for his Album Covers round, asks some good rhetoricals: “Do Daniel Bedingfield album covers always feature a bloke called Daniel…in bed…in a field? Do Garbage covers always have a picture of Westlife on the front?”
And WHO DO THEY CUT TO?
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Rhod: “…I’m waiting for the defense!”
Louis: “No!”

Rhod, on the first album cover, with a guy with a beard looking at the camera: “What d’you think we’d see if we panned back a bit?”
Noel: “Children’s shoes?”
Audience groans at this
Rhod, trying: “Yes, because who doesn’t love…a children’s SHOEMAKER??”

Rhod, motioning to his costume: “It’s about an A-cup girl.”
Melissa: “Oh, you’re bigger than an A, darling..”

Screen Shot 2017-07-28 at 9.44.39 PM.pngLloyd: “I love my rat so much I let him sleep under my nose.”

Screen Shot 2017-07-28 at 9.46.29 PM.pngPhill: “Is that just me, or is that a young Stephen Fry on the right?”

This round was actually really nice, and had a nice, loose feel to it, and we got a ton of personality out of the panelists without needling them. It reminded me of Alice Cooper’s final round, where Wretch-32 just had some really off-the-cuff hysterical answers.

A conversation with Louis about X-Factor stuff leads Noel to bring up Jedward.
Noel: “They were on my team when they were on. They were delightful boys. They ate a whole box of Celebrations before the show, and went out of their FUCKING MINDS…”
That explains a lot.

Phill, continuing reminiscing: “They had a handler with them.”
Noel: “Yeah, a whisperer…”

Phill, to Louis, pre-intros: “I’ll do the bells…and then you do the neighing, and then we’ll really get into it…”
Noel: “This is like the audiobook version of the song…”

Melissa and Noel work really well on Intros. This isn’t a necessarily funny round, but there are some really good intros here. Glen even says one of them sounded exactly like the record.

There’s a nice runner where whenever Rhod announces the scores, Noel overshoots a guess of how many points his team has.
i.e.-Rhod: “PHILL’S TEAM HAS 3, AND….OOOOOH, NOEL’S TEAM-”
Noel: “42!”
Rhod: “FOUR!”

Once again, this ID Parade has a former X Factor contestant, and Phill’s team needs to guess by voice.

#4 actually does a really good, soulful rendition of the line, even if it’s obviously not her.
Phill: “[Louis’] not actually on the X-Factor right now, sweetheart…this is the WRONG SHOW for that shit!”

Noel, as Louis deliberates: “Has this just turned into a game where Louis’ trying to remember someone he knew in the past?”

Okay, even in its final moments, and even in a pretty okay show, Buzzcocks is able to get one more belly-laugh out of me. For Noel’s ID Parade, Rhod brings out a parade of Snowmen, for the, well, The Snowman animated movie. They’re all snowman mascots, except for #5.
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Audience: “..aaawwww…”
Rhod: “Or #5…..DEATH!!!”

Then, as the real Snowman is revealed, Rhod asks him to have a ‘walk in the air’ around the studio with Noel, and they do that for a bit…until Noel ditches him for one of the fake snowmen, as Rhod screams “NO! NO!” from the sidelines.

The snowman motions to Rhod that there’s a white vinyl of the Snowman coming out soon.
Rhod: ‘When’s it coming out?”
Glen, deadpan: “…Christmas…”

Lloyd, as the Snowman joins his panel, and hugs him: “This looks like a Grindr date that’s gone badly wrong…”

Overall: Not the heftiest, but a smooth, fun, inoffensive end to a generally pretty good season. There wasn’t really a standout panelists, though everyone had moments to shine. Glen’s aloofness suited him, and he seemed like he had a nice time. Louis’ always happy to be on. Lloyd had some nice lines, and Melissa was a really cool personality to have on. There were some good moments, though not too much to lift us over ‘passable’, but enough to end the season, and the show run, on something of a high note.

Best Regular: Noel
Best Guest: Louis
Best Runner: Noel missing the score

SERIES 28 SUPERLATIVES!
Best Episode: Episode 4, quite possibly the crowning achievement of the post Amstell-Buzzcocks era. James Acaster had a career performance, there was talk of deep-beavering, HarMar Superstar’s belly, and Rhod’s botched bongo playing, which is probably the hardest I’ve laughed at Buzzcocks in years.
2nd Best Episode: Episode 3, the John Cooper Clarke show, where the punk poet gave this weird amount of energy to a show that clearly didn’t need it, thanks to Amelia Lily’s baby noises and Sara Pascoe’s wonderfully adorable ID Parade performance.
3rd Best Episode: Episode 8. I nearly went with Episode 2, the Seann Walsh and Stacey Solomon show, but Episode 8 is probably the most feel-good show they’ve had that didn’t include Bob Mortimer. Paloma was even more adorable than usual, Loyd Grossman was an odd but game presence, Charlie Simpson kept going after lemon drizzle cake, and there was a great moment with a live rabbit AND with Rhod’s dog Rosie.
Worst Episode: Episode 10. Everything that worked in the first few episodes fell apart, with Rhod’s hosting becoming too lax and strict, and the panel not getting enough time to shine.
Best Regular: Noel Fielding, for taking one last chance to push his bizarre humor to high gear, and win with personality.
Best Comedian Panelist: James Acaster, Episode 4. There’s a ton of competition, but I don’t think anybody had a night like James did. He kept the entire show moving by his command, and was responsible for some of the funniest moments of a truly hysterical show (plus, his weakness is George Harrison music!) Honorable Mentions go to Seann Walsh, Sara Pascoe, Paul Foot, Joe Lycett, Aisling Bea, Sarah Millican, Katherine Ryan, Rob Beckett, Romesh Ranganathan and Bobby Mair.
Best Musician Panelist: Michael Ball, Episode 7. Tougher competition because while there were a ton of nice ones, nobody had a flat-out dominant show like Ana in S27 or Mark Hoppus in S26. Michael Ball is an exception, as he had even more fun than he did on his previous two performances, read some Adult Lit while Phill licked his ear, and correcting people on Streisand lyrics. Nearly went with Nicole Scherzinger, Lethal Bizzle, Charli XCX, Charlie Simpson, Glen Matlock, Professor Green, Matty Healy, Van McCann. Also would have gone with John Cooper Clarke here, but he blurred the line too much between comic and musician that it didn’t make sense.
Biggest Dartboard: Stacey Solomon, Episode 2. As per usual.
Most Confused Panelist: Stacey Solomon, Episode 2. Again, as per usual.
Best Sport: Louis Walsh, Episode 12, by taking all the Westlife slams and X-Factor jokes in stride, and just having a good time.
Best Runner: Rhod’s Invisible Bongos, starting in Episode 2 and popping up in a few more episodes. This one was the gift that kept on giving, leading to that insanely funny moment in Episode 4.

So, that was Never Mind the Buzzcocks. There were highs (Mark Lamarr’s era, the Donny Tourette show, Frankie Boyle), and lows (Series 17, Series 22, Tim Westwood), but I’m still glad I watched through this entire series, and I’ve learned a ton more about British music, British comedy, and toblerone bars.

Next…I’m gonna at least try to finish this series of QI, but I have another Watchdown planned. It’s slightly less expansive than Buzzcocks, but like QI this show is still going, and like Buzzcocks I have different hosts and regulars to combat and clash. Also, unlike QI AND Buzzcocks, I’m not gonna be watching this down for the first time. This is a show I’ve watched for years, and I’ve briefly skimmed through, and I’m deciding that it’s time I do a proper, full rewatch. I may polarize some of the fans who only read the blog for Buzzcocks write-ups…but I’m secretly hoping said Buzzcocks fans also enjoy some short-form improvisational comedy…

Nevermind Watchdown: S28E11, or Have Some Respect for the Host, STEVE!

Tonight, we have the PENULTIMATE BUZZCOCKS. The second-to-last episode ever. And hopefully this one will be a good one, as after a rousing start to the series, things have gotten off the rails a bit. We need to finish strong, not weakly.

None of tonight’s panelists have been on before, but I have heard of one of them, and that’s Steve Aoki, EDM heavy-hitter. Rumer is a 70s-aping pop singer, Yasmine Akram’s a comedian and actress that’s made out with Benedict Cumberbatch onscreen, and Bobby Mair’s our ‘requisite comedian’ for the night.

Rhod reads in Bobby’s intro that he’s Justin Bieber’s third cousin. “IS THIS TRRRUE?”
Bobby: “Yeah…I wouldn’t lie to you just to get on the show…”

Rhod indirectly says that Bobby’s not gonna meet Obama anytime soon.
Bobby: ‘What are you talking about? I have a trustworthy face! When you look at my face, you think…’babysitter’…”
Noel: “No, when I look at YOUR face, I think ‘first person to get killer in a horror film…”

Screen Shot 2017-07-26 at 8.53.20 PM.pngBobby: “Look at this team, though. Look at us! I feel normal for once! I mean, we look like the extras in a heroin den…”

Rhod says that Phill’s ‘Blurred Videos’ group is the most successful Danish band.
Rumer: “Is it…ABBA…but they’ve moved to Denmark…?”

The first round is kind of a dud, because we don’t get a ton of talk about the artists, or the progression of the round.

Phill and Rumer’s first intro is a mess, and Rhod basically says “Yasmine, I’ll give you a point and a biscuit if you get that one…I have the card in front of me and I can’t even recognize it.”

Rhod says that he’ll give Yasmine the point if she names literally any song.
Yasmine, trying: “Oh, it’s…David Bowie’s…favorite song…Man on the Moon.”
Rhod: “…I just gave you pretty much a free point there. All you had to do was mention a song…and you couldn’t”
Bobby: “I got this one…Candle in the Wind, Diana’s funeral version.”
Rhod: “…of course, THAT IS A SONG…you can have a point.”

Rhod mentions the name of the Earth, Wind and Fire song, and someone from the audience cheers.
Rhod: “WHAT, DID *YOU* GET IT?”
Phill: “SEE, THEY GOT IT!!”
Rhod: “Ladies and Gentlemen, we’ve got special guests- Earth Wind and Fire are in tonight…”

Yasmine: “Ah, I only know it when the singing comes in…”
Rhod: “Yes, that is the problem with the intros round…”

Rhod reveals that Bobby got beaten up on stage once.
Bobby: “Yeeeeah, a man punched me in the face a lot…the audience just WATCHED…which made me think that maybe the gig wasn’t going as well as I thought it was…and then one of my friends came on and pulled him off…”
Phill, taking this the wrong way: “Good work!”

Steve, giving Bobby a clue for the Bob Marley intro: “What are you thinking about, when I go like that…and I’m pulling my hair like this?”
Bobby: “…having sex with you from behind?”

Bobby trying to get the Marley song seems to be a herculean effort, because he doesn’t know music. Unlike, say, Paul Foot, Bobby sifting for clues is a bit funnier because the joke isn’t exactly belabored, and he seems pretty earnest about wanting to know it.

Bobby, as the real ‘Could You Be Loved’ plays in: “I’VE NEVER HEARD THIS SONG BEFORE!”
Rhod: “I wish he was joking.”

Steve, pre Flying Lizards intro: “This is a tough one, but you might get it because you’re weird and it’s a weird band-”
Bobby: “Oh, so I’M WEIRD NOW! I don’t know music, but I have WEIRD KNOWLEDGE!”

Bobby, with the envelope covering his face: “I DON’T KNOW!”
Yasmine: “YOU DO KNOW! EVERYBODY IN THE WORLD KNOWS THIS!”
Bobby: ‘SHUT UP…Is that YASMINE?’

ID Parade happens halfway through the show. I’m hoping this show turns out to be bottom-heavy, because that Intros round picked up a TON of slack.

Phill: “Uhhh…it’s #2, but…actually, no. It’s #2.”
Rhod: “How do you know that?”
Phill: “Because that’s Linda Lewis!”
Rhod: “Okay, let’s see if you know ALL their names!”

Noel’s ID Parade gets probably one of the biggest ID Parade gets, Terry Chimes, the drummer for the Clash. Phill’s probably going nuts in his chair.

Bobby: “5 looks like a Butcher…3 looks like Steve Buscemi if things didn’t work out…”

Steve has taken the defensive for most of the show, but when Terry Chimes comes out he gets some rock and roll chills, and talks about how the Clash are one of his influences, even doing a bowing motion when the real Terry is revealed. Steve’s having a quieter show, but he’s anything but a NPC.

Even better, Phill manages to get Terry, one of his idols, to join his team for Next Lines. That’s gotta be awesome for Phill.

PLUS…Steve mentioned earlier that he enjoys ‘cake-ing’ his fans, and one of his fans is on hand as a member of the Terry Chimes ID Parade…who’s come here to be caked by Steve Aoki. That’s fantastic. If it weren’t for a dead first round, this show would be a truly great one.

As Steve is deliberating, Rhod’s standing behind him…and Noel is sloooowly trying to tip the cake onto Rhod’s face. They have to stop and laugh at the botched attempt, which got a bit of cake on Rhod’s jacket.
Steve: “I didn’t do anything! I swear!”
Bobby: “HAVE SOME RESPECT FOR THE HOST, *STEVE*…”

As Steve gets up in front of the lineup with the cake, Bobby runs up to take #2’s spot. Man, things just got ELECTRIC right at Intros.

Steve, not knowing it’s a harder cake, ends up projectile launching the cake at #3’s face, making his face even redder than it was.
Noel: “#3’s gonna have to go to hospital…”

Steve, after an insane final round: “…I can’t believe what just happened.”
Phill: “Oh, so YOU throw a gateau at a person, and suddenly the SHOW’S weird?”

Overall: Started absolutely lifeless, and slowly, surely, it became a wobbly but still electric show. It helped that Bobby Mair was injecting the show with life from moment one, but an insanely good Intros round, and an even better ID Parade, boosted the momentum. Steve had a fun show, if slightly disappointing given that he’s Steve Aoki, Yasmine had some nice moments, Rumer took a backseat, and Dr. Terry Chimes deserves a bonus shout out for helping keep the momentum going.

Best Regular: Noel
Best Guest: Bobby
Best Runner: Bobby doesn’t know any music

Nevermind Watchdown: S28E10, or We Happen to Know that it’s Multiple Choice..

Now for another Buzzcocks, this one being the third-to-last in the series, and a return appearance for Kym Marsh from Hear’Say, a debut for the wonderfully dour Romesh Ranganathan, plus appearances from Charlie and Jake from Rixton, and Van McCann, lead singer of ‘Soundcheck’ rockers Catfish and the Bottlemen. That’s a cool enough panel, I’d say.

(FYI- I’m not sure which one’s Jake and which one’s Charlie, because unlike Daphne & Celeste, and unlike Rizzle Kicks, I can’t really be bothered to tell them apart.)

Charlie, setting up a story: “We were in this very small studio, VERY SMALL-”
Noel: “How small?”
Jake: “…bout the size of this room.”
Noel: “…sure it wasn’t a cupboard?”

Rhod: “I, and this may surprise a few people, I am a massive fan of Coronation street.”
Van: “Yeah, I’m a massive corry fan m’self.”
Rhod: ‘Alright, let’s have a Corry-off.”

Rhod, to Van: “Do you agree, as a fellow Corry fan, do you agree…that Kym’s character…is a MISERABLE SHIT…”
Kym even laughs this one off.

Rhod even says that he was gonna do a montage of all the ‘Kym being miserable’ moments on Coronation Street, but they wanted too much money, so he does the entire montage himself, just yelling ‘OHHHH GOD’ and stuff in different voices.
Rhod: “OHHHH GOD, OHHHH GOD, STEEEEEVE, OHHHH GOD- And I’m only in January of this year- OHHHHH GOD…”

There’s a great little moment where Rhod mentions that Van tried to get a demo tape to Serge from Kasabian, and Van motions to Noel and goes “it’s his best mate, so gotta be careful…”

Van: “We went to a…man, what’d’you call where you buy a generator from, you know-”
Rhod: ‘A shop?”

This week brings back the Rhod-infused ‘it wasn’t me’ clip, culminating in ‘IT WASN’T BLUDDY ME, ALRIGHT??”

And, as usual, one of Rhod’s offhand accusations gets me: “Did Steppenwolf disband after they accidentally stepped on a wolf?”

Romesh admits that he looks like a photo-negative version of Phill. Man, if Nish Kumar said something like that, the comments section would crucify him.

Rhod, after a Romesh anecdote: “You know what I just remembered?…you got some options, it’s multiple choice..”
Yeah, another mistake from Rhod, but it’s done in such a characteristic way that I can’t really stay mad at him.

Rhod: “Let me just bring in the other team here. Don’t give away the answer, if you know it…”
Noel, dumbfounded: “…well then what are we supposed to do, then??Just stare at you?”
Rhod: “I just wanted you to be a part of the quiz!”
Noel: “What, do we hold up thought bubbles?”

Rhod asks his question for Noel’s team.
Noel, after a beat: “…we happen to know that it’s multiple choice…”

One thing I’ve noticed about this episode is that it’s much less structured and more out-of-sorts than the rest of the show, just sort of going off the rails at any point, and not even in a particularly fun way.

Jake, on Bono’s shoes: “Yeah, I remember hearing about this one. He fell off the stage, that gig…he went too close to the Edge…”
The audience groans. Jake playfully tells them to fuck off.
Jake: “…thank you very much, thanks for coming out…”
Rhod: “This is why we brought two of them, so one of them could leave after a joke like that…”

Rhod, as Romesh started as a misguided rapper, says that all of Phill and Rixton’s will be rap tunes,
Phill, immediately: ‘I don’t know this one at all, so you two can crack on…”
Romesh, as Phill leaves: “Are you really doing this?”
Phill: “What’s the point of having two extras if I can’t nip off?”
Noel: “Look at them two, home alone…”

As Rhod, once again this series, refuses a point for Romesh due to specificity.
Phill: “You don’t want to get on the wrong side of MC Ranga!”
Romesh: “…yeah, I will BANGA!”
Rhod: “…not sure who the victim is in that…”

Romesh: “…is it Wild Thing by Tone Loc?”
Rhod: “…it is-”
Romesh: “IF YOU GO TO THE OTHER SIDE, MATE, I WILL LOSE MY SHIT!”

Rhod, on Noel and Van’s first intro: “…it sounds like a Welsh blacksmith singing along to ‘Fanfare for the Common Man’…”

Romesh, on the Little Mix track: “That sounds a bit dark and heavy though…”
Phill: “Just now when you said the words ‘Dark and Heavy’, I thought that was the name of our cop show…”

Noel and Van’s Mamma Mia intro is so iconic that the entire panel comes in on Van’s cue. It’s a pretty nice intro, too.
Plus, Kym nails the first lyric of the song, and Phill keeps the intro going. It’s a really sweet moment.

Screen Shot 2017-07-21 at 10.59.26 PM.png“#3, Push-kin comes to shove-skin”
There’s a nice 10 seconds of Noel’s team laughing at this guy’s appearance.

Romesh’s stare down, and subsequent freestyle rapping, of the ID Parade gets some points for being funnier IMO than any of Paul Foot’s.

Overall: A noticeably weaker installment, awkwardly done thanks to some botched presenting from Rhod tonight. There had been some things that weren’t really problems before, but tonight his strict scoring and lax hosting impeded what could have been a fun show. The panel was nice, with Romesh having the standout night, and the other three doing merely alright. But there was just so much that didn’t work tonight, which is sad, because I don’t want this series to end on a bad skid of shows.

Best Regular: Phill
Best Guest: Romesh
Best Runner: OHHHH STEEEVE….

Nevermind Watchdown: S28E09, or It’s That Kind of Quick Thinking That Got Me This Job!

FOUR. EPISODES. LEFT.

AUGH.

This one’s allegedly a weird one, and from the lineup I can sorta tell why. Yes, Rob “What were you doing looking at my dad?” Beckett is here, but we also have Charli XCX, who’s collaborated with Iggy Azalea and did an SNL gig a few years ago (with Martin Freeman). And we have Phil Daniels…who played the lead in the Quadrophenia movie, and did the spoken part on Blur’s Parklife song? This is a ‘bottom of the barrel’ choice that could be good, like John Cooper Clarke, or just weird. Also, we have cellist Grace Chatto, from Clean Bandit. So quality is all over the place tonight.

Charli says she’s really nervous. Phill says that a good way to relieve the tension would be to lick Noel’s face.
Charlie: “Aw, gosh, my dad’s in the audience…”
Noel: “It’s alright, he licked me earlier tonight…”

Grace: “I didn’t even invite my dad…”
Phil: “My dad would be here…but he’s dead.”
Rhod, working an insane tonal shift: “…RIGHT, PARTY ON, DUDES!”

Grace: “I actually spent an amazing night with [Craig David]-”
Phill: “Oooh, hello!”
Rob: “Normally, he gives you a week, not a night.”
Rhod: “What night was it? Was it…”
David clip: “MOOOONDAY.”

Grace talks about Craig performing their song…to them.
Grace: “When it was over, Neil, our violinist, said it was the greatest moment of his entire life.”
Rob: “…what else has Neil done with his life?”

The whole panel’s making fun of Craig’s entirely white house.
Rob: “If the microphone’s white, how did he know where it was?”
Phill: “He got attacked by a polar bear the other day, did you not hear about this?”
Noel: “Are you sure this HAPPENED? You sure you weren’t looking at a Craig David coloring book?”

Rhod: “I challenge you all to not think of another ‘white house’ joke….let’s all just sit here until another one comes…then we’ll take out this gap and look really witty…”
Noel, finally: “…did he come in on a white horse, naked, so it looked like he was just floating?”
Rhod:
Screen Shot 2017-07-14 at 9.57.41 PM.png

Rhod: “…by the time we take that gap out, that is gonna look ELECTRIC.”

Rob, trying to guess the 7 Days artist: “Is it a music person?”
Rhod: “It is…welcome to the show…”

Rhod’s positioned in front of the Mariah Carey photo
Rob: “…looks like you’re head’s getting squeezed into her boobs.”
Rhod: [reaches for her boobs]
[Bongo noise plays in]

For a bonus point, Rhod offers up another question.
Rob: “D’we buzz, or do we just…?”
Rhod: “You don’t buzz, because ya haven’t got anything to buzz with…”
Phill: “We’ve got a redundant button here, and I’m quite enjoying it…”
Rhod: “Alright, then, fingers on buzzers. No sound comes out, but I’ll try and LOOK.”
Screen Shot 2017-07-14 at 10.04.51 PM

Rob prefaces the intros round by saying he’s gonna be shit at this.
Rhod: “If you get any of these right, Rob, I will make available to you…any sexual favor you want, FROM ME.”
Phill: “…I am not entirely sure that is an incentive.”

Rhod: “I am yours for the night, if you get this.”
Rob, to Phill and Grace: “Is it hard?”
Rhod: “…not yet.”

Rob’s not getting the first intro, which is done pretty well by Grace and Phill, and Rob’s just passing off.
Rhod eventually comes over and whispers: “…you have to pretend this is a big deal, because it’s Grace’s bloody song.”

Phill, on Noel and Charli getting up for Intros: “Oh, it’s like the bit at the end of the Jungle Book where Mowgli’s with Shere Khan.”
Screen Shot 2017-07-14 at 10.13.03 PM.png

Noel, taking this a step further: “You sit there, I’ll stand over here, so it’ll be like Life of Pi..”

Phil, guessing randomly for Intros: “Turning Japanese!”
Noel: “…that is a better song…”

Phil, on the Say You’ll be there intro: “I’ll Give You Everything, Spice Girls.”
Charli raises her hands in the air triumphantly, and the audience applauds.
Rhod, standing up: “NO NO NO NO NO NO…”
Even Grace is going ‘THAT IS NOT WHAT IT’S CALLED!”

A huge scuffle breaks out, with Grace yelling at Charli, Charli yelling at Rhod, Rhod yelling at Grace AND Charli, Phill yelling at everyone, and Rob yelling ‘I DON’T KNOW WHAT’S HAPPENING!’

Rhod decides to let Grace, an unabashed Spice Girls fan, do the intro with Noel and Charli. It leads to a great moment, where all three are doing a nice intro, and Phil…without any real options, just gets up and starts going ‘BONG BONG BONG BONG…’

ID Parade, Noel: “Well, Phil’s getting strong vibes off of #5.”
Rhod: “Oh, really? What kind of vibes you getting, Phil?”
Phil: “…strong ones.”

Noel: “I feel like #1’s got the boy band…nose.”
Rhod: “The challenge is not to build one band member out of everyone else’s face.”

Rhod…tells us a story, that’s 100% true.
Rhod: “We’d booked the drummer from Bad Manners…but he got the wrong day…we’ve got no lineup for you this week.
However, Rhod is able to pluck someone out of the audience who’s been in a band, and concocts an ID Parade out of absolutely NOTHING. It’s absolutely fantastic.

Hell, Rhod even invites CHARLI’S DAD, who’s still in the audience, to be a part of the lineup. This is fantastic!

Then, once he gets all 6 set up, Rhod realizes- ‘OH, I’VE GOT TO WRITE THE ‘IS IT #1, #2’, THAT SHIT!” So he races back to his desk. Meanwhile, Phill’s team is still blindfolded.
Noel: “Phill, you look like a ninja turtle…”

And then…Rhod, one last time, asks the guy what the name of the band was.
Phill, with his glasses over his blindfold: “IT’S NUMBER FOUR!”
And…they switch numbers.

And then, Rhod starts announcing the numbers…and Phill’s team is still blindfolded. So Rhod just breaks, looks at the camera, and motions for them to take off the blindfolds. This was a hot mess to film, but it’s a FUN hot mess.

Now, Rhod has to completely improvise the ID Parade intros
#1; Dr. Zero
#2: “Dr….BEARD. IT’S THAT KIND OF QUICK THINKING THAT GOT ME THIS JOB!”

Phill: ‘When were they active? Normally they give us a time-period.”
Rhod: “…it’s very difficult to ask them now, to be honest.”

Phill just guesses 2.
Phil, who’s SEEN THEM: ‘CAN WE HAVE A GO?”
Rhod: “SHUT UP!”

After Charli’s literally screamed 3 straight next lines.
Phill, a la Comic Book Guy: ‘SHOUTIEST…CONTESTANT…EVER.”

Overall: Not to the high caliber of the season, and generally kind of boilerplate for most of the show, with some exceptions. But that ID Parade round was the right kind of insane.  Yes, Phil and Rob had some nice moments, yes the Intros kerfuffle was great to watch, but it was a strangely edited show that had one takeaway, the ID Parade, that the rest of the show couldn’t match up to. The editing on the panelists wasn’t great, even if Charli was having a phenomenal time, and Grace was in a great mood. It was a flawed show, but not near enough to bring Series 28 down.

Best Regular: Rhod
Best Guest: Charli
Best Runner: Craig David’s extremely white house.

Nevermind Watchdown: S28E08 or GIVE BRITAIN WHAT THEY WANT, LOYD!

I blink and we’ve got 5 Never Mind the Buzzcocks episodes to go until the end. I feel like I’m enjoying the Rhod Gilbert series too quickly. Ah, well, onto another one.

Tonight on the panel, we’ve got long-awaited returns from former Busted member and current posh person Charlie Simpson, Canadian comedian and utter goddess Katherine Ryan, NOEL’S WIFE Paloma Faith, and a first appearance from TV personality and gastronome Loyd Grossman.

Okay, first of all…Loyd’s accent is confusing me. It’s this incredibly weird amalgamation between a British accent and an American accent. It’s not even like John Barrowman’s or Brian Molko’s, where one accent sort of won over and banished the other one to the shadow realm or something. Loyd is trying to make both his American accent and his acquired British accent work at the same time. Dear lord.

Loyd talks about the crowd at Glastonbury chanting ‘WE LOVE LOYD’S TESTICLES’ to the tune of some aria.
Noel: “…d’you have to produce them at that point?”

Paloma talks about doing a gig with Prince, and him inviting her back to his hotel for ‘lemon drizzle cake’
Katherine: “Was he giving you any flirty vibes?”
Paloma: “Oh, not even remotely…”
Charlie, being Charlie: “…was it good lemon drizzle cake?”

This new round involves an entire panel putting on a bizarre article of clothing, and matching it with an artist, which leads to this visual:
Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 9.54.57 PM.png

Phill: “There is nothing here that I haven’t seen in Fielding’s wardrobe…”

Paloma: “Are they all separate, or are they one act?”
Rhod: “no, they’re all separate artistes-”
Phill: “No, we are…ONE BAND. One unforgettable band…we open for Loyd Grossman every year…”

Phill, for his article, guesses “Kenny Rogers having’ a nervous breakdown…”

Rhod asks what happened to Prince on the set of his 1999 music video.
Phill, without options: “…he was crushed by a hamster.”

Noel has an amazing, early-QI-esque point: “If a smoke machine gives you diarrhea, does it come out like a blizzard?”
After the strained, winced response, Noel goes: “…that’s a proper joke from ME. I can LEAVE now, probably…”

On Prince’s lips getting stuck in his guitar.
Katherine: “Hey, stranger things have happened. One time Beyonce’s weave got stuck in a fan onstage, and what did she do? She kept on singing.”
Phill: “And that fan’s name…was Barry.”
Noel: “And in court, when the judge said ‘and did you bite at Beyonce’, the fan went:
Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 10.07.41 PM.pngScreen Shot 2017-07-10 at 10.07.48 PM.png
Rhod: “THAT’S TWO! TWO PROPER JOKES!”
Noel: “I’M GOING!”

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 10.11.23 PM.pngPaloma, feeling up her Gaga balls, goes, as she comes up, “I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts…”

Loyd, with his cool whip bra, tops a cake for Rhod, though the stunt doesn’t go as planned, as Rhod walks away, going ‘it’s actually become rather offensive.”
THEN, Phill just walks over, going ‘feed me Loyd.”
Loyd, ever the gastronome, is refusing, saying it’s horrible for him, but Phill just keeps insisting.
Paloma: “GIVE BRITAIN WHAT THEY WANT, LOYD!”

Rhod, as Phill sits on Noel’s lap to catch whip cream from Loyd Grossman’s bra: “I promise you, it won’t get any weirder than that this series…I promise you, this is the benchmark for weirdness.”

Phill, of course, takes a mouthful…and then Noel chimes in with ‘LOYD’S MILKSHAKE BRINGS ALL THE BOYS TO THE YARD…”

And then, Noel chucks a piece of lemon drizzle cake across the room, and just as Phill goes to grab it, Charlie…again, being Charlie, stuffs it in his mouth.
Charlie, not at all aware: “oh, sorry mate.”
Phill: “There are MANY PEOPLE on British television you can do that with…but when there’s cake coming at me at 120 miles an hour… That’s the first time I’ve ever been cake-blocked.”

Rhod, being an insanely harsh judge, deducts a point from Paloma’s team for getting a Gaga bauble into the lemon drizzle cake. The audience, spurned on by Loyd, boos this.

Noel: “That’s the kind of thing your teacher does at school, and then all the kids whisper ‘I think his wife’s left him!’

Rhod gives Charlie, being a multi-instrumentalist, a bunch of contraptions combining instruments, and lets them do intros with them. This seems like a shitty idea, but the intro Phill and Charlie do for Jay-Z’s ‘N-Words in Paris’ makes up for it.

Thanks to the top-heavy (no pun intended, Loyd) edit, we only see this first intro from Phill and Charlie, but dare I say that it was worth it.

Paloma, after reading the first intro, in a plummy voice: “…We have our fingers WELL AND TRULY on the pulse here, LET ME TELL YOU…”
Phill just doubles over laughing at that.

Yeah, thanks to the edit, both teams only get one intro. Odd, but…thanks to the quality of the episode, I’m not worried.

For Jive Bunny, Rhod threw in some pun options, like ‘#2, Chive Bunny’ and ‘#4, Live Bunny’, which is, in fact, an actual rabbit.

ID Parade:
Loyd: “I rather fancy #5, actually.”
Phill, background: ‘hello…”
Rhod: “Yeah, well there’s no time for that.”

#3, drive-by bunny.
Noel: “3’s just sort of drifted off…staring at the audience.”
Rhod: “That’s because he’s carrying a fully-weighted car door…”

Paloma: “#2 has these new converse on that he’s worn specifically for the show.”
Rhod: “Listen, the ‘look at shoes’ is quite a useful thing in a normal lineup. When all of them have got rabbit heads on…I’d say you’re looking in the wrong area.”
Loyd: “Can we see what shoes the rabbit is wearing?”
Rhod, after a sigh: “…CAN WE HAVE A LOOK AT THE RABBIT’S SHOES?”
Noel: “Better not be DMs…”
Paloma, taking a look: “AWWW…UGGS!”

Noel, making a final decision: “It’s #4.”
Paloma, hugging Noel: “I LOVE YOU FOR THAT!”

It’s great- Rhod announces who the real Jive Bunny is, Noel goes over and shakes his hand…and then goes over to pet the rabbit.

Phill, knowing his panel, ID Parade: “UK Garage…Charlie?”
Charlie, the posh guy: “….”

Next Lines: “There’s a she-wolf in the closet.”
Phill: “…AND SHE WANTS…WOLF-SEX.”

Phill gets pissed at Rhod for yet another visual clue (this one being Eye of the Tiger), so he goes “I’m with Paloma, now. In fact…I’M GONNA HELP THEM.” And he goes over to Noel’s side for the round.

Rhod’s visual Next Line for Noel’s side is a lot better, as he gets a LIVE dog dressed in camouflage, for ‘Dogs of War’…and then throws a bunch of red hearts on him for ‘Hounds of Love’. Plus, it’s Rhod Gilbert with a dog, which adds to the already-high adorable factor of this episode.

Plus, after a while, the dog messes up Rhod’s Next Line cards, so Katherine comes over and starts handing some to him. To quote Phill on the post-Moyles show, ‘everyone’s so NICE…ON THIS SHOW…”

Plus, Rhod reveals that the dog from Next Lines was actually his dog Rosie, which makes this whole thing even cuter.

Rhod, motioning under the table: “Charlie, could you get this sponge away?”
Phill: “NO, DON’T LET *HIM* NEAR IT!”

Overall: Another show where everything just fit together, but also the single most adorable Buzzcocks in history. On the same show, you have such adorable items as Charlie Simpson eating lemon drizzle cake, Loyd Grossman being Loyd Grossman, Noel Fielding petting a rabbit, Paloma Faith…existing, Rhod bringing his dog out, and everyone banding together for a really fun Next Lines. Everyone had great material, everyone had great lines. The best show probably belonged to Paloma, because she’s always so amazing whenever she’s on. Just another amazingly feel-good show.

Best Regular: Phill
Best Guest: Paloma
Best Runner: Charlie and the cake.

Nevermind Watchdown: S28E07, or I JUST GOT THAT!

Onto yet another Series 28 Buzzcocks. This series is making a case for one of the best full-season showings in the show’s history, going up against Series’ 4, 5 and 20. How the hell is this happening at the very end of the run?

They managed to put together some more really nice panelists, too- Lethal Bizzle, who was really game the last time he was on, Sarah Millican, who’s always fun, Michael Ball, now sporting a goatee, who knocked two episodes out of the park, and Gemma Cairney, representing Buzzcocks’ occasional inclination to just have a TV presenter and DJ on every once in a while.

You can tell this is gonna be a fun one when Rhod cracks up literally as he’s doing his opening standup. He’s already kinda gone, and nothing’s happened yet.

This week’s Rhod-improved round clip is “Workin'” “NINE” “to 5…”
Rhod, afterwards: “…that was that…”
and then he breaks. Again.

Among his pre-round suggestions are ‘Do Steps now come ’round and help old people get into swimming pools? Did Hall and Oates later develop a cereal for people too busy to eat in the kitchen?”

One of the options for ‘What is Vanilla Ice doing now’ is that he’s become a motivational speaker, who’s even done a TED talk, entitled ‘Stop, Collaborate and Listen’.
Michael: “…I just got that…”
Rhod: “You don’t need to tell us when you get it, just laugh…”

Rhod, to Michael: “Have you got chandeliers in your house?”
Phill, who KNOWS the guy: “HE’S GOT CHANDELIERS IN HIS *CAR!*”
Rhod: “He’s got chandeliers in his underpants!”
Phill, taking the easy joke: “Yeah, plenty of ball room…”
Michael, post-applause: “..OH! I JUST GOT THAT!”

Michael reveals that all of his characters have to smell a certain way.
Sarah: “Have any of your characters ever smelt of fart?”
Michael: “Well-”
Phill: “That was a very memorable Les Miserables…”

Gemma: “I went to a panto once, and the Cinderella let out a fart that everybody could hear.”
Rhod, taking the one good panto joke: “Did you yell ‘IT’S BEHIND YOU’?”

Rhod, after the fart digression: “…I’m not sure if you’ve remember that we’re on television, sorry…”
Michael, breaking, to Noel: “I can’t believe I’ve just done that!”
Rhod, trying, rightfully, to get the game back on track: “What do we think about Vanilla Ice?”
Michael: “Aw, who cares?”
Rhod, under applause: “‘Who cares, let’s have a farting competition!”

There’s a great moment where Phill keeps trying to get Sarah to do ‘both parts’ of the Dion/Streisand song, by singing one of the parts. Phill gets a lyric wrong…then Sarah gives him the right lyric…then MICHAEL gives them BOTH the correct one. It’s hysterical.
Michael: “If you’re gonna do musical theatre, GET IT RIGHT!”
Rhod: “Oh, look at that, Michael Ball is turning in his live grave…”

Lethal, deliberating the Public Enemy question: “I dunno, mate, I’m stuck between the monks and the ostrich…”
Phill: “And we’ve all been THERE…”

Rhod, opens up, for a bonus point, and asks what everyone on the panel did before becoming famous.
Phill: “…Michael Ball used to kill people for the Corleones..”
Michael: “DAMN!”
Phill: “I’ve said too much…”
Rhod: “His weapon of choice…the bum-trumpet.”

One of the options is that somebody did erotic fiction
Phill: “I can imagine Millican doing that. ‘OOH, AND THEN HE ‘ELD EM…WITH ‘IS BEEG….MEATY HANDS….and he…TOOK ME OUT FER OUR SUPPAH…”
And then Phill AND Sarah absolutely break. My gosh.
Sarah: “…You’re right, all of my eroticism was based on food…”
Noel: ‘Every word in Geordie sounds funny. ‘POOUULSAAATIN'”

And then Phill AND Noel start attacking Rhod while still using the Sarah Millican erotic voice. AND THEN…THEY START BEATING DOWN ON RHOD’S BALL-BONGOS!

I’ll say that the bongos subscribe to the law of diminishing returns, but it’s still pretty damned funny whenever they’re rolled out.

AND THEN…Rhod gets everybody to read excerpts of the steamy adult fiction. Gemma’s given a very funny passage. Michael, complete with reading glasses, tries reading his without cracking up, but Phill just starts licking his ear. Michael, whilst reading, just side-eyes Phill, to make sure this is all really happening.

Lethal, reading his: “She ran her hands up and down his shaft.”
Phill, taking this the wrong way: “SHAFT!”

And then, as they hand the book off to Sarah, Phill goes ‘this is the one we’ve all been waiting for…”

Sarah: “…Clive…”
The whole room breaks EVEN HERE. DEAR GOD.
Sarah: “I’VE ONLY SAID ONE WORD.”

Lethal says that working in the file factory gave him a phobia of Sophie Ellis Bextor.
Rhod, with the button in hand: “And if he hears her music one more time, he’ll kill himself.”
They’ve pulled back. We all know what’s about to happen.
[music plays in]
Lethal: “….TURNITOOOOOOOOFFF!”

Lethal and Phill’s intro combo is really nice, and they do a really good version of Easy Lover by Phil Collins. Again, Lethal’s just really happy to be here, and just throws himself headfirst into everything.

Phill, on Michael and Noel getting up for intros: ‘LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, KENNY ROGERS AND ALICE COOPER…”
Both of them die laughing at this one. Phill’s having a career show
And then Michael leads Noel in a brief rendition of ‘Islands in the Stream’

And then, of course, Noel and Michael are great at intros. I would have preferred pairing him with Phill again, but he works well enough with Noel that it’s not a problem.

We have the THIRD CONSECUTIVE GARLICKING in ID Parade. Big Ben Ofoedu, from Phats and Small, who was on a bunch of times, is in the lineup tonight. Just like last time, Noel’s team has to locate him solely on his voice.

Gemma seems to think it’s #3, when..it’s pretty obvious that it’s 4. Gemma even says she wants 3 on her show every day, but when #4 pops out, Gemma just drops.

Rhod, to the real Buddy Ascott: “You’ve played with the Clash, the Buzzcocks, Ronnie Wood.”
Buddy: “Yeah…not all the same night, but…”

Instead of Next Lines (!!!!!!!), Rhod intros a ‘DENCH NEW ROUND’ called Brand or Band, where the panel has to determine whether a name is of a band or a brand. Seems fine enough.

I don’t think this round worked as well as Rhod wanted, as they barely got any in due to time. Other than lamp shading that Pork Queen is Sarah Millican’s nickname, not a ton happened.

Overall: Another truly strong Buzzcocks, possibly better than the last two. It helped that the ‘jobs’ round got everyone out of control, and led to Sarah Millican (and everyone) reading adult lit, but Gemma and Lethal had some really nice moments, Sarah was herself, and Michael Ball possibly had a show better than his last two. The slight deviations from format worked, and it was just a very loose, very fun show.

Best Regular: Phill
Best Guest: Michael
Best Runner: Michael farting.

Nevermind Watchdown: S28E06, or ‘There You Go, End With Some Dignity’

Onto another fun-filled Rhod Buzzcocks. This one features Lisa Stansfield, who hasn’t been on since the pregnant Claudia Winkleman episode, funny Irish lady and panel show staple Aisling Bea, a return for Scissor Sister and unexpected panel dominator ANA MATRONIC, and a return for effetely funny friend of Tony Blackburn Joe Lycett. That’s a very, very nice panel.

Rhod: “And we start the show this week with the IDENTITY PARADE??”
Phill: ‘WHAT? GILBERT, YOU’RE MAD WITH POWER!”

This is an insane ID Parade twist- the guest for Phill’s is Dane Bowers- he’s been on a billion times. But the trick is that they need to figure out solely from the singing voice which one is Dane. That’s pretty interesting.

It’s amusing as hell hearing the ones who can’t even sing. #2 makes Lisa cringe a bit. #4 sounds downright demonic, and is just ridiculous from the start.
Ana: “Definitely #4…”

Screen Shot 2017-07-02 at 11.23.40 PM.pngAisling: “They look a bit like the Village People, and then their mad friend at the end…”

Aisling, with the help of Joe, gets them all to do the ‘YMCA’, except for 2, who just looks around, bewildered.
Phill: “No, #2 is the ALL-SEEING EYE OF SARUMAN…”

Lisa, as opposed to her usual somber mood, goes over to #4, being over like he’s on the loo, and draws a little poo underneath him. Time really helps her smooth out, I guess..

It’s amusing as hell, because Aisling wants them all to sing other things, but all they can sing is ‘I WANNA GET FREAKY WITH YOU’. Heck, Rhod asks #4 to do it again, and he cracks up halfway through.

And once Dane breaks through the silhouette, Noel goes over and takes his spiky helmet, saying ‘I’m having this’.
Aisling: “Aw, if he’s getting’ the hat, can I have the angel wings?”
Noel, as Joe runs over: “Joe, leave the trousers on him…”

Rhod asks if Dane’s still touring.
Dane: “Yeah, still touring, DJing…otherwise just showing up on TV dressed as a bellend…”

And NOEL’S ID Parade has the second Garlicking in a row, this one also coming from the early days of Buzzcocks: Ashley Slater from Freak Power, who was literally on Episode 2 of the show, and did an insanely good rendition of Blue Monday with Phill, is on the ID Parade, and he’s obviously #2.

Once Rhod talks to him afterwards, he shows a ton of the laid back, droll, ironic humor he showed back in S1. Obviously times are a bit tougher, though.

Joe does a really nice impression of the X-Factor announcer…prompting Ana to wonder who that is. Pretty soon, Aisling’s doing a surprisingly good Louis Walsh impression. Just a very nice, fun dynamic.
And then Ana asks what impression Lisa Stansfield can do…and she tries doing a Jane Horrocks impression, but Noel even says ‘that’s the same as your OWN voice!”

Rhod: “Joe doesn’t like other people doing impressions.”
Joe, X-Factor voice: “GET OFF MY TURF.”

Joe: “Can you imagine if you were having sex with [Peter Dickson] and he was just going ‘AAACH’, like that?”
Rhod: “Yeah, that would be the worst thing about having sex with him, his voice.”
Joe, summing up the room’s reaction: “awwww, poor Peter…”
Rhod: “Quite right, that was awful, I’d LOVE to have sex with you, Peter Dickson. I take it all back, Peter, I’d like nothing mo-”
Phill: “AND NOW, THE SOUND OF PETER DICKSON HAVING SEX WITH RHOD GILBERT!”
Joe, Peter voice: “AAAAH, I’M ABOUT TO CUM, RHOD!”

After the 10 second clip from D’Angelo’s ‘Untitled (How Does It Feel)’
Joe, ever the thirsty one: “…I’m gonna need a minute.”
Rhod: “allow me, Joe.”
Screen Shot 2017-07-02 at 11.44.51 PM.png

Aisling: “There’s probably a guy out of frame yanking on his balls so he can hit the high note.”
Rhod, hearing the word balls: “WAIT A MINUTE!”
And then Rhod pounds on D’Angelo’s balls as the bongo noise returns. Heck, the audience even gives some recognition applause.

Noel, channeling Bill Bailey: “i think…the reason they’ve cut this video there is that he’s a mermaid.”
Ana: “MerMAN.”

Rhod is extra strict in his intros judging with Aisling, nearly docking a point as she gives ‘Teardrops’ when it wasn’t plural, and throwing it over when she doesn’t get the actual title to the Vengaboys song.
The audience, sure enough, boos Rhod.
Rhod: “This isn’t a pantomime, calm down…”

Rhod: “I’m sorry, but it’s come from the top.”
Aisling: “What, JESUS told you to give me…”

Rhod: “In 2003, Frontman 3D and Damon Albarn paid for a full-page ad in the NME, against the Iraq War. Unfortunately, George Bush was still reading Smash Hits at the time [breaks] and the war went ahead as planned [breaks harder]”

Ana’s rendition of Larger Than Life by the BSB consists of a lot of misplaced loud screaming, and one or two confused looks to Rhod. Can’t write someone like her.

Joe, on Noel’s intro: “The last time I’d had a man in a glittery top sing at me, I’d been on Grindr earlier…”
Noel, as a Grindr profile: “I like anal and dressin’ up as Tron.”

However, Ana and Noel’s rendition of, I assume, the Norman Cook remix of Brimful of Asha, completely makes up for the misplaced BSB screams. It’s pretty damned perfect.

Rhod, on the BSB: “In 2006, Kevin Richardson left the band to pursue other interests…and he’s now in the music industry…”

Right before next lines, Phill and Lisa share a brief staring contest, with Lisa just wiping out with a scary expression. Man, she’s having so much fun tonight.

Rhod: “So I’m moving to New York.”
Lisa: “….when?”

Rhod: “And you can hear it in my accent when I talk.”
Phill: “AY’M FROM THE VALLEY!”

Rhod, for a visual clue, throws a bucket of sand on his head.
Joe: “…I have a serious mental health problem?'”

Rhod basically keeps everyone late until they guess the correct song title, as he put in too much effort to look like that for no reason.

Aisling guesses it’s Bastille.
Aisling: “It was really worth the prop, Rhod, I think it went really well…”

Rhod just sits there, covered in ash, embarrassed that the gag went wrong.
Phill: “Rhod Gilbert exposes crippling drug habit on television.”

Sure enough, Noel hands his helmet over to Rhod, and Aisling gives him the wings, saying ‘here, end with some dignity.”

Overall: Better than Episode 5, though not as good as 3 and 4…but STILL PRETTY DAMNED GOOD! The entire panel had something funny to do throughout the show, without a single dull moment. Ana was a few pegs down from last time, though she didn’t have Peter Andre to screw with. Lisa was just having a ball. The comedians won this one, with Joe having some hysterical moments, and Aisling making a name for herself outside of QI and tussling with Rhod for points. Solid show, complete with a really nice ending capper, and a great, but odd, ID Parade.

Best Regular: Phill
Best Guest: Joe
Best Runner: Peter Dickson