From an episode literally about smashing ewoks into a lake of farts to a more cultured, sophisticated QI, featuring Clive Anderson and Sandi Toksvig, a pairing made famous when one was calling the other short, and the other was calling the first one bald. And in the other corner, we have German comedian Henning Wehn. This should definitely be different from E7.
Stephen: “Now, tonight’s show is about inattention…and ineptitude. Alan, what is tonight’s show about?”
Alan, caught off-guard: “…inattention and ineptitude.”
KLAXON. RIGHT OFF THE BAT.
Stephen announces that this show will be about unfairness, so something will be fair…so he starts the show by announcing that Sandi has won with 54.
I love that Henning’s buzzer is a high-pitched ‘DON’T MENTION ZE VAAAR’. I’m half expecting Sean Lock to pop out and start miming machine gun fire.
Right off the bat, Sandi gets a klaxon by saying that a statue, marked as ‘the puritan’, is of…a puritan.
Alan: “THAT is unfair..”
Stephen reassures Sandi that “It doesn’t matter, because you’ve already won.”
Sandi: “You know, I’m quite relaxed about the whole show…”
With Henning’s first line, I already like him: “Puritans, they regarded luxury as sinful, didn’t they? So some of them set off for America, and the others opened B&Bs in Britain.”
Alan: “In this painting, did that Native there…did he bring that tree, to hide behind?”
Stephen says that a man in 1600s Connecticut was put to death for ‘lying with a beast’, or in this case a local pig.
Clive, putting it together: “He laid with a pig…”
Sandi: “Did George have his end away with a piece of pork?”
Clive: “No, he fancied a bit of crackling, that’s all…”
Stephen says the pig was brought on trial, and both the pig and George were executed.
Sandi: “Did the pig just shyly look at George in a kind of…’I remember that night’ way?”
Alan: “The pig came in and said ‘THAT BASTARD! HE NEVER *RANG*…HE JUST *USED* ME!”
Sandi: “Did you know that in Alabama, it is illegal to wear a fake mustache in church THAT CAUSES LAUGHTER.”
Clive, who is KILLING IT tonight: “they nabbed Groucho Marx on that one…”
(By the way, we’re 11 minutes in, and Henning’s said one thing. Quiet fellow, but funny when he does talk.)
Alan talks of a radio interview with an actress who’d been playing Lara Croft (after Jolie…and before Vikander?)
Alan: “Cut a long story short, they airbrushed her nipples out of the poster. Her nipples were showing through her costume…”
Clive: “But this was RADIO…”
Sandi tells an anecdote about doing a sitcom with ‘the lovely Mike McShane’. With Sandi and Clive in the same room. Man, this reminds me of a watchdown I should be doing fairly soon…
Sandi: “Mike was playing a sort of sex expert, and we were figuring out what would be in his apartment, and he would have a coat rack made entirely of penises. And this went to the Channel 4 lawyers, who said ‘yes, well you can have the penises, just as long as they’re not erect.’, and I said ‘…well, how will it work as a coat-rack, then…”
The panel spends about 15 seconds laughing at this, as Stephen tries to demonstrate how to hang a coat on a bunch of flaccid penises.
Sandi, after the laughter subsides: “…not my specialist area, but nevertheless…”
Stephen, in talking of the prince of Wales, reminds the audience that it’s only a recent development that child abuse has become frowned upon, and that it’s now illegal.
Sandi: “IT IS??? [cringes] Just on the way here, a small urchin annoyed me…”
Stephen has a snafu about Sarah Ferguson: “As that would the day that she would be marrowing- sorry, marrying…or, MARROWING Prince Andrew.”
Alan: “She loved marrowing Prince Andrew”
Sandi: “I think marrowing is illegal now.”
Clive: “Now, that’s a great phrase. ‘Well, then, how about some marrowing!”
Sandi, summing up the show so far: “D’you know…this is the most fun a Danish person has had with a German since 1945…”
Henning, pressing his buzzer: “DON’T MENTION ZE VAAAR!’
Henning has a very nice rant about how British people are so entitled about a war that they were too young to fight in, and you can tell he’s very passionate and very enthusiastic, but he’s not finding a ton to relate to in terms of the questions tonight.
Stephen talks of the train companies’ strategy of making the people on the third class cars look dirty so people would pay for 1st class.
Clive: “DON’T SAY THIS OUT LOUD…because i’m sure Ryanair will have an idea…”
Stephen explains how weird it is to here a German talking about cricketer terms, such as a ‘Yorker’.
Henning: “What’s a googly, then?”
Stephen, knowing what’s coming, cracks up: “A googly is, uh…”
Sandi talks of a cricket game on St. Helena, “and they were playing on a pitch which was by a cliff edge, and the gentleman ran back to catch the ball…and DID catch it, and then fell unfortunately. It was put down as “caught [dead]”
Stephen talks of Oakland Raiders defender Lester Hayes, who covered his hands in ‘Stick-Em’. As the son of a Raiders fan, I’ve heard this one a few times before.
ANNNND THEN, Stephen talks of 3-foot-5-inch pinch hitter Eddie Gaedel of the St. Louis Browns, another one I’ve heard about.
Henning, after his ‘DON’T MENTION ZE VAAAAR’ buzzer sounds: “…ah, I forgot about dat…”
Clive: “We haven’t…”
On why the lepers were given bells:
Stephen: “It was to attract people, to give them arms…No, NOT ‘GIVE THEM ARMS’ IN THAT SENSE…”
Stephen: “I mean, most of us are unlikely to catch leprosy even if…even if we LICK a leper..”
Sandi: “Now THERE’S a game show…”
Clive: “Why do I see Noel Edmunds presenting that?”
Overall: A merely alright show, though, as it’s Series I, better than most merely alright QIs that have been. My main gripe is that the panelists weren’t exactly unified. Sandi would tell her various interesting stories, Alan would make cracks about the behind-screen paintings, and Henning would occasionally say something relevant and funny. The only person who truly worked on connecting and making jokes was Clive Anderson, and sadly this is one of Clive’s last QIs. I always enjoyed how different Clive was here than he was as the strict, stoic disciplinarian on Whose Line.
Best Guest: Sandi
Show Winner: Sandi
Best QI Fact: The dirty third class
Best Runner: mentioning ze war.