QI Watchdown: 12 (Illumination)

A few lasts here, as this is Jack Dee’s last QI appearance, and Rich Hall’s last appearance until much later, which is sad, because we’re gonna lose two of QI’s resident grumps, but on the plus side…we still have Chris Addison for a little while. I know people don’t seem to like him, especially on Mock the Week, but he’s an amazingly funny fellow who’s won several emmys for directing Veep, and even if he’s mostly gonna be playing the defensive tonight, he’ll definitely be a good presence against said grumps.

The buzzers are cool tonight. Jack’s is a lightsaber noise, which he uncharacteristically gets a kick out of, and mimes wielding. Rich’s is a loud clang/thunder clap, which he shrugs off.

The show-long runner involves a set of symbol cards, which the panelists have to decipher. Alan, of course, has the right idea.
Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 5.05.33 PM.png

Alan: “THAT’s Lady Gaga…”

Also, as Stephen explains the Nobody Knows card, and Chris and Alan hold theirs up, the NOBODY KNOWS sound effect blares in, giving Alan a nice heart attack there.

Stephen’s going on about the invention of lamps and bulbs.
Rich: ‘Well, what did moths do before then?”
Stephen: “I mean…how come moths don’t come out during the day if they’re so fond of the bluddy light…”

Chris: “You know, Edison electrocuted an elephant- this is one of my favorite facts of all time-”
Alan: “I think you know this because you saw it on QI…”
[or Bob’s Burgers…]
Chris: “Yeah, the problem with joining you people so late is that you’ve already covered basically all of human knowledge…”
Alan: “I’m listening to the story going ‘…now this rings a bell…'”

On the people that turned on the lights in Blackpool, including Jayne Mansfield, Michael Ball, and Dale Winton
Rich: “Ohhh, they should have electrocuted him…”

Stephen, going on: “But it cost them 50,000 pounds worth of ele-”
Alan, misreading: “TO GET DALE WINTON??”

Chris: “Pancho Villa actually took his name from his grandfather, which is one of the best names I’ve ever heard-”
Rich: “Aston.”
Chris, getting it: “…Aston Villa? No, it was Jesus. Jesus Villa, which just sounds like the Pope’s summer home…”

Stephen says that Pancho Villa’s war was staged by the American film business. For more information, watch the 2003 HBO film ‘And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself’. No, seriously. It’s got Antonio Banderas in it.

Chris Addison’s tactic, which is a lot more visible now that Dara’s not with him, is very information based, with a ‘this is what I know about the topic’, but not in the Sessions way of being pedantic.

There’s an even better conversation on what Pancho Villa’s last words were, as he was killed while in his car.
Jack: “It may have just been ‘reverse’.
Rich: “or ‘CUT!'”

Rich: “I think the number one rule of war photographers is ‘always run towards the shot when everyone else is running from it’…which, I think, weeds a lot of people out right away…I’m gonna shoot WEDDINGS.”
Dear god, I missed him..

On the ‘transparent coat’ subject, Stephen and Alan bring up the invisible Ford Anglia from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, as well as some Romulan technology. Lots of very geeky moments, especially considering the lightsaber moment with Jack.

AND THEN, Stephen mentions Jim Lovell, and Rich is very quick with ‘oh, the Apollo 13 guy…’. Man, the references are just FLYING today. Add that to just some really cool stuff i’m not writing all of down, and this is a pretty cool one so far.

I’m very disappointed, because Chris brings up that his main subject is the moon, and I was expecting Rich to pipe in and go ‘WHICH MOON ARE WE TALKING ABOUT STEPHEN?’ I mean, we just had one earlier this season, so it could be worse.

Stephen: “Tell me something interesting about the original geishas.”
Jack: “They’re all men.”
Stephen: ‘YES!”
Jack: “…oh god…”

I’ve noticed that this season there’s been at least one instance per episode of introducing a visual, or tactile, aid for the panelists to expand upon a subject with. In talking about the hydro-gel beads, there’s a bowl of water with a bunch of them in front of each pairing, and they’re allowed to explore. This is slowly working toward the weekly prop-segment Stephen will institute next series, but it’s still loose enough to give good moments.

Jack, on the hydro-gel: “Might have a play around with that later…”
Stephen tries to move on, but can’t, as the whole place erupts, as Jack cheekily looks around.
Alan: “Jack’s gonna put his willy in it!”
Jack: “I’ve already put it in that one…”
Alan: “…it’s weird, because when he put it in, you couldn’t see it…”

Stephen: “Why can’t blindfolded people walk in a straight line?”
Alan: “Can’t see where they’re going…..NNNNNEXT QUESTION!”

I love how in the midst of being grumpy and pervy, Jack Dee manages to have a brilliant point about why people can’t walk in a straight line while blindfolded. Again, beneath the character’s exterior is a legitimately smart person.

And now, one of the greatest klaxons in the show’s history. Stephen commands the panel, the viewing audience, and everyone watching, to close their eyes and point to where they think is Northeast.
And then everyone in the room, INCLUDING ME AT HOME, gets a klaxon for going the wrong way.

Stephen: “You were pointing down for some reason.”
Alan: “Nonsense, I was just stretching me leg…”

Stephen: “Closest was Chris, I think.”
Jack, after Chris’ huge day: “You’re not gonna tell me Chris gets points for THAT as well…”

Stephen: “What use, to a pilot, is a Morning Glory?”
Alan, already seeing this the wrong way: ‘AAAH…”
Chris: “Well, when your joystick fails…”

Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 11.12.11 PM.pngThe audience reacts even more now that THIS is on the behind-screen.
Alan: “I think it’s the co-pilot’s joystick as well…”
Chris: “That’s why they always sound so relaxed! ‘Morning ladies and gentlemen….mmmmmmm….”

Stephen: “What can you tell me about an Indian Granny Cloud?”
Alan: “…is it a fart, in a restaurant…”
Jack: “Or do they go up in the sky and they can’t remember what they went up for?”

Stephen: “Name the largest black body in the solar system.”
Rich: “Oprah Winfrey”
HUGE audience reaction.

Stephen: “How long does light from the center of the sun take to reach the earth?”
Alan: “Now……….I know this….it might not be in the center because that’s a trick, but light from the sun takes 8 minutes.”
Stephen: “…..mmmmmmmm”

Stephen: “How many earths would you be able to fit in the sun?”
Alan: “Four. EASILY,”

Overall: Light and fun, if uneven. The fact of the matter is you had three people playing very separate games, to varying degrees of success. Nobody really came together on anything. I mean, it was a funny show, had some good moments, but the collaborative force (that will likely be very present next show with Phill, David and Jo) was gone. Jack had his best show in his last show, Chris had some great lines, and Rich, in his last show for years, was quieter than he’s even been.

MVP: Jack
Best Guest: Chris
Show Winner: Rich
Best QI Fact: hydro-gel
Best Runner: blindfolded walking in a straight line.


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