Another John Sessions episode, yes, but this one has some highlights: a return engagement for standout guest star Griff Rhys-Jones, and the first S2 appearance of Paul Merton. On the other hand, we have a debut appearance from a rather problematic and edgy-for-edgy’s-sake American, the wrongly dour Ron West, tonight representing Second City Chicago, though WL would have more luck picking from their Toronto branch. He’d be a bit more problematic when paired with the rest of the US crew (Colin, Ryan, Brad and Greg), but here, he’ll be…alright?
Authors: An Englishman and an Australian Batsman Meet Captain Pugwash
Ron: William Goldman
Griff: Edward Lear
John: Philip Larkin
Ron’s doing William Goldman. Goldman wrote the Princess Bride. The Princess Bride has a supporting turn from Mel Smith. Mel Smith’s comedy partner is standing next to Ron right now. SMALL WORLD, RIGHT?
(Thankfully, Paul’s nice enough to explain to Ron who Captain Pugwash is)
Clive: “So, we’ve got cricket…a children’s programme you’ve never seen…it should be fairly easy for you…”
Griff has a bit of a hard time making his limerick, cracking up throughout, so Clive has to cut him off when he can’t rhyme with ‘Aussie’.
Not bad, but they lost the plot. Paul did make a conscious effort to bring it back to Pugwash, but John, as usual, went for style over substance.
Film and Theatre Styles v1: John and Griff (the last men on earth)
John starts off as John Denver, one of the last two men alive.
Griff: “Well, then, I suppose the germs didn’t get up there [to the Rockies]”
John: “Oh, no, I’m too bland to die..”
This scene works because John and Griff work off each other well, especially in the Noel Coward style, knowing when to talk. It also helps that John is a bit intimidated by Griff, so he’s not keen to talk over him like he does everyone else.
Also, nice to know we have people who know what a spaghetti western is- Griff goes into a gruff, thick Italian accent in this one.
And with silent movie, both men excel, doing the sort of jerky motion that befits the genre. John and Griff mime eating their shoes, like Chaplin, which is cute. Then, John hands Griff his sock…and Griff shoves it in his mouth.
BUZZ. END OF GAME.
It takes Griff about ten seconds to get the sock out of his mouth, as John cracks up.
John: “You’re regretting that now, aren’t you?”
And Griff has to walk to base with John Sessions’ foot germs all over the inside of his mouth. A truly classic moment.
Great game, too, even up to that pivotal moment. But of course, it’s best known by that end bit, which cracks up the whole room, as well.
John: “It’s all wet, now…”
Clive: “Yes, uh, eat your heart out, Mel Smith…”
Film and Theatre Styles v2: Ron and Paul (in a joke shop)
Clive: “Cronenberg? What, is that a type of lager?”
What, did Videodrome not get over to England? Good.
Ron describes the old ‘bloody soap’ prank kit
Paul: “Wouldn’t it be the same if you just hid a razor blade in the soap?”
Clive: “Tom and Jerry”
Paul, to Clive: “There’s no DIALOGUE in Tom and Jerry, is there???”
Ron, smirking: “in this one, there will be…”
Ron: “JERRY, YOU-”
Paul, not liking this one bit: “WHAT’S THAT, TOM?”
Paul: “No, it’s nice of us to have a chat, like this, because usually we’re enemies, aren’t we? I mean, I can’t stand the bulldog either, eh? Why does he talk like Jimmy Durante, that’s what I wanna know…”
Clive: “Let’s go onto Horror-”
Ron, still kneeling: “Oh my god, my legs have been cut off…”
That game was a bit out-of-sorts, as there wasn’t really a scene established other than them being in a joke shop, and Ron broke once or twice, but there was something very silly about it that it didn’t completely fall apart. Paul had some nice moments, and Ron at least kept things going like a champ.
World’s Worst: Entertainment Act
Clive: “No playing yourselves please, and away you go…”
Paul: “Ladies and Gentlemen….IT’S JIMMY TARBUCK!”
Griff, perfect deadpan: “…I sing, I dance, and I eat socks…”
Griff: “…Nancy and I have put together…”
Ron, sort of summing up his whole bit: “Laugh, or I’ll kill myself.”
Griff: “I am the singing surgeon. Uh, a song, a smile, and a hysterectomy!”
Really nice round. Again, John’s are too long, but everyone else did really well. This is also one of the rounds that Ron thrives in.
Props: John and Paul vs.
George and Ringo Griff and Ron
You can tell the WL crew was strapped for cash in order to come up with props. This week: a spacehopper vs. a hula hoop. What possibilities can come of these???
Paul: “Doctor, can I talk about this vasectomy you gave me…”
John, handing the prop to Paul: “it’s a baby…”
Paul: [bounces it]
Good enough round, but I didn’t write a ton of them down.
Remote Control: wildlife
Ron: The Twilight Zone
Griff: In at the Deep End
Paul: Points of View
John: Tutti Frutti
Paul: “…I’ve got a letter from a badger in Cheshire…”
Ron’s Rod Serling impression…is really friggin’ good. Even Clive rings the doorbell instead of the buzzer in anticipation.
Paul: “And I’ve got a letter here from an ostrich somewhere that says Paul Daniels is crap.”
Not a bad round, better than other playings so far, though John, AS USUAL, got way too much time for nothing.
Party Quirks: Ron Hosts (?????)
Paul: Must name a fish in every sentence
Griff: slowly turning into a dog
John: Bavarian folk dancer
WHY WOULD YOU LET RON HOST WHEN YOU HAVE PAUL MERTON IN THE BUILDING????
Actually…Ron’s not doing too bad of a job here, guessing Griff easily, and doing well faciliating, and…guessing John after literally one line of dialogue (a treatment usually reserved for Steve Frost).
What I will say is that Ron seemed to guess people too quickly without letting the characters form, but it was a good enough playing.
Overall: Another particularly solid show, with some great performances in unlikely places, some great pairings that I wasn’t expecting, and our first truly classic moment in Griff eating John’s socks. Paul had the best night, elevating some quieter games, and hitting the jugular whenever he could. I’ve come to expect that Paul’s usual mood is a more passive, anti-character one, but it works here, and it compliments somebody like John, who tries TOO hard to be a character, perfectly. Griff had some strong moments, though not wholly as strong as last time. Ron had a decent first outing, despite losing it a bit during his scene showcase. John had the worst night out of everybody, and his punishment would be another episode in Clive’s doghouse.
Show Winner: Griff
Best Performer: Paul, for having the best moments and lines
Worst Performer: John, for barely having any notable moments tonight
Best Game: Film and Theatre Styles v1. Good chemistry is had, socks are eaten.
Worst Game: Authors. Couldn’t get going.