I’ve been cranking these out of late, so here’s another one, seeming to mirror the theming of Girls & Boys, featuring David Mitchell as our anchor, Sue Perkins, once again, as our comic relief, and newbie and NMTB favorite Katy Brand as our ‘guest star’ of sorts. I’m not sure if she appears again, and if so it’s fleetingly, so this’ll be our taste of her.
From here on out, we do see more of the infamous David Mitchell beard, which has graced our televisions predominantly ever since.
All the buzzers are songs with J-Names: Katy’s is Dolly Parton’s Jolene, Sue’s is Jean Genie by David Bowie, David’s is Jennifer by Donovan (I think?), and Alan’s is…well, the Top Gear theme, which he celebrates with a Clarkson impression, but it’s just a cover of Jessica by the Allman Brothers, which Stephen quizzes the group on. It does help to know a thing or two about music.
Stephen: “Who dies if they don’t have sex for a year?”
Sue, smirking: “…is it Russell Brand?”
KLAXON. BECAUSE OF COURSE.
Sue reacts with shock, as she didn’t think she’d get one so early on, and jokingly beats herself up on the desk.
Sue: “GOODNIGHT! BYE-BYE!”
Stephen: “Now what’s a male ferret called?”
Already, the panel is just cracking up Stephen with how far off they are on what a female ferret is called, guessing all the wrong J names. Katy even buzzes in, and points to her buzzer, as a guess.
After saying that female ferrets die if they don’t have sex for a year, internally
Stephen: “So what you have to do, one of two things, you could-”
Alan: “Shag it-”
Stephen: “Spay her…”
Stephen, then the audience, goes back and realizes what Alan just said, and breaks a bit.
Katy: “I was gonna say that…”
Sue: “Treat her nicely…”
Stephen: “It will be the ULTIMATE sacrifice.”
Stephen: “No, find a hob [male ferret] for her-”
Katy: “And then cook it…”
Stephen: “Or you can give him injections…”
Sue: “It’s easier to have sex with it, really..”
Stephen: “He also bites the back of the neck of the hooked female-”
Sue: “Sounds like fun…”
Katy: “Sounds like Russell Brand…”
Stephen: “And it comes from the latin Ferito, which means-”
Alan: “HAVE SEX WITH ME OR DIE!”
Christ, this episode so far…
Stephen, on Mad Jack: “He also liked to get up in the middle of the night and shoot ducks, while naked.”
Sue: “Was the nudity really necessary?”
David: “Probably thought ‘they’re naked, why shouldn’t I be?”
Katy: “Is it wrong to start slightly falling in love with this man?”
Stephen, on Mad Jack Churchill: “He was the only reported soldier during WWII to go into battle armed with…what?”
Alan: “A teapot!”
Sue: “A dessert spoon!”
Alan: “Sorry, tea COZY!”
Sue: “Cheese slicer.”
Stephen: “No, a bow and arrow.”
Sue: “….DID HE KNOW WHAT DECADE, or even what CENTURY he was in?”
Stephen: “He was a gallant, chivalrous man…”
Sue, miming a bow and arrow: “MARVELOUS STUFF!”
Stephen mentions he also carried a sword with him, and David, ever the master of logic, dissects the redundancy of carrying a bow and arrow AND a sword, and not being able to use both at once.
Stephen: “He also said that if you SMILE at the enemy, then he’s less likely to shoot you.”
Sue: “I wonder how HE died?”
Stephen: “How did Queen Jenga arrange her harem?”
Everyone in the panel starts cracking up, knowing the obvious joke
Sue: “Three rows that way, then three rows that way…”
Alan points out, in the picture of Queen Jenga, that she’s wielding a bow and arrow AND has a sword holstered, just like Churchill, which is the right kind of coincidental.
Stephen mentions that Jenga had men fight to the death to sleep with her…and be killed after sex.
Sue: “So then, what’s the incentive to enter the competition, then?”
Stephen: “Well, you’re killed either way, so either you’re killed and get a shag, or you’re killed…without a shag.”
Sue: “What kind of shag would you have if you knew you’d be murdered at the end of it. I mean, that must have been some tense coitus…”
Stephen: “Mister Tiggy would probably be very shrivelly, wouldn’t he?”
Sue completely doubles over at that, as would most people. The rest of the panel is just shaking their heads.
Sue: “Ooooh…too much Mister Tiggy information.”
Stephen says the game Jenga’s name is Swahili in origin.
Alan: “Swahili for TIIIIMBEEERRRR…”
Katy talks about leaving her kids to play Giant Jenga, and then coming back after some wine and-
Alan: “Blood everywhere?”
Alan: “One hanging underneath…’where’s Timmy?’ ‘I dunno’ ‘HE’S UNDERNEATH THE JENGA!”
David: “That’s an extremely middle-class form of neglect…”
Stephen says there are different variations on jenga
David: “What about a lego version? Then…”
Stephen: “Well, the only limit…is your imagination…”
David: “SURELY that’s not Jenga’s slogan, is it?”
Stephen: “No, I think their slogan is “THIS SUMMER….LOGS WILL FALL…”
Stephen: “How many pieces are there in Jenga?”
Katy: “NINETY? GOTTA BE A NUMBER DIVISIBLE BY THREE!”
Stephen: “See? Intelligence.”
David: “…well, ninety IS a number divisible by three…”
Alan just glares, kinda betrayed, at Katy for a moment
There’s a fantastic interlude, where Stephen says, truthfully, that any multiple of nine’s digits, added, is nine. And Alan does all the math in his head, up to 180. He does say that at 189, it becomes trickier, but Stephen adds the sum of THAT, 18, and we’re back to nine again. Very fun math moment.
Stephen tells a story of a Chinese pianist who had his arms burnt off, and had to learn to play piano with his toes.
David: “You sure he hasn’t got his head in the wrong place?”
Alan: “He’s got his hands down a pair of trousers. ‘LOOK AT MY TOES! LOOK AT MY TOES!”
David: “He’s SAYING he can play the piano with his feet- he’s a man who has a penis that looks like a face.”
David: “I feel sorry for the other finalists to be Queen…”
I’m not even giving context for this one
David: “Quite lucky, I think, that nothing germinates from a discarded kebab. Our city centers would be even worse…”
[This is almost Rich Hall-esque]
Stephen: “How did the first person to notice they were colorblind realize they were colorblind?”
Katy: “Did they say ‘ahhh, the red shoots of spring…”
David slowly increasing his output this show, in a conversation about this man, who bought his mother red stockings, thinking they were blue.
David: “BUYING YOUR MOTHER PANTS IS NORMAL…but buying her RED PANTS. THAT’S WEIRD!”
Stephen, now talking about blind snooker players: “It’s to the point where at times they have to ask the referee-”
Katy: “Which is the table and which is the ball?”
Stephen then talks about cops playing ‘car snooker’, by chasing red cars until they do something wrong, then blue cars, and so on.
Alan: “Let’s all get a white car…so they can all just fuck off…”
Oh, I’m so glad Alan’s still on this show.
This is one of those episodes where the panel dynamic is so strong, and all four are just bouncing off of each other, that Stephen has to sort of try not to crack too much before going onto the next prompter read.
Stephen: “So what is it that people can’t become if they’re colorblind?”
David: “Snooker Players! Wait, no!”
Stephen confirms that colorblind pilots are alright, but only if they’re not the ‘worst kind of colorblind’
Katy: “Can’t tell the difference between the blue sky and the green…”
Sue: “And the gray tarmac…”
David: “Yes, the very worst kind of color-blindness, or BLINDNESS.”
All three guests are just teeing off. It’s fantastic!
Stephen: “What begins with J and was used by the first man to row the Atlantic to attempt suicide.”
Alan, not referencing E1: “…jizz.”
Sue, cracking up: “suicide by jizz?”
Stephen: “As a child, he knicked a pistol from his scout leader and fired shots at his fellow scouts, and was expelled from-”
Sue: “And got a badge for it!”
Only Sue laughs at this one, but it really got me.
The jolly jape is doing paper airplanes, which Alan and David do well at. Katy’s lands behind her, and Sue’s lands in the central QI circle, which cracks her up.
Stephen surprises the group by saying the most effective paper airplane is cylindrical.
David: “What, you just scrunch it up and chuck it?”
Stephen does demonstrate, as it must be done in a spiral, like an american football, and he gets some pretty nice yardage on it.
Three episodes after making fun of Johnson’s tourette’s, Stephen confirms that Samuel Johnson did not, in fact, write the first dictionary. So, so much for that. Imagine if this show went out before Jargon.
One of the early Johnson words was ‘mouth-friend’, which Alan’s confused by.
Stephen: “Don’t we all need a mouth-friend?”
Alan, on another one of these words: “Isn’t shapesmith just a rubbish blacksmith?”
As Stephen is about to announce the scores, he does a contented sigh in that’s so flagrantly over the top that it sounds more like he’s just saying “EEEEEEEE…”. Everyone has to stop and go ‘WHAT?’ Sue and Katy even exclaim “HE’S DIED!!!” It’s sort of like the one time he literally just had a random ‘OHOHOHOHOHO’ laugh, and only Sean Lock called him off on it.
A note that Stephen has, for the most part, given up a longform anecdotal finale, in exchange for an Ellen Degeneres-esque “be kind to each other”, which is just the right amount of wholesome.
Overall: Dare I say it, an improvement on the show I was actually looking forward to, and the best show since E1. The dynamic was out of bounds, with all four giving fantastic material and collaborating. Katy Brand’s debut didn’t feel like one, as she was really excited to be there, and clearly knew Sue from somewhere (as did Liza, although…maybe Sue’s just naturally personable). David and Sue had very funny nights, though Sue may have had more outgoing moments. David took a bit more time to stand out, and was, like Phill last show, kind of to himself for the first half. It also helped that there were several very funny topics for all four to collaborate on, to the point where Stephen had to attempt herding them away, which was amusing in itself.
Best Guest: David
Show Winner: David
Best QI Fact: female ferrets dying without sex
Best Runner: Russell Brand jokes.