QI Watchdown: J13 (Jobs), or Old Jeremiah Software

Yeah, I know the QI ones are going really sluggishly, but my WL writeups have an audience, and these, like I used to, I kinda just do for fun.

This seems to be an interesting lineup though- David Mitchell’s our anchor, Sarah Millican’s our supplemental comic. Good to see Sarah back after a strong showing in Invertebrates.

The other panelist tonight is an interesting case- Richard Coles, who was in the Communards with Jimmy Somerville, then became a Vicar and now is a sort of…religious activist that also does radio shows? I dunno how to classify him. But he’s here, and he’s made a few appearances over the years.

The buzzers, and intros, are based on former jobs they all had- As David was a former cloakroom attendant, his buzzer is a toilet being flushed, which he has a bewildered reaction to. Richard’s is an out-of-tune sax. Alan’s is a street barker hawking sandwiches.

This goes into a conversation about how the cloakroom David attended was actually a room FOR cloaks…which leads to the revelation that Richard actually HAS a cloak, being a reverend.
Sarah: “Does it have pockets?”

Stephen, going by his only reference for priests, asks if he’s ever done a full on Exorcist style exorcism, as a joke
Richard, smirking: “…well actually I HAVE done a couple of those…”

Richard is already doing well with anecdotes, talking about a colleague who treated a guy who thought he was God, and asking him hard questions about the fabric of the universe only for the guy to reply “I never talk shop.”

Alan’s about to answer a question, but he’s distracted by the silliness of his ‘SANDWICHES’ buzzer, and he buckles a bit

He gets to the cluster of words to define, sees the word ‘ripper’, and guesses: “…a ripper…is a murderer…”

David: “These days, murderers are very amateur, aren’t they? It’s very difficult to make a living out of it…”

David: “Burgrailer, presumably that’s someone who grills burgers?”

Stephen: “A burgrailer is someone who removed burrs from the teeth of combs-”
Alan: “Oh, I thought it was gonna be from the queen mother…”
HA

On a Willyer
Richard: “Is that someone who was in both the Black Eyed Peas and the Wurzles?”
Man, Richard’s impressing me so far
Stephen, getting it: “WILL I ARR!”

Stephen mentions Worf from Star Trek: TNG
Alan: “It always surprises me, the moments you dip into popular culture, which ones you choose!”

Richard has a cool name-checking moment, talking about going on tour with T’Pau and PIL, and having breakfast in between Carol Decker and John Lydon

This leads to Stephen talking about being in a hotel with Black Grape, featuring three people I’ve covered on Buzzcocks (Shaun Ryder, Bez & Sausages enthusiast Kermit)
Stephen: “It was so…rowdy on the hotel floor”
[Alan cracks at the word choice]

Sarah: “A nut-steamer…is that somebody who works in a spa?”
I missed Sarah

Stephen explains that these professions came from the 1890 census, and some, like ‘macaroni loper’, have never been explained
David: “Cause nowadays in the census, don’t people put that their religion is ‘Jedi’, as a sort of joke? Maybe the macaroni lopers are having a laugh at our expense

Richard, because he seems to have an anecdote for all of these, explains that he had a guy in prison who wanted a Jedi chaplain
Richard, somehow with a straight face: “In the end we found a Shaman…in Lincoln, who did the job”
Stephen: “and did he have a little lightsaber?”
Richard: “No, he had this…shaking stick. But we thought that was the closest we could get…”

Alan: “Star Wars will outlive all the major religions…”
ONE PERSON CLAPS. This cracks everyone up.
Alan: “…there’s this one little ewok in the back…”

Stephen: “How does snake-farming work?”
Alan: “…ya plant them in the ground…”
Sarah: “Unless they’re doing the actual farming. That’d be tricky, just put ’em on a tractor and watch ’em go..”

Stephen, after Richard talks about snake handlers in American religious practices, jokingly goes “WHY D’YA HAVE TA DRAG RELIGION INTO EVERYTHING?”
Richard has the best reply: “…sorry, bishop’s watching..”

Alan talks of having a green chile on holiday in India, one that wasn’t as edible, “and I could see three Indian ladies peering their heads ’round…virtually nudging one another…cause they clearly put these out as a trap!”

Richard talks of Icelandic people serving petrified shark extract to tourists “as a joke”
Stephen: “And we’re supposed to feel sorry for their financial crisis…UP YOURS, BJORK.”
David: “Were they worried that tourism was gonna get out of hand on that?”

The whole ‘soil scavenger’ bit is very lowest-common-denominator, and while there are jokes, they all hit kind of pathetically because it’s all about poo

Sarah, on autocorrect: “If I wanna type the c-word, and I do sometimes, it comes up with Cynthia, and that’s my mother-in-law’s name…and she’s lovely, so it seems so unfair”
Richard: “Let’s hope it doesn’t work the other way ’round”
[I did not predict Richard would be so good at QI]

Richard is getting so close to the answer of the ‘first software engineer’ question with really reasonable guesses
Alan: “MISTER SOFTWARE.”
Stephen:
Screen Shot 2020-02-15 at 12.29.51 PM.png
Stephen: “…so disappointing…”
This is the QI equivalent of “everyone got CLOSER AND CLOSER AND CLOSER, and then SUDDENLY they’re denying wearing bedspreads!”
David: “…OLD JEREMIAH SOFTWARE…”

Alan, out of nowhere: “Where would we be without trees?”
Stephen has to stop in order to react to that

Stephen asks for some famous Butlers
Richard, knowing who he’s dealing with, guesses “JEEVES”
KLAXON

Then, the shot of Stephen from Jeeves & Wooster comes up, and the second he sees it, he mutters “oh, Christ”

Stephen talks of being asked to address the Oxford union
Alan: “They have asked me, but I always thought they’d ask me just to go “PFFFFFF..WE HAVEN’T ENTERTAINMENT, PFAHAHAHA…ASK HIM SOMETHING!”
Stephen: “They’d BOW DOWN to you…you’re thinking of someone from Essex”
Alan, still going: “HE DOESN’T KNOW!”

Stephen’s story goes towards the introduction of one Jacob Rees-Mogg, a figure who represents such villainy that I’d hoped he wouldn’t be mentioned on QI. Thankfully, they go on and make fun of him for being a bit posh, here

Stephen ends the discussion on Rees-Mogg with “I’m sure he’s a lovely man”
yeah….not really…

Stephen: “What use is a sheep during a gold rush?”
Richard, smirking: “…it can be cold and lonely on those prairies…”

David, still stuck on this: “HANG ON…THE LORD IS YOUR SHEPHERD…given a cold night on his own…he might shaft you?”
Stephen: “I believe his rod comforts you…”

Stephen explains that the Swiss have been cleaning debris out of space
David: “Why the Swiss? Why have they taken it upon themselves, after years of…not joining in and stockpiling Nazi gold…”
MAN, just going for the jugular when you don’t expect him to. Heck, that’s even technically a reference to Bill Bailey’s stand-up.

Stephen: “I’ve got a horrible thought…it might be for profit.”
Sarah: “They’re not just a bit OCD?”

Stephen mentions the Swiss base where they plot these space clearing things:
Screen Shot 2020-02-15 at 2.45.48 PM.png
Stephen: “…actually, that’s Telly Savalas’s hideout in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service…”
HA.

Stephen asks what a good planet to “take your annual holiday on” is
Sarah: “…Earth.”
Stephen: “…absolutely the right answer, I can frankly say…”
David, bluntly: “well, the great advantage of earth is…you can survive on it…”

Stephen: “As you know, Alice in Wonderland was written by…”
Alan: “…Lewis Carroll”
Stephen: “right, who was, in real life…”
Alan: “…a dog.”
Stephen has to stop for a moment, before saying “you’re one letter off…”
Richard: “he was a don…”
Alan: “DAMN YOU AUTOCORRECT.”

Stephen mentions a “new world coming into math”
David: “the invention of the number 9, of course…very controversial…”
Stephen: “squeezed it in between 7 and 10…or EIGHT and 10, sorry-”
David, helping him out: “8 came even later…they needed it for the war.”
Stephen: “they needed it for Bingo, I think”
I love that they can do some tangents working off each other like this. Sad part is this isn’t THE most collaborative panel- everyone’s bouncing off Stephen, but with some exceptions (honestly Richard), not really each other

Stephen, still referring to Alice in Wonderland: “The cat was brilliantly played in the Tim Burton film by…uh, who did the voice of the cat? It was, um…”
Alan, ever the clever one: “HUGH LAURIE!”
Stephen, yes-anding, goes “that’s right!”

Stephen, after the applause had gone down: “…minus 2000 points…”

Stephen adds on that the guy who wrote this theory book on AiW also wrote a book for Queen Victoria “called Something Like Problems and Symbolic Logic, and so her majesty, Queen Victoria, must have read it and gone ‘WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS?”
David: “THE QUEEN VICTORIA BUMPER BOOK OF BORING MATH!”

Stephen mentions, when he has his green laser for his Jolly Jape, “they keep shouting in my ear ‘DON’T POINT IT AT PEOPLE’S EYES!”
Alan has no choice but to resume the role of the angry director from a few episodes ago: “DON’T POINT IT AT THEIR FUCKING EYES!…it’s FUCKING DANGEROUS.”
Stephen: “The thing is…HE knows…he’s the one that’s gonna be fired..”

Stephen points it upwards so people can see the length of the laser light
Alan: “The lighting men are going ‘AAAAIIIIIGHHH!”
I love Alan so much

The eventual trick is the laser pops the black balloons but not the white one [“WOW, GREEN, COOL” yells Alan]
Stephen: “The black ones pop and the white one doesn’t.”
Alan: “…racist.”
Screen Shot 2020-02-15 at 3.08.14 PM.png

Stephen asks Alan to draw a target on the balloon, “and I’ll let you press the button as a reward if you do it sensibly”
Alan: “…so tempted to draw a cock-and-balls…”

Stephen points out that nobody finished with a negative score, which is very cool. We only saw one klaxon tonight, and the guy who got it, Richard, had a lot of points when he did get it.
Alan, at the ooing audience: “…patronizing bastards…”

Richard, upon winning: “so sorry, I’d like to give my points to the poor..”

Overall: A solid enough show, though a few dry spells towards the end bring it down a few pegs, as does the sort of individuality present with some of the better performers, like Richard and David. Sarah wasn’t as good as last time, but knowing she has a better showing coming immediately next helps. Richard was a great fit for QI, and was both funny and had a lot of good anecdotes. Alan had a really good day, especially late. David might have had the best night, solely because he’s begun to morph into like a Rich-Hall-esque cynic, and his more deadpan, offhanded lines tonight really worked.

MVP: David
Best Guest: Richard
Show Winner: Richard
Best QI Fact: midnight soil men
Best Runner: Hugh Laurie

One thought on “QI Watchdown: J13 (Jobs), or Old Jeremiah Software

  1. Richard is still a vicar. Well, technically he’s a Church of England priest; his parish church is St. Mary’s Church in Finedon, Northamptonshire. (NOTE: He’s Anglican, not Roman Catholic. He’d originally become a Catholic after leaving The Communards, but joined the C of E in 2001).

    He does some broadcasting on the side, as one of the presenters of Radio 4’s Saturday morning show Saturday Live, as well as popping up on Masterchef, Strictly Come Dancing and panel shows like Have I Got News For You, Would I Lie to You? and of course this Quite Interesting show.

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