QI Watchdown: J1 (Jargon), or I CAME HERE TO TALK ABOUT THE AZTECS!

Well…as I’ve gotten up to what is essentially 1 QI Series per year, thanks to my schedule these days, let’s crack open another one, as we venture towards the last legs of Stephen Fry’s QI career, and we come off of what many consider to be the golden age of the show. Unlike Mock the Week, it’s not like we can pinpoint someone leaving as the reason things slowed down (I’ve even heard that QI’s quality improved after Sandi Toksvig took over as host), but hopefully there will still be some highlights during these supposedly lesser series.

Tonight has something that seems to be a classic lineup: Jimmy Carr and Bill Bailey, along with…David Mitchell….’s wife. Victoria Coren-Mitchell. Who’s proved to be just as funny as her husband in subsequent QI appearances.

Jimmy seems to have a five-o’clock shadow tonight, which is kinda new to him.

All the buzzers are sounds of exotic instruments with j-names.

Victoria brings up, on these j-words, that a lot of them look like minced oves, or nearly swear words. The panel demonstrates.
Bill: “Shut the front door!”
Stephen: “FUCk-rying out loud!”
Bill: “Have you ever said that, really? Like, “FUCK…crying out loud?”

Bill: “Or to the photographers that follow you. ‘Why don’t you just ffffffff-photograph someone else?”

Stephen: “A jollop is actually a type of Turkish waffle”
Jimmy, with a board ready: “I’m gonna saaaaay bluff!”

On Jentacular
Bill: “Is this what friends of Jennifer Aniston say before she goes out?”

Stephen has a whole screen of words that mean ‘jigger’, and starts listing them off: “An odd-looking person, sorry Bill-”
Bill immediately looks betrayed.
Jimmy: “Don’t say ‘vagina’ and then point to me…”

Victoria: “People do say there are no good words for vagina, there’s nothing nice. Jigger is not the right answer.”
Jimmy, earnest: “I think ‘twinkle-cave’!”
As this gets applause, Stephen gives Jimmy the most confused look.

Bill: “So jigger is…back-passage, vagina, penis-”
Jimmy: “Well that’s confusing right there!”

The whole panel has a lot of fun with the problems of having a word with this many meanings, especially with meanings like ‘golf club’ or ‘ouija board’.

Bill, still on this: “‘Potter’s wheel: that was usually what they put on the TV when they ran out of programs. ‘Yeah, put the jigger on….NOT DAT ONE!”

In the middle of the next question, the jigger definitions come back
Victoria: “D’you think that’s where ‘jiggery pokery’ comes from??”

Jimmy, on the ailments of Johnson: “The man that wrote the dictionary had TOURETTE’S? I have GOT to re-read that book!”

On what did Hitler, Stalin and Franco didn’t like, but Mussolini liked:
Alan: “Pasta!”
Stephen: “Stick with the letter j.”
Alan: “Jackets with Jeans, like Clarkson!”
Not even one show in and the Clarkson bashing begins.

Jimmy: “So you’re saying Hitler didn’t like jazz? I mean, the more I hear about this guy, the less I like him.”
Obvious joke, but still applies. Not quite as good as Bill’s thing on Hitler and the word cool from Groovy.

There’s a lot of really eye-opening discussions on the topic of why Hitler didn’t like jazz, and what jazz music, and comedy, meant in the eyes of fascists. Bill brings up cognitive dissonance, and that continues the discussion.

Victoria: “This is cognitive dissonance: here I am, on QI, like you see on television, sitting behind there- it seems nice, everyone’s quite nice, I’m having a nice time. And yet…we’ve had the question ‘What did Hitler get right?’, which is exactly what my grandmother told me would happen if I went on television…”

Victoria continues, bringing up a very funny point: “I had an anxiety dream about coming on QI, I was so terrified of it, and in the dream, I was sitting here, and and you [Stephen] were asking the question, very sternly, ‘Whhhyyy was the March Hare so important to the Aztecs?”
Stephen starts laughing at this
Victoria: “I didn’t know the answer, so I went ‘did they worship it? AND THE SCREENS WENT ‘WORSHIP IT, WORSHIP IT’, which was absolutely terrifying.”
Jimmy: “Stephen…ask the question, let’s make it happen…”
Victoria: “I’m such an amateur, I didn’t even google the answer.”
Meanwhile, Jimmy’s trying to come from behind Victoria and scare her. This is all very funny, of course.

Jimmy: “Can I just make sure- this IS happening now, right? I wanna make sure we’re not all in one of Vicky’s dreams.”
Bill: “That’d be brilliant, though! You could be the March Hare, I’d be the Aztecs…”

Stephen reads out a detailed description of jazz, referring to it as a cacophonous, clattering noise
Jimmy: “I am now having an anxiety dream…”
Alan: “That’s the description of Jedward, isn’t it?”

This season continues the trend of playing to a panelist’s strengths, by giving a birdwatching question that benefits Bill, a noted birdwatcher. It also works, because, as funny as Bill is, he’s equally intriguing when he knows what he’s talking about.

Talking first about ‘giss’, then what the origin of of ‘gism’
Jimmy: “I could tell you where it comes from- I can SHOW you…”
Stephen, sighing:”…You’re not to do that.”
Jimmy: “…again.”

Stephen talks of measuring one single sperm in 36.7 Megabites
Jimmy, with another obvious joke: “…talk about your hard-drive..”
Bill: “Is this…just after you’ve logged off?”
Jimmy: “JUST GONNA PLUG IN ‘MA DONGLE, BILL.”
Bill, beginning to crack: “How many more of these can we get…”
Stephen, finally prevailing: “As long as it’s not a floppy…”

Victoria, as the other three are still talking about ejaculation: “I CAME HERE TO TALK ABOUT THE AZTECS…”

Observation: So far, this is the Jimmy and Bill show, which is indicative of the first stretch of the show’s history. Victoria, when she does say something, she says a lot, but her nerves might be preventing her from truly interacting with the other three. Also, Alan’s having a quieter night so far, which is odd.

Stephen names the bird on the behind-screen as the ‘Juan Fernandez tit-tyrant’
Jimmy: [raises an eyebrow]
Alan, breaking: “Oh GOD HERE WE GO AGAIN…”

Stephen: “There are points for knowing where the Juan Fernandez islands are.”
Victoria, drowning in lowbrow, throws her hands up: “BREAST-COCK LANE?”
The whole place explodes in laughter, Stephen facepalms, and Bill goes ‘THAT’S THE SPIRIT!’

Stephen: “If I tell you it’s a weaver-bird, you’ll know that it probably comes from…”
Jimmy: “Yorkshire.”
Man, Jimmy and Bill just keep hitting. Over and over. This whole stretch of the show!

Bill, flexing his bird knowledge, gets the next bird within 3 seconds, without breaking a sweat. Proof that, aside from making jokes about weasels, he also studies them

Alan makes the second Jedward joke of the night. Unlike Jo’s Michael Winner jokes, I imagine this was due to recency, and the topical nature of bashing Jedward. This went away after a while, thankfully.

This show also is patterned towards Jimmy’s knowledge of Arthur Conan Doyle, in that he knows that the word ‘ejaculate’ was used as a synonym for ‘exclaim’, instead of an antonym for…something that was literally just discussed.

Stephen: “There are twenty-three ejaculations in the canon, as it’s known-”
Bill bursts out laughing at this, covering his head.
Alan: “ANNNNND one up the spout!”

Stephen, demarking all the ‘ejaculations’ in the Holmes book: “Of course, there is one where it’s quite hard to tell whose it is.”
THIS GETS VICTORIA. All the other ones, she was shaking her head, going, internally, ‘I’m above this’, but this one cracks her.
Stephen: “So he sat, as I went off to sleep…when a sudden ejaculation woke me up…”
Jimmy, to Victoria: “Have YOU ever been woken up by a sudden ejaculation?”
Stephen: ‘We’ve talked enough about your dreams…”

Stephen, rounding the last of the stats: “The only other ejaculator is Ms. Sinclair’s husband, who ejaculates from a second-floor window.”
Jimmy LOSES HIS SHIT HERE: “This is the most fun I’ve ever had on this show.”

Stephen, for the next question, rattles off a description of someone talking without much sense, and droning on, and asks who it being talked about.
Jimmy: “You.”
KLAXON

Stephen asks who the first person to use ‘OMG’ to mean Oh My God was
Alan: “Jesus.”
Stephen facepalms for what must be the 20th time this episode.

There’s a great bit where Bill just gets the audience to say ‘lol’, phonetically like that, just in a commonplace type of voice, in unison. It’s amusing as all hell.

Stephen throws in another question that may have an obvious answer: “Where do arabic numbers come from?”
Jimmy, pontificating: “….I don’t know!”

Screen Shot 2018-11-18 at 5.32.20 PM.pngJimmy: “interesting fact, though, the Oasis is about 110 miles that way…”
Bill: “No, that’s the chart position, in, uh…the Yemen”
HA

Stephen, explaining to Alan: “Roman letters, and…arabic numbering…”
Bill: “And…gregorian chanting…”
Stephen: “No…”
Bill: “French…pastries…”

Victoria’s mental prowess is illuminated in the Hangman question, where she gives an answer that’s even more inspired, and correct, than the one Stephen has written down.

With 5 minutes left to go in the episode, it finally happens:
Stephen: “Why was the March Hare so important to the Aztecs?”
Victoria immediately facepalms, and the audience reacts in applause. This is similar to the quick-thinking writers on Buzzcocks, who’d take a lyric from early in the show, plug it back in to screw with contestants [like Jon Richardson and ‘Winds of Change’]. But…equally more humiliating for Victoria.
Alan: “The thing is, Victoria, whatever you dreamt as the answer, IS the right answer…”
Victoria: “No, but I know the answer isn’t…’Did they worship it…’
KLAXON
Screen Shot 2018-11-18 at 5.41.13 PM.png

Victoria, a la her husband: “…I think you’ll find I said that’s NOT the answer..”

This does end in an amazing twist: the Aztecs definitely did worship rabbits, rather than hares, and Stephen goes so far as to say that people theorize that they worshipped jackrabbits, which are technically hares. AND A J-WORD. It’s the most perfect conclusion to an episode like this.

Instead of being intersped into the middle of the show, the contraption, or Jolly Jape as it’s referred to this series, is done right at the end, before the scores.

It’s pretty fitting that Victoria wins as well, as she probably got multiple points for being psychic and predicting knowledge she didn’t know she had.

Overall: This is a QI that couldn’t exist without the show having gone on for a while, much like Inland Revenue, but what made this one interesting was the entire subplot with Victoria, who did well in her debut appearance, predicting a question that actually made contextual sense within the episode. Proved how well she fit with this show, though she’d be more outgoing in later appearances. Bill and Jimmy were on fire throughout the night, though more of Bill’s jokes hit, and Bill’s generally a better panelist, as he’s still fantastic at collaborating with multiple panelists while making jokes. The entire middle stretch, with all the lewd jokes, was a joy to watch, even with the amount of lulls this show ended up having throughout. Definitely a net win, and an enjoyable, and at times unbelievable, episode.

MVP: Bill
Best Guest: Jimmy
Show Winner: Victoria
Best QI Fact: Holmes’ ejaculations
Best Runner: The March Hare

Advertisements

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S09E12, or The Product of Deranged Minds

The second of two compilations. This one, in addition to Ryan and Colin, features the two American semi-regulars (Greg and Brad), three British WL all-stars (Steve, Stephen Fry and Josie)…and Norm from Cheers. Yes, we have a full second episode from George Wendt’s taping, yet here we are with an appearance from him tonight. No Karen Maruyama, Debi Durst or Rory Bremner in this one, and no Mike McShane, meaning he’s made his final appearance of the show already. So has Debi, but…who cares, Mike > Debi.

Film and Theatre Styles – Ryan and Colin are glass-blowers getting on each other’s nerves
From: E2

Ryan is already cracking up at the scene description.

The first shot of the game, while not as lowbrow as I thought Ryan would go, is still great: Ryan is literally blowing air at Colin, as he yells “STOPPIT!”

Ryan: “You’ve blown a glass gun! It’s too bad-”
BUZZ
Clive: “Let’s start with an easy one, a Western.”
Ryan: “…it’s too bad you didn’t blow any glass BULLETS for that gun…”
Colin:
Screen Shot 2018-11-08 at 3.59.13 PM.png

Ryan has a great gag where he flings his glass gun in the air, waits 10 seconds for it to come down, then catches…and Colin promptly smashes it.

The Lassie style is hysterical, as Ryan is just motioning to something offstage without words, and it’s so goofy.
Colin: “…old lady Johnson fell down the glass well?”
At this point, Greg starts absolutely losing it in the background.

Top Gun:
Ryan: “Yeah, but your glass-blowing cost someone his LIFE, didn’t it?”
Colin: [dramatically turns his head and cries]

The My Little Pony style, where Ryan talks of stacking ponies on top of each other to ride properly, is a silly way of ending this silly scene, which didn’t go anywhere, but it was goofy enough to enjoy.

Quick Change – Brad briefs spy Steve about a dangerous mission. Ryan calls change.
From: E6

Another Quick Change playing! Awesome!

Steve, after two changes: “I’ve forgotten my contact lenses.”
Brad: “Well, luckily it’s in braille, so you can feel it…”

Ryan’s a good caller for this game, because he goes past the rule of threes (which, according to Brad, is the right way to play this game- keep going til they strike gold), and needles Brad, and Steve, into goofy stuff. For why there’s spit on the map, Brad eventually lands on ‘I just adore the smell of your cologne…’

Steve, after that line: “Sir…d’you wanna tell me something?”
Brad: “No, I don’t want to tell you that now, until you come back from your mission, because if you die, I couldn’t bear the pain of losing you.”
Ryan: “Change.”
Brad: “…yes, I’m trying to tell you something.”
Ryan: “Change”
Brad: “…I haven’t told you what I WANT to tell you because…the thought of your hand on my shoulder makes my shoes warm..”

There’s a very nice dramatic interlude, where Steve talks about what happens if he doesn’t come back. The scene ends semi-clumsily, as Steve decides not to end on that somber moment, but instead go back to the milieu and investigate what a pen on the table does, which does have us end with Brad, changing, into the line “if you put it in your pocket it’ll toast your nuggets”, which is an even better ending line than I expected.

A very nice Quick Change, and some surprisingly adept work from Steve and Brad.

Sound Effects – Colin is in a plane waiting to parachute into enemy lines. Ryan provides sound effects.
From: E9

Generally standard stuff for the first part of this scene. Only when Ryan starts adding ticklish noises as Colin does his chest buttons does it begin to get funny.

There’s another great moment where Colin pulls the chute…and nothing happens…and he has confused eyebrows.

This also has a great ending, where Colin lands in the water, begins to swim to shore…then Ryan plays in the Jaws music.

A simple, alright SFX. I see why it made the comp.

Animals – Ryan and Greg are pigs on their wedding night, when Colin, Ryan’s ex-wife, who was believed to be slaughtered, suddenly shows up.
From: E7

This one apparently won’t be in the next George show, which does exist thanks to the surplus of material from this one.

Clive, after reading the scene description, looks at camera and goes “…this game is the product of deranged minds”
You mean Ron West, then? I think he did a lot of scene descriptions and quirks for later WL. Maybe this one’s his doing, since he certainly was deranged (he was the Michael O’Donoghue of WL).

This is a very broad scene, with a lot of squealing, a lot of running around, and Greg just hoofing Colin after a while.
Ryan, breaking it up: “DON’T FIGHT…[tender read] Don’t fight over meee…”
Colin completely loses it here for some reason.

Greg: “Yes, and your sausage is small, and undercooked.”

Colin ends on the line “I’m gonna play with some roast beef”, which is a bizarre way to end this game, but…sure. Funny enough, but a bit empty in parts.

Song Styles – Josie sings a Sondheim song to Brendan the policeman.
From: E4

When Brendan says he’s a policemen, some people in the audience boo. Ryan, in the back, immediately mimes taking stuff out of his pockets and throwing them away.

As this is Sondheim, Richard throws in a very crafty time signature as well. Just as he would have wanted.

Hell, Josie also nails the overlapping style of verses, and the rhythm of lyrics over the music. This is a really good one.

This is truly masterful by Josie, as the players give her a standing o after that, and damn does she deserve it- she keeps up lyrically and tonally, turning this into a song about deep sexual regret (which is a very Sondheim topic). One of her best, by far.

Backwards Scene – Ryan and Colin are dead and Brad is a survivor after a saloon bar showdown.
From: E6

A game that hasn’t been played since Niall’s first episode, and still occasionally works.

Ryan, starting with his final words: “I….love you…”
Brad: [shoots him]

Colin, getting up: “You couldn’t hit me if you tried!”

Ryan, to Colin: “Next time, do it slower so it don’t go off the end of the bad.”
Colin: [mimes throwing something]

Colin, screwing over Ryan like usual in this game: “Tell me another joke!”
Ryan: “A PENGUIN!”
Colin: “I give up, what?”
Ryan, perfectly: “…What am I gonna shove up your ass if you don’t give me a beer?”
BUZZ

A game that, ironically, started slowly and had a fantastic ending.

Home Shopping – Ryan and Colin sell keys that don’t fit any lock, a piece of fluff, and old asparagus
From: E3

Mike McShane cameo, even if he’s not in this game.

Right before the game starts, Ryan is silent, thinking for five seconds about old asparagus. It’s clear that he has nothing for old asparagus.

Colin, with the fluff: “For a special time only, we’re selling celebrity belly lint.”

Ryan has a great runner about using the keys for things that don’t exist, just to fool people. He brings it back several times throughout Colin’s.

Right after the last lint joke, Colin and Ryan give each other a look. They know what’s next, and neither of them have anything for it.
Colin: “Of course…we also have…other things.”
Ryan: “Many other things! Things that are good for ya!”
Colin: “And things that aren’t so good for you!”
Ryan: “like what?”
Colin gives Ryan another look, near cracking: “I’ll tell you…old asparagus. NOW, WHAT POSSIBLE USE COULD A PERSON HAVE FOR OLD ASPARAGUS?”
Ryan, stalling because he knows Colin, and he, have nothing: “I know NEW asparagus is good for you, and good for your body, but [breaking] what purpose could OLD asparagus have?”
Colin: “Well, enough of the stalling, let’s get right to it! OLD ASPARAGUS…..IT…IS…FOR…THIS! RYAN?”
And Ryan, caught very off guard, cracks for another second.

Ryan and Colin do end up making a fun solution for this, with Ryan throwing in one more key joke, but as the game ends, Ryan is just shaking his head, going “oh my god…”

A fantastic ending, even building up through the rest of the game.

Three of a Kind – Ryan, Colin, and Greg are ice hockey players doing housework.
From: E18

Another game cut from an episode that hasn’t aired yet!

This game lasts 30 seconds, and has two jokes: Colin and Greg beating each other up over dishes, and Ryan having the other 2 shoot laundry into the hamper. If there are any other jokes for this concept, we don’t know, as the game cuts away after that.

Party Quirks – Stephen hosts the party. His guests are Josie (the Queen getting involved in a pub fight), Colin (being chased on the roof of a speeding train), and Ryan (Flipper trying to warn Stephen about various disasters).
From: E4

It also feels like Ron West must have written these quirks as well.

A reminder that we haven’t ever seen Stephen Fry play this game: the only times it could have been played are with a drunk Peter Cook, or with Enn Reitel. Neither made air. I can only imagine why, having witnessed this game before.

Josie: “…Are you…ucking looking at ucking me?”
[Perhaps a retaliation for Stephen’s ‘take your hand off me fucking knee’ from earlier]

Colin shouts “TUNNEL” and lands on the ground. Josie gets on top of him and punches him in the head…right as camera cuts to the doorstep. I would have loved to see impact there.

You can see why Stephen’s not very good at hosting: he’s looking around at all three bouncing off each other, and has no clue. Josie, perhaps knowing this, is the only one not being too overactive during this bit.

Ryan literally says “FLIPPER” in his dolphin voice…and Stephen doesn’t get it. As he tries to guess Colin, you can see Ryan in the back taking a hard drink.

It ends clumsily, as Ryan basically YELLING who he is, after Stephen guesses ‘is he that tellytubby again?’

A disheveled playing of this, thanks to Stephen not being a terribly adept guesser. I don’t fault him, I just think he didn’t really fit with the game.

Moving People – Colin and Ryan are Captain Ahab and his first mate searching for Moby Dick.
From: E2

Screen Shot 2018-11-08 at 5.28.57 PM.pngColin: “…I can’t see a thing!”
Ryan: “…this parrot’s gonna have to lose weight!”

Colin’s mover has him point to ‘Moby Dick’, then directly at his brain.
Colin: “…I’m picking up some mental images…”

Ryan, carrying the harpoon: “I’m probably gonna have to get a running start on this.”
The audience goes “oh”, for the sake of the two audience members.

Colin says he’s gonna come over and help Ryan, but Colin’s mover yanks him over so fast that he nearly falls over.
Colin: “BOY, THERE’S A ROUGH SEA TODAY.”
Ryan: “…captain I’m not sure if I still have the harpoon in my hand…”
Colin: “MY GOD, MAN!”
Ryan: “I’M ASHAMED! I’M ASHAMED!”

A pretty funny one, though it did have a few lulls, like a lot of tonight’s games.

Hoedown: Space Travel
From: E7

Gee, haven’t we seen this Hoedown before. Well…this is the first instance of doing multiple Hoedowns from one Hoedown suggestion, which is why we’ll eventually have like 4 Plastic Surgery hoedowns.

Greg’s is simple: he ends on the line “I’m doing a Space Hoedown next to Norm from Cheers.”

GEE, HAVEN’T WE SEEN GEORGE’S HOEDOWN VERSE BEFORE? Well, instead of including another Hoedown verse from another replaying of this game, they just included his EXACT hoedown verse from E7. The same one, that wasn’t funny to begin with, and was more of a cop-out. Which means the disclaimer was wrong: there IS NO NEW MATERIAL FROM GEORGE WENDT in this show. Even his Hoedown verse is reran. Absolutely unbelievable.

Colin’s is a very, very obvious martian probe joke.

And Ryan makes a Uranus pun. YOU SEE, I THINK THERE’S A REASON WHY THESE VERSES WERE KEPT OUT OF THE CUT. I mean, Hoedown’s a pretty meaningless game, but this one’s the most meaningless of them all, I think. Dear god.

Overall:
Best Performer: Ryan, who had the most frequent gags
Worst Performer: George Wendt. See Hoedown. Or…the Hoedown from E7.
Best Game: Moving People was the most consistently funny, I think.
Worst Game: Hoedown. Just a dead game.

After this…comparatively weak compilation, we go back to regulation next show, as we continue the cobbled episodes from past tapings…as well as a show from a taping we’ve only seen in compilations.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S09E11, or What’s Yogi Bear Doing There??

Onto the compilations! These feature scenes from A.) tapings we’ve seen already, and B.) tapings that aren’t going to have another episode produced from them. However, despite the fact that we do get more content from both Brad & Steve shows, and the Rory show, here tonight, those ones do get another episode later on. So it’s a little baffling, but they were going for quantity, obviously.

Note that none of the American newbies the producers were banking on (Karen, Debi and George) are featured tonight. Karen and George have another episode from their respective tapings in the pipeline.

Questions Only – Rory, Greg, Ryan, and Colin are in the Olympic village.
From: E1

Clive mentions that this game shouldn’t erupt in physical violence, at which point Rory headbutts Greg.

Rory’s surprisingly good at this game. I didn’t figure he would be, seeing as he’s better at the voices part of improv than the ‘improvising’ part. Though, his second round basically cries out for a buzzer.

This is an odd one, as both Ryan and Colin are felled on simple mistakes, leaving a delighted Greg alone, without a word. I guess we know why this didn’t make air.

Colin: “Would you like ham, or cheese?”
Ryan: “Is there a difference?”
Colin gives him a confused look. Not as confused as the ‘can I have the recipe’ response from last show, but close.

A fun enough game, but it was insanely stop-start.

Film and Theatre Styles – Ryan is a scientist who’s been working with gorillas for 20 years, and Colin is telling him he has to come home
From: E4

From moment one, Ryan has the subtle gorilla movements down. That’s honestly all he needs in the first part of the scene.

Then, once the Pirate movie style hits, Ryan and Colin do wonderfully over the top pirate accents. Even Stephen Fry’s enjoying this in the background.

By the end of this style, where Colin makes Ryan walk a plank that’s just sticking out of the hut, Clive’s laughing hysterically.

Clive: “Muppets”
Ryan, with a fantastic Kermit impression: “How’s that, Dr. Simian?”

It’s going to become very clear as we go on that Colin doesn’t have a ton of knowledge about American children’s television. Instead of doing a Muppet impression, he just does a Yogi Bear voice: “What are we gonna do about THAT?”
Ryan immediately cracks. He does manage to go along with the scene, but Clive has to buzz, looks directly at Colin, and, like a disappointed parent finding the umpteenth bag of weed, goes “…WHAT’S YOGI BEAR DOING THERE???”
Ryan uses this cue to completely break, giggling at the absurdity of it all.
Clive: “HE’S not a muppet!”

The western style is wonderfully silly, with Ryan humming his own film music, twirling a bunch of bananas, and shooting Colin, only for Colin to catch the bullet between his teeth. Unfortunately we cut away after this, leaving the scene’s ending to the imagination. Still, it was a goofy enough round, and the Yogi Bear thing was the right kind of nonsense to hit.

Let’s Make a Date – Brad is the bachelorette. The bachelors are Mike (a dog making a dirty phone call), Colin (increasingly annoyed by Brad’s stupidity), and Ryan (channeling the spirits of Brad’s dead relatives).
From: E3

Immediately, Mike is caught off-guard by Brad’s LMAD voice. I don’t blame him.

Colin plays off of a Brad flub perfectly: “Can’t you get through a whole sentence without just stumbling? ONE SENTENCE! THAT’S ALL I WANT!”

Having seen this one several times, I can confirm that Ryan’s is absolutely perfect, and just the right amount of ridiculous.

Brad: “#1 again. OH, JUST WOO ME! WOO ME PLEASE!”
Mike: “WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF. THAT’S RIGHT BABY. WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF. THAT’S RIGHT, NOW TURN AROUND……[SNIFF] YEEEEAHHH…”

After Mike’s really good run
Brad: “Isn’t that fetching? Number tw-”
Colin: “‘ISN’T THAT FETCHING’??? Ohhhhh COME ON!!!”
Brad, unwittingly continuing a theme from E10: “Well I’m not gonna ask you anything, bastard!”

A nice enough round, though down from last playing.

Song Titles – Steve, Brad, Ryan, and Colin are at the race track.
From: E6

There are a lot of obvious jokes here, but Colin yelling “A HORSE WITH NO NAME” did get me laughing.

This game had a ton of lulls, especially a 5 second pause where none of them wanted to do another one, as well as simply never getting going. Like QO, this game would improve by being made a quickfire round.

Song Styles – Josie sings a big musical love song to Andy, an account manager for a fruit machine company.
From: E18

HEY, FUNNY THING: This game is from a taping that we haven’t seen any material from yet! This is a game from Episode 18, which won’t be for a while, and we literally don’t know what games knocked this one off the final cut of the show yet. That’s odd.

Also, lol, Comedy Store Player legend Josie Lawrence singing to a guy named Andy. As if she doesn’t work with one every few weeks.

Josie, in interacting with Andy, and Richard, feels like her Series 1 self, which is nice, considering how different this series is from Series 1.

Josie: “I want him to get his change out, and put his coin right in my slot.”

This is a fairly standard number for Josie, but the amount of zeal and clever lyrics she throws in does make it at least a memorable moment for the show.

Sports Commentators – Greg and Rory commentate on Ryan and Colin, who are two guys at adjoining desks in an office.
From: E1

With Rory, Clive has to have him choose an actual commentator to imitate. Rory, being Rory, goes for Murray Walker.

Greg asks Clive to repeat the scene description, as he’d already lost it, which Clive does.
Clive: “Too british, the way I say that?”
Greg: “Nono, I understood, but thank you for patronizing.”
Clive: “You seem to be leading with your chin on that one.”
Greg: “As I do-”
Rory, springing in: “At least he’s got one.”
Greg nodding, adds: “And a neck, too…”
And, as he starts to mime hair, Rory figures they should at least start the game.

They do manage to have a funny bit from the start, as Rory introduces himself, reads the prompter, gets confused as to who he is, then reaffirms that he is, in fact, Murray Walker.
Greg: ‘AND HE’S MURRAY WALKER…he thinks!”

This game, like usual, is very commonplace, but things heat up once Colin sticks a sharpened pencil through Ryan’s ears.

Greg: “I do not care where you’re from, that has gotta smart a little bit!”
George Lucas, taking notes: “…interesting…”

I do love Colin’s look of agony as Ryan pours the coffee down his pants.

This was better than most Sports Commentators rounds, but still had the same problems of being a bit too commonplace to get going, with a few exceptions. The banter helped though, and Rory was surprisingly fantastic at holding the game down.

Daytime Talk Show – Josie presents a talk show dealing with the horrors of washing up; Stephen, Colin, and Ryan are her guests.
From: E4

A new-ish game. Dan & Mark wanted to cash in on shows like Donahue with this game, but would eventually attempt to replicate the success of a certain former Governor’s wild, exploitive show out of Connecticut.

Here, the format is nice, though. Josie talks all three through their problems with washing up, so the three get showcases, and Josie gets a proctor role.

Josie, setting the tone brilliantly: “Hello, and welcome to ‘Come on, get it out!”

Josie mentions washing up liquid, and Stephen erupts in hysteria. Already we’re off to the races.

Stephen: “…I think it was when…Percil went onto the market…and then they started bringing out a lemon one…”

Then, as Josie moves onto Colin, she very delicately places her hand on Stephen’s left kneecap. And no one notices, but Stephen. So, as the shot settles back on Josie, and as the focus is on Josie and Colin, Stephen, randomly, shouts “Could you take your hand off me fucking knee?”
And right then, the whole place explodes. Ryan bites his lip- now he knows this isn’t making air.

Colin: “My wife and I had a novelty act, where we’d tie lots of plates and dishes to our body…and go over the falls.”
Stephen: “We’ve all been there, love…”

Colin: “SHE WAS DASHED TO THE ROCKS BELOW……EVERY DISH BROKEN. I have not worked…SINCE THEN. I’VE CONSTANTLY BEEN PUT ON PILLS TO RELAX ME….THEY’RE *NOT*…*WORKING!*…”
Josie: “Fred…look at me.”
Colin, squinty-eyed: “I AM!”

Josie: “Did you get the dishes glued back?”
Colin: “Yes, and they were spotless…but my WIFE…COULD NEVER BE GLUED BACK TOGETHER AGAIN…”

Ryan: “It’s ruined my life. My wife…has LEFT me…”
Colin: “YOU TELL HER BOYFRIEND-”
Ryan, with the PERFECT read: “…shut…UP!”

Ryan: “She took the dishes away…brought in paper plates…I washed THOSE…she took away my sponge…I used the CAT…”

After his monologue, Ryan starts maddeningly washing up nothing, and Colin tries to quiet his hands.

As Josie and Colin attempt to wrap up the program with a call to action, Ryan starts frantically washing up, going ‘MEOWWWW, MEOOWWW…MEOOW…”
Stephen: “BAR YOU, WE’RE ALL FUCKING WASHED UP!”

That was…incredible. Moments of legitimately great acting from everyone, great proctoring by Josie, and a hysterical ending. I wish they’d played it this way more often.

Director – Ryan and Greg act out the film Alien when one of them doesn’t feel too well; Colin is the director.
From: E8

The second of two playings of Director during this run. Like the previous one, they’re spoofing a real movie scene.

Colin: “DOUBLE TAKES! YOU HAVE TO CONSTANTLY GIVE EACH OTHER DOUBLE TAKES! Because, in space, no one can see you [looks both directions, frantically]”

Colin: “As if it’s in a musical.”
Ryan: “WHAT?”
Colin: “A MUSICAL. WHERE YA SING. Annnnd do it…UPBEAT.”
Colin tries very hard not to break at that, before running off.

This is the strongest of the segments, with a very silly upbeat musical number, Ryan chestburting in time with the music, and the alien going “IT’S NIIIIICE TO BE HERE!”

Colin does another goofy addition: “GERMAN STRIPPERS…WITH A SHOULDER DISABILITY.”

Ryan doing the chestburster as a German strip routine is even sillier, though.

A bit broad, but a fine playing of this.

Song Styles – Brad sings a Britpop song to Pauline, a used car salesman.
From: E6

Yes, another SS playing in this show, but I’ll allow it, A.) as it’s a rare acknowledgement of Britpop by WL, and B.) because it gets Brad to admit he’s been watching Eastenders.

Brad absolutely nails the nasally, yelly nature of most Britpop. I call this one half Brett Anderson, half Liam Gallagher. Hell, he even name-drops Oasis here.

A really, REALLY nice song from Brad, beating Josie’s for the show’s best musical number. All this from watching Eastenders? Impressive.

Overall:
Best Performer: Colin Mochrie, though Ryan and Brad came close, for going for more manic performances and succeedinng.
Worst Performer: Steve Frost, for divebombing his sole game tonight.
Best Game: Daytime Talk Show. Should have been in E4. Masterful.
Worst Game: Song Titles. Just dead.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S09E10, or Didn’t You Call Me a Poofter Earlier?

Trying to knock these out a bit more frequently, as well as moving towards more QI as well, but this UK WL, like the previous one, features the combo of Brad Sherwood and Steve Frost, which has worked rather well so far. This is the last episode before a pair of compilations, though it’s not the last bit of new material from this series, as E18 comes from a new taping, one which, judging from the sole episode we’ve gotten from it, must not have gone well on the whole.

This episode does re-use the intros from E6, though, although I still laugh at the ‘for his 900th consecutive appearance on this show’ joke about Ryan.

Questions Only: at a stag night

After some impressive quickfire between Brad and Steve
Brad: “You wanna dance?”
Steve, completely losing it: “Are you a poof?”
BUZZ

Brad: “Aren’t you the entertainment?”
Colin: “Have you ever seen a man juggle live bunnies naked before?”
Brad: “IS THIS MY CHANCE???”

After a brief go-round with Ryan and Colin, Brad returns
Brad: “What do you do with the bunnies exactly?”
Colin: “…” [breaks]
BUZZ

And then Steve returns, and Brad continues to play with continuity by asking “didn’t you call me a poofter earlier?”

After Steve denies it, Brad asks if he has a twin. Steve, smirking it off, says “yeah, I do actually”, not topping that.

Then, once Colin comes back up, Brad asks “Are you his twin?”
Colin: “Why are you asking?”
Brad, chuckling: “Have you heard of the FBI?”
Colin: “Are ya gonna put me in handcuffs?”
Brad, seductively: “Would you like to?”
Colin, genius: “D’you have something smaller?”
Brad: “D’you want some…oil to rub down with?”
Colin: “What kind of an FBI agent are you?”

The game ends after that line, though I doubt that was really the game-ending line, because the audience erupts in applause, and I don’t think it was at that. I think Colin set Brad up for a third poof joke. It’s just a shame we didn’t see it.

Other than that, fantastic round of this. Brad was on fire, and for once it was the Brad-Colin scenes that lasted the bulk of the game.

Sound Effects – Colin is on a submarine about to submerge. Ryan provides sound effects.

There’s just something silly in the air from the moment this one starts. The audience sort of giggles at nothing, though the gag where Colin wrings out his shirt is a nice one. Plus, Ryan’s alarms and noises are uniformly goofy here.

There’s a fantastic moment early on, where Ryan makes a ‘PFOOOT. PFOOOOT. PFOOOOT.’ ongoing noise. Colin, holding his nose, goes to open a window…THEN REMEMBERS WHERE HE IS, AND FRANTICALLY SHUTS IT. It’s a fantastic moment by both.

Great gag with Colin using the periscope. Ryan makes a ping-ing noise as Colin turns it, then suddenly breaks into distant faint russian. It’s simple, but funny.

Also, as Colin is turning levers, a random chicken shows up onboard. Colin gives a ‘…really’ expression to the chicken, though I think it’s directed at Ryan. Colin immediately wrings out its neck, which gets a huge laugh from the audience, harkening back to the supreme darkness of Colin’s SFX characters.

There’s a great ending gag, as something crashes outside. Colin opens the door to see what’s the matter, only for water to come rushing in, and Colin to frantically try and close the door again. I don’t know why that runner made me laugh so much, but here we go.

Another really fun game, possibly one of the better SFX rounds of late.

Let’s Make a Date – Brad is the bachelorette. The bachelors are Steve (characters from “EastEnders”), Colin (Brad’s annoyed flatmate), and Ryan (a prisoner going stir crazy).

This is the first appearance of Brad’s world-famous LMAD voice. Even here, it’s a little lower pitched than its usual form.

Colin nails the passive-aggressiveness immediately, possibly a cousin of his ‘hates everything english’ guy from earlier this Series.

And here we get the debut of a staple Brad line: “WOOOOOOO ME!”
Ryan, at the brink of tears: “WOO YOU? WOO YOU? You’ve gotta get me outta here, man…”

For whatever reason, Brad’s admission that he doesn’t smoke gets not only the audience, not only Clive, but BRAD HIMSELF laughing.

Brad: “Bachelor #2, at the risk of offending you…because you’re a BAASTARD…”

Brad, now making his voice higher to piss off Colin: “BACHELOR NUMBER THREEEEE! SAAAAAAAME QUESTION!”
Ryan: “What was it?”
Brad, now cracking up: “I don’t remember!”
Ryan: “I don’t…have you heard from the governor?”

Brad, still in his high voice, guesses Colin as “possibly Richard Dreyfuss from the Goodbye Girl”, which is a reference that cracks up Colin, ever the cinephile.

A very strong round of this, with everyone except maybe Brad standing out here.

Remember That Song – Colin is the barman; Ryan and Brad are his customers.

The best way I’d describe this game is a combination between Bartender and American Musical. Or simply…Bartender, except the patrons don’t leave.

Colin: “I remember your drink, right? Every kind of liquor, and a little bit of juice!”
Brad: “That’s right, it’s called a compendium!”

Brad sings a bizarre number about being naked in the park and running after old ladies, which is amusing enough.
Colin, immediately: “So what were you in prison for?”
Brad: “We-hell? That very thing.”

Ryan comes in as a trans woman, which…around this time, was a thing Ryan did occasionally. Brad, of course, gives the tits a good squeeze, and asks if he wants to go to the park later.

Brad, who is killing this show, sets Ryan up to be a former opera singer, which screws him over a little bit.

Ryan’s song is pretty great, even by Ryan standards. It’s pretty well done lyrically, and even if it ends in a lowbrow moment [‘they took away my penis, and gave me a vagina’], it’s still a classy ending to this scene.

A fairly alright game, though I feel like they only scratched the surface of what it could be. I would have liked to see other playings of this one, though I remember reading that they tried one during the US tapings, only as an impression showcase. I believe Ryan, as Carol Channing, was set up to have to name 10 countries in a song. And I wish that one had aired.

Press Conference – Brad, Ryan, and Colin interview Steve, who is Snow White announcing that she’s pregnant.

After Steve’s chyron comes up, he just waits for the audience to laugh, and cracks a little himself.

Ryan, right out of the gate: “Any idea which one’s responsible for this?”

Colin, after a pause: “…….I just can’t believe it myself…”
He just goes on this tangent that comes from out of nowhere…which reminds me that there’s probably a reason why Colin was moved to guessing after this season.

Brad: “At any time, did he whistle?”

Steve, in guessing, stammers that it might be Jack and the Giant Beanstalk. Clive, completing it for him, pulls a Mark Lamarr and says “no, not that…”

Narrate – Ryan and Colin meet on a sleeper train.

Thank god, this game’s finally back.

After a minute or so of fairly standard Narrate stuff, Colin: “…d’you mind if I…give you a pie?”

There’s a nice development where Ryan has never heard of a pie before, and is overanalyzing what it could be.

Colin: “He didn’t realize that the pie I gave him was made entirely out of some cardboard and pictures of apples. I’m a traveling practical joker. That’s my line of work. I enjoy it.”
Ryan, crossing to center: “….the pie was good.”
The simplest shit is just working in this game.
Ryan, channeling Dale Cooper: “…it was daaamn good.”

Ryan: “Say…let’s say you give me the recipe for this pie?”
Colin:

Screen Shot 2018-11-05 at 8.37.36 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-11-05 at 8.37.54 PM.pngScreen Shot 2018-11-05 at 8.38.13 PM.png[AND I’M GONE]

Colin: “…the guy was as tall as a pyramid, and twice as thick…”

Colin: “THAT’S ONE OF MY BEST JOKES! THE PICTURE OF THE APPLE PIE! WHAT GIVES, MISTER???”
Ryan, to camera: “…….every time I spoke to him, he just…walked away.”

A really fantastic game that built so much as it went on, culminating in one of the single best wordless reactions we’ve had on the show in years.

Party Quirks – Steve is the host. His guests are Brad (Huggy Bear from “Starsky and Hutch”), Colin (working on the underside of a plane when it takes off), and Ryan (frog who turns into prince and back again).

Sidenote: This is the third time of late I’ve wondered how the hell Starsky and Hutch was so big in the UK. First when David Soul came on Buzzcocks, then when Huggy Bear went on I’m a Celebrity. Now this. What gives?

Brad’s Huggy Bear impression is pretty great, for the record. Of course, Steve gets it in seconds.

Steve, after Brad leaves, just stands there and motions for Colin to come in, without opening the door. Clive, quietly, goes “…what a long member you’ve got”, which gets only a few laughs, but gets him to open the door.

Colin’s physicality has Brad howling back at the seats. Steve’s laughing so hard he can barely get a word out to guess.

Then, as Steve goes to let in Ryan, Colin’s blocking the door running around, so Steve has to try and go around him, which is amusing as hell.

Unsurprisingly, Ryan’s frog physicality is hysterical.

Not since Tony Slattery have we had such a frenzied party environment. Ryan makes loud frog noises as Colin runs around, hanging from the plane. Steve’s absolutely dying.

It’s even funnier as Steve tries to guess Colin as Colin wails repeatedly, and Clive keeps correcting him.

Steve leaves, completely gone, having been given Colin’s and Ryan’s, but laughing his ass off. I don’t blame him. That was one of the funnier Party Quirks we’ve had in a while. This show is just a force of nature.

Hoedown: Worst Nightmare

Steve’s is normal Steve stuff. He’s just had a down night.

Brad talks of having a very surreal dream, waking up, and “there in my bed is, Colin in my pants.”

Colin’s is classic: he dreams of eating cotton candy, waking up and noticing his pillow’s gone. Oldest trick in the book, but it still gets a ton of laughs.

And then Ryan:
“When I go to sleep at night you know my biggest fear.
That walkin’ around the room is some sort of cre-cheer!”
He then realizes he made up a word, or butchered a pronunciation just to get a rhyme in, and breaks. He looks at Clive, kinda ashamed, and starts over.
“When I go sleep…”
He then breaks AGAIN. AND KEEPS GOING. “I’m so afraid of the dark.
Then one night I turn the lights just for a lark
AAH! Right before me is a [cracking again] really ugly cre-cheer…
Then I realize…that I’m looking in the mirror!”
He then sighs a breath of relief, as that hoedown finally got out of his system.

Overall. A much-needed jolt of energy to a series that felt a bit dead. Yes, Steve was obviously a weak link, but the other three were having a wild night. Brad was the obvious highlight, having so many great improv moves, and coming off like a pro for the umpteenth time this season, but even the Ryan-Colin scenes were, albeit subtler, still pretty good. Plus, so many games, like Questions Only, LMAD, SFX, Hoedown and Party Quirks, were really good playings of games that have seemed weak so far this series. Having Narrate back was only a cherry on top. Just a really fun, really enjoyable episode with a ton of moments of cracking up, and some great improv.

Show Winner: Steve
Best Performer: Brad, for doing so well throughout the night
Worst Performer: Steve, for not keeping up with the awesomeness of the other 3.
Best Game: Let’s Make a Date. Just had the most going on, though I nearly went with Party Quirks or Questions.
Worst Game: Press Conference. Still a good game, but quieter in comparison, and a bit short.

QI Watchdown: I16 (Idleness) or Oh SHIT, IT’S CLARKSON!

When I began watching QI, back…shit, it was 2015. Back 3 years ago, I did so at the request of a friend I met at college, or university if you’re the target demographic, who’d seen everything of QI to that point. And he said that there was a golden period of the show, from Series F to Series I, where things were just really good. And after that, said my friend Mick, things began to trail off.

If Mick is to be believed, this episode is the last of the golden age. The last show of Series I, a series that has taken me far too long to cover, this particular episode featuring Jeremy Clarkson, making his only appearance of the series, Dara O Briain, making his penultimate appearance of the show’s run, and Ross Noble, who’s thankfully just getting started.

All of the first three buzzers have the same ‘buzz’ noise. Alan’s makes no noise…until he lets go, and it makes the same noise as the other three.

Stephen starts off by revealing that the nuclear code for the US President for 2 decades was just eight zeroes.
Ross: “Was that just because it’s the end of the world, and you’re gonna go “Oh oh oh OH OH OH OH OHHHHHHHH! BOOM!”

Stephen talks about always being annoyed at school by the boys who’d cover their answers with their jackets.
Ross, gritted teeth: ‘THAT’S BECAUSE YOU’RE NOT AN IDIOT.”
Jeremy: “I published mine in the Sun once.”

7 minutes in, not a lot going on. There’s a conversation going about passwords, and that’s fine, but it’s not terribly interesting, and Jeremy’s taking most of the floor.

Jeremy talks about the trick for, if a card isn’t working, hitting it with your teeth.
Ross: “Nono, he went ‘I’VE GOT JEREMY CLARKSON ON THE PHONE..’, then ‘…YEAH, SHOVE IT UP YOUR ASS, GO ON!”
Jeremy: “You know that petrol you love so much? Pour it on your head…now, have a cigarette. Go on.”

Ross, on airport security: “Best one to do in an airport, and it helps if you’ve got hair like mine, is- you know when you go through the first security gate, and they take your photograph? What I do, is I do a different hairstyle…”
Screen Shot 2018-10-31 at 10.04.10 PM.png

Ross: “and then I change it for the next time…”
Stephen: “and whom d’you think that’s inconveniencing more?”

Dara tells an anecdote about someone who got stopped in security for trying to smuggle a water jug filled with a fish through, and the joyous expressions on Dara and Stephen’s faces say it all.

Alan: “They’d just need to drink some of the water, to prove it’s not a…”
Dara: “Presumably the fish is ALREADY proving that it’s not a bomb…”
Alan: “BUT EVIDENTLY NOT!”
Stephen: “You know that fish don’t swim in nitro- glycerine..”

The show briefly turns into Have I Got News for You (which…I think all of them have been on), in this mostly serious discussion on choosing MPs.
Ross, on the MP lottery system: “If it’s a lottery, d’you really wanna find out who the MPs are gonna be by Dale Winton pressing a button?”
Alan, doing his best Winton: “IT COULD BE YOU! AAAAAHHH!”
Ross, doing a better Winton: “I LOVE EVERYBODDAAAAYYY”

Stephen and Jeremy talk about getting out of jury service due to being too famous. Jeremy says that doesn’t really work. Stephen says he only does it because he doesn’t want some blood-dripping murderer to recognize him in the jury box.
Ross: “The defendant comes out…sits down…’…oh SHIT IT’S CLARKSON!”

and then Ross, as Jeremy: “You’re CLEARLY GUILTY because ya DRIVE a PRIUS!”

Stephen brings up a point about using ‘knob cheese’ in order to fool doctors into thinking you have tuberculosis. Of course, Ross runs with this.
Alan: “[the doctor] just…wouldn’t do the analysis”
Ross: “He’s not gonna send you to some psychiatrist going ‘…you’re eatin’ knob cheese!'”

This isn’t a particularly funny show,  but there are a ton of good points- Stephen mentions his Scrabble house rule is to not use a word you don’t know the meaning of. My uncle’s a Scrabble world champion. I bet he doesn’t follow that one.

On a shot of a sleeping dormouse:
Alan: “awww, look at the sleeping-”
Ross: “HE’S DEAD!”
Thank god for Ross, or else this would be one boring show..

Stephen wants the panel to demonstrate, with a little action figure, the best way to sit. Jeremy’s is pull-string, and has Jeremy Clarkson quotes on it, because of course.

Alan, before he has to put his action figure away, gets it to wave goodbye to the audience. Alan will always be the most wholesome QI cast member.
Ross: “Hang on, I’ve got bloody Jim Henson next to me…”

Ross, in using the Ingenious Interludes object, unscrews part of the buzzer in order to faux-electrocute himself, which is amusing. Then, he drops part of it down the buzzer hole, and reacts in agony.

Like with a lot of other shows this season, Stephen does tailor some of this episode to Jeremy, in including some b-roll from Top Gear. They hadn’t done this before, though. Maybe it was a Series I thing.

Jeremy has a good gag about veterinarians eventually just roaming the country shooting animals, which Dara contributes to as well, questioning if it’s just Jeremy’s need for violence.
Ross has a joke that I was actually waiting for someone to say: “When you did that sound effect there…that’s the end of Eastenders!”

Jeremy: “And now…All Creatures Great and Small…[gunshot noises]”

Alan wins in a landslide, which does tend to happen on down episodes like this one.

Overall: Definitely a down show, with only a few lines from Ross Noble of any note. Jeremy talked a bit too much, and was more loathsome than funny. Dara was quieter than he’d been in a while, which is sad, as was Alan, to be honest. And a lot of the show was less funny and more analytical, but not even interesting analytical. A sad way to end what was such a strong, consistent series.

MVP: Ross
Best Guest: Ross
Show Winner: Alan
Best QI Fact: knob cheese

SERIES I SUPERLATIVES:

Best Episode: Episode 2, International, featuring an insanely strong panel, a running gag about the Bursa that cracks me up sometimes, a funny picture of Herman Goerring, and, of course, David Mitchell’s epic argument with the QI Elves.
2nd Best Episode: Episode 4, Indecision, featuring Phill, Rich and Jimmy collaborating like never before, so many odd, hilarious moments, some Jupitus giggling, a rare NMTB ID Parade, and a great conversation about making decisions when you need to go to the bathroom.
3rd Best Episode: Episode 1, I-Spy, another Jimmy Carr show, and proof that Lee Mack could be a collaborator rather than hogging the jokes himself. with so many great stories and facts from the elves that were turned into nice moments, like the unkillable Mike Malloy, and the lobsters that are smaller than a submarine.
Worst Episode: This very one, E16, Idleness. The panel couldn’t get going, and only some Ross Noble lines stood out.
Episode Most Worthy of Another Watch: I7, Incomprehensible, a show that’s just too fun to ignore, even with the prospect of Brian Cox goofing off with Ross and Sue. So much is even more fun on a second watch. 15, Invertebrates, comes close.
Best In-Episode Runner: Brian Blessed and the dogs, I14, Ice. An anecdote from the big man himself about sleeping with wolves turns into an even sillier gag when Ross and Sean just keep it going throughout the back end of the show.
Best Recurring Guest: TIE between Bill Bailey and Ross Noble. Both had three show wins, and both were the centerpieces of nice panels throughout the seasons. Both also made me laugh throughout, even if Ross was a bit more flagrant; Bill is still the heavy-hitter this show deserves, and I’ll let those two split it. They both deserve it.
Most Underused Recurring Guest: Once again, Rich Hall. Even if he was in better shows, his out-there energy of his early appearances seemed to be gone here.
Most Improved: Lee Mack, for going from a guy who’d tire me out in one episode to a more balanced, mature panelist who could collaborate with anyone, even Sandi Toksvig (though an argument nearly broke out).
Best Guest Appearance: A tough one, this, but I’m giving it to Brian Cox (Incomprehensible), as he completely got the tone, humor, and analysis of the show, and seemed less like an informational panelist and more like a humorist. The Josh Groban of science, if you will. I came very close to handing this to Frank Skinner or Al Murray, though.
Guest We Wish Wasn’t Done After this Series: Sean Lock, who left to focus on 8 out of 10 Cats…and eventually Catsdown. He was a highlight whenever he was on, and he made me laugh without even trying too hard, though his appearances this series were a bit more subdued.
Rookie of the Year: Sarah Millican, I5 (Invertebrates), for nailing the tone immediately, and making me very excited for her later appearances.
Best Innovation: Giving a tactile demonstration for the panelists to futz with, which will go on for the rest of Stephen’s run.
Best Single Moments: David vs. the Elves (I2: International), Money Robber ID Parade (I4: Indecision), The panel eats ants (I5: Invertebrates), Smashing Ewoks on a Lake of Farts (I7: Incomprehensible), Stephen returns Dara’s points (I10: Inland Revenue), ASIMO and Jo dance (I13: Intelligence)

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S09E09, or Actually, Never Mind About Your Son…

I know. I took my sweet time there. But work is work. Nevertheless, here’s the last two episodes pre-compilations. Both feature Steve Frost and Brad Sherwood, but they’re both from different tapings. Either way, as Brad’s been unstoppable thus far, it should be interesting.

Clive’s intros are funny tonight, including describing Steve as ‘a man of a thousand voices, all of them the same.’ He repeats the joke with faces, all of them not human (Colin), dollars, all of them travel expenses (Brad), and appearances on this program (Ryan).

Questions Only: On Noah’s Ark

Brad, after going on the ropes with Steve: “Why did you bring ME as your pair?”
Steve: [cracks]
BUZZ

Ryan, proving he can get a laugh with three words: “…you smell something?”

Steve: “So WHERE are the giraffes gonna put their heads?”
Ryan: “Is that important?”
Steve: “Have you never worked with giraffes before?”
Ryan: “Is that apparent?”
Steve: [leaves]
A general note: none of these scenes last longer than 3 or 4 lines. Everybody’s divebombing tonight.

Ryan: “Didn’t I tell you to stay away from there?”
Colin: “WHYYYY?”
[Ryan takes a moment]
Ryan: “Didn’t you notice something unusual up there?”
Colin: “Didn’t you see the leak?”
Ryan: “…YOU TOOK A LEAK?”
[FANTASTIC!]

Took way too long to get going, and felt very haphazard, but the ending was nice.

Film and Theatre Styles – Colin is a policeman coming to investigate strange going-ons at Ryan’s chicken farm.

Again, obvious pairing here, perhaps after the George-Ryan pairing didn’t really work out, but I’m kinda sad we never got a Colin-Brad pairing, especially considering their current status as a touring double act.

Clive: “Hang on, somebody just said ‘swedish porn’ there, because somebody always does! Is it the SAME PERSON WHO COMES EVERY WEEK…so to speak?”
HA! Clive is still fantastic at double-entendres.

FROM MOMENT ONE OF THIS SCENE, WE’RE OFF. Ryan has his back turned, and we hear a clucking noise. Then, as Ryan sees Colin coming, he chucks something (the chicken) offscreen, and turns to Colin. It’s so seamless that you’d wonder if Ryan’s done a scene like this before.

Ryan, taking the obvious joke: “Oh, you suspect fowl play?”

Ryan: “Look, I won’t lie to you…I’ve known these chickens for many a year, and we’ve…shared things between chicken and man [smirk] that chicken and man should not share.”
[Pause for audience reaction]
Colin: “…go on.”
BUZZ

The Star Trek style is an excuse for Colin to roll out his impressive Shatner impression. He even has a confused double-take with no dialogue, which the audience loves. Brad loses it at that, even.

Colin makes a noise, probably just doing a phasing motion
Ryan, taking the opposite approach: “Ah, a portable fan.”

Ryan and Colin riverdancing over to the chickens is worth it in every sense. I don’t know if it matches Robin Williams’ riverdancing on the show later on, but it’s pretty hysterical.

As Clive cuts them off, Colin is panting up a storm. Jokingly, Clive tells them to do more Riverdance, just to see their panicked expressions.

This scene does have a silly ending, with Colin’s dinosaur impression and a complete loss of plot, but this was still an amusing enough scene, with some really nice improv moments.

Old Job, New Job – Brad introduces his fiancee, Ryan, to his father, Steve, who used to be a dog show judge.

There’s a fun moment where Steve tells Ryan to sit, but Ryan has to figure out how to sit down onstage. He ends up crouching on the World’s Worst step [which, in itself, is foreshadowing as to how much of Ryan’s butt will be on the World’s Worst step during World’s Worst in Episode 19]

Brad, as Steve chases Ryan around the room: “I told you she was a good bitch.”
Ha…ha…ha…

Brad: “She’s just nervous…”
Steve: “Come and put your head in my lap.”
Ryan: “I’M SORRY???”
Screen Shot 2018-10-18 at 3.33.16 PM.png

This does have a funny ending: As Ryan puts his head in Steve’s lap for a good beat or so, he gets up, and says “…actually nevermind about your SON…”

Another fairly goofy scene, even if it was kind of one note, which is what a lot of OJNJ games end up being.

Home Shopping – Ryan and Colin try to sell waders with holes in them, already-chewed chewing gum, and a solar powered torch.

Clive hands Ryan the waders.
Ryan, smirkingly: “WAITER!”

Colin: “SHOP SHOP SHOP. SHOP SHOP SHOP. SHOP SHOP SHOP…..Nothing subliminal about this!”

Man, even with the goofy rationalizations, this game just isn’t working. The audience just isn’t laughing here.

They do, admittedly, have a fun moment finally, in describing the Solar Powered Torch, which even Clive admits is an original idea. Colin sets it up, and goes “now, HOW WOULD THAT WORK? Ryan will explain.”
Ah yes, the old ‘Ryan and Colin screwing with each other’ gag.
Ryan: “As you know, when it’s dark here, it’s light somewhere else. That’s why the Solar-Powered Torch is FIVE-THOUSAND MILES LONG. So you can get the sun on the OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD.”
Colin: “And if you’ll buy that, YOU’LL BUY ANYTHING!”

This game did eventually get good, but, like with Questions, it took a while.

Quick Change – Colin tells general Brad that they’re under attack. Steve calls change.

This game later became a staple of Whose Line live shows, and the eventual Improv a Ganza show on GSN, but I’d forgotten they gave it a try here.

Also, YAY COLIN AND BRAD TOGETHER.

Colin: “…General.”
Brad: “Yes?”
Colin: “We’re under attack.”
Keeping it simple..

Colin: “Sir, we’re surrounded by a hundred German officers.”
Steve: “Change”
Colin: “31 Lithuanian midgets.”
Steve: “Change.”
Colin: “A circus troupe with a really bad elephant.”
Brad: “This is more serious than I thought!”
Colin: “Yes, the elephant looks very angry.”

Brad lands on, when asking about the elephant, “does it have any…stealth equipment? Because I hate those stealth elephants! They sneak RIGHT UP ON YOU! AND THEN YOU’VE GOT A BUTT FULL OF PEANUTS!”
Man, I missed Brad.

Colin: “I do know…that some of the acrobats have bazookas.”
Steve: “Change.”
Colin: “Some of the acrobats have large guns.”
Steve: “Change.”
Colin, very quickly: “THE ACROBATS ARE NAKED AND MAKING SHADOW PUPPETS WITH THEIR GENITALS.”
[the audience goes wild here]
Colin: “IT’S DISTRACTING THE MEN, SIR!”

When Brad asks Colin to repeat the hand-signals they used, Colin does one…and Steve keeps calling change on every hand-signal Colin uses, so Colin has to keep going through all of the ones he knows. The more Steve yells change, the harder it is for him to keep composure, but he mostly pulls it off.

A very funny game, solely because of how refreshing it felt, and how well the Colin-Brad duo worked.

Party Quirks – Brad is the host.
Steve (a strict German nanny)
Colin (physically in love with food)
Ryan (a film extra in a bar room brawl).

Colin is hysterical from the moment he walks in, going over to the turkey and putting his hands all over it…and then putting his head inside of it. Hell, Steve’s ridiculous as well, using the accent to its perfection.

The sight of Colin passionately eating corn is enough to get the ladies in the front row into hysterics.

This is a pretty standard PQ, with nothing else truly standing out.

Mission Impossible: Ryan and Colin are instructed by Steve to mow the lawn.

There’s a nice touch of this tape being used on a Russian tape player, so Colin spends the whole time winding it, so Steve even slows down if Colin’s not churning fast enough.

Ryan suggests they put on outfits so they can mow the lawn stealthily. Ryan gets on a rooster costume, which Colin immediately shoots down. I don’t know why I laughed so hard at that moment.

Ryan and Colin manage to get on top of the shed.
Ryan: “It’s a long distance down there, it must be four feet.”
Colin: “…wait a minute! You’re what?”
Ryan: “….6’5…”

Colin throws in a funny detail that the shed is locked on the outside AND the inside, which cracks up Ryan AND Clive.

Colin: “We’re gonna have to blow it.”
Ryan: “BLOW THE DOOR, ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?”
Colin: “…no, blow it up.”
HA

Then, Ryan figures out how to get the door open: “You had mexican food for lunch, didn’t you?”
Colin stifles a grin: “I THINK I SEE WHERE YOU’RE GOING…”
As Ryan pulls out the matches, Colin shakes his head, not believing they’re actually doing this gag.

Ryan: “We can’t let ’em see us mowing.”
Colin: “…..I’ll get a sheet.”
[He goes off, not knowing how that’s gonna help
Ryan: “What would a sheep help us at this point?”
Colin: “SHEET!”

There’s a nice development, where they reveal they’ve been doing sheep experiments in the other part of the shed the whole time. Colin, to get the sheep to mow the lawn, says to Ryan: “You better put on your enticing sheep costume.”
Ryan: “Why is it always me?”
Colin: “BECAUSE YOU SMELL LIKE ONE!”

Another fantastic Mission Impossible round, proof that these two have been on fire with this game lately, with so many fun comedy details in there.

Greatest Hits – Ryan and Colin advertise Songs of the Farmyard, sung by Brad.

Why do I feel like this entire show had a barnyard theme to it? From QO, to Film and Theatre Styles, to Steve in OJNJ, to the sheep, and now this? So many animals in this show!

Ryan: “It’s 5 o clock, and you want to have a party, but you just haven’t got the right music, have they, Teddy?”
Colin, with delivery that made me cry: “NO!”
And then Ryan pauses for a second, then looks back at camera with a look that reminds me of Fred Willard.

Ryan names his German Drinking Song ‘You’re Just a Chicken, but What the Cluck’, which is pretty genius.

Colin: “Oh, that song always fails to bring a tear to my eye.”
They cut to Brad, who cracks at that.

Colin ends up one-upping Ryan, by calling the punk song ‘is that an ear of corn, or are you just happy to see me?’. Ryan can only hold his stern expression for so long before losing it.

Brad starts his song with an ‘OY!’ Didn’t know Blur counted as Punk. No, but this does actually end up being a pretty cool London punk number, thanks to Brad’s full embrace of the genre.

Ryan does win the song-naming day by calling the French song ‘you may be just a horse, but you’ve got a hell of an ass.’ They hold on them for a moment, which is hysterical, reminiscent of the ESPN Classic sketches on SNL, and then somebody does a wolf-whistle from the audience.

Brad’s song is great, but in the middle of a higher note, he completely cracks up, looking over at Richard for help, even.

A pretty satisfying Greatest Hits, even though it’s a bit lower than some of the recent playings.

The credit reading is alright, if only for Steve yelling out “OY! VRANCH! NICE ASS!”

Overall: One of the weaker outings of this series, despite great games like Quick Change and Mission Impossible. A lot of rounds seemed very ho-hum, and without much of a point. I don’t think it was anyone’s fault in particular, as all four were fine, though Brad had a few more faux-pas’ than usual, and Steve didn’t get much chance to prove himself, but…I’ve seen the other show that came from this taping, and it’s a lot better. This was definitely a Ryan-Colin show, which isn’t really a problem, as they elevated the games that were here, but…not a lot was terribly great.

Show Winners: Ryan and Steve
Best Performer: Colin Mochrie, edging out Ryan solely on that ‘NO!’ in Greatest Hits.
Worst Performer: Steve Frost, who kind of got shafted tonight
Best Game: Mission Impossible, by far
Worst Game: Party Quirks. Just a very weak one.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S09E08, or Nazis Don’t Take Showers!

And on the heels of ONE bad booking decision by the producers, we go straight into another…

Debi Durst probably wasn’t brought on due to her own improv abilities or anything. I think she was just brought on because Greg Proops knew her, as they’d worked together on Nightmare Before Christmas (yes, Greg was in that!), and Greg recommended her for the show. And, uh…it makes George Wendt look like Ryan Stiles, let’s just say.

What people usually have problem with in terms of Debi is the fact that she came to the show adorned in a faux-baseball jersey, saying ‘Clowns’, which may rival the ’88 Comic Relief t-shirt from Paul Merton as the most informal WL dressing decision to date.

Questions Only – All four are in Star Wars.

One of the more intriguing things is that Debi is right there with everyone in terms of staying in the game on this one, only making a few minor rookie mistakes.

Ryan, stepping in with Colin: “…are you Yoda?”
This works, as Colin is wearing a green shirt.

Colin: “What race are you from?”
Ryan: “…does American sound too strange??”

Colin: “Can you perform the first test?”
Ryan: “…is that oral sex?”
Colin: [slowly cracks up]

Then Greg, without a choice, comes in, and goes “…do you WANT oral sex?”
Ryan: “…doesn’t every man???”
Greg: “Can’t you reach out with your feelings?”
Ryan: “…can I reach out with something else?”
[Ryan is just killing it tonight]
Greg: “Is it long enough?”
Ryan:
Screen Shot 2018-09-22 at 4.33.41 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-09-22 at 4.34.00 PM.png

A really strong Questions Only over all, with no real moments of patheticness, even for Debi.

Superheroes: Mascara shortage
Greg: Wonder Woman
Ryan: Bad John Wayne Impression Boy
Colin: Pants Around the Ankles Boy
Debi: Nagging Jewish Mother Woman

Despite a cry of ‘sarcasm man’, Clive ends up picking Wonder Woman for Greg, which is a bit too mundane for me, but Greg rolls with it.

A gruff, man’s voice shouts out ‘shortage of mascara’ for the crisis
Clive: “…have YOU noticed this?”

Greg: “Oh my god, there’s a worldwide shortage of mascara! What are all the drag queens going to do??”

Colin, at Ryan adorning him with ‘Pants Around the Ankles Boy’, gives him this look:
Screen Shot 2018-09-22 at 4.39.27 PM.png
And then he cracks a bit.

Greg, to Debi as Naggging Jewish Mother Woman: “There’s no mascara left, and I’m sorry I didn’t call!”
Debi: “I’ll just go home and get some out of the closet…”
…An actual working Superheroes solution from Debi Durst? Was not expecting that.

Greg, as Colin leaves: “Goodbye…oh, HELL-LO…”

Not a bad Superheroes, and better than last show’s. Again, Debi wasn’t bad here, either. I know people call her one of the worst, and I can definitely say she’s kinda bawdy so far, but she’s not committing any improv sins.

Let’s Make a Date: Greg chooses:
Debi: Popeye
Colin: knows Greg’s dirty secrets
Ryan: in dental surgery

Debi: “AND THEN…I LOVE TA SMOKE.”
Greg: “…gosh, I love vaudeville!”

Colin, smirking a ton in this game: “everything’s fast with you, isn’t it?”

Greg, after a non-sequiter Debi answer: “…#2-”
Ryan, from across the stage: ‘AHHHH! AHHHHH!”
Colin: “DOES *THAT* SOUND FAMILIAR???”

Ryan, for his second round, talks like he’s on a lot of novocaine, with his lips deliberately kind of shut.
Greg: “#3, WHICH END ARE YOU TALKING THROUGH???”
HA!

Greg: “I’m gonna start with #3, because Debi is perplexing and baffling me…”
You and the entire WL fanbase, Greg

Greg: “#1 is either BURGESS MEREDITH IN ROCKY…or a pirate with some sort of glandular condition…”

Yeah, this one was pretty strong, because you had all three sort of bouncing off of Greg, and a lot of really good interplay moments. And Debi…didn’t have the greatest Popeye impression, but she was still getting laughs.

Animals – Ryan is a businessman taking prospective business partner Greg to a go-go bar, Colin is a dancer and Ryan’s wife; they are two cockerels and a hen respectively.

Man, these Animals scenes got really high-concept. All three performers are giving each other really weird looks pre-scene.

There’s nothing too out of the ordinary in this one, but the visuals of Greg and Ryan as horny roosters, and Colin’s entire act, is just silly enough.
Greg: “Look at the plumage on that hen!”

Then, as Ryan realizes who Colin is, he starts loudly ‘BA-CAAAAA’-ing, to the point where it just makes this scene worth it, as Colin runs around. Clive’s even losing it.

To be honest, this one was cut a bit too short for me, but it still worked, and was silly enough to work.

World’s Worst: Television Program

Greg, bringing out the John Major voice for the second consecutive show: “Good morning, children. I used to be Prime Minister…”

Colin: “Today on Famous Queen Waves…July 15th, 1954…”

Colin: “How d’you make wine…from pork? Let’s find out.”
Debi: “Alright, children. Now that your parents are out of the house, let’s smoke some cigarettes!”

Screen Shot 2018-09-22 at 5.27.19 PM.pngColin: “[cough]…[cough]…now you…”

Greg, nodding at Colin, goes straight into his second straight Clive impression: “Well, totaling up the scores, I see that sadly Ryan is the winner. All that remains is for me to thank…”
[He forgot ‘read the credits in the style of my choosing!’]

Not as good as last show’s WW, but still pretty strong.

Props: Ryan and Colin vs. Greg and Debi

Screen Shot 2018-09-22 at 5.30.18 PM.pngDebi: “Yes, you CAN swing a dead cat in here!”

Screen Shot 2018-09-22 at 5.30.50 PM.pngColin: “DAFFY, GET OFF THE HIGHWAY- Ohhh…”

Screen Shot 2018-09-22 at 5.31.37 PM.pngGreg: “GOOD MORNING! AND WELCOME TO THE *ADULT* MUPPETS!”

I didn’t even write down all the good ones, but MAN, these were some of the most original props ideas we’ve had in a while. Both sides were great. EVEN DEBI. I’m just gonna say it, we’re halfway through and she hasn’t bombed a game yet. She’s still bringing up the rear of the show, because…with these three, you’d have to be Brad Sherwood to NOT, but she’s still holding her own, IMO.

Weird Newscasters: Greg anchors
Ryan (a crazy old man) is the co-anchor
Debi (getting repeatedly massive electric shocks)
and Colin (desperate to catch a plane) is the weatherman.

Lots of Greg-proctored games tonight.

Greg: “Good evening, I’m Snide Anderson. No relation.”

Like many early incarnations of this game, you get the sense that Greg is trying to keep everything together, rather than later versions, where the anchor would just let things roll regardless. Still, it’s great seeing him struggle as Ryan threatens him with his teeth.

Colin’s impatience, even as Greg is wrapping up Debi’s segment, is fantastic: she’s waving her arms, pointing to his watch, and trying his best not to lose it.

Then he runs through his weather report at top speed, yells ‘HAVEANICEWEEKEND’, and then darts offscreen.

Ryan going on about a hot co-anchor while Greg tries to wrap up the show reminds me of the one News Report about Adam and Eve, I believe, where Ryan, whenever he’s handed the mic, just keeps going on and on about lewd details. It’s a nice touch.

A bit frenzied, but still alright.

Moving People – Colin is a girl checking into the Bates Motel; Ryan is the receptionist.

There’s a great moment where Clive tries to coax a member of the studio audience to move people, and she whispers to him that she’s never seen the program before.
Clive: “…then why’d you come along, then? What were you expecting, something a bit funnier than this, were you?”

Colin also does his best to help Steph feel comfortable, talking her down.
Clive: “Just go and stand behind him, don’t fall for any of that chit-chat…”
Heck, Ryan even goes and says hello to her. With him, I can’t tell if he’s also trying to help ease her nerves, or if he’s doing his usual ‘go and say hello to the hot girl even if he’s not part of the scene’ schtick.

AT MOMENT ONE, Ryan and Colin start screwing with the movers. Ryan says he’ll help Colin to his room, then nothing happens, and Ryan says “you know, why rush, it’s a really hot day…”

Ryan’s mover does get the memo to have Ryan grab a bag of Colin’s on the floor.
Ryan, after a few seconds: “…Okay, I’ll just shove it along, right to your door…”

Colin makes a reference to taking a shower.
Ryan: “A SHOWER………A SHOWER!”
He then eyes his mover, basically saying ‘DO SOMETHING’. The guy moves Ryan’s hand thusly:
Screen Shot 2018-09-22 at 5.51.06 PM.png

Ryan: “…NAZIS DON’T TAKE SHOWERS!”
It’s like the guy played right into Ryan’s hand.

Colin, noticing Steph hasn’t really moved him that much: “You’re lucky, I almost slapped it off myself…..but I have GREAT self control!”

Then, as Ryan’s mover just keeps him with a hand in the air.
Colin: “DON’T TRY DOING ANYTHING!!!”
Ryan: “I’m not, I’m just waving to the neighbors. HELLO!”

Then, the movers finally get Ryan and Colin to awkwardly walk towards the room, taking hands for some reason.

Colin: “Look into my eyes and tell me that you’re not strange!”
Ryan’s mover moves Ryan’s head like a few inches from Colin’s.
Ryan: “…my GOD you’re a beautiful woman…”

As Ryan says progressively weirder things, Colin sums up the entire scene: “Oh, I want to turn away, but I CAN’T!”

The scene ends with Ryan being moved into an awkward hug with Colin as he tries to get away. It’s one of the more amusing ways to end such an insane, but funny, scene.

Hoedown: Cricket

Ah yes, four north-americans talking about Cricket. This will be fun. Even Greg starts confusedly laughing at the suggestion.

Debi’s is very Steve Frost-ian. It finishes with something that rhymes, but rhymes by default. But..again…it doesn’t bomb the game. It’s not too bad.

Of course, then we have Greg’s, done in a very posh British accent:
“I’m a cricket player. I stand upon the pitch.
I wait for the ball to come, and then I give it a switch.
When the game is over, I retire, for a beer.
…and I know what you’re thinking. And no, we’re not.”
A CLASSIC HOEDOWN VERSE.

I also really like Colin’s:
“I hate watching cricket. How do they do that play?
It seems to run, and run and run, it goes on for 50 days.
It takes so long, it takes so long, it really is a crime.
In the time it takes to play cricket, I can make love 455 times!”

Ryan, on his first line, cracks up a bit. I’m not sure why. Maybe the fact that he knows nothing about cricket.

His verse isn’t that strong, and he’s looking over at Colin at the end, going ‘what the hell else could I do?”

Still, a pretty good Hoedown, especially considering what we just had.

Overall: A definite improvement on last show, and one that sort of succeeded where the last one failed. Here, we had a guest that didn’t match up to the other two in terms of abilities, but whose improv didn’t bog the others down, and who, and I want to make this clear, REALLY DIDN’T DO ANYTHING WRONG. Debi’s appearance on a lot of the WORST OF WL lists really bogs down to her appearance as a bawdy american, but her improv was still pretty good, and she still had some funny moments. I’m not gonna say she belongs with the Paul Bird class of ‘why weren’t they brought back’, but…maybe she’s more of a Lee Simpson or a Neil Mullarkey, in that I wonder what would have happened on a second appearance.

The show was pretty good, though not to the caliber of our two big guns, the premiere and the Stephen Fry show. Obviously the Colin and Ryan duo ruled over this show, even though there was a surprising amount of ‘all four’ games, and a lot of games where Greg didn’t do much more than proctor. Some great dynamic all around, and some very interesting moments, like the audience members in Moving People being reluctant, and Clive having to work his charm there.

Show Winners: All four
Best Performer: Ryan, for some mastery yet again.
Worst Performer: Debi, simply for not being as strong as the other 3.
Best Game: Moving People. Had the most laughs.
Worst Game: Not a ton of truly BAD games. I’ll go with Weird Newscasters just for being a bit more incoherent at times.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S09E07, or You Made me a Wooden Hooker??

On we go with Series 9 of Whose Line, and Dan and Mark’s attempt to appeal to American audiences. Here, they managed to book one of the more prevalent sitcom stars of the 1990s, and a former Second City farmhand to boot, in George Wendt, or Norm from Cheers. Wendt was in a brief career lull in 1997, and may have been in London on leave from the set of Alice in Wonderland, which may have been filming around that time (I could be way off here). Nevertheless, he’s here, doing short form improv with Greg, Colin and Ryan, three supremely talented American regulars. This goes pretty much the way you’d think.

Intros, obviously done at the end of the show, feature George looking kinda worn out, and Ryan doing this:
Screen Shot 2018-09-21 at 5.25.04 PM.png

Film and Theatre Styles – Scientist Ryan has called George to test out his time machine.

Here we get the Ryan-George playing of this. I’m kinda glad we didn’t just get ‘Ryan and Colin and then the other two’ pairings, because A.) it allows for more versatility between performers, and B.) It allowed for the F&TS in episode 16, which is a classic.

Oprah Winfrey style
Ryan, as Oprah: “…yes, you HAVE been repeating yourself.”
George: [collapses in anguish]
Ryan: “And if any of you see this type of thing at home…be sure to consult the proper authorities.”

Ryan: “Was your daddy bad to you?”
George, taking a moment to think of how dark he’s going to take this: “Yes…he repeated himself on me ALL THE TIME!”
BUZZ
Clive: “This is getting too disturbing.”
George shakes his head.
Clive: “Let’s do some Sesame Street to lighten the mood.”
Ryan, in a perfect Kermit the Frog voice: “…repeated himself?”

I’m getting that George is very broad in his improv, like in the martial arts style, where he just emits a 5-second long yell, in character, in an odd way. Perhaps he’s forgotten that improv shouldn’t need to be making funny faces and noises.

Clive: “Let’s go onto horror.”
Ryan: “…you’ve dropped your pants.”

This was an alright scene. It wasn’t particularly bad, and George didn’t really commit any improv sins, but his style was a bit too broad for me, especially compared to Ryan’s.

Superheroes: shortage of jelly babies
Greg: Super Ted
Ryan: Mr. Smooth
Colin: Disco Kid
George: Talks too Loud About his Personal Problems Man

Not a huge fan of Greg’s characterization, but Ryan’s is fantastic from the moment he arrives, as Mr. Smooth. Just the way he says his lines.

Colin is just as good as The Disco Kid, a character he’d definitely do again in Superheroes during the US version.

The plot-solving is a bit clumsy, as George, yelling about his hemorrhoids, somehow solves the crisis, according to Greg, without really trying. So Greg sort of solves it for him. It may have been a move because of George’s unawareness with the WL format, but it’s still a clumsy one.

Not a great Superheroes. I just didn’t love Greg in this one, maybe because he didn’t really know what else to do with his quirk.

Secret – Ryan and Colin are Geppetto and Pinocchio. The secret is hidden inside a left nostril

I will say the audience suggestion of the secret being in the left nostril is one of the more ingenious ideas we’ve had from there lately.

Ryan’s Geppetto voice is a great excuse for him to do just a goofy Italian accent, to the point where it’s very reminiscent to his accent as the chef from a few Secrets ago. He even starts making a pizza.

Again, even the way the secret is revealed, literally falling out of Colin’s nose, is original. And Ryan gets to name it this time again, being “…a javelin???” And he’s even a little stirred by it, which is a first.

Colin, dropping an accent to give the rationalization: “…whatever country we’re from has asked me to be on their olympic team.”
Ryan: “Italy, Pinocchio.”
Colin: “I wasn’t sure, with the accent and everythin-”
Ryan: “ITALY, PINOCCHIO!”

Ryan: “The olympics will make you a MAN, not a real boy.”
Colin: “Only if I’m on the Russian women’s swimming team, then I can be a man!”
That line would NOT fly today…

Ryan ends the scene by promising Colin that he’s gonna make him into a real boy.
Colin: “You made a wooden hooker?”
Ryan, regrouping, opens the closet and reveals it as Clive buzzes.

A very silly Secret scene, with just so many wonderful leaps in logic, and just Ryan and Colin trying to out-ridiculous each other.

Film Dub – Ryan, Colin, and Greg are on a dangerous mission.

Greg gives his character a very Steve Frost-esque throaty english accent, and lays out a map.
Ryan: “…my god, that’s a picture of my wife.”

Ryan: “Look at the ranges and the mountains and the valleys of her-”
Greg: “Yes, we’ve all had your wife, now let’s carry on…”

Ryan’s character, as he leaves to go, does a hand motion to the other person.
Ryan, without a choice: “…Heil Hitler…”
BUZZZZ

Yeah, Clive’s WL may have been more lenient with Hitler jokes than Drew’s, but at least he knew it was a good scene ender. This Film Dub was alright.

World’s Worst: Person to share a flat with

Greg, as John Major: “I used to be the leader of a small…”
Ryan, opening the shower curtain: “Let’s say we save some water…”

Ryan: “…I’ve gone to the bathroom somewhere in the house, why don’t you try to find it?”
Clive:
Screen Shot 2018-09-21 at 5.57.26 PM.png

Ryan, as people are still recovering from that one, goes up again, carrying something: “Happy Birthday to Hitler, Happy Birthday…”

Colin: “I just finished my book: Satanic Verses.”
The audience, and Greg, really like this one. Who knew Rushdie slams were still in?

Greg and George are noticeably having a hard time with this one.
Clive: “Just do it as yourself, Greg…”
Greg “Ohhhh, you’re gonna get it now…”

Greg:
Screen Shot 2018-09-21 at 6.00.20 PM.png
“WELL! I’M YOUR NEW ROOMMATE!”

A pretty solid World’s Worst, if I’m being honest, though George only had one suggestion, and not a great one at that.

Props: Ryan and Colin vs. Greg and George.

Screen Shot 2018-09-21 at 6.02.15 PM.pngRyan: “WE’RE HIGH OVER WEMBLEY STADIUM…”

Screen Shot 2018-09-21 at 6.02.58 PM.pngRyan: “…I would like to thank the Academy for this award…”

Here you can at least see that George and Greg got along well; George uses both props for a ‘we’re gonna need a bigger boat, eh Quint?’ line that the audience doesn’t really get, but Greg loves.

Three of a Kind – Ryan, Colin, and Greg are TV evangelists in a laundrette.

Greg, in a perfect accent: “CAN ANYONE…SPARE…A DONATION…SO THAT I CAN WASH MY CA-LOT-THES?”
Ryan: ‘YAY. AH HAVE SEEN THE CLOTHES, AND THE CLOTHES ARE…cleeeannn…”

You can tell that Greg and Ryan have a better grip on televangelism than Colin, who just sort of follows their motions after a while, but Greg and Ryan are KILLING IT, so far.

Ryan: “And yet the socks come out, and they are full of holes in the heel…HEEL…HEEL!”

Greg: “Your underwear has folded by itself. IT IS TRULY….A MIRACLE!”
Ryan and Clive start cracking here.

Ryan ends the program by having all 3 recite the Laundry Prayer together in an ‘all in one voice’ type of style, and it’s a fantastically energetic moment for all of them, and a capper on a pretty great show.

Party Quirks: Greg hosts
George: Gone With the Wind in 30 Seconds
Colin: Trying out rodeo horses of various sizes
Ryan: a fly caught between two windows.

Screen Shot 2018-09-21 at 6.14.08 PM.png[And I’m already gone]

Ryan and Colin are just doing great things with physicality and facial expressions, which is why it’s so painful to see George failing at a wordy prompt.

This is, however, one of those that just is fantastic when all three are just bouncing off each other. Greg looked slightly helpless, though not Tony Slattery helpless.

Greg, to Colin: “The Tory government’s not here anymore, you can stop that!”

Not a bad Party Quirks, though, like a lot of tonight’s games, it didn’t exactly take off, even with some great quirks from Ryan and Colin.

Hoedown: Space Travel

Greg’s is a fun one, about an alien set on conquering earth, with their leader, “he has no neck, he’s very bald, and his name is Clive…”

George’s…he gives up on. So he dances. Remember this. It will be important in Episode 12.

Ryan attempts one of his many tricky rhymes this series, trying to rhyme a star-trek-related line about the three-year tour with ‘sleeping with Uhur’.

Not a great Hoedown, but not without its moments.

Overall: Yeah…not a great show. Somehow, it wasn’t JUST George Wendt’s presence that kept things down a few pegs. A lot of games never really hit their stride, and even Greg sort of made some faux-pas throughout the night. And it’s not that George didn’t try, as he clearly did his best to fit in with the pact, but seeing as Ryan was KILLING IT tonight, and that these were some of the best traditional improvisers in the business at the time, a professional actor like George could only do so much. I don’t think he belongs in the list of ‘worst WL-ers ever’, like Ardal O’Hanlon, Jan Ravens, and…someone I’ll be covering next episode are, but he clearly wasn’t a great fit for the program. Maybe if he’d been on in an earlier run of the show, it wouldn’t have stuck out as much.

Show Winner: George
Best Performer: Ryan, for dominating, adding to the S4-esque quality of this show.
Worst Performer: George, for not really fitting well with the other 3.
Best Game: Secret, for using silliness as its best tool. World’s Worst is a close second.
Worst Game: Superheroes. Just really limp tonight.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S09E06, or Shouldn’t You Read Him His Rights or Something?

Our second straight Steve Frost episode, this time paired with this series’ new rising star Brad Sherwood. The Brad-Steve-Colin-Ryan teaming would appear in two tapings and five episodes, tied with the Steve-Colin-Ryan-Tony matchup for most of this show.

In introducing Ryan, Clive says “and for his nine-hundredth consecutive appearance on this show…comedian, actor, and the producer’s brother, RYAN STILES!”

Superheroes: Acid rain!
Colin: Captain Buttocks Promiscuous Man
Ryan: Can’t Move Without Hurting Himself Boy
Brad: Hilarious Punchlines Boy
Steve: Professor Hugs-Too-Hard

Clive gets Colin’s superhero name from combining the two best suggestions. Colin, from his initial reaction, LOVES THIS:
Screen Shot 2018-09-03 at 4.08.27 PM.png
Clive: “It’s interesting that two separate sections of the audience have met you before…”

Clive asks for the global problem:
Audience member: “Lots of hairpieces!”
Colin then begins to walk angrily towards the audience, and Ryan has to hold him back. This is very Captain Hair-esque

Clive: “ACID RAIN! Now that’s a real, sensible suggestion. Not funny, mind, but a real…”

Colin does some great physicality with huge buttocks, but finally gets the crisis of acid rain: “I hope it hits that woman who suggested ‘missing hairpieces'”

Ryan, stoner voice: “I’m sorry I’m late, captain Buttocks, I got caught in an acid showerrrr…”

I will say…’Professor Hugs-Too-Hard’ is the single most Brad Sherwood suggestion out there. Of course, Steve delivers, picking up Brad and twirling him around. And then he hugs Ryan and Ryan screams in pain.

There’s a great moment of applause, when Ryan’s screaming out in pain, Steve’s got done with hugging Colin and Colin is smiling. It’s a wonderful group moment.

Steve comes up with a brilliant, complicated suggestion, hugs Brad one more time, and then leaves.
Brad: “Huh, you should have seen the other guy…”

Ryan, as he exits, makes another loud, wincing noise every time he takes a step. And he even makes one once he’s offstage.

A perfectly fine Superheroes, with some great moments of teamwork, and Colin just owning his quirk.

Song Styles: Brad sings a love song to Anna, a nurse.

Brad, as usual, brings a lot of vocal panache to this one, and some great lyrical work:
“Anna, I will be your man
If you just do my prostate exam”

Beautiful song, too, as Brad can hold long notes, and make it heartfelt, while immediately going back to a joke:
“I’m dying…of this disease
Called love.
Grab your rubber glove.
Give your thumb a shove.”

One of the best Song Styles rounds we’ve had in a long time. The audience is absolutely wild about this one, too.

Secret: Ryan and Colin are two frisky geriatrics in an old people’s home; the secret is hidden in the commode.

Colin: “I got a date tonight!”
Ryan: “A date….you goin’ out for puddin?”
[I love how he says that line]

Ryan: “How’d you get a date with her?”
Colin: “Just…took out my teeth and did an impression of the chunnel…”

Ryan gets to name the Secret this time, and he at least picks a good, if pedestrian compared to Colin’s, reveal: “…Elvis trading cards?”
And this time, COLIN is the one to take a few beats to recover. He cracks for a brief second, too…
Colin, stalling: “…I guess you wanna know what they were doing there…”
Ryan: “I SURE DO…”

Colin eventually figures it out: “…can you keep a secret?”
Colin: “…there’s only two of us in here…”:
Colin: “….I’m Elvis.”

Ryan: “Waaait a minute [checking trading card] what’s your favorite food?”
Colin: “…hamburgers deep fried in batter.”
Ryan: “LONG LIVE THE KING!”
And then, Colin does a fantastic physical Elvis impression, before wincing, hurting a hip. Wincing easily seems to be a theme of this show.

Colin proclaims he lost his voice. “I can’t sing anymore.”
Ryan, with another great read: “ohhhhhhh I bet ya could…LOOK BACK TO THOSE DAYS, ELVIS…”
Colin, knowing what Ryan’s setting him up for, cracks a bit.
Colin: “I CAN’T, I CAN’T, DON’T MAKE ME DO IT…”
Ryan: “Priscilla still looks good! I bet she’d come back to ya if she could hear ya sing again.”

And then, Ryan pulls a fast one: “BUT NOT ANY OF YOUR OLD HITS.”
Colin: “NO, THAT’D BE TOO SIMPLE.”
[internally, he just goes ‘dammit Ryan…’]

As Ryan coaxes Colin into singing one of his lost songs, he goes “here…I’ll play the maracas for ya.” And takes out his teeth. This is genius.

Then, Colin gets the ground back by proclaiming he’s gonna do a song entirely in German, an old Hoedown trick for when he had no idea what to sing. Clive knows what’s coming.
Ryan: “IT’S OKAY ELVIS! I’LL TRANSLATE!”
Colin, getting into this song: “….Och-”
Ryan: “OH!”
Colin: “Och-”
Ryan: “OH!”
Colin, perfect Elvis voice: “….LIEBERLIEBERLIEBERLIEBER…”

SUCH A GOOD SECRET SCENE. That scene grew legs on its own, and just became a wonderful long-form-y Colin-Ryan scene. One of my favorite Secrets thus far.

Addicts Anonymous: Brad runs a self-help group for the other three, who are all addicted to game shows.

Brad, entering: “Sorry, I’m late, I-”
Ryan: [buzzes]
Brad, sighing, takes away his podium. Already a great start.

Steve, who I was worried would be a bit behind Ryan and Colin in terms of exposure to game shows, nails this, shaking hands, and being very giggly throughout.

Brad does a great job as the straight-man proctor here: “There are only three of ya, and we’re not narrowing it down to one! Remember that!”

Brad, to Colin: “How’ve you felt this week-”
Colin: “I’ve felt fine [turns to camera] My name is Jim Peters, I’m an accountant.”
Brad: “TAKE OFF THIS NAMETAG!”

Colin: I’m up to step three but it’s just not working!”
Brad: “Ooh, that’s the bonus round! Keep going!”

Brad: “HOW DOES IT MAKE YOU FEEL?”
Ryan: “small.”
Colin: “What does he win for that?”
Ryan: “NOTHING! There’s nothing to win for the real world, remember that!”
Steve: “There isn’t, but I think these chairs are worth 3000 pounds for the three!”

Colin sets up Brad to have him remember the group’s motto. Brad spins it back and says they should all do it together.

A very fun, if light at some points, game.

Sports Commentators – Brad and Steve commentate on Ryan and Colin, two hunks setting up on the beach.

This one, as usual, takes a bit to get going, but once Colin sticks an umbrella pole up Ryan’s ass, things really get going.

The ‘slow motion replay’ of the wet towel slap is great, because you see so much more emotion on Colin’s face.

Again, I don’t love this game, and I think it’s fairly straightforward, but this one had some nice moments.

Film Dub: Steve and Ryan are on an expedition.

Steve, as he heads down the World’s Worst step, stumbles a little, and facepalms as he regains his footing, and realizes they’re gonna use that take.

This is a silly enough scene- Ryan and Steve calling someone and asking where the map is, when it’s literally on the wall behind them.

Steve has a great moment where he takes the pauses as his character does, and makes it sound really odd: “It’s up….to me……and you…..to decide…..whether we……..SHOULD GO!”

And the scene ends with them finding the map, and Steve exclaiming “WHAT’S THIS???”

A fairly straightforward and silly scene, but not without its moments.

Animals – Ryan and Colin are two gazelles who are hiding illegal substances, Brad is the lion cop who catches them.

This is a great excuse for Ryan to bring back his gazelle impression, but Colin’s just as good, as both are looking around, turning their heads at the same time. Then finally:
Ryan: “….ya got the grass?”

Colin and Ryan have a great conversation about Ryan eating the grass instead of smoking it, but Brad eventually bounds in and improves the scene.

And yes, Brad slowly pursuing Ryan and Colin as they do the gazelle run is fantastic to watch.

Brad as the lion cop is fantastic, with a very different growly voice. He also kills Colin out of nowhere.
Ryan, as caught off-guard as I was: “Whooooa, shouldn’t you read him his rights or something?”

Pretty great scene, and honestly it could have gone on a bit longer.

Weird Newscaster – Brad is the anchor,
Colin (is having a breakdown because he used to be the sole newscaster) is the co-anchor,
the weatherman is Ryan (is being distracted by a couple making love in front of him),
and the sportscaster is Steve (a rowdy football fan).

Just the opening visual alone is hysterical:
Screen Shot 2018-09-03 at 4.56.12 PM.png

Colin’s demeanor as Brad cheerily speeds along is wonderful (“…I wish I had a GUN!”), and Steve, chiming in every now and then, is fantastic.

Steve: “…today, in the preseason warmup-CHELLESEEEAAA…”

After a bit of that, Steve picks up his stool and starts flailing it around, slamming it on the ground. By far his best performance of the show.

If you’ve ever seen the Eyewitness News portion of Kentucky Fried Movie, you know what to expect from at least the first part of Ryan’s quirk.

Yes, the more Ryan sees, the more aroused Ryan gets.
Steve, as a chant: “YOU’RE GOIN’ HOME WITH A GREAT BIG STIFFY!”

Overall: A very middle of the road show. There were highlights (Superheroes, Secret, Animals), and some very okay games (Sports Commentators, Film Dub), and just a generally alright feel. There were a ton of great improv decisions, and not all of them led to funny moments. Everyone had good and bad moments, and surprisingly Steve had a few more standout moments than I expect, although Brad did run away with the show, thanks to great performances in Song Styles and Animals.

Show Winners: Ryan and Colin
Best Performer: Brad, for having another dominant show.
Worst Performer: Ryan, solely for not having as many standout performances as the other three, but he was still alright.
Best Game: Secret. Just phenomenal.
Worst Game: Sports Commentators. Just another weak round of this.

QI Watchdown: I15 (Immortal Bard), or OH! FRENCHWOMAN!

It’s been a while since I’ve truly devoted time to QI, and watching through it, to the point where I’ve basically taken 2 years to finish Series I. And it’s a shame, too, as this is a very funny season, with 3 10/10 shows, 2 extremely fun shows with Ross Noble screwing with a special guest, and just lots of great material.

Here, we see one of the last few instances of QI doing a ‘these 3 panelists are here a lot, let’s put them all together’ show; Bill Bailey, David Mitchell and Sue Perkins are all on a ton, and they’re all here tonight, on a special Shakespeare-themed QI, which should definitely make Stephen proud. It’s sad they couldn’t get an actual Shakespearean actor, like John Sessions, Brian Blessed or Emma Thompson, for this one, but with these three, including a guy who’d appear on a Shakespeare send-up years later (Upstart Crow), I think we’ll be fine.

Everyone is dressed for the occasion, as shown in the Intros:
Screen Shot 2018-08-16 at 7.36.28 PM.png

Early on, Stephen asks about the David Tennant production of Hamlet, and asks who Tchaikovsky played. And it’s already amusing enough, seeing these four try to work out what that means. Eventually, Stephen reveals that he played the skull, which is a nice touch.

Stephen of course, quotes the line where Hamlet holds the skull, “alas, poor Yorick, I knew him, Horatio-”
Bill: “Alas, poor Yo-…wait a minute, THIS IS TCHAIKOVSKY!”

Screen Shot 2018-08-16 at 7.44.57 PM.pngDavid: “You’d hope that they had to dirty it up again…like that’s not just a bit of the guy that’s still clinging…”

David has another line, about someone who wastes their life, and donates their skull to theatre, “and then all the reviewers say “…I dunno, Yorick felt a bit stilted…”

Stephen: “Name the Scottish Play, that Shakespeare wrote.”
Sue: “Ah, Taggart!”

Bill has a great moment here, where he ridicules Stephen for always tricking him, and naming fake Shakespeare plays that are clearly the wrong answer…and then he guesses Macbeth, which Stephen, rather matter-of-factly, goes “…yes.”

Stephen brings up that even saying Macbeth is bad luck
Sue: “Yeah, you have to sleep with all your costars immediately.”

Stephen talks of the John Gielgud production of Macbeth, saying four people died during the production.
Sue: “Was that the one where they used machine guns in it?”

The panel goes off on the idea that turning off mobile phones in a theatre should just be made a superstition, so more people will follow it. And they just keep building on it, saying it was an ancient curse from the time of King Tut.

Stephen: “I was in a theatre not long ago, where someone’s phone went off, and the actor just went “OH, FOR FUCK’S SAKE!”

Bill tells the story of a production of Diary of Anne Frank with Pia Zadora, and she was so bad that “by the time the Nazis started knocking on the door, someone shouted out ‘SHE’S IN THE ATTIC!”

Again, just the casual dynamic of these guys talking about Shakespeare and theatregoing is just fantastic. After a bit, they all just start telling stories of onstage interruptions, and it’s all great.

And then Bill tells the story of doing 12 Angry Men onstage, and one of the jurors fainted onstage, and they all had to help him off. “and you see the audience going ‘…I don’t remember a bit in 12 Angry Men where one of the jurors…died..”

The West Side Story question, which Bill guesses that the original title of West Side Story was…West Side Story (and is Klaxoned) is one I knew: Originally it was set in the east side. Sue knows this immediately.

Screen Shot 2018-08-16 at 9.35.11 PM.pngBill: “…all their pipes have been airbrushed out of this photograph…”
[But don’t take it from me, take it from Sweary Bob. “YEAH, THEY’RE FUCKIN’ GREAT!”]

Stephen gets the audience to answer that the Lion King is based on Hamlet, which Sue, like me, doesn’t entirely agree with: ‘AT WHAT POINT DOES HAMLET SING ‘HAKUNA MATATA??”

Stephen: “What about the Tempest, what movie was made of that?”
Bill, on the Lion King thread: “Wicked!”
David: “THE PERFECT STORM!”
HA!
Bill: “SPEED! SPEED 2!”
Sue: “Harold and Kumar Get the Munchies”

The way Stephen pronounces ‘Syracuse’, as ‘Syyyy-racuse’, angers me, as a New Yorker.

Stephen asks for the other main candidates for the ‘who really wrote shakespeare’s plays’ theory
Bill: “Oh, hang on-”
Bill presses his buzzer, then turns to Alan and goes “…what was it?”
Alan, through his fingers: “…MARLOWE!”
Bill: “CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE!”

Bill: “Could he have theoretically dictated these plays, to someone else?”
Stephen: “I suppose it’s possible. Barbara Cartland used to lie on her sofa and dictate her marvelous novels…”
Sue: [cringes at that description]

Stephen: “I don’t suppose Shakespeare used every word he knew in his plays, as he left a lot out…[quieter]…I don’t remember the word ‘clitoris’ in any of them…”

Bill goes on a tangent about printing, about copying a vole, and printing a vole…and then it turns into a discussion of marzipan voles, which…again, this is classic Bill here, just going off about random things.

Stephen instructs the panel to figure out what all these seldom-used Shakespearean words mean
Screen Shot 2018-08-16 at 10.26.55 PM.png
Alan: “…I’ve got a Swoltery Quatch at the moment…”
And he just looks over at Stephen, bashfully
Alan: “…it happened when I put me kicky-wickies on…”

Sue: “What is a kickie-wickie? Is that Russell Brand’s version of a football?”
Stephen: “It’s an affectionate term for a wife.”
Sue: “…A KICKIE-WICKIE IS NOT AN AFFECTIONATE TERM FOR A WIFE.”
David: “Domestic violence was a lot more acceptable, then…”
Sue: “Ah, the old Smashy-Washy…the ol’ Battery-Watter…”

On the list of words that DID catch on:
Alan: “FRENCHWOMAN? A bit of a stretch. “Yes, I invented it…”
David: “He invented ‘taking the space out’…”
Bill, french accent: “Zis is my wife, she is a…zuhdkfjg…uh, thingymagig, I dunno…what can I call her? OH! FRENCHWOMAN!”

Sue, on the list of phrases: “…How did he say ‘What the Dickens’? Dickens didn’t come along for another 200 years!!”

There’s a running gag where Stephen’s chain necklace keeps getting caught on his sleeve. It happens twice, and it gets laughter from the audience each time.
Stephen: “…this bit of ruff is not behaving, I’ve said that before…”

Sue, on the Dangerous Dan question: “Oooh, I sense I’m falling into a pit, but I’ll do it anyway…dunno why I’m talking like that…”

Stephen: “Of course, the trap you fell into, the rewriting of Shakespeare, was actually done by a famous couple, whose names were…”
Bill: “…Richard and Judy!”

On the Bottom actor who Morris Danced from London to Norwich
Stephen: “There’s a phrase that came of this-”
Sue: “Cocking about? Making a right tit of yourself?”

Stephen: “What d’you call a group of Morris Dancers?”
Sue: “…an ass.”
Bill: “A SWARM!”
Sue: “AN EMBARRASSMENT!”
Sue’s doing great with little jokes tonight
Bill: “Uhh, a plague?”
Alan: “A BELLEND!”
[and I’m gone]

Stephen mentions that American Morris-Dancing is taking off “in a big way”
Alan, American accent: “I’VE JOINED A BELLEND!”

The klaxons in this episode are kind of expected: Sue, in answering the Marlowe question, prefaces it by saying “…let me say it so you can mock me.”

This episode is great for collaboration as well, which is what the last show was missing: there’s a gag about a bill for a brothel, and all four are collaborating, juxtaposing restaurant bill jokes onto the brothel setting. It’s fantastic.

Stephen: “What made Lord Byron limp?”
[childish laughter]
Sue: “Now that’s a loaded question…”
Bill: “Item 4 on the brothel bill?…uh, eight hours of Morris dancing?’

Stephen: “There was a scandal, in which he’d possibly had sex with…”
Sue: “…a young…”
Bill, confidently: “Goat.”
And he just sits there, nodding

Stephen: “Now, what can the Queen do that an idiot can’t?”
Screen Shot 2018-08-16 at 11.01.54 PM.png
Bill: “…by the looks of things, kill people with their own eyes…”

Overall: Along the same vein as Films & Fame- a very entertaining episode with great facts, that may not have been the funniest. I still enjoyed watching, as the panel was very coherent, and all four were capable of working with each other. Sue had the easier jokes, and not all of hers hit; David was the quietest of the four, but still had a great night whenever he spoke up; Bill Bailey, of course, had the funniest moments, and, like usual this series, is a delight at all points. A very fun show, and one, as a Shakespeare guy, that I got a lot out of.

MVP: Bill
Best Guest: Bill
Show Winner: David
Best QI Fact: Tchaikovsky’s head
Best Runner: Brothel bill