QI Watchdown: K1 (Knees & Knockers), or Murray Can’t Help Me Now…

Yeah, might as well start another series of QI on here. Last one took me 2 years, maybe this one’ll take me four.

Like Series J, Series K features a lot of mainstream BBC comic bookings coming aboard, which would eventually spell doom for the sort of rep company of semi-regulars we’ve had for so long, and we’re gonna get a lot of regular BBC people coming in starting this series and recurring over the next several series’. Which is fine…if they’re good gets.

This episode, which features David Mitchell as our anchor, which I’m perfectly fine with, and Jack Whitehall as our comic guest, which after Joints I’m pretty okay with as well, but we bring in Sara Pascoe, who I’ve enjoyed on Mock the Week and NMTB, and will probably enjoy here.

All the buzzers are K-animals. Jack guesses for his “that is Kevin Bacon getting into really hot water”

David, with a sinister buzzing noise: “…is that a Klingon spacecraft?”
HA

Stephen mentions that the QI scorer has been replaced, and refers to the old scorer as ‘David’s nemesis’, probably after the International incident [“NOW ALL THIS IS DOING IS GIVING HIM MORE TIME TO TYPE”]. Stephen mentions the new scorer, Murray, is a big fan of David’s
David: “I’m glad to hear that…you told me too late to bribe him…”

David and Stephen just get into saying that they  should be the next stage of the house of lords, before sending something to the Queen
David: “Just let all the legislation come before us, we’ll fiddle with it, gag it up a bit, and then send it to the Queen…”
Stephen, as the Queen: “MY  GOVERNMENT…will find SIX PENISES on this particular insect…”

Stephen asks the panel what the following noise is, and plays the infamous klaxon noise.
Jack: “A KLAXON”
KLAXON
IT IS THAT SIMPLE.
Alan: “HAW HAW”
PFFFF
Stephen: “in a strange  sort of way, pop just ate itself, didn’t it?”

Stephen tries one of his ‘conversational’ tricks, basically saying about  the automobiles “places like Pennsylvania must have welcomed them when they arrived, yes?”
Alan, who has learned from Series J: “NO.”
Stephen: “…IS THE RIGHT ANSWER.”

Stephen, reading the ‘anti-automobile association’ rules: “If a driver of an automobile is to see a team of horses, he should stop,-”
Alan: “KILL HIMSELF!”
HAHAHAHA

Stephen: “In America, they have a rule when you  hear a siren, you just simply stop driving”
Alan: “…and go and have a meal.”
Alan’s killing it already

Stephen, trying a transition: “but even more intolerant were the Nazis…”
Alan: “They’re not KNOWN for their intolerance..”
Stephen tries going on, but gives Alan a look and cracks a little
Alan: “ZIS WHOLE THING HAS BECOME INTOLERABLE…”

Stephen has a nice moment, where, after reading a statement from Velcro saying their product isn’t really ‘velcro’, more ‘hook and loop fasteners’, and explodes in opposition, saying ‘THIS IS VELCRO!’, and saying even the person who invented it called it Velcro. Railing against modern fact.

Stephen: “And he noticed the way burrs caught to his socks, he had to pull them off-”
Jack, confused: “…oh, I thought you said BIRDS. Like he was kicking in the air…”

Stephen exclaims that Webber had to copyright Technicolor for his Joseph Musical, put the logo next to it, cause it was the official name.
Sara: “Y’see, God really missed a trick not doing more of that in the Bible..I mean, I THINK he came up with the idea originally…they just added some songs..”

David does a mini-rant about the trademark of apples, and Stephen thinks he’s talking about computers when he’s really just talking about fruit, and they’re really  going on intersecting rants.
Stephen, finally: “You were talking about the inventor of the fruit just then, and now you’ve suddenly sidestepped…with a blithe disregard of a bloody pansy…”
PFFF

Stephen’s shocked that Sara’s never seen a  pansy before
Jack: “Cause we’re too busy TEXTING and listening to JLS and going out…”
Okay, that’s a good line. I still don’t love Jack, but he has good moments occasionally
Stephen: “CRY, MY BELOVED COUNTRY…OH, HELL’S TEETH ON A BUCKET OF BLOOD…”
I do love Stephen Fry on this show, and I’m gonna miss him in 3 seasons when he’s gone
Jack: “We’ll be sorted when the Jaeger-bomb round comes up later on…”
HA

Jack: “My dad genuinely referred to it as a Jaguar-bomb the other day…”

Stephen ends that topic with a very Mark Lamarr-esque read: “According to Velcro, there’s no such thing as Velcro, EXCEPT FOR THIS, WHICH IS *VELCO*.”
[The instantly-recognizable velcro.]

Stephen throws in some rejected names for body parts, including ‘the end-bulbs of Krause’
Jack: “That is the best nickname for someone’s balls ever. BEHOLD, THE END-BULBS OF KRAUSE.”
That cracked me up
Stephen: “KNEEL before the end-bulbs…”

Alan, on all of the names: “aren’t they all Star Trek movies?”
Stephen: “yes, Star Trek 13, the Valves of Kerckring”

After Sara names an intestinal fold correctly
Jack: “This is like the QI version of that game Operation..”
David: “So, what had Kerckring done that someone named…disgusting, shitty  bits of the body after him?”

Sara is good on this program because she also has random bits of knowledge lying around. Being a vegan, of course, helps this, because it’s about human intestines being made for plants and not meat, and then pandas intestines being exactly the opposite. All of this, and the random Intros knowledge she had on NMTB just impresses me. Sara Pascoe might be one of the more intelligent comedians working the circuit [and naturally, Youtube commenters really love her in my knowledge, sarcasm intended]

Jack, with another perspective on pandas always eating bamboo to sustain their intestines: “And that’s why they never have sex. As a moral note, you can never have sex on indigestion”

The panda topic gets David cross about why, logically, they stopped eating meat, and why that’s impractical. I get a sense of this panel that Sara supplies facts, Jack supplies jokes, and David supplies angry logic, and it’s good that they know who they are and how the circuit works.

Stephen tries to get back to the  names, like the “Pores of Kohn”
Alan: “The bell-ends of-”
Stephen: “No, WAIT FOR THE BELLENDS, ALAN…they will come-”
WORD CHOICE, STEPHEN.
Screen Shot 2020-06-30 at 11.35.05 AM.pngAlan: “another ringtone  I can’t wait for”

Stephen says the Kohn pores were named after someone who was expelled by  the Nazis
Sara, bringing it back to the car horn topic: “Did he beep his horn?”
Alan: “EEHHHHHHHH I FOUND SOME PORES, IN THE LUNGS, EHHHHHH’ ‘Out, get out.”
DEAR GOD

Stephen mentions a ‘fenestration’
David: “I know DE-fenestration is chucking someone out of a window, maybe fenestration is chucking someone in…”

Stephen mentions the End-Bulbs of Krause are on the genitalia area, and Jack does a long  upward motion trying to measure the vicinity…which doesn’t look right at all, and then Alan starts doing even more suggestive upward motions

Stephen: “But they’re very sensitive to a particular, um, pos-”
Alan: “LADY.”
PFF

Stephen mentions these pores again, and Jack, jokingly, checks under his pants: “what, is that cheating?”
Stephen: “We have a special isolated camera above you, I just thought I’d warn you…well, *I* do…”
Jack, looking up: “SORRY, COLIN..”

Stephen: “Why  do doctors hit your knee with  a hammer?”
David: “to test  your reflexes”
AND HE IMMEDIATELY DRAWS BACK WAITING FOR A KLAXON…WHICH NEVER COMES. This amuses the hell out of David. Stephen says he’s correct, but he’s looking for specifics
Alan: “YOU KNOW THE SCORER…you SO know Murray…”

Stephen talks about the science of the reflex test, and how more of a reaction and less of a reaction mean different things, and “none at all could well be an index or sign of-”
Jack: “wooden leg.”
HA
Alan: “OR DEATH”
Stephen: “or…syphilis…”
Audience: “OOOOOOHHH”
Stephen: “as if that was tonight’s star prize…FORGET GONORRHEA, GO FOR SYPHILLIS”

Sara, talking about ‘murder by automaton’, “so if you sneeze for instance…SOMEONE SNEEZED.”
Sure enough, they keep in the audio of the person in the  audience sneezing as she says that
David: “THAT MEANS…THERE’S BEEN  A MURDER.”
HAHAHAHAHA
Jack: “THERE’S A KILLER!”
Sara: “now they know they’ll get away with it…”

David: “So if you go into a room with a gun cocked, sneeze, it goes off, it kills someone…you’re in the clear..”

Jack: “If you wanna kill your wife, what you do is you drive down  to Dover, you  get her right up against the cliff, and then you put your leg behind her and get a doctor to tap your knee…”
Sara: “And the doctor would go to prison…”
Jack: “What if he was sneezing  as he tapped-”
David: “THE PERFECT  CRIME. BROADCHURCH SERIES 2.”
Okay, that is good. This is a fairly standard show, but the dynamic and callbacks are winning me over

Sara, on the McCartney question, brings up the theory that someone replaced Paul after he died, by getting  a lookalike to stand in. I did a whole research project on this.
David: “There’s a similar theory about the Pope, isn’t there. It’s not, like, the same guy, there’s been more than one…”
I do enjoy David’s illogical moments on here

Sara rolls off this information about two staring statues faced towards each other near Parliament, and breaks from it and says to the audience ‘sorry, this is really boring’
Jack: “She saw it on Cash in the Attic, as well’
Sara eventually reveals she used to be a tour guide on buses, but that doesn’t explain the REST of her wealth of knowledge

Stephen asks about “the botanist who couldn’t tell heads from coconuts”, and:
Screen Shot 2020-06-30 at 6.25.34 PM.pngBE NICE, HE’S NOT HERE FOR ANOTHER FEW SHOWS…

Sara uses this to roll off a nice amount of knowledge about brain damage and this specific psychological phenomena, and…again, she really is perfect for this show

Yeah, again, Jack isn’t impressing me as much here because a lot of his jokes are either too obvious or too lowest-common-denominator.

Stephen asks who ‘these people’, showing a picture of klansmen, represent
Jack: “THE BNP!”
You’re not wrong

On the Catholic Spaniards who wear KKK-like outfits
David: “They must be aware that these days, that has other connotations”
Stephen: “They’d like to reclaim it”
David: “not sure they’ve quite succeeded…”

Stephen: “Now, what color is a red kite?”
Jack: “BLUE.”
Again, he’s not ENTIRELY unfunny, but his digressions aren’t great. He’s good in short bursts, like that one

David has another nice mini-rant late about Jesus not being a very Christmas-y figure: “All I can say is he’s lost control of the festival”

Finally: “How did the monkey wrench get its name”
David: “I’m nervous of this, because this is a fact that came up on the Unbelievable Truth. And it has HAPPENED BEFORE that facts we’ve researched on the Unbelievable Truth have been…I think the right word is ‘mocked’…on this program for being factually incorrect.”
I do love this runner has resumed

David: “ON THAT SHOW…what was given to me on a piece of paper to read out…was the fact that the monkey wrench was named after a person, whose name was, like, Moncker, and he was…I dunno, some kind of-”
KLAXON: MR. MONCKY.”

Stephen: “and you  DID mock US last series…”
David: “Again, the PERSON THAT HANDED ME THE PIECE OF PAPER…put on it a piece of QI fact ever mockery…IT’S TURNING INTO WAR.”

David: “But in this war, we’re like the southern states, we haven’t gotten the proper resources, and we’re going to resort to racism as a result!”
Topical joke!

Stephen goes onto the stores, after 50 points have been docked from David
David: “Murray can’t help me now…”
David does lose with -41
David: “IT MEANS I WAS ON 9.”

Sara has a HUGE victory with +28, confirming my thoughts that she is perfect for this show.

Overall: Uneven and disappointing in the middle, but not without sharp moments from Sara, Alan and David. Honestly, there was too much incongruence between all three, and David’s best days as a connector seem to be behind him. Sara fit really well with the premise of this show, as she just knows a lot, and Jack…pissed me off a lot more than in Joints, but still had alright moments. The back half of the show was weak, and a lot of the show felt unfocused. Still, not BAD per se.

MVP: Sara
Best Guest: David
Show Winner: Sara
Best QI Fact: Panda intestines
Best Runner: David and Murray

UP NEXT: Two more newcomers join someone who’s become one of my favorite semi-regulars. One is someone who’ll frequent the program for the next few years, the other is…an old friend from Buzzcocks.

QI Watchdown: J16 (Just the Job), or Wantonly Jettisoning Nervous Substance

After two years, we’ve finally made it to the end of Series J, a generally alright series that definitely  had some transitional moments in between a few really nice shows. To wrap up, we have trusted panelists Sandi Toksvig and Jason Manford, both of whom have had strong showing in  Series J, and, to quote Ross Noble, SHIT IT’S CLARKSON. That’s right, for…the umpteenth time, Jeremy Clarkson has graced our presence, and I doubt he’s gonna be any more [or less] charming that he’s been in the past.

All the buzzers are bells and phone rings. Jeremy, before he demonstrates this, goes “is it going to be a car horn?”, and gets a phone ring in response. Almost like when all the Everything songs were really bad [Bryan Adams, Barry White, Ethel Merman], and he winced before getting The Police.

Alan’s is…AN OPERATIC RENDITION OF CRY OF THE VALKYRIES. OKAY THEN
WHICH KEEPS GOING
Alan, eventually cracking  a smile, motions to Stephen and goes “he loves this one”

Stephen: “what were chainsaws originally  invented for?”
Jeremy: “proctology.”
AND WE’RE OFF

Stephen: “You’re in the right area, I have to say.”
Jeremy: “CIRCUMSISION.”
I am laughing, but I still don’t like Jeremy.

Sandi believes the medical chainsaw use is ‘a guy  thing vs. a girl thing’
Sandi: “It’ll be a boy thinking a woman’s taking far too long over labor, going ‘oh, I can’t stand all that panting, I know, we’ll get a chainsaw and just cut that baby out’. That’s what it is.”
Stephen, chuckling: “…d’you know you’re absolutely right?”
Sandi: [frustratedly slams the desk]
I do love Sandi, and…kinda can’t wait for her hosting tenure to start

Stephen: “It was in 1783”
Sandi: “THAT’S NO EXCUSE!”

Alan throws in a opposition: “What I like about this picture….it’s a lady’s ward, so there is some baking going on…”

Jason: “It wasn’t a full lumberjack givin it ‘RRRRAAAAAWWWWW’ “IT’S A BOY!”
I’m so glad Jason does a bunch more of these

Jason  talks about the OBGYN closing the curtain before checking Jason’s wife’s womb: “and, like, I’VE SEEN IT. IT’S WHY WE’RE HERE.”
Stephen: “You don’t look, when it happens, do you? At the moment of conception?”
Jason: […]
Sandi: “STEPHEN DOESN’T NEED TO KNOW, JASON.”
PFFF
Stephen: “But you’re gazing lovingly into her EYES…”
Alan: “Yeah, gazing lovingly at the Bourne Identity, which was still on television”
Sandi: “What d’you think, darling, that he’s got a periscope at the moment? [then] I don’t know why you and I are HAVING this conversation.”
Too damn funny. Just the concept of Stephen Fry trying to fathom how straight sex works, and SANDI knowing more about it.
I also like that Jeremy, who COULD say something filthy here, keeps his mouth shut…which  I can’t exactly say for a moment during his next appearance. One of two episodes I’m not looking forward to cover in Series K [see if you can guess the other one, it’s not hard, and surprisingly it’s not a Jack Whitehall episode]

Stephen: “Explain how an electric jockstrap works.”
Sandi: “Is there going to be a demonstration?”
Yeah, Sandi’s having a career night and we’re 7 minutes in
Jason, jokingly reaching down: “is that what this is?”

Stephen explains the ad for this electric jockstrap included the codephrase “wantonly jettisoning nervous substance”, which the panel cracks up at.
Jason: “I love the idea of nervous semen, just coming out like” [nervously looks around]

Sandi: “It’s so camp. Perhaps he’s having problems with his virility because he’s been sleeping with the wrong sex!”
NOT ENOUGH RESPONSE FOR THIS LINE.

Jason: “I feel like if Anne Somers did them, NOT IN THE UPSTAIRS BIT, the downstairs bit with Anne Somers”
Stephen, inexperienced: “Tell me about this, Jason…”
Jason: “Well upstairs is more like chocolate willys and such, but downstairs…someone’s gonna get HURT, Stephen.”
SO GOOD.
Stephen: “I’ve never been in an Anne Somers.”
SO YOU LIED BACK HERE??? Oh god, don’t tell me he lied about sleeping with Richard as well..

Stephen: “It is going to get much more acceptable and decent this program, I promise you.”
Sandi: [shakes her head]

Jeremy wonders aloud about one of his cameramen, who had 5 ways to rewear underwear.
Alan: “On the fifth day, he wore it as a hat!”

Stephen passes out pairs of y-fronts
Jason: “I’ll take the pink one, yeahhh…”
Stephen: “It’s like reservoir dogs”

As Jason demonstrates wearing the underwear and how it doesn’t exactly work as left-handed as inside out, as Stephen explains, you hear Alan going, behind him, ‘imagine if you will, the penis emerging?” Because his mic wasn’t in full view, not enough  people heard this, but  that’s great!

Screen Shot 2020-06-20 at 9.11.59 PMAlan: ‘DAY FIVE…”
PFFF

Stephen mentions the US invention of jockey shorts
Alan, full NY accent: “JOCKEY SHORTS. I TURN MY JOCKEY SHORTS INSIDE OUT…AND STILL CAN’T FIND MY *COCK*.”
JESUS

Stephen: “This really has begun as LOW as any program we’ve ever done…”
Not in quality
Stephen: “But it’s gonna rise, I promise you”
Alan, of course: “IT’S GONNA RISE?”
Stephen: [collapses]

Sandi mentions people who’d use urine to get rid of freckles
Jason: “I wonder why we’re still here sometimes. You read stuff like ‘some sort of women are pissing on their own faces for freckles?”
Sandi: “No, they didn’t wee on their own faces, they  got a BOY to do it. You’d have  to be a contortionist to wee on your own face…”

Jason: “I had a wee into a water bottle one time when I was driving…I failed my driving test” [rimshot]

Stephen asks how 19th century photographers kept babies still, and as Jason begins to explain it, Jeremy buts in and guesses “heroin”
Fair

Stephen mentions Victorian families even photographing their dead babies
Jeremy: “The Victorians were weird. ‘I want to put a picture of my dead child on the mantlepiece, and then I’m gonna drink some urine and pop my penis into this electrical thing…”

Jeremy has a great anecdote about a Scottish soldier who killed a German soldier, had him stuffed and used as a hat stand. Jason talks about how it’d be a good idea to be stuffed and used as a hat stand after  he dies.
Sandi: “You could get a job at the photographer’s holding babies.”
SHE’S SO GOOD AT CALLBACKS

Stephen: “Now, who’s that?”
Screen Shot 2020-06-20 at 9.45.41 PM
Jason: “Bruce Forsyth”
Stephen: “NOT BRUCE FORSYTH”
Sandi: ‘In the early years…”
[Somewhere, Sean Hughes does an involuntary JHUJHUJHUJHUJJHUJHJ“]

The big tactile experiment this episode is getting a slinky down some stairs, which  Jeremy seems to love. However, Alan keeps fowling it up before he gets to the last stair.

Jason, with the slinky: “whatever you do, don’t attach it to your electric jockstrap”

Sandi: “D’you mind if I keep the stairs, cause there’s a few shelves in the kitchen that I just…”

Stephen explains that when  someone drops a slinky, the bottom stays still til the drop, and “we can’t quite explain why that happens”
Jeremy: “aw, I bet James May  could”

Stephen combines the slinky bottom bit with the return of the electric jockstrap
Jason: “You’ll see me on the next series of Dragon’s Den”
Alan: “I have jettisoned wantonly, but it hasn’t hit the floor!”
DEAR GOD THIS SHOW

Stephen, on the jerrycan: “This thing  opens and something called a donkey dick pops out”
Sandi: “It’s been a hell of a show for me…”
It certainly has

Stephen passes one to Alan
Alan: “GETTING  THE DONKEY DICK OUT NOW, SIR.”
Stephen: “You won’t be able to, it’s really, really stiff.”
This show…is too damned funny. Yes, there are lulls, but the heights are HIGH

Jeremy  correctly guesses that a toothbrush was invented in jail. Stephen asks for the name of the man who invented it
Jeremy: “Mr. Toothbrush.”
Gosh..
Alan: “MR. ORAL-B”

I love the detail that Fleer’s original bubble gum involved turpentine once the bubble had burst

Jeremy says there seems to be no way to get nicotine gum off of an iPhone
Alan: “There must be an app.”
HA

Sandi knows, of course, who invented the windscreen wiper: “It had to be a woman, because, to that point, men had been going ‘don’t be silly, dear, I can see perfectly well..”

The first  klaxon comes 35 minutes in, and it’s because Stephen does another conversational ‘d’you know the thing when people used to walk in front of cars with red flags”, and Alan just goes ‘…yes…’

Alan’s zeal about using a tube to dry ears…is cracking me up late. This show has lost a bit  of steam, but it’s still getting me every now and then.

Stephen plays in a radio excerpt of someone introducing the first known recording, a garbled rendition of Claire de Lune, and then laughing at it while moving onto the next story about a death. Funny on its own, like Chris Eubank on Top of the Pops.

Alan has the best reaction to this: “gotta be someone in the corner of the room going [garbled fake singing]. We haven’t got it, we haven’t got it, we’re gonna have to go with the item anyway, I’ll do it, I know what it sounds like [garbled singing] They’ll never know, DON’T LAUGH [continues]”
I nearly  died laughing at that

Jason: “You can record into it, but you can’t hear it…can’t you just get that for, like, Jedward?”
And one more Jedward slam for the road

I love the ending Jolly Jape with the pendulum trick. The thing morphs its motion, subdivides into halves, thirds, first, whole, and then back to the original. So cool.

Overall: A really good show to end the series, though not perfect, and with some late lulls. The first half was so funny and strong, and had so many great bits from Sandi and Jason, and the last half was…less strong, and thank god for the garbled sound recording bit or else we’d completely fallen off. Jeremy…was himself, had a few funny moments but mostly did his usual dour thing. Probably one of the Sandi shows that should convince you that we’ll be alright once Stephen leaves.

MVP: Sandi
Best Guest: Jason
Show Winner: Sandi
Best QI Fact: That pendulum trick
Best Runner: electric jockstrap

SERIES J SUPERLATIVES:
Best Episode: J14, Jingle Bells, an absolutely joyous Christmas show with great showings from Alan and Phill and the infamous ‘child-buffing workshop’ gag.
2nd Best Episode: J12, Justice, great debuts for Jason Manford and Rhys Darby, some insanely funny stuff from Brian Cox, the insane run about ways to prove someone has a small penis in court, and so many great little moments.
3rd Best Episode: J1, Jargon, beating out so many for this position, but the exuberance of Victoria Coren-Mitchell, which eventually led to the huge moment involving the Aztecs, pushes this over the edge for me. One of those complete-feeling episodes.
Worst Episode: J8, Jumble. John Sessions being himself and nobody stopping him.
Episode Most Worthy of Another Watch: J15, Jolly. An honest dissertation on comedy featuring Julia Zemiro’s finest hour and Tim Vine pulling out one-liners at any point. Not great, but a really interesting watch.
Best In-Episode Runner: Stephen trapping Phill with conversational klaxons, J3, Journeys. One of the moments that made me want to do this Watchdown in the first place.
Best Recurring Guest: Ross Noble wins it. He stood out in all three of his shows, and it helped that two of his shows were Jumpers and Journalism, two shows I liked a lot.
Most Underused Recurring Guest: Cal Wilson, for doing fine in both her shows but seeming a bit underedited.
Most Improved: Sue Perkins. This season is where she goes from being informational and interesting to being a full-on panel-leading goof.
Best Guest Appearance: Greg Proops, J10, Jungles. Because how can I not on this blog. He truly should have done another one.
Guest We Wish Wasn’t Done After This Series: Dara O’Briain. I know, there’s another panel show I love that he’s still on, but…I kinda loved his QI appearances. His camel joke in Jumble was one of the few great moments from that show.
Rookie of the Year: Jason Manford. Another no-brainer. Excited to see more shows from this guy.
Best Single Moments: Victoria’s dream about the Aztecs, E1; Bill’s pet lobster, E5; Johnny writing in poo on the wall, E7; Alan as the shouting producer in Stephen’s ear, E9; Alan tricks Greg into the klaxon, E10; Penis court discussion, E12; child-buffing workshop, E14.

I wanna cover QI more frequently, so expect Series K to start soon. Good news about Series K; lots of new faces, new semi-regulars, and the implementation of the ‘one woman per show’ rule. Bad news: As discussed, there’s one episode I’m not AT ALL looking forward to during this series.

QI Watchdown: J15 (Jolly), or Aaaah, Testicles.

Yeah, another QI. I’m in that sort of mood.

This one has an intriguing panel. Julia Zemiro is back for the 2nd time this season, finishing off the ‘Oceanian Takeover’, and we won’t see her again for a few years. We also have a guest appearance from Tim Vine, famed one-liner comic, and we have the final appearance from a guy who’s been a semi-regular panelist since the very beginning, the great Rob Brydon. True, he’s become rather preachy and pedantic during his last few, but he’s still a QI legend, and it’s sad to see him go after so long.

Julia recognizes her buzzer: “It’s an animal from my country, that’s nice…a Kookaburra…”
Tim rings his, and…is positively stumped. So he just goes “…oh, it’s an animal from my country…”
Alan’s is, of course, a long, drawn out donkey noise

Stephen just asks: “who’s happy?”
Alan: “one of the dwarves….I can’t believe that hasn’t flashed. They haven’t got that on the klaxon?”

Julia guesses Hapi is an Egyptian name, which is correct, and she’s genuinely jazzed about it. Just ringing her buzzer in delight.

Right off the bat, Tim makes a ‘Name That Tune/Tutankhamen’ pun, which gets a mix of applause and groans from the audience
Alan: “What sort of reaction is that?”
Stephen, nearly in  unison with Tim: “It’s one Tim’s very used to…”
Tim: “That’s what you Sphinx.”
ANNNNNND WE’RE OFF.

Stephen announces Hapi had a harem of frogs.
Alan: “FROGS, TIM.”
Tim now has to search for a relevant pun.
Rob: “D’you think that if the frogs in the harem started getting it on, and one of them whipped out a camera, would that be frog’s porn?”
[or frog spawn]
THAT ONE WORKS
Tim, worriedly, jots that one down. “The worrying thing is I have, actually, done that one in the past…”
Already, Tim is nailing this show.

Stephen has a question involving a joke shop
Tim: “I went to a joke shop once, I said ‘what d’you actually sell in here’, he said ‘nothing, it’s not a real shop.”
They just keep hitting

Stephen has a whole table of joke shop gags, which is pretty cool. Stephen tosses Tim the  can of nuts, and Tim, knowing what has to happen, goes ‘I’ll aim this at Rob..’
The spring-loaded snake only pops out partway, though
Rob, inevitably: “Tim, that reminds me of last saturday evening…”

Stephen gives Alan a fake dog turd…and Alan, of course, stuffs it in his mouth

Julia: “IF YOU SWALLOW THAT…”
Alan: “If I swallow that, it’s gonna come out the other end…WHAT IS IT THEN? FAKE OR NOT?”
Rob: “Alan, I’m just getting a message, there’s been a bit of a mix-up apparently…”
HA

Stephen gets Alan good by giving him a pen that shocks him when he clicks it. THAT is funny.

Tim blows up a whoopee cushion, and by  the time Alan sits down on it, it just…quietly deflates
Tim: “well, Alan’s wearing the whoopee cushion silencer on his jeans”

After minutes of trying, Alan produces a sound from the whoopee cushion. If you’re just tuning in, welcome to QI…

Stephen mentions Limericks
Tim: “There was an old man from Limerick, who was completely unaware of the short, humorous poems that shared the same name as his hometown.”
HA.

Stephen debunks the myth of having someone wet themselves by putting their hand in water while sleeping.
Alan: “A bit like the one where if you wet yourself while you’re driving, you crash the car…”
Slow burn reaction, but this is too damn  funny
Alan: “…that not happen to everyone?”

Rob does another one of his pedantic monologues about this gas in question. I’ve gotten tired of these.
ALAN, however, guesses that it’s nitrous oxide and is correct, and rightfully gets the applause
Rob buzzes in afterwards and comes up with nitrous oxide, which is less funny.
TIM ALSO BUZZES IN and comes up with nitrous oxide, which is more funny. Again, I just like Tim a little better than Rob this show
Julia, knowing a thing or two about humor: “SULFURIC ACID!”

Rob talks about being given propofol for a surgery, and how fast-acting it can be. Having been on it for my wisdom tooth extraction, I can attest to that.

Stephen: “it was used as a recreational drug by…who were the great recreational drug users?”
Julia: “ROCK MUSICIANS!”

Stephen: “and who was the great opium eater, apart from Thomas De Quincy, of the romantic poets?”
Rob, with a very Phill-esque read: “I’M GONNA TAKE A STAB AT THIS, STEPHEN: PAM AYRES.”
PFFFF

Julia points out  the picture of the lady being force-fed laughing gas.
Alan: “LAUGH!”
Alan’s little reenactments always crack me up

Stephen: “The chapter of the book, in Mary Poppins, in which they all do rise to the ceiling, is called Laughing Gas.”
Alan, being  Alan: “There’s a BOOK?”

Stephen mentions they’re making a film about the relationship between PL Travers and Walt Disney. It was Saving Mr. Banks, and it was fantastic.

Stephen: “What would be the best flavor for an exploding sandwich?”
Tim: “cheese and…handgrenade…”
HE’S THAT GOOD.

Screen Shot 2020-06-17 at 7.44.52 PMStephen, on the exploding cucumber: “and when touched, it propels its seeds in a sticky mucus”
Julia just…suddenly points to Rob, knowingly.
Julia: “I’m just saying, when that picture came up, we both looked across at each other and went ‘aaaaah, testicles.”
Rob: “Can we make it very clear, I DO NOT PROPEL MY SEEDS…IN A STICKY MUCUS AT 80 MILES AN HOUR…”
Stephen: “Certainly not up to 30 feet-”
Rob: “Uhh, on  a good day!”
I take it back, I think I might miss Rob after all

This episode features the winning visual of Stephen Fry attempting to tell a ‘yo mamma’ joke.  Good news is this leads to Stephen bringing up the ‘villain, I have DONE thy mother’ bit from Titus Andronicus.

Hell, Alan even brings up Sam Kinison, which is…a comedic influence I never would have guessed he, or Stephen, had.

Stephen mentions the term ‘jukebox’ came from an American term for brothels
Alan: “So the popular vehicle the Nissan Juke is a Nissan Brothel.”
HA

Rob mentions that most people who own jukeboxes at home have no taste, “except for Lee Mack, a man with greater taste you will never find.”
THAT’S A CLASSY MOVE.

Rob: “The old ones weigh an absolute ton”
Tim: “Well, the very old ones actually had the band in there as well.”
Yeah, he’s perfect  for this show.

Stephen: “Where’s the worst place to be licked by a goat?”
Julia: “At your parents’ house..”

Alan: “The perineum…”
Rob: “WHAT BIZARRE SET OF CIRCUMSTANCES…WOULD RESULT IN YOU HAVING YOUR PERINEUM WELL AND TRULY LICKED BY A GOAT?”
Stephen: “…a goat-rimming is not necessarily…”
STEPHEN.

27 minutes in and finally we get a Rob Brydon impression, of Sean Connery as James Bond begging not to have his feet licked by a goat.

A surprising moment, where Alan answers that Mt. Fuji is the tallest mountain in Japan, and he’s actually right.

Of course, Stephen asks for a Caribbean island group beginning with B, Alan answers Bahamas and gets klaxoned. Of course.

Stephen gets the answer from the audience for the B island group: “Someone in the audience shouted out the rarest  thing you can imagine, BRITISH VIRGIN.”

Tim: “This bloke came up to me, and he  said ‘I’m gonna dress up as a small island off the coast of Italy’, and I said ‘don’t be so-silly/Sicily’
YEP.

OH THANK GOD. Stephen asks for a Shakespeare play set in Verona, Julia is CORRECT in saying Romeo & Juliet. I had to triple-check to make sure the events were set IN Verona and not Mantua or anything. The trap was for ‘Two Gentlemen of Verona’. Pheewww

Stephen: “D’you  know where Two Gentlemen of Verona is set?”
Alan: “Birmingham”

Rob: “I went to see the Merchant of Venice on Broadway, starring Al Pacino, that seemed to be set in Brooklyn.”
He does the infamous Shylock speech, as Pacino, and…honestly, Rob has better impressions. Hell, *I* do a better Pacino than Brydon. There, I said it.

Tim: “I said to this bloke, I’m appearing in Hamlet at the Globe Theater, and he said ‘are you being  facetious?’, and I said ‘no, Polonius.”
It’s like having Milton Jones on. Actually, why hasn’t QI gotten him on? AND WHY HASN’T TIM DONE ANOTHER QI AFTER THIS?

Stephen: “Which country crosses the most timezones?”
Rob is very hesitant about an obvious answer, Julia encourages him, and “oh, fine…Wales.”
Yeah, I’m gonna  miss Rob.

Stephen: “Now what is the longest thing about this animal?”
Alan, being  Alan: “oh, its cock…”

There’s a nice gag, where someone on the behind screen rearranges the letters of Naive Salad to form ‘Alan Davies’.
Stephen: “So Alan R Davies would be Anal Adviser”
OH

It’s actually really cool, this bit about the king of France’s royal anagrammer, just made up flattering anagrams about the king.

Stephen, on  anagrams: “Virginia Bottomley, who was an MP under Thatcher, anagramizes to ‘I’m an Evil Tory Bigot”
HA

We finish with everyone’s limericks, which is very fun:

Julia’s:
“I carouse in a style Bacchanalian
But I sleep in a  way Marsupalian
I like to eat cheese, but I never say please
Yes, I’m French, but I’m also Australian.”
The limerick equivalent of ‘put smarties tubes on cats legs, make them walk like a robot’. Fantastic!

Alan’s:
“There once was a show on TV
that was always a  smart place to be
…I’m fully aware that you’d rather be there
But instead you’re all stuck here with me.”
BOOM. BRILLIANT.

Tim does one on Rob:
“There was a young man called Rob Brydon
Whose favorite film was the Poseidon
ADVENTURE…..AND HE…would watch it regularly
that funny old man…called Rob Brydon.”
A for effort.

Alan has another one:
“It’s easy to win on QI
You don’t need an QI that’s high
try not to be haughty, just be a bit naughty
and make sure you please Stephen Fry.”
YES

Stephen: “Rob, what have you  got for us”
Rob: “uh, nothing as will become evident…
THERE ONCE WAS A CHAP CALLED TIM VINE
Whose punning was simply sublime.
…..sat next to Alan….oh I dunno…”
He does eventually get a better ending out.

Stephen ends this segment with a…suitably rude one:
“There was a young chaplain from Kings
Who talked about god and such things
But his real desire was a boy in the choir
With a bottom like jelly on springs”

ALAN WINS WITH +12. WHOA.

Overall: Not much, but I liked it. Julia seemed to be our only panel connector other than Alan, and she had a better show, but Tim was very affable and loose. Rob mostly kept to himself but still had some fun moments. The general subject of jokes and humor was a really interesting one, and a lot of this show was more amusing than ha-ha funny. There were also several lulls, especially late. I still like this one, but it’s not perfect.

MVP: Tim Vine, for god’s sakes.
Best Guest: Tim
Show Winner: Alan
Best QI Fact: Origin of the term jukebox
Best Runner: the fake poo

QI Watchdow: J14 (Jingle Bells), or More Lacquer, Little Boy?

On my sporadic-as-hell QI coverage, finally, the Christmas show from  Series J. One of the few shows from this series that I was told to look forward to after finishing I.

This is a pretty concise panel we have here, though- Sarah Millican, the recent favorite, Danny Baker, the supplemental/facts guy, and Phill Jupitus, the old standard who…I’m surprised waited this long to do another Christmas show.

Stephen, in his intro, says the phrase ‘shiny baubles’. THEY MUST HAVE FILMED THIS IN PICKUPS. There’s no way he coincidentally says ‘shiny’ at the top of the show, knowing what he says later.

Right as Stephen intros Alan, there’s the sound of a crash. “…darling, he’s fallen off the tree, it’s Alan Davies.”

All four buzzers are different bells or chimes. Alan’s is, I believe a Quasimodo-esque ‘THE BELLLLS! THE BELLLLLS!”

Stephen, at the top of the show: “Where did Beethoven put his jingling Johnny?”
Sarah, already laughing: “…Mrs. Beethoven?”
PFFFFF
I was waiting for the Klaxon to go off, but it didn’t. Stephen loved this, though

Phill going off about a durex jingling condom reminds me of one of his dour, self-contained monologues from the first few Series of the show.
Danny: “I’ll take that copy of 50 Shades of Grey away from you!”
Phill: [dies]

Stephen: “We’ve started out family Christmas show just as I hoped…”

Stephen takes out this…elaborate instrument, which is a Jingling Johnny
Phill: “…you were supposed to not bring any props from The Hobbit back…”
HA

Stephen mentions the Siege of Vienna, “if that means anything to you”
Phill: “Yes, as opposed to ‘THE FEELING HAS GONE ONLY YOU AND I THIS MEANS NOTHING TO MEEE…” [shakes instrument]
Somewhere Midge Ure gets a residual
Hell, Stephen and Alan are both surprised that Stephen gets the Ultravox reference. Maybe he’s seen Space Cadets on Channel 4… [sidenote…once I’m at a good point with Whose Line, I’m covering Space Cadets. I don’t care if the last 3 episodes have been lost to time. This is happening. Brace yourselves.]

Stephen says this instrument ‘added brilliancy to marching music’. Phill, who still has the instrument, demonstrates by pounding the beat of We Will Rock You.
…man, this just reminds me of how much I miss covering Phill Jupitus. Somebody recommission Buzzcocks or something.

Phill even goes, after Stephen lists a lot of similar regional instruments: “If you’d like me just to show you the majesty of Baker, name a 70s single that harnessed one of those instruments.”
Danny, in a  second: “Uh…Terry Dactyl and the Dinosaurs, Seaside Shuffle.”
Phill: “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, DANNY BAKER.”
BOOM. It’s different than just infodumping like Rory McGrath. The knowledge is there, and it can be called upon at any time.
Also, WHY THE HELL WASN’T DANNY ON BUZZCOCKS? If he’s got that kind of music knowledge?

Proof that these guys are pros
Stephen: “how long  does the minute waltz last?”
[….]
Phill: “ah, you see this show’s been on for ten years now…”

Alan, eventually: “60 seconds.”
Stephen: “NNNNNNOOOOOO”
KLAXON

Sarah guesses ‘is it gonna be like a baker’s dozen, just a bit more?”
KLAXON: ABOUT A MINUTE
Sarah, like David with the WWII question: “AH DIDN’T SAY THAT!”
Danny: “IT’S CHRISTMAS, MR. SCROOGE, COME ON!”

Alan, eventually: “AN HOUR.”
HA
Sarah: “A FORTNIGHT.”

Stephen throws in a Liberace impression, in saying that when he  played Chopin’s Minute Waltz, “he cut out  the BOHHHHRING BITS.”
PFFF

Stephen says that the record for most notes played by one finger in a minute was 498, by, beware the spelling, Ballas Havasi
Alan: “Imagine if he’d had the other 9 fingers, what he could have done…”
Phill: “I bet Mrs. Ballassi was DELIGHTED.”
After the audience reaction to that, Danny and Phill continue the theme and go ‘GOD BLESS US. EVERYONE!”

Stephen, still on Chopin: “because of his lover, whose name was….”
Alan: “….Dave.”
HA

Stephen points out that, after meeting Marconi’s widow: “I have touched the wife of the man who invented radio”
Alan, of course: “Where did you touch her?”

There’s a really cool bit where Stephen mentions meeting Alistair Cooke, and in turn, has shook hands with someone who shook hands with Bertrand Russell, whose aunt danced with Napoleon. Danny takes this a step further, and shakes Sarah’s hand and brings it around the table to that everyone will have had second or third-hand contact with someone who’s shook the hand of John Lennon. Also, I don’t always like Danny when he’s on here, but he’s been impressing me tonight, and he seems to be in a fantastic informational mood.

Sarah, with nothing, to Stephen: “uh…Louie Spence, I’ve shook his hand…”
Stephen has a cool one, shaking Alan’s hand and saying ‘River Phoenix’, which leads to some very impressed noises all around, and RIGHTFULLY SO. Great actor!

Alan, with nothing, to Phill: “uhh…Jennifer Lopez.”
Phill, with a perfect rebuttal, shaking Alan’s: “…Alan Davies.”
YES

Also…the LOOSENESS OF THIS PANEL. My god. Alan has an offhanded remark about his aunt and uncle being close to Jesus, Phill and Stephen start making remarks, Danny goes “Hey, IT’S HIS BIRTHDAY’, which the WHOLE ROOM GOES ‘AYYYYY’ to,  and they’re all just giggling to each other.

Hell, they all start going around and go through the radio jingles that’ve stayed in their head for years, cause Danny uses vintage ones on his show. This is SUCH A LOOSE PANEL AND I LOVE IT.

There’s a behind-screen portrait of someone, a famous heretic, and in the background is how they died, as Stephen describes a picture of ‘a rectal prolapse’, which gets everyone wincing
Alan: “I thought that was someone mooning him in the picture!”
Phill, deep, powerful voice: “YES, DON’T MESS WITH ME, OR YOUR BUM WILL FALL OUT.”

Alan’s guesses for how Jingle Bells came about read like a game of New Choice: “The end of a war? The end of a famine. The BEGINNING of a famine..”
Screen Shot 2020-06-16 at 7.54.41 PM
Phill, seeing this: “the arrival of the first member of the Klu Klux Klan  in Iceland?”

Alan, out of ideas: “CHRISTMAS.”
KLAXON
Alan: “One of these days, there’ll be a double-bluff…”

Sarah, on the picture: “is the horse bleeding from the eyes?”

Stephen says that on a NASA Gemini mission, two astronauts brought up two musical instruments, hid them amongst their equipment
Alan: “were they two tubas?”
PFFFFF
Phill loves this.
Alan tries doing an impression of a tuba crammed into a space capsule. Phill is completely gone

This leads to a very fun account from Stephen about these astronauts reporting eight flying craft, and playing Jingle Bells on the harmonica and sleigh bells. Very sweet.
Sarah: “So he is real, then?”
Mrs. Brown next year will disagree…

Alan does another “Dave” joke with a dinosaur onscreen. Just keeps going
Stephen: “One day the answer might be Dave, one day the answer might be blue whale…the one I’m looking forward to is when we have a blue whale called Dave and you don’t get it!”

Stephen mentions that there are different animals, like the Jesus lizard, that are known as such for sort of ‘walking on water’ when  kicking off
Alan, not following: “THE JESUS COW!”

Stephen: “In Jamaica there’s one that would have been written about-”
Phill: “BOB MARLEY.”
This is a very  classic-seeming Phill performance

This conversation on Chitty Chitty Bang Bang gets Sarah to say “I haven’t watched it since I was a child, because that’s when  you’re…supposed to?”
Stephen asks if Sarah has children: “and when you do…”
Sarah: “Nonono…there’s no ‘when’, Stephen…”
Stephen: “You’re not going to adopt a little…shiny baby?”
Sarah, nearly doing  a double-take: “a SHINY one? Are the varnished? Can I varnish one?”
Phill, famously: “annnd THEN Stephen revealed his plans for a child-buffing workshop…”
Yes, this works as well as I was told. Sarah and Stephen love this
Phill: “WHERE CRAFTSMAN WOULD GET TODDLERS TO A HIGH SHEEN. ‘MORE LACQUER, LITTLE BOY?”
Stephen emits his world-famous-but-rare ‘laughing so hard he can barely breathe’ noise, which is more like a moan  here. He’s genuinely in  pain laughing.
Phill, full Stephen  impression: “BAAAAHHH. YOU’RE THE SHINIEST ONE…we shall put you in the Harrod’s window…”
Alan, as the child: “I’M STILL ALIVE IN HERE!”

Stephen, getting back to the point: “…although I’m slightly put off by the idea of the child-buffing”
PFF. AND NOW PHILL’S GONE. After staying composed for the whole bit.

Stephen: “A certain child was born in 1812”
Alan, reading my mind: “JESUS!”

Phill and Alan doing a bit about cockneys trying to light a fire on the ice…is why I love whenever  they’re paired together.

Stephen asks everyone to describe the properties of a snowflake, and as Stephen dismisses Alan being literal, going “white, and made of snow”, and then goes “I feel like a puppy’s run into a mirror…”

Stephen: “Another misconception about them is that they’re always…”
Alan: “…FALLING FROM THE SKY…”
Alan…just keeps acing that character of his.

Stephen takes out a glass of something white, for a snow exercise: “…I have…Peruvian cocai-no…”
HA

It’s actually very cool, he takes the glass of this sodium compound, pours water on it, and  it’s very lifelike snow. And Stephen goes where I think he’s going and says there’s a company that  produces this to make fake snow for movies

More proof this is a very  fun, heartwarming episode- a picture of a baby elephant comes up onscreen, and Danny  and Sarah immediately emit an ‘AWWWW’

Stephen proclaims that zoo animals love old Christmas trees: “Before London Zoo writes me a letter saying ‘WHAT THE HELL HAVE YOU DONE, STEPHEN?”

Danny: “You know what tinsel is? Mirror for snakes!”
That is a very Series A joke. Despite being a very modern  episode, I am getting a very  classic feel from this show

Danny  and Stephen have a disagreement on what really counts as the 12th day of Christmas, January 5th or 6th
Phill: “Ohhh, the chatrooms will be  ablaze now…”

Stephen sort of brings back GI and does a quickfire round on Jesus
Stephen: ‘What did Jesus’s mom call him?”
Sarah: “Shiny?”
YES. THAT  CALLBACK.

Stephen says Jesus is a Greek version of a name “given to people in Britain”
Alan, not resisting: “DAVE.”
IT HITS EVERY TIME.

Stephen even asks Alan a biblical question where the answer is, in fact, Dave…and he misses it.

Alan says  that the tallest statue of Jesus was the  Rio de Janeiro one, and gets klaxoned
Alan: “It’s a tall one…”
Stephen, not disputing this: “GOSH IT’S TALL. DON’T GET ME WRONG…”

Stephen: “How many people did Jesus feed…at the feeding  of the 5000?”
[…]
Sarah: “4,998…cause there were a couple that were a bit suspicious…”
Alan: “don’t like fish…”
pfffff

Stephen reveals that there were 5000 men, and women and children didn’t count, which Sarah’s miffed about.
Stephen: “However, how many people were there at the feast of 4000?”
Sarah, still pissed: “FOUR THOUSAND *MEN*. PFFT.”

Danny seems to never have heard of the miracle of the 7 fishes, which is an Italian Christmas tradition
Phill, taking the opposite approach: “so he was a caterer?”

Stephen: “How many disciples did Jesus have?”
Phill: “OH HERE  WE GO.”
PFFFFF
Alan: “It’s Christmas, be  nice…twelllvee…”
KLAXON

Stephen: “There were 72…he had a posse…”
Sarah: “Was it just 12 men, and the rest were women?”
YES.

There’s a very fun Christmas cracker finale, where  they’re given the punchlines of Christmas cracker jokes and need to work out the setup. Sounds a LOT like Question This.

Danny: “Mine just says ‘that’s not funny’, I think it’s just a note from the  producer of the show here”
HA

Danny’s eventual limerick:
“When the government ran out of money
And things looked…real bleak and not sunny
We all had a bash, using these jokes as cash
But the Germans said ‘EIN, DAT’S NOT FUNNY!”
BEAUTIFUL. This show has really been a return to form for Danny Baker.

Stephen: “It’s a lot better than the real joke, which is ‘how many feminists does it take to change a lightbulb”
It is.

Stephen has a good one: “How many Freudians does it take to change a lightbulb? One to screw it in, and the  other to hold the cock-FATHER-LEVER.”
HA

Phill, given ‘subordinate clauses’: “What’s a sedomasochistic Santa Claus’s favorite thing?”
HA. I can see why he fits in with the Whose Live at Edinburgh gang.

Sarah, for ‘the trifle tower’: “What’s the only reason  I went to bloody Paris?”
I still love Sarah on this show.
Stephen: “well, that’ll do it, ‘what’s tall and wobbly  and is in Paris’
Sarah: “yeah, ‘me, when I went to Paris.”

Alan has the right idea with ‘eat drink and be Mary’, with  ‘what did Jesus’s mother do on Christmas day’
Stephen: “It’s actually  ‘what does a transvestite do on Christmas day?”
AW, MAN…

Now it’s just ‘If This Is The Answer, What is the Question?”
Stephen has one: “24 days”
Sarah: “is it how many days worth of chocolate do you eat when you first buy  your advent calendar?”

Stephen: “It’s actually ‘what did the man who stole an advent calendar get?’ ’24 days”
Alright  THAT is a great joke

Stephen’s last one is SCORCHINGLY DARK: “Remember, a puppy isn’t just good for Christmas, it’s also good cold on Boxing Day too”
Phill: “Imagine Delia…cooking puppies for Christmas…”

Danny wins  with +4, which is a fun ending, as he’s certainly had a great time.

Phill…gets THIRD with -32. WOW. Lotta klaxons this  show.

Overall: A joyous and satisfying Xmas show, possibly one of my favorite shows I’ve covered since early Series I. The child-buffing bit was as good as remembered, but I loved Danny’s exuberance, Alan’s Dave bit, Phill and Sarah’s great showings, and just how much fun everyone seemed to be having. Probably one of the better Christmas shows out there, right up there with the first few.

MVP: Alan
Best Guest: Phill
Show Winner: Danny
Best QI Fact: Astronauts calling in Santa
Best Runner: Dave.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

QI Watchdown: J12 (Justice), or Not With a Penis That Size

It’s been a while, yet again, since I’ve done a QI, and this is one that’s always interested me, kinda like Jungles, because they’re trying the ‘two newbies and an anchor’ strategy, but the anchor is someone who’s only been on once before. Thankfully said anchor is Brian Cox, who gave a wonderful showing in Series I with Incomprehensible. And the two newbies are ones I have complete faith in- Rhys Darby, another member of the Australian invasion of Series J (okay he’s a Kiwi, but still), and Jason Manford, the hard-hitting Manchester comedian who gave a ton of great Buzzcocks showings.

So this could be a nice show. Plus, Stephen’s got a whole judge’s outfit going, which  is a nice touch.

Funny that Rhys Darby  looks like a cousin of David Tennant in this episode.

And…poor Alan:
Screen Shot 2020-01-08 at 5.16.22 PM.png

The buzzers keep this theme: the other three are courtroom noises and voices; Alan’s is a guillotine snapping shut.

Vic Reeves gets an early mention from Stephen, as both he and Vic had read a book on pirates. Man, I miss Vic being on QI.
The book, though, is “Sodomy and the Piratical Tradition”. Which causes Alan to give Brian a look, and an apology

Brian: “Were there rules surrounding that particular pursuit?”
Stephen: “Absolutely, you couldn’t just take whomever you pleased…”
Brian, smirkingly: “well, what is the rules of sodomy?”
Alan, owing back to the pirate rules: “not on sunday.”
Stephen, trying not to mince words: “it’s, uh…eye-wateringly complex”

Alan, referring to something Stephen says that ‘meddling with a prudent woman’ would result in death: “So meddling was rape, really? That lost its meaning by the time Scooby Doo came on…”
This gets a big reaction from everyone
Stephen: “why you pesky kids had meddled…”
Alan: “They were notorious gang-rapists..”
LORD

Stephen asks Rhys if people were transported to New Zealand, like Australia: “no, it was a destination of choice for those seeking adventure…and death.”
Alan, chuckling: “nothing’s changed..”

Alan asks the audience who the originator of the Northern/Pirate accent was, and someone yells out “IT WAS ON QI BEFORE”
Stephen cracks a little: “We’ve mentioned it on QI before…”
Alan takes this the other direction: “Wait a minute, we’re getting heckled by the audience..someone in the front row saying “YOU’VE DONE THIIIS! THIS WAS ON DAVE ON TUESDAY!”

Brian mentions that David Prowse thought his west-country accent would be used for Darth Vader
Jason: “AY AM YER FAATHERRR..AND AY’M YER BROTHER AS WELL!”
Alan: “Darth Vader on a big tractor…tunneling down the corridors of the Death Star, with a bit of straw”
Stephen, under his breath, contributes: “…daaarf.”
Alan, nodding: “DAARF. MISTER DARRF TO YOU.”

Jason asks a question about if they really had the skull-and-crossbones flag, and Stephen says they already covered that as well, and “Alan will tell you all about it.”
Alan, buzzing in: “JOLLY ROGER.”
Stephen gives him a look, not exactly welcoming him to do this.
Alan: “It’s been 10 years, Stephen, and I’ve finally come around to it. IT’S TIME FOR A JOLLY ROGER. [realizing where this is going] AN EYE-WATERING JOLLY ROGER.”

Jason asks if the difference between Alcatraz and a medieval prison is “that you can’t get out? Because Alcatraz is famous…”
Rhys: “…of PRISON? HOW’D YOU GET OUT OF PRISON??”

Brian is surprised by the revelation that Stephen did time in prison
Stephen: “OHHH, I had a CHECKERED past…”
Brian, to Alan: “is this a can of worms?”
Alan: “Four years ago, now…we’ve moved on, Brian, we’ve moved on…”

Stephen prefaces this next one with “don’t take this question personally, Alan, I didn’t write this question…now WHAT SORT OF PERSON would say that Alan has a very small penis?”
Alan, chuckling: “…my wife?”
Stephen: “NOO!”

It’s actually a genius gag, about defamation, and someone writing a character based off Alan who has a small penis.
Stephen: “The idea is he’ll never sue because he’ll never say ‘this is obviously based on me.’ Because no one will say ‘IT’S OBVIOUSLY BASED ON ME BECAUSE MY NAME’S LIKE THAT AND I’VE GOT A SMAL- oh, hang on…”

Because of a digression Brian makes, Stephen mentions the old Jewish will-reading joke, “and to my brother Louie who always said he wanted to be mentioned in my will…HELLO LOUIE!”

There’s a conversation about heckling, and Stephen mentions that someone might say “something like ‘If I wanted to eat shit from you, I’d squeeze your head”
Jason and Rhys:
Screen Shot 2020-01-08 at 6.02.17 PM.pngJason: “…what else would they say?”

Stephen mentions the US bit of ‘absence of malice’, where you can get away with stating that if there’s absolutely no malicious intent.
Jason: “I LIKE YOUR SMALL PENIS!”
Brian: “It’s very very tiny, but it’s wonderful!”

Stephen keeps listing off ways you can get away with saying Alan has a small penis.
Stephen: “One is opinion, which is “it’s just my opinion, compared to mine it’s small, okay?”
Rhys: “It’s a review! One star!”
Stephen: “The other is public interest. THE PUBLIC HAS A RIGHT TO KNOW THE SIZE OF ALAN DAVIES’ PENIS!”
That had me laughing
Stephen: “The other is consent- he AGREED WITH ME about the size of his penis.”

This show has Stephen just casually dropping “motherfucker” in an example: “it’d be like if I called you one of the unacceptable taboo swear words. If I called you a motherfucker. It’s not defaming you, whereas if I actually wrote down that I actually believed you incestuously DID have sex with your mother, that would be defamatory.”
Jason ever-so-quick: “Not with a penis that size!”
Brian: “CAN WE SEE THE EVIDENCE!”
Alan: “Not from there, it’s much smaller..”Aw man, I wasn’t expecting much  from this dynamic, but everybody’s bringing something. Even Brian, who’s usually a supplier of knowledge, is having VERY funny moments

And then:
Screen Shot 2020-01-08 at 6.12.48 PM.png

Screen Shot 2020-01-08 at 6.13.13 PM.pngSLAM!
Screen Shot 2020-01-08 at 6.13.23 PM.png
Dear god, I missed covering Alan
Brian, pressing his buzzer: “RISE.”

Stephen asks what genre of reality TV was started by King Charlemagne’s father:
Rhys: “I’m a King, Get Me Out of Here?”

Stephen: “I can tell you it was presented by Dale Winton.”
Jason, taking him literally: “Supermarket Sweep?”

Stephen, to Rhys: “You probably don’t know who Dale Winton is, do you?”
Rhys: “Chap or lady?”
Stephen, knowing the joke: “AUDIENCE, BEHAVE.”

Stephen mentions this method of testing called an Ordeal
Rhys: “…Ordeal or No Ordeal”

Screen Shot 2020-01-08 at 6.19.10 PM.pngStephen: “I don’t know WHAT that’s about…”
Alan: “Someone said he has a small penis…”
James: “Are you a real doctor?”

The conversation on Touch the Truck (a British cousin of Hands on a Hardbody) is interesting, because for some reason Jason hadn’t heard of it.
Brian: “well it doesn’t do anything, you just stand there..”
Jason: “yeah, it’s going 80 miles an hour…”

Rhys says that in NZ they still do a similar contest via radio, which has some funny lines from Jason (“HE’S STILL TOUCHING IT, HE’S STILL TOUCHING IT”), and Rhys, doing an impression of said radio broadcast.

On a question involving Jedward [and a behind-screen photo of Jedward in judge wigs], Stephen asks Rhys if he’s heard of them as well
Rhys: “…are they judges?”
Alan: “…they’re conjoined twin judges..”
And then Alan just tries convincing Stephen that they really are conjoined twins

Stephen: “they do look a little strange, but that’s probably cause of the wig business”
Jason: “no, nothing to do with the wig…”

Alan halfway through complains that he’s so hungry he can barely concentrate, so he literally asks anyone in the audience if they have someone to eat- suddenly, a well-endowed woman from the audience comes down with a tin of flapjacks, asks Alan for a kiss on the cheek, fist-pumps, and exits. It’s a bizarre yet wholesome moment

Stephen: “Why should you not leave a judge in a room on his own?”
Alan, chuckling: “He might sentence himself!”
HAHAHA

Jason: “I used to work at the crown courts in Manchester, as a, uh…the accused.”
Perfect  delivery there

Jason has nice insight here because his folks were stenographers, so he has a lot of actual knowledge to work with, which  is nice

There’s a nice gag about how Judges can’t see or hear you if you’ve got an objectionable item of clothing, and Jason suggests you just take off various items of clothing until they go “OH, HELLLOOOO!”

Stephen talks about a miser who, because he left his glasses at home, couldn’t sign his will, went home and died, and the proceeding trial lasted from 1798 until 1915. He asks why:
Rhys: “The jury all died.”
Alan: “All the Jennings died.”
Rhys: “They found his glasses!”
YES

Stephen jokes that when he dies, Alan can have his “collection of Wagner records”
Brian: “Make him sign it now!”

Rhys has an anecdote about failing an observational exam in the army, and failing to notice an entire tank hiding in the bush

Stephen: “And finally, why would I encourage a psychopath to eyeball my crotch?”
Jason: “This is one of those where I don’t think we want to know the real answer..”

Stephen: “Why don’t we try it? Let’s all get up and show each other our genitals?”
And sure enough, everyone stands…

Stephen: “A lot of people are getting their camera out…”
Brian, looking at the audience: “he’s got a telephoto lens..”
Alan, back to the top of the show: “you can’t see mine from here, you’ll have to come nearer..”

Of course, the coverage strategically cuts out before they can drop trou, and picks up back after they’re done. Heh.

Stephen: “And, uh, I can see why they call you Brian Cox, now…”

Brian somehow ends up in last, despite the lack of televised klaxons
Also, Stephen accidentally calls Jason ‘Janus’.
ALAN SOMEHOW WINS. “With a towering 5 inches-SORRY”

Overall: I am very glad I watched this, as this was a tour-de-force of an episode. Everything just felt really strong, as all 4 panelists were able to collaborate with each other despite their QI experience. Rhys had the quietest night but still had some very funny moments, Brian was quieter than last time but was still excellent and funny all night along with being knowledgeable. Jason was the big takeaway, as he already seemed comfortable and fun on a program he’d ace several more times. And Alan and Stephen seemed to be in great moods tonight. So many fun gags and runners, a lot of very interesting law-related questions (loved the penis runner, and the guy who lost his glasses). It did wear off towards the end, but I still really enjoyed this episode, and way more than I’d thought

MVP: Alan
Best Guest: Jason
Show Winner: Alan
Best QI Fact: Jennings’ will
Best Runner: Alan’s penis

QI Watchdown: J11 (Jumpers), or I See a Theme is Emerging

I know I’ve been on a Whose Line kick lately, and I might fit in one more WL tonight, but…dammit, I miss QI. I haven’t covered a QI episode in six months, and we’ve gotten to the 5th anniversary of me starting this damn Watchdown and I don’t make it much of a priority anymore. And it’s not that I dislike QI. Far from it. It’s just it’s a little more high-maintenance than a WL, as it’s longer and takes more concentration. Also, this is the series of QI where Stephen was at his most emotionally occupied, as he was struggling with his own bipolar disorder due to interviewing several documentary subjects about it.

I have been told that this is Stephen’s most un-Stephen QI, as he’s very distracted and depressed throughout. Which is partially why this one’s taken so long for me to cover. Still, it deserves a viewing like all the rest, so here we go.

This show features a panel consisting of Ross Noble and Bill Bailey, who I have no doubt will lift the mood of this show, and Julian Clary, who hasn’t been on since Series D and is always an odd but intriguing fit to this show.

Yeah, already I can see from his eyebrows and eyes that his mind’s in another place.

The buzzers are all jump-related songs: Julian’s is ‘Jump Around’ by House of Pain, which he immediately asks Ross “who is this?”. Once it finishes, he turns to Stephen and goes “well, I’m not happy.” Ross’s is ‘Jump for my love’ by the Pointer Sisters, which he loves. Bill’s is ‘Jump’ by Van Halen. Alan’s…and for the record I guessed this one, is “Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport”

Stephen asks the panel to give their impression of Mexican Jumping Beans, and Ross goes the route I thought Alan would go: “HELLO DERE, WE ARE JUMPEEING BEEEANS.”

Stephen explains that when they ordered the jumping beans online, they “arrived in full jumping form, but they have since died.”
Ross, though, is miming that the beans are out of control

Julian: “I think you’ve been had- this is a hazelnut…”

Julian has another great line: “How were they mistreated, then? Because SPRINGWATCH WILL HEAR OF THIS…”
Ross: “Can we revive them with some powdered Doritos?”
[Doritos is another word that just sounds so good when Ross Noble says it]

Bill: “Or just crack one of ’em open, there’s something inside”
Alan: “A little battery…”

Stephen: “What’s unusual about Bailey’s pocket mouse?”
Screen Shot 2019-10-10 at 4.50.11 PM.png
Bill: “WAAAAAIT A MINUTE…”

Julian guesses that the Bailey’s pocket mouse “is a desert mouse that doesn’t drink”
Ross: “OR it does drink, but only Bailey’s.”

Stephen: “In fact, there’s only a few other animals who’ve been able to survive off of [the plant]”
Alan: “Pete Burns.”
[Somewhere, Mark Lamarr has a PTSD flashback]
Stephen: “Pete Burns is one…Shaun Ryder is another…”

Even in his slower mood, Stephen is able to bring out his Scottish accent to recite a Billy Connolly routine about Jojoba.

Stephen, starting an anecdote: “I remember the first time he was elected president of Israel-”
Alan: “Billy Connolly was?”
Stephen holds a finger, trying not to crack
Ross: “AAAAAY TELL YE WHAAA’….ISRAAELLLL IS A LOVELY PLEEEAACE…”

This bit, about Stephen having a random phone call with Connolly where he just keeps repeating “BENJAMIN NETANYAHUUUU?”, is fantastic.

Julian: “Sometimes Paul O’Grady phones me up and goes ‘OHHH’AAYYEAYYYE’-FOOKIN’SAYAAAUUGHH”
Stephen: “AYYYE…NO DOON’T…STOPPIT…”
Julian, puzzled: “…he doesn’t say ‘No Don’t, that’s Frankie Howerd.”

Ross guesses that ‘Jolly Jumpers on their Skyscrapers’ is a Cockney Rhyming slang…but he forgets what it’d rhyme with.”
Alan: “It rhymes with ‘rapers’, that’s all I know…”

Stephen: “Go back in time, before tall buildings. What was a skyscraper before then-”
Alan: “A tree?”
I love Alan.
Julian: “Was it an erection?”
Stephen:
Screen Shot 2019-10-10 at 5.02.48 PM.png

Stephen shows a clip of…HIMSELF…doing a bungee jump off the bridge in Queensland where AJ Hackett perfected the art of it. Which is a nice touch

Alan, reminiscing with Bill: “What about the time we went scuba-diving and your mask was on too tight?”
Bill: “Oh, no, I don’t really-”
Alan: “His eyes nearly popped out his head!”
And Alan’s dying at this. Poor Bill.

Alan: “We were going, looking at Bill, ‘CHECK HE’S ALRIGHT, CHECK HE’S ALRIGHT’, and when we found out he was alright I LAUGHED…”
Bill: “WAITWAITWAITWAIT…REWIND…CAN WE JUST GO BACK TO THE BIT WHEN YOU SAID “Can we check if he’s alright you were laughing your head off”. You were laughing from the minute my face came out of the water…”

Stephen: “Now, how can these weights give you an extra six and a half inches”
Alan: “…hang them from your cock.”
IMMEDIATE KLAXON

Bill, holding one of the weights: “This is the new greek currency…”

Ross, using the weight as a phone: “Hang on a sec, I’ll just get Wilma…”

Ross: “The mad thing is, if Bill and I were to put these two things together, we would unleash the apocalypse…”

On the footage of dyke-jumpers in Holland, Ross: “They should just do that instead of pole dancing, like they should have a loose brass pole, and then a woman in her pants runs out…”

The ‘phoning a catfish’ tactile round is kinda convoluted, but I got a laugh out of Bill going at Alan with one of the jumper cables, and the panicked ‘AAH’ Alan emits.

Bill starts explaining how the electrical currents work on a phone, and Alan starts pointing them out on the phone prop he has, in an old-timey informational video voice. Bill, getting the picture, gets his pipe and continues the genre change.

Ross: “I think you’ve connected the same wire to itself…”
Bill: “Yes, there’s a few teasing problems…”

Stephen: “How about Jumping Camels?”
Bill: “What, like…without any kind of a chit-chat before, just…”

The middle bit of this episode has dragged a bit, and it’s not really anyone’s fault. It’s just not coming up with good enough stuff to match the strong opening we had.

Stephen: “What did the environmentalist say to the camel?”
Alan: “Stop farting. Do they produce a lot of methane?”
Stephen: “Yes, they do. Where in particular?”
Ross: “…out their ass?”
[Dear god]

Stephen: “And they do an enormous amount of Anal Wind Expulsion”
Bill: “They were on a download…”
Ross, who’s DYING at this: “they supported Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark…”

Stephen, aside: “The great thing about Sainsbury’s is it keeps the scum out of Waitro’s…”

Ross explaining why it’s easier for men to “shake” at the restroom after a pee than women is…disgustingly apt. “Cheeky flick, everything’s fine. For a woman to do that, she’s got to…get on a swing…”
And then all four get in on a conversation about a vibrating loo seat. This is the momentum we had earlier, so thank god it’s back.

Stephen: “I have to tell you that the little baby Jesus, who I have never believed in until this very moment, has told me to change the subject”

Bill, as Stephen tries to move on: “Ah, we’re on a roll..”
And then everyone starts cracking up at that.

And then, in the middle of the next conversation, Alan goes back to Bill: “and you’d think…on the vibrating loo you’d need different speeds!”
Bill does an impression of what each of these speeds might sound like, which cracks me up
Stephen, as he begins to go on, starts cracking up himself.

There was a line earlier, involving ‘great big pouchy mouths’, that got Julian excited. So as Stephen describes the Japanese naked ceremony, Bill puts in the phrase “great big pouchy mouths”, so that as the camera holds on Stephen, with Ross and Julian partially obscured, you just hear this loud squeaking noise that MUST be Julian cracking up.

Julian, knowing full-well the innuendo: “I was once tossed through a hatch strapped to a red devil.”
He has to bite his lip as everyone reacts to this.
Julian: “and…my life sort of flashed before me.”

Julian: “I mean, you’re falling so quickly that your cheeks are out here-”
Ross: “POUCH-LIKE?”
Julian: “…I see a theme is emerging.”

Julian, still holding back a laugh: “And, uh, I had a camera attached to my helmet…”
The audience laughs AGAIN at this
Stephen immediately: “BEHAVE. EVERYONE IS TO BEHAVE.”

Stephen mentions a Robert Cocking
Bill: “Can we have an Innuendo Buzzer?”

Stephen: “You’d get sucked up into the updraft, which you don’t want.”
Ross, of course going there: “You don’t wanna get sucked up in it- or WHAT?”
Bill and Ross start doing the ‘buzzer noises’
Bill: “POUCH LIKE MOUTH- WOOP WOOP WOOP.”
Ross: “a massive downdraft- WOOP”

Ross: “He was lying there stiff as a board- WOOP WOOP WOOP.”

As Stephen shows a clip of an avalanche coming towards camera on the behind-screens
Alan: “I’d love it if it came over Julian and Ross”
WOOP WOOP WOOP

Alright, Stephen’s Square Bubble jolly jape is pretty damn cool, as well as his zeal towards it throughout

Overall: Yes, there was a mid-show lull, and yes Stephen was a bit slower and more lethargic than usual…but damn, I enjoyed this one. Just the idea of putting Bill and Ross on the same panel was quite the inspired one, as the two played off each other, and Alan, beautifully. Julian kept more to himself, but he still had some really fun lines and moments, perhaps a bit more active than Differences. I think this is below some of the other quality shows from Series J (Jargon, J-Places and Journalism are my top 3 so far), but still a very solid and fun show.

MVP: Bill
Best Guest: Ross
Show Winner: Bill
Best QI Fact: phoning a catfish
Best Runner: Innuendo Alarm

QI Watchdown: J10 (Jungles), or I’m Not Talking to you Anymore

So…this is one I’ve been waiting to talk about for a while. For a number of reasons.

Firstly, I want to talk about what QI did with panel-stacking this series (and onward). Over the next few series’, BBC would employ a rule that panel shows should have at least one female panelist, and/or a minority, every show. Which is fine, as it gives opportunities to people who may not get them often. But also around this time, QI would get into a habit of deliberately stagnating panelists, and trying to mix in new talent. A lot of shows in this series, and others, would have a format of ‘one anchor, one joke-supplier and one newbie/guest’. For example, last show had Ross as an anchor, Sue as a joke supplier, and Julia as a guest/newbie. This is a far cry from the early series’ idea of ‘let’s just put a combination of three people we like on here’, which…worked a bit better.

So, if we’re going by ‘anchor-joke supplier-guest/newbie’…then what the fuck are we to make of THIS lineup?

Our anchor would be Reginald D. Hunter, who’s only been on once before, and didn’t do a great job of it, talking over the rest of the panel a great deal. He’s the anchor because the other two haven’t been on QI before.
Our joke supplier would be Greg Proops, who…actually is a nice fit for QI, as he does bill himself as ‘the smartest person in the world’, and, as readers should know, is a favorite of mine. As a matter of fact, he would have been a great person to host a US version of QI.
Our guest is David O’Doherty, another person who seems nominally like a good fit, but needs a good room if he wants to really gel well, and…I’m not sure if this is one.

So…a panel of two newbies and Reg D. Hunter. This will be…interesting.

Greg seems amused by David’s bird buzzer. All the first three are loud, wild animals; Alan’s is a cricket.

Stephen: “Where does the lion sleep tonight…”
Panel: “…….”
Alan: “Is this gonna be a trick, where they don’t sleep in the night?”
Greg: “Or they don’t sleep in the jungle?”
Stephen: “You’re right-”
Greg: “Man, I am NAILING this game…”

Stephen: “Because, where do lions live?”
David: “…..office buildings.”
Good to have David back on this blog.
Alan: “…I was gonna say Luton, I dunno why…”

About lions eating other animals for nutrients
Reg: “So instead of eating vegetables…you eat something that DOES eat vegetables.”
Greg: “I feel better about my diet now…”

Alan slyly says ‘Lion King’ before Stephen does, then turns to Greg, smirks, and goes “I’ll get points for that.”
Greg: “Will you?”
Alan nods. It’s like he’s teaching Greg how to QI. This will come into play later on.

On revealing the original writer of the Lion Sleeps Tonight only got a pound for doing so, Stephen brings it back to the actual ‘Lion Sleeps Tonight’ thing being a ‘black lie’
Alan: “He doesn’t sleep in the jungle, he doesn’t sleep at night, and he’s lucky to get a pound for it…”

Stephen: “What would be the best way for Tarzan to get around the jungle?”
Reg: “Well, uh, without a family, I would guess…”

Alan: “He gets around by swimming, and swinging on [to Greg] what is it called?”
Greg: “…vines…”
KLAXON
Then, immediately, Alan points to Greg as it goes off, as he set him up for it.
Stephen: “YOU TRAPPED HIM!”
Greg:
Screen Shot 2019-01-27 at 3.00.12 PM.png
He bangs on his buzzer in disgust.

Stephen: “Oh, Alan, you wicked, wicked…”
Alan: “I feel really good tonight…I feel I’ve finally nailed this game…”
Greg: “I didn’t know you were gonna use your jedi powers on me, Davies….I come in here with every good intention, and the next thing I know I’m providing answers to you…”

Greg talks about gibbons swinging from vines, and Stephen responds by playing a clip of one, which Greg’s initially kinda surprised they had supplied already.
Alan, buzzing in, points to the screen: “Orangutan.”
He then turns to Greg, and goes “four.”

Greg: “I’d like to say that Alan is tarzan’s chimp, because cheetahs never prosper.”

Reg has a ‘heard it through the grapevine’ joke that I saw coming a mile away. Also, David has said one line so far.

Alan, after hearing that Caesar birthed the words Kaiser and Czar, says to Greg ‘see, you learn something new everyday’
Greg: “I’m not talking to you anymore.”

After Stephen congratulates Alan for another right answer, Reg sums up the whole show: “Yeah, it’s interesting that the two people that be on this show every week are doing the best…”

Stephen mentions that anything you put in front of a bonobo chimp, ‘it will shag’.
Alan: “Even Russell Brand?”

Stephen: “About 8% of lion sex is gay.”
Reg reacts to this a bit: “So did you get that from, like, a book about lion facts, or did you get that from a gay man?”

Stephen: “But there’s only one species that exhibits homophobia, and that’s mankind-”
Alan: “I really thought you were gonna say elephants then…”

Greg: “I mean, how did they get the figure 8%? That’s a lot of research. I mean, I saw the Lion King and I didn’t see any of that going on…but I did feel the love…”
Stephen: “The circle of life had a whole new meaning, didn’t it?”

Of course David is gonna get a few questions right in this jungle-animal-themed QI. He literally wrote a book about pandas. This is one of his specialized subjects…which is why I’m surprised he’s not saying more.

Greg gets a right answer in saying the red-faced monkey is South American. He looks next to him, smirks, and goes “I’m comin’ up on a point, Alan.” I am loving the Greg-Alan dynamic so far. It’s just really working. Also, because it’s two of the fringe TV stars of the 90s, Greg from Whose Line and Alan from Jonathan Creek, coming together and goofing off.

Stephen brings up a point that seeing animals in cages in zoos is quite depressing.
David: “Also, the ice cream at zoos is very expensive, so that’s another depressing aspect…”

Stephen, talking about the ‘plastron’ denotations: “A turtle’s underbelly is also called a plastron, and so…is a man’s stiff…formal…shirt-front.”
Greg: [fans himself]

On ants converging together to float on water for transportation:
David: “That’s how I got here from Dublin this morning…”

Stephen: “But we do have an interesting experiment- I do love to do an experiment-”
Alan, to Greg: “He DOES love to do an experiment.”
This didn’t get a lot of response, but I still love the ‘Alan explaining QI to Greg’ runner.

Stephen’s experiment, involving the weight of sand in water, is a very cool one, and causes Alan and David to yell “WITCHCRAFT” and “SORCERY” as he does it.

Stephen, like last episode, tries to get around mentioning a brand name but lampshades exactly what it does “and it rhymes with something called GotchScard”.

Stephen mentions a kangaroo that smells of curry, and Alan goes into an Australian accent. One show short of having an actual Australian in the room…which is odd, considering the amount of Oceanians on this series.

On the animal, bearcat, that smells like freshly baked popcorn
Alan: “Is it slightly overpriced? And is the medium one the exact same price as the large one?”
David: “Their birth is apparently unique, because they’re born as a very small egg, and then on a hot day…they just pop into the air…”

Stephen asks what a specific butterfly smells like
Alan: “…finger of fudge.”
Stephen: “….YES!”
Alan: “WHAT???”

Stephen: “I’ve got to give it to you, because the answer is chocolate.”
Alan: [fist-bumps Greg]
David: “You two have developed a bizarre understanding…”

David, taking this the wrong way: “So chocolate is ground-up butterflies?”
Okay, he’s finally getting some good stuff out there

Greg has some good points about the Amazons who settled in North America, and the pigs that killed off most of the population with infectious diseases. Yeah, in addition to being really funny, he also aces the informational part of the show, which makes me wonder why, especially with his friend Sandi hosting the show now, he hasn’t been back on the program.

On the larva eating the frog from the outside
David: “He was a prince as well!”

Reg, after the clip: “Wait a minute, I didn’t see the end, who won?”
Stephen: “We were too tasteful to show you the outcome.”
David: “They shake hands, and they go ‘we’ve both learned a valuable lesson here…”

Reg: “Did you know that 8% of predator-pray relationships are homosexual?”

On the clip of a frog waving his arms
Reg: “I’m thinking…is there a plane-load of frogs coming in?”
David, getting it, does the sort of ‘waving the plane in’ hand signals

Stephen, still on frogs: “There are other ways of catching mates, which are unusual”
Alan: “…the internet.”

Stephen talks about the species of spider that attaches their sperm to their antennae, and waves them around, saying essentially “I’ve got some sperm for you!”
Reg: “I used to do that to my ex-girlfriend…”
Stephen: “Why am I not surprised by the word ‘ex’ in there?”

Stephen: “Alan, what I’d like you to do is press your buzzer.”
Alan, knowing Stephen: “….”
Stephen: “It’s not a trap-”
Alan: “It’s GONNA BE a trap…”

Stephen asks him what’s making the cricket noise on his buzzer
Alan: “…it’s one of two things…it’s either the one that makes the noise by inflating its thorax…or the one that makes the noise by rubbing its back legs together.”
KLAXON: BY RUBBING ITS LEGS TOGETHER
Alan: “…so…I think it was…the first one…”

Stephen says that the ‘crickets rub their hind legs’ thing is “a weird fallacy that people cling to. I’ve clung to fallacies…”
Alan turns…realizes what this sounds like, and shakes his head. David’s cracking a bit too. Alan just turns to Greg, as he has all episode, and goes “he said it’s a weird phallus that people cling to! He said that!”
Greg: “He said…fallacies! That means ‘many phalluses’

Stephen, continuing: “‘rubbing body pa-‘ oh god, it’s getting worse, sorry…”

Stephen mentions the Snowy Tree Cricket…which was a plot point on an episode of Big Bang Theory. I can’t not correlate that.

Stephen says that this cricket can, with a mathematical formula, predict temperature.
David: “I’d still prefer a thermometer up my bum if I was in hospital…”

Stephen: “What lives underwater, and is the loudest animal in the world for its size.”
Greg, channeling Rich Hall: “Oprah.”
Alan: “…is it gonna be a blue whale.
Stephen: “OHHHHHHH”
KLAXON

Stephen: “You know those things that seem to walk on water, d’you know what they’re called?”
David, completely serious: “…Our Lord?”

The Jolly Jape involves rubbing a rod to produce a high pitched frequency which an insect uses as a phallus to attract mates. It’s very amusing, and Alan and Stephen have the loudest noises, but Alan, sighing afterward, punctuates it by going “no females have attracted, Stephen”

Then, Alan starts doing it from under the table, giving an even louder sound.
David: “And he’s doing THAT with his penis!”
Greg: “yeah, he put the rod down hours ago…”

Stephen: “Is a zebra black with white stripes or white with black stripes?”
Alan: “Yes”
Stephen: “Which?”
Alan: “…black with [to Greg] what do YOU think?”

Reg: “I’d say they’re black with white lines.”
Stephen: “Well, they’re actually white with black stripes.”
Reg: “Well, you WOULD say that, white man.”
Somewhere, Nish Kumar encounters his bit.

Proof that this show works: at literally the eleventh hour, right before Stephen announces the scores, David comes up with ‘The Credible Hulk’, which is a concept that Stephen finds admirable, and Greg finds hysterical. So literally, last beat of the show, and the main contributors [read: everyone but Reg] are all giggling at ‘The Credible Hulk’

Despite Alan’s great start, he still ends up losing, which is sad.

Overall: From the comments section, I was prepared for a dull, disjointed QI…which is NOT AT ALL the one I got. Not even remotely. Greg, Alan and David were all collaborating, doing fun gags, and keeping the spirit of the game intact, while Stephen and Alan were especially sharp. Greg had a fantastic time, especially in sitting next to Alan while he essentially explained the game to him. David was a bit quieter, but definitely had funnier moments down the stretch. Reg…kept to himself, and his few funny moments were at the expense of the show’s integrity, or easy, low blows. He’s only on one or two more of these, but hopefully, like tonight, there’ll be a panel to supplant his energy. Definitely a favorite of mine on the season so far, even if it did have a lull or two.

MVP: Alan
Best Guest: Greg
Show Winner: Reg
Best QI Fact: Ants converging for transportation
Best Runner: Alan’s asides to Greg

QI Watchdown: J9 (Jeopardy), or PUT THE F–KING SAFETY GOGGLES ON.

After another random absence from me, we crack on with Series J, with an episode featuring trusted anchor Ross Noble in his second of three episodes this series, trusted goof Sue Perkins in her third of three appearances this series (both of the prior ones being standout ones), and another member of the Australian invasion of this series, Julia Zemiro, who’s an Australian TV personality and comic, having been on Thank God You’re Here a few times. She also shows up on a few more QIs, so hopefully she’ll have a nice showing here.

The buzzers are all danger-themed. Julia’s is the theme from Psycho, which she relishes. Sue’s is the theme from Jaws, which she chuckles at, then tries to dance to. Ross is an old-timey ‘dun-dun-dun’ sort of thing, which he reacts accordingly to. Alan’s is just ‘vehicle reversing’.

Stephen starts by revealing that people normally spill coffee in 7 to 10 steps of walking. Ross responds by saying that long jumpers must never spill, as it only takes them three to do a long jump, and by then they’ll already have drank the coffee. Just the right amount of bizarre.

Stephen, on the coffee question, mentions something called ‘anular ring baffles’, which Alan points out, and the double entendre game is already on.
Ross: “Let me tell you, the amount of times my anular has been baffled…”
Alan: “Baffle your ring, sir?”

And then, Alan: “If you put a baffle in your anus, does that mean you’ll have quiet farts?”
Stephen bites down on his glasses for a moment, sighs, and goes “…I suppose it would…UNTIL pressure builds up to such a state…”
Alan: “Then it could be lethal”
Stephen: “Then you could have someone eye out in the aisle at waitro’s.”
Alan, as Stephen goes on: “THHHBBTT. Baffle your ring, sir?”

There’s a really good discussion on why not to march in time on the Albert bridge, as enough marching would set off an oscillation and make the bridge unstable.
Ross: “And that’s why…Michael Flatley can never get north of the Thames. He’s FURIOUS! He’s always wanted to get to Madam Tussauds…but he’s at the Elephant and Castle going ‘AAAAH, AY CAN’T BELIEVE IT!”

Stephen: “Now, what’s smaller than the moon, and keeps moving the sea around?”
Ross: “Is it a seal on caffeine?”
Alan: “Is it one of our OTHER moons?”

Alan: “….this better be the blue whale.”
[pause]
Stephen: “…it so is NOT the blue whale.”

Screen Shot 2019-01-26 at 10.04.48 PM.png
Stephen: “How many jellyfish are pictured here?”
Ross: “Is it one with a very flamboyant hat on?”
KLAXON- ONE
Ross: “yes, but where are the words ‘with a very flamboyant hat on’?”

Stephen says that Portugese Man of War stings are very common in Australia
Julia: “Toughens you up, though. I mean, that’s life, isn’t it?”
Stephen: “One day it’ll toughen you up enough to win a test match against us.”
OH. LOW BLOW, STEPHEN.
Julia rolls her eyes, and feigns pulling a Preston and walking off.

Stephen: “What is Australia’s deadliest creature, though-”
Julia, buzzing in immediately: “Rupert Murdoch.”
Surprisingly there’s no Klaxon for this.
Stephen: “Excluding a member of the human race, which…I’m not sure that does or not…”

Sue talks through a specific spider, but once the klaxon buzzes halfway through her describing it, she just starts singing it. I love that she has an upbeat attitude to getting deductions.

Ross, overdramatically: “IS IT MAAAAN? THE MOST DEADLY OF ALLLLL THE CREATURES?”
He then presses his buzzer for good measure, basking in the camp of that line.

Stephen does a great impression here of horses overreacting to common things. “RBRBRBRBRBRBRBRB WHAT’S THAT, it’s a HEDGE. RBBBBBBRRBRBBRBRB IT’S A PIECE OF PAPER!”

Ross talks about owning a narcoleptic horse, and it’s a fantastic anecdote, and he ends with the line “and I’ve got a friend over here, and he never came to visit us unfortunately, and he’s got narcolepsy himself, and THAT would have been the funniest thing…he would have to be on the horse, and if they got it in TIME- obviously it’d be a bit rubbish if he was awake and the horse went…”

Ross: “Did you see that woman who, she had her bum bitten off by a shark…and, you know how they do face transplants?”
Sue cracks up
Ross, to Sue: “No, they didn’t put a face on her bum…”
Stephen: “They did that to Anne Widdicombe…”
Ross, and the audience, wince at that one

Stephen, on this dinosaur question: “But no dinosaur was bigger than what? The biggest living creature that has ever existed on the planet.”
Alan: “…the T-Rex?”
Julia sneaks in: ‘the blue whale’
Stephen: “YES, THE BLUE WHALE! IT WAS YOUR CHANCE TO BE RIGHT, ALAN!”
Alan takes a moment, sighs and facepalms.

Alan has a great bit talking about the two servants of the blind king who loved war, saying they essentially did a sound version of the battle by clanging their swords together and whistling arrows.

This show’s humor is coming from anecdotes and personal bits, rather than collaboration. Which…isn’t bad, it’s just not as effective as it could be.

Sue talks about doing the Wall of Death, where the bike keeps you ’round the curve with centripetal force.
Sue: “It was fun, my dad detached his retina.”
Ross: “What, before you got on, just ‘well, here we go'” [mimes taking them out]

Stephen describes this Euthanasia Rollercoaster, which kills the person with a huge drop and force.
Sue: “Have Chessington World of Adventure bought it yet?”
[No, but they have banned Hugh Dennis from riding it]

Ross: “You could build a chapel at the end…and then, after the funeral, you get a picture of your loved one…”
Ross is just killing it this show. Sue and Julia are fine, but much quieter and less funny than Ross so far

Stephen: “So, what’s the biggest dead body in the world.”
Alan, with a pause: “…blue whale.”
Stephen: “NOOO…”
KLAXON
Tons of applause for this

Stephen: “I’ll give you a hint, it’s a body of water”
Alan: “The dead sea”
Stephen: “OHHHHHH”
KLAXON

Stephen, still playing with the blue whale runner, asks what weighs as much as an blue whale and lives in the sea
Alan: “..an elephant on holiday.”

Stephen mentions that nobody can really go deep enough to find out what blue whales really do
Sue: “Just gossiping”
Stephen: “Or having quizzes in which people say ‘is the answer Alan Davies?”
BRILLIANT

Stephen talks about picking your nose leading to vulnerability to meningitis and syphilis
Sue: “FROM PICKING YOUR NOSE??? GOOD GOD.”
Ross, not at all serious: “yeah, that’s how you get syphilis”
Alan: “Yeah, it slightly depends what you’re picking it WITH…”
Ross: “That’s how ya explain it to the wife- ‘NO, I WAS JUST PICKIN’ ME NOSE!”

I love the little clapping Ross does when Stephen reveals he’s going to set fire to something in the studio

Stephen puts something out wrong for the Jolly Jape, says ‘the man in my ear is furious with me’.
Alan: “-T YOU FUCKING DOING??? PUT THE WATER. DOWN. DO THIS PROPERLY, OR YOU WILL DIE. DO YOU UNDERSTAND???”
Stephen, trying to move on: “No,”
Alan: “START AGAIN, FOR *FUCK’S SAKE*”
Stephen: “…he was MUCH gentler than that…”

Stephen: “I’ve been told to tell you NOT to try this at home”
Ross: “Try it in someone else’s home…”

Stephen: “What I have hear is some normal, everyday washing-up liquid. We’re not allowed to mention its Fairy- NAME.”

Ross, as Stephen points out all the things on his table: “Oh, this is like going on a picnic with Heston Blumenthal…”

Alan: “When are you going to put the safety goggles on, Stephen?”
Stephen: “I’m about to now, because I’m about to open the bottle of acid”
Alan, again as the guy in the booth: “PUT THE FUCKING GOGGLES ON.”

Ross: “Can I just say something…YOU’RE putting on safety goggles…YOU’RE putting on a mask…”
Stephen: “You’re fine, you’re expendable.”
Alan goes and hides behind his notebook

There’s a moment where he’s spurting the bubbles with water…and it’s not doing anything, where Stephen realizes he may have fouled it up, and goes “oh GOD”. But then the bubbles catch fire, and it’s all good.

I will say, the Jolly Jape is one of the better ones we’ve had this season, and then right at it’s wrapping up, we hear Alan, again, going “PUT THE FUCKING LID ON THE ACID.”

It’s a good sign when as Stephen reads the scores, he has to stop because the hydrogen smell is still putting off Alan and Julia. Just says a lot about the dynamic.

Alan somehow doesn’t get last, only third.

Overall: A wild show. A ton of lulls, and a disappointing performance from Julia, who took an informational angle, but Alan and Ross were on a roll, Sue had some good lines, and the Jolly Jape was a definite highlight. Definitely not a series highlight, but…something about the dynamic, the wild little moments, and the amount of callbacks, like the other moons, the headless chicken, and, of course, the blue whale, boosted this one’s resume a bit.

MVP: Alan
Best Guest: Ross
Show Winner: Sue
Best QI Fact: Euthanasia Rollercoaster
Best Runner: Baffling the rings.

QI Watchdown: J8 (Jumble), or What Have You Done with Stephen Fry?

This QI marks the final appearances for two QI mainstays who helped bridge the way for the show’s success: Dara O’Briain, who’s had numerous funny shows over the years, and John Sessions, the famous git, who’s provided numerous amounts of intelligent material, but in the years since his previous appearance has become more of a relic to the show’s previous emphasis on fact rather than funny. Jo Brand is also onhand, to make this feel…oddly enough like a Series B show. For a show that seemed to be zooming ahead and enlisting modern comedy figures, this seemed an odd move (and if you’d like an odder move by QI, check back in two shows).

The buzzers all seem to be J-related songs: Jo’s is ‘Jenny from the Block’ by J. Lo, which she responds to with a shrug.
John’s amusingly, is ’99 Problems’ by Jay-Z, which he bobs along to in one of the most ill-fitting things I’ve seen in a while.
Stephen: “I’ll give you 10 points if you know who that was!”
John, horrified: “Uhhh…Usher!”
Stephen, facepalming: “I think ‘J’ would have helped you”
John: “Jay-Z?”
Stephen: “Well, it’s too late NOW…”
Dara gets a Jessie J tune, which he guesses obviously, because Dara is generally savvy with music [see his Pliers reference from Mock the Week…or his Colonel Abrams reference from Mock the Week]

Alan’s is the Alphabet song by Perry Como
Alan: “Not a J name, is it?”
Jo: “I think it might have been his brother, Jerry Como”

From the very first question, John’s pedantic, answer-knowing nature is immediately relevant. A lot of people seem to think that John was the one that Stephen alluded to always asking for the answers in advance. While I still believe that person was Rory McGrath, I’m certainly not ruling out John.

John talks about a jockey who’d put the whip up his own arse. “It’s a variation on the photocopier thing.”
Dara, not completely following: “…whereas you put the photocopier up your own arse?”
Stephen: “Oh, surely we’ve all been there.”

Stephen, reading from his cards, says that “these don’t have the effect of horsing a speed up- speeding a horse up, sorry.”
They cut to Jo, who looks very confused.
Stephen inspects his glasses.
Dara: “I don’t mean to get all street on you, but when you horse your speed up…it’s when you get your meth and mix heroin in with it…THAT will make you run.”
Alan: “What have you done with Stephen Fry???”

Jo, on the camel-racing question: “Please, may I tell you the only camel joke that I know? Kay, there’s two guys in the army, out on the desert. And there’s a new recruit, and there are no women around at all, and the new recruit says “what d’we do for sex?”, and the guy says “I’m afraid it’s the camels.” And later on, they’re all let out towards the camels, and the old bloke’s running really fast, and the young guy says “what’re you doing, it’s only a camel?” And the guy goes “yeah, but you don’t wanna get an ugly one, do you?”
As Stephen moves on Dara holds up a hand: “I’m sorry, but…there IS another camel joke…”
Dara takes it from the exact same starting point, “I’m afraid it’s the camels, and late at night, the guy goes ‘I can’t take it anymore, I’m as horny as hell’, and he takes off and he rides the camel. And he comes back, and goes “well, that’s the best we can do”. And the older guy says, well, actually, when I said ‘we got the camels’, we normally, eh, ride them into town…”
Okay, THAT is perfect.

Stephen asks for another sport that involves camels. Jo guesses smoking.
Alan: “Chess!”
Stephen: “…I look at you, Alan, and I wonder…where these things grow. Where they come from…”
Alan: “…it’d just be nice to see, wouldn’t it?”

John talks of the 30s vaudeville act that named himself Nosmo King after the double doors that spelled out No Smoking.
Dara: “But he wasn’t tempted to call himself…’Fi Reexit’ or something like that?”
Stephen: “Emerge….Encyexit!”
Alan, as Stephen’s going on: “Toi Let!”
Stephen: “Roy…Alcircle!”

Stephen: “Complete the phrase…’pregnant mothers should eat…’
Jo: “…loads….uh, burgers…”

Stephen asks Jo if she had any weird cravings or behaviors during pregnancy
Jo: “I gnawed my husband’s leg occasionally.”
Stephen: “…and that was unusual?”
Jo: “…not as far as our marriage was concerned…”

John mentions that his mother smoked his father’s pipe while she was pregnant, which Dara mentions is such a lovely image. “Tapping it out on the table.”
Alan: “…i thought you were gonna say ‘tapping it out on the belly’
And Dara mimes getting the ash all over the belly. It’s an amusing bit.

Stephen, voicing the concerns of the audience: “…Johnny, you’ve got to stop answering every question…”

Jo completely guesses a definition of an obscure Stephen word…gets it right, and gets the question right, which shocks the hell out of her.

As John gets something wrong
Stephen: “Nice that you’re trying, and don’t be put off…”

Stephen: “If you really want NOT to pee, keep as still as possible-”
Alan: “Clench the end of your cock INCREDIBLY HARD…”
Stephen, post-facepalm: “I’d find it better if you’d get someone else to do that..”

Stephen: “Who gets the most use from Jacobsen’s organ?”
Dara: “Wouldn’t that be MRS. Jacobsen?”
KLAXON

Not a lot is happening in this one. Everyone’s playing really separate games, and John’s excessive knowledge keeps bringing everything to a halt. At least Jo’s disgusting stories lift the mood. She tells one about someone someone pranked with a severed hand, which Alan is repulsed by even before the punchline.
Alan: “Did she ball it into a fist? And then couldn’t get it out?”
Jo: “No, they went in, and she was sitting on the bed eating it.”
That gives an even BIGGER response.

Stephen: “What does a cockroach find absolutely disgusting?”
Alan: “Jeremy Kyle.”
Stephen: “YES! IS THE RIGHT ANSWER! Because, well almost, Jeremy Kyle IS…a human being.”

Stephen’s final note is that any shuffling of cards is a completely new combination of all 52 possibilities, making it a unique shuffle. There are so many different positions of 52 that each card can be that its probability of being repeated is this very, very long positive integer. Not really a math guy, but I’m fascinated by that fact.

Also, this show produced all four scores higher than zero, which is fantastic. It’d be more fantastic if this was a better show.

John technically wins, but Stephen awards the show to himself for that impressive card display, which…if it takes a win away from John Sessions, I’m fine with.

Overall: A very, very weak show. There were funny moments here and there, but the majority of the show consisted of facts that couldn’t get off the ground, John Sessions rattling on, or just lulls in humor. Jo and Dara had funny moments and stories, and that ending card fact is a great one, but I really couldn’t get into this one.

MVP: Dara
Best Guest: Jo
Show Winner: John
Best QI Fact: card combinations
Best Runner: horsing up speed