QI Watchdown: I5 (Invertebrates), or ‘I TRIED A SCORPION, I TRIED AN ANT..’

Ah, the old ‘one anchor, one newbie, one oddball’ approach, mastered by the show best in the Differences episodes, where Dara O’Briain was forced to fend for himself against a bizarre humorist (Ronni Ancona) and a new player to the fold (Julian Clary). Tonight, Jimmy Carr finds himself in a similar conundrum. On one hand, he works with the lovable Sarah Millican, making her first of many appearances on the show. On the other, for the first time since Series E, he has to make sense of Johnny Vegas. If anything, it’s gonna be an interesting show.

Stephen adds to the Nobody Knows intro, that ‘if you use it at the wrong time, you’re gonna look like a bit of a tit…”
Jimmy: ‘…right.”
Johnny, holding up his: “…what’s the point?”

Stephen, on the first question of the night: “What do bees do better than dogs?”
Jimmy, not finding any alternatives: “…make honey?”
Stephen: “…that is probably true, but-”
Jimmy: “PROBABLY true…YOU’RE GIVING ME *PROBABLY* on making honey. Okay. FINE.”

Sarah: “They’re better at sneaking up on you than dogs are. Like, ye’d never know if a bee had sniffed your crotch, had ye…”
Stephen: “Oddly enough you’ve used a word in there-”
Sarah: “Is it crotch?”

5:30 in, not a word from Alan. It’s mostly Sarah and Johnny doing the work, and while Sarah’s great and all, Johnny’s not wowing me so far.

Stephen: “What are some of the advantages of breeding insects for food…”
Johnny: “…you get to pretend to be a giant…”

Stephen does say that some scientists believe that when we run out of natural food, about 2030, that eating insects will be one of our only viable options.
Screen Shot 2017-06-08 at 7.54.17 PM.png
Jimmy: “If that is the case, could you maybe have picked a picture of someone that looks LESS NUTS? You know, if you’re trying to market it. Because if he’s supposed to be Captain Birdseye of the Insect World…he couldn’t look any creepier!”
Stephen: “He looks as if he’s auditioning to play The Master in the original Doctor Who..”
Johnny: “Even the frame of the picture looks like you’re about to black out…’OOH, ME VOCAL CHORDS ARE SWELLING UP…”
Stephen, trying to get the show back on track: “But there is no real reason to-”
Johnny, still there: “I EXPECT YOU TO DIE, MR. BOND…”

Stephen, out of nowhere, starts coughing hardly, and the entire panel starts panicking, as he ate a chocolate-covered ant earlier.
Johnny: “Oh, ‘they’re amazing, they could solve the problems of starvation’, BY KILLING THE PEOPLE…”
Stephen: “I have got a problem in my throat, though-”
Jimmy: “One brave ant, and they’re going ‘okay, what we’re gonna do- we’re gonna cover you in chocolate…we’re gonna put you in front of Stephen Fry…you’re gonna go down there, and you’re gonna sort things out.”

Stephen, summing up the whole situation: “Here i am, advertising this as the future of humanity, and I have to say…I feel like SHIT at the moment…”

Stephen: “Why aren’t there any vegan venus flytraps?”
Sarah: “Maybe there are…but people just don’t invite them round for dinner because it’s too complicated.”

Johnny: “If you fell asleep next to [a venus flytrap] for long enough…and it closed on your finger…would it be able to digest part of your finger?”
Stephen: “I…I’m gonna send you one. And you can do the experiment for us, and let us know. You can try your knob as well, it’d be funnier…”
This gets a nice reaction, too.
Stephen: “…it’d be a penis flytrap then, wouldn’t it?”
Johnny, as if THAT’s below him: “NNNOOO….”

Stephen brings up that ‘worm-charming’ is indeed a thing in the states, and shows a picture.
Alan: “Oh, for God’s sake…”
Stephen: “I know you’ve got your ‘get a life’ look on…”

Johnny, on the worms: “yeah, that’s that myth, isn’t it? That’s where they’ve been cut in half?”
Jimmy: “You can do that with any animal…”

Alan, still judging: “That girl is hitting the ground with a flip-flop. She’s got flip-flops on, and she’s taken EXTRA flip-flops.”
Jimmy: “She’s only done it to annoy you..”
Johnny: “It just looks like a car-boot sale, where everyone’s just forgotten the cars…”
Man, Johnny’s humor is just the right kind of bizarre…

Stephen talks about a sport where people have 30 minutes to summon all the worms they can.
Jimmy: “And why the time constraint? Are they just out on day release?”

Stephen mentions that one year, nobody could catch a single worm.
Sarah: “Were they inside at the time? Like, in a building?”
Jimmy: “Yeah, it was raining, they had to do it in the church hall…”

Alan: “At least when you go trainspotting, there ARE trains…”
Johnny: “That’s the thing! All the trainspotters are sitting on the hill going ‘LOSEEERRRS!”

Jimmy asks if greenflies are pests.
Stephen: “Well, they’re a pest if you’re an aphid…”
Sarah: “I thought you said ‘if you’re an atheist!”
Stephen, under laughter: “It’s a fantastic idea…”
Jimmy: “Bloody ladybirds! Proving the existence of God again!”

This episode is good, but it’s succeeding in smaller places. Like, Stephen shows the footage of the mantis shrimp punching a predator in the face. Johnny, towards the background, goes ‘it’d better have a ‘kapow'”. Not a ton of people hear it, but I can’t help but adore it.

Stephen shows footage of a shrimp on a running machine, then “there are some excuses that scientists have given, for-”
Jimmy, who is killing it this episode: “Was it mainly boredom?”

Stephen: “The person responsible for this study was named-”
Johnny: “He gives his NAME OUT?”

And then, after the clip, Johnny: “I’m waiting to see a crab with some dumbbells…”

Johnny does volunteer to eat the scorpion brittle from earlier, and says he’s gonna break it in half, then singing ‘HALF THE POISON, HALF THE FUN!” Man, there’s nobody else like this guy.

As everyone’s having the bug-infused candy, Johnny: “Can I just say,…what if we all develop super powers as a result of this?”

Alan: “I tried a scorpion, I tried an ant…I’m done.”
Johnny: ‘it’s like the first line of a musical- ‘I TRIED A SCORPION, I TRIED AN ANT!”

Jimmy, as everyone’s trying things but he and Sarah: “I think you should try an ant…”
Sarah: “Well, you’re not me mom, so…”

Sarah: “My mum said you don’t have to put anything in your mouth you don’t want to…that was my sex chat…”
Johnny: “You’re talking to the man with the scorpion lolly…”
Jimmy, still on Sarah’s bit: “THAT was your sex chat?”
Alan: “She didn’t mention your vagina, then? Just your mouth?”
Screen Shot 2017-06-18 at 8.34.07 PM.png
And the entire room blows up. Sarah’s absolutely losing it, as is Alan.
Alan: “I don’t know what came over me…”
Sarah, holding back tears: “It’s my FIRST TIME ON THE SHOW! DON’T MAKE ME PUT A SCORPION UP ME NUNNY!”
Jimmy: “Sarah, if you could just entertain the thought, because if you did, I’M NOT SAYING NOW, but if you did…FIVE MINUTES before a gynecological appointment…and you went ‘I’ve got a bit of an itch…'”
Stephen: “You would be the subject of a medical paper that would be published round the WORLD!”

Sarah, on bugs: “I’ve got a rule that, if it comes in my house, then I’m allowed to kill it…”
Stephen: “Right. So how many Jehovah’s witnesses…”
Sarah loses it.
Alan: “You may be laughing, but…”
Stephen: “Under the floorboards…”

Stephen: “What shouldn’t you breathe in if you’re a stink-ant?”
Johnny: “You’re friend’s anus.”
Jimmy: “…I think that’s a general rule. I don’t think…”

GI happens with 8 minutes left in the show, and we’ve yet to hit a klaxon, even with Johnny Vegas on the panel. Weird, weird show.

Stephen: “Name an vertebrate with no backbone.”
Jimmy: “NICK CLEGG!”
Hell, there’s some nice audience response from this one!

Stephen: “What’s the strongest creature for its weight in the world?”
Jimmy: “…is it Johnny?”

With four minutes left to go, Johnny finally gets the first klaxon by guessing that oyster catchers eat oysters.

Stephen: “Which animal has the most genes?”
Alan: “Des Lynum…oh, or Jeremy Clarkson.”

Once again, Alan nabs the ‘Nobody Knows’ bonus, because, again, it occurs late in the show and he’s the only one still thinking about it.

Johnny ends up winning, which he’s legitimately excited about. I don’t know how it happened, but it did.

Overall: I had moments of skepticism, but this show turned into a surprise hit thanks to the insect-eating runner that just kept on giving throughout the show. All four had great showings, and great lines, with Johnny somehow bringing up the rear despite having some really nice lines. Sarah had a great debut, already getting the spirit of the show. Jimmy had the best night, just supplanting everyone’s jokes and giving great lines. Wasn’t expecting to enjoy this one as much as I did.

MVP: Jimmy
Best Guest: Sarah
Show Winner: Johnny
Best QI Fact: The spore killing ants
Best Runner: Edible insects.

QI Watchdown: I4 (Indecision), or ‘IT’S TRUE, GIRLFRIEND!’

So far, this season of QI has been more than making up for the quieter, less amusing Series H. Up next, we have a combination that’s never really failed on QI, and that’s Jimmy Carr, Phill Jupitus and Rich Hall. All 3 have carried funny episodes on their own, and all three are wholly capable of collaborating.

Right off the bat, Stephen asks why someone was thrown out of the Magic Circle.
Jimmy: “Was he using…REAL magic?”

Phill reveals the trick was ‘find the Lady’, or ‘3-card Monty’ as they call it in America.
Jimmy: “I rather prefer calling it ‘3-Card Monty’ myself, because…’Find the Lady’…I had a really bad experience in Thailand once…”
Stephen: “Did you feel a bit of a dick?”

Phill, on the ‘Find the Lady’ demonstration: “…right, you three put money on a card each, and I’ll stick this [hundred] in a lady’s knickers from the audience…”
Stephen: “That’s a whole different game. That’s a whole other lady to find.”
Phill, standing by it: “There’s a lady that’s put her hand up, Stephen…”
Stephen: “She put her hand up what?”
Phill: Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 12.24.57 AM.png

During Stephen’s discussion on tossing, as he holds a wad of money up, someone from the audience sprints onstage, yells ‘AAAH!’, grabs the money and leaves, prompting an audible ‘what the fuck?’ from Stephen.
There’s a few beats where nobody really knows what to think.
Stephen, finally: “…I think somebody thought it was real money.”
Alan, to the audience: “I’M NOT IN ON THAT! I just want you all to know…”

Great moment: Stephen asks, in all earnest, who expected the Spanish Inquisition.
Jimmy: “Was it, uh…no.”
The fact is that they were all waiting to make the Monty Python reference…none of them actually did.

Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 12.30.38 AM.pngJimmy: “Was it the Klu Klux Klan? Because those two fellows…”
Phill: “I’m sorry, I thought that was the Pet Shop Boys…”

Stephen: “The fact is that the Spanish Inquisition always gave you 30 days notice.”
Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 12.32.15 AM.png
Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 12.31.40 AM

Stephen, trying to continue: “If you were selected to be-”
Phill, miming a phone call: “Hello, is there a Mr. Rabinowitz? Yeah, it’s the Inquisition here…HOW AAARE YOU…listen, we’re gonna come ’round and we’re gonna pull your balls through your mouth.”
Jimmy: “We’re in the area…but only for the next 30 days…”
Rich: “So ya had to wait around the house all day. They’d be there ‘between 8 and 5’…”
Stephen: “Yeah, ‘torture my neighbor, I won’t be in’…”

Rich guesses the Spanish Inquisition was started in 1483, which Stephen is dumbfounded by, as it’s shocking close.
Stephen: “Was that a guess?”
Rich: [starts dealing out the fake money from earlier.]

Stephen: “It’s actually 1478, but you’re 5 years off-”
Rich: “Well originally it was 5 years- they’d call you and say they were coming around within the next 5 years…”

In the audience tonight is a winner of the IgNobel Prize, a guy who did research on scrotal asymmetry.
Jimmy: “I’ve got an issue- maybe you could help, because you’re an expert…”
Chris: “Perhaps I should examine you afterwards, it’s probably easier…”
Jimmy: “I think I should explain- one of mine is bigger than the other two…”

Chris: “Usually the right one is higher, and the left one is lower…and that’s the normal way around…”
Rich: “wait a minute…”
Phill: Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 12.43.33 AM.png
Stephen: “PHILL, IT’S OKAY…”

Chris brings up the Aristotelian theory that testicles were used as sort of ‘weights’ to lower voices in people.
Jimmy: “And that’s NOT the case?”
Phill: “THAT is why Barry White never ran marathons…”

Phill, noticing the mouse on the behind-screen: “I think…if I were to stage an all-mouse production of West Side Story…”

Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 12.49.14 AM.png

Alan: “The way this is set up, though, it does look like the hippo’s slowly sneaking up on the mouse…”

Stephen: “What could an Irishman never be if he didn’t have nipples.”

Stephen asks what the tactic is to make the correct decision, and he gives a hint by taking a drink.
Phill: “Drink lots of water!”
Stephen: “Yes, so that in forty minutes’ time-”
Alan: “You’ll be in the loo and you won’t have to make the decision…”

Stephen confirms that people make their best decisions when they really have to go to the loo.
Phill, absolute disbelief: “SHUT UP! SHUT UP!”

Phill: “I think I’m gonna do Celebrity Mastermind now. Just 20 bottles of Evian before I go on…”
And he just starts writhing around, uncontrollably, in his seat, needing a wee.
Jimmy: “Red Orange Hitler- I’m trying to think what that would be the answer to…WHAT IS YOUR SPECIALIST SUBJECT???”
Phill, naturally: “…PAINTING!”

There’s a great moment that goes unnoticed by half the room. Stephen talks of twins that committed a robbery, and went unconvicted because police couldn’t tell them apart.
Jimmy: “What if they were conjoined twins?”
Alan, in the background: “If we get caught, split up!”
Phill laughs here, but Stephen’s explaining so nobody else really does.

There’s a discussion on Identity Parades, and Stephen brings up the money-thief from earlier, and SURE ENOUGH…
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Stephen: “Was it #1, Stealing Our Money
or #2, stealing our hearts…or is it just me?
#3, stealing himself for a spanking
or #4…stealing a format idea from Never Mind the Buzzcocks…”

Before Phill can even respond, Rich gets an idea:
Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 1.14.41 AM.pngScreen Shot 2017-06-05 at 1.14.28 AM.png

Stephen asks everyone to give who they thought the culprit was, and asks Phill to go first.
Jimmy: “This isn’t fair, Phill’s had much more experience in this game than any of us…PHILL’S BUILT A CAREER on this game…”
Alan: “…he knows which one is in the Kooks…”
Phill does laugh at this one.
Phill: “Just stick a bass-player in there for me…”

Stephen, post-ID Parade: “Shows it isn’t always useful having an ID Parade-”
Phill: “It is on a pop quiz…”
Rich: “I got it right, too! You know how I got it right? I wet my pants!”

Stephen, top of GI: “Who was the first person to go ’round the world in 80 days?”
Jimmy: “Michael Palin…”
Jimmy: “REALLLY?”

Stephen discloses it’s a real person, and that it’s not Phileas Fogg

I will say…I’m kind of disappointed that none of the panelists knew it was Nellie Bly because I knew that from a Hollywood Squares question.

Stephen, on finding the genitalia of chicks, phrases it as “in 1929, the Japanese finally found a way to sex chicks, and-”
Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 1.25.02 AM.png

Stephen: “1927, at the World Poultry Congress in Ottawa, it was-”
Phil, in hysterics: “THE *WHAT?*”
Alan: “That is a LOT of chickens…”

Stephen says that may have been a very big gig at one point, and Jimmy says ‘I probably did the last 15 minutes of it one year without knowing it.”
Stephen: “We’ve all been there. I once did Phillips’ Small Appliances.”
Alan, taking this the exact wrong way: “Poor boy…”
Stephen: “It was a long time ago-”
Alan: “Leave his appliances alone!”
Stephen: “…which is why I won’t have him in the house anymore…”

Stephen: “And the Zen-Nippon Chicken Sexing School was founded…”
Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 1.30.10 AM.png

Jimmy: “…and you’re looking at a graduate!”

Stephen, on sexing techniques: “You’re not going to like this- they do a slight squeeze-”
Alan: “And if they go ‘OW!’- GIRL.”
Jimmy: “and if they go…’steady on, mate’…”

Stephen: “In Norfolk, there is a community of Vietnamese Turkey Sexers…”
Stephen: “I’m sorry-”
Phill, miming a gun to his head: “WHAT SEXY CHICKEEEEENNN…YOU TELL ME NOWWWWW..”
Stephen: “I know it sounds-”
Alan: “They live in tunnels under the fence…”

It’s great- Stephen asks what direction the moon sets in, and I already know there are two running gags that could be in play here. Rich, thankfully, sets off one by going “which moon are we talking about here, Stephen…”
Rich turns around in awe.
Jimmy: “This show is getting TOUGH…”

I am very sad that when Stephen asks ‘where does the moon set’, Phill didn’t buzz in and go ‘IT’S NOT THERE!’ But at least we got a ‘Rich and Cruithne’ moment out of this.

Phill wins, and he’s absolutely flustered. He turns to Alan and goes “I don’t know how that happened. I have NO IDEA how that happened…”

Overall: Our 3rd A+ of the season, and we’re already four episodes in. Jesus, Series I is just THAT GOOD. The panel was even sharper than it’s been all series, with literally everyone jumping in at all times, even Rich, who acted like he did back in Series B tonight, even if he did bring up the rear in the edit. Jimmy also had a good night, but his jokes didn’t always hit. Alan and Phill were tremendous tonight, not only in giving some of the best lines of the show, but just having so much fun together, joking aside and helping each other out with jokes. You can tell Phill and Alan are quite friendly outside the show. A ton of moments, like the Chicken Sexing discussion, Rich bringing up Cruithne again, and Phill getting yet another ID Parade, truly stand out.

MVP: Alan
Best Guest: Phill
Show Winner: Phill
Best QI Fact: Chicken Sexing
Best Runner: Rich and the fake money.

QI Watchdown: I3 (Imbroglio), or MAY CONTAIN NUTS.

Two people that have never been on before, and Sean Lock. Well then.

I’d be more worried about this show if one of the newbies wasn’t Frank Skinner. He’s wound up on the majority of the shows I watch- he worked really well on Never Mind the Buzzcocks, and he didn’t work very well at all on Mock the Week. He’ll probably be great here. He’s joined by John Bishop, who’s like Mark Steel, but scarier-looking, and with a thicker accent- I didn’t love him on his MTW episode, but…then again, Susan Calman bomber her MTW and is great on QI, so who am I to judge?

The buzzers are nice tonight- John’s is an annoying fly that goes on for 10 seconds…which causes a prolonged wince from John. Frank’s is a high-pitched barking that goes on for…what, 20 seconds? He nearly cracks up.
John: “Can I ask- how long is this show?”
Stephen: “…it depends on how often you use the buzzer…”

Sean’s is an insanely loud baby scream, which causes him to grow concerned. Alan’s is…an automatic klaxon.

Stephen brings up the Nobody Knows card for John and Frank…which makes me wonder if this episode taped after a later Sean Lock episode, as the rule doesn’t need to be explained to him.

Frank, on the Nobody Knows card: “It looks like if they had Strictly Come Dancing one night, and someone had a dance that was so experimental that the judges…”
Screen Shot 2017-05-22 at 11.12.05 PM.pngFrank is already perfect for this show.

Sean gets the first klaxon of the night right off the bat for guessing that ‘double entendre’ is french for Innuendo.
Sean: “…oh, I’ve just remembered that double entendre is actually french for ‘big tits’, isn’t it?’

Stephen: “You could say double entente, which is-”
Sean: “Two-man tent.”

John, summing up the whole thing surprisingly well: “So it’s a french phrase that the french don’t use…so it’s not french.”

Stephen asks for what they’d shout if you want more at a concert.
Alan: “ENCORE!”
Stephen: “Right. What do they say in France?”
Alan: “…MORE!”

Stephen: “No, they shout a LATIN word, which means twice.”
Alan, after a beat of nothing: “…anyone?”

John: “Ya’d HATE to do a show where everyone in the crowd goes ‘BIIIIIIIIIIISSSS!’ It’s like that:
John’s buzzer: “ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ”

John: “Do they at least use ‘bidet’?”
Stephen: “Bidet they do indeed have, though it’s easier, really, to do a handstand in the shower, to be honest….”
The whole room takes a second to recover.
Stephen: “If you’re as NIMBLE AS I AM!”
Sean: “I’d pay good money to see that! NO, I SEE YOU, with a camera, like that, going ‘tweet this!'”

Frank: “There’s a greek phrase…the greeks say catytrius diephtica (the spelling’s probably nowhere near that), and it means ‘who gives a shit?’. But LITERALLY it means ‘There is trouble in the Gypsy Village.”

There’s a very nice moment where Frank reveals he has a wealth of knowledge about George Formby, as he’s a huge fan. Stephen hands him a banjalele, in the hopes that he’ll play some on the spot.

Frank, tuning the banjalele: “My dog has fleas is what you need to remember. [tuning the strings] My dog has fl- [one of them’s really out of tune]…actually this dog has distemper..”

Frank actually does a few ‘When I’m Cleaning Windows’ lyrics, because he can, and because he’s been given the opportunity, which is a pretty nice moment.

Stephen gets everyone in the room to shout their favorite color. Then he asks Frank what John shouted.
John: “…I was mainly listening to me, there…”
Stephen: “John, d’you know what Frank shouted?”
John, looking Frank over: “…pink?”

Alan, on teamwork professions: “The one I like where people come ’round to your house and tell you what to do so it’ll sell.”
Sean: “Yeah, ‘specially when you don’t want to sell it…”
Alan: “Went in the toilet, put the toilet seat down, went “…Lid down when showing…”
Stephen: “Really? So…no floating solids?”
Alan: “Yeah, ya got to flush it first…”
John: “I’d stop my family from doin’ handstands in the shower…”

Frank, on the interrobang: “And what happens if it’s an exclamation point done upside down?”
John: “…it means someone’s in the shower?”
(This is the QI equivalent of Rob Beckett’s dad in the bath, I think.)

Frank has a very nice, David Mitchell-esque rant on the semi-colon getting preferential treatment on the keyboard.
Frank: “If I was a colon, I’d think ‘surely I take precedence in this…you are merely a SEMI version of me. I should be the one that only gets one key.”
Sean: “…I share your pain, Frank….I’ve stayed up til DAWN, with whiskey, going ‘WHY???”

Stephen introduces a round called ‘HOW IRONIC IS THAT’, where the panelists have to judge if scenarios are ironic or not.
Frank: “Are we judging on a scale from 1 to 100? I was just worried about how we grade the irony…”
Sean: “i’d say ‘SHINY’…down to ‘RUSTY’.”

Stephen: “I say this because people seem to be using the term ‘ironically’ incorrectly, like ‘IRONICALLY, HE WASN’T THERE”…which-”
Frank: “The Invisible Man!”

Frank even quotes a line from Richard III in regards to dramatic irony.
Sean: “Ladies and gentlemen, an all-around entertainer!”

Frank talks of an argument he had with David Baddiel, about whether or not Peter Falk’s glass eye played the part of a real eye during Columbo.
Sean: “How did this argument go on for so long?”
Frank: “David wasn’t having it!”
Sean: “Were you wrestling naked in front of a fire?”

Stephen brings up the old ‘Lincoln was shot in Ford’s Theater, and Kennedy was shot in a Ford Lincoln’ fact, but he dismisses it as coincidence.
Sean: “Reagan was shot in Washington, and Washington was shot with a ray-gun…”
Stephen: “IF ONLY THAT WERE TRUE! It would almost be worth inventing a time machine, AND GOING BACK WITH A RAY-GUN JUST TO DO THAT!”

Stephen brings up the fact that brazil nut allergies are transmittable through sex.
Sean: “Boy, that’s a good murder plot, isn’t it?”
John: “I feel as if I’m on an episode of House. Who found that out?”
Alan: “Surely the woman would FEEL the brazil nut…”
(And I’m gone.)
Stephen: “I think you may have slightly misunderstood-”
Alan: “The man would too…”
Stephen, motioning to his crotch: “MAY CONTAIN NUTS.”

Stephen: “Does anyone know why, in a packet of nuts, the brazils always rise to the top?”
Alan, fetching his ? card and cracking up: “Surely nobody knows…”
Stephen: “YOU’RE RIGHT!”

Stephen: “What do the signal bars on your phone mean?”
Alan, cautiously trying to avoid a klaxon: “Well, it means…how much…signal you can…”

Stephen: “What’s the use of an inflatable anchor?”
John: “Is it for hot-air balloons?”
Frank: “Is it to stop submarines…from going too low?”
The audience applauds, and Stephen even goes “that’s so sweet…”

Stephen: “There were lions [during Richard III’s reign] all over Africa.”
Sean: “They were bloody everywhere. Y’ad a picnic in those days? Not wasps. LIONS. EVERYWHERE. “GET OFF ME SANDWICH!”

Frank, of course, talks about he and Baddiel doing Three Lions for the ’96 Euro, and Germany adopting the song as their own after their victory.
John: “THAT…is irony.”

Stephen talks of a distinguished council member and fan of Clint Eastwood, who emblazoned a motto of the latin translation of ‘Go Ahead, Make My Day’.
Frank: “On my coat of arms it says ‘catytrius diephtica’….’There is Trouble in the Gypsy Village’…”

Stephen: “Name an animal whose scientific name is the same as its regular name.”
Frank: “Isn’t a gorilla called ‘Gorilla Gorilla’?”
Stephen: “yes, but-”

Stephen says that bananas are radioactive, as they have a ton of potassium…and so, evidently, are certain private parts.
Frank: “Is that why they’re shaped like bananas?”
Frank: “I’m waiting for mine to stop being green…”

Stephen: “And finally, an easy one, which country is the world’s largest supplier of Brazil nuts?”
Stephen: “…no.”
Sean: “oh, well…BRAZIL.”
Stephen: “NOOO!”

Stephen: “Well, we have a TIE for first place”
Alan: ‘FIGHT!”
Stephen: “…We’re not Harry Hill here…”

Overall: Another fantastic episode, though slightly below the caliber of the last two. All four panelists were on tonight. I was really amused by John, even if he was a bit quieter than the rest- his material was very sly, and really nice. Frank had a great night, proved he was definitely a great fit for this show. Sean probably had the best night out of everyone, just in doing Sean Lock things and building off of other people’s stories. The dynamic was definitely there, and there were a ton of really nice moments.

MVP: Sean
Best Guest: Frank
Show Winners: Frank and John
Best QI Fact: Radioactive Brazil Nuts
Best Runner: Upside Down in the Shower.

QI Watchdown: I2 (International), or ‘Do What Ya Like, Wing Commander..’

We started with a great one, and now Series I rolls towards a pretty strong lineup- David Mitchell, Bill Bailey and Jack Dee. Three people that are well-suited to take this one pretty seriously. No Lee Macks or Johnny Vegases hiding in the distance, waiting to throw everything off.

The buzzers, as this an international theme, are all flight calls between countries/cities with I names (India to Islamabad). Alan’s is ‘UNEXPECTED ITEM IN BAGGING AREA…”

Stephen goes over the Nobody Knows bonus for the new members.
Bill: “What are the points that you gain by using it correctly?”
Stephen: “…I think we all agree that nobody in this universe understands the QI scoring system…”
Bill: “So, by that logic, were someone to raise the subject of the scoring system and I were to raise the card…”

After a discussion on the scorekeepers
Alan: “I wonder what the score is NOW?…”
Stephen, checking: “…amazingly, Bill has 3, and everyone else has zero…”
David, amid applause: ‘WHY *THREE?*”

Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 9.20.31 PM.pngStephen asks what would happen if the pilot and co-pilot were unable to land the plane
David: “I’d stop reading the kindle on the steering wheel…”

There’s a disagreement over what they call the guy on the plane who takes money for duty free. Jack says that he calls himself the Bursa-
Bill: “Yeah, he calls himself that…”
David: “Or is that the PURSA? The BURSA is the one who does the money for public schools.”
Bill: “Yeah, what kind of planes are you flyin’ on? ‘YES, THE BURSA will be coming around, collecting money for the end-of-term Jamboree…”
Stephen: “Here on this charterhouse flight…”
David: “The Bursa with the trolley…and then with the drinks, the groundsman.”

Stephen, bringing up another point: ‘Now, why do I say LuncHES here?”
Bill: “…because there’s more than one.”

Alan, listing a fact: “There are nearly 400,000 people in the air at any given time.”
Stephen, post-applause: “There’s no question that trampolining is a very popular sport…”

Stephen shows an example of the feats of the early auto-pilot:
Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 9.32.19 PM.pngJack: “…you wouldn’t want to be ball-boy, would you…”

Bill gets a question right, which even he’s surprised by.
David: “Another 4.5 points!”

On the world’s shortest commercial flight:
Jack: “Do they just lift off, throw peanuts at you, then land?”
Stephen: “Even worse is that the return ticket is 39 pounds!”
David: “Why don’t they just build a BRIDGE?”
Bill: “It’s a great flight. They just go over the exits, and go “…well, here we are!”

Stephen talks about how before World War I, the British army was required to all have mustaches. They cut back to him, and all of the sudden:
Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 9.40.17 PM.pngHe even throws in a ‘BAAAAHHHH’ after it’s subsided.

Bill: “I’m just imagining, Stephen, that that moustache is gonna have its own website by the time this is over…”

Stephen spins a story about the Disney head of PR sending out an email to staffers saying “The Disney Corporation takes strong exception to the use by many employees of the phrase ‘Mauschwitz’ to describe the Disney corporation. If it is used again, anyone who is caught using it will be summarily fired.”
Stephen: “WITHIN A HALF AN HOUR…they were using the phrase ‘Duck-au'”
David: “Perhaps they didn’t see the irony…of people using a fascist term to describe their organization- ‘OH, WELL, WE’LL PUT A STOP TO THIS!”

Stephen shows of a device (like Albert Finney used in Murder on the Orient Express) that guards the moustache while they sleep.
David: “What’s that FOR, though? You say you want to keep your moustache- keep it from WHAT, though?”

Stephen reveals that peeing on a jellyfish to suppress a sting actually doesn’t work…but peeing on a machine gun and a tomato is encouraged.
David: “I’ve never been stung by a tomato before…”

David: “If people would have known about [weeing on] machine guns in the first World War, it would have saved a lot of casualties…”
Stephen: “Well it did, actually. They did use them.”
David: “What, after the first wave in the Psalm, everyone’s firing with their cocks out?”

Jack: “When you said ‘urinate on tomatoes’, I thought you meant, like, instead of salad dressing.”
Jack is the quietest of the panel tonight, but he’s still having some great moments.

David: “I think it comes from our own self-loathing that we find our own excrement more disgusting than other creatures’..”
Bill: “Oy, speak for yourself…”

Stephen: “Now, what is the issue with machine guns?”
Alan: “They kill you, DEAD!”
Stephen, continuing: “Obviously we-”
Stephen, trying to continue: “We have here-”
Alan: “A GUN?? CHRIST!”

Stephen: “The russians actually made a gun with a hole in which to pee…”
Bill: “So you can pee, and shoot…WHILE you’re firing the gun?”

Stephen, moving on: “What was Italy’s biggest export in the year 1953?”
Bill: “…frozen urine.”
Bill: ‘What, URINE? URINE [sets it off]?”
Stephen: “We KNOW you, Bill Bailey!”

Stephen, describing the thing in question: “It had thousands of parts-”

Stephen’s looking for an italian dish. Alan guesses ‘POLENTA’, and says it in a very similar accent to ‘DE PEENK POLENTAAAA, I LOOOOVE IT…”

Stephen: “And Mussolini was joined by…surely you know of the Futurists, the futurist movement-”
Bill: “Not yet.”
Dear god, Bill Bailey’s on FIRE today.

Stephen, continuing a conversation: “If I want to torture my mother…”
He then realize he may not have phrased that correctly.
Bill: “Then…it’s a free country!”
Stephen: “In a RESTAURANT!”
Bill: ‘Do what ya like, Wing Commander!”

Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 10.12.22 PM.pngStephen’s telling a story about Jesse Owens’ treatment at the 1936 Olympics, how Hitler didn’t congratulate him…and Alan just starts laughing hysterically. Stephen stops the story to wonder what the hell’s the matter.
Alan: “The bloke on the far-right’s just going like that…”
Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 10.13.41 PM.png
David: “I think…surely they’re ALL on the far right…”
Stephen: Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 10.15.35 PM

Bill: “They’re all just taking bets on how high’s the high-jumper’s gonna go…”
Alan: “The one on Hitler’s left is going ‘oh, I didn’t get the memo…”

Alan gets the NOBODY KNOWS answer by saying that nobody really knows where the rainwater from a certain part of a creek in Wyoming ends up. He does sort of end up mimicking Stephen as he’s doing the full answer, in this muted, garbled tone in the background, which the audience notices.
Alan, grunted: “…no…nobody knows…”

Stephen: “Name the Largest Pyramid in the World!”
[A picture of the Egyptian pyramids shows up on the behind-screen]
Jack: “…that one, there, in the middle…”
Jack: “…Am I really that predictable?”

David says the pyramid’s an Aztec one, and Stephen says he’ll give 40 points if he gives the full name.
David: “…I don’t know it’s name, but I’ll spit out some consonants…”

Stephen: “There is a word for a pyramid with a flat top…”
Alan: “…unfinished.”
Bill: “And the sign- ‘DUE FOR COMPLETION, EARLY BC, 447…”

Stephen asks for the world’s fattest country, and everyone just starts yelling out wrong answers like Fiji, Vanuatu and Tonga.
Stephen: “I’ll give you a clue, it starts with N…”

Ah, yes.
Stephen: “When was the first World War named as such?”
Bill: “Uhh…the outbreak. The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand.”
Stephen: “You think they called it that straight away?”

David: “It’s gonna be some point after 1939, isn’t it?”
KLAXON: 1939
David: “EXCUSE ME! I *THINK* I SAID…I THINK WHAT I SAID, people in the box, was ‘AAAFTER 1939′, which may CONTAIN 1939, but does not mean it!”
David, still riled: “OKAY… NONONO…’AFTER 1939’ AND ‘AFTER THE SECOND WORLD WAR’ are NOT synonymous. Now…this is just GIVING YOU TIME TO *TYPE*, *AFTER 1939*!”
David: “…Why don’t you just type ‘MITCHELL IS A COCK’.”
Stephen: “…I wouldn’t put it PAST THEM…”

Stephen: “Why were the colonels and chief of the Royal Dragoon and the First King’s Dragoon Guards fail to turn up for duty at the start of the first World War?”
Alan: “They were entwined…in an embrace.”

David, thanks to his many run-ins with the Klaxon, gets -44 tonight, which is hysterical.

Overall: Dare I say even better than I-Spy? Literally every panelist was supremely on tonight. There were no rifts, everyone was collaborating with each other, and the jokes and runners were flying the entire night. The Bursa jokes, the mustache jokes, the pissing machine guns, Goering’s funny salute, Alan’s nobody knows grunting, and the ENTIRE KLAXONING DAVID MITCHELL BIT…all of that in one episode. Fantastic. A standard of excellence on the series, by far.

MVP: Bill
Best Guest: David
Show Winner: Bill
QI Fact of the Day: Piss-Powered Machine Guns.
Best Runner: Goering’s wave.

QI Watchdown: I1 (I-Spy)

It’s been a while since I’ve done a QI episode, so I might as well FINALLY get onto Series I, which has been described as the ‘last of the Golden Age’. To be honest, I don’t know how the dynamic’s going to be tonight- on one hand, you have Lee Mack, who’ll probably keep the panel in disarray, and on the other, you have Sandi Toksvig, who’ll try to keep the panel in order. And then you have Jimmy Carr ebbing and flowing in between. Interesting to see how it goes.

Alan’s back to his James-May-esque long hair in this episode.

The buzzers are actually pretty amusing:
Sandi: a sexy ‘aye, aye…”
Jimmy: a captain’s ‘AYE, AYE!”
Lee: a German “AY YI YI YI YIIIEEE”
Alan: “I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts…”

Also new this season is our first big season-long runner since the Elephant card, which is the Nobody Knows card- once per episode, there will be a question that legitimately has no recorded answer, and they’ll play the card at that point.

Stephen asks for the difference between an Ai and an Ai-Ai. Sandi correctly says that it’s a sloth, but Stephen asks for what an Ai-Ai is-
Jimmy: “…Two sloths?”

Stephen reports that the Ai only comes down from its tree to defecate.
Jimmy: “Surely the whole benefit of living in a tree is you can just…”
Stephen: “…poo on whomever you’d like?”
Lee: “Maybe they’ve got a downstairs toilet?”
Alan: “Yeah, once you’ve had it put in, you’ll want to use it…”

Sandi inches closer by guessing it’s a Lemur.
Stephen: “Right, which means it can only come from one place…”
Lee: “OOH! Bradford!”

Sandi: “I’d imagine the animal on the left has an easier job finding a well-fitting hat.”
Lee: “…and a girlfriend.”

After Lee describes a Jimmy joke as just two old codgers on the streets trading insults about their wives.
Stephen: “They do that on the streets of New York, only with ‘yo momma’…”
Lee, channeling Rob Beckett: “They do what with my momma?”
Screen Shot 2017-05-19 at 10.32.03 PM.png

Stephen does slide in one really nice joke about the Navy: “D’you know how they separate the men from the boys in the Navy? With a crowbar.”

Stephen: “Why won’t the Mona Lisa stop staring at you?”
Jimmy: “I mean…she’s only human…”

Stephen describes the phenomena of eyes following you around the room on a painting.
Lee: “What if you’re behind her? That only works with paintings of owls…”

Stephen, still to Lee: “There are other paintings- what’s the most famous painting in the Wallace Collection in London?”
Lee: “…you know you’re looking at the wrong person, eh?”

Lee brings up a very good, and correct, point about looking through the artist’s eyes, instead of just looking for the subject’s eyes. Sandi, for some reason, keeps batting this down, calling it inconsequential, while Lee now has to sort of fight to keep the idea alive.
Sandi: “You know what? In a really nice way, Lee, I’m going to say I don’t think you fully understood it.”
…Even though that is played for laughs, that’s an insanely condescending thing to say to a person on national television.
Even Lee goes “if you had changed the word ‘nice’ to ‘patronizing’, then that would have made sense…”

Stephen shows an example, a sculpture of Einstein that looks like it’s going outward when in reality it’s buckling inward. Jimmy, wowed, goes “…oh, you’re twisting my melon, man…”
Shaun Ryder would be proud.

Jimmy’s absolutely wowed by this phenomena, and is even more wowed that his eyes make the same mistake when it goes round a second time.
Lee: “Listen, we’re not gonna fall for it this time…”

Jimmy: “Are we gonna bother with the rest of the show? Because I could happily watch this all day…”

Stephen: “There is this whole science called gaze detection, and it’s-”
Stephen then realize it may have another meaning, and everyone’s already gotten it. Jimmy’s just going “DON’T LOOK AT ME…”
Lee: ‘Oh, it’s a SCIENCE, is it Stephen???”

Sandi talks about going to a wedding in front of a huge field, and as people were taking photos of the couple, “there was a horse in the background with the most…gigantic…areas of expertise I’ve ever seen…and that’s all you can see in the photographs! They couldn’t actually crop it out, it was so large…”

Sandi tells another anecdote about rafters on the Zambezi who bring dogs with them incase they’re attacked by a crocodile.
Alan: “…and they throw the dog at the crocodile?”
Stephen: “…as a peace offering?”
Sandi: “Yes, as a sort of a tapas…”
Jimmy: ‘And, sorry, did your boat have a dog, or did they just have YOU…’We’ve got a small lady from the BBC we’re using…”

Stephen: ‘Who finished off Russia’s Greatest Love Machine?”
Lee: “BONEY M!”
Alan: “…I can’t believe that hasn’t set [the klaxon] off…”

Stephen talks of a prohibition-era scheme to get people to sign life insurance and let them drink themselves to death.
Jimmy: “Had they not met Irish people before??”

Alan’s joyously riffing this bit as it’s going on, already going “they ran out of booze!”, and “we’re gonna need a bigger pub!” as Stephen’s talking.

There’s this whole story about this guy Mike Malloy, who survives several drink-related attempts on his life, including drinking antifreeze, turpentine, and being stuck naked in the snow covered in ice water. He’s eventually killed by someone sticking a gas hose down his throat, which the audience responds to with ‘awwws’
Jimmy: “But BEFORE THAT, when they were trying to kill the man…you were going ‘well that just sounds like bloody good fun! But with the gas hose, you went ‘that’s not playin’ straight…it’s an interesting morality you’re working with…Take a good, hard look at yourself..”

Stephen, wrapping it up: “Well, that’s the story of durable Mike Malloy”
Jimmy: “Did he tell you that?”
Lee: “AND HE’S HERE TONIGHT!…and he comes in naked, full of gas…’OH, THEY DIDN’T GET ME, YA KNOW…”

Stephen: “There are a few myths on the internet that most people might eat eight spiders a year…”
Sandi: “OOF…”
Jimmy: ‘No, the myth is that when you’re sleeping, spiders crawl down your throat.”
Sandi: “Oh, please, PLEASE tell me that’s not true…”
Stephen: “It’s not true…often.”
Lee: “No worries, it’s not true- it’s hedgehogs!”

Stephen, top of GI: “What can you tell me about the lifespan of this lobster?”
Lee: “I dunno, but look at the size of the fish he’s just caught…”
Screen Shot 2017-05-19 at 11.21.21 PM.png

Stephen mentions that it’s not possible to know how old a lobster is, and Sandi adds that some may be sitting on the ocean floor the size of submarines…but we learn that the largest, on record, was “oh, 3 and a half foot long.”
Lee: “That’s a lot smaller than a submarine…”
Stephen, taking him literally: “Yes, it’s a lot smaller than this studio…it’s a lot smaller than many things, but it’s the largest lobster that’s been caught.”
Lee: “Sandi did say that there may be ones the size of a submarine…”
Stephen: “Oh, sorry, I missed that bit…”
Stephen: “I’m sorry, I’ve gotten too used to you saying rather stupid things…and I apologize, on bended knee.”
Lee: “What, stupid things like ‘lobsters can live forever and grow to the size of submarines?’ That kind of thing?”

Sandi, just noticing: “What doesn’t make sense is that in the photo, if it’s underwater it shouldn’t be red…”
Stephen: “Ah?”
Sandi: “No, it should be black-”
Who’d of thought that Sandi, who tried to out-intelligent Lee earlier, would wind up with the first klaxon of Series I?

Stephen, still on lobsters: “They also, rather like the people of Doncaster, they communicate by urinating…”

Jimmy complains about having to pee, on this discussion of peeing in a bag, so Sandi hands over the inward Einstein sculpture from earlier as Stephen vocally rejects the idea.
Jimmy: “Which side do I piss into? I can’t tell?”
Sandi: “D’you know…I never thought I’d see Einstein in that position…”
Jimmy: “Not so clever now, are ya?”
Stephen, making the obvious joke: ‘Suddenly it’s…PEE = MC squared!”

Lee gets a klaxon by pronouncing ‘Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe’ incorrectly, so after Ye is revealed as just The, he incorrectly does Olde and Shoppe again.
Lee: “Okay, at least I’ll get this one…pie!”
Stephen: ‘YES!”
The audience even applauds this one.
Jimmy: “How Northern is that? If someone’s just flicked onto this show, and they go ‘oh, Lee Mack’s on’, and they you just go ‘PIE’ and there’s a round of applause.”

Stephen: “What went up by 57% during the Blitz?”
Jimmy: “…house prizes?”
Lee: “Was it Mother Brown’s knees?”

Sandi wins, Alan loses, and Stephen ends with a quote from Yogi Berra, though I wouldn’t be shocked if half the viewing audience had no idea who Yogi Berra even was.

Overall: MAJOR success going into Series I, with a panel that wasn’t afraid to connect with each other, with Stephen, and with concepts from earlier in the show. Lee Mack had the most composed show I’d seen him in, as he was willing to connect facts and keep the dynamic going, even with Sandi, with whom he had a major disagreement with tonight. Jimmy had some nice moments, but hasn’t really stood out in an episode since the early days. Sandi did vex me a bit tonight, but she still had a nice enough show, and Alan was kind of quiet but still himself. Tons of material, tons of fantastic moments, a truly impressive start to the series.

MVP: Lee
Best Guest: Jimmy
Show Winner: Sandi
Best QI Fact: Lobsters
Best Runner: Einstein sculpture.

QI Watchdown: H15 (Hypnosis, Hallucinations and Hysteria) or ‘NOT THERE. MIRAAAAAGE.’

A few future trends that started with this episode- titling an episode with three long concepts instead of just a single word, stacking Phill Jupitus as the only semi-regular on a panel of two occasionals, and having Ronni Ancona on the panel only to shortcharge her in the edit. Tonight’s episode also has a…special-ish guest- Robert Webb is here, in his only appearance.

Stephen talks about a disease that causes hydrosceles of the scrotum.
Alan: “makes your scrotum go into a triangle?”
Stephen: “…no that would be ISOSCELES…this is Hydrosceles…”

Stephen continues, that this man’s scrotum grew to 40 kilos, and he ended up using it as a writing desk, which gets a response from the audience.
Ronni: “That’s a good attitude to have!”
Phill: “Yeah, I’d get a sharpie and paint the face on the front of a spacehopper onto mine…”
Alan: “I’d make mine look like a hedgehog..”

Stephen says that this Scottish doctor used hypnosis to a success with this patient.
Phill: “Your eyyyes arre heavy. “NOT AS HEAVY AS ME TESTICLES!”

Stephen says that pain comes from the brain, and is basically information.
Rob: “I can imagine someone banging on my thumb, and going “IT’S JUST INFORMATION! IT’S JUST INFORMATION!”

Screen Shot 2017-01-26 at 11.04.03 PM.pngStephen: “There is a very small hammerhead shark…”
Alan: “That is a toy shark.”
Phill: “Or a REALLY big diver?”
Stephen: “a frighteningly big diver…”
Phill: “I think we’d have heard of HIM…”

Stephen says that chickens can be hypnotized by holding a stick with fake eyeballs on them to them, and they’ll stare.
Ronni: “You just made that up!”
Stephen: “It’s in all the books, all the-”
Rob: “What, in all the books?  All the chicken-hypnotizing books?”
Phill: “Which is why you must NEVER let your chickens watch The Muppets.”
Screen Shot 2017-01-26 at 11.08.20 PM.png

Stephen: “D’you know how you wake them up, rabbits and guinea pigs, if they’re in that state?”
Alan: “…you let the dog in.”

Stephen talks about how he hypnotized a lobster in Maine, and attempts it in the studio, saying “it won’t move a muscle.”
Phill cracks up. Stephen realizes the pun: “Oh, MUSSEL!”

Then Stephen brings up a dog that could hypnotize humans, “Oscar the Hypno-Dog.”

Screen Shot 2017-01-26 at 11.12.41 PM.png

Just looking at the dog cracks me (and Phill) up

Alan: “I’m feeling it now…I’ll go and get the biscuits.”
Stephen: “The thing is…he could keep up that stare with a human for hours on end-”
[Jupitus giggling]
Rob: “Depending on what human would WANT to be stared at for that long…”

Stephen says that life flashing before your eyes is a way of your brain trying to find a past memory that will help you survive.
Ronni: “It’s pretty risky, though, isn’t it? You’re on the brink of death, and you’re rerunning, and you’re going “NO, NOT MY FATHER’S 70TH BIRTHDAY!”
Stephen: “Or…if you lose your keys, just put your head facedown in the basin, and start drowning yourself, until you get to the point where you last had them.”

Ronni brings up a great point: “D’you think that…with rising crime, that death’s door has become more security conscious?”
She’s actually good in small doses, and has good comedic points, but sometimes she’ll flag for the spotlight, or something Stephen will cut her off before she gets going.

Stephen reveals that there’s a cat with a degree in psychotherapy.
Phill: “I think Oscar’s sitting opposite her!”

Screen Shot 2017-01-26 at 11.29.27 PM.png

(Phill does a quick Oscar impression)

Screen Shot 2017-01-26 at 11.31.44 PM.pngAlan: “Are those hats falling from the sky? Oh, there are hands beneath them.”
Stephen: “Yes, there are.”
Alan: “Is that how you get your hat? They’re dropped out of a plane, and you have to catch them?”
Phill: “I’d like to think that underneath that photo, there are about 60 cats…”

The next question involves Stephen being elected Pope, and…
Screen Shot 2017-01-26 at 11.41.11 PM.png

Screen Shot 2017-01-26 at 11.41.25 PM.png

(Phill’s reaction is mine)

Stephen mentions that the Subliminal Messaging thing was even used in the Young Ones.
Rob: “Goes back to my childhood…”
Ronni: “Your childhood???”
Rob: “Yes, Ronni. Deal with it.”

Phill actually talks about a Judas Priest song that, in backmasking, allegedly encouraged people to commit suicide.
Stephen: “Halford even said ‘I don’t wish to paint myself as greedy, but if we were gonna put a message in, it would have been ‘buy more of our records…’ I mean, he also said ‘DO IT’ doesn’t mean ‘kill yourself.”
Phill, chuckling: “Stephen, the song WAS called ‘suicide solution’…”
(As Youtube Commenters have revealed…it wasn’t, but still)
Phill, crossing over to Buzzcocks: “FINALLY, BEING IN A POP QUIZ PAYS OFF!”

Stephen, summing up the round: “So, subliminal advertising DOESN’T Stephenfryforpope WORK…”

Stephen: “In the Catholic church, it is a sin to be superstitious…”
Ronni: “You’ll change that when you’re pope, won’t you?”

On the sight question:
Stephen: “So, what about Hitler?”
Phill: “What ABOUT Hitler?”

And now, the most famous part of this episode:
Stephen asks the panel to pinpoint the exact point where the sun goes below the horizon. Everyone buzzes way too late.
Screen Shot 2017-01-27 at 12.01.51 AM.png
Screen Shot 2017-01-27 at 12.02.01 AM.png

Stephen explains that after a certain point it’s just a mirage, and it’s much earlier…which infuriates the panel, including Phill.

Phill: “IIIIII….HATE THIS SHOW. BECAUSE…the sun…IS THERE. And you’re going [Stephen impression] “NOOO.” “It’s the SUN!” “NOT THERE…..MIRAAAAAAGGGGE.”

Alan explains that in New Zealand, the hot sun bouncing off the road in low-elevation can cause blindness.”
Phill: “I dare say that the drivers in New Zealand, as they see the sun setting, are REASSURED TO KNOWWW….THAT IT’S *NOT THERE*.”

Screen Shot 2017-01-27 at 12.07.41 AM.pngPhill just holds this expression as Stephen sums up the round. He’s absolutely heartbroken.

First Question of GI:
Stephen: “What shape is this staircase?”
Stephen: “NOW PHILL…”

Rob buzzes in just to guess ‘spiral’, and waves his hands in the air as the klaxon sounds. It’s almost like a Jo Brand reaction.

Stephen talks about ducks and their spiral genitalia.
Alan: “When they procreate, does it kinda spin in like a screw?”
Phill: “And, if push comes to shove, and you’re in Argentina with a bottle of Merlot…”

Stephen: “Not only that, but it has the longest penis, relative to its body size, of any vertebrae.”
Phill: “Do you know that, or did the duck tell you?”

Stephen goes further, that the duck has a brush on the end.
Phill: “WOW, You can clean up after!”
Alan: “Like a Dyson!”

Stephen: “What do you think the brush is for?”

Rob gets another Klaxon by guessing the Molotov fellow created the Molotov cocktail…and again, he’s ecstatic about. Rob didn’t do a ton in this episode, but his enthusiasm, and his ability to collaborate, was pretty damn amusing.
Alan: “He invented the…slow, comfortable screw against the wall?”

Rob actually gets last this episode, which is…odd, but unsurprising.

Even as Stephen announces that Phill has won (with -2), he’s still pissed about the sun. He’s shaking his head, going “I’m not happy…I’m not happy…”

Overall: Not as good as last week, but still a pretty enjoyable show, especially for a series with a ton of middle of the road episodes. Phill gave this one a major boost, with some Grade A stuff from him, the likes of which we’ve not seen in a little while, but Rob had a few nice moments, and while Ronni was shortchanged by Stephen and the edit, she did have some good lines here and there. Also, Alan was in a great mood, because he and Phill work insanely well together. Some great moments, definitely rewatchable.

MVP: Phill
Best Guest: Phill
Show Winner: Phill
Best QI Fact: Oscar the Hypno-Dog
Best Runner: IT’S NOT THERE.

QI Watchdown: H14 (Hocus Pocus), or CEILING!

The last episode proved that a panel with three QI legends can still yield negative results. Tonight, there are no regulars on the panel. Two people appearing tonight have their second appearance, and are better known on other shows, as well as having fantastic first episodes- that would be Lee Mack (“BRING ME ANOTHER WIFE!”) and Graham Norton. The third guest panelist is one of those SPECIAL GUESTS…and it’s a very special one indeed, as it’s DANIEL BLOODY RADCLIFFE! Harry Potter himself! This was a tremendous get in 2011, and to have him with Lee and Graham is a nice, concise, if untested, panel. Plus, it’s semi-Christmas themed, and semi-magic themed, so all is well.

Plus, true to the theme, they’re all wearing cloaks and costumes- Graham tries to snap his hood back upon his introduction, but it sticks, and he has to fight to get it down.

The buzzers are all ‘magic words’, like Presto and Abracadabra. Daniel’s is a big ol’ ‘EXPELLIARMUS!’, which made me geek out a bit. Alan’s is just “PLEEEEEEASE?”

Stephen’s first question is, simply, what is the oldest trick in the book?
Lee: “…Debbie McGee.”
The audience is nearly appalled.
Lee: “oh, and it’s Christmas as well…”
Stephen: “Was that charitable?”

Daniel actually knows this, and rolls off the fact that an Ancient Egyptian’s trick was to remove the head of a goose for the king. That’s an astonishing fact, and I imagine he must have known from HP research. He’s very jittery and nervous as he says this, though.
Graham, after he answers that easily: “This is gonna be a VERY short show…”

Alan: “I love this idea that when they cast you as Harry Potter, they just gave you a crash course on everything wizarding…and then you just top it off with a bit of acting in the end…”

Lee: “Can I just ask- what part of pulling a goose’s head off is a magic trick?”
Daniel: “I forgot- AND RESTORED IT!”
Graham: “Ah, yes, the old ‘two geese in my bag’ trick…”

They actually get a magician to do this trick, who appears after they all go ‘Accio Scott’. Once he does, after what I can only assume was an edit, Lee loudly screams “OH MY GOD! HE WASN’T THERE AND THEN HE WAS THERE! WHAT HAPPENED?”

Lee, after the head-removing magician leaves: “I can do the first half of that trick…second half needs a bit of practice. And then, there’s blood everywhere, my wife’s screaming, the children are going ‘where’s the budgie’…”
Graham: “I mean, if that was the first trick EVER….surely people did ‘pull my finger’ before that…”

Stephen talks of a performer named Chung Ling Soo, whose real name was actually Robinson and spoke only Chinese onstage, “UNTIL…he did the bullet trick, and the bullet got caught and killed him, and he went, in English, ‘oh god…something’s gone wrong…close the curtain…”
Lee: “D’you reckon there’s a real magician in China named Chung Ling Soo who goes by the name of Bob Robinson? And he’d only speak cod english. ‘PICK A CYAAD! ANY CYAAD YA LIKE!”

Stephen describes another magician whose stage caught fire, and the audience thought it was part of the trick, and 11 died, “including, and this is not funny…a midget in a bear suit.”
The audience, of course, laughs.
Stephen: “I’d thought I prefaced that by saying it’s not funny.”
Screen Shot 2017-01-23 at 6.13.15 PM.png
Alan: “you people are sick…”

There’s a great moment where Stephen tries explaining to Lee about the ‘i before e’ rule, that there are words where ‘cie’ works in a sentence. And Lee cannot seem to grasp this, and they keep going on for minutes. Lee keeps coming back with ‘ceiling’, even if it has nothing to do with what Stephen is asking for.
Stephen: “…I may explode at any minute now…”

Stephen shows a bunch more examples of ‘ie’ words, even without c.
Lee, still not understanding: “Oh, so now you don’t even need a c, do you?”

Stephen: “There are 21 times as many words that break the rule than don’t.”
Alan: “However…if you want to spell ceiling..”

Stephen: “So, something like veil, or weird…”
Graham and Alan: “…yeah, but there’s no C in them…”
Stephen: “It’s I before E, every time…but in weird-”
Graham: “OH, I SEE!”
Screen Shot 2017-01-23 at 6.27.50 PM.png
Screen Shot 2017-01-23 at 6.27.36 PM.png

Alan, summing up the last few minutes: “Daniel, you’re the only person on this show who isn’t a complete idiot…”

Stephen says the rule is no longer taught in schools.
Alan: “So they’re all nouns, so it’s ‘I before E, or SOMETIMES E BEFORE I…”
Stephen: “Mostly after C, it’s IE.”
Alan: “If in doubt, look it up you lazy gits…”
Lee: “I before E, except for the following 923…and then you reel them all off…”
Graham: “I before E…thank God for spellcheck…”
Lee: “NUMBER ONE. CEILING. NUMBER TWO. RED CEILING. NUMBER THREE, BLUE CEILING. Help me, lads, I’m running out of colors…”

Stephen, on a game very similar to quidditch: “Like, in quidditch, what do you travel on?”
Daniel: “Well, a broomstick…”
Alan: “Yes, but that is special effects, though.”
Daniel: “Yeah, and it’s very, very painful.”

They show footage of this horse-polo-quidditch sport, played in an empty arena.
Alan: “Look at how popular it is, I mean, look at the crowd!”

Daniel does mention that several american universities have adopted quidditch as an inter mural sport, just on land instead of, like in the air.
Daniel, deadpan, very Mitchell-esque: “It’s a lot less exciting then, you know, in the films…”

Stephen reveals that ‘muggle’ was a 1920’s term for people who smoked marijuana, which Daniel is amused as hell by.

Screen Shot 2017-01-23 at 7.23.40 PM.pngGraham: “Is that a drunk person not finding the toilet?”
Stephen stops his current fact just to laugh at that one.
Graham: “They’ll feel terrible waking up…”
Lee: “That’s a relationship that’s not gonna survive…”

Lee: “What’s the horse doing?”
Graham: “He’s operating the video.”

In order to figure out the definition of Dumbledore, Stephen asks them to think about the first part, something that rhymes with it.
Alan: “Jumble…mumble, crumble-”
Stephen: “Don’t try me too hard, Lee Mack.”

Stephen: “How did Hogwarts tackle drinking problems?”
Lee: “Is that a character? Drinking Problems?”
Daniel: “Must have been one of the ghosts…”
Lee: “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Special Brew…”

Graham gets a question correct by guessing ‘SAILORS!’
Stephen: “Went straight to your mind, didn’t it?”
Graham: “I just thought ‘who drinks?’ SAILORS!”
Lee: “This isn’t fair! [Daniel’s] getting questions about Quidditch, and [Graham’s] getting questions about sailors!”

Stephen says these sailors would be working with an ethyl alcohol called ‘pink lady’, which reportedly would make you literally go blind if you drank it.
Graham: “We’ve all been told things like that, and it didn’t stop us…”

Also, Stephen said that they added hogwarts juice, which would make the sailors vomit and relieve themselves if they drank it.
Graham: “And also…REGULAR alcohol makes you vomit and go…that’s a night out, isn’t it?”

Daniel riles off a fact about the Harrying of the land, which neither Lee nor Alan can contribute to, so Alan just starts staring off into space, picking at the folder. Lee joins in, and he and Alan just start goofing off, like kids in the back of the class.
Alan: “Sorry, what was this about magic?”
Stephen: “People of the north were ruthlessly killed.”
Alan looks at Lee, whose expression drops.

Stephen: “What animal was the subject of Beatrix Potter’s first novel?”
Alan: “I bet it’s NOT Peter Rabbit.”
Stephen: “That is the right answer!”
Lee: “Thank god you stopped me…”

Stephen: “Actually, her first work wasn’t a children’s book.”
Alan: “Was it the book they based the film Boogie Nights on?”
Stephen: “…it’d be so wonderful if I went ‘YES! 100 POINTS!”
Alan: “And Rollergirl was based on Beatrix Potter’s mother…”

Stephen gives the panel Christmas crackers, with jokes inside.
Graham: “Did you write these? Because they sound like you might have… ‘knock knock’
Stephen: “Who’s there?”
Graham: “To.”
Stephen: “To who?”
Graham: “To WHOM.” *winces*

Lee has a much better one (What kind of cheese can you give a bear to coax it out of his cage? C’MONBEAR!)
Lee: “I had no idea bears LIKED cheese!”
Graham: “They love it…”
Stephen, seeing exactly where this is about to go: “NO. I’M NOT GOING TO…”

Alan’s joke: “What disease can you get from decorating a Christmas tree?”

The episode ends with a few tricks, Alan going first.
Alan: “If I could ask Lee to be my Debbie McGee…”
Lee: “I am not falling for that one again…”

Alan’s going to saw Lee in half, which is great, because Lee is still being Lee the whole way through. Halfway through the demonstration, he goes “HANG ON! SAWING? I DIDN’T SEE THAT!”

As Lee’s closed in: “OOH, HELLO! I can see why Phill Jupitus wasn’t invited on this week!”

Graham’s got a different approach- he’s going to guillotine Daniel. Even he’s saying “this feels very wrong, doesn’t it?”

Best part about this show is that they end it with Lee sawn in half, and Daniel’s head lopped off. They don’t have a silly resolution, they just have Stephen sign off, even thanking “the late Daniel Radcliffe.”

Overall: An amazing episode that’s electrified a middling Series H, thanks to a panel that was completely on, some amazing jokes and round-to-round continuity, and a few timely additions that didn’t take away from the realness of it all. Lee was, again, at an all time high, having fun and fitting right in. Graham also had a really nice show, and it’s a shame that this was his last appearance on QI. Daniel was quiet, but still added enough that it wasn’t a loss- besides, this was Daniel Radcliffe on QI, and that alone is a milestone. It was just a fun episode, one worth rewatching, not even at the holidays.

MVP: Lee
Best Guest: Lee
Show Winner: Daniel
Best QI Fact: Beatrix Potter’s mushrooms.
Best Runner: CEILING!

QI Watchdown: H13 (Holidays)

After a siesta from QI to finish up Series 25 of Buzzcocks, I figured we’d dip back into a series that has taken over a year to finish, with an enjoyable looking episode, featuring a matchup that last hung together on QI back in Series C, in Campanology- Bill Bailey, Rich Hall and Rob Brydon. Rich has been quiet so far this series, but Rob and Bill have had some standout episodes, and putting them all together for a semi-Christmas episode is an inspired idea.

The episode begins with an odd digression, where Stephen gives all four panelists a country, and they have to come up with a quite interesting fact about them. Bit of a gamble.

Rob talks about going to Hungary, and on a picture of some spandex-decked Hungarians, Stephen asks him if they all dressed like that.
Rob: “Well I did, which was a bit odd…with the long sock-”

Rob’s fact involves hands, so everyone starts guessing
Alan: “They don’t wipe their bums!”
Rob: “I don’t think there’s a need for that, Alan…”

Alan: “They DO wipe their bums…but they don’t use their hands to do it…”
Rob, very confused: “How else would- UNLESS YOU HAD ANOTHER APPENDAGE BACK THERE…”

Bill gets distracted by Rob’s ‘welsh harp’ buzzer
Bill: “It’s like whenever you press the buzzer we go back in time. Like, TELL US ABOUT IT…TELL US…”
(Harp noise)
Rob: “It’s 1974, and goulash…”

Rob attempts a bad joke on Alan’s stamp-collecting story.
Rob: “I collected stamps myself, when I was about that age, and eventually I gave it up, because I thought to myself ‘philately will get you nowhere…'”
The audience groans.
Screen Shot 2017-01-19 at 11.06.47 PM.png
(Harp noise)
Rob: “I collected stamps when I was an early teenager, and, uh, I loved it.”
Stephen: “YES! GOOD!”

Bill, on Bhutan: “It’s written into the constitution that the forest area of Bhutan shall never dip below 60%.”
Alan: “And the cows are not allowed to fart.”

Even though that the Holiday Report bit is imperfect, and just involves pre-show googling, Rich Hall being Rich Hall makes it all worthwhile, in describing Hawaii
“This wood is called willy-willy…which means ‘Willy’ twice.”

Rich says that Hawaii has twelve letters in the language.
Rob: “Five of those are ‘o’…”
Audience: “….”
Rob: “…Hawaii 5-0?”
Audience: *groans*
Bill: “Some of his jokes come with a pamphlet…”

Stephen: “Where in the world are you most likely to see fish falling from the skies?”
Rich: “Oooh. Sardinia.”
To the audience’s credit, they do applaud this one. Adv- Rich.

Alan: “How much, in comparison, does a human excrete in a year?…I’m looking at you, and I’m like ‘How would you know that?’
Stephen: “I mean…”

Stephen talks of the Unluckiest Man in the World, and says, as his name is Yamaguchi, that he’s from somewhere beginning with H.
Bill: “…Holland?”
Alan: “HARWICH!”

This question’s about the fellow who lived through both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, whom Stephen says “was a very cheerful fellow” after the fact.
Screen Shot 2017-01-19 at 11.29.25 PM.png
Bill: “Doesn’t look so cheerful there.”
Stephen: “Yes, well..wedged between two mushroom clouds…”
Bill: “He’s going ‘AW, NO…IT’S HAPPENING AGAIN!”

Rob: “I mean, is the glass half full, is the glass half empty? Well, either way, it’s radioactive, so don’t drink from it…”

30 minutes into the episode, Rich gets the first Klaxon of the show by saying that the tree in question requires moss.

This is a pretty light episode, but Rich does revert back to his old tactic of giving out information for points ‘you can float a pine needle on the water…you know, just to kill time…”

Stephen reveals a fact that if we’re blindfolded and told to walk in a straight line, within 66 feet we’ll have ended up back where we’ve started, and asks why this is.
Alan: “Homing pigeons. We’re descended from homing pigeons.”
Bill: “What, we’re asymmetrical?”
Stephen: “What, one foot shorter than the other?”
Rob: “We have a lot of loose change in one pocket.”

Once the first GI question, which is which country contains the most of the river Nile, Bill is giddily quick to get the Klaxon for ‘Egypt’. Alan just keeps spitballing: “CHAD! UGANDA! BELGIUM!”

There’s a great moment where Stephen asks if land in between belongs to Sudan or Egypt. Bill guesses Sudan on a whim, and gets the Klaxon.
Bill: “Could have been the other one, then…”
Alan: “Yeah, the one above…”

Alan does ask what a similar striped territory is, next to the one in question.
Bill: “Oh, wait a minute, isn’t that the loose coalition area between Egypt and Sudan? The lib dems- THE LIB DEMS OWN IT!”

Stephen says that, because of the oil wealth of the second territory, neither territory wants to claim ownership of the first, which is smaller and arid.
Alan, to Bill: “it’s available, let’s snap it up!”
Rob: “So this is ongoing?”
Alan: “Yeah, meanwhile Saudi Arabia have tunneled beneath the red sea…and STOLEN THE TRIANGLE!”

Stephen, as a last-question stinger, reveals that the age of consent in Vatican City is TWELVE!
Stephen: “There are odd reasonings behind it-”
Rob: “I think we know what the reason is, Stephen…”

Stephen: “What would you say is the population of Vatican City?”
Alan: “Five.”
Bill: “Eight…..hundred…’

Stephen also says that Vatican City has the highest crime rate in Europe.
Rich, deadpan: “Lot of eleven year olds getting married…”

Overall: The only momentum this show had was gained in the last fifteen minutes- before then it was quiet, with only a few tremors. When the dynamic here was on, it was alright, but this is a very ho-hum episode from a great panel. Nobody did a particularly bad job, though Rich was, like usual this series, quiet, and Bill and Rob were funny, but there weren’t a ton of funny moments until GI. Also, the Holiday Report that opened the show did a bit to slow the dynamic. An imperfect show, but not horrible.

MVP: Bill
Best Guest: Rob
Show Winner: Rob
Best QI Fact: Vatican City
Best Runner: Rob’s jokes.

QI Watchdown: H12 (Horses and Hunting)

Puzzler here, I’d say. This is the last episode of the season for Dara O’Briain, and for Jimmy Carr. Also, for some reason, sportscaster Claire Balding is here. Hey, whatever they want.

the first question concerns manure
Alan: “My mother used to scrape it from off the street…and put it in my dad’s hat. No…”

Claire says she actually doesn’t think horse poo is that bad, at least not compared to dog poo.
Jimmy: “Hang on, are we comparing poos now, is this what the game is? If so, then this show has CHANGED!”

Jimmy says that slipping on a banana peel came from the actual trend of slipping on horse manure.
Dara: “You see, that makes a lot of sense, because I don’t think I know anyone who’s ever slipped on a banana pee-”
Alan raises his hand.
Jimmy: “That is a COMMITMENT to comedy…”
Stephen: “Was this in comedy school, or once you graduated…”
Alan: “No, this was in the chapel market, in Islington…”

Stephen says that the motorcar saved the roads in New York, after the horse manure problem
Jimmy: “Did Jeremy Clarkson put you up to this?”

On the advantage to a guide-horse over a guide-dog
Alan: “Won’t shag the leg of every random passerby…”
Jimmy: “Though, if it does, I think it’s more of a problem…”

Stephen says a disadvantage would be in a bar or restaurant, a dog could at least curl up or hide under the table, and a horse couldn’t. Alan and Dara just start miming leaving a horse in the bar. Alan even goes “You go home, I’m gonna STAY…”

Dara compares a horse getting up out of bed to a video game character.
Alan, deadpan: “Dara hasn’t played a video game since the 1980’s…”
Dara looks at him like “…yeah, maybe, but…”

On what horses can’t do.
Jimmy: “They can’t vomit. And that’s why they get that…weird thing, where they die.”
Alan: “Can’t get the ol’ hoof down the throat…”

Stephen: “When did humans start using dogs as a guide-”
Jimmy: “I reckon it’s gonna be something like Roman.”
Stephen: “You’re absolutely right…”
Jimmy: “It’s always Roman, innit? Have you not seen this show before?”

Stephen: “How would you use one of THESE to calm a horse down?”
Screen Shot 2016-12-29 at 8.45.31 PM.png
Alan: “Calm it down? What I’m thinking of’s not gonna calm it down…”
Jimmy: “Have these been used? Cause if they are what I think they are, I don’t think I wanna touch it…”

After Claire gets the question right
Stephen: “She knows, she knows…”
Dara, the voice of reason: “Of COURSE she knows, she’s Claire Balding!”
Claire: “I couldn’t let Alan get any more, but I thought ‘oh, yeah, might as well give ‘im a go, but he was nearly right…”

Dara and Alan are playing around with the horse prop
Jimmy: “Is this like Whose Line is it Anyway, from, like, 10 years ago?”
Screen Shot 2016-12-29 at 8.49.23 PM.png

Stephen talks about how bulldogs were trained and bred to pull down bulls by their lips, but it’s unclear how successful they were judging by the photo:
Screen Shot 2016-12-29 at 8.52.20 PM.png
Alan: “…hasn’t gone so well in that picture, has it?”

Stephen: “How do you do the opposite [to a horse]?”
Dara: “…just hit ’em in the nada…”
Stephen: “Further back, actually…”
Dara: “Really, in the bum?”
Stephen: “Yes, but what, in the bum, is what I want to know”
Dara: “Well, anything, really, is gonna get you afraid…”
Jimmy: “I think it’s more the act of putting it in there.”
Alan, buzzing in: “Ice cube. Or…a  popsicle…”
Jimmy: “Sounds like there won’t be a story there…”
Alan: “Brings me back to the hot summer of ’76…”
Dara: “‘We’re always out of popsicles!’ ‘AGAIN?'”

Claire: “I always liked the milk ones…”
Stephen: “But purely for consumption, right Claire?”
Dara: “Yeah, I really don’t think flavor is a major issue when you talk about the ones you shove up your ass…”

Dara, on Westerns on TV: “Bit of a letdown, Champion the Wonder-Horse. Because it was a great title sequence. ‘CHAMPIOOON, THE WON-DER HORSE’ ‘WHEEEEHH’ That’s kind of all he did.”
Alan: “In the end, y’now, he’s a horse…so…”
Dara: “If they cut to Champion taking a blind person shopping, then…”

Stephen: “What is this sound?”
[Sound clip plays]
Screen Shot 2016-12-29 at 9.17.16 PM.png
Jimmy: “…I’m gonna say it’s that bear.”
Jimmy: “WHAT? In the conventions of television, if you show a picture of something…”

There’s a question about online hunting, which leads to this visual:
Screen Shot 2016-12-29 at 9.22.21 PM.png
Claire, on the photo: “Always look ahead, Jimmy…”
Dara: “I’m sorry, are you commenting on his horsemanship here? Claire…that’s not actually him on the horse…”

Screen Shot 2016-12-29 at 9.25.09 PM.pngAlan: “He’s got that all wrong…straight away. ‘GET OFF MAH LAND!’ ‘Uhhh the gun…is not in your hands…”

Stephen: “What happened to the war-horses that survived?”
Alan: “They…settled in the south of France, opened a Caravan park?”
Jimmy: “Of course, they couldn’t learn the language. Had to end up moving back.”

For the first time ever, or since David’s been on, a klaxon has been specifically engineered for Claire Balding. Stephen asks what color the Lone Ranger’s horse it. Claire, being a horse expert, guesses grey…and it’s wrong. Alan, being Alan, guesses white…and is correct.

Stephen: “Although all thoroughbred grays are descended from one gray…”
Alan: “Jesus.”
Stephen: “…it was a wild stab in the dark. If it would have come off, my god would you have gotten points…”

Stephen: “How many horsepower do you get from one horse.”
Dara and Jimmy argue about which one will actually take the fall.
Jimmy: “Shall I take the bullet? Alright, I’d say about one.”

Stephen: “What weapon did 19th century whalers use to kill whales?”
Alan, hesitantly: “…arrrre ya lookin’ for a harpoon?”

Yes, Claire wins, but I kind of thought she’d win by more than one…

Overall: One of the weaker installments of the already middle-of-the-road Series H. Not that this didn’t have some fun moments, it’s just that the presence of Claire, while welcome, stopped a lot of the more collaborative jokes from happening, and it really never got off the ground. A few questions led to some nice conversations, and Dara had a funny night, while Jimmy played a Jupitus-esque game and argued against his klaxons, but…it was an imperfect, quieter show.

MVP: Dara
Best Guest: Jimmy
Show Winner: Claire
Best QI Fact: seeing eye horse.

QI Watchdown: H11 (Highs and Lows)

Another episode featuring someone who hasn’t been on since the early series’, which seems to be a theme this series, tonight’s features the return of Fred MacAulay, proud scotsman and friend to Greg Proops. Also here tonight is our second Sandi Toksvig episode of the series, and our first Rob Brydon episode of the series, so it might be a pretty good one.

The buzzers are a series of ascending sung high notes, except for Alan’s which is a disastrously low note.

Fred helps Stephen pick out a few tartans onscreen, only for Stephen to say that the whole tartan thing is rather recent, and not as important as people have been led to believe.
Fred: “I’m not sure if I’ll be able to continue, Stephen, I’m welling up…”

Stephen explains that everyone could get away with wearing the Stewart tartan, as it’s appropriate, as subjects of the Queen.
Sandi: “But I couldn’t wear it.”
Stephen: “Right, you’re not a British subject-”
Sandi: “No, I’m Danish…”
Stephen: “Is there a Danish tartan…perhaps made of a pastry?”
Sandi, after a laugh: “Yes, that’s our entire culture in a nutshell…you forgot the PORN films, you silly boy…”

Stephen mentions that Americans call tartans ‘plaid’.
Stephen: “D’you know where the word plaid comes from?”
Fred: “…means TARTAN!”

Screen Shot 2016-12-23 at 11.31.49 PM.pngAlan: “He didn’t know how to put that on, did he? “oHHH…If I move, it’ll fall off…just take the picture…”

Fred: “A lot of people will be wondering what a Scotsman wears under his kilt. A true Scotsman will never tell you what he wears underneath his kilt, but he’ll show you at the drop of a hat…”
Stephen: “I’ve seen dandruff on the shoes, that’s a giveaway…”
The whole audience “OHHHHHH….”s here.
Sandi: “I don’t feel well, now…”

Sandi talks about her private school making girls wear two different pairs of pants to prevent boys from tearing them off.
Sandi: “They were terrified that we’d have anything to do with boys. Meanwhile, I was in a dorm full of girls, and quite happy…”
Stephen: “I was gonna say…”

Screen Shot 2016-12-23 at 11.38.20 PM.pngSandi: “Oof…he’s a big boy…”
Rob, saying his first line of the show: “Good to see Mel Smith getting back out into the public eye…”

After the caber-tossing footage, Rob: “That could just be a man in early January disposing of his Christmas tree.”

Stephen, to Fred: “Do you know anything about the great Donald Dinny?”
Fred: “Donald Dinny…that’s an instruction, in Scotland. DONALD! DINN’E! WHATEVER IT IS YOU’RE THINKING OF, DONALD! DINN’E! DENNY, YOU CAN, BUT DONALD…DINN’E!”

On why Haggis was smuggled from Canada to the US for Burns Night
Sandi: “Because the US does not approve of inedible food.”

Fred talks about this Scottish poem for Burns Night which was translated to German, and then back to English, and through mistranslation, the phrase “chieftain’s people” and whatnot read as “Mighty Fuhrer of the Sausage People.”
Stephen, over applause: “Oh, that’s fabulous! That should stay!”

Stephen: “I heard a Scotsman say “Oh, I don’t know why you English people go on about our accent being impenetrable. Americans find it easy to understand, easier than English.” And then I saw Trainspotting in America and there were subtitles all the way through…”

Stephen asks where Chinese Burns night takes place:
Sandi: “Chinese Burns Night? Isn’t that something unpleasant underneath your wrist??”

Stephen: “After scaling Everest, what did Sir Edmund Hillary do for an encore?”
Screen Shot 2016-12-24 at 12.18.17 AM.png
Alan: “He had a massive teeth-off with Sherpa Ten-Sing.”

Rob realizes he looks a TON like Hillary.
Sandi: “Did he become a Welsh comedian?”
Rob: ‘Me or him?”

Rob: “There’s not much you can do with it, though…”
Alan: “You can do a Kiwi accent…”
Rob, Kiwi accent: “I mean, sure, I’ve climbed a lot of mountains in my time…but it’s not something to go on aBEEET…I’m sorry, I’m struggling-”
Alan: “Needs a bit of work, there, Rob…”

Rob: “I remember, after that photo was taken…we had a hell of a day. I had just finished telling a joke to my friend there, and he was PISSING himself…”
Stephen: “What was his name?”
Rob: “His name was Bert…”
Alan: “His name was Sherpa Ten-Sing…”
Rob: “Well, yes, but TO HIS FRIENDS…”

Screen Shot 2016-12-24 at 12.24.49 AM.png
Stephen: “Here he is, looking slightly less like Rob at this angle…”
Rob: “Who does he look like here…he looks like Edmund Hillary..”
Sandi: “He does look kind of awkward, like, “yes, I am going to marry her, because I LOVE her…”
Rob: “In that picture I look more like the chap in the drawing, actually…”

Stephen: “Speaking of Yetis, what would be the quickest way of getting Brian Blessed to the top of Everest?”
Rob: “Tell him they’re putting on a production of Peter Pan…Ken Branagh’s directing…and he’s a shoo in for Captain Hook.”

Fred: “You say he went 28,000 feet without oxygen, but he had to have had some…”
Stephen: “Sorry, without the assistance…”

Rob: “He’s not really as prized as he should be, Brian Blessed…”
Stephen: “He calls me Spunk-Bubble. ‘HALLO SHPUNK BUBBLE, HOUGH AH YOOUUGH?”
Alan, mid-laughter: “Why does he c…”
Stephen: “It’s another explanation…”
Rob: “And did he do it without oxygen??”

Stephen: “There are other ways of telling temperature…”
Alan: “Finger in your bum.”
Stephen has several stages of reaction. First he gives a direct No. Then a confused look, then a ‘yeah’, then an aroused look, then back to the panel. It’s fascinating, really.

Stephen: “No, I, uh..the field cricket.”
Alan: “Oh, of course, sorry, field cricket in your bum…”

On the chirping cricket increasing temperature.
Rob: “Well it makes sense, if you’re in the hot country, if you’re tossing at night and can’t get off-”

Screen Shot 2016-12-24 at 12.56.14 AM.png


Rob: “NO. NO. NO. NO.”
Screen Shot 2016-12-24 at 12.57.18 AM.pngScreen Shot 2016-12-24 at 12.57.32 AM.png

Sandi: “…sounds like it.”

On how an Englishman and Frenchman met in the middle of a tunnel under the channel, and how the communicated.
Rob: “Sonar?”
Alan: “Shouting.”
Stephen: “No, not shouting.”

About a Colonel who missed in the channel, and “went home and shot himself.”
Rob: “Did he hit?”

The first question of GI:
Stephen: “Name a country where English is the official language.”
Stephen: “Oh, my children!”
Fred guesses Wales…and is somehow correct. Of course, Alan guesses England and gets a Klaxon.

Rob, as a joke: “FRANCE!”
Stephen: “…no.”
Rob: “D’you know when you’re thinking, and you think to yourself ‘is it, it sounds so crazy’, and then you say ‘go on, leap into the abyss’-”
Stephen: “Odd use of the word ‘thinking’.”
Screen Shot 2016-12-24 at 1.12.43 AM.png

Stephen: “We’re looking for the official name for a phobia of heights.”
Alan: “Height-o-phobia.”
Stephen: “…usually they’re in greek…”

Alan spends most of GI getting pretty much every Klaxon in the book, which is a nice throwback to Series B, sort of like this show.

Overall: A good show, though shockingly devoid of any standout moments. There were several good lines, and it was a nice panel, but, aside from Alan, nobody was really collaborating with each other. The dynamic was low, and even if I wrote a lot, it still couldn’t break out of ‘okay’ for me, which is a shame, because Fred had a pretty strong start, Rob had a lot of good lines, and Sandi was great at drawing conclusions here. Solid enough, but flawed.

MVP: Rob
Best Guest: Sandi
Show Winner: Fred
Best QI Fact: Edmund Hillary and the Yeti
Best Runner: Brian Blessed