QI Watchdown: I6 (Inventive)

Five episodes in, and we’ve still yet to hit an episode below ‘great’. Tonight, we have a rather inventive pairing of Bill Bailey and Sean Lock, plus an assist from ventriloquist and scene-stealer from Christopher Guest’s Family Tree, Nina Conti, along with her friend Gran. I’m not sure how Conti’s stuff will translate to QI, but having Bill and Sean’s a nice enough start.

Observations right off the bat- Sean’s already there with his insincere ‘thank you’ right off the bat, and as this is his second-to-last QI episode ever, there’s probably a reason for the insincerity. Bill’s wearing a Naruto shirt. Wow.

Gran sounds a ton like Mrs. Doubtfire. As they demonstrate the ‘Nobody Knows’ card, Bill, patronizingly, asks if he should hold the card for her.

Bill: “There was a bloke the other day, went through a machine, and his whole body went through a tunnel the size of a CD. And…he survived.”
Stephen: “…what?”
Sean: “Was it Ronnie Corbett?”
(Man, if only Rob Brydon were here)
Bill, stifling laughter: “..yeah, that’d explain it…”

Stephen talks of the man who invented the parachute suit, and died while jumping from the Eiffel Tower.
Stephen: “He ripped a page from a book to see which way the wind was blowing-”
Bill: “Unfortunately, that was the instruction manual…”

There’s a nice discussion about putting Gran in the overhead compartment…and how she feels about that.
Sean: “I don’t know why you even go on the plane! Why don’t you just post yourself?”
Gran: “…too expensive, dear. I’m heavy.”
Nina: “I once lost her once, actually, on a plane…by an airline, of which, for legal reasons, i’m not supposed to name.”
Gran: “…Ryanair…”

Having Nina and Gran on is great, and they have very funny stuff, though their digressions are very independent, and it’s difficult for them to build off of other people. Sean and Bill, of course, have no trouble building off of them.

For a question about ventriloquism, Bill and Alan wind up with their own puppets, and try to say the phrase ‘pig in a poke’ (which Nina did so masterfully before). Bill rolls his over to Gran, trying (and failing) and ventriloquism.
Gran: “You’ve had a stroke, dear…”

It’s an amusing sequence, having everybody try ventriloquism. Sean doesn’t even try, he just doesn’t say anything, while moving the puppet around. Unlike the bug runner from last show, it doesn’t exactly take off, but it’s still amusing.

Even better, Bill tries pressing the buzzer with his puppet, is successful…and ends up breaking the thing. He just starts playing Hungry Hungry Hippos with the plastic pieces of the buzzer.

Gran, summing up Bill’s failed puppeteering attempt: “You know, the first rule of show-business is to make everything look easy…and this half-wit over here…”

Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 8.19.16 PM.pngStephen talks of a woman who used ventriloquism to protest to Anne Boleyn.
Gran: “…nice tits, too…”
Alan: “No, look at the bloke looking at her tits…”

Gran: “Nina is a ventriloquist, apparently…though I’ve yet to see evidence of that…”

There’s a semi-Mastermind-ish aspect to this one, sort of like Imbroglio, where Nina, for a while, talks about her specialized subject (ventriloquism, of course), sort of like Frank Skinner talking about George Formby, or Anneka Rice talking about her racing or whatever. Unlike Anneka Rice or whatever, Nina and Gran are pretty active, and still contribute a lot to the show, aside from the specialized subject material.

They show a picture of this ‘vent-haven’ place, (‘where dummies go to rest’)
Sean: “AAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIGGHHHHHH!”

Stephen asks Nina if ventriloquists get too close to their dummies and characters, and if Keith Harris ever went too far down
Nina: “Well, I can’t speak for him-”
Gran: “No, cause you’re not that good a ventriloquist…”

Stephen asks Sean if he had an imaginary friend when he was younger.
Sean: “:I’m not aware of it. They didn’t use to come around much…”

Stephen gives everyone inventions, and has them guess what they do. Bill’s is done with him specifically in mind.
Bill: “Is it a beard-measuring device?”
Stephen: “Well, I wouldn’t call your beard of quality…”

Stephen: “And what have you got there, Sean?”
Sean: “…’ts a BOTTLE, Stephen.”
Stephen: “And what d’you think it’s for?”
Sean: “…for putting stuff in.”
Stephen: “…okay, so NEXT, moving onto Nina…”

Nina get some sort of ‘suppository for Charlie McCarthy’ as hers, and hands it to Bill so he can unscrew it. Alan guesses it comes with preparation H, and he’s right.
Bill: “Wait, this has been up someone’s ass?”
He frantically drops the device.

GREAT MOMENTS IN PHRASING!
Stephen talks of a Policeman’s ‘lady-reviver’, a bit of smelling salt.
Stephen, explaining: “So when a lady would faint, in the street, the policeman would whip it out, and-”
He has to stop there, because the audience beats him to the punch.

Stephen asks a question with a convoluted sort of wind-up.
Bill: “Uhh…NOBODY KNOWS!”
Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 8.51.10 PM.png
Stephen: “…he’s put up the card backwards.”
Bill: “oh…you CHEAPSKATE! You just put it on one side? Ya cheap…BASTARD!”
Alan: “Yeah, that’s THEIR fault…”

It’s nice when Stephen starts GI by saying ‘fingers on buzzers, those that are still working…”

Once again, Alan gets the Nobody Knows answer, though this time the question is something as ridiculous as ‘how did dinosaurs have sex?’

Overall: A cute little middle-of-the-road show to bring Series I back to earth a tad. There were some nice moments, Bill had some great lines, and the entire sequence of 3/4ths of the panel trying ventriloquism was inspired, but a lot of the show was more factual and less fun. Sean was quieter than he’d been in a while, mostly keeping to himself. Nina and Gran were a fantastic presence, having great lines and giving great knowledge, though they seemed to take up the show a bit too much.

MVP: Bill
Best Guest: Nina
Show Winner: Nina
Best QI Fact: the parachute suit guy.

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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?”
Bill: “ESCAPING!”

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-”
Alan: “DEAD, STEPHEN, DEAD!”
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.”
KLAXON
Bill: ‘What, URINE? URINE [sets it off]?”
Stephen: “We KNOW you, Bill Bailey!”

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

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
Stephen: “THAT BLOKE ON THE FAR RIGHT…IS CALLED HERMAN GOERING, ALAN…”
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.
Stephen: “But in THIS PARTICULAR PLACE…”
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…”
KLAXON: THE ONE 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…”
Bill: “….NNNNNINNN…..NNNNNOT TONGA! NEAR TONGA! NORTH TONGA! NEVER TONGA!”

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?”
Bill: “BEFORE IT STARTED!”

David: “It’s gonna be some point after 1939, isn’t it?”
Bill: “A REALIST, A REALIST…SURE…”
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!”
KLAXON: AFTER THE SECOND WORLD WAR.
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*!”
KLAXON: DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR
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: 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-”
Stephen: “WE KNOW ABOUT YOUR LONG SOCKS!”

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
Bill: “ROB! QUICKLY! PRESS THE THING! GO BACK IN TIME!”
(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…”
Alan: “YOUR CLASSICAL EDUCATION HAS FAILED YOU!”

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: H9 (House and Home)

Fine, let’s do another QI.

This is the 100th episode in the series, a feat so great that they brought back three heroes of the first series- two have appeared recently, like Danny Baker and Bill Bailey, but the one I’m more excited for is a guy who hasn’t been in since the pilot, the great Eddie Izzard. This should be a great one.

Putting Danny and Bill on the same panel is an odd choice, as you have two guys with thinning, yet long, hair. At least Eddie and Alan have all theirs.

On what the best way to reduce one’s ecological footprint:
Bill: “Stop breathing!”
Alan: “Stop defacating!”
Eddie, pressing his buzzer: “Are we using these???”

Danny, after some squabbling: “Alright, I’ll trigger the screen. QUIT DRIVING CARS.”
Screen Shot 2016-12-20 at 11.13.58 PM.png
[nothing happens]
Screen Shot 2016-12-20 at 11.14.30 PM.png
KLAXON
Danny: “YEAHH…”

Alan buzzes in with ‘EAT THE DOG!’, but the answer’s actually get rid of the dog, as “the dog is far and away the most ecologically-”
Alan: “Never turns the lights off, keeps the TV running all night…”

After Stephen says that one dog is equivalent to the cost of two Toyotas.
Bill: “Stephen, just as a hypothetical question…I have four dogs, and-”
Stephen: “OHHHH, YOU BASTARD!”
Alan: “You’re killing us all! KILL YOUR DOGS, BILL! BEFORE THEY BREED!”
Bill: “I just want to know…what kind of fleet of vehicles I can now own….I’m really keen to know!”
Alan: “Eight land cruisers!”
Bill: “EIGHT LAND CRUISERS! YES!”

So far, Eddie’s barely getting a word in edgewise. The poor fellow’s missed a lot since he was last on.

Stephen: “If you have two hamsters…that has the same carbon footprint as a plasma TV.”
Danny: “What kind of Doctor Doolittle death list is this?”

Eddie: “How come some fish fly and we don’t?”
Stephen, not knowing the answer: “yyyyyeeeah- NOW!”

Bill, going back: “What about a blu-ray player? Is that a mouse or something?”
Stephen: “I think a gerbil-”
Bill, taking notes: “right, gerbil…”
Stephen: “A gecko would be an iPad.”
Bill, still writing: “NICE!”

Stephen: “What instantly reduces the price of a house in America by a third?”
Alan: “…OJ Simpson is there.”
Eddie: “Is it a tornado cutting it into thirds?”
Bill: “Two thirds of it is on one side of the San Andreas fault…”

Bill whips out his pipe after a joke, which causes a nice nod of recollection from Eddie. Stephen also has a nice story about his own pipe-smoking. At least this show can bend back on itself after being on for so long.

Stephen talks about this Chilean tradition of literally moving a house with a team of yaks, in order to leave the ghosts and spirits behind.
Eddie: “What if the ghosts can travel with them?”
Stephen: “They believe that they can’t.”
Eddie: “What, does the ghost go “I’M STILL HERE’ …’aw, bugger. PUT IT BACK!'”
Stephen: “Apparently the ghost gets left behind, going ‘what happened??”

Screen Shot 2016-12-20 at 11.38.45 PM.pngEddie: “That is an adventure movie, isn’t it?”
Stephen: “It’s Fitzcarraldo…”
Eddie: “It’s Die Hard with a cow.”
Alan: “The guy in the window’s going “I WANT TO STAY HERE!!!”
Eddie: “And the person at the door’s going “what the HELL? I just came down cause there was a rumbling!”

Stephen talks of the process where, in cases of divorce, the couple has to compete in calling a dog to see which one keeps them, and that a vet must be on hand, as some people will cheat by rubbing meat on their hands.
Bill: “Or putting a massive electromagnet in the dog…”
Only Bill.

On the guy who hired a private investigator to spy on his wife in SecondLife
Bill: “Couldn’t he have hired an online assassin?”
Stephen, into his notes: “Ah, we’ve come onto this…an RPG game in-”
Alan: “RPG? Is that a rocket-propelled-grenade…”
Stephen: “It’s also a role-playing game…”
Bill: “I’m not inviting you on any mercenary missions…”
Alan: “RIGHT! LAUNCH THE RPG! ‘…and you wear the hat! You’re Spanish!”
Screen Shot 2016-12-21 at 12.18.50 AM.png

Stephen: “What kind of person builds their house out of straw?”
Eddie: “NOT…A PIG.”
Stephen: “Damn you. Damn you for the word ‘Not’.
Eddie: “Alright. A PIG.”
KLAXON
Eddie: “I knew it wasn’t that, I just wanted to hear the WOOOO sound. I’ve been making it myself, watching the program.”

Stephen explains that straw houses, when backed up by plaster and things, can be extremely sturdy.
Eddie: “The real question: can a wolf blow it down?”
Stephen: “It’ll huff and it’ll puff…”
Bill: “In fact, if the wolf came back and saw that, he’d go ‘HAHAH-…oh..”
Eddie: “The wolf will be there going ‘This isn’t what’s supposed to happen! We haven’t had the brick one come yet!”
Alan: “No, the wolf’ll be going “I LOVE what you’ve done.”

Stephen: “The queen is coming to visit! What should you do with your lavatory seat?”
Bill: “COVER IT WITH MONEY!”
Eddie: “Wear it ’round your neck with pride!”
Bill: “Superglue it!”
Alan: “Put cling-film over the bowl! See if she’ll complain! [laughs] Dunno why that pleases me so much, but it really does.”

There’s another conversation about people getting killed by falling frozen urine from planes, and everyone’s getting in on it. This is a very collaborative panel, and even Danny’s getting in on a few jokes, even if he’s only making conclusions for the most part.

Stephen asks when slavery was officially outlawed.
Alan: “You’re probably gonna say it was in some odd-little new labour laws, in about 1996-7-8.”
Stephen: “Yes, what an ODD law, to prevent slavery. It’s political correctness gone MAAD!”

Stephen does reveal that it wasn’t completely illegal to have a slave until 2010.
Alan: “So that means that this series I’m finally free…”

Stephen: “There are estimated to be about 27 million people held in bondage, in slavery, around the world-”
Danny, to the audience: “But the show’ll be over soon, so you can go!”

Overall: Nice little show, certainly very fun, probably with more laugh-out-loud moments than the last one. There were just a few too many lulls that kept it from being great. Everybody collaborated, except for maybe Danny at times, and Bill and Alan were giving strong stuff. It took Eddie awhile, but he started acting like himself halfway through and didn’t stop until the end- it was fantastic having him on as a (GASP) special guest.

MVP: Bill
Best Guest: Eddie
Show Winner: Bill
Best Runner: Ghosts.

QI Watchdown: H2 (H-Anatomy) or I DON’T WANT TO BE YOUR BISCUIT!

So, way back in Series A, we had the very first ‘Oh my god this is amazing’ episode of QI. And it starred an incredibly british chap named Gyles Brandreth, who never everything and spoke in a very thick, twee voice. And Rob Brydon and Rich Hall proceeded to steal the episode right from under him, turning his billion right answers into a spree of jokes. Gyles by himself can be a tad underwhelming, so with good support he can be enjoyable.

Tonight might not be as good support as Rich and Rob, but instead Sue Perkins and Bill Bailey are here to buffer Gyles a bit, in a special Anatomy themed episode.

Observations: Sue, after her fairly normal debut, has gone to her usual style of wearing her hair in a very boyish cut, which she’ll probably keep with for the rest of her appearances. Bill is wearing a full-on Dragonball t-shirt. Gyles has much less hair than he did in 2003.

The intros for all four have a ‘hand’ for Sue, a ‘HOORAY’ for Bill, a ‘HIP-HIP-HOORAY’ for Gyles, and a loud scream for Alan. All four buzzers are these recorded audio cues, even the ‘hair-raising scream’, which seems to freak Alan out.
Bill: “Already, this is one of the weirdest shows I’ve ever been on…”

Stephen: “What can you tell about someone from their hands.”
Alan: “How long you’re gonna live, what job you’re gonna have…”
Bill: “Your future…”
KLAXON- THE FUTURE
Now Alan and Bill start arguing who should get the -10 points. Bill even goes “he started it, I just went along with it…”

Gyles, after Stephen says the correlation between hands and future has never been proved: “But there are people who feel they’ve done it.”
Stephen: “Yes, but feeling you’ve done something is not quite the same as empirical scientific fact- thank God you’re out of government.”

behind Stephen tonight are two scientific example skeletons, just for the theme. When Stephen’s explaining an answer, someone offscreen starts moving one of them toward Stephen, putting a bony hand on his back. It turns out there’s a piece of wire…going all the way to Alan’s chair. Yeah, that’s pretty perfect. Eventually Alan yanks it so hard that the skeleton falls.

Gyles: “He, being gay, spent a lot of time in North Africa…”
Sue, making fun of him: “NORTH AFRICAAAA.”
Gyles: “One of the things I found when I was in North Africa…”
Sue: “Are you coming out? Is this a coming out story? Cause if it is, that [Gyles with his finger up in the air] will be the picture, so just watch out…”
Gyles: “I might not, but tonight could be the night…”
Sue: “I know your party’s well behind you…”

Gyles: “I don’t mean to namedrop, but I met Desmond Tutu, and he held my hand like this for a long, long time.”
Bill: “As he said to his aides ‘Who is this again?'”

Stephen: “I have no evidence of this. I know that Andre Ghee went to North Africa..”
Gyles: “Oh, that’s who I’m thinking of…” [Facepalm]

Gyles is actually doing a lot better making jokes and playing along with people like Sue and Stephen, in addition to sharing his wealth of knowledge. There’s a reason I loved him the first time he was on, and that’s because he’s very genuine about what he knows, and who he is. It’s not like a John Sessions/Rory McGrath facts for the sake of looking good kind of thing. This is who Gyles is, and the fact that he knows this makes up his personality.

There’s a great running character bit where Gyles, in order to demonstrate something, keeps requiring Sue’s hand. Sue, being very gay, hates even the slightest touch from a guy, so every time, she’s very reluctant. One time, Gyles even says “I need you to be my biscuit”, and Sue, horrified, backs away going “I DON’T WANT TO BE YOUR BISCUIT!”

Stephen: “Are there other names for an angels’ halo?”
Gyles: “Gloriole!”
Stephen: “Yes, Glory ‘ole”
Gyles, dodging outright: “No, it’s got to be Gloriole! He say Gloriole!”
Stephen: “It’s a shame, cause Glory’ole is somehow better, I don’t see why. Describe the Pope’s Glory’ole.”
Oh dear lord Stephen…

Sue: “Are there other shaped…glory’oles? Like, is there a triangular glory’ole?”
Stephen: “A TRIANGULAR GLORI’OLE!”
Bill: “What, so somebody’s stuffing Toblerone’s right in there.”
Second episode in a row to mention Toblerone. Thankfully it has nothing to do with Richard Fairbrass’ bum.

Alan just keeps playing with the shrunken head, and pressing the buzzer with it, so there’d be a high-pitched scream every time the head hit it.

Stephen: “But how do you shrink a head.”
Alan: “Put it in the washing machine at a very high temperature…”

Stephen: ‘What happens if you try to comb a hairy ball?”
Sue: “Ask Bill.”
Man…it’s a good thing Bill’s heard worse from Mark Lamarr.

Gyles, in his nosebleed answer, goes “you could lie back.”
Sue and Stephen: “Oh, no…”
Gyles, sensing a klaxon: ‘NO NO! I MEAN-”
KLAXON

Gyles and Sue tie for first. Gyles turn to shake Sue’s hand, and Sue winces, going back to the episode’s runner, before finally shaking it.

Overall: A very fun and breezy episode, though the droughts in the middle did slow the grade down a bit. Gyles was a wonderful addition, and his way of working with Sue was definitely a great improvement. Sue was a wonderful connector as usual, and Bill, though down from his usual material, was still very funny.

MVP: Gyles
Best Guest: Sue
Show Winners: Gyles and Sue
Best QI Fact: Shrunken heads
Best Runner: Gyles and Sue handshakes.

Nevermind Watchdown: S13E4 or QUACK-QUACK…COW…COWS GO MOO.

Onto another one. Josie D’arby is our only returnee here, but that’s not all bad. Jane McDonald is a daytime TV star and cruise ship singer, Gavin Webster’s a Geordie comedian, and Joel Pott’s the lead singer of Athlete.

The episode begins with a clip from The Weakest Link, a question “Who Hosts the TV Quiz Show Nevermind The Buzzcocks.” It cuts to Mark in the studio going “ME. ME. ME-ME. I am officially trivia.”

On Rod Stewart:
Jane: “There’s something quite sexy about him, don’tcha think?”
Bill: “WHAT?”
Jane: “Oh, maybe not.”
Bill: “D’you think he’s sexy?”
Jane: “I think there’s something about…yeah, I’d do ‘im.”
Bill: “D’you mean cover one of his songs, or…”
Jane: “I won’t be that awful to him, I bless…”

Jane: “Well, I’m not tall enough, and he likes blondes…”
Mark: “Would you go below deck?”
Jane: “…see me later…”
Mark: “I don’t think so…”

Mark, on a whim, intros the P. Diddy clip as “There he was, just a-walking down the streets, singing P Wa Diddy Daddy Sean Puffy Combs.”

Okay, this is one of the most insane bits we’ve had in a while, so buckle up.
Mark hears that Josie’s an accomplished singer. So he wants her to sing intros. She doesn’t want to. So, he pushes for Bill’s team to do Old McDonald, and she just do the “quack quack” sound. So, Jane, Bill and Gavin start singing, Bill doing a full jug band thing. They get to “on his farm he had a duck, EIEIO, with a-”
Josie: “MMMOOOO….”
The entire studio breaks down, especially Jane.

Josie: “But it’s the cow first.”
Mark: “WE SAID DUCK! WE SAID DUCK! And before we did it, I said “You can do the QUACK QUACK bit”. And somehow in your pea-brain, you were thinking “quack-quack…cow…cows go MOO!” [Jane] sold MILLIONS. MILLIONS. She joins in, Bill’s doing a fake jug band. [Gavin’s] a top-rated comedian on other shows. We’re all trying to help you overcome your fear…’a duck says MOOOO….”

Mark, still trying: “ON THAT FARM HE HAD A MARMOSET, EIEIO, WITH A-”
Josie: “YEEEEEEEE-AAAAA!!”
Phill: “WIPEOUT! Nanananaaaananananananaaaa…”

Josie: “The computers are down up there, so I’m doing it manually…they’re getting to it though…”
Mark: “Josie, as long as you find it funny, we’re happy.”

Josie: “It’s a song with a guitar in it.”
Phill: “Good start.”
Mark: “LOOK AT HER GO!”
Josie: “Powers of deduction.”
Mark: “WOW! She’s the black Miss Marple!”

Phill, ID Parade: “Josie, use your incredible powers.”
Mark: “Oh, she’ll go full moo-moo. Boy, it’d be incredible if it was the KLF.”
Okay, *I* laughed at that one. Took me a sec, but I laughed.

Joel: “I think it’s #4, because if you look at his ears, those are bassist ears, they go inward. All bassists have those ears.”
Mark, sarcastically: “It’s a well known fact.”
Phill: “I’m going for #2, because…that’s the bloke.”

Mark, Next Lines: “Fly to El Salvador”
Joel: “Dunno why, dunno what for.”
Josie: “And never fly back.”
Mark: “Yeah, but it’s his song. And the one you did isn’t a song.”

Mark: “The lights are much brighter there.”
Bill: “In…”
Mark: “In the lamp shop. I’m just doing it before he does…”

Overall: Lighter, but oh my gosh that Josie moment changed everything. That entire bit was the crux of that episode, and powered things forward. Josie was wonderfully silly, especially with that cow moment, and Jane was having a ton of fun, especially in ID Parade. Gavin was funny but did a lot less, same with Joel.

Best Regular: Mark
Best Guest: Josie
Best Runner: Josie is Miss Marple.

QI Watchdown: G15 (Green)

Another lineup that could have been RIGHT out of Series B, this episode is our last Bill Bailey episode of the season, but also a welcome return for Jeremy Clarkson, last seen in Series E, and Danny Baker, last seen all the way back in Series A.

Instead of buzzers, because this is an electronically-conscious theme, all the panelists have whistles or bird calls as their “buzzers”. Bill’s is a slide whistle. Danny’s is a two-toned whistle/flute thing. Jeremy’s just emits a single, annoying tone. Kind of fits him, too. Alan’s is a measly duck call.

Danny, by the way, has the distinction of getting the very first klaxon in the history of QI. So it doesn’t especially shock me that he gets the very first one of the episode, by guessing that Frankenstein’s monster was green.

Stephen clarifies that they’re talking about the monster now, not the Baron. So he asks what color the monster was.
Bill: “Uhhh…GREEN- WAIT NO, PURPLE!”
KLAXON

I like Danny Baker, because, yes, he does the John Sessions kind of thing in going “I don’t know this, but here’s what I do know”, but he makes it relevant, fun, and all-around, well, INTERESTING. Danny makes it a point to try to join into the actual game of QI, in keeping with the questions, while still making it a discussion of interesting topics. He gets the spirit of the show, unlike John Sessions or Rory McGrath.

Stephen: “Where is the best place to mine gold, in the UK?”
Jeremy: “Underground.”
Okay, I have to admit I laughed at that.
Alan: “Probably the dentist.”
Bill: “JIMMY SAVILE’S TOILET!”
Alan: “That’s where he keeps it, stuffed up under the rim.”
Stephen has to stop to compose himself, glaring at Alan, who’s still going “NOW THEN NOW THEN WHERE’S MY RINGS?”

Stephen says there’s 25 million antes worth of gold in the oceans.
Alan: “Sounds like something a bond villain should be getting onto. “I AM STEALING ZE OCEANS, MISTUH BOND, AND ZERE’S NUSSING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT!”

Danny reveals he doesn’t have a mobile phone, that “I can’t think of anything worse than being contactable all the time.”
Jeremy: “The easiest way is to have a mobile phone and no friends. That’s what I do…”
Stephen: “Oh, no…I find that very easy to believe…”

Danny, who guesses correctly that the father-daughter duo sold time: “THEY INVENTED TIME?”
Stephen: “Nono, they sold it…”
Danny: “I was gonna say, I think I remember what William Hartnell looked like, and it wasn’t like that!”
An excellent geek reference out of Danny. Again, he can still have fun and play the game.

On the woman who made money giving people the time from here watch in Greenwich.
Alan: “It sounds very, very much like a scam. Some sort of euphemism. “WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?” “He’s just looking at my watch, officer…” “IN THIS DARK ALLEY?”
Danny: “They’d stop her to look at her watch?”
Alan, air-quotes: “HER “WATCH””

Bill comes up with a system of “metric time-keeping”, which would round off at tens rather than twelves, and spends about five minutes explaining it. And he’s quite adamant about it, too, going into great detail. This is classic Bill stuff, too.

Stephen: “It was originally 12 hours because the Babylonians were among the first to-”
Bill: “Yeah, but what do THEY know?”

Stephen also explains that France actually tried a decimal time system, and it didn’t work, which just proves Bill’s point further.
Bill: “Is it not like Betamax and VHS? They all went with twenty-four, but the French should have gone with 20?”
Jeremy: “When have the French ever worried about what the rest of the world thought?”

Stephen and Bill wrap up their discussion on the “Bill Bailey QI Metric Clock”.
Alan: “Anyway, we’ve just done an hour on that topic…”

On the “what time is it in the South Pole question”, the behind-screen has a shot of a bunch of penguins wearing watches, one wearing a giant clock around his neck.
Bill: “It’s the Penguin Public Enemy Tribute Band!!”

Bill: “And why do we have to have North, South, East and West?”
Stephen: “OH, HELLO….DRUNK WITH POWER!!”
Bill: “MWA-HA-HA-HAAA!!!”

Stephen: “Why are people who don’t eat meat called vegetarians?”
Jeremy: “So we can identify them as fools and madmen? I don’t know!”
Stephen: “What does the word come from?”
Jeremy: “Well, presumably, the word ‘vegetable’.”
KLAXON
Jeremy, semi-outraged: “WHAT? THEY DO!!”

Bill: “Of course, I don’t call them vegetables, I have a completely different system-”
Stephen: “OH, STOP IT…”

Bill: “We had a tortoise once, and it had very, very, very bad arthritis in its leg. And they said ‘we can actually operate and replace it with a wheel.’ We talked about pulling all his legs off, and just putting wheels on all of them…”
Alan: “And then a little engine on the top. Send it down to the shops…”
Jeremy: “I bet you couldn’t do that. I bet that someone would object if you motorized a tortoise.”
Stephen: ‘REALLY?? POLITICAL CORRECTNESS GONE *MAD*, THEN! You just can’t mutilate a tortoise anymore…”
Bill: “You know who would object? VEGETARIANS would object!!”

Jeremy, not understanding the wheat question: “But how do you get wheat to mate?”
Bill: “Well, you turn down the lights, and….”
Alan: “You ask the barley to leave the room…”

On the little green men question, Stephen: “Have you heard of SETI?”
Bill: “Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence”
Alan: “How’dyou think we found him?”
Bill glares at Alan, who’s been rather harsh on Bill today.

For GI, Jeremy scolds Stephen for wasting electricity by having 2 screens, so he suggests Alan and Bill come over to his side of the panel, and the other screen goes off. It’s a nice change of pace, theme related too.
Danny: ‘We can take this further as well. You people at home! TURN OFF YOUR SETS!”

Overall: A very strong, very satisfying show on all accounts, save for a weaker last half. Bill was in championship form, Jeremy and Danny were having a ton of fun, Alan was silly as usual, and there were a ton of really good running gags, especially coming from Bill.

MVP: Bill
Best Guest: Bill
Show Winner: Bill
Best QI Fact: Time salesmen.
Best Runner: Bill’s alternative measurements.

QI Watchdown: G12 (Gravity)

This is the kind of episode that feels like classic QI. You’ve got two semi-regs who’ve been there from the beginning, Rich Hall and Bill Bailey, plus you’ve got a SPECIAL GUEST, Barry Humphries, best known for his characters Dame Edna and Sir Les Patterson, and for voicing the main shark in Finding Nemo.

All the buzzers have to do with weight. Rich is an anvil that takes forever to fall, which causes him to go ‘oh, man…’ before it does. Bill’s is a talking scale, which tells him his weight is 12 stone, 2 lbs, 4 oz. Both Alan and Stephen go “you wish…” Alan’s is someone being flung into space.

After the first question of the game, Barry buzzes in to say “I meant to say, I like that tie very, very much…”
Stephen: “Thank you, and coming from a man with your color sense that makes me so happy.”
Barry is adorned in a bright yellow robe, so it all makes sense.

I find it interesting that Rich Hall is in the room anytime someone mentions the moon on this show. For instance, when Stephen says that the gravity train would be easier on the moon, Rich, remembering Cruithne, says ‘which moon are we talking, here?’
Stephen even notices the irony, and goes “always a sore point…”

Stephen says that Galileo figured out that heavy objects did not fall faster than lighter ones. “How did he?”
Barry: “He dropped two cannonballs off the Leaning Tower of Piza.”
Stephen, crushed: “Ah, did he?”
KLAXON. All the while Barry’s looking around confused.

Alan: “What’s heavier, a ton of gold or a ton of feathers?”
And he’s grinning, knowing the answer. Bill even goes “is this an Elton John party request?”
Stephen: “Well, actually, one is heavier, because gold is measured in a different unit than feathers, so technically gold is heavier…”
Alan’s smile drops and he full-on face palms.

Stephen, on the hot-air-balloon mile-high club members: “It says here that as they were going over Picadilly, she was on all fours.”
Alan: “What, was it a glass-bottom balloon?”

Barry is a great personality, but he’s buzzing in with the right answers quite a bit. I’m not putting him anywhere near John Sessions or Rory McGrath, but he’s covering solely the knowledge part tonight.

Barry, after getting his umpteenth klaxon: “I hope I get the worst marks, because losing is the new winning.”
Stephen: “You know, you’re bidding fair…”

Stephen says the average bullet can reach up to 2 and a half kilometers up.
Alan: “Straight into the couple shagging in the balloon.”

Stephen: ‘Are there any scientists who can back me up on this?”
Audience: “yeah!”
Stephen: “There are a couple in the audience-”
Rich: “Or any assassins?”

Stephen: “Why did Fosbury flop?”
Alan: “…gravity…”

Stephen says that limbo players have to “flatten their nipples, or snip them off.”
Bill: “I once lost a limbo competition-”
Alan: “I thought you were gonna say you lost a nipple…IT WAS A RAZORBLADE! We were playing in prison.
Stephen: ‘Russian limbo.”
Alan then does an impression of someone who’s nipples are being cut off. It’s hysterical.

Bill: “No, but I lost a limbo competition.”
Alan: “Really? Someone got lower than you?”
Bill: “Someone more limber than me, yeah. Actually, it was Lionel Blair.”
Alan: “Obviously a dream. ‘ME AND LIONEL BLAIR WERE HAVING A LIMBO COMPETITION…one of my NIPPLES fell off!”
Bill: ‘Look, I had a bit of bleu cheese before I went to bed.”

Stephen: ‘How big would a cloud need to be in order to dispense my regular amount of wine?”
Bill’s buzzer: “TWELVE STONE, FOUR OUNCES.”
Stephen: “no…’does not compute'”

Stephen: “How many bullets are there in a gunslinger’s revolver?”
Alan: “Seven! Five!”
Bill’s buzzer: “TWELVE STONE, FOUR OUNCES.”

Rich: “Five.”
Stephen: “You’re quite right. Why five?”
Rich: “GRAVITY!’

Overall: A solid show, with a lot to like, but a bit thin in the middle. Bill and Rich gave great answers, and Barry was colorful, if not as funny as the others. A lot to like, but not a laugh-a-minute one like Greats or Groovy.

MVP: Bill
Best Guest: Rich
Show Winners: Alan and Rich
Best QI Fact: bloody steak.
Best Runner: Shagging in the air balloon.

QI Watchdown: G5 (Groovy), or The Bloke in the Attic

Figure I can squeeze in a QI tonight, because this is one I’ve been waiting to get to for a while now. Not only is this the Christmas show (okay, fine Noddy, “IIIITTT’S CHRIIIISTMAAAAASSS!”), and not only does this show mark a return for Bill Bailey, and a debut for a very funny fellow who’ll be making a few appearances down the line, but this is also a Guest Appearance for somebody huge that I’ve been waiting a little while for, and that is David Freaking Tennant, best known as the Tenth Doctor.

Lee Mack is here, and he’s most famous for being the yin to David Mitchell’s yang on Would I Lie to You, as well as being on a few other panel shows. So, I’m not too worried.

The buzzers are all Christmas songs. Lee’s is ‘It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas.” Bill’s is Slade (and I’m not even joking, even with the Noddy Holder reference at the top) and he bobs along. David’s is ‘Last Christmas’. Alan’s is something out of a bar mitzvah handbook. Classic genre change for Alan.

The first gag of the show is of Buttercup the QI Christmas Cow, who does an impression for the panel, and they have to guess what it’s of.
Lee: “Is it of two out-of-work actors?”

Buttercup does his normal walk, which seems to confuse the panelists. Lee goes “He’s drunk.” Bill goes “is it a cow creeping up on someone?”

Stephen talks of Edward Muybridge, who took pictures to demonstrate how the horses ran. He also, according to Stephen: “He murdered his love rival in cold blood.”
David: “Did he take photos of that as well?”

David is racking up a lot of points by giving quirky, yet educated answers. Plus, he looks like he’s having a ball.
Alan’s response: “It’s all the time-traveling he does. He knows something about every era.”
Stephen: *COUGH*he’s acting!”
Bill: “WHAT’D YOU MEAN?”
David: “Don’t listen to ‘im.”
Bill: “WHAT’D YOU MEAN???”

After a rather-scathing argument with Lee, David is told by Stephen to, “go on, get your sonic thing out.” So, in making a point, he raises his pen. Lee, astonished, goes “IS THAT IT???”
Plus, whenever he waves the pen in Bill’s direction, Bill reacts, physically, by flying out of the chair.

David: ‘Where did [the tank] get most money? GLASGOW!!!”
Lee: “That’s because they all thought it was a fruit machine. “LOOK, I’VE WON A SOLDIER, MUMMY.”

Alan: “Yeah, [cannabis] is seven times more carcinogenic than tobacco.”
Lee: “SO HERE IT IS…MERRY CHRISTMASS…”

Stephen: “We’re actually going to move onto various forms of narcotic in a minute.”
Alan, taking him literally: “Are we? Hurrah!”

Stephen: ‘The nazis actually had very strong anti-smoking laws.”
Bill: “THE MORE I HEAR ABOUT THEM…THE LESS I LIKE THEM!”
Alan: “Well, that’s the FINAL STRAW! I mean, I can rationalize everything else, but THAT!”

Alan: “Jackass the Movie is the funniest movie ever made.”
Bill: “I prefer Jackass the Novel.”

Stephen: ‘What year did the word ‘cool’ first mean fashionable?”
Lee: “Had to be the 60’s, the sort of Beatnik poet era.”
Bill, without hesitation: “Hitler.”
Stephen: “It’s actually the year Hitler came to power, 1933…”
Bill: “MMM, ZEZE NEW UNIFORMS AH COOL.”
Alan: “I joined ze Nazi party! They’re cool, daddy-o!”

Stephen: “How about Groovy? When did that first come about?”
Bill: “Groovy? Plowing. Plowing in the 17th century.
My God, Bill is on a roll tonight.

On ‘cat’
Lee: “Had to be Top Cat. He was the coolest cat in town!”
Bill: “It was the musical, Cats.”
Lee: “THAT’S NOT COOL!”

Stephen: “What about ‘dude’?”
Bill: “Uh, the Amish.”
Stephen: ‘When, not who.”
Bill: “170…2. ‘WHY, LET US BUILD BARN, DUDE.”

Stephen: “How many wives do most mormons have?”
Bill: “Up to eight.”
(MANY klaxon)
Lee: “If a policeman stops you and asks if you were drinking, you can’t go “no, I’ve only had up to nine!” “YOU’VE HAD MANY, HAVEN’T YOU?” “No, i’ve had between one and nine, officer…”

They’re talking about the Osmonds.
Alan: “I loved Little Jimmy Osmond, he was a long-haired lover from Liverpool.”
Bill: “Of course, there was Big Graham Osmond, the one they kept in the attic…”
Stephen: “He had terrible teeth.”
Bill: “Horrible, yellow teeth.”
Alan: “He actually wrote all the songs. He groaned them into a tin can that was collected by a piece of string.”
Bill and Alan start doing these impressions of what he might look and sound like, and it’s killing me.
Lee: “BRING ME ANOTHER WIFE! I’M ALLOWED TO HAVE UP TO NINE, AS BILL BAILEY SAYS!”

It’s great, Stephen’s trying to get the quiz back on track, and Bill is still Graham Osmond, clutching across the table, moaning.
Lee even goes: “That’s a great idea for an episode of Doctor Who, isn’t it? The doctor goes up into the attic and finds the elderly secret brother of the Osmonds…AND THAT’S HOW THEY KILL OFF DAVID TENNANT! Imagine that!”
Bill and David share a frame together, Bill still doing his Graham face.
Stephen: “Is that the plot to the Christmas show?”
Lee: “PLAYED BY BILL BAILEY!!”

Lee, on what The Beatles are spelling out in semaphore: “Paul’s going ‘We’, George is going ‘All’, John’s going ‘Live’, and Ringo’s going ‘Yellow Submarine.’
Stephen: “But not in one.”
Lee: “No, not in one. That’s the elderly brother of the Beatles that’s not allowed to be seen.”
Stephen: ‘Oh, don’t start again…”
Lee: “I’M LIVING IN A YELLOW SUBMARIIIIINNNEEEE!!!”
(Alan is lying his head on the desk, completely gone.)
Bill: “AAAAAYRRREEEAMMM EEEELIIIEAAAHHH! oh, wait, that’s the Monkees. …..ELP!”

David explains that Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds came from a drawing Julian Lennon made at school.
Lee: “And he wrote the whole song out of that? Must have been a bloke upstairs going “IT’S MY JOOOBBB!”
David: “INSTEAD OF A PAINTING!”
Lee: “GET ME A PEN!”

David eventually leads everyone in a rendition of Auld Lang Syne, that the whole panel, and the audience, starts singing. At once point, however, Lee starts singing with his Graham Osmond voice “OOOOHHH AUUULLL LAANNNNN SYNNN..” And it only lasts a second, but I never watch that without laughing.

Lee, upon learning he’s gotten last place, whispers to Alan “is that good or bad?” And then smiles.

Alan wins, and as Stephen says “it’s not only a White Christmas, but a Blue Moon.”

Overall: Man, this was exactly what I needed to get the QI momentum going again, because that was a fantastic show. All four panelists were on, even if David was comparatively quieter. Bill gave some classic jokes, and David Tennant was, of course, David Tennant, but special thanks need to be given to Lee Mack, for powering through this episode with his running gags, and there were several, and for making me cry whenever he brought back the brother in the attic.

MVP: Lee
Best Guest: Bill
Show Winner: Alan
Best QI Fact: The Beatles Semaphore Flags.
Best Runner: Graham, the brother in the attic.

Nevermind Watchdown: S6E8, or Shave Your Back, Ass-Face

IIIIIT’S CHRIIIIISTMAAAAAASSS!

Good news is we’ve got people I’ve actually heard of, including Frank Skinner, Goldie, famed rapper and Bond henchman, and Les McKeown, lead singer of the Bay City Rollers. Martine McCutcheon is also here, and she was on EastEnders and was in Love, Actually.

Les, on Elton John and Roy Wood: “Is it, a Wizard makes things appear with a poof, and Elton often disappears with a po-”
Mark: “HANG ON!!! I couldn’t allow the end of that sentence to be broadcast.”

Frank: “D’you know Roy Wood?”
Mark: “Uh, yeah.”
Frank: “No, the response is..no, but thanks for the tip.”
Mark: “Alright, we’ll try it again.”
Frank: “D’you know Roy Wood?”
Mark: “Yeah, he’s been on- oh, sorry.”
Frank: “It works with Vanessa May, too. ‘D’you know Tom Waits? Not many men do?’ Bill Withers, it works wit-”
Mark: “Oh, shut up…”
Frank: “Stevie Nicks. Well, don’t let ‘er in your house.”

Mark later has a joke about Max Factor.
Frank: “D’you know Max Factor?”
Mark, into his mic: “CAN WE BRING IN MY CROSSBOW?”

For the Intros round, they have all the tunes, instead of being performed by panelists, they bring in Rick Wakeman and Bill Bailey, in costume. Man, I love how both of them, at this point, were thought of as NMTB MVPs.

This is great. They’re just doing Christmas carols on a guitar and a piano. It’s also fun to watch Bill’s expressions.

Mark, on Rick: “I’ve never seen a man dressed so badly look so happy.”
Rick, flashing Mark: “WANNA KNOW WHY?”
Mark: “Oh, he’s had a tattoo done.”

Mark: “Ram Jam consisted of drummer Pete Charles, guitarist Bill Bartlett, and singer Arthur Blovelt. No one knows what happened to the rest of the band, but Blovelt was last seen living in a hollowed out volcano plotting world domination.”
Okay…THAT was good.

In the middle of a really good ‘Sunshine of your love’ Bill and Rick just randomly make a key change and go back into Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. It’s actually pretty hysterical.

Les and Mark have this argument about whether or not the third Intro is ABBA, as Mark already confirmed it’s Mike Oldfield.
Les: “Was he in ABBA?”
Phill, just wanting it to end: “YES, LES. HE WAS.”

Mark: “Mike Oldfield suffers from claustrophobia, agoraphobia and vertigo. He only found this out when he was stuck in a ski-lift.”

After a joke doesn’t get any response, and the next one ends in ‘Bender’ gets a ton of response, he just starts inserting the word Bender in random jokes. He then goes “Man, Bender in a ski-lift’ sounds like a good song. [to Rick and Bill] sing that one!”

In ID Parade, one of the puppets falls off the stand right after being introduced.
Mark: “I’m not sure, but I think Goldie pushed him…”

Frank: “D’you think Orville looks like Natalie Imbruglia?”

Frank: “Last time I saw Pinky and Perky, they were wrapped ’round a scotch egg.”
And then the two pig puppets look over at him like ‘you wanna go?’

Mark tells Keith Harris he’d like to hear Orville say some dirty words. Goldie does start objecting, and Keith, as Orville, goes “‘EY! BALDIE! SHUT IT!”

Mark: “I think we’re all a bit curious. Does Orville know the word ‘cunt’?”
Orville: ‘TE-HE! I’M LOOKIN’ AT ONE!”

The other ID Parade is asking which, on cardboard cutouts of rappers, hasn’t been shot. And then the object is for someone to shoot them, “so he feels like a success.” Very dark, but very clever.

Phill, with his gun: “If anyone has seen the new James Bond film, Robbie Coltrane is in it”, and then he strikes a pose, looking a hell of a lot like Robbie Coltrane.
Yeah, but…uh…there’s a bloke on your panel who was ALSO in the new James Bond film, Phill.

Overall: A very fun, very off-kilter Christmas show, ruled by some great Frank Skinner moments, and appearances by Bill and Rick. Goldie and Les were funny, if quieter, and Martine didn’t do a bloody thing. Also, this is the last show of the 90’s, which means we’re onto the 2000’s next!

Best Regular: Phill
Best Guest: Frank
Best Runner: Frank’s dive-bombing jokes.