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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stephen says the Kohn pores were named after someone who was expelled by  the Nazis
Sara, bringing it back to the car horn topic: “Did he beep his horn?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sara, talking about ‘murder by automaton’, “so if you sneeze for instance…SOMEONE SNEEZED.”
Sure enough, they keep in the audio of the person in the  audience sneezing as she says that
Sara: “now they know they’ll get away with it…”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

QI Watchdown: J4 (Jack & Jill) or LOGS WILL FALL!

I’ve been cranking these out of late, so here’s another one, seeming to mirror the theming of Girls & Boys, featuring David Mitchell as our anchor, Sue Perkins, once again, as our comic relief, and newbie and NMTB favorite Katy Brand as our ‘guest star’ of sorts. I’m not sure if she appears again, and if so it’s fleetingly, so this’ll be our taste of her.

From here on out, we do see more of the infamous David Mitchell beard, which has graced our televisions predominantly ever since.

All the buzzers are songs with J-Names: Katy’s is Dolly Parton’s Jolene, Sue’s is Jean Genie by David Bowie, David’s is Jennifer by Donovan (I think?), and Alan’s is…well, the Top Gear theme, which he celebrates with a Clarkson impression, but it’s just a cover of Jessica by the Allman Brothers, which Stephen quizzes the group on. It does help to know a thing or two about music.

Stephen: “Who dies if they don’t have sex for a year?”
Sue, smirking: “…is it Russell Brand?”
Sue reacts with shock, as she didn’t think she’d get one so early on, and jokingly beats herself up on the desk.

Stephen: “Now what’s a male ferret called?”
Alan: “Jeff.”

Already, the panel is just cracking up Stephen with how far off they are on what a female ferret is called, guessing all the wrong J names. Katy even buzzes in, and points to her buzzer, as a guess.

After saying that female ferrets die if they don’t have sex for a year, internally
Stephen: “So what you have to do, one of two things, you could-”
Alan: “Shag it-”
Stephen: “Spay her…”
Stephen, then the audience, goes back and realizes what Alan just said, and breaks a bit.
Katy: “I was gonna say that…”
Sue: “Treat her nicely…”
Stephen: “It will be the ULTIMATE sacrifice.”

Stephen: “No, find a hob [male ferret] for her-”
Katy: “And then cook it…”
Stephen: “Or you can give him injections…”
Sue: “It’s easier to have sex with it, really..”

Stephen: “He also bites the back of the neck of the hooked female-”
Sue: “Sounds like fun…”
Katy: “Sounds like Russell Brand…”

Stephen: “And it comes from the latin Ferito, which means-”
Christ, this episode so far…

Stephen, on Mad Jack: “He also liked to get up in the middle of the night and shoot ducks, while naked.”
Sue: “Was the nudity really necessary?”
David: “Probably thought ‘they’re naked, why shouldn’t I be?”
Katy: “Is it wrong to start slightly falling in love with this man?”

Stephen, on Mad Jack Churchill: “He was the only reported soldier during WWII to go into battle armed with…what?”
Alan: “A teapot!”
Dear lord…
Sue: “A dessert spoon!”
Alan: “Sorry, tea COZY!”
Sue: “Cheese slicer.”
Stephen: “No, a bow and arrow.”
Sue: “….DID HE KNOW WHAT DECADE, or even what CENTURY he was in?”
Stephen: “He was a gallant, chivalrous man…”
Sue, miming a bow and arrow: “MARVELOUS STUFF!”

Stephen mentions he also carried a sword with him, and David, ever the master of logic, dissects the redundancy of carrying a bow and arrow AND a sword, and not being able to use both at once.

Stephen: “He also said that if you SMILE at the enemy, then he’s less likely to shoot you.”
Sue: “I wonder how HE died?”

Stephen: “How did Queen Jenga arrange her harem?”
Everyone in the panel starts cracking up, knowing the obvious joke
Sue: “Three rows that way, then three rows that way…”

Alan points out, in the picture of Queen Jenga, that she’s wielding a bow and arrow AND has a sword holstered, just like Churchill, which is the right kind of coincidental.

Stephen mentions that Jenga had men fight to the death to sleep with her…and be killed after sex.
Sue: “So then, what’s the incentive to enter the competition, then?”
Stephen: “Well, you’re killed either way, so either you’re killed and get a shag, or you’re killed…without a shag.”
Sue: “What kind of shag would you have if you knew you’d be murdered at the end of it. I mean, that must have been some tense coitus…”
Stephen: “Mister Tiggy would probably be very shrivelly, wouldn’t he?”
Sue completely doubles over at that, as would most people. The rest of the panel is just shaking their heads.
Sue: “Ooooh…too much Mister Tiggy information.”

Stephen says the game Jenga’s name is Swahili in origin.
Alan: “Swahili for TIIIIMBEEERRRR…”

Katy talks about leaving her kids to play Giant Jenga, and then coming back after some wine and-
Alan: “Blood everywhere?”
Alan: “One hanging underneath…’where’s Timmy?’ ‘I dunno’ ‘HE’S UNDERNEATH THE JENGA!”
David: “That’s an extremely middle-class form of neglect…”

Stephen says there are different variations on jenga
David: “What about a lego version? Then…”

Stephen: “Well, the only limit…is your imagination…”
David: “SURELY that’s not Jenga’s slogan, is it?”

Stephen: “No, I think their slogan is “THIS SUMMER….LOGS WILL FALL…”

Stephen: “How many pieces are there in Jenga?”
Alan: “90.”
Stephen: “See? Intelligence.”
David: “…well, ninety IS a number divisible by three…”
Alan just glares, kinda betrayed, at Katy for a moment

There’s a fantastic interlude, where Stephen says, truthfully, that any multiple of nine’s digits, added, is nine. And Alan does all the math in his head, up to 180. He does say that at 189, it becomes trickier, but Stephen adds the sum of THAT, 18, and we’re back to nine again. Very fun math moment.

Stephen tells a story of a Chinese pianist who had his arms burnt off, and had to learn to play piano with his toes.
David: “You sure he hasn’t got his head in the wrong place?”
Alan: “He’s got his hands down a pair of trousers. ‘LOOK AT MY TOES! LOOK AT MY TOES!”
David: “He’s SAYING he can play the piano with his feet- he’s a man who has a penis that looks like a face.”

Screen Shot 2018-11-24 at 6.11.49 PM.pngDavid: “I feel sorry for the other finalists to be Queen…”

I’m not even giving context for this one
David: “Quite lucky, I think, that nothing germinates from a discarded kebab. Our city centers would be even worse…”
[This is almost Rich Hall-esque]

Stephen: “How did the first person to notice they were colorblind realize they were colorblind?”
Katy: “Did they say ‘ahhh, the red shoots of spring…”

David slowly increasing his output this show, in a conversation about this man, who bought his mother red stockings, thinking they were blue.

Stephen, now talking about blind snooker players: “It’s to the point where at times they have to ask the referee-”
Katy: “Which is the table and which is the ball?”

Stephen then talks about cops playing ‘car snooker’, by chasing red cars until they do something wrong, then blue cars, and so on.
Alan: “Let’s all get a white car…so they can all just fuck off…”
Oh, I’m so glad Alan’s still on this show.

This is one of those episodes where the panel dynamic is so strong, and all four are just bouncing off of each other, that Stephen has to sort of try not to crack too much before going onto the next prompter read.

Stephen: “So what is it that people can’t become if they’re colorblind?”
David: “Snooker Players! Wait, no!”

Stephen confirms that colorblind pilots are alright, but only if they’re not the ‘worst kind of colorblind’
Katy: “Can’t tell the difference between the blue sky and the green…”
Sue: “And the gray tarmac…”
David: “Yes, the very worst kind of color-blindness, or BLINDNESS.”
All three guests are just teeing off. It’s fantastic!

Stephen: “What begins with J and was used by the first man to row the Atlantic to attempt suicide.”
Alan, not referencing E1: “…jizz.”
Sue, cracking up: “suicide by jizz?”

Stephen: “As a child, he knicked a pistol from his scout leader and fired shots at his fellow scouts, and was expelled from-”
Sue: “And got a badge for it!”
Alan: “Accuracy!”
Only Sue laughs at this one, but it really got me.

The jolly jape is doing paper airplanes, which Alan and David do well at. Katy’s lands behind her, and Sue’s lands in the central QI circle, which cracks her up.

Stephen surprises the group by saying the most effective paper airplane is cylindrical.
David: “What, you just scrunch it up and chuck it?”

Stephen does demonstrate, as it must be done in a spiral, like an american football, and he gets some pretty nice yardage on it.

Three episodes after making fun of Johnson’s tourette’s, Stephen confirms that Samuel Johnson did not, in fact, write the first dictionary. So, so much for that. Imagine if this show went out before Jargon.

One of the early Johnson words was ‘mouth-friend’, which Alan’s confused by.
Stephen: “Don’t we all need a mouth-friend?”

Alan, on another one of these words: “Isn’t shapesmith just a rubbish blacksmith?”

As Stephen is about to announce the scores, he does a contented sigh in that’s so flagrantly over the top that it sounds more like he’s just saying “EEEEEEEE…”. Everyone has to stop and go ‘WHAT?’ Sue and Katy even exclaim “HE’S DIED!!!” It’s sort of like the one time he literally just had a random ‘OHOHOHOHOHO’ laugh, and only Sean Lock called him off on it.

A note that Stephen has, for the most part, given up a longform anecdotal finale, in exchange for an Ellen Degeneres-esque “be kind to each other”, which is just the right amount of wholesome.

Overall: Dare I say it, an improvement on the show I was actually looking forward to, and the best show since E1. The dynamic was out of bounds, with all four giving fantastic material and collaborating. Katy Brand’s debut didn’t feel like one, as she was really excited to be there, and clearly knew Sue from somewhere (as did Liza, although…maybe Sue’s just naturally personable). David and Sue had very funny nights, though Sue may have had more outgoing moments. David took a bit more time to stand out, and was, like Phill last show, kind of to himself for the first half. It also helped that there were several very funny topics for all four to collaborate on, to the point where Stephen had to attempt herding them away, which was amusing in itself.

MVP: Sue
Best Guest: David
Show Winner: David
Best QI Fact: female ferrets dying without sex
Best Runner: Russell Brand jokes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sue: “What is a kickie-wickie? Is that Russell Brand’s version of a football?”
Stephen: “It’s an affectionate term for a wife.”
David: “Domestic violence was a lot more acceptable, then…”
Sue: “Ah, the old Smashy-Washy…the ol’ Battery-Watter…”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

QI Watchdown: I13 (Intelligence), or “MARGARET, GET THE CORNFLOUR!”

Again, many times in Series I, QI tried to recreate classic lineups while still trying to plug forward with newer comics. So this show, featuring PHILL JUPITUS, as well as David Mitchell and Jo Brand, is reminiscent of a Series C or D taping, which is good nostalgia. With four left to go in I, this Series still has momentum, but doesn’t have as many ‘WOW THAT’S AMAZING’ shows as the first half did.

Tonight’s buzzers, each in succession, form the famous theme to Mastermind, though I would have appreciated some dramatic spotlights, or a smirking Paul Merton in the background. Alan’s is, of course, ‘UHHHHHHH….PASS!”

Stephen asks a question he prefaces as being incredibly difficult, and discussed in many academic circles: “How do you get a goose interested in volleyball?”
Jo: “…I’d like to reply with the question ‘How do you get ANYONE interested in volleyball?”

Stephen: “Name an intelligent bird.”
Jo, waiting for her Mastermind buzzer to end: “…..me.”

Jo: “Not really, I’ve got a very low IQ.”
Stephen: “Oh, don’t believe that for a second…”
Jo: “It’s 83.”
Stephen: “…my god, you’re barely even human-”
Jo brushes this off, saying she’s kidding.

Phill has a nice point that crows are only perceived as evil because of the dark music that accompanies them. If you put on more fun music, and give them a sombrero, there’s a different effect. This is a very Series B-esque digression, too.

Stephen: “What was the first move the government made to assemble the boffins at Bletchley Park?”
Alan: “…singles bar.”

This episode is starting with less emphasis on humor and more emphasis on ‘isn’t that amazing?’. Stephen talks of Alan Turing’s death by poisoned apple, and that it was widely believed that Apple computers dedicated their logo, the apple with the bite taken out of it, to Turing.
Stephen: “I was actually in a position to ask one of Apple’s founders, Steve Jobs, about it, and he said ‘no, it isn’t true….but god, we wish it were.”

(I find it very ironic that all of this Alan Turing information would be made public a year or so later, with the release of The Imitation Game.)

Stephen: “How long does the perfect job interview last?”
Jo, after waiting for her buzzer to end: “…how long does a blowjob take?”
The place goes mad. Jo is so far killing it tonight.
Stephen: “The extraordinary thing is…the answer is exactly what I’ve got on my card, and it’s ‘TWELVE SECONDS!'”

Stephen: “Have you applied for a job?”
Jo: “Yeah, I applied for many. Never got any, though.”
Stephen: “Well, you got this one.”
Jo: “Right…because I slept with you, as you well know…”
Stephen: “only the best 12 seconds of my life.”

Stephen, listing some questions they’re not allowed to ask at job interviews, stumbles a bit: ‘Are you originally from the O.K.- sorry, UK-”
Phill: “Yeah, but if you’re interviewing for a cowboy, that’s a good question…”

Stephen discusses that people aren’t supposed to answer the ‘what are your weaknesses’ question with a subverted strength, but a mild weakness.
David: “‘I’m a terrible thief…I, just, I love other people’s stuff…”
Stephen: “I also can’t concentr-Oh look, there’s a squirrel!”
Phill: “What are your weaknesses? Heroin and masturbating, not necessarily in that order…”

Stephen: “What are your strengths?’ Ah, now don’t say-”
Alan: “odor, I’ve got a powerful odor…It’ll only get stronger as the day goes on…”

Phill, on other questions they might ask to test your wit, gives a solid Phill answer: “Will you be participating in ‘Take your Kestrel to Work Thursday’?”

Stephen, pulling out another ‘Ingenious Interlude’, says ‘I’ve been trying to get better at these little chemistry experiments.’ Again, they’d be a permanent fixture come Series J.

After this Interlude, where Stephen puts a corn-starch fluid on a speaker, and has it react to sound pressure.
Phill: “You have just ruined every speaker of every QI viewer…”
Stephen, trying to continue: “Isn’t that creepy?”

Halfway through the show, a robot appears with some drinks. Having watched this show for several series, I’m not even shocked anymore.

Stephen introduces the robot, Asimo, to the panel.
Alan, as Asimo’s internal monologue: “Here i am, brain the size of a planet…opening DOORS,,,”

Stephen: “Why don’t you show us what you can do?”
Asimo: “I would love to!”
Alan: “Is it gonna kill me?”

Asimo approaches the audience, after going down some stairs.
Stephen: “Now he’s gonna do something that nobody in the audience is going to believe.”

Stephen: “Well, I think it’s only fair that you get some points.”
Asimo: “Thanks…but what I’d really like is a dance with Jo.
Screen Shot 2017-10-03 at 4.38.24 PM.png

I will say that having Asimo and Jo doing some fun, funky dancing together is one of the most original, cool moments in the show’s history.

Alan, as Asimo departs: “I can’t help feeling…that he is heavily weaponized…”

As they discuss if Asimo had the right voice, Phill brings out a gruff, ‘allo’ voice that could also be taken as one of his many dialects from NMTB (“ALLO, I’M FROM BOTSWANA!”)

David: “I think it would have been more reassuring if its dancing was more robotic. I find its attempts to be human…tragic.”
Phill: “What I’d like to happen now, is for it to be like Jerry Springer and for the robot to come on, going “WHO. ARE YOU. CALLING. RUBBISH.” And then big blokes in QI black t-shirts have to pull it off of him. “GET. OFF. ME. YOU. SLAGS. HE WAS. ASKING. FOR IT.”
Alan: “I. WANT. A .DNA. TEST.”

Stephen, starting GI with a question from the job interview section: “How many piano tuners are their in the UK?”
Alan, frantically, grabs the Nobody Knows card.

Stephen: “On a clock face, how many times per day do the two hands overlap?”
David: “…Yeah, this is definitely a question to avoid answering at all costs..”

The behind screen for a new question has a blue sky, and clouds coming quickly.
Alan, without a choice: “….theeeee Siiiiimmmpsoooooonnnsss….”

Overall: Solid episode, boosted by some really interesting stuff, and great performances by Jo, Alan and Phill. David had a quieter show, and brought up the rear, but he still won the game. Jo had the best lines, Phill had some great moments, and everybody was able to collaborate on jokes. Plus, ASIMO’s appearances made the momentum grow even more. A truly nice one, even if it took a bit to get going.

Best Guest: Phill
Show Winner: David
Best QI Fact: Cornflour vibration
Best Runner: Asimo

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: H16 (History)

Well, it’s taken us about a year, but we’ve FINALLY made it to the end of Series H. While this has had some pretty nice moments, the bulk of the series was pretty ‘meh’. There weren’t a ton of bad episodes, and there were some great ones here and there, but in the midst of what’s considered by many as a golden era of QI, this is a tad disappointing.

Tonight, we have three of the more civilized, intelligent people in Qi on the same panel: Rob Brydon, Sandi Toksvig and David Mitchell. Only David has been on an above-par episode this season, the Health and Safety show, and while Rob and Sandi have had some great showings, they haven’t themselves been a part of a great show. Hopefully this changes tonight.

Stephen, top of the show: “Let’s start out with something nice and easy: name a henge…”
Panel: “….”
Alan: “Now, come on…”

David gets the first klaxon of the night (which is rather quick for a bunch of really smart people) by guessing Seahenge, which Stephen says just has ‘henge’ in it, and isn’t a henge.
Alan: “So, the word henge in it…that, uh, that’s wrong?”

Talking of the Druids at Stonehenge:
Rob: “Presumably…I mean, they can’t all have parked miles away, they must have stickers in their windows with a little druid sign on it…which also gets them into KKK meetings…”
Stephen: “They just have to straighten up their headdresses…”
Rob: “They can park near the burning cross.”

Stephen asks what carhenge is, and Rob’s initially quite confident, but the picture changes and he’s like “maybe it’s not that.”
Eventually he says “it was featured on the liner notes for Bruce Springsteen’s The River, part of the song Cadillac Ranch…it’s all these Cadillacs, and- oh, that’s not it, is it?”
[The shot is panned all the way out, as if the klaxon’s about to sound]
Stephen: “It is!”
Rob: “IT IS! IT IS!”

Stephen: “It was a memorial to his father.”
Sandi: “Was he killed in a car accident?”

Stephen talks about lay lines, including an example, of how every Woolworth’s lines up to an exact picture.
Sandi: “It does look like if you folded it one more time, you’d get a frog.”
David: “Surely there are more…”
Stephen: “Oh, there are hundreds more-”
David: “So it’s been very selective.”
Stephen: “What, and people who believe in lay lines AREN’T?”

Stephen passes around ancient golden bowls. Alan says that his has a hole in the bottom.
Stephen: “You’ve all got holes in the bottom?”
Stephen realizes the flaw here, and responds with a “HEY!”
Screen Shot 2017-01-31 at 11.38.16 PM.png

Rob: “You know what I’d use this for? If I were eating pistachios at home, while watching the Emmerdale omnibus…I would use this to-”
Stephen and Alan: “KILL YOURSELF!”

Stephen says that an older way of measuring time was setting candles so that a cannon would go off at twelve noon.
Sandi: “That must be a fantastic way to wake the children.”
Alan: “Yeah, in a hail of bullets. ‘GET READY FOR SCHOOL!’ ‘BUHBUHBUHBUHBUHBUH!”
Stephen: “DANCE!”

Additionally, China had a type of joss stick that would burn for increments of time, and would change scents in intervals.
Sandi: “Oooh, it’s cinnamon, I must collect the children!”

Stephen tells the panel that sponges can reform their initial shape after liquidation.
David: “So, they’re essentially like terminators?”
Stephen: “YES! EXACTLY! But Terminator 2.”
David: “So it’s definitely evil? Like, it could destroy all sponges?”
Rob: “That’s only natural sponge, not the one you get at Halford’s…”

Stephen: “Time speeds up as you get older. I had an aunt in her 90s who said “GOSH, IT CAN’T BE BREAKFAST *AGAIN!*”

David: “What, to the queen mother, everything ever 1964 has just been a big BLUR! She must have thought ‘my horses are DEFINITELY getting quicker!”

Then, this comes up on the behind-screen:
Screen Shot 2017-02-10 at 5.59.36 PM.pngAlan, to David: “You look hilarious on the end…”
Stephen: “THAT…is a CHARACTER. Somebody has got to write a sitcom around David Mitchell’s character…”
David: “I feel like, in this war film, I die about 2/3rd of the way through…”

Sandi, proving again that she’s a welcome presence on the show, tells a story about reboarding a plane after a plane in front of them had crashed, and the pilot saying, on the intercom, “I know many of you are seasoned travelers and don’t normally watch the safety instructions, but PERHAPS TODAY…”

Stephen reports that plane patrons are at ease with a pilot with an Edinburgh accent, immediately followed by, in a Billy Connolly accent, “I DUUN’T THINK THA’D BE VERY GOOD…”

Sandi brings up that the chairman of the pork pie association is a vegetarian, and David is completely baffled.
Screen Shot 2017-02-12 at 2.45.42 PM.png
David: “Yes, but how…what-”
Stephen: “HE’S ANGRY, NOW!”
David: “No, I’m absolutely…god, what’s this man DONE with his life? You can’t, on one hand, say that it’s wrong to eat animals, and then dedicate your life to marketing a ground-up pig!”
Stephen: “…you’ve got a point!”
David: “It’s just like a pacifist…nuclear weapons manufacturer!”
Alan: “Maybe he thought it was a job being chairman of Porkpie HATS…”

On what this object is:
Screen Shot 2017-02-12 at 2.50.24 PM.png
Sandi: “Is it an over-large hearing aid?”
Stephen: “Yes.”
Sandi: “…WHAT?” [bursts out laughing]

Stephen: “Who succeeded Harold as King of England in 1066?”
Sandi: “…Is there a trick to this?”
Stephen: “…No, you just need to name the person that succeeded Harold as King in 1066…”

Overall: True to form for this season, a ‘good enough’ ending. Nobody had a truly bad day, but the episode only occasionally got out of a ‘middling’ rut. Sandi probably had the best night, followed by David, not to close a quieter Rob out. Just a quieter, ho-hum show, not bad but just middling.

MVP: Sandi
Best Guest: David
Best QI Fact: Bowlingtons

Best Episode: H1, Hodge Podge, featuring an insanely on-panel, a great debut from Ross Noble, and a toblerone-rolo combo.
2nd Best Episode: H14, Hocus Pocus, featuring a surprisingly game Daniel Radcliffe, Lee Mack arguing about the I-before-E joke, Graham Norton answering a question about sailors, and the show ending with a dead panelist.
Worst Episode: H3, Hoaxes. Mostly thanks to an emphasis on information, and Danny Baker, this one never really got off the ground, despite Sean Lock’s best efforts.
Episode Most Worthy of Another Watch: H10, Health and Safety. Just a nice episode I undervalued a bit in the initial watchdown that still has enough great moments…mostly thanks to Ross Noble.
Best In-Episode Runner: Gyles Brandreth’s insistence on touching Sue Perkins, H2: H-Anatomy. Just the way this got funnier as it went along, especially with Sue’s horror.
Best Recurring Guest: Ross Noble, for being a newcomer to the series and ABSOLUTELY DOMINATING three episodes. Impressive stuff, especially considering he’s a fixture for the rest of the run.
Most Underused Recurring Guest: Rich Hall. A quieter, less present showing on two occasions.
Most Improved: Jack Dee, for being a nice presence on two pretty nice episodes.
Worst Guest: Ruby Wax, H5, H-Animals, for not adding anything and for just being confused by the proceedings.
Best Guest Appearance: Eddie Izzard, H9, House and Home, for…being Eddie Izzard and having a grand old time.
Guest We Wish Wasn’t Done After this Series: Graham Norton, H14, Hocus Pocus. Because he’s always a nice presence in episodes, and…I wish he was on more.
Most Welcome Return: Gyles Brandreth, H2, H-Anatomy, for coming back and knowing everything, yet still contributing fairly to a pretty nice episode, and playing well with the rest of the panel.
Rookie of the Year: Ross Noble. See above.
Best Single Moments: Toblerone-Rolo Combo (H1: Hodge-Podge), Pushing hippopotami into the swimming pool (H5: H-Animals), The Quickfire Hypothetical Round that Took Ages, (H8: Hypothetical), Blowing Smoke up Someone’s Ass (H10: Health and Safety), CEILING! (H14: Hocus Pocus), IT’S NOT THERE! MIRAGE! (H15: Hypnosis).

QI Watchdown: H10 (Health & Safety) or She was REVIVED…BY SMOKE!

It’s weird- this season started out really strong, got kind of bad for a few episodes, and since the last Ross Noble episode we’ve been unspectacular but fine. In fact, you might argue that Ross Noble has been responsible for the spikes of good in Series H. I certainly hope this is the case, because Ross is on his last show of the Series tonight, after conquering the first show of the season (with the Toblerone-Rolo Combo), and the Ruby Wax episode. Also on tonight are like-minded individual David Mitchell and…pissant Jeremy Clarkson.

As it’s the Health and Safety show, Stephen’s dressed as a doctor, while the panel’s all in hard-hats and construction outfits.

For the first time in a few episodes, the buzzers are kinda funny. Ross’s is an alarm sounding, with ‘DIVE! DIVE! DIVE!’, which he enjoys. Jeremy’s is ‘Vehicle Reversing’, which he facepalms to. Alan’s is an angry high-pitched voice yelling “DON’T TOUCH THE BUTTON!”

Right after intros, Stephen says they can take off their hats.
Ross: “Good thing, or else my hair would be ruined.”
He and Alan take turns whipping around their hair.

After taking the Whitely test, which is punctuated by putting a big Richard Whitely on the behind-screens, Ross scores low, meaning he’s not a hypochondriac
Ross: “But I am terrified that a giant Richard Whitely’s gonna kill me with a clipboard…”

Jeremy: “I didn’t even read the questions, I just put 5 for everything.”
Stephen: “Ah, this explains why you are…”DANGEROUSLY” a hypochondriac.”
Jeremy: “Well, I didn’t know it was because I didn’t read the questions, but I am. I’ve got every disease known to man!”
Ross: “You’re telling me that you’ve got elephantitis?”
Jeremy: “…of the scrotum. No, I’ve got a twisted testicle, a hideous rash, two slipped disks-”

Ross: “You know who I feel sorry for the most? Construction-working goths.Because goths, they love a black outfit, but they’ve got to earn a living, and this [uniform] goes against everything they stand for.”
Alan: “But these are reflective…”
Ross: “But…would you want a reflective goth?? I WOULD! I’d want one in me house. BRING OUT THE REFLECTIVE GOTH!”

Ross: “But of this test…what does it mean if you write the answers in your own blood? That’d mess with their heads, wouldn’t it?”
Alan: “Not as bad as if you wrote with someone else’s.”

Alan: “My favorite question from there was…ah, can’t remember it now.”

Stephen talks of an apparatus that’d save people from drowning by blowing smoke up their arse. And shows an older version:
Screen Shot 2016-12-22 at 5.37.09 PM.pngAlan: “BLOW, MAN! FOR GOD’S SAKES! IS IT SUCKING OR BLOWING, I CAN’T REMEMBER!…I THINK IT’S BLOWING IS IT? I DON’T KNOW! BE SURE, MAN, HE’S DROWNING….I’ll do both, I’ll suck first…”

Ross: “So there was a moment where [someone was drowning], and someone said “kiss of life? wait a second…hand me that pipe…”

Ross: “It would be a beautiful sight, though, if we’ve blown the smoke up there, and the person sputters back to life, and then takes off, with the smoke coming out the back! ‘LOOK AT THE SPEED THEY’RE GOING AT!'”
Alan: “Bloke on the left looks like he’s gonna rob his trousers if he doesn’t come ’round.”
Stephen: “No, he’s generating the smoke. They didn’t have an all-around device back then, so he’s getting the pipe ready-”
Jeremy: “Oh, Christ, so he has to french-kiss the pipe…THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SAVING A DROWNING MAN!”

Screen Shot 2016-12-22 at 5.44.10 PM.pngJeremy: “Well HE’S not drowning…he’s just in the pub!”
Alan: “This is like that scene from Pulp Fiction…”
David: “This is bad, because it feels like at any point, someone can say “I think I’m drowning!”
Ross: “As if that’s not bad enough, the bloke in the background’s going “…I think I’ll get my donkey in on this…”

Stephen talks of a woman who was nearly killed by a gorilla, thinking her long glances as mocking.

David: “Did they check that it wasn’t just an incredibly annoying woman?”

Stephen: ‘After attacking her, he went into a cafe, where he caused a bit of a commotion…”

Jeremy answers a question saying that a spike right in the middle of your steering wheel would improve car safety.
David: “Wouldn’t that sort-of reduce the point of having a car at all?”
Jeremy: “…quite a lot.”
David: “If you made cars perpetually on fire, people will probably be frightened to get in them at all…”

Stephen: “What equipment do children need to play conkers?”
Jeremy: “I haven’t heard the noise yet, so…”
He holds up his goggles.

Stephen: “Why would I stick my finger up your bottom if you couldn’t name seven bald men aside from Yul Brynner?…That is one of the oddest questions I’ve ever asked on QI…”

Alan reveals that sticking a finger up a dog’s bottom can help them stop biting you.
Ross: “You can use a stick, or other implement. It doesn’t have to…the dog’s not gonna go ‘is that a pen? I’m not releasin'”
David: “I think it’s such a considerate move…to take out a pen when a dog’s biting your arm. ‘No, not the fountain pen, just the BIC!'”
Ross: “Though, to be fair, the dog in my scenario is also a talking dog…”
David: “Going back to your sensible question…”

Stephen: “But, there is only one proven way of stopping hiccups, and that is-”
David: “DEATH!”
Jeremy: “I never knew the bottom was a passageway to so many medical cures…”
Stephen: “When you say digital rectal massage…was there a point where it changed from ANALOG?”

On how to save Jeremy from a threatening environmentalist:
Ross: “I’d punch a horse. I’d get a shetland pony, I’d just throw it around, not to hurt it but to punch it a bit, and there’d be a dilemma of ‘do we carry on the Clarkson attack, or do we go for the bloke with the horse?”
Jeremy: “Horses are tricky, because they produce methane, which some environmentalists believe is stronger than global warming-”
Ross: “Oh, well in that case I’d just turn the horse ’round, get a lighter, use it as a flamethrower.”

Stephen: “The point is, you’d help, wouldn’t you?”
Alan: “No, I’d video it, honestly…”

Look, as much of an ass as Jeremy is, he’s giving a nice showing tonight, he’s working well with people, and he’s being less of a loner-curmudgeon than he has in the past. He’s obviously not the best panelist of the night so far, but he’s still giving an effort.

On how a seahorse can help you get around town:
Screen Shot 2016-12-22 at 7.35.51 PM.pngDavid: “That’s just disgusting. It’s like he’s got a leg of lamb for a face…”
Ross: “I love that he’s still put a tie on. ‘I might look like a freak, but I’m gonna be a smart freak…”

Jeremy “I read somewhere that, because of the limbic system, that you can be blindfolded and sense when a lion’s come into the room- you can sense danger.”
Ross: “And it’s going RRRRAAAAARRR. And everybody’s going ‘THERE’S A BLUDDY LION IN THE ROOM!”

Alan tries to ‘double up on safety’ by putting the gorilla glasses and goggles on at the same time.
David: “Great, now you can show a GORILLA a science experiment..”

Stephen: “The robin on the left wouldn’t be able to navigate at all…”
Alan: “Cause he’s pissed!”

After Stephen reveals that one of a pigeon’s eyes can see magnetism, and throws something off there
Ross: “So you’re saying that it’s physically impossible for a pigeon to carry a fridge magnet? NO WONDER MY BUSINESS FAILED!”

Stephen says that the only reason people are advised not to take antibiotics with alcohol is simply tradition
David: “Now I’m gonna be more inclined not to drink alcohol while on antibiotics. If it’s traditional, then that’s fine. I respect tradition! If we stop observing them, they’ll disappear.”
Ross: “The trouble with that is that by that logic, you’ll be dressed as a morris dancer!

You can tell that this was a pretty bombastic show because the second Alan learns he lost with -6, he wonders aloud how he got -6, and all four panelists start arguing and talking over Stephen as he’s trying to do the final standup.

Overall: Incredibly fun show to get things back on track. The panel dynamic was pretty great, and Ross and David had some of the best moments, the former with his really nice lines, the latter with some momentary logical rage. Jeremy had a nice show too, but brings up the rear solely for not connecting as much as the other two. Just a lot of nice moments.

MVP: Ross
Best Guest: David
Show Winner: David
Best Runner: Smoke up the Arse

QI Watchdown: H3 (Hoaxes)

Onto a more traditional lineup, as tonight’s episode features 3 guys who’ve been here since near the beginning, Danny Baker, Sean Lock and David Mitchell. David and Sean have done one together, but David and Danny, and Danny and Sean haven’t. So this’ll be an interesting panel formula.

One of the buzzers, according to Stephen, is NOT a deer’s mating call. The first three are, indeed, deer calls. Alan’s is a scottish voice saying “HELLO, DEAR!”

Ah, nothing like a good-old-fashioned episode-long-runner. All four contestants get a hoax card, and there’s one answer over the course of the show that’s a hoax. Not as exciting as the ‘squirrel’ card, but still lots of fun.

Sean brings up the idea that “how about, we all do it on the first question, we all lose points…done. What d’ya think guys, you all in?”
Danny: “Well, we’re all gonna SAY yes, but we’re not gonna really do it…”

Stephen: “One question we got [about the QI Cropcircle] was “Is it real or is it man-made?”
David: “I ask the same thing about sandwiches…”

There’s not a lot of momentum going for the first few questions. Yes, interesting, but not a lot of funny, collaborative stuff. Also, Danny’s very to-himself, and isn’t great with the other two.

Stephen: “How would you make your house the most famous house in Britain?”
Alan: “That’s easy. You murder lots and lots of people, dismember them, and bury them in the garden.”
Sean: “marry the queen.”
David: “Some sort of…spectacular suicide?”

Stephen: “What observation did the great biologist Stephen A. Gould draw from a lifetime of studying fish?”
Sean: “Oh…they haven’t got any legs…”
Sean isn’t doing a great deal tonight, but his little stuff sure is helping.
David: “After a while, they smell?”

Danny: “Starfish don’t have any brains. They’re like the Louis Walsh of the aquatic world.”
It’s like he knew what I’d just watched before this.

Stephen: ‘And he came to a conclusion which is-”
David: “They can feel no love.”
Stephen tries to keep going, but cracks up.

Stephen, after saying that the classification of ‘fish’ doesn’t really exist: “How many fish are in this photograph?”
Alan: “Well, given that there’s really no such thing as fish…”

Stephen: “What did Nostradomus get right?”
Sean: “The hat! He got the hat right!”

After Stephen reveals that Nostradamus made jams that still hold up
Sean: “I might make some jam…”
Alan: “Know what you’d need? Fruit…sugar…”
Sean: “No, I’m not gonna make nice jam.”
Stephen: “oh, what sort of jam are you going to make?”
Sean: “Horrible jam. Yeah, ‘Sean’s Horrible Jam’. You don’t know what I put in this stuff…it’s up to you. It’s- Lottery Jam, I’ll call it…Sean’s Bingo Jam! One jar in every hundred is amazing! The rest of the time it’s instant vomit as soon as you open the lid…”

Stephen: “Who is the most famous person to be beaten by a machine at chess?”
Sean: “Me.”
Stephen: “You played a machine at chess?”
Sean: “Yeah, I got beat by a hoover.”

David guesses the Queen
Stephen: “No, someone bigger than the Queen, and had a higher rank than the Queen in his day.”
Alan: “JESUS!!”
Stephen, confused and cracking up: “JESUS?? Jesus isn’t really a RANK…”

Stephen: “How can you tell if a person is lying?”
Alan: “Their hands become sweaty, pulse quickens, their sphincter, you know, tightens up…”
Stephen: “Let’s just suppose that you haven’t got a finger on their sphincter and aren’t holding their hand.”
Sean: “What they’ve said turns out not to be true.”

Stephen: “What do swimming pools smell of?”
Alan, channeling Jo Brand: “Children.”

Stephen eventually reveals that the hoax card was actually a hoax itself, causing some angry reactions from panelists.
Danny: ‘THIS IS AN OUTRAGE! This is like the end of Lost!”

Overall: A weaker number into Series H, but not without an incredible Sean Lock performance. This didn’t work because all four were mainly keeping to themselves, with the exception of Alan because that’s what he does best. Danny had some good jokes, but didn’t really collaborate. David mostly stemmed his rants off other people’s answers, which was alright.

MVP: Sean
Best Guest: David
Show Winner: Sean
Best QI Fact: Fish don’t exist.

QI Watchdown: G16 (Geometry), or “BECAUSE IT *IS*!”

After THREE months, we’ve FINALLY finished QI Series G. I started this series in October. Maybe this is due to me picking up ‘Buzzcocks’, but also this was a long, yet rewarding, series.

Tonight, to finish it all off, we have appearances by David Mitchell and Rob Brydon, some of this series’ heroes, and also from Johnny Vegas, who could make or break this episode, though he’s done relatively well in the past.

After Stephen explains the ‘stripes don’t make you look slimmer’
Rob: “It’s a bit like, when you’re hot, the best way to cool down is not by drinking a cold drink.”
Stephen, impressed: “ROB BRYDON!”
Rob: “It’s by going into an air-conditioned building…and THEN having a cold drink.”

Rob: “I have a friend, and he likes to wear vertical stripes because it makes him look taller.”
David: “Only when he’s not standing next to anyone! It’s not gonna make him look taller than a taller man. It’s all relative. They’ll just say “oh there’s a normal sized man next to an ENORMOUS man…oh thank god, he’s taken his striped shirt off, it’s actually a tiny man next to a normal man.”
Stephen, giving a voice to an entire generation: “I’ve missed your angry logic, David.”

Stephen: “Why do the columns around the Parthenon look straight.”
Alan: “Because they are.”
[Jimmy, presumably from three studios away: “THEEEYYYYY SAY OF THE ACROPOLIS WHERE THE PARTHENON IIIISS….”]

Stephen reveals that Alan was indeed right, which sort of break’s Johnny’s world.
Johnny: “THAT ISN’T A QUESTION! “WHY IS THIS MAN NOT THIN?” “Because he IS!” That has taken me on a WHOLE CIRCLE…a train of thought. THIS IS WHY I STRUGGLED IN SCHOOL!”
Stephen, trying to comfort him: “It’s the ‘Q’ of QI…”
Johnny: “If a train travels at 40 miles an hour, and leaves at 9 o’clock, and arrives in Glasgow at 12:00, how did it get there?” And you’re going “BECAUSE IT DID.”
Stephen: “It’s…it’s sort of that, it’s the Q-”

Stephen’s trying to help Johnny, and clarify things, but he’s still too far gone. He draws a squiggly line in his notebook, shows it to Stephen, and goes “WHY IS THAT LINE STRAIGHT.”
“BECAUSE IT’S *NOT*. That could have been a question.”
He then draws a straight line, and goes “WHY DOES THAT LOOK STRAIGHT?”
Now Johnny is completely breaking down, crying, still completely confused.

The guy who proved this straight lines phenomena, Peter Thompson, is actually in the audience. He compliments Johnny on his striped shirt, saying he looks slim.
Johnny, still sort of broken: ‘But i’ll still have a heart attack. Thanks to stripes I’ll be in denial.”

Observation: Peter Thompson, the geometrical guy from the audience, looks like Barty Crouch Sr. from the Harry Potter movies.

Peter, after his stripe terminology: “Now, if you’re really fat it’s not going to make that much of a difference.”
And Johnny, of course, stands up, semi-insulted.

On Greek columns, Stephen: “Do you know one thing that is missing…”
Rob, practical: “Well, the rest of the building…”

Johnny, studying the columns: ‘What about the lions on the gatepost?”
Stephen: “Do you have lions on your gatepost?”
Johnny: “Jeff and Marge!”
Stephen: “That answer was quick enough for me to believe you do have lions on your gatepost…”

Stephen brings up two odd, colored, Batman-esque shapes, saying they have actual names. Johnny, of course, guesses one of them is called “KAPOW!” He’s actually having a really nice game today, though it may be putting off the other two, like in Eating.

Stephen: “Wolfgang Kerker was, uh…”
Johnny: “A PIRATE!”
Stephen, natural: “A pirate, yes that’s the word I was looking for.”

Stephen is trying to read the cover of the textbook from the behind-screen.
Johnny: “Yeah, I’m not caught up with my Latin there…”
Stephen: “No, it’s written in English…”
Johnny just collapses onto the table. He just can’t win today.
Stephen: “But the names are written in Greek there…”
Johnny, still dejected: “Yeah, that’s what threw me.”

Johnny, after Stephen reveals this textbook was a pop-up book: “The thing about pop-up books,when you read normal books, you end up just putting them in front of you, and just kicking them from behind cause you just think they’re lazy…”
Alan: “What, so you go “POP! COME ON! DO SOMETHING!”

Stephen: “What do you call a left-handed lemon?”
Johnny: “A potato.”

Stephen reveals that an orange is the left-handed equivalent of a lemon, and hands them both to the contestants, except Rob, who’s still bitter about earlier.
Johnny: “Do they make scissors for both?”
That is a genius, very cerebral joke from a guy who’s act is being stupid.

Stephen says that there’s between 70 and 90% of the population that’s right handed.
Johnny: ‘It’ll be far less when the war comes.”
Stephen: “With the what? The morcomes?”
Johnny: “The War comes.”
Stephen: “What’s a warcome.”
Johnny: “The left handed and the right handed…”
Stephen, still not getting it: “Warcomes…”
Johnny: “Not…WHEN THE WAR-”
Stephen, finally getting it, collapses onto his desk. This is like him mistaking Phill’s fake Newcastle accent back in Descendants.

Stephen: “What city is the capital of Kansas?”
Johnny: “Arkanas.”
Stephen: “No, that’s another state.”
Alan: “Well, Kansas City.”

Rob, given an in with Kansas, goes on a very long spiel about Elvis Presley, cutting everyone off and going into actual fact. To contextualize, he goes “I hadn’t said anything in a while.”
David: “It’s like Radio 2 in the middle of the night.”
Rob, now infuriated: HE [Johnny] HAS COME UP WITH SUCH *BILGE*, AND YOU SIT THERE, like we’re in Rain Man, LOVING IT! I come out with something FACTUAL! And, there are a lot of Elvis fans out there who will be loving that.”

On the “where is the best place to look into the future” question.
Rob, completely serious: “You look backwards. Because history teaches us the future. Because from history, we learn patterns, and as Dr. Phil says time and time again, the greatest indicator of future behavior is past behavior.”
Johnny, grabbing Rob with an arm and looking right into his eyes: “When are you gonna realize he’s not interested?”

I just realized what this episode is. On both sides of one panel, you have the voice of information, and you have the voice of entertainment. And time and time again this show was teetered between being a supplier of fact and a supplier of humor. And this episode is Johnny Vegas breaking the fourth wall and throwing information out the window. This is important, because it points toward the direction the show would go later on, by employing more comedians and less fact-suppliers.

Stephen: “What’s the best place to punch a shark?”
Johnny: “In a pub. In a pub after loads of pork scratchings when he’s really dehydrated.”

Overall: A fantastic way to end the series, and a definite turning point in how the show will go about things. All four were great, though David, and in that matter Alan, got quieter as the show went on. I feel like it was like Phill in Eating, where he really couldn’t get a word in edgewise with Johnny. Rob and Johnny were in tip top shape, sort of quarreling with each other, though Johnny had some of the funnier lines, yet Rob played the part of Sean Lock in ‘Common Knowledge’, but saying “this isn’t fair, let’s make a joke out of it.’ A ton of layers to this episode, though it’s not necessarily laugh-out-loud funny enough to warrant a 10.

MVP: Johnny
Best Guest: Rob
Show Winner: Alan
Best QI Fact: Looking into the future
Best Runner: Rob vs. Rain Man

Best Episode: G10: Greats, featuring Sean Lock’s finest hour, and all four prattling about the delicious giant tortoises.
2nd Best Episode: G5: Groovy, featuring David Tennant, Bill “Up to Nine Wives” Bailey, Lee Mack, and Graham Osmond yelling things from the attic.
Worst Episode: G3: Games. Even with Sean and Phill, there wasn’t a ton going on in this episode, and Liza Tarbuck isn’t the greatest in terms of keeping things interesting.
Episode Most Worthy of Another Watch: G9: Gallimaufrey, because there’s enough little details and moments that I could get again the next watch. Also, for the ‘VHERE IS YOUR LICENSE’ runner.
Best In-Episode Runner: Klaxoning anyone who mentions the war, G8: Germany. Because so many amazing Sean moments came from that one, because he’d just end up mentioning the war every five minutes to piss off Stephen.
Best Recurring Guest: Sean Lock, for appearing in four episodes, and dominating every single one of them, giving his best material, and being looser, and funnier, than he’s been in years.
Most Underused Recurring Guest: Jack Dee.
Most Improved: Tie between Andy Hamilton (G9:Gallimaufrey) and Johnny Vegas (G16: Geometry), for dominating their respective episode after being a quieter presence on their last few shows.
Worst Guest: Sadly, John Hodgman G2: G-Animals, for not being terribly interesting, or funny.
Best Guest Appearance: David Tennant, G5: Groovy, for fitting right in with the panel, and being really cool and fun. It’s not everyday when an actual awesome TV star guests on QI. We’ll get another one of those in Series H, possibly bigger.
Guest we wish wasn’t done after this season: Hugh Dennis, G9: Gallimaufrey. Because he’s Hugh Dennis.
Most Welcome Return: Bill Bailey. Runner up: Danny Baker.
Rookie of the Year: In a very tight race, I’m giving it to Sandi Toksvig, for being a fresh, fun addition to the lexicon in two separate episodes. However, Honorable Mentions go to Jack Dee, Sue Perkins, Graham Norton and Lee Mack.
Best Single Moments:  Alan nearly destroys the set with a saw (G1: Gardens), Graham Osmond (G5: Groovy),  Sean keeps mentioning the war (G8: Germany), Alan’s ‘VHERE IS YOUR LICENSE’ diatribe (G9: Gallimaufrey), Alan and David on the delicious giant tortoises (G10: Greats) Bill’s metric method of timekeeping (G15: Green), The game breaks Johnny (G16: Geometry)