QI Watchdown: J6 (Joints), or My Sphincter Just Tightened

Bit of a mixed bag this show: Jimmy Carr is our proctor, obviously. Cal Wilson, the great Australian import, is back for her second, and sadly last, show. And making his QI debut is comedian, actor, and one of my least favorite Never Mind the Buzzcocks guest hosts, Jack Whitehall. Look, public opinion on Jack is split down the middle- either you love him, and are excited that he’s getting big parts in blockbuster films with the Rock, or you file him with the James Cordens and Michael McIntyres of this world, as he’s way too cheeky. I generally fall into the second category, but I will keep an open mind.

Jimmy, instead of wearing one of his trademark suits, has on a trendy brown jacket, more similar to something Phill might wear.

All three primary buzzers are verses from ‘knee bone’s connected to the’ song.

Stephen: “Now, Alan, we’re gonna make your life a little easier-”
Alan: “I can go home?”

Stephen plays in some sexy music as the lights dim.
Jimmy: “Oh, THIS is unfair. Alan gets a girl! I’ve got JACK!”
Alan: “…Jack’s a girl…”

Stephen, tenderly, asks Alan: “Can you feel…your sphincter relaxing…”
The audience loses it at this.
Stephen: “It’s a perfectly innocent question…”
Alan: “i must say, I thought it was until you asked me…”

Jimmy: “I once had a bladder complaint- this is not an STI-”
Cal: “Why are you looking at ME when you say that???”
Jimmy: “Cause…I thought you would understand!”

Jimmy mentions having a camera the width of a pen shoved into his urethra, and this makes Alan, Jimmy AND Jack start miming what this might be like. Note that Jimmy’s is a larger mime.

Jack questions when would be the right time to watch the video of it they give you: “What, at Christmas?: “Oh, let’s not watch The Great Escape this year…let’s watch your dad’s…stomach.”
Jimmy: “The great escape is presumably when they pull the camera out…”

Alan gets a klaxon by guessing that something is a snake. Man, this series is just pulling punches all over.

Jack mentions his brother got worms from licking the loo seat, which gets a very confused look or two from Jimmy.
Alan: “Oh, LOO SEAT. I thought you said ‘licking the Lucy.”

Jack: “You lick the loo seat, and you get worms of the belly.”
Stephen: “You get more than that, you get contempt…”

Jimmy: “You can get a lot of STIs from loo seats, Stephen…but only if you sit down before the last guy’s got up.”
Oh, may he never change.

Jimmy and Alan joke that STI stands for ‘Sexually Transmitted Information’
Cal: “Sounds like the late night version of QI. With all provocative questions.”
Like last show, a lot of Cal’s stuff isn’t getting the laughs it deserves, which is kind of sad.

As Stephen introduces ‘Stick the Knees on the Elephant’
Jimmy: “I feel like sort of…like, we’ve underperformed, and now we’re in a special class…”

Jimmy: “I think elephants have got a lot of knees. Because otherwise, why could you have given us this many dots?”

There are some intriguing moments with this: Alan doesn’t put the joints on the back knees…which are the only legs it has joints on. Jack adds extra dots for the elephant’s balls. Because of course.

Jack talks about a Planet Earth Live show he watched: “Richard Hammond was in front of all these elephants wearing one of his midlife crisis necklaces…and it definitely had a bit of ivory on it…”

Stephen says the front legs of pigs are called ‘hand of pig’
Cal: “I have experienced hand of pig before.”
Jimmy: “Well, I apologize…”
Cal: “Yeah, that’s why you’re on THAT side…”

Stephen speaks of a theatre director who had Noises Off, and every night would have to clean the wet seats, as people would drink and laugh so hard water would come out their nose.
Jack: “Isn’t that cause elderly people go to the theater?”

Jack: “It’s like when Bono was headlining Glastonbury, and he had to pull out…and I’d been saving MONTHS of piss to throw at him…”
Jimmy: “You poor thing…”
Jack: “I had, like a VAT…”

Jack, still going: “He did his back in, that’s why he couldn’t do it. Which is fair enough, because I imagine my back would be pretty sore if I’d spent the last 20 years with my head up my own ass…”
Stephen even emits a WHOA at this one. I don’t blame him

Jack has definitely warmed up over time this episode, to the point where, we’re about halfway through and he’s taking most of the edit with him. Granted, a lot of his stuff is pretty funny, but not everything is.

On the news that Columbus brought tons of cannabis to the US
Jimmy: “So you’re saying he’s a drug trafficker?”
Jack: “Columbus must have had a very big sphincter…”
That, for the record, is how you do a callback joke.

On the ‘pin the knee on the flamingo’, Jack puts it in an obvious spot: ‘Because the knee is the bendy bit, and…oh, it could just be a camp arm…”

Screen Shot 2018-11-30 at 4.04.35 PM.pngAlan: “Is this an unusual flamingo in that it’s got a duck coming out of its ass?”
And I’m gone.
Stephen: “It;s pretty hard to deny-”
Alan: “But where are the duck’s knees? Ask the flamingo…”

Jimmy asks that if flamingo’s knees are at the top of their legs, then a kick to the balls would really hurt, wouldn’t it?
Stephen: “Yes, they don’t really have testicles though, do they?”
Jimmy’s expression is shock.
Stephen: “I mean, they have little sexual parts…”
Jimmy: “As do I!”

Stephen: “What do Glaswegian women lose on their wedding night?”
Jack: “A fight!”
Jimmy: “A long battle against alcoholism?”

Stephen does say that women removing their teeth would lead to “some pleasurable outcomes”, which cracks up the whole panel.
Jack: “You’d be very good on those sex chatlines…”

Jack does come up with a good idea for a Dragon’s den pitch: “It’s dentures…but they clamp shut whenever they sense racism coming out…”
Stephen: “I’ve got nothing against them personally, but-” [chhhh]
Jimmy: “The word ‘but’ would be the key…would be the trigger word…’I’m not racist, BUT…”
Jack: “CCHT”

Stephen: “Certain types of dead people [gave their teeth]. You’re not allowed to rob a grave-”
Jimmy: “YOU’RE NOT???”
Stephen: “No, you’re-”
Jimmy: “Awww…I’m in a LOT of trouble…”

Stephen says they literally collected teeth on the battlefield from dead soldiers.
Jack: “And the horse teeth, they were sent to…the people from Only Way is Essex?”
[Jimmy Carr, who once obliterated Amy Childs on television, laughs at this]

Stephen brings up a funny point about Australia, saying that he’ll see newscasts saying ‘Victorian police were soon on the scene’- “I picture these truncheons and moustaches going ‘OHHH NOW THEN…'”

Stephen talks of a polish dentist who took out her ex-lover’s teeth, “but it was in the papers and it was actually bollocks-”
Alan: “He took his bollocks out?”
This is a slow-burn reaction, but eventually the audience hears this.

Alan: “What she should have done is taken all his teeth out, cut a little hole in his scrotum, then put them all in there…and sew it back up again.”
Cal, weirded out, starts laughing nervously.
Jimmy: “…YES, THAT IS A MUCH BETTER IDEA…I think we can all agree she missed a great opportunity.”

Stephen hands out a piece of dental equipment, and asks the panel what it is.
Jimmy: “Oh, is it for snipping open the scrotum, and putting the teeth in?”

Alan, playing around with it, mimes snipping DOWNWARDS…and then exclaiming “some of the teeth have fallen out!” Dear god. To quote Colin Mochrie, “THIS is our running gag?”

Stephen, after another winking moment from Jack: “…you’re being very flirty, Jack, I quite like you…”
Jack, post-applause: “…my sphincter just tightened…’

Stephen: “Who’s got noisy-knees and a urine-soaked hairbrush?”
Jack: “My grandmother?”
Stephen: “Your grandmother’s not coming well out of this program, is she?”
Alan: “She’s a racist, peeing grandmother…”

Stephen: “What kind of ungulates do we find in the Savannah?”
Jack: “Richard Hammond?”
Look, say what you will about Jack’s cheekiness, but he is FANTASTIC at running gags. There are so many this show.

After Jack admits that heartburn once stopped him from sex.
Stephen: “I can recommend a diet for you…come and see me…”
Alan: “I knew this would happen…”
Jimmy: “It involves nuts.”
Stephen: “Brings a new meaning to ‘we shall march on Whitehall'”

Stephen: “Who wrote the Cat in the Hat?”
Jack, resident young person: “Dr. Seuss?”

Stephen: “What kind of glass does the Popemobile have in its windows?”
Jimmy: “Oh, is it the slidey kind so he can sell ice cream?”
[good lord…]

Cal has a fantastic answer, ‘stained glass’, which…again, doesn’t get a lot of response from the audience, but is insanely funny.

Stephen says that there are technically 2 Popes per square foot in Vatican city, since Vatican city is only .44 square feet.
Jimmy: “Well, I think we have it, ladies and gentlemen, the most annoying question ever asked?”

Stephen, announcing the scores: “It’s crowded at the bottom…that’s a very unfortunate phrase…”

Alan loses with -51, his most impressive loss in a while.

Overall: A bit lighter than the last few, but still very funny. The four players were definitely playing more solo games, each befitting their style on the show seperately. Cal kinda got swallowed up tonight, but she still had some fun moments. Jack had a fantastic debut, but flew a bit close to the sun, and dominated the second act of the show a bit too much for my liking. Jimmy, though, was responsible for some of the best jokes of the night, and was doing his usual amount of connecting. There were several running gags…and several weak spots in the show. So a mixed bag, but a fun watch.

MVP: Jimmy
Best Guest: Jimmy
Show Winner: Cal
Best QI Fact: removed teeth
Best Runner: scrotum teeth


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There’s a discussion on Identity Parades, and Stephen brings up the money-thief from earlier, and SURE ENOUGH…
Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 1.13.04 AM.png
Stephen: “Was it #1, Stealing Our Money
or #2, stealing our hearts…or is it just me?
#3, stealing himself for a spanking
or #4…stealing a format idea from Never Mind the Buzzcocks…”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

QI Watchdown: I1 (I-Spy)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

QI Watchdown: H12 (Horses and Hunting)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

QI Watchdown: H4 (Humans)

Onto another QI, featuring four very dry people, that hopefully will work well off each other. Jo and Jimmy are making their first appearances this season, and Jack Dee is returning after batting down Phill and Ross a few episode ago.

Jo’s buzzer is a bubbling, croaking swamp noise. After a beat, she turns to Stephen and goes “I really DO go like that…”

Stephen: ‘Describe the perfect man.”
Jo: “A dead one.”
Stephen, faux-astonished: “JO BRAND!”

Stephen, going over the DaVinci proportions: “Your head is about an eighth of your body height”
Jo: “Your head’s about a quarter of your body height.”
Stephen: ‘IS IT??”
Jo: “Yeah, because your brain’s so massive…”

Stephen: ‘The fact is there are millions of them around Italy. Why is that?”
Jack: “Beermats”
Stephen: “NOT….BEERMATS…”

Stephen: “Well, people call him Leonardo, and Da Vinci is just the place he came from. Name some other painters like that…”
Jo: “Leonardo Da…Stratton….”
Stephen: “…not quite…”
Jack: “Rolf of Australia.”
Stephen: “…That is true. How can I take that away from you?”
Man, Jo and Jack are just having fun annoying Stephen tonight.

Stephen: “It’s like cooks. Delia. Nigella. Jamie.”
Alan: “Jamie….Da Essex.”
Stephen: “That’s the one!”

Stephen: “How would you spot a neanderthal on the bus?”
Jack: “If he comes and sits next to me…”
Jo: “He’s the one…already sitting next to me, because I’m married to him.”
Stephen: “Is this going to be the ‘humiliate my husband’ show?”
Jo: “Yeah, he doesn’t watch this, it’s alright…”
Stephen: “Oh, fine.”
Jimmy: “He doesn’t really understand it.”

I’m glad someone finally called Jo out about all the husband-bashing, even if that is her schtick.

Stephen: “Why would you need to take a fossil into a nightclub”
At this exact moment, a picture of Peter Stringfellow appears on the behind-screen. Jo has already buzzed in, sees this, and goes on anyway.
Jo: “If you were at Stringfellow’s, you wouldn’t need to…”

Stephen: “Which bit of you is evolving the quickest?”
Jo: “Is it my propeller?”
Stephen: “…did you say your propeller?”
Jo: “What, did you say ‘revolving’?”
Stephen: “No, EEEVOLVING!”
Man, this is also a great episode for Jimmy Carr’s laugh. He’s laughing more than he’s saying things tonight. The curmudgeons, Jo and Jack, are taking hold.

Jimmy: ‘There’s a thing that lives in the sea that has a sort of propeller-like mechanism, and it-”
Jo: “Is that a boat??”
Jo, somehow, is absolutely killing it tonight.

Jack’s talking about breeding long-necked people to have a ‘giraffe family’
Alan: “I saw a family fortunes once…”
Jimmy: “Here we go, back to my level…”
Alan: “The question was ‘Name a Bird with a Long Neck’. And the guy said Naomi Campbell…”
Stephen: “It’s like my favorite one on Weakest Link. They said ‘What are Chardonnay, Shiraz and Pinor Noir’, and he said ‘Footballer’s Wives!”
Alan: “My favorite one is ‘Name a Dangerous Race’. And the guy said The Arabs!”
(Stephen loses it here)
Alan: “I don’t know if they were hoping for ‘Grand Master’ or something…”

Stephen puts a picture of a little scrawny rodent on the behind screen.
Jimmy: “Oh my god, how did you get a picture of my scrotum? It’s got the teeth and everything.”

Jack tells a story involving a German man who posted on the internet that he wanted to eat a person, and someone responded. He does this whole story in these German accents, very similar.
Jimmy: “Did they get confused because they both sounded alike?”

Jimmy tells a similar story: “He had ‘im all tied up and he was going to eat him, and then he said ‘aw…I don’t really fancy it’…and they watched Ocean’s Twelve instead, and then he went home.”
Jack: “Yeah, I’ve seen Ocean’s Twelve. I’m not so sure that was a good deal.”
Alan: “Yeah, I’d rather be eaten.”

Stephen: “What is the point of teenagers?”
Jo: “Are they the only group that you’re legally allowed to punch?”

Stephen: “Who’s the fastest human runner of all time”
Jimmy: “I’m gonna go Usain Bolt”
Jimmy: “What, did you not see him on telly? The guy’s called BOLT for god’s sakes! What more could you need?”

Stephen puts up a picture of an Ancient Greek bath house. Jimmy, all of the sudden, spots something in the corner that looks very similar to someone being blown by another man.
Jimmy: “WHAT’S GOING ON OVER THERE??? IF I’M NOT MISTAKEN…and his Mrs. is just WATCHING! He’s probably showing HER how to do it…”

There’s a great moment where they’re asked what disease a mosquito gives you. They all just sort of look around for a few seconds, and Jo just sort of looks at Jack and goes “GO ON…” Jack has no choice but to buzz in with ‘malaria.’

You know this is a weird episode because Jo, not only does she win, but she didn’t get any Klaxons. That’s miraculous!

Overall: A lightweight show without any real highlights. The main gags tonight were beginning-of-question ones, and the conversations didn’t elicit a ton of good lines. Jimmy and Alan were quieter tonight, as Jack and Jo did most of the work, which is nice.

MVP: Jack
Best Guest: Jo
Show Winner: Jo
Best QI Fact: Blacklight fossils


As if this season didn’t have enough momentum already, here comes a Jimmy Carr episode.

Tony Wilson, famous record promoter, is back with us. New players are Alistair Griffin, who was on Fame Academy, and Carol Decker, who was in T’Pau.

The show opens with a british army soldier searching Mark’s mouth for Saddam Hussein. Kinda sums up the tone of this episode.

Mark asks how misuse of a telephone got Ike Turner in trouble.
Jimmy: “Was it used to call the police?”
Mark: “I’m gonna give you a point for that, because if it went to trial, I think you’d win.”

Jimmy: “So, the lyrics then were ‘Ooh Aah Ooh Aah Ooh Aah Ooh Aah’? So, she wrote that then?”
Mark: “She might have done it. It was a Wurzles tribute record.”
Bill: “Are you inpuning the Wurzles?”
Mark: “No, I was saying that Ooh Aah…are you telling me that the Wurzles never said ‘Ooh Aah’?”
Bill: “No, they didn’t. They started out as a German Expressionist Synth Band.”
Mark: “And their expression was ‘Ooh Aah.’
Bill: “They sold out. They went all ‘Ooh Aar.’

Mark asks what Pete Townshend did with a hearse.
Phill: “Did he knick one, but, like, DURING a funeral?”
Mark: “What, a really slow getaway? Driving ten miles an hour, out of respect.”

Tony: “Does the crime involve Jimmy Savile?”
Mark: “….No.”
Phill: “Cause Savile was a very astute businessman. Maybe he had a fleet of hearses. SavileCabs. ‘Hey, we’ve got te pick up UC over there, now get in da hearse.”

Jimmy: ‘it has something to do with cricket.”
Mark: “It’s the theme to cricket, but we’re looking for the title.”
Jimmy: “Stumpy Bats?”
Mark: “How did you know my nickname at school?”
Bill: “It’s like stumpy bats.”
Mark: “We have to call them little people now…”

Mark, because Tony’s not getting a damn thing in Intros, just says the entire answer (‘hold me close by David Essex’), TWICE, so he can get it.
Tony: “When you said ‘Hold me close, by David Essex’…was that a clue?”
Mark just looks at him for a second.

For the 1st ID Parade, for #5, Mark brings back the dancing to the Del Shannon guitar break, which is still very funny.

Mark, after another Bill line: “Did someone give him Nesquik before the show? He always gets a little…boing!”
Bill: “And a couple of lines…”

For Phill’s ID Parade…oh lord. The actual D-Ring member is #1. There’s 3 pirates. And one guy who looks like Athelston, but isn’t him. Man, this just keeps getting better.
Mark even goes: “IT’S GONNA BE A TOUGH ONE, THIS ONE…”

#5, which made me laugh, is “…IT’S GETTIN’ BUC-CAN-NEER! SO TAKE OFF ALL YOUR CLOTHES!”

Mark: “I’d like to point out as well that our normal #2, Athelston, who’s always in the lineup? He was busy. So we’ve got a tribute Athelston. We’re hoping to get him next week, but he’s gotten a bit big-headed and all…”
Phill, looking over the panel: “And as the honor guard from the Swiss navy meet the Zambian ambassador…”

Mark, doing a Next Line: “And I find it kind of funny, and I find it kind of sad- it’s a review of this show!”

Mark: “I love your work action”
Jimmy: “Thanks very much.”
Mark: “…lovely work, frying pan face…”

Mark: “I know a girl from a lonely street”
Bill, thinking it’s Lonely Goatherd, yodels
Mark absolutely loses it
Mark: ‘Yes, it was Debbie Harry in the Sound of Music”

Mark: “Stop…”
Allstair and Phill: “…in the name of love?”
Mark, shaking his head: “Hammer time…”

Overall: The last bit of this episode was cut off, but it was one of the weaker installments of the series thus far, even with another hysterical ID Parade. Tony and Carol were fun, and Jimmy Carr was Jimmy Carr (even though Mark was beginning to spar with him), but there wasn’t a ton of material between the panel. Very thin in that respect, though not without moments.

Best Regular: Bill
Best Guest: Jimmy
Best Runner: Ooh Aar Ooh Aar.

Nevermind Watchdown: S12E5, or THIS is the night you were born!

Not only does this episode feature three people that I’ve written about before, but one of them happens to be Jimmy Carr. So that’s pretty awesome there.

The other three are presenter Claudia Winkleman, Moloko’s Roisin Murphy, and R&B/soul singer Lisa Stansfield. All but Stansfield have been on before.

Mark, confirming that either Flock of Seagulls or Hall & Oates caught notorious Australian, “The Rusty Gun Bandit”
Bill: “Well, it doesn’t say how rusty- How rusty was the gun? Surely it’s a very poorly maintained firearm. It’s not actually going to work. Or he was a gun bandit, so he hadn’t done it for a while, so he was a bit rusty…”

After Bill says it’s Hall and Oates.
Claudia: “Do we get a point if we think it’s the other folk?”
Mark, knowing the answer: “Yeah.”
Claudia does actually give a pretty good reason as to why it would have been Flock of Seagulls.
Mark: “Well, the answer…is Hall and Oates.”

Phill: “I understand that [Craig David’s] pubes are shaved into an exact replica of the Hampton Court maze.”
Mark: “So the lice can’t escape?”

Jimmy: “Apparently Robbie Williams’ Angels is the #1 most requested song for funerals. Presumably, people are saying “over my dead body.”
Man, he’s so good for this show that Mark might have even written something close to that.

Claudia, still trying to defend Robbie Williams to Mark: “But Robbie is also a rebel-”
Mark: “How is he a rebel?? HE DANCES AND SINGS! Gandhi was a rebel. MANDELA was a rebel. HE’S an idiot!”
Claudia: “But he dyed his hair-”
Mark: “WOOOOOWWWWW!! GANDHI DIDN’T EVEN HAVE ANY!! THAT’S WHY HE WAS A REBEL. He was a rebel against HAIR…and the imperial yolk of British rule…”

Claudia gets up to do Intros, and we see that she’s incredibly pregnant. So as she’s dancing to the first one, Mark stops her.
Mark: “Claudia, could you please…just not dance for the rest of this? Cause FROM HERE… I mean, nothing in the world more beautiful than seeing that, but from the back…it looks like you’re trying to force it out from the wrong exit… Hey, when he’s old enough you can play him this video!”
Claudia: “I’m just getting involved.”
Mark, as Claudia keeps dancing: ‘THIS IS THE NIGHT YOU WERE BORN!”
Claudia, now cracking up and still doing guitar: “KA-WANG!”
Mark: “It was a period in my life where I would say ‘KA-WANG” for a living. I was booked on various novelty shows. I was known as the KA-WANG woman. And whatever people did I’d say KA-WANG! Then you popped out and changed things forever…”
Jimmy: “Isn’t that a Muslim Holy Book?”
Mark: ‘The KaWang? Yes.”

After the ‘Build Me Up Buttercup’ Intro, Mark comes over and literally starts singing the song against the actual song, wildly and with a Mic, TO CLAUDIA AND PHILL. It’s a wonderful moment, and you can tell how much fun Mark is having.

Claudia: “#3 looks like he’s got good fingers.”
Jimmy: “Are you feeling slightly hormonal??”

Mark, introing the MJ impersonators: “Now, we didn’t want the real Michael Jackson in the studio, because we’ve already got Claudia dangling one over the balcony…”

Mark, Next Lines: “Your butt is mine. It is Michael Jackson.”
Bill: “Your butt is mine, half your nose, two ears and a leg…”

Overall: Another strong episode, mostly helped by Phill’s panel, featuring a very in-his-element Jimmy Carr, and a very pregnant and Mark-baiting Claudia. Roisin and Lisa were good, but quieter.

Best Regular: Mark
Best Guest: Claudia
Best Runner: Claudia’s having the baby.


QI Watchdown: G13 (Gothic)

Onto a rather dark episode, technically though not nominally the Halloween special, featuring two very dark comedians, Jack Dee and Jimmy Carr, and one that will eventually become one of QI’s more tenured ones, Sue Perkins.

Jimmy’s buzzer is a Shining-esque “HEEERE’S JIMMY!”, which he seems to enjoy. Sue’s is a Wilhelm Scream, which she seems flabbergasted by. Alan’s is “Arsenal, Nil, Norwich City, 3”, which Alan glares at Stephen for.

Sue’s description of the Goths: “The Goths were an ancient German tribe, I think, who wore crushed velvet and very, very thin drainpipe trousers, and spat in shopping centers.”

Stephen: “The Goths were actually Scandiwegian, and…you [Alan] look Scandiwegian-”
Sue: ‘Scandinavian and Glaswegian?”
Jimmy: “They sound dangerous!”

Jimmy: ‘BAD MONKS! There’s a good idea for a book.”
Jack: “They did that, it was called The DaVinci Code”
Jimmy: “They should have called it Bad Monks. It’s a film about some BAAAD monks! These monks have turned NASTY!”

Stephen: “Does Carpenter Gothic mean anything to you?”
Jimmy: “Carpenter Gothic? It was an interesting phase in their recording career. Cause she was quite skinny anyway, and she had the mascara…”

Stephen says the guy who painted American Gothic was Grant Wood.
Sue: “Grant Wood. Sounds like a porn star.”

Jimmy, on ‘Gothic’: “It’s great, because it makes me think the Goths sacked Rome…after being nagged about it by their mum for a fortnight.”

Jack: “I was a goth for a while.”
Stephen: “Were you?”
Jack: “Yeah, I was asked to leave because I was too miserable…”
Sue: “You were bringing them down?”
Alan: “I was an emu for a while…”

Jack: “What’s the difference between an emo and a goth? I’ve forgotten that…”
Alan: “One’s a flightless bird…”

Stephen: “Who painted Still Life with Sunflowers?”
Sue: “Van Goff.”
Jimmy: “No, then it’s Van Go-TH!”
Sue: “VAN GO!”
Jimmy: “OOH! Cezanne.”

Stephen: “There’s now a theory that Van Gogh’s ear was cut off by Gauguin.”
Jimmy: “Oh, it’s not pronounced Gauguin.”

Stephen: “Alan, you’re a zombie. You bite Jimmy. Jimmy, you bite Jack, and Jack, you bite Mel.”
Alan, correcting: “Sue.”
Sue looks confused and perturbed. Stephen just face palms. Jimmy does the Jimmy laugh.

Jimmy, on the zombie outbreak question: “I think it’s a trick question, because [Alan]’s a vegetarian. You wouldn’t bite me, I don’t think. You’d have a salad.”
Alan: “I wouldn’t CONSUME you, but I would be prepared to kill you, turn you into one of me, BWAHAHAHAHA!”
Fantastic link to Jonathan Creek, there.
Alan: “I LOOK like the character…not actually me.”
Jimmy: “Whereas Mel looks NOTHING LIKE HERSELF!”

Stephen reveals that people in Ghana can be buried in any object-shaped coffin they’d like. The picture shows a fish-coffin.
Jack: “Was he cremated or grilled?”

Jimmy’s got a lot of great lines about death. On dying too young, he says “there must be an age of which they die, where they say “naw actually, that’d be enough, that’ll do…”
Or, on ‘a loss in the family’ stones: “Well, everyone’s death is a loss in the family, so…”

Weird part about ‘see me rot dot com’, which is mentioned here, is that it’s not the first time i’ve been told about this. Ex-gf of mine. She was into some weird shit.

Stephen: “There are a lot of people who are deathly afraid of being buried alive.”
Alan: “I am quite afraid of it, now that you mention it…”

Stephen: “It has the biggest eyes of any animal relative to its head. The human equivalent to that-”
Jimmy: “-would be Natalie Imbruglia.”
Stephen: “They’re rather ugly…”
Jimmy: “I think she’s sexy…”

Stephen says this squid is able to “dazzle” anyone who tries to devour it.
Jimmy: “Its defense it to dazzle? Like, TA-DAAHHH!”
Sue, with a perfect analogy: ‘It’s the John Barrowman of deep-sea specimens…”

Stephen: “What’s the toughest way to become a mummy.”
Jimmy, after a thoughtful beat: “Reverse cowgirl?”
The audience applauds.
Stephen: “Now, they understand that. You’ll have to explain that to me.”
Jimmy: “i’m going to need a volunteer from the audience…”

On the town in florida that had 2/3rd of the US’s amputees in 1965.
Jack: “Did this town cost an arm and a leg to live there?”
Jimmy: “Is it the town where they put the diabetic clinic next to the donut shop?”
The audience literally has to stop and groan at that, in the midst of laughing. Jimmy’s even going “WHAT??”
Jimmy, going on: “Is it the town where the helicopter pad was next to the taxi rank?”

Stephen mentions it’s self-harming.
Sue: “Oh, uh, amputee-wannabes…I think I’ve made that sound…disrespectful…”

Stephen: “After the Vietnam war, who was buried in the tomb of the unknown soldier?”
Sue: “We don’t know. All of them were anonymous, weren’t they?”
Jimmy: “The whole nature of this show, it’ll mean, the unknown solider, he wasn’t a soldier, they KNEW him, and he wasn’t dead!”
Sue: “The unknown soldier was actually buried in a chili pepper in Ghana.”
Jack: “Was he an unknown soldier while he was still alive? He kept turning up, no one seems to notice. “How you doing? [whispered] who is that? I dunno!”

For the ‘saved by the bell’ question, Jack, narrowly dodging a question, gets it right by saying it’s a boxing reference. Alan says “I thought it was a reference to being buried alive.” AND HE STILL GETS A KLAXON.
Stephen: “Only Alan!”
Jimmy: “You were LITERALLY saved by the bell. He buzzed in and got it right, and you couldn’t say your stupid thing, AND YOU WENT THERE ANYWAY!! YOU’RE AMAZING!”

Stephen: “What can you tell me about Mozart’s burial?”
Jimmy: “Did they play Angels by Robbie Williams?”
(Don’t tell Mark Lamarr)

Alan ties for first for the second episode in a row, with Jack. Jimmy comes in last.

Overall: A very nice episode with four people that definitely came to play. I like Sue, because she’s not the funniest person on the panel, but she’s an outstanding connector, and she’s great in terms of a group dynamic, which this show THRIVES on. Jimmy had the best nice, and the best lines. Jack, like usual, stuck to the outskirts but always came in with some nice lines. Him and Rich Hall probably get along well, as they have the same humor.

MVP: Jimmy
Best Guest: Sue
Show Winners: Jack and Alan
Best QI Fact: Vampire Squid
Best Runner: Sue= Mel.