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-”
Alan: “AND LOOK AT THAT MAN, LOOMING OVER YOU, he’s going “AT LAST, I GOT YOU, FRY! MUAHAHAHA!”
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-”
Alan: “FOR DOING THAT TO THEM!”
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?”
Alan THEN…DOES THIS:
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.”
KLAXON

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.

Nevermind Watchdown: S27E13, or The Vegan’s on FIRE!

To quote tonight’s guest host, “I DID IT. *I* DID IT…[oh, sorry…]”

This is the last guest-hosted episode of Buzzcocks. After five series of it, countless classics, a few clunkers (looking at you, Westwood), and two Frankie Boyle episodes, the Guest Host era came to a close in 2013. I have gotten a ton out of this, proving that there didn’t need to be a host anchor to amount for a ton of great Buzzcocks moments. However…I am excited to see how Rhod Gilbert does in Series 28.

So, tonight’s Guest Host, the final one, is a guy I’m honestly mixed on. On one hand, Johnny Vegas is capable of being very funny, and capable of bringing out the best in people just by osmosis. On the other hand, I’ve never quite been a fan of him on NMTB. He’s just never won me over here. Tonight, he’s got the helm, and it’s the CHHRRRRRRIIIISTMAAAAAASSSS Show so it’ll at least be nice (I hope).

Of course, Johnny is lifted onto the set, dressed as a snowman, while Aled Jones’ Walking in the Air’ plays triumphantly. Can’t help but love an opening like that.

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 12.11.49 AM.pngAnd from here, he begins to yell the intros: “ON PHILL’S TEAM TANIIIGHT…”

The panel’s a nice bunch- Brian McFadden hasn’t been on since he kept repeatedly calling Mark Lamarr a duck. Sara Pascoe’s never been on Buzzcocks before, but tonight that all changes, and it’s about time. DJ Locksmith is an EDM DJ, and they were all the rage in 2013. Jessica Hynes hasn’t been on since the infamous ‘arm-wrestling’ episode with Simon. Hopefully she does better tonight.

Johnny, to start, has a series of ‘this-or-that’ Christmas questions that go from commonplace to bizarre pretty quickly.

I’m not writing down a ton of this, but it’s so wonderful, and it’s so insanely Johnny Vegas, going from bizarre and funny to emotional from one-second to another.

Johnny’s set-up is “How has Cliff Richard annoyed One Direction this Christmas?”
Sara: “Has he joined?”

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 12.31.34 AM.pngJohnny: “That looks like it was just removed from my ass…with a snowman doctor goin’ ‘it’s okay, they’re benign…”
Yeah,there is absolutely nothing quite like Johnny Vegas’ humor.

On the ID and Cliff mugs:
Johnny: “Cliff just wants to know, and I want the other four out me house before the police arrive…”
Phill: “There’s 5 of them.”
Johnny, channeling Stephen Fry: “Yeah, well, you’ve got to keep one in the basement, haven’t you?”

Noel, on his “Fleet of Cars” prop, which is just a big window pane: “Is this a fleet of cars? Because it just looks like the scene from Midnight Express…”
Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 12.41.53 AM.png

Noel: “This is like Week 1 of Marcel Marceau’s training cottage. “…and now without the glass…”

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 12.44.41 AM.pngJessica: “…problem is I just feel like Lady Gaga…”
Locksmith: “Call me kinky, but I probably would…”

Johnny: ‘I’m gonna have to press you for an answer…”
Noel: “THE WINDOW!!!”
Johnny: “IT’S NOT A WINDOW, IT’S A FLEET’TA CAAAHS!”
Noel: “A FLEET OF CAAAAHS!”

Johnny, on the playback for When a Child is Born: “This is the point where me mum would drop a quiche and wet herself.”

Also, this image:
Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 12.49.59 AM.png
Noel Fielding is the greatest.

After Sara steals both of Noel’s Intros
Noel: “The Vegan’s on FIRE! The red meat’s slowing us down, but the vegan’s on FIRE…”

Mid-standups, Johnny just randomly breaks into the Cheers theme song. I swear to god, nobody can write something this funny.

Johnny questions Phill’s ‘driving’ mime.
Phill: “I WAS PLEASURING *TWO*…*LORRY DRIVERS!*”

Johnny stops Phill and Brian’s 2nd intro, and suggests that Brian play him as bongos, as he literally lies down on top of the desk. Sure enough, Brian starts patting his chest for the percussion…which Johnny responds with ‘OW!’ noises.

(For the record…Sara Pascoe answered every single intro correctly tonight. I never thought she’d be THIS GOOD at this game. She’s like the Kim Newman of Buzzcocks.)

Johnny, on #2, aka Craig Phillips: ‘He’s got that Robbie Williams look to it. LET’S PEEL HIS FLESH OFF…AND LET WOMEN SKATE AROUND HIM…WHILE WE’VE GOT THE OPPORTUNITY!”

(For the record, the reason that DJ Locksmith hasn’t been very vocal this show is because I think everytime the camera’s done a wide shot of Noel’s panel, he’s been laughing hysterically. So if you’re wondering why Locksmith’s underedited…blame it on Johnny for being so damned funny tonight.

This season wouldn’t be complete without one more fuck-up. Johnny, right before next lines, flips the envelope of Next Lines Questions AND Answers to Phill’s team…and seconds later, an embarrassed producer has to VO in and go ‘no, you read them out…”
The whole panel just facepalms, giggling. Noel gets a huge kick out of it.

Johnny just goes on this ridiculous, slightly-drunken, semi-serious rant, which ends with him looking over at Phill and going “…you know, if you weren’t so honest, you could have won this…it was all there for the taking, and you kept sliding the envelope back like I was some bloke in a car park trying to offer you money to put me willy where it shouldn’t be…”

Johnny, finally getting to the Next Lines: “He had a broad face and a round little belly…”
Phill: “That’s why they let him HOST!”

Overall: As a Christmas show, a bit uneven, a bit uneventful…but goddamn if I didn’t laugh hard. The problem is that, with most Johnny Vegas episodes, the focus was more on him and less on everyone else, and the panel was kind of underedited, as they had to edit around Johnny’s shenanigans. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as Johnny was friggin hysterical. It just wasn’t a great Buzzcocks episode, because there are people like DJ Locksmith, whose sole purpose in the edit was just dying at Johnny’s lines, and Brian McFadden, who at least didn’t annoy the host but came off as bland. At least Sara had some nice moments and a kickass Intros round, but Jessica didn’t do much. Still, a nice enough funny episode, even if it wasn’t very substantial.

Guest Host Rating: 8/10
Best Regular: Noel
Best Guest: Sara
Best Runner: …just Johnny Vegas existing, I guess.

SERIES 27 SUPERLATIVES!!!!

Guest Hosts, Ranked Best to Worst:
Russell Howard, Episode 2
Peter Andre, Episode 3
Warwick Davis, Episode 10
John Hannah, Episode 1
Michael Bolton, Episode 8
Eamonn Holmes, Episode 6
Johnny Vegas, Episode 13
Sara Cox, Episode 4
Jack Whitehall, Episode 9
Dizzee Rascal, Episode 11
Rizzle Kicks, Episode 7
Kristen Schaal, Episode 5

Best Episode: Episode 3, the Peter Andre episode, one I was dreading…but Peter managed to turn it around, not only with a willingness to play and make fun of himself, but with the immortal ‘Insania’ round, giving me some of my biggest belly-laughs of the season. Tony Law was his usual, insane self, and Scissor Sisters’ Ana Matronic was surprisingly amazing.
Second Best Episode: Episode 10, featuring Warwick Davis, an emphasis on music from cinema, and some of the best runner-based humor we’ve had since Mark Lamarr hosted. Other than ‘Squirrels Ate My Cake’, which…again, fantastic, there was Chris Ramsey giving his best Buzzcocks performance, some really nice hosting from Warwick, and a surprisingly funny tiebreak round.
Third Best Episode: Episode 2, with Russell Howard. I almost gave this to Episode 9, surprisingly the Jack Whitehall episode, but I could not forget Episode 2, especially considering Stacey Solomon’s animal impressions, Russell bagging on Lethal Bizzle (Hashtag Fannys), and the fact that Russell may have given the smoothest ‘audition’ of any guest host Buzzcocks had on in this era.
Worst Episode: Episode 5. Nothing got off the ground. The panel was comprised of three TV personalities that all knew each other…and David O’Doherty, who only knew host Kristen Schaal and didn’t have a great show. Kristen was loud, boorish, annoying, and wasn’t always great for the position. There were some nice moments, supplied by Rylan Clark and Noel calling James Arthur a koala, but on a strong season, this is the weak link.
Hardest-to-Watch Episode: Episode 7. I had to make a category for this one. Episode 7, while funny, and amusing in some pieces, cannot be watched without choosing a side in the debate over who wronged who. Did Rizzle Kicks annoy Huey Morgan to such a state that he couldn’t take it anymore? Or was Huey drunk, high, over the hill and grumpy, to the point where his ego couldn’t take these ‘kids’ bashing him in? No matter where you stand, it’s an ugly show.
Best Regular: Phill Jupitus, for keeping his boost of energy from last series going, dominating some episodes and returning to his active, jovial mood from Buzzcocks’ Golden Age.
Best Comedian Panelist: Seann Walsh, Episode 8. I nearly gave this to James Acaster for his performance in E1, but Seann had the bigger show, and bounced off of Michael Bolton with his bizarre, lion-esque humor. Plus, his ‘WHAT’S THAT COMING OVER THE HILL, IT IS A BLENDER’ line still kills me. Honorable mentions go to Sara Pascoe, Alex Brooker, Paul Foot, Sarah Millican, Tony Law, Chris Ramsey, James Acaster.
Best Musician Panelist: Ana Matronic, Episode 3. Last season Mark Hoppus got this spot, for coming from a very serious, well-known group and absolutely defying my expectations by having a shit-ton of fun on the program. Ana Matronic did that arguably better, by delivering a nasty, but good-natured, dig at Peter Andre, as well as getting some of the best lines in the show and collaborating well with Phill in intros. I also considered Lethal Bizzle, Iggy Azalea, Conor Maynard, Jamie Cullum, Shaun Ryder, Shane Filan, Alfie Boe, Aston Merrygold.
Biggest Dartboard: Stacey Solomon, Episode 2. Like usual, people had their fun with Stacey, but Russell at least put her to good use with the ‘animal impressions’ runner.
Most Confused Panelist: Shaun Ryder, Episode 6. He seemed very strung-out, but as a member of the Happy Mondays, it’s part of the contract. He at least had a nice time, unlike my other option for this category (Huey Morgan).
Best Runner: Johnny Borrell dating Jack Whitehall’s sister, Episode 9. I loved this one because Jack got more and more irritated every time someone brought it up (I laugh at his initial, annoyed “shut up” every time). Plus, Alex, Noel and everyone get in on it, and the joke is on Jack for once. (To be fair, I almost put Stacey Solomon’s animal impressions here as well).

Next up…the LAST EVER SERIES OF BUZZCOCKS. PERMANENTLY hosted by a guy with a potato tattooed on his arm.

QI Watchdown: H8 (Hypothetical), or The Answer is NOT to Poo on the Scale!

PHEW…It’s been a WHILE since I’ve done a QI. Six months to be exact. Still, I think it’s about time we dove into another one. Let’s see what we’ve got.

Oh.

This one…might be a mess.

This is, in fact, a Johnny Vegas episode, and it also features John Lloyd, who has produced countless programs such as Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Blackadder, and Have I Got News For You…as well as this very program. This may be a case of throwing a production member into the mix in lieu of actual talent, and as I recall, this didn’t go well the last time (thanks to a certain loaf of bread named Howard Goodall). Good news is our anchor is our first Sandi Toksvig appearance of the season.

Tonight’s show, according to Stephen, is all hypothetical questions, questions with no answers, which is nice, for a change.

Johnny, tonight, is wearing a black, logo less baseball cap, and a hawaiian shirt. I know he’s just playing the part of his character, but he is coming off as very obnoxious, even though that’s the point.

John Lloyd’s appearance is explained, as this is the 99th taping of the show, they wanted to bring him out and see if he was up to the task, and he seems very gracious about it. So, from that standpoint…I get it.

First question of the night: “What’s the best way to weigh your own head?”
Alan: “You cut it off…”
Stephen: “Yes, but then someone else would have to weigh it-”
A bit late, the KLAXON goes off.

Stephen says that it can be achieved by putting your head in a bucket.
Johnny, being Johnny: “You could put apples in to make it fun…”

Johnny: “But what if the air-pockets get in your ears?”
Johnny puts his hands in his ears, to explain. Sandi, seeing this, goes “take your fingers out of your ears, or you won’t hear the answer-”
Johnny, under the applause: ‘FUCK IT!”

Sandi tells a story of his grandfather, who had two glass eyes, one of which was bloodshot: “We called it grandpa’s party eye. And when he’d go out, he’d put the bloodshot eye in and say ‘I’m going out, and I won’t be back until they match!”

So for, John’s piping in with information. This may be what we’re in for. He gives a fact about Sir Walter Raleigh’s wife carrying his head in a bag for thirty years.
Alan: “I can see why John invented this show- for the information he’s been carrying around in his pocket for years…”
Johnny, deadpan: “It was on Buzzcocks last week…”

Sandi: “I bet it was a few years before anyone wanted to sit next to her at dinner, Lady Raleigh. People going ‘oh, she’s not going to bring the head, now, is she?”

On Paradoxical Undressing:
Sandi: “Is it like counterintuitive undressing, like taking your clothes off when Jeremy Clarkson wants you to?”
Ooooh. Sandi, you know he’s on in two weeks, right?

Stephen mentions a man who can control his own body temperature
Stephen: “And we contacted him-”
Alan: “And he said he’s not coming in here because it’s freezing…”

John talks about people who would steam wet towels to dry with their own body temperatures.
Sandi: “Can you hire these people?”
Alan: “They’re a good act, they’d get on Britain’s got Talent.”
Sandi: “Yeah, that’d be good… ‘What are you gonna do?’ ‘I’m gonna dry this wet towel!”
Alan: “You can do patterns on wet towels with your hands. It’s ART!”

Stephen said that in the 1800s, there’s a test created to determine if a person is dead or not.
Alan: “If they’re watching Eastenders without reaching to turn it off…”

Stephen talks of the various tactics people tried to determine if someone was dead.
Alan: “Don’t try all of these with one person. ‘AUUUGH!…AIIIIGHH! GAAAHH!’

Stephen, continuing: “Putting leeches on someone’s bottom…”
Johnny: “This just sounds like a normal day of my mom getting me up for school…”

John, still supplying information, talks of a clown, Grimaldi, who willed his head be cut off before his cremation.
Sandi: “He wasn’t just weighing it?”

Stephen also mentioned that extreme putrid smell was a nice indicator of death
Sandi: “So if you had…really bad personal hygiene but you weren’t actually dead…”
Stephen: “Yes, it could be…”
Alan, cracking up: “He stinks! He must be dead! ‘But he’s walking around, he’s talking!’ ‘HE’S DEAD!”

John has this whole theoretical discussion with Stephen about whether or not a falling tree makes a sound if there’s nothing around, and while it’s interesting for QI, everyone else sort of watches. Johnny does make a nice, surrealist line in there, but it’s dropped quickly to go back to the discussion.

Though, as Stephen is bringing up a really nice point to sort of finish off John, Johnny’s on the other side going “GO ON! GO ON, STEPHEN!”

Johnny, putting in one last point: “But if the tree fell down, and no one was around to see it fall, it should still be upright…”
Sandi, trying to bring it back: “Anyway, Alan, are you keeping well?”

Sandi, putting a bow on what was supposed to be a quickfire round: “If a quickfire hypothetical round takes a rather long time, is it still quickfire?”

On aliens and directions
Johnny: ‘Aliens might not have only one version for left. That’d be a hellish SATNav. LEFT…NO…-”
Alan: “Not that one, not that one, not that one, YES!”
Johnny: “…lllllleft!”

Stephen’s next hypothetical is about whether a lorry loses weight when all its pigeons lift off of the bottom of the truck. Johnny is about to make a good point to why it’s not…and relates it to “when you do a #2, and you haven’t actually lost any weight.”
Stephen: “Ah…so we’re in a slightly different wheelhouse then.”
Alan: “If you will, crap on the scale…”
Stephen: “YOU’RE RIGHT, THE ANSWER IS NOT TO POO ON THE SCALE.”
Alan: “Leave the scales, do the #2, come back to the scales…”
Sandi: “The money I’ve wasted on enemas…”

Stephen: “Perhaps it’s time to move on from our hypotheticals…”
Alan: “That was very quick!”

John gives another correct answer, and goes “I’m on the wrong show, I should be on Mastermind or something…”
I mean, at least he admits it..

Stephen talks about the 27 Club, which of course I’ve heard of, but none of the panelists seem to know about. When Stephen starts listing the members, all John can name is ‘the Stones guy’, Brian Jones.

Stephen also talks about the curse of the 9th, all these musicians who died after their ninth symphony.
Alan: “What an unusual serial killer that must have been. There should have been CSI: Vienna…”

On what would happen to a Siamese cat in the fridge:
Alan: “It would turn into an ordinary cat”
Stephen: “ALMOST!”
Alan: “It would turn into a dog!”

Stephen’s looking for an animal. Alan gets the klaxon with bat, and guesses mole, but under Sandi’s breath. Johnny guesses mole, and Stephen awards him the point, though Alan, and the audience, attest that he did it first.
Johnny, going back to John’s argument: “No, because sound isn’t a thing and it didn’t travel!”

Stephen, as a finale, asks which actually came first, the chicken or the egg. The panel responds with 5 seconds of silence.

Sandi has a nice joke, about a chicken and egg who’ve just made love, and “as they’re having a post-coital cigarette, the chicken says “well, that answers that old question…”

Stephen: “What’s the longest recorded flight by a chicken, in history?”
John: “13 seconds, isn’t it?”
Stephen, floored and kind of done: “….YES. THIRTEEN SECONDS IS THE RIGHT ANSWER…”

Overall: Fun show, with a lot of nice moments, even if was kind of thin in some areas. John’s presence on the show was obligatory, and he had a lot of information-based moments that didn’t always add something to the narrative, except if Johnny, Alan or Sandi wanted to screw with him. Sandi was the best panel contributor tonight, giving some of the best answers, and being a great connector. Johnny had a quieter game than he ever has, and was more composed in character-he had nice moments, just less of them. Good enough show, but imperfect.

MVP: Sandi
Show Winner: Sandi
Best Runner: the quick fire round that wasn’t.

Nevermind Watchdown: S22E04

Right, right, where were we? Ah. Buzzcocks. Guest Bill era. Good, good. And tonight’s features….aw, shit.

Well, tonight’s guest Bill is Johnny Vegas. While he can be funny, and just plain weird, I haven’t always adored him on Buzzcocks, and I’m hoping he’ll give a nice enough performance.

Aside from him, the only other panelist I’ve heard of is Rhys Darby, the famed Australian goofball who you’ve probably seen in Yes Man, Pirate Radio or What We do in the Shadows.

It’s weird…Johnny looks a ton slimmer and a ton more low-key than his previous, and most of his QI, appearances. Maybe this is a more mature turn? Though…probably not because it is Johnny Vegas.

Danny Dyer’s an actor and walking punchline. Kate Jackson sang with the Long Blondes, and Harry Judd is another member of McFly.

Kate, discussing the question: “I’d be made physically sick if I were forced to watch the Killers.”
Audience: “OOOOOHHHH”
Simon: “…controversial, there.”

Johnny: “Didn’t one of the Charlatans go missing for days on end and when he turned up started pissing blood?”
Simon: “…was it them or McFly?”

Simon gets to embarrass Danny a bit by showing clips of his new show where he interviews dangerous people, which…Danny doesn’t want to show because he’s not proud of it. Simon rolls a clip, featuring Danny saying, to the camera, that “me bum is flapping a little bit…”

Then after Danny says that psychopaths are the best kinds of people, he points at Harry and says “why don’t you go bother him about McFly?”

Simon: “But which of them reportedly head-butted their own brother at a Christening?”
Phill: “Was Danny there? Making one of his shows?”

Phill: “I believe that the audition to get into McFly was you had to headbutt…”
Harry: “…headbutt what?”
Phill: “…a baby. At a christening.”

Rhys, on Buble: “He’s actually the son of fishermen.”
Harry: “…son of A fisherman.”
Rhys: “No, two.”

Johnny doing intros is actually pretty amusing, as he’s cracking up throughout, because he KNOWS he’s terrible at this, and just doubles over laughing at one point.

Kate: ‘I feel like I’ve done more than enough here!”
Johnny: “…just like sex, innit?”

Also, what gives Danny the ‘Movin’ on Up’ intro was Johnny getting his hair pulled back to look like Shovell, or ‘that drummer that looked like he escaped from the circus…’

Simon: “In one of their hits, M-People suggest to ‘search for the hero inside yourself’. I searched for the hero inside myself, and found Batman in my bellybutton!”
Phill: “And Johnny found the Hulk up his ass…”
Johnny: “Somehow I wasn’t constipated- he was chucking out the boulders IN A RAGE!”
Phill’s gone. Absolutely gone.

Okay, maybe it’s because I’m a U2 fan, but Phill and Harry’s intro for ‘Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me’ is one of the best ones so far this series in terms of accuracy.

This season’s doing a ton of ID-Parade-less episodes, which…I appreciate the change in format, but some things are just inseparable with the show.

For Danny’s team’s Next Lines, Simon just keeps giving Danny Cockney songs, which he still gives, but…ashamedly.

Overall: I didn’t write down a lot, but this one was lighter. Johnny was a pretty nice spare-part-ish guest captain, and had some nice lines here and there. Simon sort of controlled the episode with his Danny and Harry bashing. Kate didn’t have a ton to do. Rhys was pretty damned funny, giving great lines and even involving himself in bits with Phill.

Best Regular: Simon
Best Guest: Rhys
Guest Bill Rating: 8/10. Nothing too special, but still pretty fun.
Best Runner: Phill’s near-death experiences.

Nevermind Watchdown: S8E6, or HANG ON, LET ME WRITE THAT DOWN…’DAWW NAWW NAWW NAWW…”

Back into the depths of Buzzcocks for an episode featuring Johnny Vegas, Take That’s Mark Owen, and Hear’Say’s Noel Sullivan AND Kym Marsh. Lot of miming, and incoherency, abound.

Noel, on the Bowie Indescipherable Lyrics: “The first line is ‘I’ve laughed and I’ve needed muff’
Sean: “YOUR MOTHER’S HERE FOR GOD’S SAKES!”

Sean: “Next one’s ‘ain’t got no money and ain’t got no hair’
Noel: “The Elton John Story, i reckon.”
Noel’s actually pretty damn funny here…

After Sean’s IL round ends with ‘Owen Owen Owen Owen”
Mark O: “Can I hear that ‘OWEN OWEN OWEN’ bit again? Cause it’s been a long time.
Sean: “You had your moment, don’t worry…”
Mark O: “This is me comeback, I think.”
Johnny: “I thought it was a quiz but apparently it’s a relaunch.”

Oh dear. Phill’s team has to do Indescipherable Lyrics for metal core band Mudvayne. Not since the Napalm Death one have we seen so much incoherent screaming.

Mark, on Mudvayne: “That’s Bruce Forsythe…”
Mark L: “I’d love it if Bruce just came out and went “…AAAAAHHHHHHH!!!”

Mark O goes to perform the lyrics. Sean, of course, goes “good luck with the comeback.”

Kym translating: “Knickers are ripped, they will do for the dog…”
Mark: “…why does a dog need knickers, Kym?”
Kym: “When I was a kid, we had a dog, and it was, you know, it was a bitch, and it was menstruating, and so I put knickers on it.And I cut a hole in it for its tail and everything…”
Johnny, absolutely serious: “I did that with me mum…”

Johnny has a ‘BECAUSE IT IS’-esque breakdown about knowing Bergerac, which leads to a breakdown about gardening and knives, and culminates in him ripping his shirt open (Jarred Christmas-style) and Mark getting him to go on with the round. Johnny’s not always my cup of tea, but him at his most animated is still pretty funny.

Other than some Johnny moments, or Mark screwing with Mark O about not getting any intros, there’s not a ton in this one.

Screen Shot 2016-07-02 at 1.38.12 AM

Noel: “Wasn’t #3 on Only Fools and Horses?”
Sean: “Now, Noel, #3 might be coming down your chimney this Christmas!”

Screen Shot 2016-07-02 at 1.41.03 AM.png

Johnny: ‘Is there any biological reason why #4 can’t join his hands together?”
Sean: “BECAUSE HE’S THE GRIM REAPER!”

Mark: “Let me take you down, cause I’m going to.”
Johnny: “Daww naww naww naww…”
Mark: “HANG ON, LET ME WRITE THAT DOWN…DAWW NAWW NAWW NAWW…”

Overall: Light episode, but with a few good moments, featuring unhinged Johnny Vegas, Mark Owen desperate for a comeback, and Sean not getting a word in edgewise in Next Lines. Didn’t really gain anything by seeing this one late.

Best Regular: Phill
Best Guest: Johnny
Best Runner: Mark vs. the sound guy

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-”
Johnny: “IT’S NOT SORT OF THAT! IT’S VERY CONFUSING!”

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.”
[beat]
“BECAUSE IT’S *NOT*. That could have been a question.”
He then draws a straight line, and goes “WHY DOES THAT LOOK STRAIGHT?”
[beat]
“BECAUSE IT IS!! BECAUSE IT *IS!*”
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.”
KLAXON

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

SERIES G SUPERLATIVES!!!!
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)

Nevermind Watchdown: S9E10 or GET OUT OF MY SWAMP!!

Looking like a pretty awesome lineup to finish a pretty stellar ninth season with. We have return appearances from Johnny Vegas and Fish, an appearance from Belinda Carlisle of the Go-Gos, and Myleene Klass from Hear’Say for Mark to make fun of. AND, to quote Noddy Holder, IIIIIT’S CHRIIISTMAAAAASSS!!!!

Fish, on the A1 video: “As you can see, they’re all wearing baggy pants. Because they’re not allowed to have sex, their testicles are so huge…”
Mark: “Are you saying they’re filling out those trousers?”
Fish: “Yeah, they are.”
Sean: “Clowns never have sex either, that’s why they wear those silly pants.”
Fish: ‘Clowns don’t have sex for a different reason. Who’d WANT TO have sex with a clown??”
Sean: “OTHER CLOWNS!!”

There is something very odd about the Belinda-Johnny dynamic. Johnny, for the purpose of the bit, clarifies that Belinda cross dressing would mean him kissing a woman dressed as a man. And she just is like “EXACTLY”, sort of condescendingly. Like, I don’t think she knows what to think of Johnny.

Johnny, on the bubble-bath-filled Stones video: “Was this an ad for Maytag? You know, the Bathtime Buddy?”
Mark: “I suppose that was a Wyman chat-up line at some point.”

Phill: ‘I can just imagine him in a library, where all his books have pages hollowed out so he can fit Jack Daniels bottles in there…”
Mark: “Can you imagine that? He’s Keith Richards, and he’s pretending he doesn’t drink. “I’m just going off for a long READ…”

Myleene and Fish doing The Chain by Fleetwood Mac is pretty amusing, not because of how spot on it is, but because of how into it Fish gets with his facial expressions. Mark even goes “It’s like Halloween 7!”

Fish, responding to a Mark gag, says, a la Shrek, “GET OUTTA MAH SWAMP!”
Mark: ‘so he’s done Shrek as well…”

Fish has to whisper something to Myleene.
Mark: “Dunno if you heard that, but Fish said “if you don’t mind, could you get out of my swamp?”
Fish: “Actually I said, ‘If you don’t mind, would you like to COME to my swamp?”
Mark: “You know, it wouldn’t surprise me if you did own a swamp…”

Johnny trying to do an Intro is making me laugh. It just sounds like a dying dog.

Again, this round, where Phill has to guess, doesn’t work because Phill knows basically every song ever, and they’re obviously gonna get points here.

Mark keeps using the Del Shannon guitar break throughout the show, or anytime he finishes a joke, he plays it and starts dancing around to it. It’s pretty amusing, actually, and escalates as the show goes on.

Sean on Driver 62: “They were a one-hit wonder, right?”
Fish: “No, they did a whole album…Driver 62, Driver 58…”

A twist in ID Parade for Phill’s side- they have to pick the member of the lineup who WASN’T in Gonzalez. And that’s actually pretty funny.

#3 is ridiculously old, and the teams keep making fun of this.
Phill: “#3 to me is STEEPED in funk.”
Johnny: “Is #3 #4’s dad? And he’s got visitation rights, and he’s made him come along tonight.”

Belinda: “I can see the other four being in a band together.”
Phill: “And I can see #3 doing the books for the other four…”
Mark: “I can see #3 running a Nuclear Power Plant in Springfield.”
and OH MY GOD THAT IS MR. BURNS.
Phill, doing a PITCH PERFECT MR. BURNS: “SMITHERS, WAS I IN GONZALEZ? Release the single!”
(I am basically in tears)

Johnny: “My heart tells me #4…my head tells me #1.”
#1 looks very confused.
Mark: “I think if there’s one thing your heart’s telling you, it’s ‘less cholesterol.’

Ah, in payback for Lemmy ‘having a miserable time’ a few seasons back, they introduce a new round where they get to draw on his picture.

Phill’s team has to restore Shane McGowan’s missing teeth. Phill decides to block out all but his two fronts, draw a carrot and write ‘THAT’S ALL FOLKS’

Overall: Not as top-to-bottom amazing as the last episode (although you could say that about any NMTB episode), but still really good, and featuring some great moments, especially out of Fish and Johnny. Belinda was quieter but gave some good stuff. Myleene didn’t get a ton on air. The ID Parade with Gonzalez is a classic, and the whole Del Shannon bit made me laugh.

Best Regular: Phill
Best Guest: Fish
Best Runner: Mark’s Del Shannon dancing.

SERIES 9 SUPERLATIVES!!!
Best Episode: Episode 9, by far, ft. Fairbrass being flamboyant, and Lightning Crackles
2nd Best Episode because that’s almost not fair: Episode 4, featuring Toyah Wilcox and Mark lusting after a picture of Ben.
Worst Episode: Episode 6, save for some Brian Molko moments there wasn’t a ton going on.
Best Comedian Panelist: Johnny Vegas (Episode 10)
Best Musician Panelist: Richard Fairbrass (Episode 9) or Terry Hall (Episode 5)
Best Regular: Mark, for unhinging even further and bringing forth some of the better running gags of the season. (LIGHTNING CRACKLE)
Most Fun Musician Guest: Fish, Episode 10.
Most Befuddled Panelist: Roger Sanchez, Episode 6.
Best Dartboard for Mark: Either Richard Fairbrass or Phil Alexander, Episode 9. The gags just kept coming.
Episode I wish they’d let me see: Episode 8.
Best Runner: LIGHTNING CRACKLE

Nevermind Watchdown: S7E1, or The One with the Kazoos

OOOOOH, LOTS TO LOOK FORWARD IN THIS SERIES OPENER!!

There are three guests I’ve heard of, and only one of them has been on the show before, Roisin from Moloko. The other two are the bassist from one of my favorite rock and roll bands, John Entwistle of The Who, a year or so before his untimely passing, and one of the oddest and most interesting recurring panelists from QI, one who probably is suited more for this show, Johnny “FUCK THE PIGEONS STEPHEN…AM I GAY???” Vegas.

Additionally, Danny McNamara, lead singer for britpop band Embrace, is also here, but I’m just really excited for the other three.

THE VERY FIRST SHOT OF THE EPISODE…IS ATHELSTON SITTING AT MARK’S DESK. JUST STARING INTO THE CAMERA. I’m already dead, guys.
Then they just cut back to Mark, as if nothing’s happened.

WAIT A MINUTE. HANG ON ONE MOMENT. Mark’s hair is no longer the greased, slicked-back coif that we all know and love, but is now a cropped, very short, buzzed look, that makes him look more like Johnny Vaughn. I’m not alright.

Johnny, on Mariah and Eminem: “Is it X-Men? Mutant qualities?”
Mark: “i’m anxious to hear this. Go on.”
Johnny: “She’s got the ability to lift trees…”

Right at the start of the intro clip for Gary Numan’s Cars, a lone, loud person in the audience goes “WOOO!”, causing Mark to stop the standup to look over at them. Phill does this too.
Mark: “I think that’s the only time in 20 years that somebody’s gone “YEEAHHH!” for that song.

Phill says, of Kid Creole and Gary Numan, that they’re both in a cookery book. “Creole chicken is a delicacy in Louisiana. Gary Numan chicken…is prepared in a futuristic style.”
Mark: “HERE IN MY PAN.”

Danny, for the 2nd intro, steals the kazoo Mark used for a bit. After a little while, Mark’s going ‘Danny, give it back. My father always said never put your kazoo in another man’s mouth…”

For the ‘let’s see how Knock On Wood should have sounded’, they do the Eye of the Tiger treatment, and keep cutting around the studio to the beat. Whenever they cut back to Mark, he’s got the kazoo back in his mouth.

There’s a running gag about Mark literally giving Roisin the titles as hints, like “Roisin, did you hear the drums?”, or, “Roisin, did you come on a JET?”

Mark: “The rights to many of Paul McCartney’s songs are now owned by Michael Jackson, although not the one that starts “she was just seventeen.” Michael was disinterested for TWO reasons there.”

Danny: “#2’s got charisma.”
Sean: “Well, they’ve all got charisma, Danny.”
Johnny: “#3 traded in his charisma for crack.”
Johnny’s not doing a whole lot tonight, but I’m glad he’s here.

This is great. Sean’s team is so pathetic in Next Lines that Mark keeps taking out ones that they won’t get. He even runs out, and puts his hands together, waiting for the timer to go off, staring at the camera.

The show ends with Athelston back in Mark’s seat, signing off.

BTW- ATHELSTON EVEN GETS A CREDIT, UNDER ‘SPECIAL GUEST’!

Overall: Funny, if imperfect, show to start the year. Johnny had his moments but not all of them were funny. Roisin was great because she didn’t know anything. John was very grumpy, and didn’t do too much, but did a lot more than your average Lemmy Kilmister.

Best Regular: Mark
Best Guest: Johnny
Best Runner: Kazoos

QI Watchdown: F4 (Fight or Flight)

After the stunningly brilliant debut of the XL edition of QI, and with three weeks without one of the bag of regulars so heavily relied upon in Series E, we’ve finally hit one of our anchors, as Fight or Flight is indeed a Sean Lock episode. The show also features Johnny Vegas, which means hopefully he’ll be more funny than annoying here, and Pam Ayres, a TV presenter and poet, although, thanks to Roger McGough, I’m horrified at the prospect of having another poet on the show.

Johnny wearing a little pilot’s helmet actually cracks me up. And Pam looks like one of those flammable grannies that Dom was talking about a few episodes ago.

The buzzers have a little throttle on them tonight. Pam’s is a machine gun fire on a plane. You can tell she’s not really seen this show, because she looks at Stephen and goes “wow, it’s like a machine gun.” Stephen, matter-of-factly, goes “you know, I think it actually *is* a machine gun…”

Johnny plays the part, his buzzer being another plane noise, and he even ducks and yells “HE’S ALL OVER ME!” Alan’s, of course, is an aircraft crashing.

There’s a clip shown of Alan skydiving while attached to someone on his backside. Stephen, amusedly, goes “Alan, I can understand a ‘one exciting thing at a time’, but why do free falling AND sodomy at the same time? You know, why not just do one and THEN the other?”
Alan: “It was a reasonable price…”

Pam seems to have a very similar overall cynicism to Jo Brand, though not as funny as her, I think.

Another instance of Stephen being confused by a particular accent. Pam answers a question in saying “it was puffed.” Stephen, of course, needs her to repeat it once or twice for him to understand it. Reminded me of the “Feeeehhns. Meeek a cahnny noise!” argument from Descendants.

We’re 7 minutes in and Sean, with the exception of one joke, hasn’t said too much. Is it like Phill in Eating, where Johnny’s sheer presence makes him sad?

Johnny is keeping his pilot’s hat on, and as Stephen begins to read off context, he says “Stephen, I must point out, I can’t hear anything you’re saying…”

Alan: “I was told that flying fish, you know, only fly alone.”
Sean: “That sounds like a code, Alan. (into a fake mic) “FLYING FISH ONLY FLY ALONE…”

Pam, on the flying fish, says she once saw one fly for ages and ages and ages, and then plunk back into the water. Stephen reads off the card that, really, they only fly for about 30 seconds. Johnny, whispered, goes “who’s gonna tell Pam she probably saw a duck?”

Stephen: “What’s the opposite of a flying fish?”
Sean: “Tunneling flamingo.”

Ah, yes, I believe we’ve reached our first ever actual f-bomb on QI. They’re talking about penguins, how they swim instead of fly. Johnny goes “You’re saying it’s magnificent. It’s swimming ’round goin’ “LOOK AT THIS! LOOK WHAT I’VE DONE!” and all the other birds are going…”look at that fookin’ idiot…”

Stephen: “Why do women make the best fishermen?”
Johnny: “They’re all descended from mermaids.”
Sean: “I can see you whispering that into a girl’s ear.”
Johnny: “…and in 1654, they negotiated a deal with the, rem, octopus wish, to let them also have the voice…”
By that point the confused audience cuts him off laughing. His stuff just gets so weird sometimes.
Sean, cracking up, even goes “I NEED TO WRITE THIS DOWN!”

Stephen: “Name something that’s much easier to do when you’re wearing boxing gloves?”
Sean: “Frisk a porcupine.”
Johnny: “GIVE UP MASTURBATING!!”

I feel like Sean in this episode is there to make jokes, but hasn’t really interacted too much with any of the other contestants. Pam is just telling her own stories, and Johnny is just…being Johnny. Very weird dynamic.

Funniest thing. Halfway through the episode Stephen realizes that Johnny, with his pilot headgear, looks like the pigeon from Wacky Races.

Johnny is explaining that, I think he “watched his family fall to their death’, i imagine in a dream or something. I dunno. His accent got in the way. Stephen asks him if he’s been able to interpret that in some way. Johnny guesses “I’ll probably…erm, kill ’em?
Stephen, completely serious, goes “I think it means you’re gay!” Johnny is shocked, and goes “DOES IT???”
And then, Stephen goes back to explaining the balloon question, but Johnny isn’t done. He yells “FUCK THE PIGEONS, STEPHEN!! AM I GAY???” Made me laugh very hard.
Stephen, trying to get on with the question, says “ask your boyfriend. He might know.”
Johnny even goes “How could he know? He’s pre-op!”

And then, even into the next question, Johnny’s looking at Sean’s trousers, going “I’m looking at his penis!” He even points at Pam and goes “I’ve gone right off you! I’m gay!” This running gag is really helping what could have been a very poor episode.

Stephen tries to get the question back on track. Sean has to say “I didn’t even hear the question. He was looking at my penis!”

It’s kind of odd that Alan doesn’t end up in last, but third, which he reminds the audience by holding up 3 fingers. Pam wins, though, unsurprisingly. Sean gets last.

Overall: A very so-so episode, with the only highlights being Johnny’s absolute zeal. Sean was very quiet today, and didn’t completely take hold of the panel, and Pam wasn’t terribly interesting. Johnny, however, was hysterical, giving the ‘FUCK THE PIGEONS, STEPHEN, AM I GAY???” running gag, which will surely be the most memorable part of the episode.

MVP: Johnny
Best Guest: Sean
Show Winner: Pam
Best QI Fact: Bearskins.

QI Watchdown: E3 (Eating)

Well…I’ve not been looking forward to this episode.

You see…it’s bad enough when you hit an episode of QI where you have to sit through 30 minutes of a panelist you rather dislike, and then never have to see them on the show again, except for one or two more times. But…with Johnny Vegas, who debuts tonight…he’s STILL appearing on the show. He recurs for the next nine or so series’. And he keeps this same, loud, obnoxious demeanor through all of those appearances. So I’m bracing myself, because this is just the tip of the Vegas iceberg. IT COULD GET WORSE.

Thankfully, tonight’s episode also features Phill Jupitus and Jimmy Carr, two fantastic panelists who, unless i’m mistaken, haven’t appeared together, at least not in a while. So it can’t be the worst of the worst. But it’s probably gonna be pretty bad.

One of the first episodes in a while where Phill has no beard. This is a new look for him.

The buzzers are all food-related songs. Jimmy’s is ‘Food, Glorious Food’ from Oliver, which he gives a come-on sort of look at the end of. Phill’s is ‘TV Dinners’ by ZZ Top, which he bobs along to, until he gets to the line ‘nothing else to eat’, which he looks pained at Stephen for. Johnny’s is ‘Spam’ from Monty Python, which he follows with ‘TODDAAAAY…I TRAMPLED NINE WOMEN…TO GET TO THE BAR…” Alan’s is just ‘Rabbit’.

Stephen (trying to introduce the Elephant in the Room): “Ah, but what’s that smell?”
Alan: “Sorry.”

Stephen, in a Vincent Price impression: ‘What happens in the Rhubarb Triangle?”
Jimmy: ‘I don’t think I’m even supposed to call it the Rhubarb Triangle anymore. Apparently that wasn’t custard, that was some sort of yeast infection.’
Stephen, nodding off the joke: “You bad man…”
Jimmy, trying his best at a Stephen impression: “The Rhubarb Triangle…milady…”

Johnny’s stuff, when coherent, is pretty silly. On the rhubarb triangle, he asks: “Did Marzipan fighter planes go missing? Did they not pick anything up on the licorice radar? They fought in the pudding wars.” Again, not really a fan of his, but he can have some inspired moments.

Stephen: “Then you bring it into the dark-”
Johnny: “AND YOU MAKE LOVE!”

Stephen: “What were cornflakes originally used for?”
Jimmy: “Originally, they were the world’s most difficult jigsaw.”

Johnny guesses they put cornflakes in beds as ‘an anti-masturbation sound device’, which is odd but I can’t help but laugh at him. That’s the thing…he can be funny. He does have some moments. I just don’t love his personality, his ‘dumbass’ stage persona. That can get on my nerves.

Stephen says he’s giving Johnny points for that answer, and Johnny yells back “I WAS JOKING!”

So far, Jimmy and Johnny have been doing most of the work answering questions, and Phill and Alan have been buffering the jokes.

Stephen: “The more they ate, the sooner they died…”
Jimmy: “Were the rabbits cursed?”

Stephen: “Ninety percent of baby rabbits are eaten by predators.”
Phill: “Who presumably…die!”
Stephen: “…yes…”

I love how many times Stephen has to explain the ‘eating rabbit’ thing, first to Jimmy and then to Phill, and how exasperated he gets over time.

Stephen: ‘When did rabbits arrive in Britain?”
Alan: “Tuesday.”

On the Rabbits arriving in Britain question, Johnny curiously buzzes in, holding up the elephant, and goes, confidently, ‘there’s an elephant in this question!’ Stephen barely composes himself.

After Johnny’s long, Ronni-esque story about the rabbit riding the elephant, Stephen gives an early candidate for quote of the episode: “The short answer to that is no. The long answer is FUCK NO!”

Johnny: ‘Were the rabbits a bit standoffish towards the Saxons?”
Jimmy (french accent): “I say, if we eat all the rabbits then we’ll die!”
Stephen: “You’re still not getting the rabbit question…WE CAN EAT ALLLLL THE RABBITS WE’D LIKE!”
Jimmy (same accent): “OOHHH, WE BETTER HAVE SOME PEAS AND CARROTS!”

On the macadamia:
Phill: ‘Are they found in monkey poo?”
Stephen: “No, they’re not found in monkey poo.”
phill: “but they are found in something’s business?”
And the second Stephen confirms this, everyone races to hold up the elephant sign. Phill ultimately wins, triumphantly waving his elephant signal in the air.

The second the ‘CHICKEN’ klaxon goes off, Phill turns around and goes ‘ohhh…I’VE DONE IT AGAIN…”

On the first animal to be herded:
Johnny: ‘EGGS! EGGS! THEY WERE EASY TO MOVE ‘ROUND THE FIELD!”

Stephen: ‘They have an optional sexual organ, that they can use for sex but they don’t because it’s too dangerous.”
Johnny (quietly): “A second ass.”
Stephen has a good five seconds before he fully comprehends Johnny’s answer, turns around, repeats it, and breaks.

Wow, Alan wins it with -2, which is pretty nice.

The even more strange part is Johnny’s right behind him. The two guys famous for playing dumb on this show both come high up on the scoreboards.

I love how Phill even loses with the elephant advantage. As his score is announced, he’s using his elephant paddle as an oar, paddling down this sea of QI.

Final Thoughts: Good, not spectacular, episode. All four were on, though Phill and Alan were noticeably more subdued. Jimmy gave a great performance, and Johnny…at times he was pretty nice. But sometimes he would command the panel and take up too much time on his own ramblings, which takes time away from, I imagine, Phill and Alan. Still, I can stomach 8 more appearances from him, as he’s not as bad as, say, John Sessions or Rory McGrath.

MVP: Jimmy
Best Guest: Phill
Show Winner: Alan
Best QI Fact: macadamias from elephant dung.