QI Watchdown: I11 (Infantile), or ‘Laugh and Lie Down’

One of the many episodes this series where we have two final appearances of occasional panelists in one show. Tonight is the last time we’ll be seeing Dave “the bearded Starsky and Hutch fan” Gorman, and Lee “CEILING!” Mack on QI. The former hasn’t done enough on QI to garner the reaction, but the latter has DOMINATED every single one of his episodes, and will be missed.

Tonight’s show also features Ronni Ancona, who’s very funny below-the-radar, but gets hate from youtubers just for talking.

On the then-pope Benedict, or Ratzinger, they showed a picture of him in his youth.
Stephen: “There he is on the right, with those eyes-”
Lee: “Some would say the ‘far right’..”

On guessing singles ad abbreviations, Stephen suggests ‘we’
Dave: “Week ends?”
Stephen: “A bit more graphic than that, I’m afraid-”
Dave: “Well-endowned?”
Stephen: “YES!”
Ronni, of course, is outraged.
Alan: “You could just put that, couldn’t you? Put ‘well-endowned’, and then the box number.”

Stephen suggests ‘ALAWP’, and that it’s similar to WE’
Alan: “A large…and wavy penis…”
Stephen: “All letters answered with…”
Alan, still not getting it: “…a penis.”

Dave, after getting a few of these: “I’m not sure if this is gonna help me or not, but some of these acronyms are shared by the world of pornography..”

And then, with BBW, Alan guesses ‘big blue whale’.

Stephen: “If you had yellow in your back left pocket, it meant that you like being, er, peed on…”
Lee, already smirking: “And what does it mean if you wear a big yellow thing ’round your neck, hanging down?”
Screen Shot 2017-09-25 at 11.28.31 PM.pngScreen Shot 2017-09-25 at 11.28.57 PM.png

Stephen: “What did the king of India’s daughter enjoy doing with Flippity-Flop and Jump-kins?”
Dave, channeling Danny Baker: “If they’re not rabbits…then something’s amiss…”

Stephen: “This game also goes by a more contemporary name-”
Alan and Dave, simultaneously: “TIDDLYWINKS!”
They turn to each other, shocked, laughing

Dave gives a few terms to prove how proficient he is in Tiddlywinks.
Lee: “I can see why you’re using those lonely-hearts columns, there…”

Also, Stephen introduces rings the players can throw at hooks on center stage, like the old carnival game.
Ronni, brushing off her ring: “I’ve just got a bit of dirt in my pocket…”
Lee, taking this the wrong way: “Then, let’s hear it…”

Ronni, as Lee’s squaring up: “Oh, HE’LL be unbearable…”
Stephen: “It’s alright, he’s already unbearable…”

Stephen asks the panelists to explain several boxed pub games, one of which is ‘laugh and lie down’
Lee: “Laugh and lie down- THAT is a box of rohypnol.”

Stephen explains that, well, NOBODY KNOWS, because all three games were banned, and nobody really knows how to play them, just that they exist.
Lee: “I love the idea of a barman just going…”HEY, ARE YOU PLAYIN’ MILKING CROMMOCK- ‘No.’…”

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I laughed for 30 seconds at this one

Lee: “Two blokes doing that, probably one cow going ‘…muuurrrr…”

Stephen: “Competitive SMOKING was also very popular-”
Lee: “OH, COME ON…”
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Ronni: “That’s a bit smug…”
Lee: “Well, he’s the champion…”

Stephen: “What was the longest running attraction at Coney Island?”
Alan: “Was it an elephant?”
Dave: “Bearded woman, perhaps?”
Lee, the logical answer: “Was it a bearded elephant?”

Stephen: “There was one particular woman who came to see this every week for 37 years-”
Lee: “Cliff Richard!”
Stephen, after breaking: “…he was not what you’d call usual entertainment-”
Lee: “Ah. Cliff Richard!”

Alan Davies gets the award for the darkest joke of the night:
Stephen explains the top attraction at Coney Island were Human Incubators, prematurely-birthed children that would sit in incubators, and people would pay 25 cents to see them.
Alan, confusing the machines with skill cranes: “was there a grabbing hand…?”
Stephen, after the audience laughter subsides: “You are an evil man.”
Dave: “It’s an Angelina Jolie pick’n’mix…”

Stephen reveals that Eleanor Roosevelt kept her baby in a cage out the window.
Ronni, with her one funny line of the show: “Is this the question that Michael Jackson couldn’t answer…”

Stephen also says that Eleanor Roosevelt’s maiden name…was Roosevelt.
Lee: “D’you think she actually changed her name? Because if not, you’ve not officially got the same name. I mean, you’ve GOT the same name, but it’s not the same as registering it….d’you know what I mean?”
Stephen: “I sort of…”
Lee: “The reason I ask ‘dyou know what I mean’, is because I’m not sure I do.”
Dave: Screen Shot 2017-09-26 at 12.04.36 AM.png

Stephen, on the doctor who invented the epidural: “He injected his assistant’s lower spine with cocaine…”
Lee: “She fell over, said it worked.”
Alan: “They played ‘laugh and lie down…”
Lee: “Could have been worse, they could have played ‘milking cradock…”

Stephen: “How can you tell the difference between a french baby and a german baby?”
Lee: “It’s not often you can do the same joke twice in one show, but is the German baby on the far right?’

There’s a brief lull in the tail end before GI, but Alan saves this episode from falling into the depths by doing an impression of a goat falling down a dam.

Stephen: “Where did marsupials come from?”
Lee: “…Marsupia.”
Stephen: “…it could have easily been the right answer…”

Overall: A mild episode with some really funny moments toward the middle. This episode found its groove rather quickly- Dave supplied the information, Ronni provided setups to jokes, Lee provided punchlines to jokes, and Alan helped them collaborate. Lee, as usual, had the best night, as his humor really seems to compliment the program, and it’s sad he won’t be returning for more. Dave Gorman had a great show, as he was definitely enjoying himself, and supplying a ton of good information. Ronni…has lost her way.

MVP: Lee
Best Guest: Lee
Show Winner: Dave
Best QI Fact: Incubator Babies on Coney Island
Best Runner: Laugh and Lie Down


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?”
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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…”
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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.

Nevermind Watchdown: S26E05

We’ve had three great episodes and one shit one. Not a bad rundown.

This episode, while well-stocked, allowed for a crisis for the producers. Noel Fielding was absent, leaving an empty team captain seat. I imagine they called for Frankie Boyle, and he said ‘fuck off’, so they went with one of Frankie’s usual targets, surprisingly awesome NMTB semi-reg Professor Green, to fill Noel’s seat.

Aside from that, we have LEE MACK guest-hosting, Joe Wilkinson and Chris Ramsey playing against each other as opposing irritating comedians, Scottish singer-songwriter Amy Macdonald, and British R&B/soul singer Lemar. That’s a pretty solid panel.

Lee does his own cheesy intro, with many lines he thought he rejected, like “If he were a burger, he’d be a Big Mac with extra cheese”, and “If we could afford him, he’d be Michael McInt-I’M NOT DOING THAT ONE!”

On the cake with human hair
Joe: “If that was given to me, I’d say I’d like it, but I’d like you to remove one ingredient…”
Lee: “…the marzipan. Horrible, innit?”

On the ginger-haired ukelele
Amy: “I’d bet that Ed’d probably like that as a present…”
Joe: “Yeah, it’s better than the pubic cake…”

On the box in front of Phill:
Phill: “If I open up that box, and it is, in fact, Gwyneth Paltrow’s head, I’ll have thought ‘the budgets have gone up on this show’..”

There’s a whole round of ‘Lee Mack or Fleetwood Mac’, trading off rock’n’roll things. One of them is ‘Which one once threatened their accountant with a shotgun?’
Lee: “…surely Jimmy Carr should have been on that list…”

Lee basically PLUGS HIS BOOK…and then asks ‘Lee Mack or Fleetwood Mac?’
Prof: “…I dunno, but the book sounded shit…”
Lee: “You wouldn’t like it, none of the words rhyme.”

Lee: “I’ll throw it over…”
Prof: “It’s not Satisfaction, is it?”
Lee: “You’re absolutely right! It’s not!”

Joe after the 2nd intro goes: “I don’t think this round’s quite my forte…”

Lee: “I’ll give you a clue…it’s Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins, now that’s your FINAL CLUE…”
Joe: “………..IT’S BLOODY THERE!”

Joe, in character, passes it over.
Prof: “You had it, didn’t you?”
Lemar: “Uh, is it Kenny…”
Chris cracks up, then goes “Oh, thought you were serious, for a second…”
Prof: “This is why we should listen to him.”
Lemar: “I am serious!”

Lemar eventually says it’s “Danger Zone….KELLY!”
Chris: [breaks]
Lemar and Prof: “KEVIN! KEVIN!”

Lee goes for a standup: “We also heard automatic, with Monster. Monster’s last album, teaaarrr veer sino- No, that’s- I had a flashback, I used to be a Japanese warrior in the 14th century. WE ALSO HEARD Automatic, with Monster. CHUNG! JIA! NUH! Ah, I’ve done it again.”
“We also heard Automatic with Monster. Their last album, tear- IT’S TEAR! TEAR, ISN’T IT? They’re spelled the same, tear and tear. I don’t like words that are spelled the same but mean different things. Like Cock and Cock.”
“We also heard Automatic, with Monster. Monster’s last album….WE ALSO HEARD!”
“We also heard Automatic, with Monster. Their last album, Tear the Sign Down…OH, SIGNS! IT’S PLURAL! I thought they’d only committed one crime. I didn’t know they were repeat offenders!”
He finally relents: “We also heard Automatic, with Monster. Good, wa’nt it? Move on.”

Lee: “The Spice Girls reunited to perform at the 2012 Olympic closing ceremonies. It was the first time they’d performed together since….they met.”

This reminds me of last series’ Jack Dee show, as the producers tried to intervene on an already-amazing guest host by repeatedly stop the show to cater to them. It’s not working near enough tonight, and the panel is a very weak one.

Joe, on the ID Parade: “UK Garage isn’t really my…THANG.”

Lee’s nicknames for the Toy Doll ID Parade get progressively funnier.
#4: “Blow Up Doll”
#5: “Show me on the doll where he touched you.”
The whole room needs ten seconds to recover from this. Green is slapping the table.

Chris: “#1 hasn’t blinked!”
#1: [winks]
Chris: “AUGH!”

Lee: “True or false, Kane West said-”
The whole audience cracks up here, even Chris.
Lee, to quiet the audience: “I’M FORTY-FOUR!”

Prof: “I hate Angry Birds.”
Chris: “IS THERE ANYTHING YOU LIKE? They should call you Professor GRAY…Ya miserable bastard!”

Still n the true or false round
Lee: “George Michael said ‘…honestly, you’re gonna have to wet that ‘fore you put it in…NO, TRUE OR-”
The whole panel completely dies laughing before he can continue.

Overall: A down episode, but there were definitely highlights. Lee did what he could- he had some nice off-the-cuff moments and he was in the right mindset, but the producers were trying to craft the show to him, and that never works well. The panel was dead- Joe Wilkinson had some good lines, as did Chris Ramsey, but nothing really managed to stay afloat. Professor Green was a good enough fill-in, but didn’t exactly command the game.

Guest Host Rating: 8/10. Down a bit, but still admirable.
Best Captain: Phill
Best Guest: Joe
Best Runner: Automatic with Monster.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stephen: “So, something like veil, or weird…”
Graham and Alan: “…yeah, but there’s no C in them…”
Stephen: “It’s I before E, every time…but in weird-”
Graham: “OH, I SEE!”
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Alan, summing up the last few minutes: “Daniel, you’re the only person on this show who isn’t a complete idiot…”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nevermind Watchdown: S24E08, or “……batmaaaan..”

There are five episodes left (ALREADY!) of Series 24 of Buzzcocks, and after a tumultuous and imperfect road, I can say I’m looking forward to all of them. This one, in fact, has the least amount of reasons to watch of all five, so we might as well get it out of the way.

The Guest Host, unlike *cough* LAST SHOW…is someone who’s perfectly capable of commanding an audience AND a panel show, and that’s Lee Mack. He’ll be great. Also on the panel is Jon “Winds of Change by the Scorpions” Richardson, and Irwin Sparkes, last on the program back in Series 21, on the Miquita Oliver show.

Andrew Stone was a reality star, on Pineapple Dance Studio (gee, wonder if he’s straight). Diana Vickers was a finalist on X-Factor.

Already, I’m impressed with Lee’s stage presence and autocue readings, although after an episode of Tim Westwood, literally anyone’s looks good.

Lee tells a story about working with horses, and how an erect horse penis smashed in a wing-mirror of a car.
Phill: “That’s a phone call to the insurance agency I’d have loved to see!”
Irwin: “We’ve gone from mums to horse cocks in, like, two minutes.”

Lee’s reading that Andrew’s danced with Kylie Minogue, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera.
Lee: “But it’s not just women, is it? You’ve also danced with Tina Turner…”
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Andrew says that Starman’s next album will be a Christmas release.
Noel: “Is there gonna be a snowman in the video?”
Andrew: “D’you wanna be in it?”
Noel: “I’ll be the snowman!”
Lee: “You’d be the most terrifying snowman in the world, Noel…”
Noel: “Just standing at the back, with an icy erection…”

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(This is very similar to his Duncan Bannatyne impression, actually)

Lee: ‘Did we get to an answer?”
Andrew: “Let’s go with A”
Noel: “WHOA WHOA WHOA WAIT A SECOND…I’m the captain here! Don’t get all DANCEY on my ass…”

Andrew: “If Madonna did do [the airplane safety instructions], what would she wear?”
Lee: “She’d have to wear the regulation uniform, otherwise she won’t be taken seriously…she’s not an idiot. People going ‘you better watch this!’ ‘Nah, it’s only Madonna, and she’s not in the regulation uniform…”

Jon: “I’ve got a pun that the audience could potentially hate…”
Lee: “Oh, shit pun comin’ up…”
Jon: “So if Madonna did do the announcement, d’you think she’d do it on EasyJet, or, like, uh Virgin?”

One of the options for the Rolling Stones is that before every gig the entire band and crew sit down together and watch Homes Under the Hammer.
Phill, doing his Keith impression: “That house is never worth that, NO WAY that house is worth that…Guy’s MENTAL…HAAAHHH…”

Lee hosting also works because he and Noel used to room together back in the day. Noel talks about Lee walking into a room with music playing, him saying ‘is this jazz’, and Noel saying ‘no, classical, Lee…”
Noel: “You heard a Spandau Ballet record and said ‘it’s not gonna get any better than this’..”
Lee, after an audible audience reaction: “‘s that funny to you?”

Andrew describes a triple threat as ‘someone who can sing, dance and act, and is comin’ for you.”
Lee: “I wouldn’t like to be in a fight with one. ‘D’you wanna fight with me? Fight with my mate Andrew. ‘I CAN THING, I CAN DANCE, AND I CAN ACT!’ I think ‘I’m coming for you’ is the biggest threat.”
Andrew: “…or over you…”
The audience groans at this one.
Lee: “You’ve let yourself down, you’ve let the audience down, you’ve let Noel’s mum down…Though I’ve let Noel’s mum down a few times.”
More groaning.
Lee: “I KNOW SHE’S IN, THAT’S WHY I’M SAYING IT! Is yer dad in?”
Noel: “Yeah, he’s next to her!”
Lee: “He’s gonna be coming at me singing, dancing and acting after the show… ‘WHAT DID YA SAY ABOUT MYYYYY WIIIIIIFEEE…”

I know that Jedward already have the ‘Most Annoying’ slot all wrapped up, but Andrew’s intro for ‘Gimme Gimme Gimme’ by ABBA may be one of the most annoying things i’ve ever heard. Even Noel’s cracking up.

Diana, getting up for Intros: “I’m very excited…”
Lee: “What, about standing? ‘Ah’m a simple Northern girl with simple wishes. Ah wish ah could go ta London and STANNND.’ Well, tonight, your dream’s come true!”

Phill’s 2nd Intro is a sort of descending ‘Doo-doo-doo-doo’, so Lee chimes in with ‘BATMAAAAN’ the second he can.

Phill: “You gonna do that again?”
Lee: “Listen, as the referee- when he does that…DON’T DO IT AGAIN. THE SAME APPLIES TO YOU, AUDIENCE.”
Phill, continuing: “doodoodoodoodoodoodoodoodoodoodoodoodoodoodoodoo-”

Lee: “I’m so sorry…that’s definitely it, now. If I did it again now, it’d be childish. I’m not an idiot. You get a laugh twice, but three times would be pushing it…”

The third time, Phill does his first bit, looks over at Lee, and the entire room is silent. Lee shrugs- he’s not doing it. The silence looms.
Right as Phill’s about to get back into it, ONE LONE BLOKE FROM THE AUDIENCE JUST GOES “……batmaaan!”
I completely lost it at that, and Lee came pretty close to breaking as well.
Lee, to Phill: “That’s your fault for pausing, then…”
Noel: “Lee, that was my fault, I put the Riddler on the guest list…”

Jon: “Blur with…Country House?”
Lee: “AH, SO CLOSE! It’s Blur with ‘Batman!'”

I don’t like making comments for this, but the original intro-clip for Noel’s ID Parade guy, the Irish indie guitarist, looks like Stuart from MadTV.

This is another one of those occasions where, for Dawn Penn, Phill knows exactly who it is and won’t take anyone else’s word for an answer.
Lee: “Diana, what do you think-”
Phill: “Don’t ask Diana, she doesn’t know. IT’S #2.”

After Phill’s WILLED THE TEAM to pick 2
Lee: “More than any other show I’ve ever watched in the history of british television, do I want this to be wrong.”

Overall: Now this series is back into the swing of things, because that was a pretty great one. Lee Mack was probably the best Guest Host we’ve had all season, even better than Terry Wogan, and he kept the game structured and clean, while also being very high-energy and funny. I will say that because Lee was pretty powerful, the panel was lighter, but Andrew had the best stuff, followed by Jon and Irwin. Diana was good for Lee screwing with her, but didn’t do a lot herself. Just a very, very funny show, and probably one of the funniest ones of the series so far.

Guest Host Rating: 10/10. Absolutely phenomenal, Lee.
Best Regular: Noel
Best Guest: Andrew
Best Runner: Noel’s mom.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alan: “Yeah, [cannabis] is seven times more carcinogenic than tobacco.”

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

Stephen: ‘The nazis actually had very strong anti-smoking laws.”
Alan: “Well, that’s the FINAL STRAW! I mean, I can rationalize everything else, but THAT!”

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

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

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

On ‘cat’
Lee: “Had to be Top Cat. He was the coolest cat in town!”
Bill: “It was the musical, Cats.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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