QI Watchdown: J10 (Jungles), or I’m Not Talking to you Anymore

So…this is one I’ve been waiting to talk about for a while. For a number of reasons.

Firstly, I want to talk about what QI did with panel-stacking this series (and onward). Over the next few series’, BBC would employ a rule that panel shows should have at least one female panelist, and/or a minority, every show. Which is fine, as it gives opportunities to people who may not get them often. But also around this time, QI would get into a habit of deliberately stagnating panelists, and trying to mix in new talent. A lot of shows in this series, and others, would have a format of ‘one anchor, one joke-supplier and one newbie/guest’. For example, last show had Ross as an anchor, Sue as a joke supplier, and Julia as a guest/newbie. This is a far cry from the early series’ idea of ‘let’s just put a combination of three people we like on here’, which…worked a bit better.

So, if we’re going by ‘anchor-joke supplier-guest/newbie’…then what the fuck are we to make of THIS lineup?

Our anchor would be Reginald D. Hunter, who’s only been on once before, and didn’t do a great job of it, talking over the rest of the panel a great deal. He’s the anchor because the other two haven’t been on QI before.
Our joke supplier would be Greg Proops, who…actually is a nice fit for QI, as he does bill himself as ‘the smartest person in the world’, and, as readers should know, is a favorite of mine. As a matter of fact, he would have been a great person to host a US version of QI.
Our guest is David O’Doherty, another person who seems nominally like a good fit, but needs a good room if he wants to really gel well, and…I’m not sure if this is one.

So…a panel of two newbies and Reg D. Hunter. This will be…interesting.

Greg seems amused by David’s bird buzzer. All the first three are loud, wild animals; Alan’s is a cricket.

Stephen: “Where does the lion sleep tonight…”
Panel: “…….”
Alan: “Is this gonna be a trick, where they don’t sleep in the night?”
Greg: “Or they don’t sleep in the jungle?”
Stephen: “You’re right-”
Greg: “Man, I am NAILING this game…”

Stephen: “Because, where do lions live?”
David: “…..office buildings.”
Good to have David back on this blog.
Alan: “…I was gonna say Luton, I dunno why…”

About lions eating other animals for nutrients
Reg: “So instead of eating vegetables…you eat something that DOES eat vegetables.”
Greg: “I feel better about my diet now…”

Alan slyly says ‘Lion King’ before Stephen does, then turns to Greg, smirks, and goes “I’ll get points for that.”
Greg: “Will you?”
Alan nods. It’s like he’s teaching Greg how to QI. This will come into play later on.

On revealing the original writer of the Lion Sleeps Tonight only got a pound for doing so, Stephen brings it back to the actual ‘Lion Sleeps Tonight’ thing being a ‘black lie’
Alan: “He doesn’t sleep in the jungle, he doesn’t sleep at night, and he’s lucky to get a pound for it…”

Stephen: “What would be the best way for Tarzan to get around the jungle?”
Reg: “Well, uh, without a family, I would guess…”

Alan: “He gets around by swimming, and swinging on [to Greg] what is it called?”
Greg: “…vines…”
Then, immediately, Alan points to Greg as it goes off, as he set him up for it.
Screen Shot 2019-01-27 at 3.00.12 PM.png
He bangs on his buzzer in disgust.

Stephen: “Oh, Alan, you wicked, wicked…”
Alan: “I feel really good tonight…I feel I’ve finally nailed this game…”
Greg: “I didn’t know you were gonna use your jedi powers on me, Davies….I come in here with every good intention, and the next thing I know I’m providing answers to you…”

Greg talks about gibbons swinging from vines, and Stephen responds by playing a clip of one, which Greg’s initially kinda surprised they had supplied already.
Alan, buzzing in, points to the screen: “Orangutan.”
He then turns to Greg, and goes “four.”

Greg: “I’d like to say that Alan is tarzan’s chimp, because cheetahs never prosper.”

Reg has a ‘heard it through the grapevine’ joke that I saw coming a mile away. Also, David has said one line so far.

Alan, after hearing that Caesar birthed the words Kaiser and Czar, says to Greg ‘see, you learn something new everyday’
Greg: “I’m not talking to you anymore.”

After Stephen congratulates Alan for another right answer, Reg sums up the whole show: “Yeah, it’s interesting that the two people that be on this show every week are doing the best…”

Stephen mentions that anything you put in front of a bonobo chimp, ‘it will shag’.
Alan: “Even Russell Brand?”

Stephen: “About 8% of lion sex is gay.”
Reg reacts to this a bit: “So did you get that from, like, a book about lion facts, or did you get that from a gay man?”

Stephen: “But there’s only one species that exhibits homophobia, and that’s mankind-”
Alan: “I really thought you were gonna say elephants then…”

Greg: “I mean, how did they get the figure 8%? That’s a lot of research. I mean, I saw the Lion King and I didn’t see any of that going on…but I did feel the love…”
Stephen: “The circle of life had a whole new meaning, didn’t it?”

Of course David is gonna get a few questions right in this jungle-animal-themed QI. He literally wrote a book about pandas. This is one of his specialized subjects…which is why I’m surprised he’s not saying more.

Greg gets a right answer in saying the red-faced monkey is South American. He looks next to him, smirks, and goes “I’m comin’ up on a point, Alan.” I am loving the Greg-Alan dynamic so far. It’s just really working. Also, because it’s two of the fringe TV stars of the 90s, Greg from Whose Line and Alan from Jonathan Creek, coming together and goofing off.

Stephen brings up a point that seeing animals in cages in zoos is quite depressing.
David: “Also, the ice cream at zoos is very expensive, so that’s another depressing aspect…”

Stephen, talking about the ‘plastron’ denotations: “A turtle’s underbelly is also called a plastron, and so…is a man’s stiff…formal…shirt-front.”
Greg: [fans himself]

On ants converging together to float on water for transportation:
David: “That’s how I got here from Dublin this morning…”

Stephen: “But we do have an interesting experiment- I do love to do an experiment-”
Alan, to Greg: “He DOES love to do an experiment.”
This didn’t get a lot of response, but I still love the ‘Alan explaining QI to Greg’ runner.

Stephen’s experiment, involving the weight of sand in water, is a very cool one, and causes Alan and David to yell “WITCHCRAFT” and “SORCERY” as he does it.

Stephen, like last episode, tries to get around mentioning a brand name but lampshades exactly what it does “and it rhymes with something called GotchScard”.

Stephen mentions a kangaroo that smells of curry, and Alan goes into an Australian accent. One show short of having an actual Australian in the room…which is odd, considering the amount of Oceanians on this series.

On the animal, bearcat, that smells like freshly baked popcorn
Alan: “Is it slightly overpriced? And is the medium one the exact same price as the large one?”
David: “Their birth is apparently unique, because they’re born as a very small egg, and then on a hot day…they just pop into the air…”

Stephen asks what a specific butterfly smells like
Alan: “…finger of fudge.”
Stephen: “….YES!”
Alan: “WHAT???”

Stephen: “I’ve got to give it to you, because the answer is chocolate.”
Alan: [fist-bumps Greg]
David: “You two have developed a bizarre understanding…”

David, taking this the wrong way: “So chocolate is ground-up butterflies?”
Okay, he’s finally getting some good stuff out there

Greg has some good points about the Amazons who settled in North America, and the pigs that killed off most of the population with infectious diseases. Yeah, in addition to being really funny, he also aces the informational part of the show, which makes me wonder why, especially with his friend Sandi hosting the show now, he hasn’t been back on the program.

On the larva eating the frog from the outside
David: “He was a prince as well!”

Reg, after the clip: “Wait a minute, I didn’t see the end, who won?”
Stephen: “We were too tasteful to show you the outcome.”
David: “They shake hands, and they go ‘we’ve both learned a valuable lesson here…”

Reg: “Did you know that 8% of predator-pray relationships are homosexual?”

On the clip of a frog waving his arms
Reg: “I’m thinking…is there a plane-load of frogs coming in?”
David, getting it, does the sort of ‘waving the plane in’ hand signals

Stephen, still on frogs: “There are other ways of catching mates, which are unusual”
Alan: “…the internet.”

Stephen talks about the species of spider that attaches their sperm to their antennae, and waves them around, saying essentially “I’ve got some sperm for you!”
Reg: “I used to do that to my ex-girlfriend…”
Stephen: “Why am I not surprised by the word ‘ex’ in there?”

Stephen: “Alan, what I’d like you to do is press your buzzer.”
Alan, knowing Stephen: “….”
Stephen: “It’s not a trap-”
Alan: “It’s GONNA BE a trap…”

Stephen asks him what’s making the cricket noise on his buzzer
Alan: “…it’s one of two things…it’s either the one that makes the noise by inflating its thorax…or the one that makes the noise by rubbing its back legs together.”
Alan: “…so…I think it was…the first one…”

Stephen says that the ‘crickets rub their hind legs’ thing is “a weird fallacy that people cling to. I’ve clung to fallacies…”
Alan turns…realizes what this sounds like, and shakes his head. David’s cracking a bit too. Alan just turns to Greg, as he has all episode, and goes “he said it’s a weird phallus that people cling to! He said that!”
Greg: “He said…fallacies! That means ‘many phalluses’

Stephen, continuing: “‘rubbing body pa-‘ oh god, it’s getting worse, sorry…”

Stephen mentions the Snowy Tree Cricket…which was a plot point on an episode of Big Bang Theory. I can’t not correlate that.

Stephen says that this cricket can, with a mathematical formula, predict temperature.
David: “I’d still prefer a thermometer up my bum if I was in hospital…”

Stephen: “What lives underwater, and is the loudest animal in the world for its size.”
Greg, channeling Rich Hall: “Oprah.”
Alan: “…is it gonna be a blue whale.
Stephen: “OHHHHHHH”

Stephen: “You know those things that seem to walk on water, d’you know what they’re called?”
David, completely serious: “…Our Lord?”

The Jolly Jape involves rubbing a rod to produce a high pitched frequency which an insect uses as a phallus to attract mates. It’s very amusing, and Alan and Stephen have the loudest noises, but Alan, sighing afterward, punctuates it by going “no females have attracted, Stephen”

Then, Alan starts doing it from under the table, giving an even louder sound.
David: “And he’s doing THAT with his penis!”
Greg: “yeah, he put the rod down hours ago…”

Stephen: “Is a zebra black with white stripes or white with black stripes?”
Alan: “Yes”
Stephen: “Which?”
Alan: “…black with [to Greg] what do YOU think?”

Reg: “I’d say they’re black with white lines.”
Stephen: “Well, they’re actually white with black stripes.”
Reg: “Well, you WOULD say that, white man.”
Somewhere, Nish Kumar encounters his bit.

Proof that this show works: at literally the eleventh hour, right before Stephen announces the scores, David comes up with ‘The Credible Hulk’, which is a concept that Stephen finds admirable, and Greg finds hysterical. So literally, last beat of the show, and the main contributors [read: everyone but Reg] are all giggling at ‘The Credible Hulk’

Despite Alan’s great start, he still ends up losing, which is sad.

Overall: From the comments section, I was prepared for a dull, disjointed QI…which is NOT AT ALL the one I got. Not even remotely. Greg, Alan and David were all collaborating, doing fun gags, and keeping the spirit of the game intact, while Stephen and Alan were especially sharp. Greg had a fantastic time, especially in sitting next to Alan while he essentially explained the game to him. David was a bit quieter, but definitely had funnier moments down the stretch. Reg…kept to himself, and his few funny moments were at the expense of the show’s integrity, or easy, low blows. He’s only on one or two more of these, but hopefully, like tonight, there’ll be a panel to supplant his energy. Definitely a favorite of mine on the season so far, even if it did have a lull or two.

MVP: Alan
Best Guest: Greg
Show Winner: Reg
Best QI Fact: Ants converging for transportation
Best Runner: Alan’s asides to Greg

Nevermind Watchdown: S18E6 or That Shit Ain’t Funny…

Not sure what to make of this episode. On one hand…Huey Morgan. On the other, Phill’s panel might end with Phill stabbing his eyes out in agony, because Reginald D. Hunter and Sheila Ferguson are annoying enough on their own, but TOGETHER?? Ugh.

Already, Huey as the ‘laid back MC’ is very smooth, very cool and collected. Yeah, he seems pretty pumped to be back, and he’s giving it a lot of class. His auto cue reading is a bit slow and dry, but other than that he’s all charm.

Natalie Cassidy is an actress from Eastenders. Andy Rourke played bass for the Smiths.

Huey: “Foo Fighters like to have lingering smells backstage dealt with immediately. This is because Dave Grohl learned his lesson after waiting outside Kurt Cobain’s house for three days wondering when they were going to pick up the bins.”
Andy: “I’m not even gonna laugh at that one…”
Huey: “You know, I gave it a shot…”
Phill: “You know, when he’s on now, it’s all Sopranos, but when he’s offstage [really gay voice] SO, I’LL TELL YOU…I was out there, I was having kittens…oH, IT WAS MURDER. So, did it go alright?”
Huey, in a similar lispy gay voice: “STOP. STOP….He’s so MEAN!”

Bill, looking in Andy’s glass: “What is that in there?”
Andy: “Methodone!”
Huey: “Damn, that shit’s expensive!”
Bill: “Oh, hang on, it’s burning through the desk…”

During a demonstration of how much the second intro sounds like Heat Wave, Sheila ends up hitting Phill in the face head on, which is pretty amusing. Bill’s team demands an instant replay, which happens. Huey, perfect demeanor, goes ‘that shit ain’t funny…’

Huey: “Justin Timberlake has said that he often sings himself to sleep. Now, Justin. You’re in bed with Cameron Diaz. Why the fuck do you want to go to sleep? I’d be awake for days on that ass…”
Suddenly the director comes on and asks Huey to do it again. Huey embarrassedly recoils.
Phill: “I think he feels very strongly about this…”
Huey: “It came from the heart…From the bottom, baby.”
Director: “IN THREE…TWO…ONE…”
Huey: “Now Justin has a large collection of candles and sports jerseys. Justin, you’re going out with Cameron Diaz, put the fuckin’ candles down.”
He then realizes his mistake, and motions to do it again.
Huey, aside: “The one shot I get to be on TV, the LAST you ever see of me…”

Phill: “He’s doing news night tomorrow…”
Huey, in a very New Jersey accent: “Now for the news…you guys is fucked…the weather’s fucked…Scotland’s fuckin’ cold…Brighton, YOU CALL DAT A BEACH? It’s a buncha fuckin’ rocks! (back to lispy gay voice) But they have really nice clubs there…

Huey, in a very stereotypical radio voice: “That was the Birdy Song, just missing out on the #1 spot in 1981!” He cracks up after that.
Andy: “That was great! Do that again! That’s a proper crock of shit DJ over here”
Huey: “Actually it’s a strip club DJ. CANDICE, TO THE STAGE!”
Phill nearly dies laughing. He’s having a hell of a time this show.

On the circus performer ID Parade
Reg: “#2 looks like an Arch nemesis for Batman”
Phill: “Yes, the orange ball fondler…enemy of Dale Winton”
He better be careful…because Dale’s on next week.

Next Lines, Huey: “You’re all I’m living for, your love i’ll keep forever more.”
Phill: “OH, STOPPIT!”
Huey gives him a cheeky look back.

Huey: “Bill’s team, you need six points to win.”
Huey: “…are you talking like Snoop Dogg?”
Bill: “NO, NO…”
Huey: “Did he just say DIZZLE?”
Sheila: “He did…I think you should take a point away…”

Overall: Not the greatest panel, but the show didn’t especially suffer. This is really based on preference. I don’t like Sheila, and I don’t like Reginald. They’re a bit too annoying for me. Reg had his moments, but not enough of them. Bill’s panel was more palatable, but there was less time for them, save for Andy.

Thoughts on the Guest Host: Huey is definitely a character, and I love that he didn’t tone himself down for a hosting gig. His auto cue reads weren’t perfect, and he even admitted that he wasn’t great, but he was having a hell of a time, and got along with the panelists pretty damn well. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a great ride.

Guest Host Score: 8/10
Best Regular: Phill
Best Guest: Andy

QI Watchdown: F8 (Fashion)

Well, we’re eight episodes into Series F and we’re JUST NOW getting to our first Rich Hall episode. That says a lot about how often he’d stop by in his later seasons. This is also a Clive episode, which is always nice, as he’s usually really funny. And this is a first appearance for another American, Reginald D. Hunter, which marks the first time we have two Americans on the same panel, a feat that wouldn’t be duplicated until Greg Proops stops by.

Trouble is a lot of people in the youtube comments section don’t seem to enjoy Reg’s performance tonight. So, I’ll try to keep an open mind.

Rich is wearing an oversized cowboy hat with one of his usual poker jackets, which is kind of hysterical. Reg has his hair in pigtails, for some reason, yet his look to the camera assures us he’s not to be fucked with. Alan is wearing a loudly fluffy hat and blue-tinted glasses, looking even more ridiculous than the black man wearing pigtails.

Clive’s buzzers is an older standards piece that seems to confuse him. Rich’s buzzer confused him (“cause he’s a dedicated follower of fashion…”) at first, but once he hears the fashion part, he nods, as if to say “oh, I get it.” Reg’s is Right Said Fred’s ‘I’m too sexy’, which he says ‘you know, I can’t complain.’ Alan’s is the continuation of ‘My Old Man’s a Dustman’ from seven episodes ago, although it helps that nobody in the audience attempted a mexican wave (“NOOO!”)

Stephen talks of the Brighton soccer team’s chant “YOU’RE BETTER THAN US…YOU’RE BETTER THAN US…WE’RE CRAP WE’RE CRAP WE’RE CRAP…”

Rich: “My grandfather used to say “you’re dumber than a bag of wet mice.”

The Phillips head screwdriver joke that Rich tries has been done before, but his complete seriousness as he tells it is what makes it funny.

Stephen: “[the queen] was so cross [at King Louis cutting all his hair off] that she divorced him, although probably for other reasons as well-”
Alan: “He also cut his cock off.”

Reg’s jokes don’t always land, but, upon hearing that King Louie chose to die abstinent rather than cheat on his wife, he says “see, that leads you to believe that he had a bad sexual experience as a child…maybe he wasn’t ready yet, and said ‘maybe I just lick your elbow’…and the woman said ‘you do what you do best'”, bringing back his catchphrase.

Stephen: “What would be the worst faux-pas imaginable?”
Rich: “I’d reckon if you wore Calvin Klein to Yves St. Laurent’s funeral.”

Reg’s style of answering is very complex. He’ll go on a long story and sort of make it sound true, like a very Richard E. Grant style, only x100. His delivery isn’t great either, as he goes for the sort of stereotypical urban black guy voice. I’m not sold on him, but I’m not at the point where I absolutely despise him, either

Clive, on Wellington: “Did he say, “well look here I won this war, i can come in any trousers i’d like!”
Stephen: “You’d think that, but no. Also, that’s my catch phrase. I can cum in any trousers I’d like!”
Reg: “Yeah, i sure enjoyed that long, winding story so we could get to that.”

Alan: “What about those older gentlemen, who pull their trousers right up to their nipples? First of all, WHAT’S GOING ON *THERE*? Why don’t they stop somewhere along the way?”
Stephen: “No pleasure in life except to give themselves a wedgie every time…”
Alan: “Why don’t they pull their trousers up to right under their eyes? They’ll have an enormous fly…”

Stephen talks about the women who drew the nylon stocking line on themselves to save money.
Rich: ‘Why didn’t the male soldiers just draw pictures of trousers on themselves?”

As Stephen is interviewing Gabor in the audience about his self-righting little device, Rich yells over in his direction ‘HEY, GABOR! D’you ever think of making these into salt-and-pepper shakers?” Alan even joins in. “YEAH, C’MON! DRAGON’S DEN!”

Gabor eventually reveals that the self-writing structure was sort of trumped by turtles, who can do the same thing. Rich goes “so, do you feel like you’ve wasted your life?”
This episode may be very limited, but Rich has been taking over, just like back in Series A.

Stephen: “If life began on January 1st, and now we’re at the very end of the year, when did the dinosaurs appear?”
Alan: “Tuesday.”

Alan: (After it was revealed that ‘saurus’ was latin slang for penis) “So what’s Thesaurus, then? Is that latin?”
Stephen: “it means treasure house, or a depository, in this case of words.”
Alan: “In that case, you might refer to your backside as a thesaurus (cracks up)”
Stephen: “I’d like to think…My bottom is a treasure house? Yes, Alan. Thank you.”
Alan: “My bottom is a treasure house…really good catchphrase.”

Stephen: “Yankee Doodle put a feather in his cap to be fashionable, but why on earth did he call it macaroni?”
Rich: “Because he was dumber than a bag of wet mice.”

This anecdote about the Macaroni club is one I already knew, from Robert Wuhl’s Assume the Position show on HBO. However, this same show had a piece of information about british soldiers holding up middle fingers at the 100 years war, which QI disproved. So, as of now, Robert Wuhl is correct.

Stephen: ‘What rhymes with month?”
Alan, as per usual: “Dunth, bunth, yunth, JUNTH!”
Stephen: “This word probably isn’t very well known. It’s…sikhism, it’s what the-”
I nearly fell over laughing. Well done, Clive.

Clive: ‘So loads of Sikhs watching this program have been screaming at the television “FOR GOODNESS SAKE IT’S GRUNTH!!”

Reg has a great moment. For the Michelin Stars question, Reg guesses Paris, then buzzes in, as the Klaxon is going off. he then says “WAIT, THAT DON’T COUNT, BECAUSE I GUESSED PARIS…BEFORE I PUSHED THE BUTTON! So I get a free guess.”

Reg has another nice moment when he says ‘definitely not London’, and the klaxon goes off saying London, and there’s an entire scandal as to who actually said london, Reg keeps denying it.

Reg: “And I’m not just trying to offend London…I’m trying to offend the UK in general…”

Rich wins with a positive score, which is odd, but Rich wins a ton of these.

Clive, when he’s announced as second, exclaims “I WAS PLAYING TO LOSE!!”

Stephen even ends the episode by saying “My name is Stephen ‘My Bottom is a Treasure House’ Fry, good night.”

Overall: Not the greatest episode, but had its moments. Rich and Clive were quieter but funny. Reg was very abrasive and sort of stole his moments of spotlight, which wasn’t very nice, but he was funny at points, if a bit wrong for QI. The dynamic was definitely down, as only Clive was looking to bounce jokes off of people.

MVP: Rich
Best Guest: Clive
Show Winner: Rich
Best QI Fact: King Louis’ abstinence and haircut.