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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Richard is getting so close to the answer of the ‘first software engineer’ question with really reasonable guesses
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Stephen: “…so disappointing…”
This is the QI equivalent of “everyone got CLOSER AND CLOSER AND CLOSER, and then SUDDENLY they’re denying wearing bedspreads!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The eventual trick is the laser pops the black balloons but not the white one [“WOW, GREEN, COOL” yells Alan]
Stephen: “The black ones pop and the white one doesn’t.”
Alan: “…racist.”
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Stephen asks Alan to draw a target on the balloon, “and I’ll let you press the button as a reward if you do it sensibly”
Alan: “…so tempted to draw a cock-and-balls…”

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

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

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

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

Nevermind Watchdown: S28E07, or I JUST GOT THAT!

Onto yet another Series 28 Buzzcocks. This series is making a case for one of the best full-season showings in the show’s history, going up against Series’ 4, 5 and 20. How the hell is this happening at the very end of the run?

They managed to put together some more really nice panelists, too- Lethal Bizzle, who was really game the last time he was on, Sarah Millican, who’s always fun, Michael Ball, now sporting a goatee, who knocked two episodes out of the park, and Gemma Cairney, representing Buzzcocks’ occasional inclination to just have a TV presenter and DJ on every once in a while.

You can tell this is gonna be a fun one when Rhod cracks up literally as he’s doing his opening standup. He’s already kinda gone, and nothing’s happened yet.

This week’s Rhod-improved round clip is “Workin'” “NINE” “to 5…”
Rhod, afterwards: “…that was that…”
and then he breaks. Again.

Among his pre-round suggestions are ‘Do Steps now come ’round and help old people get into swimming pools? Did Hall and Oates later develop a cereal for people too busy to eat in the kitchen?”

One of the options for ‘What is Vanilla Ice doing now’ is that he’s become a motivational speaker, who’s even done a TED talk, entitled ‘Stop, Collaborate and Listen’.
Michael: “…I just got that…”
Rhod: “You don’t need to tell us when you get it, just laugh…”

Rhod, to Michael: “Have you got chandeliers in your house?”
Phill, who KNOWS the guy: “HE’S GOT CHANDELIERS IN HIS *CAR!*”
Rhod: “He’s got chandeliers in his underpants!”
Phill, taking the easy joke: “Yeah, plenty of ball room…”
Michael, post-applause: “..OH! I JUST GOT THAT!”

Michael reveals that all of his characters have to smell a certain way.
Sarah: “Have any of your characters ever smelt of fart?”
Michael: “Well-”
Phill: “That was a very memorable Les Miserables…”

Gemma: “I went to a panto once, and the Cinderella let out a fart that everybody could hear.”
Rhod, taking the one good panto joke: “Did you yell ‘IT’S BEHIND YOU’?”

Rhod, after the fart digression: “…I’m not sure if you’ve remember that we’re on television, sorry…”
Michael, breaking, to Noel: “I can’t believe I’ve just done that!”
Rhod, trying, rightfully, to get the game back on track: “What do we think about Vanilla Ice?”
Michael: “Aw, who cares?”
Rhod, under applause: “‘Who cares, let’s have a farting competition!”

There’s a great moment where Phill keeps trying to get Sarah to do ‘both parts’ of the Dion/Streisand song, by singing one of the parts. Phill gets a lyric wrong…then Sarah gives him the right lyric…then MICHAEL gives them BOTH the correct one. It’s hysterical.
Michael: “If you’re gonna do musical theatre, GET IT RIGHT!”
Rhod: “Oh, look at that, Michael Ball is turning in his live grave…”

Lethal, deliberating the Public Enemy question: “I dunno, mate, I’m stuck between the monks and the ostrich…”
Phill: “And we’ve all been THERE…”

Rhod, opens up, for a bonus point, and asks what everyone on the panel did before becoming famous.
Phill: “…Michael Ball used to kill people for the Corleones..”
Michael: “DAMN!”
Phill: “I’ve said too much…”
Rhod: “His weapon of choice…the bum-trumpet.”

One of the options is that somebody did erotic fiction
Phill: “I can imagine Millican doing that. ‘OOH, AND THEN HE ‘ELD EM…WITH ‘IS BEEG….MEATY HANDS….and he…TOOK ME OUT FER OUR SUPPAH…”
And then Phill AND Sarah absolutely break. My gosh.
Sarah: “…You’re right, all of my eroticism was based on food…”
Noel: ‘Every word in Geordie sounds funny. ‘POOUULSAAATIN'”

And then Phill AND Noel start attacking Rhod while still using the Sarah Millican erotic voice. AND THEN…THEY START BEATING DOWN ON RHOD’S BALL-BONGOS!

I’ll say that the bongos subscribe to the law of diminishing returns, but it’s still pretty damned funny whenever they’re rolled out.

AND THEN…Rhod gets everybody to read excerpts of the steamy adult fiction. Gemma’s given a very funny passage. Michael, complete with reading glasses, tries reading his without cracking up, but Phill just starts licking his ear. Michael, whilst reading, just side-eyes Phill, to make sure this is all really happening.

Lethal, reading his: “She ran her hands up and down his shaft.”
Phill, taking this the wrong way: “SHAFT!”

And then, as they hand the book off to Sarah, Phill goes ‘this is the one we’ve all been waiting for…”

Sarah: “…Clive…”
The whole room breaks EVEN HERE. DEAR GOD.

Lethal says that working in the file factory gave him a phobia of Sophie Ellis Bextor.
Rhod, with the button in hand: “And if he hears her music one more time, he’ll kill himself.”
They’ve pulled back. We all know what’s about to happen.
[music plays in]

Lethal and Phill’s intro combo is really nice, and they do a really good version of Easy Lover by Phil Collins. Again, Lethal’s just really happy to be here, and just throws himself headfirst into everything.

Phill, on Michael and Noel getting up for intros: ‘LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, KENNY ROGERS AND ALICE COOPER…”
Both of them die laughing at this one. Phill’s having a career show
And then Michael leads Noel in a brief rendition of ‘Islands in the Stream’

And then, of course, Noel and Michael are great at intros. I would have preferred pairing him with Phill again, but he works well enough with Noel that it’s not a problem.

We have the THIRD CONSECUTIVE GARLICKING in ID Parade. Big Ben Ofoedu, from Phats and Small, who was on a bunch of times, is in the lineup tonight. Just like last time, Noel’s team has to locate him solely on his voice.

Gemma seems to think it’s #3, when..it’s pretty obvious that it’s 4. Gemma even says she wants 3 on her show every day, but when #4 pops out, Gemma just drops.

Rhod, to the real Buddy Ascott: “You’ve played with the Clash, the Buzzcocks, Ronnie Wood.”
Buddy: “Yeah…not all the same night, but…”

Instead of Next Lines (!!!!!!!), Rhod intros a ‘DENCH NEW ROUND’ called Brand or Band, where the panel has to determine whether a name is of a band or a brand. Seems fine enough.

I don’t think this round worked as well as Rhod wanted, as they barely got any in due to time. Other than lamp shading that Pork Queen is Sarah Millican’s nickname, not a ton happened.

Overall: Another truly strong Buzzcocks, possibly better than the last two. It helped that the ‘jobs’ round got everyone out of control, and led to Sarah Millican (and everyone) reading adult lit, but Gemma and Lethal had some really nice moments, Sarah was herself, and Michael Ball possibly had a show better than his last two. The slight deviations from format worked, and it was just a very loose, very fun show.

Best Regular: Phill
Best Guest: Michael
Best Runner: Michael farting.

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.
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Jimmy: “If that is the case, could you maybe have picked a picture of someone that looks LESS NUTS? You know, if you’re trying to market it. Because if he’s supposed to be Captain Birdseye of the Insect World…he couldn’t look any creepier!”
Stephen: “He looks as if he’s auditioning to play The Master in the original Doctor Who..”
Johnny: “Even the frame of the picture looks like you’re about to black out…’OOH, ME VOCAL CHORDS ARE SWELLING UP…”
Stephen, trying to get the show back on track: “But there is no real reason to-”
Johnny, still there: “I EXPECT YOU TO DIE, MR. BOND…”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nevermind Watchdown: S27E06, or STOP CONFUSING THE RYDER!

Onto another Buzzcocks, this one featuring morning show host and part-time Jabba the Hutt, Eamonn Holmes.

The panel’s light enough but still kind of happening, with Sarah Millican back, an appearance from Shaun Ryder from the Happy Mondays, requisite comedian Greg McHugh, and Jaymi Hensley was in pop-act Union J.

Eamonn enters the show in full Elvis getup.
Eamonn: ‘Did anyone actually think that was Elvis?”
Phill: “I’ll be honest, Eamonn, a bit of me did think ‘good lord, Elvis..a larger part of me thought we were at a very odd North Korean rally…”

I will say the best part of seeing Eamonn jiggle around in his Elvis getup is seeing Shaun Ryder long for death’s sweet embrace on the side. Man, if you think this is bad, wait until you see what the next guy in that chair thinks of Rizzle Kicks…

Phill, reiterating the Kesha question: “She asks people to sing to her in Dinosuar language?”
Shaun: “Barney the dinosaur…yeah, still watch him 5 times a week…puts me to sleep every time…”
Noel: “Is he the purple one, Barney…”
Phill: “Oh, here we go…you two…”

Eamonn: “Do you really watch Barney the Dinosaur?”
Shaun: “I actually do…it got me on Peppa Pig…”
Sarah: “Is that because you’re addicted to them?”
Noel: “‘I’m down to two Peppa Pigs a day…'”

Phill has to reexplain the sheep option to Sarah, that Kesha gets a person to dress up as a sheep and hop over a fence to get her to sleep.
Sarah: “Just one, though? Over and over again? That’s knackering, isn’t it?”
Noel: “The assistant has to pretend to be different sheep every time, slightly changing their hairstyle.”
Noel does a good impression of different sheep noises this person would do.

Phill: “Shaun, have you ever had an assistant?”
Shaun: “…me? I mean, we just went out and got a tour bus, let alone an ASSISTANT…”
Phill: “Who drives it?”
Shaun: “Bez.”
Phill: [breaks]

Maybe I’ve been watching this show too long, but I already knew, when Eamonn started a standup about how dinosaurs talked, that it would ultimately end with a Bruce Forsythe joke (JUH-JUH-JUH-JUH-JUH…GOOD GAME!)

Sarah’s prop is a self-spinning spoon-in-teacup, which produces this whirring noise.
Sarah: “…I recognize the sound…”

Eamonn does a round where people have to guess if objects are on Shaun Ryder’s rider, or someone else’s. The last one is actually Sarah Millican’s rider.
Phill: “You missed the last bit, it was ‘and a little bit of heroin…JUST A TINY BIT, JUST TO TEEAAKE THE EDGE OFF!”
Sarah: “D’you think I sound like Elmo??”

Eamonn: “In her adolescence, J-Lo was nicknamed La Guitarra, because of her round, curvy shape…and because she was wooden and completely hollow inside.”

Shaun, getting up for intros: “…I am so shit at this…”

Shaun and Phill’s attempt at their first intro is great, because Phill’s trying to get Shaun to do a constant beat sound, but Shaun can’t stay in time…and then both Greg and Noel think it’s the Flash Gordon theme. As Phill’s trying to get back to the right one, Noel’s still going ‘GORDON’S ALIVE!’
Shaun, continuing suddenly: “…DUM DUM DUM DUM-”
Phill: “NO, NOT NOW!”

Eamonn: “In 2012, 19 people were injured at a Linkin Park concert….that is the last time I go crowd-surfing.”
Phill loses it at this one.

Eamonn: “When performing with Gorillaz, Damon Albarn shares the stage with ludicrous two-dimensional characters…I know the feeling, I worked with Anthea Turner for years…”
Man, the stand-up bits they’re writing for Eamonn are INSANE tonight.

ID Parade:
Phill: “Before the show, Shaun said ‘they might put one of the Mondays on, I probably wouldn’t recognize him…”
Shaun: “#2 is BEZ!”

Sarah: “#5, does that not look sexy to you?”
Jaymi: “Not to me.”
Phill: ‘Are you mental?”
Jaymi: “No, just gay, so…”
Phill completely loses it here, before, between chuckling, going “I didn’t know…”

Next Lines: “I’m so exicted!”

Overall: Light show, though not without its moments. Eamonn did sort of tire out the Elvis runner, but he was really, really good at keeping the show running. The panel was uneven, but Sarah had some nice moments, and Shaun, though confused, was having a really, really nice time.

Guest Host Rating: 8/10
Best Regular: Phill
Best Guest: Shaun
Best Runner: Elvis

Nevermind Watchdown: S26E01, or I Found Something That Works, and I’m Sticking With It

Alright, it’s been a while. Time for another Buzzcocks series.

By this point, NMTB had sort of found its early-2010’s niche, and was definitely more pop-oriented and less quiz-oriented. Still, the series chugged along. Tonight, Kathy Burke, comedy legend and French & Saunders player, hosts the show. Should be pretty fun.

The panel consists of approx. one returning player, that being Sarah Millican, who’ll probably do well tonight. Mark Hoppus, lead singer of Blink-182, is also here…which is pretty surprising, as well as Fazer from N-Dubz, and …Olympian long-jumper Greg Rutherford? Maybe somebody dropped out?

Also, interesting to note…no cold open. Hm. Maybe they’re growing up a smidge.

Maybe in lieu of that, the captains and host get Olympics-style intros, thanks to this episode coming on the heels of the all-important London Olympics. The captains have stunt doubles do their insane jumps for them. Kathy tries it herself and falls. This may be what we’re in for.

As Snoop Dogg is the subject of Phill’s round, Fazer brings up that around that point he’d changed his name to ‘Snoop Lion’, and was doing a reggae album.
Noel: “What’s his name? Snoop Layin’?”
Phill: “You know what that means, right? Evolution. I think his next incarnation will be Snoop Buffalo…”
Noel: “I was gonna say Buffalo…I was thinking of a larger animal…”

Kathy seems to have the right ‘nudge nudge wink wink’ attitude. She has a standup about Snoop’s song-book being made from rolling papers, “or, if you prefer, you can get it in an e-book. [WINK]”

After the wink gets a huge response, Kathy: “I’m just gonna use that throughout the whole show. I found something that works, and I’m sticking with it.”

After the Bieber clip
Mark: “…did he just say ‘shawty’ in that?”
Kathy: “I don’t know what he said, the little twat…”

Mark, proving why he was a tremendous overdue get: ‘I think it was the Bieber vitamins, because I remember the ad for it, it was ‘it’s the fastest way to get me inside you…”
Kathy, laughing: ‘I do remember that…”
Mark: “He looks at the camera and goes ‘swallow me’?”

Kathy does say that she’s happy that Greg’s here, because she wanted an Olympian. However, possibly lampshading the original person in his seat, she goes “and obviously…I would have preferred Mo Farra…”

Noel, to Greg: “D’you ever think about anything mid-flight? Like, ‘boy, I really would fancy some toast…'”
Greg: “It goes so quickly that I never really-”
Noel: “D’you ever…not land?”
Sarah: “D’you land in sand? D’you ever worry if you’re gonna land in a dog-poo or something?”

Kathy does commit to some of the stunts, but wholeheartedly. She says to Greg that he’s become one of the many ‘flame-headed’ celebrities who get shat on by comedians, and says “I’m not into that, you see….SO LET’S PLAY, NAME THAT GINGER!!!”

Kathy gives some clues, and Greg guesses “oh, it’s that one out of Girls Aloud?”
Kathy: “EXACTLY! That one out of Girls Aloud!”
Phill: “Is that officially her name now? The one out of Girls Aloud?”
Kathy: “That’s what I’ve got on the card! ‘The one…from Girls Aloud!”

The next one Kathy gives clues for is, well, Greg, but Greg insists that one of the facts, that he likes karaoke, is false, as he’s never been.
Noel: “I’d love it if right after the show you went straight to the karaoke bar…”

Kathy: “I am characterized by my strong, sweet, yet woody smell-”
Kathy: “I have been used since ancient times to help digestive problems-”
Mark: “OH! GINGER!”

Kathy: “Who Am I…it doesn’t say this on the card, but she’s really fuckin’ annoying.”
Sarah: “Geri Halliwell”

Kathy: “Now, Justin’s broken a lot of young girls’ hearts…I say hearts. Hymens.”
That was almost EXACTLY a Mark Lamarr joke, and she delivered it perfectly. Man, Kathy Burke’s no-fucks-given approach is selling this show.

Sarah, after Fazer and Phill’s 1st intro: “When you both started screaming…it sounded like what a stroke must sound like in your head…”

After the Aerosmith intro, Kathy: “A lot of buildup, lot of foreplay coming from Steven…”
Noel: “Do you fancy Steven Tyler?”
Kathy: “Oh, I DOOOO…I’m nearly fifty, mate, OF COURSE I THINK HE’S SEXY. HE’S STILL ALIVE!”

Kathy: ‘The Isley Brothers were once a six-piece band but two of the members died. Now I know what you’re thinking…”If only that would happen to Jedward…”

Again, more proof that Mark was perfect for NMTB: Right before going into an intro of Somebody I Used to Know, Mark, under his breath, goes “oh god…”

Mark and Noel’s intro for Muse’s Survival (the Olympics theme) is a sight to be beheld, just a bass-song that just gets considerably higher and stringier. It’s just hysterical.

When they place it in, Kathy just starts dancing to it, like dramatically.
Noel: “If I were training for the Olympics, that’s the exact kind of music I’d want to listen to. Just sounds like someone’s coming after you with a knife…”

This is a nice touch: for Phill’s ID Parade, they have to guess which is the kid from the cover of Nirvana’s Nevermind album. Nice twist on the round.

They even get to ask him stuff afterwards.
Phill: “How much sex did you get from being on that cover…”
Spencer: “I think…at least twice I got laid from being that kid…”

Noel’s side has to figure out which of the ID Parade is a Miley Cyrus superfan who’s tattooed his entire body with Miley stuff. So, twist to the round this week…maybe they couldn’t get talent.

#5 in Noel’s is “He cost so much to get him on the show that we figured we might as well get another use out of him, IT’S SPENCER ELDON THE NIRVANA BABY!”
Noel: “…is it #5?”

As they’re talking to #1, the actual superfan.
Mark, channeling Dave Fulton: “Can we ask #4 why he’s looked so depressed this whole time?”

Next Lines: “Say it ain’t so, I will not go.”
Mark, nodding: “Turn the lights off, carry me home…”
Kathy: “Beautiful…”
Mark: “THAT’S OUR SONG!!!”

Kathy: “Phill’s team, you need 7 points to win!”
Kathy: “Well, give it a go…”
…That’s like word-for-word a Mark Lamarr line from the video special. Maybe it’s like Spectre, where it’s just a drawn-out homage.

Kathy: “I’ve got passion in my pants, and I ain’t afraid to show it.”
Phill: “PFFFFFF…”
Sarah: “I’ve got some cream from the doctor’s?”

Kathy: “Oooh, baby, I’m hot, just like an oven.”
Sarah: “…but I need to go clean?”

Kathy even signs off by thanking “Mark Hoppus and Greg Jumpus…Rutherford…”

Overall: A promising and insanely watchable start to the series. It helped having Kathy Burke as guest host, as she felt well with the show’s brand of humor, as well as being legitimately funny and loose. Despite Greg not doing a great deal, this was a nice panel, the best surprise being Mark Hoppus being INSANELY GAME and INSANELY FUNNY. Sarah had some good lines, Fazer had some nice moments. Not a ton of problems here.

Guest Host Rating: 9/10. Solid job, Kathy.
Best Regular: Noel
Best Guest: Mark
Best Runner: Nevermind Baby

Nevermind Watchdown: S25E08 or TONIGHT…FORTY PERCENT!

As we begin to wind down Series 25, which is just now beginning to catch fire, we hand over the guest hosting gig to one of those ‘punchline hosts’, similar to David Hasselhoff, or…eventually Michael Bolton. James Blunt, famed for ‘You’re Beautiful’, and….yeah, is in the chair tonight, after a decent enough panel performance last year. The panel doesn’t look bad either, with Sarah Millican and ACTUAL JAMAICAN RAPPER SEAN PAUL, as well as McFly’s Harry Judd, who was appearing on Strictly at the time, and ‘requisite comedian’ Matthew Crosby

The cold open is a particularly odd one- thanks to all the barbs NMTB has had toward James Blunt over the years, and thanks to an Apocalypse Now-esque flashback, James Blunt arrives at BBC studios with a gigantic tank, only for Noel and Phill to flag him down, saying they want him to host. Again, these cold opens got to be pretty high-concept, even for a cheap panel show.

On Rihanna’s S&M video, Noel: “I don’t know what it means, but I’ve got an erection…”

After Sarah, with her South Shore accent, and Sean, with his Jamaican accent, try to communicate with each other.
Noel: “I’m gonna be interpreting for these two tonight…”

James: “Sean, what is Rihanna all about?”
Sean: “Oh, S&M…that sort of thing…”
Sarah: “I’m more about M&S…”

Noel: “I never thought that pyramids had steps, I thought they were smooth. So when I was out there, and saw that it had steps, I said ‘fuck it’, and went home.”
Matthew: “You’d brought your BMX, hadn’t you? You were gonna ride it down?”

On Rihanna’s supposed ‘oversexualization’ of a traffic cone.
Sarah: “Like, is there an appropriate amount of sexual behavior towards a traffic cone? Like ‘oh, it was a bit too much, though…’ I mean, I thought they were much better. Now that I’ve seen them up close, it’s probably feasible, isn’t it?”
Noel, with the cone: “What way would you put it in??? SIDEWAYS??”

Once Noel hears that the cone answer was wrong, and it was actually giving tattoos without a license, he just tosses the cone off the desk. It’s a nice little moment.

After saying that Rihanna tattooed someone a picture of an umbrella without a license.
James: “I think it’s desperately sad when a talented singer like that becomes associated with just one song.”
[“You’re Beautiful” plays in]
James: “…I delivered that [joke] incredibly badly, I’m sorry…I know my weaknesses. I’m a singer.”
Noel: “…sort of.”

Phill does a joke about Myleene’s babies punching to get out, “you know, at the bottom”
Matthew: “Hang on a second, it doesn’t come out the BOTTOM, does it?”
Phill: “I don’t know, I haven’t got a MAP!”
Noel: “I have got a womb map, if you want to borrow it…it’s like an old treasure map.”

Noel, a la Sarah: “Duuble Dicka!”
Phill: “I’d love to hear her say Toblerone.”
Sarah, shrugs: “TOOBLERUNE!”
Phill: “I’d like a Sarah Millican SatNav. “Oooh, DOON’T GOO THAT WEEIGH!”

On the Pope Toilet Roll:
Sarah: “I’d rather have somebody I like on my toilet roll, just to see them more often.”
Matthew: “Yeah, and then rub shit on their face??”
Sarah: “If they were a true friend, they’d take it.”

James: “I’m gonna have to push you for an answer…”
Phill: “You can push us all you want, tank boy…”

Noel: “I was telling Sean that I had a friend from Jamaica, his name was Jason. They’d say ‘oh, what’s your name’, and he’s say ‘JEEEAAASAAAAN….” And he’d just…immediately get laid.”

Noel and Sean’s first intro for Sarah is, well, “you’re Beautiful”
Sarah: “I know this one, it’s the one that really grated everyone, what was it…annoying, what is it…”

And, of course, James has to do a joke about himself.
James: “a six year old woke up from a coma after hearing that song on hospital radio. It was a beautiful moment, until she sat up and said “turn that shit off…”

After Sean cracks up reading the intro card
Noel: “Don’t look at me like some…happier, friendlier Mr. T…”

Sarah doesn’t know Sean and Noel’s next one, but the tune’s so catchy that the entire panel, and some of the audience, start singing and pounding along to it.

After a James standout about Kelly Jones from the Stereophonics
Noel: “Wait, Kelly from the Stereophonics says ‘people might see me as a hard man’? WHO?? He’s a hobbit in a leather jacket!”
James: “Have you looked in a mirror recently?”
Noel: “YOU CAN TALK…we had to get you a rope ladder for the tank…”

The panel has a nice discussion about Sesame Street, after James says he got on there.
Noel: “Was Mr. Snuffleupagus Sesame Street?”
Matthew: “Yeah, he was Big Bird’s best friend.”
Noel: “Was he imaginary, or was he real.”
Matthew: “I mean, I think they’re all *FAKE*…”
Noel: “HOW DARE YOU…you’ll be telling me Fraggle Rock wasn’t real in a minute…”

On Phill and Harry’s Pussycat Dolls intro:
James: “Can we hear that one more time, please? I just need to really…get into that.”
Phill: “I think you’ve been into this enough, from what I understand, Mr. Blunt…”
James, slightly embarrassed: “Oh. You heard about that.”
Phill: “Yes, I think the world has heard…about you and your dirty penis…which I’m sure you keep scrupulously clean, I mean, you know…”
James: “I would like to assure our viewers that it is absolutely clean…”
Noel: “It’s not dirty, that’s just camouflage…”

After the song plays in
Phill: “How many of them, be fair James…”
James: “20%”
Noel: “Have you ever done it in a tank?”

James, introing ID Parade: “For Noel’s team, how about some late 90’s girl group sex- GIRL GROUP POP…”

Noel, to Sean: “You’re a musician…”
Sean: “Yeah. I think so.”
Phill: “I know you smoke a bit, Sean, but to NOT REMEMBER WHAT YOUR JOB IS…that is taking a habit way too far…”
Noel: “Sean, what do you do? ‘Let me just check on my passport…”

Nice gag before Phill’s ID Parade: a lineup of girls in camo uniforms come out after the intro clip, and James quickly goes “Ah, no, SHIT, that’s a cock-up. Those girls weren’t supposed to come here, they were supposed to go to my dressing room. I’ll be through in a minute when I’m rid of all these guys…”
Sarah: “Will you be sorting one of them out? Just 20% of that lot?”
Phill: “I looked in his eyes then, and d’you know what I saw? ‘TONIGHT…40%!”

On the actual ID Parade, of 5 keyboardist guys
Noel: “Are you taking THIS lot to your dressing room?”
James: “This is all for you, baby…”

Harry: “#2 looks like a grown-up baby.”
Matthew: “As in, like, AN ADULT?”

James: “You can do all the things you’d like to do…”
Phill: “And tomorrow…do the other 80%..”

James: “I like big butts and I cannot lie.”
Noel: “…James Blunt?”

After James completely butchers some Sean Paul lyrics, and Sean does a great deal back to him…and then James does the actual line.
Noel: “That’s like the football scores…’East Fife, 4, Dem Shoogy Shoogy, 3…”

James: [reads another Sean Paul line]
Sean: [doubles over laughing]
Noel: “…Everton, 2…”

James’s signoff is “I’m off to see how many models I can fuck in a tank- FIT IN A TANK. Goodnight!”

Overall: Our fourth really great show in a row, thanks to James Blunt not only being a good host, but being game enough while everyone on the panel was fucking with him, including the writers. The panel was quieter, but Sarah and Matthew had good nights, Sean had a lot of fun, especially in Next Lines, and Harry was pretty quiet. Good show, with some fantastic moments.

Guest Host Rating: 9/10. Great job James.
Best Regular: Noel
Best Guest: Sarah
Best Runner: 20%