Saturday, October 08, 2005


You would all love it.

I say this without fear of criticism, reproof or recrimination.

QI is a sort of a quiz show that has just resumed in the guise of a new season. Hosted by Stephen Fry, of all people. Posh voice, dirty mind.
Sort of a bit like Glass House but without the script, a bit like Good News Week but without the structure, it is a quiz show of no particular aim and no particular quiz.
What it is, in fact *cough*, is a witty conversation between Stephen, almost always Alan Davies and three other guest comedians / people about the place / semi-celebrities / whoever Stephen likes this week, a conversation that Stephen can redirect or re-instigate by asking a question. Last week was comic actors. This week he asked an Opera soprano Dune if she'd ever had a deep-fried Mars bar, from which ensued an incredulous discussion about deep-fried Curly-Wurlies, deep-fried pizza, and Scottish cuisine in general. Last week he asked everyone how many sheep had gone into Noah's Ark which resulted eventually in Bill Bailey singing "They all came marching two by two, Hurrah, hurrah. And then came the amoebas marching two, no four, no eight, no twelve..."
*Uproarious laughter!* (You do all know who Bill Bailey is, don't you? Google is your friend...)

At the end of it all, somehow Stephen has given everyone a score, usually to the negative. His particular pleasure is asking questions to which the obvious or best known or even slightly educated answer is WRONG!!! At which point he takes great delight in having the erroneous answer flashed up in huge, friendly letters, a la "I knew exactly what you were going to say, nerr nerney nerr!" to the melodious accompaniment of an embarrassing klaxon.
(Did you know...)
The correct answer to the sheep question is not two, but seven. A 'taffy pull' is NOT a Welsh pick up line but the fairground competition/traditional activity of making taffy (toffee) candy in America. No, salt water Taffy has no salt water in it. What is the size of a platypus? (sort of hold your hands out to indicate what you reckon...) NO! The size of a platypus is NOT "about this big" - a duck-billed platypus perhaps, but 'platypus' is a name originally given to an insect, a beetle. (Okay, I haven't checked this out, but Stephen says it so it must be right...) It results in a lot of painful expression between guests who know that what ever answer they have, even if it is the same answer, it will be wrong. Hence the negative scores. But very educational. Hey, tonight I even learned what the Queen carries in her handbag.

Random question from tonight, and thought provoking:
What age would you like to be? Some guy (the tenor) said 6, cos you're the centre of your universe, you can get away with anything, and you get fed lots of custard. The next guy (the bass) said 90, for exactly the same reason. Stephen, from his chair of wisdom, proclaims that from a National Statistics survey of thousands of people, the ideal age to be was determined to be, in fact, 17. (Gawd, can you remember being 17?) The tenor exclaims that at 17 he'd been spotty and gangly and wearing glasses, the bass says everyone was stupid, the soprano looks digusted at her own memory and Stephen Fry says he was in gaol.

BBC 2, 10 pm England time on a Friday night. There just has to be a website...
Ah, here we go:
"QI is the brainchild of long-time TV comedy guru John Lloyd, producer of Not The Nine O'Clock News, Spitting Image and Blackadder. A few years ago, John came to the sudden and shocking realisation that he didn't really know anything -"
Really, that's all you needed to know.

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