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Has the quality of the guests swung too far another way?

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AVR2
1171698.  Sat Jan 23, 2016 8:06 pm Reply with quote

I'm not sure if we're allowed to talk about this sort of thing, but here goes...

I've watched QI from the beginning and always loved it, until a couple of series ago when it seemed that a number of the more regular guests were forgetting the name and premise of the show. They would invariably try and go for a gag every time they opened their mouths, to the detriment of the Quite Interesting things that other people were saying - or trying to say.

Lots of comments that looked like they were going to be QI were truncated by the usual suspects - the initials RN, PJ and SL spring to mind - jumping on top of them and making jokes that were sometimes worth it, but all too often weren't. And there was never any closure on the cut-off QI comments.

Thankfully most of the worst offenders haven't been on the show in more recent series, and one of those who has seems to have been reined in a bit, as if someone important has had a quiet word, and is now more willing to let Quite Interesting things be said without feeling the need to try and undercut them with a gag.

And yet... in the current and last couple of series, many of the guests have swung to the opposite end of the spectrum, insofar as they've been trying to make gags, but have been almost toe-curlingly unfunny, with even the studio audience's response being muted.

I have to be honest here, the majority have been Australians whose names are entirely new to me, but there are also a number of up-and-coming British comedians (so Google tells me, anyway) who've been on very recently who have made me think "What are they doing on here? What's their value to the show? They're not saying anything QI or funny".

Or am I just getting old?

 
'yorz
1171700.  Sat Jan 23, 2016 8:46 pm Reply with quote

Hi AVR2 - I had almost said 'Welcome!' and pointed out the e-tea kettle, but then I checked and you're not new at all. Just the Very Quiet Type. :-)

You're not the first and and only one who has aired these very points. I definitely agree that there have been times when I got quite frustrated by the truncating of a guest's flow (oooh, Matron!). The quality of the show can vary quite a bit. But never to the point where I throw in the towel and give up on it. It does sometimes resemble an Old Boys Club, and the tone can get a tad puerile. But then, that's often the charm of it, too.

I am really curious what Sandi's impact on the show will be, how she is going to handle things. Time will tell.

So - no, it's not you getting old. Well, maybe you are, but then so are quite a few here. :-)

 
Alfred E Neuman
1171714.  Sun Jan 24, 2016 2:14 am Reply with quote

AVR2 wrote:
...the initials RN, PJ and SL spring to mind...


Why use initials? Surely you're allowed to say who you don't like without obfuscating it like that?

 
AVR2
1171853.  Sun Jan 24, 2016 9:25 pm Reply with quote

Alfred E Neuman wrote:

Why use initials? Surely you're allowed to say who you don't like without obfuscating it like that?

I wasn't sure of the etiquette around here relating to negative comments about panellists. But I'll happily say that I frequently groaned and rolled my eyes when I realised that Ross Noble was on the show yet again, because he always tried far too hard, to the point that I'd be yelling "Oh shut the **** up!" at the screen within about five minutes.

Sean Lock always had the air of the kid in the class who insisted on being disruptive when anyone who knew more than he did was talking. His nadir was in series F when he ripped the piss out of Ben Miller simply because Ben actually knew stuff about science and was happy to talk about it without feeling the need to go for the gag. Ben hasn't been back since, AFAIK - was he put off by what Sean did?

More recently, most of the never-heard-of-them Australians have been so unfunny that I've felt sympathetic embarrassment for them, and to get right up to date, why was Cariad Lloyd booked? She seems to be something of a general comedy panel show guest du jour, but while she was a reasonable actress in Peep Show, I've yet to see any evidence of her abilities as a comedian on any of the panel shows I've seen her in.

So yes, I'm hoping that things get shaken up in a positive way under Sandi. Stephen is still Stephen and therefore largely above criticism, but the show is feeling very much in need of change.

 
Troux
1171858.  Sun Jan 24, 2016 11:50 pm Reply with quote

AVR2 wrote:

Sean Lock always had the air of the kid in the class who insisted on being disruptive when anyone who knew more than he did was talking. His nadir was in series F when he ripped the piss out of Ben Miller simply because Ben actually knew stuff about science and was happy to talk about it without feeling the need to go for the gag.

[Warning: opinion]
This is precisely why I like Sean on the show. He acts like a kid who doesn't want to be there, and interrupts monotony to pass the time, best executed in Common Knowledge, juxtaposed with Rory McGrath. I'm a huge fan of the informational aspect that is introduced by the show and best complemented by the books, podcast, and this very site. However, you must remember that first and foremost it's an entertainment show, and in my opinion, the format of all the best episodes goes:
1) Introduce something interesting
2) Take the piss out of it

Sean is an expert on step 2, and too much of step 1 turns the show into some kind of pot luck documentary, and leaves the more polite Alan Davies sitting quietly, probably considering his career options as comedy is pulled from his grasp.

Quote:
Ben hasn't been back since, AFAIK - was he put off by what Sean did?

Ben, like many others, was pulled in as a "guest star", being particularly au fait or otherwise associated with the topic of an episode, the result of which is often long, humorless monologue. The same was done with Daniel Radcliffe (Hocus Pocus), Ben Goldacre (Health), Clare Balding (Horses and Hunting), Nina Conti (Inventive, dreadful to watch), and the worst offender was Carrie Fisher, where the theme of the show was "Oh yeah, you were in Star Wars!" In most cases, these people would have been better off as consultants than panelists.

That said, I also get very annoyed when some guests use the show to do standup or otherwise dominate with irrelevance. Phill Jupitus seems to be the worst case, and I've seen the antic from Noble and Vegas, but they're not as bad about it, and more tolerable to me anyways.

 
crissdee
1171873.  Mon Jan 25, 2016 5:27 am Reply with quote

Alfred E Neuman wrote:
AVR2 wrote:
...the initials RN, PJ and SL spring to mind...


Why use initials? Surely you're allowed to say who you don't like without obfuscating it like that?


Jimmy Carr, Jimmy Carr, Jimmy Carr.😈

 
AVR2
1171893.  Mon Jan 25, 2016 6:49 am Reply with quote

Jimmy Carr has become a lot more tolerable, in that he seems to have realised that it's okay for him to show that he might actually be interested in or know about stuff. But Sean Lock reminds me of the arseholes I encountered when I was at school, who would ruin really good lessons and sometimes get the whole class into trouble, and who would also pick on kids who demonstrated knowledge.

 
Zziggy
1171918.  Mon Jan 25, 2016 7:48 am Reply with quote

Sean Lock hasn't been on QI in over four years.

I like Cariad Lloyd. She was pleasant and knowledgeable. Similar to Sara Pascoe, whom I hope will come back.

 
dr.bob
1171950.  Mon Jan 25, 2016 9:15 am Reply with quote

I agree about Cariad Lloyd. I think she had the right balance of being funny and interesting. I'm surprised to see someone on this thread saying they didn't like her, but I guess you can't please everyone. Everyone has their own particular likes and dislikes. I personally really like Phill Jupitus and Jimmy Carr, though I'm aware there are plenty that disagree with me.

To me the best kind of guest should be able to joke around and make fun of things but, at the same time, be interested in what's being said and ask sensible questions to move the discussion along. Unlike some others, I feel that Ross Noble does this very well.

 
Jenny
1172070.  Mon Jan 25, 2016 10:36 pm Reply with quote

I absolutely love Ross Noble - he makes me laugh more than most of the other guests.

 
crissdee
1172078.  Tue Jan 26, 2016 12:33 am Reply with quote

If for nothing else;

"Tossing Ewoks into a lake of farts!"

😂😂😂😂😂😂

 
'yorz
1172093.  Tue Jan 26, 2016 4:11 am Reply with quote

For those who missed that

 
dr.bob
1172130.  Tue Jan 26, 2016 6:41 am Reply with quote

I think that sums up, for me, why Ross is a good panellist. For sure, he cracks lots of jokes and generally acts like a professional comedian. But he also engages with the subject being discussed and helps to move the discussion on to new and interesting areas that might not have been discussed otherwise.

That strikes me as a pretty perfect combination for a QI panellist.

 
'yorz
1172147.  Tue Jan 26, 2016 7:59 am Reply with quote

Absolutely. *thumbs up*

 
Jenny
1172215.  Tue Jan 26, 2016 11:13 am Reply with quote

Agreed. I like the surreal quality of his imagination.

 

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