Alexander Armstrong: What would happen if all the UK's power stations were turned off tomorrow? Paul: It'd go dark at night. Alexander Armstrong: More sinister even than that. Paul:[in a Transylvanian vampire accent] It'd go daark at night! [imitates bats with his hands]
Charlotte Church revealing her meeting with George W Bush who asked what 'State' Wales was in, with Hislop jumping in with 'And you said, Terrible'.note They had this exchange twice, ten years apart - once when Church appeared as a panellist in Series 23, and once when she appeared as a guest presenter in Series 44.
Jeremy Clarkson wounding Ian Hislop by throwing a pen at him.
"WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU?! YOU'VE FAINTED SINCE THE START! YOU'RE DOING FUCK ALL!"
His overabundance of energy, as mentioned, managed to break through Paul's usually unassailable deadpan attitude.
Paul: I want to go home.
One of the all-time great moments on the show was during an Odd-One-Out Round featuring Archbishop Desmond Tutu as one of the possible answers.
Ian Hislop: Didn't Desmond Tutu train in Hull? Angus Deayton: Tutu train? No, I don't think so...
Paula Yates calling Ian Hislop the "sperm of the devil".note She presumably meant to say "spawn of the devil", but whether she did or not, the result was more memorable. His comeback was an exasperated (she, and later commentators, had been badgering him over something which he had not in fact been mentioning) "even your insults emanate from the genitals".
The Missing Words round from the Tub of Lard episode is one of the series' all-time classic rounds.
Paul gets an easy-ish one to start:
Angus: Paul and the Tub of Lard, er, here are your headlines, which, as it's our last show, have something of an international flavour. Er, "Monsieur Clinton s'apprêterait de changer" what? (the headline reads "M. Clinton s'apprêterait à changer de ____") Paul:(beat) Right, well bearing in mind that I did metalwork... right, Mons- M., Monsieur Clinton, s'arrap- what does that sound like... s'arrap- dunno what that is. Changes the... er... is it, erm, di- erm, director of media... communications? Ian: No. It's "Monsieur Clinton s'apprêterait à changer de underpants". Tony Slattery:Oui! Oui! "Monsieur Clinton s'apprêterait à changer de pantalon pristinement blanc de Michael Winner"!note British film director Michael Winner's demand that HIGNFY apologise for claiming in a previous episode that he wore stained underpants while making love to his then-girlfriend was a Running Gag in this episode. Angus:(laughs) That's, erm- Tony:(in French accent) Allegedly. Ian:Allegement. Paul: If anyone's interested, I can make a trowel.note According to Paul on the Very Best of Have I Got News for You DVD commentary, he actually can't! Is it director of... media... Angus: Yes, "directeur de la communication" is absolumment right.note The headline translates roughly as "Mr. Clinton is preparing to change his [communications director]", a reference to US President Bill Clinton's pending replacement of his then-communications director George Stephanopoulos with David Gergen.
Things quickly go downhill from there:
Angus: Next: "Die Bank von England gibt große" what "zu"? (the headline is "Die Bank von England gibt große ____ zu") Paul:(irritated) Well, how- I don't know. Erm, is it, er, "zhek tak uhl"? (sticks tongue out on last "word") Tony: Angus, I know this. Ian: Yeah, we know this. Tony: I know this. "Die Banke von England gischte große schtinkpantsen der Britischer Filmendirektor... and, and, and his wife: Zu". Ian: "Große amounts of money to fat Bundesbankers". Angus: Er, nein, it's, er, "Besorgnis", is the, er...note This headline approximately translates as "The Bank of England expresses great [concern]". Ian: Bless you! Angus:(off Paul's increasingly bewildered look) I'm amazed you didn't get it. Paul: Am I - I'm not on one of John Simpson's trips, am I!? I'm sitting here with a tub of lard trying to answer questions in German! Angus: Well, we shan't ask another one in German. Paul: Well, good!
And, in a great invocation of Exact Words, Angus does not ask another one in German:
Angus: Next, What "kak simvol yevrop-" Paul: Oh, God... (the headline is "____ как символ европеизации") Angus: "...yevropyeizatsii"? Paul: Well it's not Michael Winner, 'cause the second word's "kack", look. (audience laughter) Some of those letters are upside-down! Look! Angus: They like it like that. Paul: What's that one at the end!? It looks like a sort of seagull flying off! Look! Angus: It's Russian. Ian: That's an "A", Paul! Paul: Oh, it's Russian, oh, I do beg your pardon! Angus: They're allowed to do that. Ian: Is it "Yeltsin"? Tony: "Yeltsin"? Paul: "Is it 'Yeltsin'?"!? (laughs derisively) I must have been off sick the day we did this at school! Angus: It's, er, Yeltsin is- Paul: The Tub of Lard's no bloody good, look! It says "Made in the EEC" here, I've not had a word out of it! Tony: Is it- is it "perestroika" or something... Angus: Er, it's nothing even remotely like that. Ian: "Big Mac"? "Potato"? Angus: It's slightly closer to home, it's actually "Lord Owen". (the missing words are revealed in Russian as "Лорд Оуен")note Making a rough translation of the headline "[Lord Owen] as a symbol of Europeanisation"; at the time, the former SDP leader was EU co-chairman of the Conference for the Former Yugoslavia, and was trying to broker a peace plan for the war in Bosnia.
And things still manage to get worse for Paul, or rather for Ian:
Angus: Next up is... Paul:(disgusted) Oh! (the headline is revealed as "労基法改正きょう____") Angus: "Rōkihō kaisei kyō" what? Paul: Is it "bean-fried rice"? Angus: It's, er, it's actually- Ian: "Gary Rineker". Angus: "Seiritsu" is actually the answer I was looking for. (the missing word is revealed as "成立")note So the headline roughly translates as "Labour Standards Act amendment today [met]", probably a reference to a then-recent amendment to the Japanese Labour Standards Act of 1947 regarding working hours. Which means, er- Tony: What does- what does that word mean? Angus: "Labour standard law".note A translation of "労基法", or "Rōkihō" in romanji. Tony: Oh, of course! (smacks forehead as if to say "should've known that!") Angus: And, erm, and finally: What? (the final headline is completely blanked out) Paul:(sighs) "Fish found on Moon". "Antelope on bicycle". "Potato cures baldness... claims mad vicar". Angus: Erm... Ian: Is it "TV's Angus shagging Merton's wife"? Angus:(inclines his head) It's... close, it's actually "DLT quits Radio 1".note DLT being former Radio 1 DJ Dave Lee Travis. Paul: Now you say it, it's obvious, isn't it. Angus: Which valiant attempt at linguistic competence sees us winging our way towards the end of this round, programme, and indeed, series, and the final showdown seems to have ended with the hardly satisfactory conclusion that this week's down-and-outs are Ian and Tony with 16, and this week's upwardly mobiles are Paul and the Tub of Lard with 20! (Ian grimaces while Paul moves the Tub of Lard up and down as though shaking its hand) Ian: It is getting rather sad when I can't win against Paul when he's accompanied by a tub of lard, and the questions are in a foreign language! (trails off with half laughter half sob) Angus:We did everything we could Ian. Ian: I feel like Graham Taylornote then manager of the England national football team who had led them to a string of mediocre to bad results...
Season 37, episode 5 credits: An audience member stands up while trying to shoot the 'Credits Angle'. After getting busted on for it, Paul then shows everyone "How you do it".
Ian Hislop and Tom Baker trying to one-up each other. With Dalek knitting jokes.
Same episode, guest panelist Chris Addison just broke down after Tom Baker kept making low brow and rude jokes, proclaiming, "I wanted to meet you so much when I was a kid. So much! And now look at it, my dreams are shattered!"
Also, Addison's response when Tom Baker keeps calling him "boy":
Chris: I'm thirty-six, Tom Baker! Thirty-six!
Same episode. This exchange.
Tom Baker: Who should chip in to bail out the IMF according to Gordon Brown? Paul Merton: Jonathan Ross. Ian Hislop: Well, that's it. That's sorted that out. That's brilliant. (to Vince Cable, the other guest panellist) You see? Cheerfulness, practical solutions. Get Paul into the Lib Dems. Vince Cable: That would be a struggle. Paul Merton: Who for?
The brown suit.
Angus — in his white suit — handing brown envelopes full of money to the Hamiltons at the end of their episode.
Similarly, Ian demanding all the money back from Jonathan Aitken that Private Eye had spent losing its libel case against him.
Ian, during an Odd One Out round: "There is a connection with arms deals... and I'd better be slightly careful here... uh, Maxwell was a crook and an arms dealer and he's dead and he can't sue..."
Paul pretending to fall asleep and then to hang himself as Teddy Taylor rambled on and on about Europe. And Bob Marley.
Angus also acquits himself very well in that episode.
[a headline from a leaked Conservative party memo turns out to be "We need to feed our friends in the press with good stories"] Ian:[snorting] Sorry, it's just the idea of the government having a good story. Apart from "we're off." Taylor: You're being very cruel to them. Ian:We're being cruel to the government? You're about to vote against them in a no-confidence debate! Taylor: That's a separate thing. Angus:[primly] No more nasty remarks about the government, everyone.
Paul shutting off the TV on David Shayler, then getting a newspaper from someone in the audience and doing the crossword.
Piers Morgan's utter failure to turn the audience against Ian. "Jam."
Ian:[in response to Morgan mentioning Eddie Izzard] People like him.
Told by the BBC not to mention recent revelations about Man Behind the Man Peter Mandelson's sexuality (during a tangle about his mortgage), Ian asks:
Ian: What's wrong with saying he's a homo...wner?
Paul: What's wrong with gay people owning homes?
The BBC told nobody to discuss Peter Mandelson at all, instead HIGNFY mentioned him repeatedly throughout the episode following the news (Series 16, episode 03) and throughout the rest of the series even though he had absolutely no relevance. It was just a protest.
The Angus scandal episode; it has to be said. (Series 23, episode 06)
Paul ignoring the first question of the episode and going straight for the scandal, especially since everybody had been waiting for it.
Paul wearing a t-shirt with the article printed on it!
Paul's daydream about him and Ian skipping through a meadow.
Paul's way of dealing with two bad jokes: "Shall I go for three in a row?... I can't think of anything that's not funny. Over to you, Angus."
Headline round: "I Made Thatcher *What* Boasts Nigel"
Paul: Swallow! [laughter, Tony Slattery cracks up hysterically] Angus: No, it's not a reference to food.
How does Paul block out anything he doesn't want to know? Answer: This gem from series 13, ep. 7:
Angus: Do you want to know more about Mr. Abdala Bucaram? Paul: Nope. Angus: Well I'm gonna tell you anyway. Paul: Well I don't wanna know! Angus: Well, then I'm gonna tell you. Paul: Well, when this bit comes up, I'll turn the telly off. And I'm gonna go [fingers in ears] "La la la la, I can't hear you! I can't hear you!" [Laughter] You can't make me know this! Ian: Is this what you were like in school? I could imagine the metalwork class, no wonder you didn't pass! Paul: CSE. CSE: 'Ungraded'! Angus: Excellent work. Right, well, you better start shouting now, 'cause here we go. Mr. A- Paul:DADADADADADA!![Lots of laughter] Angus: -Bucar- Paul:DADADA! Angus: -Return- Paul:RADEDADA![Makes a face] Ian: This is like being at home with my two-year-old! Martin Clunes:[to Angus] Why don't you let me say it, I dunno- Paul: No, I'd like to hear Martin say it! Martin:[takes the card] Right-o. Mr. Abda- Paul:[bopping his head back and forth]DADADADADADA![Smiles, Martin gives Angus back the card] Ian: What about Michael? What about someone on your side? Paul: Yes, I'd like to hear Michael say it! Michael Parkinson:[given the card, puts on glasses] Mr. Abda- Paul:[bopping his head back and forth]BADADADADADA!!![More laughter] Michael: You read it then! [Hands the card to Paul] Paul: Yes, I'll read it. Ian: Everybody... [Paul does a double-take as he reads the card] Martin: Let's throw water at him, out of our glasses! Paul: THAT NEVER HAPPENED! [Reads it again] I think that's funny, you should read that out! [Hands it back over to Angus] Angus: And guess what would happen if I did?
And preceding the above one:
Angus: Who is Mr Abdala Bucaram? Ian: Is he an Iranian justice minister? Angus: Close, President of Ecuador.
About the introduction of civil partnerships for gay couples in Britain:
Ian: It starts on the twentieth. Lorraine Kelly: Twenty-first. Ian: Sorry! I was trying to get in early. I've a special dispensation, as it happens. Paul: We still on for the twentieth? Ian: Yeah. [they look away from each other]
Angus: Who was astonished at Cherie's choice of natural birth? Paul: [suggests various celebrities] Angus: It was the French, actually. Paul: [incredulously] What, all of them?
Talking about Hillary Clinton and Cherie Blair visiting the Globe Theatre...
Michael Parkinson: They went to see Shakespeare. Paul: No, they went to see one of his plays. He hasn't been getting out for quite some time now.
Also, Shortly after Angus left:
Anne Robinson: Gaddafi to host what? EVERYONE:Have I Got News For You!
Throughout that whole episode, Paul treating her — the first guest host, at a time when they still thought they'd eventually end up with another permanent host — like a job applicant. (Anne, after Paul gives a detailed and serious answer for once: "That's not very funny." Paul: "...Just leave your name at the desk on the way out.") Plus Ian repeatedly needling her about having worked for Robert Maxwell, even though she gave Paul's team a point every time he did. It also has The Weakest Link-style post-game Elimination Statement and Paul's impression of the queen as a London Gangster / one of the Kray twins.
During a sequence about the Large Hadron Collider, Ian at one point says they ought to go "down the collider", in his normal voice. Paul finds this hilarious and keeps repeating the phrase in a throaty disreputable Cockney voice.
Paul, Ian, and Greg Proops singing "Let's go fly a kite", then later Paul and Ian singing Val Doonican songs. The latter prompting Angus to bury his face in his hands.
Paul:[singing] Patty McGinty, an Irishman of note Fell in for a fortune and he bought himself a goat [normally] You know that one? Angus:[bewildered] No?
During a episode of series 14, Paul randomly announces that he's given up smoking. The joke became the running gag of the episode, with Paul asking if anyone had a cigarette to someone from the audience tossing one onto the set.
Paul: I gave up smoking yesterday. I'm very pleased about everything. I haven't got any tension running up my body. I'm very relaxed, very, very calm. [pause, then shouts at someone off-stage]SHUT UP!!
The Family Fortunes Parody on the "The Pirate Video", where Paul ended up being on the list of "What do you want for Christmas".
Also from the same thing is the "Fag Break" during the filming after Ian leaves randomly and Paul and fellow guests Martin Clunes and Neil Morrissey decide to have a smoke break in the studio. Paul, Angus, Martin and Neil start talking about holidays and Ian. Capped off when Ian returns and pretends to act like he had snorted coke backstage.
And in the missing words round:
[blank] on sodomy charges Ian: VAT?
Martin Clunes' impression of British astronaut Michael Foale single-handedly patching the hole in the Mir space station. [Posh accent] "Helleaugh, I've brought some felt! We don't really have a space programme in my country, but we do have lots of felt!"
On Jiang Zemin's state visit to the UK...
Martin Clunes: His route went past my flat window, and I actually videotaped it, in case somebody shot him!
At one point Paul became convinced that Angus was "part budgie", but that part was invisible under the desk. Angus played along.
That's also one of the Richard Wilson episodes, and it is epic. His Odd One Out included the other guest, Michael Brunson:
Richard: Hmm.... If I was going down the road of, erm... alcohol, would I be in the- going in the right direction? Angus: It would be an outrageous slur on one of our guests. Richard: If I went down the road of haemorrhoids... Michael: That would be an even worse slur! Richard:Is it mental illness? Michael: Quite- quite possibly! Angus: It involves someone who isn't in the picture. Richard: Oh for CHRIST'S SAKE. [Through further discussion, it's determined that the someone is Margaret Thatcher and the connection is that all the Odd One Out people have kissed her, except Michael Brunson, who made her cry in an interview.] Richard: How do you know Michael hasn't kissed her? He might have. Michael: I certainly have not. Let us get this on the record: I do not have a drink problem, I do not have haemorrhoids, and I have never, ever kissed Margaret Thatcher! Paul: Very often, those three are linked!
Clement Freud, given an Odd One Out round with the choices of David Blaine, George Bush, the Cabinet, and Jonathan King. "Three of them... are illusionists... and one of them is just a... pedophile."
2:24-3:00 in this video. Epic win for both Paul and whoever edited it for maximum effect. (That whole episode is excellent; see also the Robert-Kilroy-Silk-doused-in-shit story — always a winner — and Ian MacMillan's treatise on pies in part 2.)
The whole conversation about schools in Series 18 Episode 08, especially:
Angus:[to Glenda Jackson] Can you remember your motto? Glenda:[for clarification, pointing from herself to Ian] Who are you looking at? Paul: That must have been a tough school!note For the curious, Jackson went to West Kirby Grammar School, the motto of which is "Ad metam contendo" ("Strive for the goal").
The Reverend Richard Coles barely said anything that wasn't funny, but his CMoF was probably in response to a story about a New Zealand couple who had accidentally been given a huge sum of money by their bank and subsequently fled.
David Mitchell: Richard, as a reverend, you're a moral man, what advice do you have for this wayward couple? Richard: Um, keep running I guess. Don't answer the phone, don't use your credit card... and if you want to salve your conscience, any donation to St. Paul's, Knightsbridge, we'd be very grateful... David: What sort of amount is your church looking for in order to buy them absolution? Richard: Well, I should think a tithe is probably the sensible amount, so 240,000 would be about right. David: There you go. 240,000. Richard:[into the camera] And could you please use your Gift Aid envelope? Thank you.
Ian's bewilderment in the first Bruce Forsyth episode.
Swampy's reaction to being told that he had Neil Hamilton's support in his tunnelling endeavours: "Right, excellent! Who is he?"
While talking about hospitals:
Liza Tarbuck: Hospital? Paul: Big white building full of sick people. Clive Anderson: No, that's here.
After Angus has said as part of a story that something is elephant-sized.
Paul:[musing philosophically] Is a baby elephant elephant-sized, d'you think? Angus: ...That would be the size of a baby elephant. Paul:[stares at him in disbelief for a moment, then mimes writing] I'm gonna write that down! That's worth knowing, that!
During a story about the floods of 2000, including clips of people piling sandbags and other people in kayaks:
Jeremy Bowens: What I can't understand is what they do with the sandbags when there isn't a flood. Paul: Oh, old people eat them. Jeremy: And what about all those smug people with kayaks?? Why do they own kayaks when they live so far inland? Paul: Ah, well, you see, people hoarded them during the Great Kayak Shortage of 1973. It was during the fuel crisis as well - they had a saying, "You can't have your kayak and heat it". Angus:[to audience] You've been listening to Talking Bollocks. Paul:[quickly]Withyour host...!
Angus: Who are your favourite artists, Boris? Boris: Well, actually, I paint myself... Paul: Do you ever get into bed before you're dry?
One candidate for definitive Boris moment has to be on his second appearance. After his first appearance he had accused the show of being near-entirely scripted and rehearsed, leading to this exchange shortly in his second (immediately after which he apologized for his earlier remarks).
Paul: Why did you come back on this show again? Boris: Well, basically, um, basically, it was, um, it was for the money.
Lee: Are you Muslim? Are you allowed a piggy bank? Shappi: Only if it's a halal pig. (snaps fingers)
After Ian casually mentions that he was born in the same Welsh village as Catherine Zeta-Jones (to English and Scottish parents) Paul becomes convinced that this means 'he's Welsh' and repeatedly insists that throughout the rest of that show.
He uses it to get Ian out of trouble at one point, on a question about the suspicion that an episode of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? had been fixed:
Ian: It was a very unlikely winner for an ITV quiz show — a rather agreeable woman who lives in Fulham. [the audience oohs and everyone gives him a look] Angus: As opposed to which winners? Ian: Well... the ones who... who... live in less agreeable houses in Fulham, I suppose. Paul: What are you rambling on about? You silly Welsh man!
In something of a non sequitur, Paul mentions how camp-sounding the new fire engine sirens are, and starts doing impressions of an effeminate fireman; to invert it, Ian then plays on a story to do an impression of a butch, masculine ballet dancer.
"I happened to be standing in the members' lobby, and I used a well-known Italian mafia expression, which is called faccio, which means a gofer or a lackey. And one of my colleagues — nice chap underneath — misheard what I'd said and, er, thought I'd cast aspersions on his totally immaculate and impeccable heterosexual credentials. So he proved his heterosexual credentials... by jumping on me. And I didn't enjoy it, but that's politics."
The 2009 Christmas Special. The entire section about expenses, starting with this.
Ian Hislop: [after being shown a picture of Lembit Opik] That's a very silly man. This is the BBC trying to balance out the effects of having a sensible Lib Dem on. This is expenses, the story that won't go away... Charles Kennedy: [staring at Ian almost as if he has a second head] Was the implication of what you just said that you regard me as a sensible Lib Dem? Ian: Yes. I'm sorry, that was almost pleasant.
One of the guests for the edition immediately after the 2010 General Election was Lembit Opik — who had just lost his Commons seat in the biggest shock of the night. When Ian made a comment about being fed up with politicians' lies, Lembit responded, triumphantly:
"I'm not a politician!"
For that matter, the entire post-election episode of 2010. Ian and Paul being asked to form a 'coalition team' and Paul moving to Ian's bench, Ian imitating Gordon Brown with an unconvincing speech about "this was what I always wanted", Lembit Opik being alternately bitter and laughing at himself over the loss of his seat, and most of all the triumphant return of the old clip as the final tag, with reference to the parties forming a coalition in the hung parliament:
Robert Kilroy-Silk: Their fate is in each others' hands, as they decide whether to share... or to shaft!
It's like all the years they were showing that clip, it was secretly just waiting for that moment when it would suddenly be amazingly relevant.
In the episode aired shortly after John Prescott punched a protester in the face, Angus opened the episode by saying "In a week where our politicians have sadly shown a lack of restraint..." A member of the audience (really a member of production staff) then jumped the barrier and threw something at Angus; he pulled out a gun and 'shot' the guy, who fell onto the floor; he then moves on without comment. Funny by itself, but turned into a CMoF when at the end of the episode, as the camera pans out for the credits shot, the guy is still visible lying on the floor.
Both of guest Chris Addison's rants against journalists in the episode after Cameron becomes PM:
"I don't understand why journalists don't appear to be able to see what the definition of a coalition is: "Those two people don't appear to be in the same party, how can they be in a coalition?" It wouldn't be a coalition if they were in the same party, it would be a majority government, you thick bunch of bastards."
It's an excellent episode overall and you see Ian and Julia Hartley Brewer (both journalists) laughing quite gleefully during the rants!
In 29x02, when Michael Winner was a guest and Alexander Armstrong messed up a line from the autocue, Ian suggested that since Winner was a director, he should help. Winner gave Alexander some vaguely directorish advice and gave him his cue; he tried reading it again and messed up again. Ian, immediately: "Can we get another director? This one's hopeless!"
After guest host Bruce Forsyth spent almost his entire second episode as guest host skirting being sued for sexual harrassment by Laura Solon (the sole female guest) in the most creepy fashion ever, which culminated in him dragging her into a dance as the credits rolled, Paul and Ross Noble proceeded to partner up to upstage him royally with a hilarious dance routine.
The seemingly impossible and utterly hilarious: John Prescott hosting Have I Got News for You. And taking the mickey out of himself. Constantly.
Just for context, Prescott has been one of the longest running gags on the show, with reference to his frequent tongue tiedness, weight and more having been with them since the beginning. Add to this his high profile affair, the easy fodder of MPs expenses and his soon to be official Peerage, and that he was willing to appear at all even then is worth entry on this page alone. He may not have been the smoothest performer in the Chair, but no one will ever be able to claim the man can't take being made fun of, and he managed some good jibes along the way too.
John Sergeant's first appearance, when he surprised everyone by being an amazing Deadpan Snarker. After they'd shown the famous clip of him being dragged out of the way by Margaret Thatcher's press secretary as he tried to ask her about the 1990 party leadership election:
John: It's a very badly edited version of what happened. I discussed with her what the position was. She then explained at length: "John...," she said. All that. Paul: It's been cruelly distorted for the purposes of light entertainment. John: Yes. I've come over looking silly there!
Series 12, Episode 2, the publication in the final round is Seafood International and everyone has been shouting the names of fish and seafood:
Angus: New Labour, new ____ ? Peter Stringfellow: Prawns! Angus: You can't just keep saying 'prawns'. Paul: He CAN keep saying 'prawns', that's what we won a war for! The right of every citizen to keep saying 'prawns', whether it's funny or not.
The time they had the art critic Matthew Collings on in the week of the Turner Prize, when the "Stuckists" had been protesting the idea that True Art Is Incomprehensible.
Matthew: Meantime everyone inside the Turner Prize didn't care what the Stuckists said. Angus: And were you with the people who didn't care about what was going on at the Turner Prize? Matthew: No. No, I said "right on!" to the Stuckists, and I said "cor, baby!" to the champagne-quaffers inside, and I felt loving towards both opposing camps. Angus: So you're with the Stuckists. Matthew: I was with them in spirit, but I was inside out of the rain, with the champagne.
This Merton gem:
Angus: What's the proper way to eat spaghetti? Clement Freud(with gestures): Spoon - fork - suck. Paul: Spoon Fork Suck? Isn't he the President of China?
After guest host Jack Dee - a very deadpan comedian with a staid manner - has talked about Somali pirates taking hostages in relatively serious terms:
Jack Dee: In a statement issued to the press, the leader of the pirates said A-HAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRR!
His arguing-banter with Frank Skinner, especially at the very end.
In Boris' second appearance, his photo is one of the options in every Odd One Out, and then they add insult to injury by making his bow tie spin around like a propeller -
Paul: Aw. That's not fair. You're making Boris into a figure of fun!
A classic "In the news this week..." joke: the clip, presumably from an environmental protest, is of a guy playing a dolphin being clubbed to death. Angus introduces it with the matter-of-fact description, "A man in an appalling dolphin outfit is quite properly culled."
Ian and Miles Jupp's attempts to explain who N-Dubz were.
In the Christmas 2010 episode, guest Ross Noble revealed to the audience that host Alexander Armstrong was "a secret Geordie" (he was born in Rothbury in Northumberland); Armstrong proceeded to affect a Geordie accent, Noble affected an exaggerated version of his already pronounced Geordie accent, and the two had a rapid-fire, near impenetrable conversation about various towns in Northumberland to the utter bewilderment of Ian, Paul, and fellow guest Micky Flanagan.
When Salman Rushdie was a guest in 1994, while he was still in hiding because of the fatwa calling for his assassination, his and Paul's first question was about Ray Illingworth making changes to the England cricket team which included getting rid of chaplains. Rushdie gave the answer, ending with, "... and I think there's not much to be said about that; he should be sentenced to death." Obviously this got a laugh and a huge round of applause, whereupon he turned to Paul and said, "Popular idea."
Paul starting a rousing rendition of "Two Little Boys" and getting the audience to join in, halfway along.
The guest publication for the missing words round being announced as Global Slag Magazine prompting a loud cheer from one member of the audience, leading to bemusement from the panel.
Also the time the panel were confused about what a harrow is, and the host asked the room in general, "Has anyone ever ploughed anything?" and instantly someone called out, "Oo-er, we have."
More good audience participation, from the April 5, 2013, episode: Stephen Mangan polls the audience as to how they scored on the recent survey to determine social class. After no one is (or will admit to being) "elite" and "established middle class" gets a moderate response, he gets to "traditional working class" and someone calls out "Ra-ther!"
"Rock on, brothers!"
This exchange from when the subject of World War I poetry is brought up, just for the way Ian coincidentally sets up the perfect Rule of Three punchline for himself.
The Running Gag of all of Ian's impressions sounding like Alan Bennett (which Paul has pointed out a few times over the years).
Alan Johnson's explanation of how a car that ran on human waste actually worked.
Alan: Well, this is how it works. The driver's seat is connected straight to the fuel tank, and then someone tells you that your wife's recorded a conversation you had about penalty points.
Also from that episode, this exchange:
Ian: [about letters signed by imaginary people coming out of number 10] They all do this now. I mean, I think that they're all at it and the Prime Minister's office is sending letters from an imaginary person: Michael Gove. [Everyone, especially Alan Johnson, laughs.] Paul: What diseased mind could have dreamt up such a creation?
On S 33 E 07, Paul's refusal to accept that Barbed Wire Collector was a real magazine.
Paul insisting that Prince Phillip set the Cutty Sark on fire and, later, that somehow a camel was involved.
When John Sergeant hosted, being a professional broadcaster and better at it than many of the other guest hosts, he provided cue points for them to cut a discussion short and go to the host giving the answer by saying "YES!", often in the middle of one of Paul's tangents. Paul reacted as though this was part of the conversation and reacted with hilarious confusion. "What do you mean, yes!?"
The time one of the questions was based on some dubious story about a town's police force discovering that recording themselves whistling theme tunes from cop shows and playing them over loudspeakers discouraged crime in the area, and Paul was so resolute in his belief that this couldn't be true that he borrowed Andrew Marr's phone to call and ask them. Angus, of course, was just trying to keep going with the show. Paul explains on the DVD that he really did call information to get the number (Angus: "Was that Directory Enquiries?" "Yes." "Were they helpful?" "Well, they've given me the number, which is all you can ask of them."), then dialed only most of it and pretended to be talking to the police station. He ended by daring them to trace the call, hanging up, giving Marr his phone back and telling him not to make any plans for his holiday.
"Fox or Cat", a game which involved spinning a large wheel which then stopped on either Defence Secretary Liam Fox or a cat mentioned in Home Secretary Theresa May's speech.
Victoria Coren: That is genuinely the best game I've ever played...
And of course, the entire Round 1 of the panel alternating between ripping at Defense Secretary Liam Fox's nepotism for his chum Adam Werrity and the make-up speeches of Theresa May on immigration involving a cat. It has to be heard in its full idiotic glory to be believed
When discussing Samoa's change of time zones:
Gregg Wallace: So, who's responsible for this temporal shift? Samira Ahmed: Was it... The Doctor?
Then later, discussing the riots that occurred in Samoa when they changed from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar:
Paul's Double Take reaction when Nick Hewer of The Apprentice casually remarked that his wife used to go out with Andrew Neil from The Daily Politics.
Also Nick Hewer talking about when he met all the Labour leadership candidates. "...Oh dear."
Paul's impression of the Conservative frontbench (represented as Upper Class Twits) being herded into a Gregg's to be filmed eating pasties to smooth over a tax scandal.
The otherwise incompatible Susan Calman's perving/fangirling over Damian Lewis when they appeared together in Series 43. Also, her worryingly well thought out plan to kidnap a penguin and raise it as her daughter, Cynthia.
Paul and Ian mercilessly tearing apart Jeremy Clarkson in his appearance in Series 43 (partly as a representative of the Sun, for which he is a columnist, during the week the Leveson Inquiry declared Rupert Murdoch unfit to run an international corporation). Also, Ian and Nancy Dell'Olio flirting.
The William Shatner hosted episode, which successfully left the entire panel - including Ian, Paul and guest Charlie Brooker - completely lost for words.
The running gag of Shatner being unable to pronounce Didier Drogba's name. Obviously deliberate, as Shatner grew up in French-speaking Canada and indeed pronounced Francois Hollande's name the French way.
The entire episode hosted by Alastair Campbell. Hislop spent the whole thing ripping him to shreds, and never has he been more on the ball.
Alastair's responses included giving huge amounts of points to Paul and his teammate Nick Hewer for answering simple questions (and, in Nick's case, for being a Labour supporter). The game ends with Paul winning by 55 points to 2.
Alastair playing the bagpipes of all things.
[during the Missing Words round] Alastair: "(What) was the worst party ever" - and if you say "Labour", I will play my bagpipes again. Ian: No, that would be ridiculous to say "Labour", it's "New Labour".
Victoria Coren's flat refusal to believe that Ukraine has a psychic pig for Euro 2012.
Paul: Are you easily manipulated? Audience: Oh yes we are!
The Odd One Out round where the four choices are Sooty, Ken Livingstone, the "Kismot killer curry" and Tim Henman. After a very long pause (broken only by Paul pressing the buzzer "just to break the silence"), Ian connects them thusly:
Ian: Is it... Sooty was always asking "What did you say?", Ken appears to be a bit deaf, Tim saying "Did you say 'come on Tim'?", and... that curry... makes you deaf.
Paul proceeds to deride this as the worst answer to a question he's ever heard:
Paul: Well, that's the worst answer this programme's ever had. Ever, of any answer, ever, in the history of man. Give him the points. For sheer inanity. Stephen Mangan: It's, er, unfortunately it's not true. Paul: Not true? Stephen: No, it's not the right answer. Paul: How can it not be true? Sooty's always saying "what did you say?", Ken Livingstone's deaf, Tim can't hear people saying "Come on Tim", so the curry's the odd one out because it's not a glove puppet, wasn't Mayor of London and never played tennis at Wimbledon! Stephen: The more you say that, actually, the better it sounds... Ian: And what was your answer? "I don't know"! Paul: Well, it was still better than that one! Ian: That's true!
Bill Deedes' appearance had several, such as when Angus Deayton asked him about his brief career as a cabinet minister in The Sixties ("I did...what did I do?") and when they show an embarrassing picture of him posing in a suit:
Deedes: I was young. I was foolish. It was...the spring.
Ian gets a brilliant line when Brian refers to him and guest Ken Livingstone as "my friends on the right", pointing out that Ken is left wing.
When the revelation comes around that Brian Blessed was once voted one of the sexiest men with a long beard, Ken quips "to be fair, you were in a competition with Osama bin Laden".
Bridget Christie takes several swipes at Tony Blair during the discussion of Thatcher's death. One of the funniest:
BRIAN BLESSED: The celebrations of Thatcher's death have been criticised by all sides, including Tony Blair. Blair said this: "When you decide, you divide. I think she would be pretty philosophical about it, and I hope I will be too." Although, philosophically speaking, he'd be dead! Ken Livingstone: He believes in an afterlife, he'll be looking down on the celebrations. Bridget Christie: Or looking up...
It came after a joke about a mixture of choral and rap music, prompting Hislop to create the title Zadok the motherfucker, causing Merton (and the rest of the panel) shock. It can be seen here
Paul Merton: You've never said [censored] before!
In the Mel Giedroyc-hosted episode from Series 45, Ian's teammate is the Reverend Richard Coles (making his third appearance on the programme, and his second since becoming a vicar). In the pre-credits teaser, Paul tells the audience that, because of Ian's "disgraceful performance" the previous week, he has to sit with a vicar at all times lest he "befoul the air". Coles points at Ian and barks, "So (bleep)ing watch it!"
The discussion of the news story concerning a vortex to another dimension being discovered in Brighton.
The Odd One Out round from a 1992 episode where all four selections include Jeffrey Archer in order to mention something Archer has lied about in the past. In order:
Paul Merton's four include three fiddlersnote sort of; two violinists and the star of Fiddler on the Roof, Israeli actor Topol and an (alleged) expense account fiddler (Archer, who denied wrongdoing).
Newsreader Trevor McDonald's four include three former police officers (including Archer, who nevertheless denied being a former policeman) and Princess Diana (who dressed as a policewoman to go "on a rave-up" with Sarah Ferguson in 1986).
Comedian John Sessions' four include three medal winners and someone "who just meddles" (Archer, who claimed to be the son of a Distinguished Conduct Medal winner who merely had the same name as his real father).
Ian Hislop's four include three graduates of Brasenose College, Oxford and a non-university graduate (Archer, who left school with three O-levels and took a three-year teacher training course based out of Brasenose, but who was never, contrary to his later claims, a registered undergraduate).
Ian shredding the Daily Mail for their article on Ralph Miliband was both funny and awesome.
Bernard Cribbins and Paul Merton extemporising a song based on Antigone with (apparently) no warning or prep time.
Stop hanging about, Antigone. You're making a mess on the floor We just cleaned up last Saturday We don't wanna do it no more...
There's also Bernard's priceless anecdote about Noel Coward (with pitch-perfect impression) choosing his song "Hole In The Ground" on Desert Island Discs.