- The Dead British Actors sketch, in which two feuding actors are cast in the same play as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, under the condition that they alternate roles each night. Their rivalry turns increasingly physical.
- "So you see, Watson, my unique powers of observation..." *smashes glass over Watson's head*
- "Of course, we don't know if the audience picked up on any of this." And the next scene has Holmes (now played by Webb) kicking Watson's crutch (because his leg's broken) and then continuing to beat him up.
- Then they make a film of a Holmes story, in which they alternate roles between shots, thereby flushing continuity down the toilet.
- The two Nazis who suddenly start questioning the skull motifs on their caps.
- As we meet our "heroes", Hans (Robert) is on the phone and his comrade Erichnote (David) is looking at his cap.
Very well. (hangs up)
They're coming. Now we'll see how these Russians deal with a crack SS division. Erich: (putting his cap on)
Er.... Hans.... Hans:
Have courage, my friend! Erich:
Yeah. Er.... Hans, I've just noticed something. Hans: (looking through binoculars)
These Communists are all cowards! Erich:
Have you looked at our caps recently? Hans: (lowers binoculars)
Our caps? Erich:
The badges on our caps. Have you looked at them? Hans:
What?... No... A bit. Erich:
...They've got skulls on them. Hans:
Have you noticed our caps have actually got little pictures of skulls on them? Hans:
Er... I don't, erm... Erich:
Hans... are we the baddies?
- Later, Erich still can't get over the fact that the skulls seem to imply that he and Hans are on the wrong side of good and evil:
Well - maybe they're the skulls of our enemies! Erich:
Maybe. But is that how it comes across? I mean, it doesn't say next to the skull, y'know, "Yeah, we killed him, but trust us, this guy was horrid"! Hans:
Well, no, but- Erich:
I mean, what do skulls make you think of? Death. Cannibals. Beheading. Erm... pirates... Hans: (brightening)
Pirates are fun! Erich:
I didn't say we weren't fun, but, fun or not, pirates are still the baddies. I just can't think of anything good about a skull! Hans:
What about pure Aryan skull shape? Erich:
is more usually depicted with the skin still on! Whereas the Allies— Hans:
Oh, you haven't been listening to Allied propaganda? Of course they're gonna say we're the bad guys! Erich:
But they didn't get to design our uniforms! And their symbols are all, y'know, quite nice! Stars, stripes, lions, sickles... Hans:
What's so good about a sickle? Erich:
Well, nothing, obviously, and if there's one thing we've learned in the last thousand miles of retreat, it's that Russian agriculture is in dire need of mechanisation! Hans:
Tell me about it! Erich:
But you've gotta say, it's better than a skull! I mean, I really can't think of anything worse, as a symbol, than a skull! Hans: (thinks)
A rat's.... anus? Erich:
Yeah. And if we were fighting an army marching under the banner of a rat's anus, I'd probably be a lot less worried, Hans! (Hans puts a cigarette in his mouth and sets down an ashtray - shaped like a skull. As he absorbs this, he and Erich see one of their comrades drinking out of a mug with a skull on the side, and another knitting a scarf with a skull pattern) Hans:
...Okay. So... (he and Erich suddenly bolt from the table and run for it)
- The snooker commentators also get a good one, when a player not noted for his calm disposition loses a frame due to a fluke shot: "Oh my God, he's fluked it! Barry Evans has fluked a pot, and he's as good as dead!!!"
And isn't it nice to see Barry Evans take time out to apologise to his opponent for his good fortune. Peter:
It's a comprehensive apology, Ted, which is understandable when you look at Terry McCarthy... who has gone very still
- The Dog Poker sketches, featuring the same commentators... in dog costumes. And utterly bored with the whole thing. It'd be sad if it weren't so funny.
Yes. Late Night Dog Poker. Rejected by the BBC, and commissioned by Dave.
- Not to mention during the dog poker, Peter questions whose money exactly the dogs are betting with.
Ted: That's not clear, Peter. That's one of the many things about this show that's just not clear.
- There's also their conversation about a washed-up player who's made several bad investments of late.
Peter: Well, he's certainly been struggling for form.
Ted: He's been struggling for money, is what he's been struggling for, Peter. And he's not earning any sitting there watching a much younger man clear up.
Peter: Yes, young Terry Stevens there, potting away like the whole world's made of pocket.
Ted: While Jimmy there is out of pocket. In more ways than one.
[Ted and Peter begin falling over themselves with a truly absurd amount of laughter, made even better by the fact that they would be roaring if they weren't massive chain-smokers, but are instead wheezing emphysemically like men at death's door.]
Peter: Out... of pocket!!
Ted: Yes, that was a good one.
- What I Reckon. Especially for regular readers of spEak You're bRanes.
- All of the Numberwang sketches have several of these. In particular...
- First game:
- "Let's rotate the board!" It rotates to reveal two more contestants (David Mitchell as "Jon" and James Bachman as "Miles")... then rotates back to Julie and Simon.
- Both contestants guessing "one" with various inflections until Simon's "one" is declared Wangernumb.
- The prize money check has "Children in Need" crossed out.
- Second game:
- "The maths quiz that simply everyone."
- "Simon to go first. Too slow. Julie?"
- This exchange:
Host: Let's move on to round two, imaginary numbers. Simon?
Host: That's Numberwang!
Julie: Frilve hundred and neeb.
Host: That's Numberwang!
Host: Oh, bad luck, Simon. I'm afraid shinty-six is a real number, as in the popular phrase "I only have shinty-six days left to live."
(behind him, a screen shows the number "shinty-six", which is really 56 with the 5 reversed)
- Third game:
- "...and Simon, who is from space."
- Gyles Brandreth in Number Corner, a parody of Countdown's Dictionary Corner:
Host: So, Gyles, any funny number stories?
Gyles: Yes. Once I ate 18 cakes.
- Numberscoff. Particularly at the end when Simon belches and gets a Belchwang bonus.
- The board rotates to reveal a Nativity scene with David Mitchell as Joseph and James Bachman as Mary.
- Simon repeatedly guessing 6 (while the board displays a 7 that increases in size).
- And the last word from Gyles.
Host: It's Numberwang.
- Fourth game:
- "The numbers show that simply everyone... is talking about? Yes."
- Simon being asked if he sings in Anglesey. He gives a musical response that contains "Can't you see, I cannot sing."
- "...instead of starting with Round 1, we're going to start with Round 1."
- "Vase." "That's not a number."
- Going for three whole days without hitting Numberwang. The Sudden Death round is literal; whoever dies first (while being bombarded with "Number gas") wins. It's made even funnier when Julie dies first, complete with "ding" and funeral flowers that spell out "That's Numberwang!"
: You may be interested to know that today's Number Gas is made from the number 2
, which, you may remember from school, is deadly to humans.
- "...Simon, who is from a factory and made from a special metal." (Simon smacks himself with a CLANG sound)
- This exchange:
Host: Julie, ever killed a man?
Simon: (enthusiastically) Yes.
Host: Sorry, are you buzzing in?
Host: That's Wordwang!
- The word boards. They guess all sorts of non-animal words in the Animal round while an animal shows on the screen. Then the same thing with Countries of the World: the board shows vegetables and the contestants guess fake countries such as "Fintanland" and "The Independent Republic of Yeb". Simon guesses "Ireland", which he is told is not a vegetable.
- Julie and Simon being penalized for bad guesses by having letters removed from their names. They go into the Wordwangerator as Uli and Im, with respective scores of "H" and "tarpaulin".
- When the board rotates, it reveals David Mitchell and James Bachman re-enacting a Russian roulette scene from The Deer Hunter. As the board finishes rotating, we hear the gun go off.
- The Wordwangerator:
- In the Gratuitous German version, "Nümberwang", the contestants are introduced as being a Hamburger and Frankfurter.
- "Julie, wie gehts?" "Nein." "Simon?" "Ja." ("Julie, how are you?" "No." "Simon?" "Yes.")
- The board rotating to reveal Robert Webb and James Bachman in a re-enactment of the torture scene from Marathon Man.
- The host wishing Julie good luck before Wangernumb - in English, tricking her into answering "Oh, thanks very much!" in a parody of Gordon Jackson giving himself away in The Great Escape, and causing the host to immediately disqualify her.
- Among Simon's prizes for winning are a beer stein and a picture of David Hasselhoff.
- In the live show The Two Faces of Mitchell and Webb, Julie and Simon are played not by Olivia Colman and Paterson Joseph (their actors in the television series), but by Abigail Burdess and James Bachman; the host explains that they have "regenerated into two slightly less expensive actors".
- Julie gets Numberwang before the game even begins, during banter with the host about her two children, 5 and 7... and 6 and 3.
- This exchange:
Simon: Pi and a bit?
Host: Do you mean 3.15?
Host: That's Numberwang! Julie?
Julie: A bit of pi?
Host: [holds up slice of pie] Do you mean this?
Host: That's Numberwang!
- No-numberwang, in which the contestants score by not saying numbers. As they stand there in silence, the host periodically shouts, "That's No-numberwang!" Finally, Simon panics and blurts out "Brazil", which is declared a number, as in "Brazil Britons are among the dead."
- A retrospective of numbers which have left us during the preceding year... including 4, forcing the host to skip from Round 3 straight to Round 5.
- When the board rotates (with the aid of stagehands), it is the host who is rotated away, replacing Robert Webb with a similarly-attired David Mitchell.
- The (new) host making no secret of his favouritism toward Simon during the final Numberflan round.
- Although the games of Numberwang between Julie and Simon were retired as a recurring sketch after the first series, the second series featured several sketches based around Numberwang.
- A spoof trailer for The Numberwang Code, with David Mitchell as Tom Hanks and Robert Webb as Ian McKellen. In one scene, closer inspection of The Last Supper reveals that Jesus and the disciples are having Chinese takeaway - specifically, chicken in black bean sauce with a side of egg fried rice, also known as a number 37 with a side order of 14... which makes Numberwang.
"Ian McKellen": The world is full of numbers. Everywhere you look, on buses, speed limit signs, inside shoes... even in the phone book.
"Tom Hanks": [looking up from a phone book] I never realised...
"Ian McKellen": But are the numbers on the side of good... or evil?
"Tom Hanks": I thought they said all numbers were neutral.
"Ian McKellen": They lied, Charles! They lied!
"Tom Hanks": ... sorry, who's Charles?
"Ian McKellen": You are.
- The Official Numberwang Play Numberwang at Home Numberwang board game, which allows fans to avoid falling afoul of the complicated copyright law that would ordinarily send them to prison for playing Numberwang at home. Includes a 37-volume Ruleswang rule book (each volume being the size of a large dictionary).
- The History of Numberwang documentary, culminating in the homicidal rampage of the Numberwang computer Colosson, who is determined to destroy everything that isn't Numberwang - including television. The documentary includes clips of a pre-Colosson version of Numberwang in which whether or not a given number is Numberwang was worked out by hand and could take hours (leading the host to go to a musical interlude in which he hums God Save the Queen - causing the researchers to stand, without missing a beat in their work), and the first Colosson version presented by Robert Webb as Call My Bluff host Robert Robinson.
- The Agent Suave sketch, which is essentially a Casino Royale (2006) spoof set in a casino where all the games are typical village fete things like 'guess the weight of a fruitcake', is entirely one of these.
- "THE LIGHTS ARE GOING OUT ALL OVER TELEVISION!"
- Queen Victoria's objection to the American Ambassador's gift of 20,000 linden trees... and the reason behind her objection. And the Prime Minister's response to her objection.
"What is the point of the last fifty years of my being a Victorian if Queen Victoria herself is going to sidle over and ask 'Can I smell cum
- The "Posh Dancing" sketch, where Mr. Darcy says what we've all been thinking.
Elizabeth: I confess I did not know.
Caroline: In faith, what would appear to be the summation of all that you "do not know", Miss Bennet, would make for quite th-
Darcy: Oh Caroline, would you PLEASE shut the FUCK UP!
- A 'behind the scenes' sketch where David and Robert are plotting the order of the sketches and where the 'miss' sketches should be arranged around the 'hit' ones (in reference to the common sketch-show criticism that the sketches are always 'hit-and-miss'), before it becoming a meta-take on the common criticisms they receive. It ends like this:
Robert: [Very smugly] And people call us smug!
[Both sit looking absurdly smug.]
- Coverage Of People Buying A House And Then Living In It, a parody of property shows. The host (David) and prospective buyer Geoff (Robert) clearly realise just how mundane the process is and make no attempt to disguise their boredom at having to make a television programme about it.
(the Host and Geoff are standing in front of a suburban home)
Host: Hello, and welcome back to Coverage Of People Buying A House And Then Living In It. So, Geoff, you want to buy a house, here's a house, what do you think?
Geoff: (nods) Yeah.
Host: D'you like the house?
Geoff: Yeah, 's fine.
Host: Will Geoff be able to buy the house that's fine of his dreams, yes he will, it's in budget, isn't it Geoff.
Host: That was not a close one.
Host: We'll be catching up with Geoff when he's bought his house, which is (jump cut to the host and Geoff in the front hallway of the house) now, Geoff, you're now living in your house.
Host: What's that like?
Geoff: 'S all right, just doing a bit of DIY, putting some shelves up, but nothing major.
Host: We'll be catching up with Geoff's attempt to live his "having things on shelves" dreams (jump cut; the host and Geoff have swapped places and there is now a shelf on the hallway wall with a jar on it) now, how are the shelves?
Host: Well, that's fascinating. So, to sum up, Geoff, who you don't know, has bought a house and is now living in it, having put up some shelves, and I think we can all agree that that's basically a good thing. Join me next week when I'll be presenting Coverage Of People Renting A Flat And Then Going To The Shops To Buy Some Food To Eat In It.
- And Coverage of People Who Are Ill In Hospital Receiving Treatment. The host has the same tone of aggressive boredom he had for the property show.
Dave, you're in hospital. Dave:
Yeah, got gallstones. Host:
Did it hurt? Dave:
They been removed but everything wonderful? Dave:
Nah, a nurse fingered me. Host: Wonderful. [after a cutaway of less than a minute] Host:
Well, we've had a bit of a cock-up here and Dave's dead.
- "Brain Surgery", a sketch that's ridiculously funny even though you can see the punchline a mile away.
[after several minutes of brain surgeon Lionel patronising other guests at a party for having jobs that aren't "exactly brain surgery", he is introduced to latecomer Geoff]
Lionel: So, Geoff, how do you earn a crust?
Geoff: Well, I'm a scientist, I work mainly with rockets. It's... it's, erm, pretty tough work. What do you do?
Lionel: [haughtily] Well, I don't mean to boast, but, er, I'm a brain surgeon.
Geoff: Brain surgery. [sips his glass of champagne] Not exactly rocket science, is it?
- The Lazy Writers doing a science-fiction show.
Female ensign: Captain! The little green men have made a hole in the silver wall with their laser thingy, and now the space is getting in!
Captain: Quick! Everyone put on those special motorcycle helmets we use for breathing! We're humans — we breathe air, not space!
- The Green Clarinet.
- I... wet the bed until I was twelve, until I was twelve, until I was twelve. I wet the bed until I was twelve, I have wet legs in the morning!
- I secretly harbor racist views, racist views, racist views. I secretly harbor racist views, I don't think Asians drive well!
- The conspiracy sketches, where three people sit down and plan out a conspiracy (faking the moon landings, Roswell and the death of Diana) while pointing out all of the absurdity involved, but in particular:
"I think we should also perfom an autopsy on the aliens, and then tell no one the results."
"Yes, and just to make absolutely sure no one finds out, we should film it."
- Rob's idea to make the doorbell obsolete. The best part is David's eerily calm tone as he explains why the positives (knowing who's at the door before you answer it) may be outweighed by the negatives ("A broken window, a dead or severely injured dog, the need to carry a large cannon around with you, not to mention the possiblity that you're intending to visit several houses and will need to carry several dogs.") It's nothing like the indignant ranting we've come to expect from him, but it's no less hilarious.
- The historical recreationist's sketch.
"STOP! ... It's racist. It's really, really racist."
- The Caveman Police sketch.
Caveman: Sometimes I think the whole advance into stone technology has been a bit of a double-edged sword.
Ursula: A what?
Ursula: No, what did you just say?
Caveman: I've no idea.
- The Quiz Broadcast sketches, when they're not being disturbing, or traumatic (Remain Indoors).
- The discussion on Sheila having a Tesco logo tattooed on her head (for religious reasons)
Sheila: We don't want The Event happening again.
Host: We certainly don't. God, imagine The Event happening again... (to audience) No! Do not imagine The Event happening again! It will cause distress! The Event is in the past!
- Pretty much all of the Sunday Chill-Out Sensation DVD. But especially the ending.
DVD: That Sunday Sensation Chill-out. Brought to you by your robot overlords.
Robot: Nice cup of tea, puny humans?
- The iBag. Which is exactly what it sounds like.
- The terrible dancing. It has to be seen to be believed.
- "Complete isolation. Sorry, what's that? I'm in a bag."
- Robert Webb's banana dancing.
- The World War II documentary about radar, in which the professor flails his arms about every more dramatically as he emphasizes every single word. The director tries having him put his hands in his pockets (he flails his arms around inside the jacket) and then having two production assistants keep his hands tied behind his back (he breaks free of the ropes). Finally he ties the professor to a handtruck, but he ends up jerking his head around in the same way.
- The "Incredibly Posh Person Who Unaccountably is Still A Waiter", the "Incredibly Sinister and Twisted Person Who Unaccountably Is Still A Vicar" and the "Incredibly Posh And Aristocratic People Who Unaccountably Sells Clothes". It may be pretty much the same joke each time, but it's still funny, helped by David Mitchell's performances.
Woman: Excuse me, what happened to the incredibly nice Australian girl with the colourful jumper we met last week?
Incredibly Sinister Vicar: She's gone, child. They're all gone, banished by the bishop! I know where they're going eventually. In the meantime, Daventry!
- When it's not crossing a line twice, The Surprising Adventures of Sir Digby Chicken Caeser!
- Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan, and his audience is offended by the Unfortunate Implications.
Disciple: So what Iím finding offensive ó and Iím sure Iím not the only one ó is your unreflecting acceptance of this cliché that all Samaritans are wankers.
Jesus: No, Iím saying he was good!
Disciple: Yeah, but youíre implying that the fact that he was good is worth a story in itself. Itís some kind of weird curiosity, like an albino Nubian.
Jesus: No, Iím saying that goodness comes in unexpected places.
Disciple: Yeah, and Iím saying that the fact that you wouldnít expect goodness from a Samaritan betrays your inherent racism.
Jesus: Ha, ha, OK, OK. Alright, thatís a big word. Letís just take a deep breath here. I didnít mean to offend anybody; thatís the last thing I intended. Um, I didnít realise there were any Samaritans in the room.
Disciple: Now, thatís not the point!
Jesus: Or Samaritan sympathisers ó you know, Sammy loversÖ
Disciple: Aww, I canít believe Iím hearing this.
Jesus: No, no, no, no. I didnít realise it was such a PC environment here and I suppose I thought that having what was only intended as a fond pop at our Samaritan neighbours, friends even, if you like, would not be inappropriate in the context of a story which is after all about goodness, and at the end of the day, it is only a parable.
Disciple: What? It didnít really happen?
Jesus: Of course not. A Samaritan tosser wouldnít do that for his own grandma!
- Raymond Terrific, host of Big Talk, has a number of these, but this (when dealing with the question of "Is there a God?") takes the cake:
Tim: Well, there is no yes or no answer, andÖ
Raymond: WHAT!? I can think of two yes or no answers just off the top of my head!
- Then, for Comic Relief, it's made into Small Talk, and Raymond makes absolutely no secret of much he hates the format change.
- From the radio series, one sketch in series 4 has a man at a pet center trying to describe a cat to another man who has no idea what cats are.
Man at Pet Center: Picture where you're living now.
Clueless Man: Okay.
Man at Pet Center: Now imagine a cat there.
Clueless Man: And the cat would move?
Man at Pet Center: Intermittently.
- The Everything is Fine sketch, which is pretty much the same gag repeated for two minutes, parodying the usual new habit of dramaticising horrible events by completely underplaying them.
-causing major loss of life. If you are just tuning in, the news is that everything is now fine after a major incident.
Reporter-on-the-scene: (standing in front of a building with smoke coming out of it) No, no new fatalities. Everyone who was injured is now recovering or dead, because as I have said, everything is now fine.
- "Cressps: once you Cressp, you just can't splessp!"
- "That doesn't make any sense."
- From the radio, series 4 has a version of Gardener's Question Time, wherein all the questions asked are inane or completely unrelated to gardens, just given the qualifiers "in a garden". When the Only Sane Man is given a question about gardens, it's shot down.
No! Do not answer that question, it has nothing
to do with gardens. Barbara, you stupid cow! Barbara:
What if it was in a garden? Present:
No, we're not interested in hypotheticals!