Funny: The Unbelievable Truth

  • The constant quibbling over points in series 1 episode 6, where Graeme Garden gets a point for saying he believes Denmark to be a small country, and later Sandi Toksvig tries to get a point for buzzing in on Dara O'Briain saying "Can you imagine a world without rats?" The latter becomes even funnier when Sandi says that she can imagine a world without rats, and Dara says "I didn't say "Sandi cannot imagine a world without rats"." Sandi says that if he does, she'll challenge...and then Dara continues his lecture with "No you can't."
  • The end of series 4 episode 6. Tony Hawks had spent the entire episode buzzing in on any fact related to America, and had been wrong every time. Graeme Garden, the fourth speaker, deliberately hammed up every mention of American cities and states in his lecture on the telephone, and Tony had buzzed in incorrectly every single time, until at the end of Graeme's lecture, the following exchange took place:
    Graeme: And in... Atlanta, Georgia... [audience laughter]
    Tony: Did you know I was booked for this show??
    Graeme: ... it is illegal to tie a giraffe to a telephone pole.
    Tony: I'm not going for that! [buzzer] Oh, hang on, he is...
    David Mitchell: Phill.
    Phill Jupitus: I reckon it is!
    David: Yeah, you're right, Phill!
    [much laughter from audience and panellists, followed by the sound of Tony leaving his chair, causing the laughter to redouble]
    David: Tony's, er... [sounds of a piano offstage] Tony's, Tony's left, and he's- he's found a piano. He's playing mournful tunes on the piano - oh, he's come back.
    Tony: I don't think Phill will be able to sleep tonight!
    • Unsurprisingly, Tony finished last with -5 points, while Phill won with +6 points.
  • Discussing how wrong Isaac Newton was about everything else but gravity in series 5, episode 1:
    David Mitchell: Basically it's only a bit of luck that he saw the apple fall and he didn't think, "Ah! That proves ghosts!"
    • "...Which I think adds to the general picture of Isaac Newton that we're building up, that he was an idiot."
  • Charlie Brooker's list of things supposedly invented by Thomas Edison:
    Charlie: He also invented a temporary canoe made of rice paper, an official uniform for wasps, the motorised tie-rack, four types of imaginary candelebra, a machine designed to pick up evidence of the afterlife, a helicopter that worked on gunpowder, the street luge, the cassette single or "casingle", Honey Nut Cornflakes, Metal Mickey, C-3PO, Max Headroom and David Cameron.note 
  • Arthur Smith walking off the show in the last episode of series 7 in a fit of pique over an unawarded point, whereupon David Mitchell, sounding slightly disinterested, noted "Arthur Smith has walked off the show, but fortunately at the point when it no longer mattered!" It then turned out that Arthur had won the show anyway.
  • Series 8 episode 5:
    Henning Wehn: But once all the chickens were barbequed, there were no more eggs, only mass starvation.
    David Mitchell [mishearing]: I beg your pardon?!
    Mark Watson: He said "mass starvation"! Two separate words!
    [Much laughter]
    David: That's definitely the biggest laugh mass starvation has ever got!
  • Henning Wehn abandoning his lecture on computers in Series 10 to give a rant about people impersonating him on Facebook. Arthur Smith gets a point for buzzing in on it.
    Henning Wehn: The other thing computers are good for is setting up Facebook pages of second-rate German comedians without their consent. [audience laughter] Meaning they have to spend hours of non-productivity writing to Mark Zuckerberg's criminal money-laundering organisation, with no success at all - apparently, it's fine for anyone to have their identity stolen by some half-wit, and have the breach of the basic human right to your own identity overseen by an unelected, power-hungry entrepreneur, who is unanswerable to the law- [buzzer] -doesn't possess an ounce of common decency- [repeated buzzing] that's exactly what Hitler wanted to do! [audience laughter and applause] But I tell you what - but even the Nazi Party wouldn't have had the nerve- [buzzer sounds repeatedly again; Henning's voice is rising in anger] -to steal my identity, and then send me an automated e-mail asking me how satisfied I was with their customer service! [audience applause]
    David Mitchell: Arthur.
    Arthur Smith: Well, either Henning is one of the greatest actors in the world, or that is true.
    Henning: It so is.
    David: Well, yes, I think you get a point there, Arthur, yes.
    Arthur: Can I just say, Henning, I thought it was quite a funny idea at the time, and I'm sorry.
  • Tony Hawks' lecture on gambling in Series 10 leads to a hilarious digression on the notion that only humans kill each other.
    David Mitchell: I thought... I thought what some people said - and by "some people", I mean, basically, y'know, hippies - is that- is that, y'know, whereas humans, we have, like, the First World War, animals, they'll- they'll fight a bit for territory, but they won't let it get too far. They won't let it get to actual death.
    Lucy Porter: But they do eat their own children, David.
    David: Who do?
    Tony Hawks: Animals.
    Lucy: Animals. I've seen it. Hamsters eat their own children.
    David: That definitely counts as killing each other, eating your own children.
    Tony: Chimpanzees, I think they murder each other as well.
    David: (indignant) Well, what have the hippies been saying to me!?
    Tony: Look, I don't believe that you know any hippies, David!
    David: Look, I went- I went- I know lots of hippies.
    Ed Byrne: David thinks I'm a hippie 'cause my hair is long. He doesn't know what a hippie is. He thinks- he thinks Robert Webb is a hippie.
    Tony: Right, I've forgotten where I was now.
    David: Robert Webb is a hippie. I mean, for God's sake, he used to have an earring!
  • In the final episode of series 11, Tony Hawks gets a piano (for part of his lecture on pianos), and hits three different notes, claiming them all to be 'middle C'. Ed Byrne buzzes in and says "Are you kidding me?", whereupon it turns out David is relying entirely on Tony to even know if he'd played middle C at all.
  • In the first episode of series 12, the subject of Ed Byrne's lecture is David Mitchell himself. It goes much as you'd expect it to, and is hilarious from the moment that Mitchell introduces the lecture with obvious trepidation.
    David Mitchell: Your subject, Ed, which I should point out here and now is entirely of Ed's own choosing and not one that I have in any way recommended or endorsed, is... me.
  • Episodes 5 and 6 of Series 13 featured the same panel, and both featured hilarious blue humour-tinged digressions courtesy of panellists Susan Calman and Miles Jupp.
    • In Episode 5, Susan's lecture on Queen Victoria featured the following truth and analysis thereof:
      Susan Calman: Me 'n' Vicks have so much in common. She was a woman who demonstrated wild emotion and wanton passion... as do I.
      (buzz)
      David Mitchell: Miles.
      Miles Jupp: At the end of that last sentence, she said the words, "As do I," in regards to demonstrating emotion and wanton passion, and I think we'd all agree, those of us who were in the green room prior to this recording... (laughter from audience and other panellists) that, er, y'know, that is, er, indubitably the case. Wow. That was unbelievable, wasn't it.
      Phill Jupitus: Yeah. Seriously.
      Susan: You can't do this! Sandi'll take away my membership!note 
      Phill: But Sandi's still back out there cleaning the pole down! (loud laughter from audience and other panellists)
      David: Come on, guys. What happens in the green room stays in the green room.
      Tony Hawks: Only 'cause they can't wash it off! (laughter and applause from audience)
      David: I can't, er, give any points about the wantonness of either Susan or Queen Victoria. It would be quite wrong in a pre-watershed slot... and I use the word "slot" advisedly.
    • Episode 6 began with Tony Hawks' lecture on school, and the fact that a school for undressing (using burlesque dancers as models) had been opened in Manhattan in 1937 on the premise that "poor disrobing techniques" were leading to an increase in the divorce rate, leading to this discussion between Miles (who correctly guessed this to be a truth) and Susan:
      Susan Calman: D'you think it matters how, if one is going to bed, if one has the promise of lying next to someone in a bed, does it matter how one removes the clothes? I mean, if I undressed clumsily, Miles, would you reject me?
      Miles Jupp: I would think, "Susan is more than typically drunk." (laughter from the audience and panellists, loudest of all from Susan herself) "But- but not a lot more." (laughter redoubles)
  • In the opening episode of Series 14, one of Josh Widdicombe's truths about letters was that the abbreviation "OMG" was first used in a letter to Winston Churchill in 1917, which David O'Doherty successfully spotted.note  Lloyd Langford then suggested that Adolf Hitler had written "Just invaded Poland. ROFL!" in 1939 - a joke which Josh revealed he had been about to tell as the final joke of his lecture. As he attempted to recover, David Mitchell joked, "We've heard how it went!" Josh gave up and said, "And there ends my lecture!"
  • Series 14, Episode 3 has several:
    • Arthur Smith's lecture on death reveals that his fellow panellists are not exactly devoutly religious:
      Arthur Smith: Over two thousand years ago, a man called Jesus died and came back to life three days later. (very long pause, audience laughter) All right, have it your way!
      Sandi Toksvig: Ooh, the dilemma...
      (later, after David Mitchell has revealed Arthur's undetected truths)
      David Mitchell: By the way, anyone who's gonna write in about the two thousand years ago, er, Crucifixion incident that's, er, garnered some media coverage over the last few centuries: Jesus was not crucified two thousand years ago, because He was crucified in 33 AD, which is, er, less than two thousand years ago. (laughter from Arthur) So we are not required to discuss the issue of whether or not He came back to life!
    • David makes a rather bizarre implication when introducing Sarah Millican:
      David Mitchell: Sarah was famously inspired to become a comedienne as a way of dealing with her devastation after the collapse of a seven-year marriage. That's one route. I went to Cambridge University!note  (hysterical laughter from Sandi Toksvig and audience) Sarah, your subject...
      Sarah Millican: I look forward to your first divorce!
      David: I'll become a different sort of artist. You know, a... a serial killer!
    • Sarah makes David's Cambridge education something of a Running Gag during her lecture. After a fact about hedgehogs suffering from trapped air that makes them inflate like balloons leads to a digression on the Tufty Clubnote  and whether Tufty was a hedgehog or a squirrel, David interrupts:
      David Mitchell: I don't know what anyone's talking about.
      Sarah Millican: Did they not do that at Cambridge?
      David: No... er, the Tufty Club was something very different there.
    • After Sandi falls for a lie that Boy Scouts can start camp fires by rubbing two balloons together, David reveals that it is possible to start a fire with a clear balloon filled with water used as a magnifying glass for sunlight. The ensuing discussion soon goes off the rails:
      David Mitchell: And then you accidentally let go, and the fire goes out, and you cry.
      Sandi Toksvig: But what are the chances of being stranded in the woods, and you suddenly think, "Wait a minute, I've a clear balloon in my pocket!"
      David: Well yes, that's true.
      Graeme Garden: "Filled with water!"
      Sandi: Yeah.
      David: Well, I mean, we have ways of filling it with water, don't we.
      Graeme: What, you think there's, there's a stream nearby?
      David: I have my own inner stream.
      Arthur Smith: You can't pee into a balloon! The neck's too small!
      Graeme: You don't know David very well, do you? (audience and panellists laugh)
      Arthur: Well, I'm relieved, frankly!
      Sandi: I can't even look at you now, I can't...
      Sarah Millican: I can!
    • Following Graeme Garden's lecture on Jane Austen, David Mitchell relates that Northanger Abbey was originally called Susan. Just as well she changed it, David remarks, as otherwise the novel would have contained such passages as "Mr. Tilney spent a lot of time in Susan," or, "Mr. Tilney smiled as he entered Susan by the tradesman's entrance."
  • In Series 14, Episode 5, Josh Widdicombe's lecture on holes is derailed early on when Susan Calman buzzes in on his claim that short aristocrats would have a six inch trench dug next to them so that their wives could wear high heels without being taller than their husbands; Susan, being only 4'11" tall, says she wants this to be true today. Josh then tries to get his lecture back on track, leading to an even more hilarious digression:
    Josh Widdicombe: Right, to recap, er, aristocarrots would have a six-inch hole-
    David Mitchell: Yes, Previously On...
    Josh: Previously, in holes...
    David O'Doherty: I think you just said "aristocarrots" there, which is, I think, a vegetable with a top hat. (Susan Calman laughs uproariously) I'm really enjoying just thinking about it.
    Susan Calman: I thought it was sweet when he said "aristocarrots"!
    David Mitchell: Aristocarrots, let's- quite seriously, aristocarrots is marketing gold. That's- that's the must-have toy this Christmas. It's got the Downton Abbey chic, it's got eating more healthily, come on! Aristocarrots, Lord Carrot, Lady Carrot, the little Carrots, the radish butler... come on! We can't... we're wasting our time here, we need to be getting down to Mattel and pitching aristocarrots.
  • Episode 6 of Series 14 featured the same panel as Episode 3 (Arthur Smith, Sarah Millican, Sandi Toksvig, and Graeme Garden), and provided further hilarity. At the end of Sarah's lecture on smells, David recites the undetected truths, and reveals a hidden talent:
    David Mitchell: And the second truth is that gerbils can smell adrenaline, and as a result the animals were installed in airport security areas to detect terrorists. MI5 originally planned to use gerbils in airports in the 1970s but dropped the scheme after it was discovered that gerbils could not tell the difference between terrorists and passengers who were just scared of flying.
    Sandi Toksvig: I love this! Did they have a little hat as well? D'you think they had a little...
    David: Tiny, officious gerbils. (falsetto voice) We'll have him!
    Arthur Smith: Is that your impression of a gerbil, then?
    David: That's my impression of a gerbil, yes.
    Arthur: I thought it was rather good, can we hear it again?
    David: (falsetto voice) No! (audience and panellists laugh) I smell fear! Arrest that man! (more laughter)
    Arthur: Well, if everything else falls around you, you've got a job there!