(which isn't surprising, considering they were created by the same people). It involves only comedians and is hosted by
, an Irish comedian. The series started in 2005 and is still ongoing.
The show's regulars are Hugh Dennis (from the start) and two guests on one team and Andy Parsons (series 3-present) and two guests on the other. Former regulars are Chris Addison (series 9-12; Addison had other commitments for the second half of series 12, hasn't returned for the first half of the current series, 13, and is not scheduled to return for the back half), Russell Howard (series 4-9, who left to star in his own show
(series 1-7) and Rory Bremner (series 1 and 2). The guests are usually English, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish comics, but occasionally include American, Australian, and Canadian comedians.
- Absolute Cleavage: A male example: Chris Addison doesn't seem to know how the top four buttons on any of his shirts work.
- Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable: One outtake showed Rory Bremner as George W Bush with Greg Proops as his aide, taking a telephone call from Tony Blair. The aide has to remind Bush of Blair's nationality: "He's from Great Britain, sir."
- Actually Pretty Funny: Seann Walsh almost doubles over laughing after a Take That from Josh Widdecombe while suggesting "Unlikely things to hear at Christmas time".
Josh: Yes, it's just what I wanted! A Seann Walsh DVD!
- A Date with Rosie Palms: Frankie relating the bizarre conversation when Dara told him that his exercise bike causes his balls to go numb, meaning he's forced to fluff himself every 20 minutes to get the circulation back. Cue much fun as everyone takes turn riffing on the possibility of Dara releasing a fitness video that keeps randomly breaking into softcore porn.
- This is also Frankie's pasttime when it comes to watching Nigella Lawson.
- "Commercials That Never Made It To Air"
Hugh: Masturbation. Are you getting your five-a-day?
- This gem from Dara:
People who live in glass houses shouldn't masturbate in the basement.
- "Unlikely Lines from a Superhero Movie"
Andy: The Dark Knight rises. Has a quick tug, goes flaccid again.
- Adorkable: Ed Byrne does an adorably dorky little dance after making a terrible pun.
- Aerith and Bob: One of the few suggestions for this round to actually mock a general fantasy trope rather than making the usual Harry Potter / The Lord of the Rings gags;
(category: "Cut Lines From A Fantasy Film")
Greg Davies: "Hey, John. How's it going? Yeah? How're the kids? Great. Well, see you around."
- Alternate Company Equivalent: Not really alternate company, per se, but Mock the Week is to BBC Two what Have I Got News for You is to BBC One.
- Ambiguously Gay:
: While I've been speaking, I imagine that a lot of the ladies in here have been looking at me, thinking is he... or isn't he? Well, I've got to be honest with you ladies: I am looking for a cleaner.
- Ambiguous Syntax:
Chris Addison: In the 1980s in Manchester, there- we had this huge pigeon problem in... well, not huge pigeons...
Dara Ó Briain: AAAAAAH! [mimes pecking]
- Annoying Laugh: The Series 8 outtakes featured a woman in the audience constantly interrupting a round of Scenes We'd Like To See with this.
- Anticlimax: Provided by Seann Walsh twice.
- [Unlikely Lines To Hear In A Disaster Movie]
"Oh, yeah, just press that, you'll be alright."
- [Unlikely Things To Hear In A Superhero Movie]
(miming talking on a phone) "Just call the police." (Walks off again, miming throwing the phone over his shoulder)
- Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?: Frequently in the two rounds where the player have to guess the answer, they will get closer to the answer before somebody sends it steering off into the ridiculous again.
[The letters for the Headliners round are C.D.W.B.]
Dara: "Church" is the first word...
Andy: "Church Decision, Women Bishops"!
Lucy Porter: "Church Do Women Bishops"!
Michael Mcintyre: "Church Deny Wearing Bedspreads"!
Dara: The 'D' stands for... see, everyone got closer and closer and closer, and then suddenly "deny wearing bedspreads"!
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
(as Shappi Korsandi struggles to believe that Erik the Red used false advertising to bring people to his Greenland colony
): "Oh yeah, the Vikings did a lot
of bad shit. Not just raping and pillaging; also lies
- The Artifact: Hugh Dennis to an extent, as he is the only member of the current panel who is not an active stand-up comedian.
- Artifact of Doom: After Russell Kane made a fairly audacious joke, the others joke that it's because he was sitting in Frankie's old chair.
Russell Kane: I swear, I've never had those type of thoughts before!
- Ascended Extra: Several of the regulars started out as guests before being promoted to a regular role, including Andy Parsons, Russell Howard and, more recently, Chris Addison.
- Ascended Meme: Under "Weird Things To See On A Roadsign"...
- Bait-and-Switch Comparison: "What a Rugby Commentator Would Never Say":
Hugh: So it's England versus Samoa. A team of rank amateurs against Samoa.
- Black Comedy: An excellent example stems from an episode where the topic of Alexander Litvinenko, who died of radiation poisoning after being dosed by polonium-laced food and drink, came up. Frankie Boyle said that the British people obviously respected him very much:
Frankie Boyle: "If you go to his gravesite, there's no weeds. (lets it sink in) In fact, there's no plant life for a mile around. And if you look, you can find all sorts of small woodland creatures who've just died of sadness, Dara."
- In general, Frankie Boyle is made of this trope.
- In a later episode, Miles Jupp comes out with this gem during "Things You Wouldn't Hear at Christmas."
Miles: Dear Santa, this Christmas could I please have a less violent step-dad?
- Black Dude Dies First: Referenced:
[Unlikely Things To Read On A Medical Insurance Form]
Gary Delaney: Are you the only black person in a horror film?
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: From 'Unlikely Small Ads':
Russell: "Lady seeks male for walks, laughs, and eye-watering anal sex."
- Brick Joke: In 12x1, Milton Jones spins History:
1896: H. G. Wells
publishes the book The Time Machine
. 1897: H.G. Wells writes
the book The Time Machine
. [...] And finally, 3642 AD: H.G. Wells is born.
- Then in Scenes We'd Like to See: Unlikely things to hear on Doctor Who:
We are a million years in the future. H.G. Wells has just got married.
- Bridal Carry
- Bring My Brown Pants: "Unlikely Things To Hear On a History Documentary":
Hugh: And it was here, on this exact spot, faced with thirty thousand baying Frenchmen, that Henry the Fifth... shat himself.
- Broken Aesop: Their theory that the moral behind "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" is that Reindeer are ''incredibly shallow."
- Butt Monkey: Dara is always the butt of someone's joke...
Hugh Dennis: (Unlikely things to hear on Crimewatch) Sometimes victims of crime don't even know they've been robbed, because they use the items taken so infrequently. Take Dara O'Briain. Burglars stole his legs six months ago.
- In Series 13, Episode 2, Dara came out to make Hugh's team stand behind a dissolving foam line during "Unlikely Things to Hear at the World Cup" after four straight jokes, then did a mamba. Andy was amused, saying it was the first time in years anyone had seen Dara's legs.
- Chained to a Railway: Discussed in one episode, where Dara thought that the villains who did that sort of thing would be amongst the people most affected by the train cancellations that saw only 1 in 500 London Midland trains running at the weekend.
Dara: [mimes piano playing] "Keep it going, there'll be one along in an hour or so..."
- Character Tic: Russell's habit of picking the microphone up during the "Scenes We Like To See" round.
- Noticeable in that this actually becomes memetic, as no-one ever seems to pick up the microphone until after Russell does.
- In fact, the first time he does it, he actually asks if it's okay to take it before he does.
- After saying a punchline, Hugh's eyes often dart back and forth as if he's reading a very fast teleprompter.
- Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: "Things You'd Never Hear a French Person Say":
Frankie: Of course, it looked hopeless, but we kept fighting.
- Christmas Episode: Inevitably leading into Soapland Christmas moments...
- Clip Show: Once a Season, a mix of unseen clips, Hilarious Outtakes and "best bits" from the series gone by.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Milton Jones' appearances.
(category: "Unlikely Lines To Hear On A TV Election Debate")
Milton: "Hellooo! I am the Messiah! And the Queen... is a biscuit!"
Hugh: "I am almost certain that was a floating voter."
(the answer in the "If This is the Answer..." round is 15)
Milton: Is it how many magic biscuits there are on the magic biscuit tree?
Dara: I would love that to be the correct answer. But there are in fact 19 magic biscuits on the magic biscuit tree!
(Another "If This Is The Answer..." suggestion:)
Milton: Is it how many tiny farmers with their tiny ploughs does it take to make a field of corduroy?
- In one episode Milton pulls a carrot randomly out of his pocket.
- Andy Parsons once commented, "It's hard to tell which week Milton is mocking sometimes, isn't it?"
- Hugh Dennis and Russell Howard also have shades of this at times.
- Cluster F-Bomb: When Frankie Boyle or the rare foulmouthed guest gets revved up...
- Comically Missing the Point: Dara jokes about Ed Milliband not seeing the glaring flaw in his plan to make people stop seeing him as a geek... by proudly announcing to the world that one of his supporters is none other than Patrick Stewart himself!
- Content Warnings: Parodied by Hugh, "Unlikely Lines to Hear in a TV Show":
And now the Antiques Roadshow
. This programme contains scenes of tedious dullness right from the start.
- The Cuckoolander Was Right: On some occasions, somebody has given a joke answer in the "If This is the Answer..." round only to discover that it was, in fact, correct.
[The answer is "Between 19 and 23"']
David Mitchell: Is it the number of English counties likely to be underwater in a hundred years' time?
Dara: Yes, indeed it is!
: [Face Palm
] Jesus Christ! That's terrible!
John Oliver: Less a joke, more an alarming fact!
David: I thought of something ridiculously awful, turns out it's gonna happen!
- Cute Little Fangs: Look closely, Dara has them.
- Dead Guy Puppet: Joked about. "Hello, I'm Menzies Campbell. I would like to assure you all that I'm not dead, nor am I being operated by a system of pulleys."
- Death Glare: Hugh Dennis is prone to staring at the camera in a rather disturbing manner.
- Department of Redundancy Department:
Ed: "These are the Chilean miners, which are stuck down the Chilean mine..."
- "Rejected questions from this year's exams":
: "What is amnesia? Is it A. Memory loss, A. Memory loss, or 4. The Battle of Hastings?"
- Dirty Old Man: Prince Phillip, to Memetic Sex God levels, in his newsreel appearances:
(*meeting a woman in a police station): Oh my, you..you really have a terrific pair of norks...Sorry to mention them again, but they really are wonderful. Are you a strippogram?
(*meeting Nicholas Sarkozy
and his wife): Ooh, you froggy bastard, where's the wife..oh I say...ooh, she really puts the lead in my pencil. Quick Carla, what's your number, we haven't got much time.
(*Hugh playing a Royal Commentator at an event that didn't feature Prince Phillip): And now the guests rise for the traditional musical chairs, and the Queen reads the rules: No ducking, no bombing, no grabbing...and no Prince Phillip, you'll notice - He uses these occasions, when he knows exactly where the Queen is, to go and shag someone younger and more attractive.
- Driven to Suicide: None of the performers, just jokes played for laughs. Example:
Unlikely things for a sports commentator to say
"I'm here at the Green Court (lawn) bowls — and I've started cutting myself."
- Early Installment Weirdness: The first four series have a lot of this; a very different tone due to the different regulars and a different choice of guests, Dara's opening stand-up, everybody playing the 'Spinning the News' round, more categories in "Scenes We'd Like to See"...
- Not to mention the focus on Rory Bremner's impressions, which completely disappeared once he left after two series.
- In the first few series, the "Scenes We'd Like to See" would have some tenuous connection to the news (i.e. in the week where Tony Blair's plane was forced to land due to difficulties, the subject was "Unsettling Things to Hear from the Cockpit of a Plane"). This was dropped quite quickly.
- Earpiece Conversation: Whenever the guests (or just Frankie) end up getting too out of control, cue Dara trying to calm everyone down since the producers are literally screaming down the earpiece at him...
- Embarrassing Nickname: "Insignificant Sausage-Muncher"? Also, "The Butt-Muncher."
- Evolving Credits: A subtle variant: the spoof headlines in the opening are updated with time.
- Expy: Al Murray's "Voice of the Silent Majority" character in the Question Time round bears an uncanny similarity to his usual Pub Landlord persona.
- Fake Brit: Frankie Boyle's whenever he does a English Accent.
- Becomes hilarious when you realise that despite his English accent sounding absolutely nothing like him, Frankie was always chosen to be the one to play Tony Blair. Perhaps they were operating on the logic that since Tony Blair was born in Scotland, why not send a Scotsman to play him?
- Food Porn:
- Later subverted in another round of "What A TV Chef Would Never Say":
: "I'm Nigella Lawson, and what I love about presenting this programme is the knowledge that at home, Frankie Boyle has just about ripped his cock off."
- Later subverted even further by Russell as he impersonated her, moving his arms like they were her knockers.
- Fun with Acronyms: "Headline News".
- Gag Dub: "Newsreel".
- Genre Blindness: In one episode, Dara showed the players a recent news article on a report suggesting that people with larger heads were less susceptible to Alzheimer's... which had referred to him as an example of someone with a 'big head', even putting a picture of him (with the caption 'EXTRA LARGE') next to the article. When the players started teasing him about it mercilessly, he said that he expected sympathy.
Dara: I was expecting sympathy! That's why I introduced this story!
Ed: You were expecting sympathy?
- Genre Savvy: Several times in the Too Hot for TV DVDs the panellists remark that they know none of the material is going to survive the edit.
- The panel randomly mention programmes being aired late at night with signing. Dara then spends some time 'interacting' with an imaginary signer in the corner of the screen.
- Genre Shift: Dropping the rounds that focused on impressions (due to Rory Bremner leaving the show) shifted the series to a more simple cross between a panel show and stand-up comedy.
- Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: "Unlikely Lines from a Superhero Movie":
Hugh: You're the superhero every man wants to see! Girl-on Girl!
- Gratuitous German: Via Chris Addison.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Dara and Ed, in both the show and real life.
- Hilarious Outtakes: Usually Once a Season, as part of the Clip Show.
- Ho Yay: Invoked:
[The answer in the "If This is the Answer..." round is 2035]
Stewart Francis: Is it 'when will Dara O'Briain succumb to my... advances'?
[Another "If This is the Answer..." round reads "4 years"]
Hugh: (To Dara, blubbering) is it...how long have I wanted to tell you...that I love you?
Ed: (Smacking Hugh on the arm) BACK OFF!
[Another "If This is the Answer..." round reads "307 years"]
Ed: Dara. If loving you was illegal, how long would they have to sentence me for?
Dara: Really creepy.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Greg Davies is nearly twice the height of Lucy Porter. When both guest-starred together, they cuddled at the Spinning News round.
Dara: That is just against nature.
- They also had a joint entry for "Unlikely Lines from a Fantasy Film", with Davies hugging her and saying "This will never work, Frodo."
- Hurricane of Puns: As much a target of the players' humor as used by them. While discussing a Viagra fraud case in which the perpetrators had been arrested, Russell Howard noted he'd seen it on the news and that the anchors started riffing on it:
Russell: Did you happen to see the News24 reaction? It was fantastic—cause it came, like, 'News just in—' and they found out about the Viagra tabs, and it was brilliant because they were doing little puns! They were genuinely kinda goin'—'I bet that's a hard case, heh.' 'I think they'll get a stiff sentence.' And then you could genuinely see—they obviously got a word in their ear and they went, *disappointed, head drooping* 'Yeah, okay...'
- Hypocritical Humour: Frequently lampshaded, such as when Chris notes how can they seriously mock Ed Milliband for being too geeky?
- I Call Him "Mr. Happy": In a blooper reel, Russell tells us that Hugh refers to his as "Mister Dennis", which then becomes a Running Gag.
- I Love the Dead: "Unlikely Lines From a TV Detective Show":
Frankie: So what can we tell from these bite marks on the breasts? We can tell that I shouldn't be left alone with a body.
- Inconvenient Summons: Prince Charles receives one in one skit. From ham.
Farmer: Ooh, now ye see sir, it 'as magical properties that 'am. Yeah, you eat that it transports you to a different part of the space-time continuum.
(*cut to Prince Charles looking confused, on a boat in the Thames.)
Prince Charles: Fuck me!
- Incredibly Lame Fun: Instead of Grand Theft Auto V, Ed Byrne was playing Farming Simulator 2013. Apparently he found it quite engaging.
- Informed Flaw: After a newspaper article claimed that Dara has a GIANT head, the guys began to riff on this, claiming Dara's head is so massive, it can curve space and that the logo is actually a small planet that got pulled into orbit around him.
Dara: I don't regard myself as having a large head! I have no trouble wearing hats! I have no problem getting into jumpers!
- Irony: In one of Dara's early series monologues when discussing immigration:
Dara: Let's just take a moment to enjoy the irony of an Irish man making jokes about the immigrant work force in England.
- Innocent Innuendo:
Chris: Man with massive cock...seeks woman with large hen to discuss poultry farming.
- It Makes Sense in Context: Hilariously, it's Frankie of all people wonders how on earth did a political discussion end up with Hugh talking about something completely different while Russell tells Dara that "No one bites my balls!"
- Just a Stupid Accent: Mocked by Hugh in the segment "Lines You Wouldn't Hear In a War Film":
(with a German accent) Why are we speaking English?
- Lame Pun Reaction: The panelists often give this reaction to their own puns:
Ed: I've got a bad one. Bad one. Whilst at college I did experiment with marijuana. I did it in snow, I did it in sleet, but I did not... inhale. [silly dance]
Ed: Enjoy your animal-shaped biscuits. Do not eat if seal is broken. [grins punching the air]
Chris: The Bronze Age was the third best age in history. [jumps up, clicks heels together grinning]
[The Queen] is saying "I don't know where I am," and [the Indian Chief] is saying "It's okay: I am Sat-Navajo!" [Face Palm]
Stephen Spielberg's Circumcision: The Director's Cut. [silly fist pump]
Later: Welcome to The Best of Test Match Special. (pretends to strike a match) That one works! [does silly fist pump again]
Milton: If you push George W. Bush into that vat of concrete, that sets a very bad President.
Seann Walsh: (crying) Daddy, I just finished watching The Snowman, and at the end, the ginger kid survived! [raises arms in victory]
- Lampshade Hanging: Each of the performers is quite aware of the others' style of humor, so when Frankie Boyle ragged on Dara for teasing that a British swimmer raising money for cancer should have planted a flag on the North Pole's continental shelf, people were surprised and asked him how it felt to take the moral high ground.
Frankie: "It's all so bright up here."
- It didn't last two minutes, as the topic led into the joke quoted in Black Comedy.
Frankie: "It's so dark and cold down here, Dara. I can just see the edges of your faces."
- One Scenes We'd Like to See round was "The Very Worst Person to be President of the United States." One of Andy's responses:
Andy: This round is much easier if you can do impressions.
- The most recent instance of "Unlikely Small Ads" in Scenes We'd Like to See:
Hugh: Wanted: New subject for Scenes We'd Like to See.
- Large Ham: Ed Byrne.
(The topic is "Unlikely Things to Hear on Daytime TV)
Ed: Hello, and welcome to Let's Decorate the SHIT Out of This House! This week, we're decorating the SHIT out of a three bed semi in Orpington! SO LETS DO IT! Let's Decorate the SHIT out of This House!
Ed: Hello, and welcome to Let's Cook the SHIT Out of Some Dinner!
Ed: Hello, and welcome to I'm Gonna Sell These Antiques If It FUCKING Kills Me!
- Left The Back Ground Music On: According to one Clip Show, they had to reshoot one intro when the camera caught Dara dancing to the Real Song Theme Tune.
- Literal-Minded: Milton Jones, frequently.
On Peter Mandelson: "It's weird to think that he's Nelson Mandela's son."
On William Hague: "I've been reading up on William Hague, and he has to compete with Rotterdam as a port."
On Vladimir Putin: "I actually prefer the word chamberpot to poo-tin."
- Logical Fallacies:
Chris: I share a bed with a woman, does that make me a lesbian?
- Man Child: Russell.
(the "answer" is "one million per cent")
Russell: Is it how much happier would I be if I saw a duck moonwalking?
- Manipulative Editing: A common complaint from those who've attended recordings is that the televised edit is heavily biased in favour of the regulars, meaning that a guest can appear very quiet as much more of their contributions were left on the cutting room floor.
- Man of a Thousand Voices: Hugh Dennis during the Newsreel round.
- Medium Awareness: When the show was broadcast the week of England's final World Cup group match, which determined whether or not they'd go through to the knockout stage, the show was filmed on Tuesday, the match played on Wednesday and the show broadcast on Thursday, Dara expressing worry about the resulting "time paradox".
- Meta Guy: Parodied by Miles Jupp in a "Picture of the Week" round where, after a few suggestions of what the people in the photo might be saying, he always said "Perhaps they're not speaking at all".
- Mr. Fanservice: Russell Howard. In the post-Russell era, Chris Addison.
- Mr. Seahorse:
Hugh: "Well, there's good news—you've had a baby; the bad news is, it's blown your cock off!"
- Mondegreen: Guest player Adam is relating a story about his late gran mistaking the the Christmas carol "Deck The Halls" to be "Dick The Horse". Leads right into Crowning Moment of Heartwarming as Adam's uncle apparently improvised the first line of "Dick The Horse"; later, after she's passed on, Granddad had her tombstone engraved with a horse.
- Mundane Utility: Unlikely Lines in Doctor Who:
Andy: Let's go forward in time by an hour. Then we get a quid off the pizza.
- My Dad Can Beat Up Your Dad: Mentioned by Frankie when he talks about gay adoption:
I'd have loved to have had a gay dad. You know how in the playgrounds it's always 'my dad will batter your dad', or 'my dad will outrun your dad'? 'Hey! My dad will shag your dad!... And your dad will enjoy it!
- Mythology Gag: The most obvious one would be Scenes We'd Like To See, which started out as Scenes From A Hat on Whose Line, expanded from a one-act-per-suggestion affair to eight or ten, allowing them to milk a mere two suggestions for an entire stretch.
- You'd be forgiven for thinking there were two Jimmy Savilles in the UK, considering Hugh's wildly different take from Steve Frost's.
- Naked People Are Funny: This
- Never Heard That One Before: Greg Davies has a brief rant on the tedious jokes he gets from everyone because of his height.
""How's the weather up there?' It's freezing!
There's a massive climate change in this amount of space here, you TOOTHLESS BUFFOON."
- Never Live It Down: In-universe, Dara once brought up the fact a newspaper article about people with bigger heads are unlikely to get Alzheimer's which the paper decided to depict with a picture of his head. The group take it in turns to mercilessly riff on the subject of "Dara's Big Head" for nearly five minutes, with Chris noting that when Dara revealed a weakness in front of a bunch of comedians, honestly, what did he think would happen?
- No Fourth Wall: Dara often takes a moment to consider what the subjects of their jokes would think of them. For example, after Frankie mused on Rebecca Adlington's love life, Dara imagined her arriving back from the Olympics (where she won two gold medals in swimming, one in world record time) going "Ooh, I haven't seen Mock The Week in four weeks! I wonder who they're tearing into—oh. Oh."
- No Indoor Voice: Andy Parsons. Frankie Boyle and Hugh Dennis (and on occasion, Russell Howard) have also done this.
- No Sympathy: Dara is usually at the receiving end of it. Most hilariously, the Konnie Huq and the big head incident.
- Not So Above It All: Dara. A lot of the cut material which airs in compilations/DVD extras shows him vainly trying to steer the panel away from an offensive joke and then giving up and riffing on it himself.
- Perhaps one of the funniest examples is the David Blunkett incident. Dara tries valiantly to get the panel to not make jokes about Blunkett involving his blindness as per the producers' orders. Naturally, they don't comply. Finally, after many good laughs are had, Dara gives in and makes a joke of his own.
- Oh Wait, This Is My Grocery List: "Rejected Lines from Movies":
Milk, bread, Rich Tea biscuits...are you sure this is this the right list, Mr. Schindler?
- Only Sane Man: Hugh, relatively, if only because he tends to give out the proper answers once enough jokes have been told.
- Dara as well. Watch his desperate attempts to keep the rest of the panel (mostly Frankie) in line during the game where the producers don't want them to make any jokes about Blunkett being blind.
- Andy is relatively sane, giving the answers as well.
"It's like being in charge of a special school on a day out."
- Oral Fixation: Chris Addison and pens.
- Or Are You Just Happy to See Me?: "Unlikely Lines From A Thriller"
- Our Lawyers Advised This Trope: Subverted on at least one occasion, when Eamonn Holmes had threatened legal action against the BBC over jokes made about his weight and the show immediately turned it into a running gag.
- Pet the Dog: When a question came up after Andy Murray lost to Roger Federer, Dara quickly let the panelists know that Andy Murray was the in the audience. The audience stood up and clapped, as did Dara and the panellists, and the jokes were notably less stinging then usual. At the end of the episode Dara declared Andy Murray as the winner.
- When Andy Murray went to a second taping, though, he was confronted with "Unlikely Things for Andy Murray to Think."
- Place Worse Than Death: Bracknell, Swindon, Croydon, Middlesbrough, Tyne, Ewtree...
- Typically the entire country of Scotland gets this treatment.
- The Points Mean Nothing: In fact, they only seem to be mentioned at all to keep up the pretense that it's a quiz show. Don't expect to ever hear how many points a team has.
- Precision F-Strike: Fred MacAulay. Fuckin'... BOOOOOOOO!
- Pungeon Master: Stewart Francis (see Ensemble Darkhorse on the YMMV page) has adopted this as his personal style — and pulls it off flawlessly. Milton Jones has a similar schtick, as does Gary Delaney.
Milton: "I always wonder what my father would have thought of me going into comedy; he was a master kebab chef, buried with all his equipment... probably turning in his grave.
- Punny Name: Parodied in "Lines That You'd Never Hear In Bond Film ":
Hugh: I hope you're not going to be one of those Russian agents whose name is just a cheap sexual pun, Miss Suckmeoff!
Katherine Ryan: Hey, it's me, Pussy. Pussy Nomore? Yeah, I'm post-op now. Yeah, things are fine.
Andy: So, she's smuggling diamonds, Bond, and your job is to find out how. Just go to the hotel reception, and ask for Fanny Vajazzle.
- The Quisling: One child sent in a drawing of the studio being attacked by Daleks, with Frankie on the Daleks side!
Frankie: I'm not the King of the Daleks... I'm their Creator.
- Radio Voice: Parodied for "Worst Things To Hear Over A Tannoy Announcement"
Andy: [pinching nose] If anyone has found a Vicks inhaler...
- Real Song Theme Tune: "News of the World" by The Jam. One of the Hilarious Outtakes reveals that Dara has to try very hard not to dance along to it as the credits are rolling.
- Really 700 Years Old: Most of their jokes about former Lib Dem leader, Menzies Campbell.
- Refuge in Audacity: Frankie Boyle, frequently.
: You can get Princess Diana
Sat-Navs now, but all it says is "Put your foot down, I think we can lose them".
(everyone groans, amused and/or appalled)
Frankie (grudgingly): "That joke can go either way, if I'm honest."
- And, on another occasion:
- Ripped from the Headlines: By its very nature.
- Roses Are Red: "Unlikely Greeting Cards"
Hugh: Roses are red
Violets are blue
I'm locked up in Broadmoor
Just thinking of you.
- "Unlikely Things To Read In a Valetine's Day Card"
Andy: Roses are red
Violets are blue
I've got something nasty
And now so do you.
Holly Walsh: Roses are red
Poppies are red
The grass is all red
SHIT THE GARDEN'S ON FIRE!
Jack Whitehall:To my darling wife –
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Valentines Day is consumerist rubbish,
Don’t you have some ironing to do?
- "Unlikely Letters to TV Channels''
Chris: Dear Hallmark:
Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
Your cards are shit,
And your channel is, too.
- Rule of Three:
- "Bad Things to Say at the Opening of the New Wembley Stadium"
Frankie:And who knows, maybe here one day and with the right linesman, England can cheat their way to another World Cup victory.
Andy: And maybe one day, with the right bunch of hooligans from Scotland, these goalposts can get thrashed all over again.
Frankie: [It cost] 100 million pounds to demolish Wembley; if you'd had your last game against Scotland, we'd have done it for nothing.
- Running Gag:
- Hugh Dennis — "Are you paying too much for your car insurance?", "... sponsored by PowerGen", "What is your PIN number?", "Have you been injured at work?", Sir Jimmy Savile saying Showaddywaddy... (which was forced into retirement after Savile's death and news that he was a pedophile).
- Others have lampshaded some of Dennis' gags, such as when Frankie said in a "Scenes We'd Like To See" segment titled "What You Didn't Hear At Live Earth" stating "Live Earth, sponsored by PowerGen."
- A particularly-specific one originated from Newsreel, when Hugh's "portrayal" of Prince Charles as an addled senile takes an interesting direction when Charles starts sampling some cheese. Future "portrayals" of Charles would involve random mentions of cheese for no reason. This goes on so much that in the opening for Series 12 and 13, one of the mock newspapers includes the headline "CHARLES INVENTS CHEESE POWERED PHONE."
- In the series that began in June 2011, Hugh weekly riffs on the same joke that the name of Sepp Blatter, the president of FIFA, sounds like "step-ladder".
- "Dara Ó Briain: we work, so he doesn't have to."
The backstory on this gag was a response to Andy Parsons and Chris Addison in a "Commercials That Never Made It To Air" Scenes We'd Like To See riff that started when Addison suggested "Do you have dry, lifeless hair? Don't Worry. Andy Parsons will buy it off you." Parsons' response: "How much did you say you earned for those Direct Line car insurance adverts? Well, people deserve to hear about this: HONK! HONK! HONK! HONK!" In turn, this comes from the American "Scrubbing Bubbles" Bathroom Cleaner slogan.
- Frankie Boyle — Kerry Katona's fertility and apparent penchant for cheap fatty food, Scottish savagery or primitivism, Fern Britton's weight problems.
- Russell Howard — "Tatty-Bo-Jangles" as a euphemism for breasts.
- By proxy, there's the other players' tendency to take the mike out of the stand for Wheel O' News after Russell does.
- Chris Addison — Pretending he doesn't recognise the people in the picture during "Headline News" and just naming two people with the initials of the headline. He's also done a few effeminate male versions of film/tv characters, like Dirty Harry and someone in charge of dismantling a bomb.
- Everybody, but mostly Hugh and Frankie — chlamydia and HIV.
- Andy Parsons picks on Britain's most famous pedo, Gary Glitter, every chance he gets in "Scenes We'd Like to See".
- "Bad Things For a Teacher to Say":
Hello, I'm Mister Glitter.
- "Unlikely Lines From TV Shows" Outtake:
Hello, and welcome to Baby Ballroom with me, Gary Glitter.
- "Unlikely Things To Hear on a TV Talent Show":
I know you said you were a Gary Glitter tribute act, but we weren't expecting you to do that!
- Even Hugh Dennis did so in "Unlikely Lines from a Newsreader":
Sir Gary Glitter received his honor at [Buckingham] Palace this morning.
- Many episodes have running gags that everyone gets in on that last the length of the episode, but don't carry over (for example, "nuts on the road" and "the racist door"). Some do carry over for a bit, like Andy Parsons's "Dyslexic Weekly", which involves interpreting the abbreviation in Headline News as a typo.
- The most (in)famous was "anal lube", which everyone kept bringing back knowing full well it would never make the broadcast.
- And they've even managed to start taking the piss out of them.
(Scenes We'd Like To See: "Things You Wouldn't Hear A Radio Announcer Say")
: "In that episode of The Hugh Dennis Story
. Hugh Dennis was played by Bruce Willis, Steve Punt was played by Hugh Dennis
, and the band was Showaddywaddy."
Hugh: (in mock anger) You...
- Long-running news stories like the Chilean miners, the Gulf of Mexico oil leak, Josef Fritzl and his family, Abu Hamza's hooks as hands and even the John Darwin Canoe scam tend to become these.
- Eamonn Holmes's weight became the subject of a running gag recently after he threatened the BBC with legal action because The Impressions Show had made fun of his weight.
- "... through the medium of dance!"
- Micky Flanagan's accents.
- Somebody gets a big laugh on 'Scenes we like to see' and keeps on laughing. Andy goes up and just stands there before walking off.
- Though once, Frankie's famous "What the Queen Didn't Say in Her Christmas Message" joke claiming that her vajayjay was now haunted because she was old and was in bad health, Hugh was just standing there before walking off.
- Australian comedian Adam Hills loves taking pot shots at England's sports teams.
(Scenes We'd Like To See: "Things A Sports Commentator Would Never Say")
- This one was thrown back in his face when Adam mentioned countries inventing things but no longer being good at them, citing England's invention of rugby and cricket as an example. The crowd started booing but Chris immediately snapped back by asking him who had won the last two (the 2013 series hadn't been played yet) Ashes.
- The show being re-run on Dave.
(Scenes We'd Like To See: "Bad Things To Say In A Job Interview")
Andy: What do I see myself doing in five years' time? Exactly the same, only on Dave! (Wild applause from the audience)
("Unlikely Things To Hear At A Party Conference")
Andy: My name is Dave, like the TV channel. We both repeat the same shit over and over again.
("Things You Won't Hear In A Science Documentary")
Hugh: The light from this new, distant planet takes so long to get here, we're seeing things that happened years ago, and that is why scientists have named it "Dave."
If This Is The Answer, What Is The Question?
Andy: How many times will this clip be shown on Dave?
- Dara's apparent resemblance to an unfortunately phallic sausage costume worn by a town mayor.
- The fictional drama "Monsoon Poultry Hospital", even mocking up the DVD case with Dara as one of the nurses.
- If Stewart Francis is on an episode, chances are he'll rag on Dara repeatedly.
- Ireland's low medal count being mocked every four years come Olympics time. Andy did it in 2008 and Stewart Francis (going hand-in-hand with his usual digs at Dara) did it in 2012. The joke (Ireland winning gold in "Things you didn't hear at the Olympics") was slightly more relevant in 2008 since Ireland did win a gold at the 2012 Olympics.
Dara: One thing that I got tired of was the Canadian National Anthem.
- Richard Hammond's accident.
- In Series 13 Episode 5, Gary Delaney mistakenly calls the Princess of Monaco "Princess Monaco of Kent" (confusing her with Princess Michael of Kent), which everyone else runs with for the rest of the show.
- Private Browsing, Dara's favorite member of the Army Corps.
- If a joke sinks spectacularly, Hugh (or sometimes Dara or another panelist) will excuse it as "satire".
- Russian Reversal: Hugh pulled a surprisingly clever one off in "Unlikely Things to Hear in the Police Station":
- Saw a Woman in Half: "Unlikely Things to Hear on a TV Talent Show"
Hugh: When you - when you said you were gonna saw a woman in half...I thought you were a magician.
- Scandalgate: Hugh Dennis made a joke about this, calling a scandal about tapping the phones of celebrities "stargate" and one about a politician's husband buying pornography "masturgate."
- Second Verse Curse: Invoked:
: And now's our chance to join in lustily with the second verse of the national anthem! (singing)
On...to be serve...to...ma-ma-ma...the Queen
- Self-Demonstrating Article:
"It's been speculated that drug abuse is rife in the farming community, but it's hard to find any evidence; it's like looking for a..."
- Separated by a Common Language: Imagine an American's reaction to Russell asking a crew member if he had a "fag" in school.note
- Serious Business: Dara mentions that during the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, he casually gave the score for the Ireland match on twitter, which was also happening that night. Cue him getting a flood of angry replies:
Dara: "Nobody cares! #Jubilee!"
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Used by Hugh Dennis before he name drops and parodies another trope:
- Shout-Out: Quite literally. Andy Parsons yelling "He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy!", with a large portion of the audience yelling the last part with him.
- Slash Fic: Referenced — there's apparently slash of Hugh and Frankie — and (of course) mocked. Frankie was quite offended that his pubes were described as ginger, and when Hugh raised his arms in victory after being informed of his starring role said "I don't know why you're doing that, Hugh, because you're the receiver."
- Small Reference Pools: Often subverted. Usually, Russell Howard will bring up a speculative fiction fandom, only for everyone else to get in an opinion on it, showing they are at least slightly versed. (There are sometimes even groups of fans in the audience.) An excellent example was when he discussed being in line for the last Harry Potter novel; they asked if he dressed up as one of the characters. When he said he hadn't, they continued that he'd missed a great opportunity to show up as someone else: "I'm sorry! I am Darth Vader! I wear this to all these kinds of things!" Russell finished by noting he should have dressed as a Sith Lord, waited in line all night, and when he got to the counter said "The Da Vinci Code, please."
- The Smurfette Principle: In comparison to other Panel Games the show is probably the biggest offender, since all four recurring panelists (out of six) are male and the host is as well, and has never featured more than one female comedian on the same panel; out of 51 guests to appear on the show, 16 have been women. Although starting with the thirteenth series, a female has been on every show per the new BBC policies.
- Spit Take:
- Dara mocks one when Frankie claims he lost weight on the Irish version of "I'm a Celebrity" set during the potato famine.
- Dara had to struggle to avoid this in the uncensored outtakes — thanks to a very well-timed joke from Frankie Boyle.
Dara: "Elsewhere, what good news has been announced for pregnant women?"
Frankie: "Well, they're gonna get 120 pounds to buy fruit and vegetables when they're pregnant — although obviously, they'll all spend it a prostitute for their husbands so they don't have to take it up the arse from now on."
Dara, having taken a swig of water, fights to keep it in his mouth. Eventually he manages to down it.
Dara: "Not while I'm having a fucking drink. Do you mind?"
- Sophisticated as Hell
[Headline News round: picture of Tony and Cherie Blair with the initials 'C.T.A.L.']
Russell: Is it "Cherie Tries Anal Lube"?
[the panelists riff on 'anal lube' for about five minutes]
Hugh [giving the correct answer]: Is it "Cherie: That's A Lie"?
Dara [perfectly straight face]: The answer I was looking for was "Cherie: That's Anal Lube."
- Dara studied mathematics and theoretical physics at university and is often the one to correct maths errors and demonstrate his knowledge during discussions about the CERN super-collider.
- Hugh Dennis, with his posh accent, often gets these moments: (From Scenes We'd Like To See: Unlikely Personal Ads)
Hugh: Sophisticated, erudite man with fantastically great taste...seeks woman with massive knocks.
- Stage Names: Mocked by Ed Byrne. From his comments to Dara, it seems the two rib each other with this, Ed saying that Dara's surname (pronounced "O'Bree-en") is actually the commonplace "O'Brien":
Ed: Whatever, "Dara O'Brien".
Ed: Oh really? Are there any Irish people in? (*chorus of assent) How many "O'Bree-ens" do you know? note
- Stealth Pun: Andy Parsons gives a great one for "Unlikely Things to Hear on a TV Talent Show":
Andy: Hello! I'm Billy Cock, and this is my partner, Brian Balls! And together we are...Billy and Brian!
- Hugh gives another one for "Things You Wouldn't Hear at a School Assembly":
: I'm delighted to say that over the summer holidays, Mr. Wang married Miss Kerr. (laughter)
His nickname will remain the same.
- On that very subject, Hugh gave this in another round of "Unlikely Lines To Hear on a TV Talent Show":
Hugh: Tonight, I am going to climb this Sepp Blatter."
- Strictly Formula: More so than Whose Line, with "Spinning The News" and "Scenes We'd Like To See" marking the middle- and end-points of the show. Subverted by "Headline News" and "If This Is The Answer, What Is The Question?", which take turns starting the show.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial
- Take That: Each episode consists of the opening credits, about 27 minutes of this, and three minutes of jokes that aren't attacks on anyone or anything sprinkled throughout, then the ending credits. And considering the opening credits are mock newspaper or internet articles making fun of a large number of politicians/celebrities anyway, not even they are exempt.
- In one season 12 episode, Hugh (the last remaining original regular) took the show to task for repeating some of the "Scenes We'd Like To See" topics.
- Tempting Fate: One of the rounds in Scenes We'd Like to See was "Unlikely Things for Andy Murray to Think"... whilst Andy Murray was in the studio audience.
- Token Evil Team Mate: Frankie Boyle is the comedian equivalent.
- Too Hot for TV
- Too Soon: Series 7 premiered on 17 July 2009, barely three weeks after the death of Michael Jackson. Guess who Frankie Boyle made jokes about?
- Lampshaded by Dara Ó Briain. Often, during his opening monologue, he would make a joke about, say, the assassination of JFK, and when the audience groaned would follow it up with a sarcastic "Oh, too soon?" This was particularly noteworthy when one such joke about a tragedy from decades ago got a groan from the audience, when moments earlier the audience had laughed merrily at jokes about Saddam Hussein's execution, which had happened that week.
Dara Ó Briain
"See, the last time Britain lost the Ashes in a white wash, it was in 1921. But at least that time they had a decent excuse — the first eleven had all been killed at the Somme
: "What, too soon?"
- In Series 6 episode 3, aired on July 24, 2008, Frankie made two jokes in a succession that elicited a mixture of boos and applause, when the subject was "Lines You Wouldn't Hear In a Superhero Movie".
- Lampshaded again by Chris Addison, when the Scenes We'd Like to See topic was "Unlikely things to get through your letterbox".
: "Gardening service, middle of the night a speciality, call Rose West
: "What, too soon, too soon?"
- Discussed on series 13 episode 7, which aired on September 11, 2014, a week after Joan Rivers' death. In the "If This Is The Answer, What Is The Question?" game, the answer was 307 years.
Andy: Is it "Without the plastic surgery, how old did Joan Rivers look?" (shocked reaction from the audience) Tragedy plus time...
Dara: There's no plus time with Joan Rivers!
Gary Delaney: How long her body will take to decompose? (laughter) Sorry, Joan. It's what she would've wanted.
Dara: Peace out, Joan. Peace out.
- Unsettling Gender-Reveal: "Unlikely Things to Hear from a Sports Commentator":
Jack Whitehall: And now you join me for the men's discus final. Women's?! THAT'S NOT A WOMAN.
- Unusual Euphemism: "A Proper Think".
Ed: It certainly puts a new spin on your parents telling you to go to your room and have a good "think" about what you did!
- Thanks to the news of two MPs (one male and one female) missing the UK's vote on whether to authorise a military strike on Syria because of another discussion, Andy Parsons had a perfect extract from a DVD that would never sell:
It's the DVD you've all been waiting for! Two politicians discussing Rwanda! (winks)
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The first game played in the first episode was a round called "Inside the Mind Of...", where the panelists had to guess what the voices in somebody's head were saying - in that episode's case, George Bush. The round was never played beyond that first episode.
- Who's on First?: Andy Parsons talks about money, then explains who runs China:
"China at the moment being run by two men, the Chinese premier, a man by the name of Wen
, and the Chinese president, a man by the name of Hu
. I kid you not, China is currently being run by Wen and Hu. It is like an Abbott and Costello skit.
Just imagine. 'Who's the Chinese premier?' 'No, Wen's the Chinese premier; Hu's the Chinese president.' 'I don't know.' 'No, Hu's the Chinese president!' 'Since when?' 'No! Wen has never been the Chinese president!' "
- Verbal Tic: Dara has a few, e.g. "... at this stage", "... of some description". Once you notice them you'll start hearing them all the time.
- He also, erm, has a tendency to, eh, pause in the middle of sentences.
- And often gives a long "ehh" after a sentence, especially a joke.
- As well as sometimes adding, "Ah, sorry" when he thinks he's digressed from the original topic.
- Andy Parsons has a lot of these, although there's a chance he intentionally does it as part of his act: "Didn't they/he/she/it?", beginning questions with "Is it in fact...", starting his standups with "Now!", etc.
- Prefaces most punchlines with "and you're thinking..."
- His habit of doing this is even lampshaded whenever Russell impersonates him.
- Andy's voice having a tendency to go slightly higher on the second-to-last word of a sentence. Often flanderised whenever someone does an impression of him, where it becomes every other word instead.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Dara and Ed are good friends, but that doesn't stop them from making fun of each other. For instance, when Ed is upset about getting only one joke in a "Scenes We'd Like To See" setup:
Dara: Oh, sorry, sorry, sorry!
Ed: Oh, I got one in!
Dara: Sorry, Ed! Ed...
Ed: Fuck you! (audience laughs) Best man on his wedding I was! Cunt.
- You Shouldnt Have: Miles Jupp parodies this twice in the Series 12 Christmas Special:
"Guys, you really shouldn't have. No, seriously, you shouldn't have. These are endangered. You can't make shoes from them."
"Guys, you really shouldn't have. No, seriously, you shouldn't have. These are poisonous. Where did you pick them? Have you washed your hands? Where's Matthew?"
- Your Mom:
- Rejected Questions from this Year's Exams
Andy: "Your mum's a slag. Discuss."
- In the Series 6 Christmas episode, Frankie impersonates "bad teenage pandas who are spoiling the park for the little baby pandas."
Teenage Panda: "Hey what flavour are your crisps, man?"
Another Teenage Panda: "Your mother! They're your mother flavour!"
- Things you wouldn't hear in a science documentary
Chris: "The solar system is so vast that it could easily accommodate...your mum."
- Bad Ways for Gordon Brown to Address The Nation
Frankie: "In these troubled times between our nations, I need to reach out to [Russian president Vladmir] Putin and say 'I have shagged your mother.'"
- In a "If This Is The Answer, What Is The Question?" game when the answer is "5 p":
Andy: Is it simply "How much does your mum charge?"
- In an outtake, Frankie and Andy exchanged 'Your mom' insults.
Andy: "All I can say is: 'Your mum'."
Frankie: "In Scotland, it's:" (flips Andy the finger) "Smell your mum."
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy:
- Unlikely Lines To Hear On A Survival Program:
Frankie: I've just achieved my life's ambition, of climbing Everest, with no food and no equipment. NOW DO YOU LOVE ME, DADDY?! NOW DO YOU LOVE ME?!