An annual British event and comedy show which has appeared every year since 2004, taking the form of a pub quiz on the events of the year, with three teams of two celebrities as the contestants. 2007 also had a variant in the Big Fat Anniversary Quiz to celebrate 25 years of Channel 4, and in 2012 three specials focusing on The '80s, The Nineties and The Noughties were made; two more Eighties and Nineties themed specials were also shown in 2013, and an edition celebrating the tenth anniversary of the format was made alongside the 2014 edition. A general knowledge special, entitled Big Fat Quiz of Everything, was aired in early 2016; it spawned a three-part spin off series later that year and another annual tradition, with new versions airing in January 2017, 2018, and 2019. The Big Fat Quiz of the Decade was based on The New '10s and aired in January 2020.
Every edition has been hosted by Jimmy Carr. Jonathan Ross (whose production company makes the programme) was a regular contestant until 2013;note other frequent guests include David Mitchell, Rob Brydon, David Walliams, Russell Brand, Richard Ayoade, and Noel Fielding.
Several editions are available on Youtube here.
Tropes featured include:
- Accidentally Accurate: One question was about what two things Joey Essex complained that he couldn't do in a reality show in the wild. Kristen Schaal put down "read and write". The unintended allusion to Joey's reputation as a massive himbo did not pass unnoticed.
- Actor Allusion: One Quiz of Everything had Chelsea Peretti as a guest, whereupon everyone's idea of an American accent defaulted to "New York cop".
- Actually Pretty Funny:
Jack: 'Jonathan Ross is like a cyborg sent back in time to remind Jack Whitehall that he's still not funny'.
- Jack Whitehall recounts a tweet he received after he and Jonathan Ross presented an award, which he describes as "one of the most creative bits of abuse ever". He and everyone else laugh as he tells it.
Jimmy: Well done, trolls!
Richard: That double-glazing looks post-Edwardian though...
- In 2006, after David Walliams insults Boy George, Russell Brand asks if he really wanted to hurt him. Jimmy gives his team a point for that.
- In the 2013 Quiz, Jonathan Ross has apparently been paired with Jack Whitehall to prevent him from the kind of inappropriate material that drew complaints in the 2012 Quiz, by setting up pre-prepared family-friendly material (read: Incredibly Lame Pun-aganza) for him to use. Jack does wind up corpsing at some of it.
- One question in the Quiz of 2018 involves the head of Sainsbury about to be interviewed, in what appeared to be a "medieval castle" going by the wall behind him. Michelle Wolf, the one American player, says that "that's just England", which lead to this reaction from everyone else.
- Adorably Precocious Child: The children of Mitchell Brook Primary School, and their topical plays.
- David Mitchell, unequivocally.
- Richard Ayoade. Together with David Mitchell, they are the Specky Nerdy Fucknuts!
- Jack Whitehall
- Since 2014, instead of just playing in the correct answer to Jon Snow's question, they'll show him dancing (or trying to dance) to the song.
- Irish lass Aisling Bea, who'd initially gone along with Katherine Ryan by dressing up as vapid valley girls, ends up reverting to this behavior anyway, particularly in the end when she's rocking out to the London Philharmonic Choir.
- Noel Fielding. So Noel Fielding. Curling up for a sleepy, getting ludicrously excited about cake. He definitely has moments where he just seems like a strange, absurdist little child.
- Quiz of the Year 2017 has hiphop artist Big Narstie, who appeared rather out of place at first, then gradually revealed to be this.
- The Alcoholic: Played for laughs when Chelsea Peretti, born to a Russian Jewish mother, brings up that she never touches alcohol, the very concept of which causes Jack Whitehall's brain to hang.Jack: "So you don't drink on the weekend?"
Chelsea: "Yeah... or on any other day..."
Jack: "You mean, you don't drink during the day?"
- Ambiguous Syntax: Unavoidable in this sort of show.(re. the legend of Pandora's Box)
Jodi Kidd: (from video) According to Greek mythology, the first human woman the gods created was Pandora[...]
Richard: Why is 'human' the qualifier before 'woman'?
Jimmy: Some of the (Greek) gods were women.[...] It's all made up, so...
Richard: Women aren't real?!
(Aisling makes a ridiculous 'woobwoobwoob' sound while disappearing below her desk)
- Animated Credits Opening: Each special opens with a cutout animation sequence depicting some of the year's (or decade's) major news and entertainment stories, often including the subjects of some of the questions.
- Armor-Piercing Question: Quiz of Everything 2018 starts off with a question about an ancient "beard tax", but right off the bat:Jonathan Ross: Do you really want to open the show with a question about tax?
- Ask a Stupid Question...: One question from the 2016 Quiz was about the infamous "Boaty Mcboatface" case, which for some reason led to this:Mel Giedroyc: Was it a boat on water, or...
Romesh Ranganathan: What kind of fucking boat do you think it was?!
- Annoying Laugh: Jimmy Carr, as frequently pointed out and ridiculed by the guests and Jimmy Carr himself. He has described it as sounding like either a seal being molested or a goose being interfered with.
- Audience Participation:
- During the 2015 Anniversary episode, Russell Brand goes off into the audience to find someone to be a mock-ventriloquist doll, but in the process, hands out his number to audience members to text him the answer. It isn't revealed until the last 10 minutes of the episode. Even when Jimmy confiscates the phone, the audience still texts answers to Jimmy, as well as a sarcastic response to being found out.
- A much more positive version when guest questioner Fred Sirieix brings wine bottles in different sizes, and the players convince him to crack open the biggest one to distribute to everyone present. Lugging that thing back would be torture, clearly.
- Bait-and-Switch: Jimmy's favourite way of introducing teams, giving a description that seems to apply to one and then naming that person as the other member of the team. He often uses the same tactic when introducing rounds by their prominent topics.
- Beam Me Up, Scotty!: Invoked. One question on Everything centered around this trope. Richard and Noel were the only ones to get it right.
- Beauty = Goodness: Well, Jimmy Carr certainly believes so.Jimmy: I don't believe anyone as pretty as Denise [van Outen] could tell a lie.
- Berserk Button:
Jack Whitehall: Whoa! WHOA!! BACK THE FUCK OFF BLUNTERS!! I'M SERIOUS, JIMMY CARR!!
- It's not a good idea to steal Richard's tray of chocolates and then taunt him by eating most of it in front of his face.
- The Anniversary quiz supposedly covered the last 10 years of entertainment and actual history, but then Jimmy had to make a particularly specific crack about James Blunt:
David: WHO THE HELL IS RIKROK ANYWAY?!
- In the 2017 special, the question is about "It Wasn't Me" by Shaggy feat. Rikroknote , and Jonathan Ross has some trouble pronouncing it, leading to David Walliams coaching him in the correct pronunciation until David himself has caught Jon's Elmuh Fudd Syndwome. Jimmy makes the mistake of pointing it out...
Jonathan: It's time Shaggy got some friends with better names!
- Black and Nerdy: Ayoade, who is half Nigerian, and can be quoted as saying:I'm a nerd, okay? Leave me be.
- Blunt Metaphors Trauma: Rob Brydon and Jonathan Ross getting into an argument (the answer was Google Street View, but Jon was about to get the point for putting down Google Maps) during the 2009 Quiz.Rob: Talk to the the arm because the hand ... Talk to the f- ... (Beat as audience laughs) ... Just don't talk.
- Bond One-Liner: A couple of questions involve a movie clip that stops before said one liner, and the players have to say what it will be. Naturally, the Trope Namer is in one.
- Book-Ends: Quiz of the Year 2017. One of the first questions was about something White House spokesperson Kellyanne Conway said, which Jimmy stressed was not "fake news".note At the end of the show, the final three-part question includes "what was the word of the year", which was "fake news".
- Brick Joke:
- In The Big Fat Anniversary Quiz, David Mitchell explains that he and Richard Ayoade originally wanted to call themselves Team 3 if they were the middle team (just to be annoying), but they ended up sitting at one end, so they discarded that name and went with The Speccy Nerdy Fucknuts. Five years later, during the Noughties edition, David, now teamed up with Sarah Millican, was sat in the middle, and he immediately said that they wanted to be called Team 3.
- During the second Big Fat Anniversary Quiz, Jimmy asks a question about The Doctor's greatest enemy. Guess who appears to provide the last question?
- In the 2011 edition, while discussing David Mitchell's pronunciation of "masturbatory", Jonathan Ross says that surely a room for masturbating in would be called a "masturbatorium". He later uses this word in casual conversation in the 2012 edition.
- In the 2012 quiz, Jack Whitehall jokingly suggested that Cecilia Jiménez (the lady who botched the "Ecce Homo" painting of Jesus, making it memetic) was the elusive artist Banksy. Three years later in the 2015 Anniversary quiz, he and Claudia put this as their answer for what she had done, noting that Jimmy can't prove that she isn't.
- During the 2013 quiz, after being shown two clips of banal reality shows during the TV round, Kristen Schaal disappointedly asks "This is the best TV you could find?" Several rounds later a news clip of a politician hitting a reporter on the head with a magazine is shown, and Kristen delighted goes "Now that's good TV!"
- During the Quiz of 2018, Michelle Wolf says that she got the Salisbury Cathedral (mentioned in the Russian spy murder) confused with grocery chain Sainsbury. When a later question actually involves Sainsbury, Jimmy noticeably enunciates the name more clearly when reading it out.
- Brief Accent Imitation:
- In the first ep of Everything Kristen Schaal mecilessly jabs at Mel Giedroyc's attempt at sing-humming "Ironic", having never heard it before.
- Rob Brydon has the gift of being able to mimic nearly anyone he's paired with, resulting in two David Mitchells for a moment.
- Irish Aisling Bea tried to sound American when explaining how "bummed" means something very different across the pond.
- The hosts of these type of shows tend to end up as one. Jimmy Carr is no exception.
- One question reveals that your foot is the same length as your wrist from your elbow, and they illustrate it by having David Walliams taking one shoe off and trying to bring his arm next to his foot, leading to both Jonathan Ross and Aisling Bea grabbing and twisting all his limbs to get the position right (worth noting is that Aisling was flexible enough to do that with zero assistance).
- Call-Back: In the Quiz of the Year 2017, David Mitchell shamelessly rehashed his Loophole Abuse joke from a past quiz.
- Camp Gay:
- Alan Carr, as is the norm for him. In 2010, he comments on a health warning advertisement and wonders if he's not just "having a really long stroke," as he has many of the symptoms (slurred speech, limp wrist).
- Louie Spence, to an inconceivable degree. When asked about coming out to his parents, he said he was "born out," and said he came out of his mother's womb screaming "GAAAAY!"
- Camp Straight:
- Michael McIntyre, as was lampshaded many times by Jimmy.
- Russell Brand, of course.
- Jack Whitehall, recently.
- Catch Phrase:
- "You have been very naughty!" and "Oh, no!" from the children of Mitchell Brook Primary School.
- Chewing the Scenery: Many examples, but a notable one is Mr Blobby in the 90s special. Other than trying to ask a question, he repeatedly terrifies panelist Jack Whitehall (who had admitted to being petrified of Mr Blobby in an early round), knocks over Carr's podium, runs up and down the stage, destroys one of the walls covering the backstage area and screams "YES!" and claps loudly when the panelists get the questions right.
- Noel Fielding and Russell Brand, and like a fountain of weirdness when they're together.Jimmy: Have you got an eyepatch on?
- Sharon Osbourne.
- Pretty much the stance every team will adopt when they don't know an answer.
- Richard Ayoade. Deserves special mention for the segment when, in response to Jimmy asking him how he was doing, he starts to describe in detail a problem with the cold water pressure in his apartment. The tangent seemed to confuse even Noel Fielding...
- David Walliams and Miranda Hart.
- Noel Fielding and Russell Brand, and like a fountain of weirdness when they're together.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Shockingly averted with Gordon Ramsay's appearance.
- Continuity Nod:
- In the Everything edition, Noel Fielding and Richard Ayoade formed a team. When Jimmy asked them for their team name, Richard suggested "Russell Brand Was Not Available".
- In the BFQ 2008, Claudia Winkleman went on quite a memorable tangent about how attractive she found Jon Snow. The next year, when the Jon Snow question came up, she exclaimed "Not again!"
- The Comically Serious: The Dalek that showed up to ask the final question in the 2015 anniversary episode managed to be one of the funniest things in the episode while acting exactly like a Dalek should.
- James Corden at times couldn't stop laughing at the answers given by his teammates (Sean Lock in 2008, Jack Whitehall in 2012). And sometimes at his own answers. In 2012 he laughed to the point of tears at his own Susan Boyle joke, prompting Jack to protest "You won a Tony Award!"
- In 2015, Greg Davies couldn't stop laughing at "bad dong".
- In the third "Big Fat Quiz of Everything", the final question featured three nude models posing as famous statues, all of whom visibly have difficulty keeping straight faces at the panelists' banter. Jimmy asks the panelists not to make the statues laugh because that makes their bits wobble distractingly, which just encourages the panelists adopt that as a deliberate goal.
- In the same quiz, there's a rare crack in Jimmy's usual deadpan as he delivers the introductory spiel for the science round, in which a synopsis of the life of Galileo goes off on a tangent into a series of Bohemian Rhapsody lyrics.
- Covered in Gunge: Jimmy planned to do this to the losers of one quiz. Richard promptly threatened to kill him in his sleep. In the end, Jimmy was the one who got gunged.
- Critical Research Failure: Can happen In-Universe when certain players like Russel Brand and Jonathan Ross already knew the answers due to having been there. Quiz of Everything 2018 has the most glaring case to date - video from a documentary produced & hosted by Jonathan.
- During the beginning-of-the-show banter of the 2016 quiz of the year, Jimmy asking Romesh Ranganathan what his father thought of his recent comedy tour, with Romesh responding: "he said, 'Romesh, I've been dead for three years'" (luckily Played for Laughs)
- The Cuckoo Lander Was Right:
- When a question, the answer to which was 'Giant German Rabbit', was asked, Noel and Russell were the only ones to get a point, due to their paying attention to silly news stories. Not only did they get that question right, they won the show that year as well.
- During the 2012 quiz, Richard Ayoade wrote "first singer in space" in response to a question about an announcement that Sarah Brightman made that year. Gabby Logan was shocked to discover that he was correct, given that it was no less absurd than the joke answers he had been supplying for the rest of the quiz.
- Curse Cut Short: From the 90's episode.Jimmy: We are honoured to have one of the decade's most iconic stars, please welcome, apologies, Jack, Mr. Blobby!
- Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Quiz of the Year 2018. One question is about "the dance from Fortnite" aka the Backpack Kid dance, and Jimmy says actually doing the dance will earn them the point as well. Two teams pull it off, after which Jimmy reflexively declares "no points" for Richard Ayoade and Noel Fielding even when they gave the correct name! And the red tick's already there!note
- Deadpan Snarker:
- Richard Ayoade. Viewers who know him as Moss might be surprised by how deadpan he is."Sorry, I just made the mistake of genuinely responding to your question."
- Interestingly David Mitchell in the Channel Four Anniversary edition, but of course, he was teamed up with Richard. He was all for winning the next quiz with no sarcastic answers, but that time he was teamed up with Rob Brydon.
- Richard Ayoade. Viewers who know him as Moss might be surprised by how deadpan he is.
- Death Glare:
Jimmy Carr: We've got a gunge tank, and you're behind, so buck up your ideas.Richard Ayoade: I will kill you in your sleep.
- In the 2013 edition of the Big Fat Quiz of the 90s, Jimmy Carr informs the contestants late in the show that the losers will be gunged. Richard Ayoade, whose team was trailing far behind, shoots him one of these.
Jonathan: They were either watching themselves land... or they were watching 8 Out of 10 Cats.
- In the 2005 Quiz, one question was about what unfortunate broadcast a plane showed its passengers (it was a news report on the plane itself making an emergency landing).
(Jimmy just glares at him)
Jimmy: Comic book movies became all the rage this year - we don't call them comic books anymore, the correct term is Nerd Fiction for Virgins. (cut to Jon glaring at him) I think he's all right there.
- Jimmy gets his revenge over 10 years later:
- Dissimile: From the 2011 show:Jimmy Carr: A lot happened this year; it was like an episode of Lark Rise to Candleford — except that a lot happened.
- Don't Explain the Joke:
David Mitchell: We've made it sound like he jizzed.
- One question in the 2007 show was about what Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did that he described as an "Easter gift" to the UK. David Mitchell and Rob Brydon's answer was "he released seamen," which they wrote as an intentionally funny answer.
Claudia: You can't fit it all in! (audience reacts first)
- Rob Brydon does this frequently.
- The School Play question for 2015 apparently led to David Mitchell filling the answer space with a Wall of Text:
Jimmy: David and Claudia are also voicing an adult film, rather than filling the question in...
- Double Entendre:Jonathan Ross: (On the topic of George Michael's car crash) He didn't choose which shop to crash into. It's not like he was cruising up and down saying, 'Which one will it be tonight?'.Jimmy Carr: I think you'll find he definitely was saying, 'Which one will it be tonight?'.
- Early Installment Weirdness:
- The earlier quizzes had rounds split up by month, while later they would be split up by subject (e.g. TV, Sports, Internet, etc).
- The Masterpiece Theatre question is presented by Charles Dance, but earlier quizzes used Ian McKellen or John Hurt.
- The 2004 edition, which was the first, had a whopping 72 available points. That's nearly double the average amount of points possible in subsequent quizzes.
- Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: Jonathan Ross noticeably has a problem saying "rain on your wedding day". Further highlighted in the 2017 special when David Walliams briefly gives him speech lessons.
- Epic Fail: In 2011, David Walliams and Miranda Hart scored a grand total of 4 points. They didn't get their first point until about 53 minutes into the show.
- El Spanish "-o": Done in Italian (not really) when Jonathan claims that the title of the classical theme where the Nokia ringtone was sampled from was "Anoccia Ringgatona".
- Exact Words: Quiz of Everything 2018. One question is about sign language, and Jimmy makes the sign himself as Claudia Winkleman tries to goad the answer out of him, to which he responds "Claudia, I love you, but no." Once the questioning is done, Claudia still hasn't given up, but Jimmy insists that he'd already fed her the answer. It's the pinky-pointer-thumb that does mean "I Love You".
- Face Palm: David Mitchell's reaction to the short clip of Crazy Frog's "music" in the Noughties edition.
- Failure Hero: Jack Whitehall, appearing 5 times on the show without ever winning (the most of anyone in that regard). Exacerbating this, his teams have come in last place every time he's participated.
- Foodfight!: An epic one breaks out in the Everything edition.
- Fridge Logic: In-Universe, Russell Howard questions the meaning of the cliches "Blood is Thicker Than Water" ("Yeah, so's yogurt") and "I shagged her brains out" ("Surely that'd be awkward?").
- Fun with Acronyms:
- One question was about Elvis Presley and his motto, which was TCBnote .
Dara: So the INLA kneecapped the guys, and Will was safer because of it...
- Another question was about The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and for the answer Dara O'Brien wrote that Will would be "safer in L.A.", except that the "in LA" part was too close together, making it look like INLA (the Irish National Liberation Army).
Jimmy: That would have been a very different show.
- Genki Girl: Claudia Winkleman was bursting with energy in the 2015 edition. Considering she was David Mitchell's team-mate, she had enough energy for both of them.
- Golden Snitch: Played for laughs in the 2006 edition, when Jimmy gave Noel and Russell 22 points for a single question, the amount they needed to stand a chance of winning.
- A Good Name for a Rock Band: "Sloth Junk", according to Noel Fielding on the occasion when the "guest question-givers" were a pair of sloths.
- Jimmy's noted a lot of times that the team names Noel comes up with tend to be these, such as "The Electric Mocassins" or "Hot Shame and the Indoor Kites".
- Guest Host: While the host is the same every year, there are often guest-questioners.
- Hostile Show Takeover: After Jimmy unjustly denies Richard Ayoade and Greg Davies a point, Rob Brydon leads a mini-revolution, eventually trying to take over the podium before being chased off.
- Hypocritical Humour: Every time Jonathan Ross makes a reference to one of the other panelists being uncool, middle aged men.
- Inherently Funny Words:
- In the 2011 edition, "masturbatory."
- 2012: "Lobstromonous."
- 2015 has "bad dong".
- From the Everything Quiz Episode 3, "parental anal handy".
- I Was Quite a Fashion Victim: Jonathan Ross, as proven by the 2013 90s edition.
- Joke and Receive:
- In the 2010 quiz, one question was about what animal had displayed psychic abilities during the World Cup. Noel, having no idea, put down one of his standard Cloud Cuckoo Lander answers: "That German snail." While not spot on, he had gotten as far as correct nationality and animal phylum; the correct answer was a German octopus.
- In the third episode of the BFQ of Everything, Dara and Chelsea wrote down "Smells Like Teen Spirit" as a joke answer to a question about a deodorant-inspired song. They were right.
- In the 2017 Everything episode, Jimmy asks what lyric comes after "I don't want to see a ghost/It's the sight that I fear most" in Des'ree's song "Life". Jonathan Ross and David Walliams wrote "I would like some toast" because it was a random thing that rhymed, and turned out to be mostly right. note
- Large Ham: Unavoidable on a show composed almost entirely of comedians, trying to out-funny each other.
- Like a Son to Me: Played for laughs in the Everything edition, when Noel and Richard started to treat Jack Whitehall like he was their adopted son, and Jack's teammate Mel Giedroyc like she was the babysitter.
- Like an Old Married Couple:
- Rob Brydon and David Walliams.
- Alan Carr and Jack Dee, after a while.
- Richard Ayoade and Noel Fielding, especially in the Everything edition.
- Loophole Abuse: David Mitchell, frequently.David Mitchell: The question was, "can you name something Charlie Sheen claimed separated him from mere mortals?" So I could answer 'no' and get the point!
- Man Hug: Jonathon Ross gives one to Brendan from The Great British Bake Off in the 2012 show.
- Man of a Thousand Voices: Rob Brydon, who gets pressured into doing his "little man trapped in a box" voice.
- My Sister Is Off-Limits!: In this case, My Female Teammate is Off Limits. In the 2007 quiz, Jonathan Ross, who was paired with Lily Allen as the middle team, noted that Lily was sitting with Russell Brand and Noel Fielding right next to her and decided to switch seats with her to protect her from Fielding and Brand.
- Naked People Are Funny: The Everything Quiz Episode 3 had human statues mimicking real-life statues - totally nude.
- "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: One question is about who wrote a tune called "Lick me in the Arse" - Mozart of course, and during the answer reveal they play a bit of the actual audio. It's no less ridiculous that way.
- Not So Above It All: During a question about football fan chants, the camera catches Jimmy thumping a fist in the air in time with the audio a couple of times.
- Odd Couple: So many of the teams. but, most notably:
- David Mitchell and Denise van Outen.
- Alan Carr and Jack Dee. Then again, they were three drinks away from a civil partnership.
- Rob Brydon and Claudia Winkleman, which they capitalized on by pretending to be a newlywed couple.
- Jonathan Ross and Lily Allen.
- Richard Ayoade and Gabby Logan. So much so, that they drew a line in the middle of their answers, with Gabby giving the proper answers and Richard the Cloudcuckoolander ones (occasionally they swapped).
- Richard and Noel. While their senses of humour click together well, as Richard puts it:"I look like his legal adviser."
- Turned Up to Eleven during the Quiz of Everything edition when they actually pretended they were married.
- Off the Rails:
- Panel shows often get lost, but on this show there tends to be at least one team whose goal is to defy the format as much as possible. Noel Fielding and Russel Brand in particular do this, frequently trying to rebel against Jimmy's authority and set up communism.
- Special mention goes to David Walliams and Miranda Hart from the 2011 quiz, who didn't attempt to correctly answer a single question and currently hold the record for lowest score across any quiz, with four points.
- Of course there's been plenty of other causes, like the time Mel Giedroyc brought some actual pastries for everyone to try, and tossing some from one table to another, badly, somehow escalated into a Food Fight. In the 2016 edition, she brought a small picnic, including a small water bottle half full of brandy. This she shared with her teammate Romesh and, because he asked nicely, her opponent David Mitchell. Throughout the rest of the show, ironically, she kept rambling about Cross Rail.
- The one with Mr Blobby, whose suit actor apparently couldn't get a good view of anything, going by the way he knocked over Jimmy's podium and then bashed a hole in the set.note
- Panel shows often get lost, but on this show there tends to be at least one team whose goal is to defy the format as much as possible. Noel Fielding and Russel Brand in particular do this, frequently trying to rebel against Jimmy's authority and set up communism.
- One-Scene Wonder: In-universe. In the 2006 quiz, all of the panelists immediately fall in love with guest questioner Guy Goma, and spend much of the following time trying to convince Jimmy to bring him back on and replace Jimmy as host.
- Overly Long Gag:
- One question in the 90s edition was about Michael Flatley, which led to Jack Whitehall claiming he was riverdancing behind the desk, since it involved hardly any upper body movement. Turns out Jimmy can cue the audio techs to play the relevant music on cue, which leads to Jack and teammate Denise van Outen humping up and down in their seats for way too long. And THEN they bust out the hand movements...
- In the 2016 edition, Mel offers her teammate Romesh to read one of their answers. There's a pause before Romesh begins reading, so as a gag, Mel begins reading at the same time. They both immediately stop to let the other continue reading ... and, of course, start up at the same time again. Mel repeats this faux confusion gag for the rest of their answer, drawing it out much longer than usual.
- Painted-On Pants: Dance-meister Louie Spence in both his appearances. You'd be surprised how much freedom of movement they allow.
- The Points Mean Nothing:
- An opinion adopted by the aforementioned Cloudcuckoolanders, who make no effort to answer the questions correctly and instead have a laugh. (Even in editions where neither Russell nor Noel appear, there will usually be at least one team whose members don't even pretend to take the quiz seriously.) The 2015 Anniversary Quiz had Russell Brand and Noel Fielding sketching doodles instead of writing answers, and they were still awarded points for answering the question verbally.
- Additionally, sometimes Jimmy gives the total amount of points that were possible at the end of the quiz, and sometimes he doesn't.
- Precision F-Strike: Done countless times, usually by Jimmy Carr when a panelist gets too uppity.
- Punny Name: Part of the pub quiz gimmick involves coming up with team names that invariably fall into this. Of special note, Katherine Ryan and Aisling Bea, from Canada and Ireland respectively, dress up as vapid valley girls and come up with the name "Foreign Twerkers".
- Purely Aesthetic Glasses:
- Averted by Richard Ayoade.Don't let the glasses fool you, I am very stupid.
- Invoked by Jonathan Ross:Jimmy: Jonathan, what - those aren't your glasses.
Jonathan: What you're looking at here is a masterclass in quiz psychology. When they look over here now, they see a movie star [points at Russell Brand] and a scientist.
David Mitchell: I can tell there is no glass in those glasses.
- Averted by Richard Ayoade.
- Rebel Leader: Rob momentarily becomes one in the 2015 edition, when the other panellists start to look to him as the host of the show instead. Taken Up to Eleven when Rob actually stands behind the host's podium and delivers the introduction to one of the rounds before being sent back to his seat by Jimmy.
- Refuge in Audacity:
Jimmy: Oh, you didn't write that...
- Jack Whitehall and James Corden order a pizza in the studio, and when it arrives, reveal a bottle of wine behind their desk which they proceed to drink with it.
- They subvert it later in the same episode, when Jimmy asks what Obama confessed to occasionally "putting on" in the Oval Office.Answer When it actually comes time to show what they wrote, they regret it so much that Jack crouches down in front of the answer-displaying screen in order to cover it up; Russell Howard joins him after catching a glimpse of what it was. Eventually Jimmy talks them into moving so it can be revealed: [Obama] put on a condom and had a posh wank. As much as was made about it in the episode itself, it was also one of the comments that sparked real controversy.
- Retcon: A purposeful version: in 2013, when Wossy produces a turkey, Jack mentions that he and Corden ordered pizza "for everyone [as] a lovely gesture" in 2012, which is patently untrue, as he and Corden ate it by themselves and told the others to "get over it" when they complained.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: In the 2017 Quiz of Everything, Katherine Ryan and Aisling Bea decided as a team to dress up as vapid valley girls, with actual puppies for a finishing touch.Jonathan: The dog is now leaving you as a protest. (cut to one puppy making its way backstage)
- Rivals Team Up: In 2015, Richard Ayoade and Greg Davies protest that they weren't given a point for one of their answers. The other teams and the audience then help to persuade Jimmy to give them the point, to no avail. During the next round, the other teams deliberately answer a question wrong in order to level the scores.
- Rule of Funny: The specials are really just elaborate excuses for comedians to be funny.
- Rule of Three: One question in the 2008 Quiz is about the transsexual man who got pregnant, and Michael Mcintyre is the first to ask how the baby could have been delivered. Jimmy suggested he had a "manny", and then offered "mange" as well. It's not till he suggested "munt" that the audience reacts.
- Running Gag: A whole host of new ones are started every year, such as making references to Russell and Wossy's involvement in the Andrew Sachs Scandal or Jimmy's tax evasion scandal. Inevitably when the Masterpiece Theatre question comes up someone will suggest the reader was reading his own biography.
- The 2015 edition featured Richard Ayoade and Greg Davies's team answering "Bad Dong" to an increasing number of questions, until it became the answer to every question in the final round. As it devolved into an Overly Long Gag, Davies couldn't help Corpsing even as he was a bit ashamed of how much he was enjoying the bit.
- In the 2006 edition, David Walliams coins "Congratuwelldone". Jimmy sometimes says this to winners of later quizzes.
- At some point Jimmy started claiming that one of the players was somehow related to the person in the obscure video providing the question, like the time he referred to a group of students in old-fashioned uniforms and ties from a video made in the 60s as "Richard Aoyade's classmates".
- A running gag across multiple years involves Jimmy asking a question with the phrasing "Can you tell me what event this is referencing" or something similar, followed by David Mitchell pointing out that Jimmy's Exact Words were "Can you tell me", and insisting that "No" is an acceptable answer and should be counted as such.
- Contestants bringing food to eat during the show.
- School Play: Done by the children of Mitchell Brook Primary School.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
(walking back again) "Always wanted to walk off a show!"
- David Walliams joked about this whenever a round didn't go in his favour.
- And if he threatens to walk if something is done, Rob begs for the something to be done.
- Michael McIntyre and Alan Carr attempt this.Jimmy Carr: That would possibly be the campest walk out in history.
- Richard Ayoade walked halfway out of the show, but that was not due to any sort of annoyance, it was just him being weird."I'm gonna leave now. Not even joking."
- James Corden jokingly tries to walk out when Jimmy contests his claim that the technically correct name of the Sex and the City movie is "Sex and the City: The Movie". Sean Lock follows him, but only because he feels obligated as James' teammate.
- Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross walk out after a particular bit of Jimmy's crosses-the-line-twice comedy. They return, as Russell explains, because they did it "for a laugh".
- Mel Giedroyc as well, also due to a tasteless line, after which:
- David Walliams joked about this whenever a round didn't go in his favour.
- Serious Business: Following the incident in Golden Snitch above, Rob Brydon and David Walliams took great offense at Brand and Fielding "winning". Their predicted offense was admittedly much of the reason Jimmy let Brand and Fielding win.
- Received a Call-Back the following year, when Rob Brydon started griping about it again, only for David Mitchell to point out that by complaining, he was making it more likely for it to happen again.
- Shipper on Deck: Invoked by Jimmy in the 2009 edition. Although David Mitchell and Charlie Brooker's team name was Ignorance & Want, after a few rounds, Jimmy started to call them the Civil Partnership instead.
- Pretty much everyone in the Everything edition did this to Noel and Richard. Jimmy even asked Noel at one point if he ever considered changing his surname to Ayoade-Fielding.
- Shout Out
- Noel says he'd like to drink Baileys out of Mel Giedroyc's shoes.
- In the 2017 Everything edition, someone references The Moon to Noel. Noel is visibly delighted.
- Noel randomly wearing an eyepatch nods to the music video for "You Spin Me Round".
- Shown Their Work: Quiz of the Year 2018. The final question is about Marvel characters' civilian names, and despite the obviously MCU-based cosplayers, Jimmy gives points for the civilian names from past versions as well, like David Banner and Dr Donald Blake.
- Sophisticated as Hell: Frequently.
- After Rob Brydon insulted Russell Brand's outfit:"Rob! Why have you elected to attack my apparel? I have these appurtenances and I look grand, and fine, and pleasant. Whereas you look like you've robbed C & A in an 'urry."
- It's also common to have high-brow presenters reading from or describing something low-brow, such as Dr David Starkey describing Jedward as if they were a medieval legend, Sir Ian McKellen or Charles Dance reading nonsensical passages from the "auto"biographies of minor celebrities, and Jon Snow describing the events of a song ("It transpired that she was just 'bluffing with her muffin'... witnesses later described her expression as 'unreadable'") as if it was a news story.
- Peter Andre referred to The Da Vinci Code as "highbrow literature" without an ounce of irony (and what's more, then proceeded to ask the panelists a question about the film version). Noel Fielding was astounded at this and had a truly awesome reply when Jimmy asked if any of them had read it: "Get fucked."
- The 2012 edition featured Charles Dance reading excerpts of Fifty Shades of Grey.
- Jack Whitehall and James Corden wore suits in the 2012 edition. Their response to the others mocking their suits? "It's a black tie event. We aren't the ones who look like dicks." Similarly, they later pull out a bottle of wine and enjoy it with pizza. When they start singing "Call Me Maybe" (while still eating pizza), Russell Howard describes them as 'a couple of fucking lords rocking out the Pizza Hut'.
- After Rob Brydon insulted Russell Brand's outfit:
- Speed Sex: One question was about the Three Laws of Robotics, which somehow led to Katherine Ryan's criticisim of the 'robot dance':Katherine: Dancing is supposed to be like, an advertisement for how great you are in bed...
Jimmy: Sounds about right for me. I dance for about 30 seconds.
- Spin-Off: With the COVID19 pandemic taking place just after the 2020 episode, Jimmy takes it upon himself to present: The Little Tiny Quiz of the Lockdown.
- Squee!: When a pre-recorded questioner in episode 2 is revealed to be Ronan Keating, guest player Aisling Bea screams like a banshee (conveniently, all three are Irish!)
- Squick: In-Universe:
- The ice-cream made from breast milk in the 2011 edition was this to Jamie Oliver.
- In the Noughties edition, Kevin Bridges' answer to "How did this man (Dr. Atkins) cause bad breath, nausea and constipation?" was "He invented The Human Centipede", serving as this to the audience.
- The Stoic: Jack Dee.
- Strange Minds Think Alike:
(the question: What Barack Obama gave to Gordon Brown after being given an antique pen holder carved from a beam in an ancient battleship)
- This moment from the 2009 Quiz.
Rob Brydon: Now this is the first one where we genuinely didn't know the answer; we went for a very amusing answer instead. We went for Dead Fly; a Call-Back to the earlier round which I'm sure will have the audience in stitches.note
'David Mitchell: You're gonna be mortified when I tell you that they have gone for that exact same guess.
(camera cut to the third team proudly displaying their 'Dead Fly' answer)
- Elsewhere in the 2009 quiz, as a response to a question about why a particular cat was internet famousnote , David and Claudia put down "Santa Paws" and Jonathan and Russell wrote "Santa Claws", on account of the fact that the cat was wearing a Santa hat in the picture they were shown (although Jimmy did tell them that the hat had nothing to do with the cat's fame).
- In the 2010 quiz, Jimmy asked why a woman named Anna Chapman was in the news. Two teams jokingly answered that she was The Stig.
- There's another Call-Back related one in the 2015 quiz. Jimmy asks what song Tyson Fury sang to his wife after he won the title fight, and he gets two responses of "Shout" by Tears for Fears. Earlier in the show, Greg had been raving about how good Richard's impression of Roland Orzabal was, and Richard had demonstrated by singing that song.
- In 2016, for the question "What motivational phrase did Claudio Ranieri use for his team?"note , all three teams put a variant of the same Captain Obvious joke. Particularly similar are "Win please" and "Please don't lose", with the third being "Kick it in the goal".
- In the BFQ of Everything 2016, Jimmy jokes that the people in a clip they just saw were Richard's classmates. Noel immediately exclaims "Fuck you, Jimmy", because he'd just finished writing that it was Richard's birthday party.
- In Everything 2017, Jimmy asks what body part is the same length as one's forearm. One team immediately clarifies that he must mean, like, besides the other arm. When the answers are revealed, a different team had written "the other arm" as their answer, as they had been distracted and missed the confirmation that yes, the question did mean besides the other arm.
- In the 2012 quiz, a question comes up of what Obama admitted to sometimes putting on in the Oval Office. Jonathan remarks, while everyone is already writing their answers, that Obama probably couldn't have used it as a masturbatorium. Then it comes time to reveal Jack and James' answer ... (See Refuge in Audacity, above)
- Inverted in Everything 2016. At first Noel comments that he and Chelsea Peretti went for similar answers on a question about what a man was claiming to be able do in a video clip of him speaking oddly; Chelsea wrote "Give an auction for a blowjob while giving a blowjob" and Noel had put "Auction/Stop erections". Chelsea remarks that they're more like opposite answers.
- Stunned Silence:
Jimmy: We've found the holy grail, we found the one guy that remembers B*Witched...
- One question for the 2015 edition was about Katy Perry and the infamous shark dancer, but for some reason Richard Aoyade thought "Katy Perry dropped a ton of offal on stage". Jimmy goes quiet for a while.
- Happens to both Jimmy and Denise van Outen in one Quiz of the 90s, when the question is about the short-lived girl group B*Witched, and Denise's partner Jack Whitehall can do an entire verse of their hit "Cést la Vie" from memory. If both of those names mean nothing to you... you're not alone.
- Stupid Crooks: At least one round was about Real Life cases of these.Jimmy: If you're watching, I'm sure by now you've paid your debt to society and you're a perfectly reformed individual - but it was still fucking stupid.
- Take That!:
- When the question was about Bill Gates' little known talent, Katherine and Aisling put down "shits money". It's not even the filthiest answer.
- One early "Say what you See" puzzle was for the answer "Crazy Frog Outsells Coldplay". Only one picture was used to represent Crazy Frog. It wasn't the Crazy Frog. It was Eric Cantona.
- Take That Me: From the 2017 edition:Jimmy: Al Capone was a notorious criminal who was finally sent to prison for tax evasion. He really should have had a talk with my guy. (shrugs it off, audience goes wild)
- Team Pet: In the The Big Fat Anniversary Quiz, Noel and Russell had Chris, a fly that had lovingly trained to fly out of their hands.
- The Bus Came Back: Jonathan Ross in Quiz of Everything 2018.
- This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: Quiz of the Year 2018. After becoming the host of The Great British Bakeoff the year before, Noel Fielding is reunited with one of the finalists for one bonus question, and he proudly declares "I'm on Bakeoff motherfuckers!"
- Toilet Humor: Unavoidable at times, like the one where they bring in the world's most expensive coffee and have the panelists guess why (it's the infamous Kopi Luwak, the one where the beans are pooped out by a civet cat).Rob Beckett: They did well to get it all in a cup.
- Too Much Information:
- The first ep of Everything, where the question was about what Bill Gates and a bunch of mature men were celebrating, and Bob Mortimers's answer was "Prostate Exams All Clear".Mel Giedroyc: I have a problem with hemmorhoids. It's a family affliction. We called ourselves the Gied-roids.
(re. Trump's mocking names for Republican associates)
- Going by what she said in Quiz of the Year 2016, it's fairly obvious what the real family affliction is:
Sarah Millican: For Jeb Bush, we put down '70s Bush'... Calling back to happier times... when we were allowed to have pubes...
Mel: I have a pair of shorts down there. (audience melts down) Hair shorts. If you imagine what's going on here on Romesh's face... (pointing out Romesh's Badass Beard, audience laughs harder)
Romesh: I had no idea Mel's vagina was Sri Lankan.
- The first ep of Everything, where the question was about what Bill Gates and a bunch of mature men were celebrating, and Bob Mortimers's answer was "Prostate Exams All Clear".
- Totally Radical: One question was about what the gang headed by the Krays was called, and Jonathan Ross came up with "The Kray-Krays".note
- Trailers Always Spoil: The answers to several questions in any given episode will have been animated into the opening sequence.
Denise van Outen: He proved that British beef is the best thing inside you. (Beat as audience reacts)
- From one Quiz of the 90s, about a controversy over one politician making his daughter eat the same burger as him to affirm his belief in food standards:
Jimmy: I'm gonna need some kind of cold shower after that...
Mo: Can I rub it out?...
- Quiz of the Year 2018. First-timer Mo Gilligan realises that the pens and tablets they're been filling the answers in with lack an erase function:
Jimmy: It is not advised to rub one out during the show.
- Unexpected Character:
- On occasion, especially on the special-event quizzes, for the final question to be asked by a fictional character, such as Mr Blobby and even a Dalek!.
- For some international viewers, the inclusion of American entertainers would count, from Chelsea Peretti and Kristen Schaal in the studio for different eps, to Will Ferrell, Steve Carell and Paul Rudd for pre-recorded questions in the same ep. And on a couple of special cases, Gonzo and Animal.
- Upper-Class Twit: Jack Whitehall's posh public-school upbringing is occasionally the butt of jokes from other contestants:Jack: (in response to a question about Thompson) Antony Worrall Thompson owns a pub/hotel in the countryside in which I lost my virginity. ...Not to him, not to him. To a...lady, a woman. Isn't that lovely? Every time I look at him I think of the best night of my life, and the worst of hers.
Russell Howard: That shows you how wonderfully posh you are, that you lost your virginity in an award-winning restaurant.
Jonathan Ross: Rather than in a bush, like the rest of us.
- In the 2013 show, Jonathan calls Jack out on suddenly becoming "a bit tough" when noted Cockney hard man Danny Dyer stops by and mentions his latest action film, Vendetta ("It's violent, though, innit?")
- Unusual Euphemism: One question is about how the original "roses are red" poem actually goes. Courtesy of Jonathan Ross and David Walliam:(in unison) "The rose is red, the violets blue; Do you take it up the flue?"
- Waxing Lyrical:
Ronan Keating: Can you tell me three of the things (Right Said Fred) were too sexy for?
- The whole point of some of the questions.
- During the 2014 quiz, with Mel B as contestant, she is dumbstruck that her teammate Micky Flanagan's apparently humourous answer was exactly correct. This led to the whole quiz being put on hold while all of the other contestants and Jimmy began teasing her with Spice Girls song references. For the whole conversation, check out the quotes page.
- Why We Can't Have Nice Things: That time someone brings a bunch of wine bottles? Somebody steals one. Mel Giedroyc brings some pastries for them to try? Food Fight!
- Wine Is Classy: Jack Whitehall and James Corden have pizza delivered during the 2012 edition. After having their pizza brought, they pull out a bottle of wine and proceed to drink it.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Noel Fielding hates snakes. When a python was brought out during a 2017 fashion segment, Noel fled to other side of the room.
- Your Mum: In the Noughties edition, Jimmy asks the question "Who managed to set a new world record after spending 71 days crying in the B&Q?". This was Richard and Noel's answer.Jimmy: I feel like a supply teacher at a rough school.Noel: Sir! It was so your mum!Richard: Look at your card. Does it say your mum?
Romesh: I know this one!
- Even the extremely deadpan Richard dissolved into laughter at the exasperated look on Jimmy's face.
- Romesh Ranganathan managed to make this joke without even saying 'your mum'.