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Series / Big Fat Quiz of the Year

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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 '90s 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, 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, 2019, and 2021. 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, Russell Brand, Richard Ayoade, Noel Fielding, Jack Whitehall and Claudia Winkleman.

Several editions are available on YouTube here.

Tropes featured include:

  • 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 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.
      Jack: 'Jonathan Ross is like a cyborg sent back in time to remind Jack Whitehall that he's still not funny'.
      Jimmy: Well done, trolls!
    • 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 laughing 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 led to this reaction from everyone else.
      Richard: That double-glazing looks post-Edwardian though...
  • Adorably Precocious Child: The children of Mitchell Brook Primary School, and their topical plays.
  • 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 Equals 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:
    • 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:
    • 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, 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 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.
    (video shows Arnold nailing the Big Bad with a broken steam pipe in Commando
    Richard: (The Ahnold voice) "Pipe down."[...] "Don't exhaust yourself."note 
  • 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:
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • The hosts of these type of shows tend to end up as one. Jimmy Carr is no exception.
    • David Mitchell in the Big Fat Quiz of the Year 2009
    • 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.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "You have been very naughty!" and "Oh, no!" from the children of Mitchell Brook Primary School.
      • They're also prone to "PHEW!".
  • 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.
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
    • Noel Fielding and Russell Brand, and like a fountain of weirdness when they're together.
      Jimmy: Have you got an eyepatch on?
      Noel: No.
    • 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.
  • 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 as a Dalek should.
    Jack: You should work more outside of Doctor Who. Have you had any offers?
    Dalek: Many.
    Jimmy: Yeah, he's on 8 Out of 10 Cats next week, it's gonna be huge.
    Dalek: I will exterminate ALL THE CATS!
  • 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.
    • 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 '90s episode.
    Jimmy: We are honoured to have one of the decade's most iconic stars, please welcome, apologies, Jack, Mr. Blobby!
    Jack: Oh, FU- (cut to Mr. Blobby, who immediately fakes attacking Jack)
  • 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.
  • Death Glare:
    • 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.
      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 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).
      Jonathan: They were either watching themselves land... or they were watching 8 Out of 10 Cats.
      (Jimmy just glares at him)
    • Jimmy gets his revenge over 10 years later:
      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.
  • 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:
    • 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.
    David Mitchell: We've made it sound like he jizzed.
    • 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:
    Claudia: You can't fit it all in! (audience reacts first)
    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?'.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: In the 2011 quiz, Jimmy made a joke about the recently-deceased Jimmy Savile that drew groans from everyone, with Eddie Izzard in particular saying, "Not cool". Of course, this was before Savile was posthumously exposed as a sex offender.
  • 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.
  • Enemy Mine: In the 2016 edition, Romesh spends much of his time annoyed with his teammate Mel, at one point even asking if he can switch partners. However, he also clearly thinks Mark-Francis Vanelli is an insufferable snob and starts threatening to beat Vanelli up for being condescending to Mel.
  • 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 .
    Jack Whitehall: Touching Cloth Badly. (audience reacts)
    Jimmy: Incidentally, that was how he died.
    • 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).
      Dara: So the INLA kneecapped the guys, and Will was safer because of it...
      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".
  • Irregular Series: Unlike regular panel shows, BFQ is a yearly feature-length special. The themed quizzes vary from year to year with no set release schedule.
  • 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."
      • Exaggerated 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 
  • One-Scene Wonder: In-universe. In the 2006 quiz, all of the panelists immediately fall in love with guest questioner Guy Goma,note  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 river dancing 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 appears, 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.
  • 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. Exaggerated 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:
    • 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.
    Jimmy: Oh, you didn't write that...
  • 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.
  • Retroactive Recognition: The 2013 Quiz of the '80s features an in-universe example. One of the panellists is former Going Live! presenter Sarah Greene, leading to Jimmy cuing footage of the infamous moment in 1989 when teenage caller Eliot Fletcher, live on air, asked musical guests Five Star "Why are you so fucking crap!?", leading Sarah to hastily end the call. The other panellists joke that one of the audience members in the background looked like a young Michael McIntyre... and Greene reveals that it really was McIntyre (then aged 13), whose aunt was a member of the production crew and had invited him to a taping.
  • 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 try 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 laughing even as he was a bit ashamed of how much he was enjoying the bit.
      Richard: This joke has got legs like you would not believe. This is like a millipede, this joke. All legs.
    • 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 Ayoade'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.
    • Jokes about Jimmy being a robot/ventriloquist puppet.
  • School Play: Done by the children of Mitchell Brook Primary School.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here:
    • 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:
  • 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
  • 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'.
  • Speed Sex: One question was about the Three Laws of Robotics, which somehow led to Katherine Ryan's criticism 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:
    • This moment from the 2009 Quiz.
    (the question: What Barack Obama gave to Gordon Brown after being given an antique pen holder carved from a beam in an ancient battleship)
    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 to 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.
    • In the Big Fat Quiz of the 80’s, when the teams are asked “Who Shot JR?, both Jason Manford/ Stephen Mangan and Jonathan Ross/ Adam Buxton put down Maggie Simpson as a gag answer.
  • Stunned Silence:
    • One question for the 2015 edition was about Katy Perry and the infamous shark dancer, but for some reason, Richard Ayoade 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.
    Jimmy: We've found the holy grail, we found the one guy that remembers B*Witched...
  • 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 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 Mortimer's answer was "Prostate Exams All Clear".
      Mel Giedroyc: I have a problem with hemorrhoids. It's a family affliction. We called ourselves the Gied-roids.
      • Going by what she said in Quiz of the Year 2016, it's fairly obvious what the real family affliction is:
      (re. Trump's mocking names for Republican associates)
      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 beard, audience laughs harder)
      Romesh: I had no idea Mel's vagina was Sri Lankan.
  • 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.
  • 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?"
  • Visual Pun: The crowd favourite "Say What You See" question, which involves spelling out a big news headline with stock photos.
  • Waxing Lyrical:
    • The whole point of some of the questions.
    Ronan Keating: Can you tell me three of the things (Right Said Fred) were too sexy for?
    • 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.
    • In Quiz of the Year 2020, one question was about the slogans used to stem the spread of COVID19, which started out elaborate but eventually were reduced to just three words. One choice guess:
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: In the 2016 Big Fat Quiz of Everything, the contestants first try to imitate Sylvester Stallone's accent, and later in the quiz attempt to do a New Yorker cop voice, which inevitably results in unrecognizable accents.
  • 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 another 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?
    • 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'.
      Romesh: I know this one!

Alternative Title(s): Big Fat Quiz