Mock the Week
Dara Ó Briain: Hugh and Frankie, just a suggestion, a slight editorial tweak, coming through my ear from the gallery. If we can have some stuff that we can actually broadcast, that'd be great.
Frankie Boyle: Nobody mentioned that.
British Panel Game that is BBC2's equivalent of Have I Got News for You, with strong influence from Whose Line Is It Anyway? (which isn't surprising, considering they were created by the same people). It involves only comedians and is hosted by Dara Ó Briain, an Irish comedian. The series started in 2005 and is still ongoing. It is now in its tenth series.
The show's regulars are Hugh Dennis (from the start) and Chris Addison (series 9-present) and guest on one team and Andy Parsons (series 3-present) and two guests on the other. Former regulars are Russell Howard (series 4-9), Frankie Boyle (series 1-7) and Rory Bremner (series 1 and 2). The guests are usually English, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish comics, but occasionally include American, Australian, and Canadian comedians.
- "Headline News": The performers are shown a picture taken from a newspaper, with that newspaper's corresponding headline reduced to the first letter of each word, which they then have to decipher. Naturally, they have a little fun with likely letters of the alphabet, to the point where Dara sometimes has to rein them in.
(the letters are T.F.H.C. -- and the players have been going on in the same vein for some time)
Dara: Let me give you a clue -- the first three letters do not stand for "This Fucker Has..."!
Hugh Dennis: Is it "That Fucker Has Cancer"?
'Dara: Stop saying fuck! The 'f' doesn't stand for 'fuck!
- "Spinning The News": Four of the performers, usually two from each team, do a mini-standup routine on a randomly selected topic. Dara tends to give the game odd titles, such as "News Wheel...Of Death!", "Harry Potter and the Wheel of News", "Danger! Danger! Subatomic Joke Collider!" or "Ashley Cole Sent Me A Picture of his Mock".
- Over the life of the show the makeup of "Spinning The News" has changed somewhat. Originally all six players would have to do a mini-standup team, with the last two going head-to-head in a "tiebreaker". Since then the number has been reduced to four and then three, in Dara's words so they can "mock off early".
- "If This Is The Answer, What Is The Question?": The players are given a choice between several categories of recent news stories such as sport, international news and the arts, revealing an oddly-phrased or very oblique answer. The players then exchange joking questions before trying to figure out what the question actually is. The joking ones tend to be very elaborate.
(answer: "15 per second")
Lauren Laverne: How many pounds sterling is Simon Cowell paid to cut the cultural throat of our nation and drink its still-warm blood?
Dara: ...that's not what I have on the card.
(actual question: "How fast were copies of the final Harry Potter novel selling on release day?")
- "Scenes We'd Like To See": Dara suggests topics like "Unlikely Things To Hear On Blue Peter", and the contestants come in with funny suggestions ("And that's how we make an ash tray out of the shell of a dead tortoise!"). Probably the funniest, or at least most consistently funny, section of the show; Silent Hunter utilised it as a Message Board game.
( topic: "Bad Things To Hear At Work")
Fred MacAulay: "Get off, you're shit."
Dara: Our viewers at home are probably thinking "What's this game? I've never seen it before!" Well, that's cause we never fuckin' broadcast it.
- "What On Earth?": Very rarely shown on initial broadcasts (occasionally making it to end of season clip shows or the DVDs), "What On Earth?" is a simple game where the players are shown a picture of something that's been in the news and have to guess what it is, as ever making humorous suggestions before somebody comes in with the real answer.
[The picture is a group of men dressed as Santa]
Frankie: Is this a picture of the sperm inside Santa's testicles?
Russell Howard: This is actually what goes on inside Christmas crackers.
- "Between The Lines": Originally a mainstay of the show, but has since fallen out of popularity. The game consists of two players, one giving a speech from a well-known public figure, and the other saying what they really mean. Rory Bremner or Frankie Boyle nominally performed the public figure, with Hugh Dennis performing their inner voice.
' Sandi Toksvig:' (as Queen Elizabeth II) ...but there have also been times of incredible loss.
Hugh: "..but there have also been times of incredible ("correcting" her extreme-RP upper-class accent) loss.
Sandi: I lawst things.
Hugh: My yacht. (she nods) My private train. (she nods) Zimbabwe. (she nods)
- "Newsreel": While silent footage from a recent public or televised event plays, one or two players (at least one of them usually Hugh Dennis) narrates or does dialogue (or both) as the people featured go about their business.
Prince Philip (at a tour of a police station, spotting officers waiting to meet him): "Oh, my. It's the fuzz. No, no, I didn't know it was an osprey..."
(Series 1-2 only; mainly dropped because Rory Bremner, their best impressionist, left the show and all the games involved impressions to some degree)
- "Dating Videos": A performer from each side was given an envelope, within which was a card they'd never seen before, and made to sit in front of a backdrop. On the card was the name of a famous person they had to pretend to be, recording a dating video.
- "Ask The Politicians": The show's tribute to the current-affairs show Question Time. Normally two or three players went into the studio audience, and were often called on with excessively-detailed or insulting physical descriptions; the others stayed in their seats. Dara of course played host of the show. Rory Bremner played a certain famous Labour politician, and Dennis was usually a Conservative. Guest Al Murray appeared twice as "The Voice of the Silent Majority", portraying a xenophobic and hardline-on-crime "regular person".
Al Murray: "Speaking as THE VOICE OF THE SILENT MAJORITY...! Of course, having said that, I'm no longer a member..."
Al Murray: "...I think we should go back to The Queen. And I'm not just saying that out of mindless loyalty."
Dara: "Why, then?"
Al Murray: "I fancy her."
Al Murray: "Speaking for the people who would have shot that burglar a third time...I wouldn't have done that. What I would've done is dug a pit with spikes, put a rug on top, they fall in -- (holding imaginary rifle) BANG! BANG! BANG! WHO'S THERE? BANG!"
- "Prime Minister's Questions": For all the players. Dara would take the role of Speaker of the House of Commons, Rory would play a certain Labour Prime Minister, and the rest would do their level best to play members of the opposing or majority parties, depending on which side of the
aisleset they were on. Given a rather trivial news story to debate, they were to treat it as though it were the heavyweight issue of the day.
(regarding some frogs having exploded in Germany, and the House reacting as though it was a terrorist threat)
Hugh Dennis: "I would like to know how the government plan to catch these frogs trying to enter Britain and if they do, will they slam the toads in the hole?"
- "Bombshell Phone Calls": The only game in this list to be played past Series 2 (it got played once in Series 3), two players would pretend to be major world figures, one giving the other a call with a major revelation to make.
Frankie Boyle (as Tony Blair, to George Bush): "You mean I left [my wife] Cherie behind?"
- Aerith and Bob: One of the few suggestions for this round to actually mock a general fantasy trope rather than making the usual Harry Potter / Lord of the Rings gags;
(category: "Cut Lines From A Fantasy Film")
Greg Davies: "Hey, John. How's it going? Yeah? How're the kids? Great. Well, see you around."
Miles Jupp: While I've been speaking, I imagine that a lot of the ladies in here have been looking at me, thinking is he... or isn't he? Well, I've got to be honest with you ladies: I am looking for a cleaner.
- Annoying Laugh: The series 8 outtakes featured a woman in the audience constantly interrupting a round of Scenes We'd Like To See with this.
[Unlikely Lines To Hear In A Disaster Movie]
Seann Walsh: Oh, yeah, just press that, you'll be alright.
- [Unlikely Things To Hear In A Superhero Movie]
Seann Walsh: (miming talking on a phone) "Just call the police." (Walks off again, miming throwing the phone over his shoulder)
- Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?: Frequently in the two rounds where the player have to guess the answer, they will get closer to the answer before somebody sends it steering off into the ridiculous again.
[The letters for the Headliners round are C.D.W.B.]
Dara: "Church" is the first word...
Andy: "Church Decision, Women Bishops"!
Lucy Porter: "Church Do Women Bishops"!
Michael Mcintyre: "Church Deny Wearing Bedspreads"!
Dara: The 'D' stands for... see, everyone got closer and closer and closer, and then suddenly "deny wearing bedspreads"!
- The Artifact: Hugh Dennis to an extent, as he is the only member of the current panel who is not an active stand-up comedian.
- You Fail Logic Forever
Chris Addison: I share a bed with a woman, does that make me a lesbian?
- Ascended Extra: Several of the regulars started out as guests before being promoted to a regular role, including Andy Parsons, Russell Howard and, more recently, Chris Addison.
- Ascended Meme: Under "Weird Things To See On A Roadsign"...
Frankie: "Stop. Hammertime."
Russell Howard: "Dear Diedre: Can that giant man lift me up like a baby?"
- Broken Aesop: Their theory that the moral behind "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" is that Reindeer are incredibly shallow."
- Chained to a Railway: Discussed in one episode, where Dara thought that the villains who did that sort of thing would be amongst the people most affected by the train cancellations that saw only 1 in 500 London Midland trains running at the weekend.
Dara: [mimes piano playing] "Keep it going, there'll be one along in an hour or so..."
- Character Tic: Russell's habit of picking the microphone up during the "Scenes We Like To See" round.
- Christmas Episode: Inevitably leading into Soapland Christmas moments...
- Clip Show: Once a Season, a mix of unseen clips, Hilarious Outtakes and "best bits" from the series gone by.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Milton Jones' appearances.
(category: "Unlikely Lines To Hear On A TV Election Debate")
Milton Jones: "Hellooo! I am the Messiah! And the Queen... is a biscuit!"
Hugh Dennis: "I am almost certain that was a floating voter."
(the answer in the "If This is the Answer..." round is 15)
Milton: Is it how many magic biscuits there are on the magic biscuit tree?
Dara: I would love that to be the correct answer. But there are in fact 19 magic biscuits on the magic biscuit tree!
(Another "If This Is The Answer..." suggestion:)
Milton: Is it how many tiny farmers with their tiny ploughs does it take to make a field of curduroy?
- In one episode Milton pulls a carrot randomly out of his pocket.
- Hugh Dennis and Russell Howard also have shades of this at times.
- Cluster F-Bomb: When Frankie Boyle or the rare foulmouthed guest gets revved up...
- The Cuckoolander Was Right: On some occasions, somebody has given a joke answer in the "If This is the Answer..." round only to discover that it was, in fact, correct.
[The answer is "Between 19 and 23"']
David Mitchell: Is it the number of English counties likely to be underwater in a hundred years' time?
Dara: Yes, indeed it is!
David: [Face Palm] Jesus Christ! That's terrible!
John Oliver: Less a joke, more an alarming fact!
David: I thought of something ridiculously awful, turns out it's gonna happen!
- Cute Little Fangs: Look closely, Dara has them.
- Dead Baby Comedy: An excellent example stems from an episode where the topic of Alexander Litvinenko, who died of radiation poisoning after being dosed by polonium-laced food and drink, came up. Frankie Boyle said that the British people obviously respected him very much:
Frankie Boyle: "If you go to his gravesite, there's no weeds. (lets it sink in) In fact, there's no plant life for a mile around. And if you look, you can find all sorts of small woodland creatures who've just died of sadness, Dara."
- In general, Frankie Boyle is made of this trope.
- In a later episode, Miles Jupp comes out with this gem during "Things You Wouldn't Hear at Christmas."
Miles: Dear Santa, this Christmas could I please have a less violent step-dad?
- Dead Guy Puppet: Joked about. "Hello, I'm Menzies Campbell. I would like to assure you all that I'm not dead, nor am I being operated by a system of pulleys."
- Department of Redundancy Department:
Ed Byrne: "These are the Chilean miners, which are stuck down the Chilean mine..."
- Early Installment Weirdness: The first four series have a lot of this; a very different tone due to the different regulars and a different choice of guests, Dara's opening stand-up, everybody playing the 'Spinning the News' round, more categories in "Scenes We'd Like to See"...
- Not to mention the focus on Rory Bremner's impressions, which completely disappeared once he left after two series.
- Embarrassing Nickname: "Insignificant Sausage-Muncher"? Also, "The Butt-Muncher."
- Estrogen Brigade Bait: Russell Howard. In the post-Russell era, Chris Addison.
- Evolving Credits: A subtle variant, the spoof headlines in the opening are updated with time.
- Expy: Al Murray's "Voice of the Silent Majority" character in the Question Time round bears an uncanny similarity to his usual Pub Landlord persona.
- Five-Man Band: The regulars, pre-Frankie's departure.
- Food Porn:
- Genre Blindness: In one episode, Dara showed the players a recent news article on a report suggesting that people with larger heads were less suspectible to Alzheimers'... which had referred to him as an example of someone with a 'big head', even putting a picture of him (with the caption 'EXTRA LARGE') next to the article. When the players started teasing him about it mercilessly, he said that he expected sympathy.
Dara: I was expecting sympathy! That's why I introduced this story!
Ed Byrne: You were expecting sympathy?
Chris Addison: I revealed a weakness in front of six comedians, and I thought "There's a group that'll help me through this!"
Dara: I - I think of you all as friends. I don't think of you as comedians.
- Genre Savvy: Several times in the Too Hot for TV DVDs the panellists remark that they know none of the material is going to survive the edit.
- Genre Shift: Dropping the rounds that focused on impressions and the impressionist panellist from series two shifted the series to a more simple cross between a panel show and stand-up comedy.
- Growing the Beard: Early episodes focused heavily on impressions thanks to impressionist panellist Rory Bremner and featured games rarely seen later on. Once these were dropped a couple of series in, episodes went from mildly funny to hilarity and the show started to pick up a much bigger audience.
- Hilarious Outtakes: Usually Once a Season, as part of the Clip Show.
- Ho Yay
[The answer in the "If This is the Answer..." round is 2035]
Stewart Francis: Is it 'when will Dara O'Briain succumb to my... advances'?
- Bad Things To Say On A First Date.
Russell: Whoa... how pissed was I when I asked you out?!
Andy: Not as pissed as I was when I said "yes"!
- Hurricane of Puns: As much a target of the players' humor as used by them. While discussing a Viagra fraud case where the perpetrators had been arrested, Russell Howard noted he'd seen it on the news and that the anchors started riffing on it:
Russell Howard: "Did you happen to see the News24 reaction? It was fantastic--cause it came, like, 'News just in--' and they found out about the Viagra tabs, and it was brilliant because they were doing little puns! They were genuinely kinda goin'--'I bet that's a hard case, heh.' 'I think they'll get a stiff sentence.' And then you could genuinely see--they obviously got a word in their ear and they went, *disappointed, head drooping* 'Yeah, okay...'"
Milton: "I always wonder what my father would have thought of me going into comedy; he was a master kebab chef, buried with all his equipment... probably turning in his grave."
- I Call Him "Mister Happy": In a blooper reel, Russell tells us that Hugh refers to his as "Mister Dennis", which then becomes a Running Gag.
Micky Flanagan: Do you want me to straighten Mister Dennis for you?
Hugh: ...To be perfectly honest, I think Mister Dennis has straightened himself.
Ed Byrne: During my college years, some marijuana was passed around. I did it in snow, I did it in sleet, but I did not...inhale. *silly dance*
Chris Addison: The Bronze Age was the third best age in history. *jumps up, clicks heels together grinning*
Milton Jones: [The Queen] is saying "I don't know where I am," and [the Indian Chief] is saying "It's okay: I am Sat-Navajo!" *face-palms*
- It Makes Sense in Context: Hilariously, its Frankie of all people wonders how on earth did a political discussion end up with Hugh talking about something completely different while Russell tells Dara that "No-one bites my balls!"
- Lampshade Hanging: Each of the performers is quite aware of the others' style of humor, so when Frankie Boyle ragged on Dara for teasing that a British swimmer raising money for cancer should have planted a flag on the North Pole's continental shelf, people were surprised and asked him how it felt to take the moral high ground.
Frankie: "It's all so bright up here."
- It didn't last two minutes, as the topic led into the joke quoted in Dead Baby Comedy.
Frankie: "It's so dark and cold down here, Dara. I can just see the edges of your faces."
- Literal-Minded: Milton Jones, frequently.
Milton: (On Peter Mandelson) It's weird to think that he's Nelson Mandela's son.
Milton: (On William Hague) I've been reading up on William Hague, and he has to compete with Rotterdam as a port.
Milton: (On Vladimir Putin) I actually prefer the word chamberpot to poo-tin.
- Man Child: Russell.
(the "answer" is "Risky, Serious, and Heroic")
Russel: "What are Snap, Crackle, and Pop's DJ names?"
- Manipulative Editing: A common complaint from those who've attended recordings is that the televised edit is heavily biased in favour of the regulars, meaning that a guest can appear very quiet as much more of their contributions were left on the cutting room floor.
- Medium Awareness: When the show was broadcast the week of England's final World Cup group match, which determined whether or not they'd go through to the knockout stage, the show was filmed on Tuesday, the match played on Wednesday and the show broadcast on Thursday, Dara expressing worry about the resulting "time paradox".
- Mister Seahorse:
Frankie: "Well, there's good news--you've had a baby; the bad news is, it's blown your cock off!"
- Mondegreen: See the clip for Funny Aneurysm Moment above. Guest player Adam is relating a story about his late gran mistaking the the Christmas carol "Deck The Halls" to be "Dick The Horse". Leads right into Crowning Moment of Heartwarming as Adam's uncle apparently improvised the first line of "Dick The Horse"; later, after she's passed on, Granddad had her tombstone engraved with a horse.
- Mythology Gag: The most obvious one would be Scenes We'd Like To See, which started out as Scenes From A Hat on Whose Line, expanded from a one-act-per-suggestion affair to eight or ten, allowing them to milk a mere two suggestions for an entire stretch.
- You'd be forgiven for thinking there were two Jimmy Saviles in the UK, considering Hugh's wildly different take from Steve Frost's.
- Never Live It Down: In-universe, Dara once brought up the fact a newspaper artictle about people with bigger heads are unlikely to get Alzheimer's which the paper decided to depict with a picture of his head. The group take it in turns to mercilessly riff on the subject of "Dara's Big Head" for nearly 5 minutes, with Chris noting that when Dara revealed a weakness in front of a bunch of comedians, honestly, what did he think would happen?
- No Fourth Wall: Dara often takes a moment to consider what the subjects of their jokes would think of them. For example, after Frankie mused on Rebecca Adlington's love life, Dara imagined her arriving back from the Olympics (where she won two gold medals in swimming, one in world record time) going "Ooh, I haven't seen Mock The Week in four weeks! I wonder who they're tearing into---oh. Oh."
- No Indoor Voice: Andy Parsons.
- No Sympathy: Dara is usually at the recieving end of it. Most hilariously, the Konnie Huq and the big head incident.
- Not So Above It All: Dara. A lot of the cut material which airs in compilations/DVD extras shows him vainly trying to steer the panel away from an offensive joke and then giving up and riffing on it himself.
- Only Sane Man: Hugh, relatively, if only because he tends to give out the proper answers once enough jokes have been told.
- Dara as well. Watch his desperate attempts to keep the rest of the panel (mostly Frankie) in line during the game where the producers don't want them to make any jokes about Blunkett being blind.
- Andy is relatively sane, giving the answers as well.
"It's like, being in charge of a special school on a day out."
- Our Lawyers Advised This Trope: Subverted on at least one occasion, when Eamonn Holmes had threatened legal action against the BBC over jokes made about his weight and the show immediately turned it into a running gag.
- Place Worse Than Death: Bracknell, Swindown, Croydon, Middlesborough, Dundee, etc.
- The Points Mean Nothing: In fact, they only seem to be mentioned at all to keep up the pretense that it's a quiz show. Don't expect to hear how many points a team ever has.
- One memorable example was an episode in Series 2 where Dara awarded the points to a team that had not participated in the round at all.
"Impossible to declare a winner in that round, because the two of you are on the same team, so I'm going to give the points to this team!"
- Another one where Dara stated that he didn't base the points on who was funniest, it was all random, and told the viewers to stop writing in complaining.
- In an episode shortly after the 2010 World Cup, Dara let a stuffed-toy version of Paul the Psychic Octopus declare the winning team.
- Precision F-Strike: Fred MacCauley. Fuckin'... BOOOOOOOO!
- The Quisling: One child sent in a drawing of the studio being attacked by Daleks, with Frankie on the Daleks' side.
Frankie: I'm not the King of the Daleks... I'm their Creator.
- Real Song Theme Tune: "News of the World" by The Jam.
- Refuge in Audacity: Frankie Boyle, frequently.
Frankie: "You can get Princess Diana Sat-Navs now, but all it says is "Put your foot down, I think we can lose them"."
(everyone groans, amused and/or appalled)
Frankie (grudgingly): "That joke can go either way, if I'm honest."
- And, on another occasion:
- As noted on the page, for Frankie it's not "Refuge" so much as "Home".
Dara: There's a line in the sand, right? -- and you can't even see the line in the sand! You're actually out of the sand into.... tropical tundra regions or something..
- It's so prevalent that, when Russell Kane guested in a post-Boyle episode and made a...fairly audacious joke, Dara's only reaction was "...that's the chair Frankie sat in, isn't it?"
- Ripped from the Headlines: By its very nature.
- Running Gag:
- Hugh Dennis -- "Are you paying too much for your car insurance?", Showaddywaddy, "...sponsored by PowerGen", HIV and chlamydia gags, [Sir] Jimmy Savile, Sir Jimmy Savile saying Showaddywaddy...
- A particularly-specific one originated from Newsreel, when Hugh's "portrayal" of Prince Charles as an addled senile takes an interesting direction when Charles starts sampling some cheese. Future "portrayals" of Charles would involve random mentions of cheese for no reason.
- In the series that began in June 2011, Hugh weekly riffs on the same joke that the name of Sepp Blatter, the president of FIFA, sounds like "step-ladder".
- Frankie Boyle -- HIV and chlamydia gags, Kerry Katona's fertility and apparent penchant for cheap fatty food, Scottish savagery or primitivism.
- Russell Howard -- "Tatty-Bo-Jangles" as a euphemism for breasts.
- By proxy, there's the other players' tendency to take the mike out of the stand for Wheel O' News after Russell does.
- Chris Addison -- Pretending he doesn't recognise the people in the picture during "Headline News" and just naming two people with the intials of the headline.
- Everybody, but mostly Hugh and Frankie -- chlamydia.
- Many episodes have running gags that everyone gets in on that last the length of the episode, but don't carry over. For example, "Nuts on the road" and "the Racist Door". Some do carry over for a bit, like Andy Parsons's "Dyslexic Weekly", which involves interpreting the abbreviation in Headline News as a typo.
- And they've even managed to start taking the piss out of them.
- Hugh -- "What is your pin number?"
- Hugh Dennis -- "Are you paying too much for your car insurance?", Showaddywaddy, "...sponsored by PowerGen", HIV and chlamydia gags, [Sir] Jimmy Savile, Sir Jimmy Savile saying Showaddywaddy...
(Scenes We'd Like To See: "Things You Wouldn't Hear A Radio Announcer Say")
Frankie: "And that was The Hugh Dennis Story. Hugh Dennis was played by Bruce Willis, Steve Punt was played by Hugh Dennis, and the band was Showaddywaddy."
- Long-running news stories like the Chilean miners and the Gulf of Mexico oil leak tend to become these.
- Eamonn Holmes's weight became the subject of a running gag recently after he threatened the BBC with legal action because The Impressions Show had made fun of his weight.
- "...Through the medium of dance!"
- Micky Flanagan's accents.
- Somebody gets a big laugh on 'Scenes we like to see' and keeps on laughing. Andy goes up and just stands there and walks off.
- Australian comedian Adam Hills loves taking pot shots at England's sports teams.
- The show being re-run on Dave.
(Scenes We'd Like To See: "Bad Things To Say In A Job Interview")
Andy: What do I see myself doing in five years' time? Exactly the same, only on Dave! (Wild applause from the audience)
- Scandalgate: Hugh Dennis made a joke about this, calling a scandal about tapping the phones of celebrities "stargate" and one about a politician's husband buying pornography "masturgate."
- Self-Demonstrating Article:
"It's been speculated that drug abuse is rife in the farming community, but it's hard to find any evidence; it's like looking for a..."
- Shmuck Bait: "Accident on opposite carriageway. Quick! Look!"
- Shout-Out: Quite literally. Andy Parsons yelling "He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy!", with a large portion of the audience yelling the last part with him.
- Slash Fic: Referenced -- there's apparently slash of Hugh and Frankie -- and (of course) mocked. Frankie was quite offended that his pubes were described as ginger, and when Hugh raised his arms in victory after being informed of his starring role said "I don't know why you're doing that, Hugh, because you're the receiver."
- Small Reference Pools: Often subverted. Usually, Russell Howard will bring up a speculative fiction fandom, only for everyone else to get in an opinion on it, showing they are at least slightly versed. (There are sometimes even groups of fans in the audience.) An excellent example was when he discussed being in line for the last Harry Potter novel; they asked if he dressed up as one of the characters. When he said he hadn't, they continued that he'd missed a great opportunity to show up as someone else: "I'm sorry! I am Darth Vader! I wear this to all these kinds of things!" Russell finished by noting he should have dressed as a Sith Lord, waited in line all night, and when he got to the counter said "The Da Vinci Code, please."
- Played straight an awful lot of the time, such as in this entire segment where they reference precisely three fantasy works, each of which have all recently been turned into movies and are incredibly popular in mainstream media anyway.
- Hugh Dennis mentioned "the god Imhotep" a couple of times... not only was Imhotep a high priest and not a god, but so was the real Imhotep in history.
- Apparently he was made a deity after he died. Okay, two thousand years after he died, and this comes from The Other Wiki, but still, he is a god now.
- Spit Take: Dara mocks one when Frankie claims he lost weight on the Irish version of "I'm a Celebrity" set during the potato famine.
- Sophisticated As Hell
[Headline News round: picture of Tony and Cherie Blair with the initials 'C.T.A.L.']
Russell Howard: Is it "Cherie Tries Anal Lube"?
[the panelists riff on 'anal lube' for about five minutes]
Hugh Dennis [giving the correct answer]: Is it "Cherie: That's A Lie"?
Dara [perfectly straight]: The answer I was looking for was "Cherie: That's Anal Lube."
- Dara studied mathematics and theoretical physics at university and is often the one to correct maths errors and demonstrate his knowledge during discussions about the CERN super-collider.
- Sorry I Left the BGM On: According to one Clip Show, they had to reshoot one intro when the camera caught Dara dancing to the Real Song Theme Tune.
- Strictly Formula: More so than Whose Line, with "Spinning The News" and "Scenes We'd Like To See" marking the middle- and end-points of the show. Subverted by "Headline News" and "If This Is The Answer, What Is The Question?", which take turns starting the show.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial
["Unlikely Small Ads"]
Mark Watson: Room to let. No-one has died in it... no-one.
- Take That: Each episode consists of the opening credits, about 27 minutes of this, and three minutes of jokes that aren't attacks on anyone or anything sprinkled throughout, then the ending credits. And considering the opening credits are mock newspaper or internet articles making fun of a large number of politicians/celebrities anyway, not even they are exempt.
- Token Evil Teammate: Frankie Boyle is the comedian equivalent.
- Too Hot for TV
- Too Soon: Series 7 premiered on 17 July 2009, barely three weeks after 24 June. Guess who Frankie Boyle made jokes about?
- Lampshaded by Dara Ó Briain. Often, during his opening monologue, he would make a joke about, say, the assassination of JFK, and when the audience groaned would follow it up with a sarcastic "Oh, too soon?" This was particularly noteworthy when one such joke about a tragedy from decades ago got a groan from the audience, when moments earlier the audience had laughed merrily at jokes about Saddam Hussein's execution, which had happened that week.
Dara Ó Briain "See, the last time Britain lost the Ashes in a white wash, it was in 1921. But at least that time they had a decent excuse -- the first eleven had all been killed at the Somme..."
Dara: "What, too soon?"
- "What's that, Joker? You'll be back? Somehow I don't think you will be."
- From the same episode "Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Whatever it is, its heading straight for the World Trade Center."
- Lampshaded again by Chris Addison more recently, when the Scenes We'd Like to See topic was "unlikely things to get through your letterbox".
- "What's that, Joker? You'll be back? Somehow I don't think you will be."
Chris Addison: "Gardening service, middle of the night a speciality, call Rose West on Broadmoor..."
Chris: "What, too soon, too soon?"
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The first game played in the first episode was a round called "Inside the Mind Of...", where the panelists had to guess what the voices in somebody's head were saying - in that episode's case, George Bush. The round was never played beyond that first episode.
- Verbal Tic: Dara has a few, e.g. "...at this stage", "...of some description". Once you notice them you'll start hearing them all the time.
- He also, erm, has a tendency to, eh, pause in the middle of sentences.
- Andy Parsons has a lot of these, although there's a chance he intentionally does it as part of his act: "Didn't they/he/she/it?", beginning questions with "Is it in fact...", starting his standups with "Now!", etc.
- His habit of doing this is even lampshaded whenever Russell impersonates him.
- Your Mom: Rejected Questions from this Year's Exams - "Your mum's a slag. Discuss."
- In the christmas episode for Series 6, Frankie impersonates "bad teenage Pandas who are spoiling the park for the little baby Pandas."
Teenage Panda: "Hey what flavour are your crisps, man?"
Another Teenage Panda: "Your mother! They're your mother flavour!"
- Or so the programme would have you believe - the panellists know exactly which topics are going to come up and in what order, and the routines have been prepared in advance
- Not so funny to an Australian now that England have won The Ashes two times in a row but hilarious for the English.