Stephen Fry asks unanswerable questions about parts of the body beginning with the letter H, with Sue Perkins, Bill Bailey, Gyles Brandreth and Alan Davies.
Browse content similar to H Anatomy. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
Hey, hey hey hey, hey hey, hey, hey, hey,
hey hey hey hey, and welcome to the QI H-anatomy lesson,
where we're discussing heads, hands, hips, hearts,
and indeed any other part of the body beginning with H.
And joining me with scalpels at the ready are four prime specimens of the human body.
So give a big hand for Sue Perkins!
APPLAUSE AND CHEERS
And a hearty cheer for Bill Bailey.
APPLAUSE AND HEARTY CHEERS
And a hip-hip-hip replacement hooray for Gyles Brandreth!
-Hip, hip, hooray!
Wahey! Very good. And a hair-raising scream for Alan Davies!
I like the way it stopped dead.
That was good. And now, thanks to the handiwork of my audio elves,
your buzzers should be ready. And Sue goes...
I think it was a round of applause. And Bill goes...
-And Gyles goes...
-And Alan goes...
-We recorded, cleverly, the audience.
-GYLES: Isn't that clever? Wow.
-So, let's start with H...
-This is already one of the weirdest shows I've ever been on.
-We try and do our best.
-This sounds like a pensioner sitting on a bag of Rice Krispies.
It's certainly not someone under 65 sitting on Rice Krispies, is it?
Or somebody putting their fingers in a socket. Do it again.
APPLAUSE Slow way to go, but nice!
-Pleasure delay, remember?
Well. Let's start with H for h-h-h-hands.
What can I tell about you by looking at your palms?
Sorry, Stephen, why did you say that in that very strange way? H-h-hands!
Just to emphasis it begins with H.
Like we were under any illusion that "hands" started with anything else.
-I was just trying to be helpful!
-Subtitles for the hard of thinking.
-Remember who you're sitting next to.
-Oh, yes, of course. LOUDLY:
-Yes, look! At the end of your harms!
So, settling down, what... What can you tell about someone from their palms?
-How long they're going to live, whether they'll get married, children...
-BILL: The future.
I didn't say "the future"! He said "the future"!
I just joined in!
Maybe we'll halve the forfeit between you.
Oh, I can't believe I get...!
But no. Empirically and obviously it's never been proved that any such thing
could ever be demonstrated, but there are things you can tell.
-GYLES: Forgive me. When you say it's never been proved...
-But there are people who feel they've done it.
-Feeling you've done something is not quite the same
as empirical... Thank God you're not in the government.
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
They sweat, that's all they do.
-To varying degrees.
-But they have ridges.
We'll ignore the lines of palmistry for the moment, but there is such a thing as palm diagnosis.
There is a way of finding out predispositions towards
-rather important and life-threatening...
-Oh, good God.
-Oh. It actually will spell something?
-"You're going to..."
-Alphabetic! "You're going to d..."
-GYLES: And where do we see this?
-Do they swell up? Go red?
It's the ridges of the palms.
Who was responsible for discovering fingerprints?
-It was a very famous scientist called Francis Galton,
whose name was rather ruined by the fact that he believed in eugenics,
-which was rather discredited.
-That's always a shame.
But he also noticed the ridges and whorls on the palm,
and 30 years later in the 1920s it was discovered that those with Down's Syndrome
have completely different palms from anyone else.
And then by the 1960s, at least 20 conditions
were shown to present themselves on the palms.
How gullible are we?
We're just like this, Gyles and I, like that. "Heal us!"
-"Make us whole again!"
-There are also indications...
-"We work for food!"
Going back, if I may, to the palmistry,
all I will say is this. That you dismiss palmistry,
but there were people 100 years ago,
perhaps the wisest people of the time, who consulted palmists.
Indeed there were. Including, of course, our mutual hero...
Our mutual friend, Oscar Wilde. And Mark Twain did. Queen Victoria, I think, did. Edward VII did.
-Who was the palmist they consulted?
They consulted a man... Oscar Wilde certainly consulted a man called Cheiro,
-Called "cheiro" from...
-From the Greek meaning hand.
-But his real name was?
-His real name was William Warner.
-You're right. There he is.
-He was Irish.
-He was Irish, and his great-great-grandson's brother
married Elizabeth Taylor - Senator Warner.
-But that's just incidental.
-No, it's good to know. He also called himself Count von Hamon.
That's a really good answer on William Warner and superb to hear.
Splendid answers all round. Thank you very much.
The fact is, palmistry won't tell you your future,
-but it can tell you your past...
-RIPPLE OF LAUGHTER
in the form of genetic markers that were set down while you were in the...womb...
There's somebody playing with me...
It sort of looks funny with what you're doing.
There is a piece of wire.
I've been goosed by the palm of a skeleton.
I've been sitting for ten minutes thinking "When shall I do it?
"They're talking about palms! It should be now! It should be now!"
It had to end...
Oh, dear. Oh, dear.
GYLES: You just don't know your own strength!
BILL: Keith! Keith, man, me head's come off.
-GYLES: Oh, my heavens!
-That'll do it!
-Carry on, carry on.
They actually look a little bit like the Cheeky Girls.
They do. Yes. Er... answer me another question.
-BILL: A La Recherche Du Temps Perdu.
Very good. Now why did Marcel Proust have such a limp handshake?
There he is. There's Marcel.
-He hasn't slept for five years.
-I feel bad saying this, but he was a known homosexual.
-He was well gay.
Now I don't... He was well gay. But I don't want to say
that he had the limp handshake because he was gay...
It's like saying he... loved to buy scatter cushions and throw them around the gaff.
I mean, it seems a really reductive thing to say. But I don't know if...
There are types of gay who go round in muscle vests and are very butch,
and there are types of gay, like Marcel, who are rather limp-wristed and who like ornament and design.
He famously wrote only in a cork-lined room, he was very sensitive.
-BILL: He was very buoyant.
-Exactly! He was very buoyant.
-He could go cruising at any time.
-He could set sail.
-He could write anywhere in the world. Oceans, anywhere.
-I'm going to offer a thought.
He, being gay, spent a lot of time in North Africa.
-One of the things that I discovered when I spent time in Africa...
-Are you coming out?
Is this a coming-out statement?
Cos if it is, that'll be the picture, so just watch out.
Why not? Tonight could be the night, you're right.
-I know your party's behind you.
I'm going to suggest this. When I went to Africa,
I was quite disconcerted to find that traditionally, the African handshake
is not simply very soft, but it lingers.
-Shake my hand.
-Oh, this is just an excuse. Again!
-The injunction, Gyles!
-In Europe we shake hands... BILL: Don't touch him!
In Europe we shake hands like that. I think in Africa, you shake hands
-like this...and we hold there.
-I have a lot of experience of this.
Stop it... He's glued me! I can't get out.
I don't wish to name-drop, but I went to interview Archbishop Desmond Tutu
-and he held my hand like this for a long, long time.
BILL: And he was saying to his aides, "Who is this again?"
I'm thinking that Marcel Proust spent time in North Africa and rather liked this tradition,
and brought it back with him to Paris.
It's an interesting idea, I have no evidence that proves it. I know that Andre Gide went to North Africa...
That's who I'm thinking of!
You sweated on my hand for that?
Andre Gide was out and proud.
He was probably the man who invented the word "homosexual", as it were, in his book Corydon.
And he was out. Marcel was not out.
Marcel was embarrassed and ashamed of being gay
and indeed, he went to brothels to try and cure himself.
Oh, we've all tried that.
You heard it here first, folks.
"The North Africans hold their hands like that, my darling."
It's a sort of double-bluff is the only way I can explain it.
He had a friend, a Romanian count, who said to him,
"Look, I can teach you how to do a more manly handshake, then people wont think you're an invert."
-As the word was then.
-That was the gayer.
-A gayer, yeah.
And Marcel Proust said, "No, if I do that, people will think I'm trying to look straight."
-Whereas, if I, confidently am all limp...
-It's a double-bluff!
Now, to handshakes. We said that palms don't reveal personality, do handshakes?
I don't like a feeble handshake, gives me the creeps.
-BILL: It's not right, is it?
-I don't like a sweaty hand.
I don't like when there's something left on your hand after...
-I don't like the other hand coming in to clasp, either.
That's a power thing.
Isn't that like a dominance thing?
-When you see people holding hands, the dominant figure, when you see them walking down the street,
the dominant figure is the figure with the hand on the outside. Hold my hand.
-Oh, is that right?
-Close your eyes and hold my hand.
-Not again, Gyles!
It's over in a moment, just take my hand.
-I'm looking away.
You do it, you've got to take my hand.
Oh! You let me dominate you.
You've let me dominate you.
-Oh, Sue, you've let the sisters down!
-You chose, you chose!
You chose! I just...
Please tell me what you... You want to be submissive or dominant? I mean, with...
Stop stroking me on the thing...
Who does that? Who does that? He did...he did inverted crab.
-Earlier you said you liked it.
-You said you liked it!
Oh, God. Oh, God. They're having a row.
-I've now got two soiled...
-Did it tickle?
-It did tickle!
-The crazy spider.
-He did do the crazy spider.
Handshakes do tell us a lot, don't they? Individually we instinctively respond, as we've just show.
-I don't like a cruncher.
-Handshakes that repel us. Exactly. Paul Flynn,
a Labour MP in Wales, actually suggested that people who gave really strong handshakes
should be charged for assault.
-He's not a busy man, is he?
So anyway, Marcel Proust used a limp handshake because he wanted to conceal the fact that he was gay
in an elaborate double-bluff.
I want you to imagine you've been transported to the 19th century
and the trip has given you a banging headache.
You want to have a hole drilled in your head to get rid of the pain and the pressure.
So where's the best place to have it?
I'm slightly worried they can now read my mind, these people.
Yes, that's amazing!
-It is new each series, I suppose.
-It basically is.
Germany, you said, no. Germany probably not the best place.
-The top, they trepan in the top.
-Literally, where is the best place to go?
It's the 19th century. Should it be Europe, should it be America?
GYLES: Harley Street.
Harley Street was a very bad place to go.
-They would go to...
-Didn't they, in Africa, they trepan.
-Africa, probably a better bet than Harley Street.
But it seems that Papua New Guinea would be the best place.
-In the 19th century, if you had this, what's the word?
78% of those who had it done in London in the west died.
From blood poisoning?
But in Papua New Guinea... Yes, from cross-infections.
Why did people keep going? Eight out of ten people die. "I'm up for it."
It wasn't because they had a hole drilled in their head, it was because they got infected.
What was it for, the trepanning?
To relieve pressure, supposedly.
It's the original form of surgery, as far as we know from archaeology, the oldest form that ever there was.
And we know that it was, well, I wont say "successful", we know that it wasn't a failure.
As a way of knowing that it didn't kill people which is...?
-Some of them survived.
-A little bit of tissue grows.
You see the skull has re-healed, because people have lived for years afterwards.
Didn't they used to put coins in the hole and stuff like that?
Because you're left with a big, gaping hole...
-You could put a dispenser in and turn your head into a Pez machine.
Just press your ear.
Originally, in older cultures, you clamp the victim's head between your legs,
and you just get a stone, a sharp piece of obsidian or flint,
and you'd scrape on to the scalp. until it grooves and grooves. You can see this in old skulls,
-and here, even there...
-He's not happy about that.
-He's not happy.
The point is, in New Guinea, they used found sharp things to do the hole
and then poured coconut milk over it, which is sterile.
In the 19th century in Britain, they were in hospitals where all kinds of cross-infections were possible,
and it was a lot more dangerous for that reason.
Do you know about open craniotomies?
Open-brain surgery where someone is conscious.
-Why would you want someone to be awake?
-So you know that they can use their fingers...
So you're not... Because we still know so little about the brain,
there is every chance you're an inch out
in where you're operating and you can ruin the speech or motion centre.
There's a man called Eddie Adcock,
I think his name was, he's quite a senior figure in the world of bluegrass music.
He had a hand tremor and they decided to do one of these conscious craniotomies on him
-and we have a film of it. He plays the banjo...
..while they're operating on his brain to check they're not interfering
with his... Can we see Mr Adcock? There he is.
How about now? No problems?
That's pretty astonishing, isn't it?
-That is mental.
-I saw in Star Trek, they took Spock's brain clean out
and replaced it with another one. They did it all...
He lay on his back and they put a board over his head
and a man stood behind, going... "The brain's out now.
"The new brain's in." They took the board up and his head was absolutely fine!
The fact is, trepanning IS the oldest known form of surgery.
In the 19th century, you were better off having it done in Papua New Guinea
than in the hospitals of London. How would you know if you had a shrunken head? Ah.
I'm going to give you...
Is it real?
That's my question. How can you tell whether you have an authentic shrunken head?
Oh, I see. How can you tell if you actually have a shrunken head yourself?
Does it come with a certificate?
ALL TALK AT ONCE
Is one of these real?
What do you know about shrunken...? Where would you get one? There are some real ones.
-Ecuador is exactly right. This is brilliant.
You're on fire. That is impressive.
-Do you know the name of the tribe?
-The Shuar people.
-They are a clan...
Oh, look, you put this in the back of your car!
-So you think this is an early nodding dog?
-That feels like horse hair or something to me.
-It doesn't feel...
-Are they still doing it?
-Well, no, not officially. It's against the law.
But in every Ripley's Believe It Or Not! museum, there's at least one.
29, by our count.
Oh, that's lovely!
-How would you do it?
How would you shrink a head?
Put it in the washing machine at a very high heat.
So I mean, it's a normal human head, but it's reduced to the size...
-Those are real size.
-You'd have to take all the skin off someone.
You take all the skin off in one go, including the hair. You throw away the skull and the eyes
into a river, if you're Shuar tribe. So you've got the skin, this whole skin.
Then you turn it inside out and you scrape it.
I didn't invent this.
-Get it back the right way, keeping the features as perfect as you can...
-Like skinning a rabbit.
Yeah. You bind the lips together, you sew them together,
-and sew the eyelids, right? Then you pop in hot stones and sand.
-To give it shape?
-I'm making note of this.
-Then you simmer it.
-How long do you simmer it for?
-Gas mark 2, my darling.
And then you kipper it, you smoke it, essentially.
-To what purpose?
They're a pretty ferocious group of people, these Shuar.
-They're the ones who are famous...
-Oh! For the man with the molten lava.
Are these the cruellest people in the history of the world?
-I remember the teacher who taught us this.
He was pretty vicious himself.
-And there was a Spanish general who tried to tame this Shuar tribe...
They had the last laugh. They took him, they pulled open his mouth,
they poured molten gold down his gullet until his bowels burst.
-Right. Sounds like a good repayment for his greed for gold.
-That's why they used gold.
-Why are they so unpleasant?
-They're the tribe famous for dipping darts in curare, the poison beloved
-of detective writers.
-That's the one that gets your central nervous system?
-They've got lovely hats, though.
-It's a good look.
Yours are not human, they are goat or alpaca.
These are available in Ecuador as tourist knick-knacks.
So that's a goat's face?
Goat skin. You can usually tell, one that's done by someone imitating
the tribesmen has lips too neatly sown up.
In the originals, they were pretty basic.
Is it to preserve relatives?
It's a kind of gleeful, joyous, gloating, "I own you."
-Take the spirit out of you.
-But it's not a compliment,
-it's not, "Granny's gone, let's keep her at the end of the bed."
-What do you really think about Uncle Bill, Grandma?
-I hated him!
If you hand them back, I've got another little experiment.
I've got something else to give you. All we want you to do,
I'm going to hand these blank £2 coins.
Just try and draw the Queen's head as she is on the coin.
-The Queen's head on the coin?
Is she wearing a crown, is she... An outline.
Which way does she look?
No, don't ask for help! Oi!
Alan Davies, I'll take points away if you cheat.
How do you think I got through school without asking for help?
-She looks like Lenny Henry in mine.
Well, that's all right.
Oh, Alan's done. You...
Mine looks like a triceratops.
Let's look at yours there.
And yours? Extraordinary.
The point is, you've all, especially Bill,
you've all made the fundamental error that everybody makes
in thinking she faces left. She faces right.
Yeah, because most people think that.
88% of people think the Queen faces left on her coins.
On every coin that ever was stamped since she was Queen,
it's always face to the right.
Never ask for help.
Do they take it in turns?
-Did her father face the other way?
-And Prince Charles.
-He's straight on, with the ears, like that.
They've alternated since Charles II.
But does she not face the other way on the paper money?
No, on the stamp. That's one theory.
One theory as to why 88% of people seem to think she faces left
is because she does on the definitive edition of the stamps.
We're all familiar with that image.
On the other hand, that's true in Denmark,
Queen Margrethe, they also think she faces left, but on the stamp
she looks out, and on the coin she looks to the right.
But if you ask a Dane which way she faces, they will say left.
It's something to do, probably, with right-handedness. We just picture a profile that way.
It's really strange, cos we handle these things every day,
unless you're Gyles, when you have someone to do it for you.
It's bizarre that we just don't notice.
-That's all coins, is it?
-All coins with the Queen's head on.
-How long has that been?
-Since the beginning of time.
It alternates between monarchs, so her father faced left.
Oh, I see.
And his father, George V, not counting the abdication,
If you could get all the coins of all the monarchs together,
alternating monarchs, and could just flick through them, they'd be...
It would. It would be like a tennis match. It'd be exhausting.
Which brings us to the unappealing nether regions of our show,
the place that we call General Ignorance. Hands on horns,
if you'd be so kind.
What should you do with your head if you have a nosebleed?
You have to answer.
I'm doing it.
You should do that with your head?
No, pressing the bit below the nose.
Because the nose...
Actually, not worry. A nosebleed won't harm you.
OK, you might stain your clothes.
You might stain your clothes, but a nose bleed is all right.
-You could lie back.
Oh, you're so angry, so competitive, I like it.
-The point is, most people think...
-No, I remember this.
-Because, do you know. No!
-And you can get it in the lungs.
Worse than that,
this is why I should've remembered this. You lie back, it goes into you,
but you can also have a nosebleed through your eyes.
It is possible to have a nosebleed that comes out of these bits.
but it's a misdirected nosebleed. Wrong to call it an eyebleed,
-cos it's coming out from the nose part.
-Just tilt your head forward
from now on, love.
So the point is, forwards, not back.
If it lasts longer than 20 minutes, it is very much recommended to seek medical advice.
And if you've caused it from anything other than the most common causes, which would be...
Another one is being punched in the face. That's one, yep.
That can bring it on. There you are.
That would do it. Tilt your head forward.
-Can you name them? I think that's Larry Holmes and...
-Spinks, is it?
Ray Mercer. Merciless Ray Mercer.
There are various others. Blowing your nose too hard, picking it.
Yeah. You shouldn't tilt your head back if you have a nosebleed,
it can be dangerous. Tilt your head forwards and pinch your nose,
then eventually, after 12 minutes or so, it'll clot naturally.
What might happen if you swallow your tongue, however?
Nothing. I don't believe you can swallow your tongue.
Is the right answer.
That sort of busybody person who says "lots of hot, sweet tea"
when someone's fainted or had a seizure and say "do this"
and they pull the tongue down cos they might swallow, it's nonsense.
-What do they mean then?
-It might obstruct an airway, possibly...
-It's very rare.
-If you have a bash and you bite it or something...
You can bite it, yeah, but you can't swallow it.
There was literally this idea that it goes backwards, down your throat,
causes you to choke. That cannot happen. And, finally!
Why shouldn't you crack your knuckles?
Can you do lasting damage?
-HIS KNUCKLE CRACKS
There's a... I think it's an old wives' tale,
that if you do that, it causes arthritis.
Because there was a famous doctor
called Dr Unger,
who believed that it did, and for 50 years, this doctor, every day,
cracked the knuckles on his left hand
-and didn't on his right.
-But the story is that his mother,
when he was very young, he cracked the knuckles on both hands,
his mother said, "You do that, you'll get arthritis."
And he thought, being of a scientific turn of mind...
-You gon' get arthritis!
He thought, "I'll test this by only doing it on the left hand."
I ain't gettin' no arthritis, and I'll show you how!
So he did it on his left hand only, and for 60 years he cracked,
and then he had various tests and there was no suggestion of arthritis
on the left hand more than the right. Apparently he shouted,
-"You were wrong, Mother, you were wrong!"
-"I wasted my life."
-You were wrong!
-Well, there we are!
That is indeed the answer. You can't get arthritis
from cracking your knuckles. At worst, you could end up
with a limp handshake, and goodness knows what impression that'll give people(!)
Which handily brings us to the heart of the matter - the scores.
And the winner, who really used his head...
They're two heads, because, ladies and gentlemen,
we have a tie for first place.
On -8, it's Gyles and Sue!
Oh, but missing out on a hair's breadth with -12, Bill Bailey!
Throwing his hands up in the air on -25, Alan Davies!
So all that's left for me is to thank Sue, Gyles, Bill and, of course, Alan.
And I leave you with this. It's an anatomy lesson.
In order to accustom medical students
to the business of getting used to dead human flesh,
an anatomy professor basically said to the class,
"Look, you've got to get used to doing this, I need one of you to come forward."
They were first year. Stood him by the body, said, "Do what I do."
He put his finger up the rectum of this dead body,
like that, and then just sucked it.
-He said, "I know, I know,
"but you've got to learn how to be a doctor."
So this medical student puts the finger up like that.
He said, "The other thing about being a doctor is you must be observant.
"I put my middle finger up the rectum and sucked my index." Thank you and goodbye.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]