Horrible QI


Horrible

Stephen Fry asks unanswerable questions about all things horrible, with Dara O Briain, Chris Addison, Sean Lock and Alan Davies.


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Transcript


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APPLAUSE

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CHEERING

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Well! Good evening, good evening, good evening, good evening, good evening, good evening,

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and welcome to QI, which tonight is a wholesale homage

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to all that is horrible.

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Queasily hunched over the handrail with me tonight are

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the disgusted Dara O'Briain.

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CHEERS AND APPLAUSE

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The appalled Chris Addison.

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-The shuddering Sean Lock.

-Thank you.

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And the slightly disturbed Alan Davies.

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CHEERS AND APPLAUSE

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Their buzzers are a hideous foretaste of the loathsomeness to come.

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-Chris goes...

-'Ugh!'

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-Dara goes...

-MAN: That is disgusting!

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-Sean goes...

-VOMITTING NOISE

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AUDIENCE GROAN

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-And Alan goes...

-'Hello, I'm Piers Morgan.'

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APPLAUSE

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So...

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Pass the sick bag, Alice, let's plunge in.

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Where do you think this little chap lives?

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I bet it's about your person, is it?

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Mm, it's certainly... Let's just say it is parasitical.

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-It's...

-It looks like it fits on the top of a pencil.

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-Like a gonk.

-A good-luck charm for your exams.

-Like kids have on their pencils. One of those.

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Or has someone's head been removed? Is it a massive thing?

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-Ah!

-No, it's not that.

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Looking at it, I think it lives in the dark.

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It's black all around it.

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That's it in its natural environment.

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No, it's got that translucent, I'm not worried about how I look feeling.

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Actually, it's a mouthpiece. It's a mouth part that it latches on to.

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-The tongue.

-The tongue.

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-A tongue mite?

-The tongue of a particular fish.

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It is indeed. It's called the tongue-eating louse.

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Is it the tongue of the thwh-thwh-thwh fish?

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It developed fins like that.

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Really? And fish have tongues? I have never heard of a fish...

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-Yes!

-Yes!

-What? Really? Why?

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Why? How else are they going to whistle?

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-This is the African blacktail.

-That's not it's actual size, is it?

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Yes, it's a big fish. It's the African blacktail.

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The really gruesome thing about this louse

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is that it latches onto the tongue - you can see how big it is -

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and it sucks the blood out of the tongue

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such that the tongue disappears and it replaces the tongue.

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-GROANING

-The animal thinks its tongue is actually this louse

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and it lives in there quite happily

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and breeds and its children live in the gills

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and it just colonises the head.

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So when the fish sees that photo, it'll be really embarrassed.

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"No wonder everyone was looking at me oddly at that party."

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So the fish goes without a tongue, the louse gets free food.

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On the plus side, it looks like it's on a massive space hopper.

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-Does it die, the fish?

-No, no, it carries on with a false tongue.

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-Parasites keep their host alive, don't they?

-Yes, it's to their advantage.

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The point is the food that passes into the mouth.

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It's probably not that bad. There's worse things happen to a fish,

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like being caught, as it has been there.

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Caught by a human. It probably finds the human more disgusting than the louse.

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There's a flatworm that sort of inserts itself into crabs

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and then grows through all the parts of the crab

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until it pops out the top and drives the crab around.

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Yes.

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"Get out of the way!

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"I'm after some seaweed."

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You're absolutely right. There are other animals you might like to know about.

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What's covered in snot and eats whales?

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I don't know. Some sort of nose parasite?

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Well, it's a parasite that eats whales.

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-What, whole?

-No, it feeds on the bones of whales.

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-It has evolved...

-Is there a creature I don't know about, a massive creature that eats whales?

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-Oh...

-The snot monster?

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This gigantic green thing that I've never seen?

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-It would be big, wouldn't it?

-Eats them like peanuts.

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Everyone has a bit of a whale when it dies.

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It takes months for it to get... Gradually, it all gets consumed by the creatures of the deep.

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And the bits that fall right down to the bottom are the bones

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-and there's this extraordinary...

-Snotty little bugger.

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Yeah, it latches into the bones and it brings out feather-like plumes

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and it feeds off the nutrients

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and it's covered in mucus, so it's called a snot flower or mucoflora.

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I've coughed something like that up.

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That looks a bit like KFC.

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-It's tempura.

-Yeah.

-It does a bit.

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Tempura. That's so middle class.

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Not if you're from Japan.

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"No, actually, it doesn't look like KFC, it looks like tempura."

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Two other parasites worthy of mention. Tapeworms.

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How would you know if you had a tapeworm?

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You'd eat more than usual?

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-No.

-I know a fact about tapeworms,

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that 80% of the people in this country have got tapeworms,

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which makes them more popular than dogs.

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There you are. The most popular pet.

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I heard a very interesting programme on the radio the other day

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about a man who was told that having a tapeworm gets rid of asthma and eczema.

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He caught a tapeworm

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and it's got rid of his crippling asthma and eczema conditions.

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-Completely got rid of it.

-Goodness gracious.

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He doesn't want to get rid of this tapeworm. He said he eats more...

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Well, no, you don't eat more. That's not true at all.

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I added that bit on. You're right.

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-I put that in on purpose.

-It's a misapprehension.

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People think it eats your food, therefore you'll be hungry.

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In fact, it makes you nauseous. It eats a small amount of your food but you lose appetite.

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Someone told me that to get rid of the worm, you have to starve yourself

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and then wave a steak in front of your mouth.

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-I was 16, I was chatting up this girl...

-Not your mouth.

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Yeah, well, she was all about then it would come up and bob out and you know...

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Sweet idea.

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I was 16, she was saying this, I was trying to chat her up and...

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You were chatting her up with tapeworm stories?

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-It was her tapeworm story.

-Oh, I see.

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So what sort of length would you expect a tapeworm to be?

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8 metres.

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-14 miles.

-14 miles is perhaps a little long.

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-A good half marathon.

-But thank you for joining in.

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-50 feet is not...

-8 metres isn't bad, is it?

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8 metres isn't bad at all, no.

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But they can stay in you for 20 years,

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-a long, long time.

-That is a long time.

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They're not pleasant.

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And they are segmented - flat but in little segments to make them even creepier.

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There's one that comes out of your leg

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and it takes three or four weeks to come out of your leg

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because the only way of getting it out is to wind it round a pencil.

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You go to the doctor every day and he'll do about an inch a day.

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It's incredibly painful.

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But there's a theory that that's where the medical sign of a serpent wrapped round a staff comes from.

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That's a nice thought.

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I like this kind of atmosphere of scout camp where everyone keeps each other awake

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saying, "And apparently there's this thing

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"and they had these spiders came out and ate them."

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Hopefully that's prepared you all for the horrors ahead.

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You might need a drink after all those disgusting animals.

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What's the key ingredient, then, in the world's nastiest cocktail?

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Is it Malibu?

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ALARMS GO OFF

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Oh, dear!

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APPLAUSE

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Hey!

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-Yeah.

-I reckon you've got someone who's a really quick typist.

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We're after a nasty cocktail.

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-Is it a genuine drink?

-It's a genuine cocktail that is served in a genuine bar

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in a genuine place in a genuine country.

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-One place?

-One place.

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-Give us a clue.

-It's part of the body.

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We're in a country that is sort of known for its cleanliness, probably.

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-Japan.

-Switzerland.

-Canada.

-Oh.

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As they say of Toronto, it's New York run by the Swiss, so it's that kind of a place.

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-Some sort of moose?

-But this is in the Yukon in a mining bar,

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the Downtown Hotel, Dawson City.

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It's a part of a human being.

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-An eye?

-Toenails.

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Well, toenails is good enough. It's a toe.

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-A toe?

-Toe. Yeah.

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The Sourtoe cocktail is the specialite de la maison

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in the Downtown Hotel.

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-Where do they get the toe?

-Well, there's a whole story.

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-AUDIENCE GROANS

-Yeuck!

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It started in the 1960s

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when a figure called Captain Dick Stevenson -

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he'd been everything from a male stripper to a miner to a lumberjack,

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-you know the way that manly men are...

-The usual.

-Exactly.

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And he found himself in an old cabin and there was a pickled toe

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that had belonged to a rum runner back in the prohibition days

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and for some reason he thought it would be amusing

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to offer as a challenge to put it in alcohol

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and the idea was you drank it and it became a very popular drink.

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You kept the toe, though. It moved from glass to glass.

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There's a little rhyme, which is the key.

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"You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow

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"But the lips have got to touch the toe."

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-So the toe has to touch...

-GROANING

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But unfortunately, there was a series of accidents.

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In 1980, Garry Younger, a local miner, accidentally swallowed the toe,

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so they found another one.

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This very nice lady called Mrs Lawrence of Alberta,

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whose middle toe was amputated due to an inoperable corn,

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-donated...

-GROANING

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So you're now drinking a toe that not only was amputated but had a hideous corn on it.

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And people... That lasted well. It didn't have to be alcohol.

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I've drunk worse than that.

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I remember being at a party once, no glasses,

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drinking Tia Maria out the dog bowl.

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No glasses. Wahey.

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That, that's chicken, it's fine.

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They've gone through a lot of toes.

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They have a collection. People donate their toes if they're going to be amputated

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so they have some packed in rock salt.

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You can choose your toe to have with...

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He looks like he finds it hilarious. I can imagine him going, "Hee-hee! You're gonna have to drink the toe!"

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"He-hey! He-hey!

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"This guy is gonna drink the toe. I love that."

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It's only 5 a shot. They reckon 35,000 people have done it.

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-Yeah.

-It's quite popular.

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I mean, you're likely to pass on germs, though, aren't you? All those people touching the same toe.

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Is the toe supposed to retain any flavour?

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Has it been pickled in a way that makes the drink more interesting

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-or is it just for the...?

-I think it's just so you can say you've done it.

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It's leather now, I would imagine. Leather and a hint of nail varnish.

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Anyway, there we are.

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That's the Downtown Hotel in Dawson City in the Yukon

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and it offers its patrons the Sourtoe cocktail,

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the liquor of your choice garnished with a severed human toe.

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If that's made you feel ill, answer me this.

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What's the best way to get rid of a leech?

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-Well, you don't want to rip them off.

-Why not?

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Doesn't do more damage and leave bits of them in you?

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It will be ripping them off.

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-ALARM GOES OFF

-Ohhhh, yes!

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All right, burn it off.

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-You want to burn it off?

-ALARM GOES OFF

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Douse it in some sort of vodka, whisky spirit thing.

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You're safe with that one.

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-Actually, the answer is simply just leave it.

-Ignore it?

-Yeah.

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-It fills up and then goes?

-Yeah, yeah.

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If you pull it off, you won't leave a bit of it behind but nor will it help.

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It's difficult to ignore when it's right there on your nose.

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Having to... Sorry...

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They're usually on the legs.

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There are many of misapprehensions about leeches.

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One is that they've evolved to drop down onto your neck.

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They're nearly always on your legs because they're in the water.

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If you pull them, they don't leave bits of themselves behind

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but their anticoagulant means that you will bleed for a time.

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Whereas if you let them finish it off, they seal off the wound nicely

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and you'll only lost about a teaspoonful of blood.

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Aren't they experimenting with the anticoagulant to find ways of stopping haemophilia?

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That's right. Wales was the capital of British leech farming,

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you'll be please to know.

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There's still one left.

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-So they're called lleeches.

-Lleeches. Two Ls, that's right.

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-Does it hurt?

-Not really, no.

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I've had a leech on me. You don't notice. Someone points it out.

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It hurts if you pull it off, so just leave it.

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-How did you get yours off?

-I was told just to leave it.

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-They said, "You've got a leech,"

-Is it still there now?

-No, it's not.

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Five years later. Huge great leech.

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-Given it a name, read it stories.

-Nurturing it.

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-How long before it's filled?

-Oh, not very long.

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It'll be there for ten minutes or so.

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-And it doesn't leave you a sting, like a mosquito?

-No, no.

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If you burn one, it will come off, won't it?

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It will but it's bad for it. It will make it vomit, which is a bad thing

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because other blood it's got in it may go into you.

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It's just unnecessary. Leave it be.

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It's nothing like as annoying as a tsetse fly, for example.

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-Or a human.

-Or a human that bit you, for example.

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When people farmed them, people stood around in pools of water

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and get them all over their legs and presumably they took them off.

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They'd wait for them and peel them off as they finished,

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pop them into buckets and sell them.

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-Who to?

-Well, to doctors.

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Another name for a physician was a leech. That's what you called the doctor.

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One of the most popular cures for anything was blood letting

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and leeches were the least harmful.

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Those are the worst kind, a phlebotomy, the cutting of a vein,

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and there, huge bowls of blood, I mean constant... Terribly bad for people.

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But that was considered to be the cure for almost any fever,

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whereas a leech... Mind you, they'd use about 50 of them,

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they'd cover you in leeches.

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They're used today in surgery.

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The NHS buys thousands of leeches a year. There's some.

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-What surgery do they use it in?

-Well, in microsurgery.

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It repairs the blood vessels quite well, seals them up properly.

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It's really very helpful, it seems.

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I hope the leech guy in the surgery dresses differently to the rest of the staff.

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I wonder if when the leech guy arrives it's like the Child Catcher,

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he has a fancy hat with leeches hanging off it.

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And then he arrives in. "Hello! I'm the leech man."

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So leeches won't do you much harm if you just let them finish their meal.

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Now, how can you tell if you've got Bonnie and Clyde syndrome?

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Is those people who have one half, they're dressed as a man

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and the other half, they're dressed as a woman?

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And they go and do variety shows,

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probably somewhere like Albania these days.

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-It's not...

-Has the gentleman on the left got it?

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No, I don't think so.

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Peculiarly enough, Bonnie might have had it

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but Clyde certainly didn't.

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It's a paraphilia. Do you know what a paraphilia is?

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It's an erotic attachment to something wrong.

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Yes, a fetish or a taboo or something like that.

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-It can be for a physical...

-Bank robbery.

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Not necessarily bank robbery.

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It's one of the few paraphilias that more women have than men,

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this particular one.

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It's called hybristophilia.

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-Women who fall for very dangerous, violent criminals.

-Right.

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In Britain alone, there are estimated to be at least 100 women

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who are engaged to Americans on death row.

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-People who've corresponded with them.

-British women who've not even been there.

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Not just corresponding but engaged to.

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-Not to mention the wives of Tory MPs.

-Well, quite.

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It's an erotic, sort of fetishistic, strange love that people have

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for violent criminals, real wrong 'uns, not just like, "Oh, he's a naughty boy,"

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but murderers of the worst possible kind.

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She appears to be going, "Lose weight!"

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That's the real Bonnie and Clyde.

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-Yeah, the casting was quite favourable to them.

-It was.

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-I've never seen a picture of them.

-They were no Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty in real life.

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No. The real Clyde Barrow was an institutional criminal,

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a really violent, unpleasant man who murdered a lot

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and killed many people

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but Bonnie might have had this.

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A lot of the gang members said she never raised a gun or killed anybody

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and that she was fond of poetry, she was privately educated, she was intelligent

0:17:320:17:37

and maybe she had hybristophilia for Clyde.

0:17:370:17:41

So why would men not find them as appealing?

0:17:410:17:44

There are various theories.

0:17:440:17:45

The glamour of notoriety, vicariously gratified propensity for violence themselves.

0:17:450:17:51

Religious fervour - sometimes evangelical Christians think they can convert...

0:17:510:17:55

There's a very sad case of two Christian sisters from Australia

0:17:550:17:59

called Avril and Rose

0:17:590:18:00

who left marriages they were already in,

0:18:000:18:02

so-called boring marriages, for two criminals in Australia.

0:18:020:18:06

Avril was battered to death with a hammer by her husband as soon as he was let out of prison,

0:18:060:18:11

having married him when he was in jail,

0:18:110:18:13

and Rose's husband went back in prison after he tried to cut her ear off

0:18:130:18:17

and pull her teeth out with pliers.

0:18:170:18:18

-So these were not nice people.

-Bad choices.

-Bad choices.

0:18:180:18:23

Yeah, they are bad choices.

0:18:230:18:25

There's another paraphilia called harpaxophilia.

0:18:250:18:27

That's someone who gets off on being robbed.

0:18:270:18:30

It exists. Well, there you are. That's the Bonnie and Clyde syndrome. Hybristophilia.

0:18:300:18:35

It's an attraction to people who have committed terrible crimes or atrocities.

0:18:350:18:39

Name a pizza topping that eats insects.

0:18:390:18:43

-Dara!

-What, do I get to be Mario in this week's episode?

0:18:460:18:52

-Anchovies.

-Oh, dear me, no.

0:18:520:18:54

-ALARMS SOUND

-Not anchovies.

0:18:540:18:56

-Olives.

-Sorry?

-Olives.

-Not olives.

0:18:560:18:58

-Spiders.

-No. Is that a pizza topping?

0:18:580:19:00

-You can put anything on a pizza.

-Pineapple.

0:19:000:19:03

-ALARMS SOUND

-Pineapple? No.

0:19:030:19:05

It's no more ridiculous than pineapple on a pizza, spiders.

0:19:070:19:10

If someone said to me, "Do you want spiders on that?" I'd go, "Yeah, all right."

0:19:100:19:15

-If you're gonna have a chicken tikka pizza, I think spiders is a small leap further.

-Do you?

0:19:150:19:21

-Peppers?

-Not peppers.

-I've forgotten what the question is.

0:19:210:19:24

-A pizza topping...

-Tomatoes.

-Tomatoes is right!

0:19:240:19:27

-50 points!

-Er... maybe.

0:19:270:19:30

-Some points.

-APPLAUSE

0:19:300:19:32

-Tomatoes eat insects.

-Do they?

-Tomatoes eat insects.

0:19:320:19:37

It's not their only diet, as we know.

0:19:370:19:39

Tomatoes grow like a lot of fruits and vegetables.

0:19:390:19:42

They draw nutrients out of the soil and can be grown hydroponically

0:19:420:19:46

but also they have another way of ingesting nutrients

0:19:460:19:49

and that is trapping insects in the furry, the hairy stems

0:19:490:19:54

and they die and they absorb their nutrients.

0:19:540:19:58

So they are insectivorous.

0:19:580:20:00

-Not while they're on a pizza, though.

-Not while they're on a pizza.

-Ah.

0:20:000:20:04

What about if you were wanting your spider pizza and they get eaten by the tomato?

0:20:040:20:09

-Fortunately...

-That's how you get that lovely spidery, tomato flavour.

0:20:090:20:13

They trap them and so they fall down into the ground

0:20:130:20:17

and are absorbed through the soil.

0:20:170:20:19

It enriches the soil by filling it with dead insects, you see?

0:20:190:20:24

OK, very good. Tomatoes trap insects in a deadly embrace on their hairy stems

0:20:240:20:28

and use their decaying bodies as fertilizer.

0:20:280:20:31

One horrible thing all of our panel, I suspect, has experienced,

0:20:310:20:35

is heckling.

0:20:350:20:36

-So where did the first hecklers come from?

-Jongleurs.

0:20:360:20:40

-What did they do for a living?

-Houses of Parliament?

-No. It wasn't.

0:20:400:20:45

A heckle is a word meaning a comb

0:20:450:20:48

for dividing two types of fabric of flax for making yarn

0:20:480:20:54

and people who did that were called hecklers.

0:20:540:20:57

-Where was the capital of the jute industry?

-Scotland. Dundee.

0:20:570:21:01

In Dundee. Absolutely right.

0:21:010:21:03

And the Dundonian heckler was known to be a troublemaker,

0:21:030:21:07

a rabble-rouser.

0:21:070:21:08

Violent harangue and ferocious debates, they were known for.

0:21:080:21:12

And so to publicly question, to shout, to harangue

0:21:120:21:14

was like being a heckler.

0:21:140:21:16

It was a back formation. You were a heckler and so what you did was to heckle.

0:21:160:21:21

-I thought you'd like to know that.

-It's interesting, yeah.

0:21:210:21:24

-Have you been heckled much?

-No. I didn't used to get heckled.

0:21:240:21:28

If people didn't like me, they'd just start talking amongst themselves.

0:21:280:21:33

I remember two girls at the Comedy Store.

0:21:330:21:35

One turned to the other and went, "He's lost it."

0:21:350:21:38

That's very disturbing.

0:21:400:21:42

Really gets under your skin.

0:21:420:21:44

I have to go to them to get them to talk.

0:21:440:21:47

I was in Liverpool and I was talking about dreams

0:21:470:21:50

and about having a dream about a famous person

0:21:500:21:53

and some bloke shouted out that he'd had a dream about Kate Winslet.

0:21:530:21:56

And I said, "Oh, was it a sexy dream?"

0:21:560:21:59

and he goes, "No, she turned me down."

0:21:590:22:01

In his own head.

0:22:060:22:07

-I had a dream about Kate Winslet.

-I said to him, "Were you disappointed?"

0:22:090:22:13

and he goes, "No, I didn't hit her with me best stuff."

0:22:130:22:17

-That's very strange.

-Yeah.

0:22:170:22:19

I had a dream about Kate Winslet

0:22:190:22:22

and in my dream it didn't quite work out either.

0:22:220:22:26

Wow, she's like the Freddy Krueger of dreams.

0:22:260:22:29

Well, thank you very much.

0:22:290:22:32

Yes, hecklers were originally people who split the fibres of flax and hemp to spin into yarn.

0:22:320:22:37

And so with a cough and a retch,

0:22:370:22:38

we bring up the bolus that is General Ignorance.

0:22:380:22:42

So fingers on buzzers. Where does a snake's tail begin?

0:22:420:22:46

LAUGHTER

0:22:480:22:50

After its bottom.

0:22:500:22:52

-Is the...

-VOMITTING

0:22:530:22:55

Is the right answer. After its bottom.

0:22:560:22:58

-Absolutely right.

-APPLAUSE

0:22:580:23:00

-How simple.

-Well, as you know... As you know, Stephen,

0:23:010:23:06

I studied snakes for many, many, many years.

0:23:060:23:08

I'm one of the world's leading snakeatologists.

0:23:080:23:12

-Herpetologist?

-Snakeatol...

0:23:130:23:15

-Herpetologist, yes. We don't call ourselves that.

-Don't you? Oh.

0:23:150:23:19

-Not since the rebranding.

-Yeah.

0:23:190:23:21

It's called a cloaca and after that is where the snake...

0:23:210:23:25

-After this are ribs...

-We call it the body.

0:23:250:23:28

Ribs...

0:23:280:23:30

Ribs and spine. It's got vertebrae. It's got a lot of vertebrae.

0:23:300:23:34

-And, yeah...

-That other bit's the head,

0:23:350:23:37

up the other end there.

0:23:370:23:39

You might want to write that down, Stephen. The head.

0:23:390:23:42

You weren't kidding, were you? You really are an expert and you get your points.

0:23:420:23:46

-Snakes...

-No legs on a snake, Stephen.

0:23:460:23:48

-No.

-You won't find any legs on a snake.

-Not a one, not a one.

0:23:480:23:52

Snakes might look like they're all back end but they have surprisingly short tails.

0:23:520:23:56

What are the dimensions of a piece of two by four?

0:23:560:23:59

-VOMITTING

-Yes?

0:24:000:24:02

Oh, thanks.

0:24:020:24:04

Four by two.

0:24:040:24:05

-ALARMS SOUND

-Oh!

0:24:050:24:07

Two by four. Two by four.

0:24:100:24:11

-ALARMS SOUND

-No!

0:24:110:24:13

You've lost all the points you've made with your expertise on snakes.

0:24:140:24:19

-You've leached them.

-I'll win them back.

0:24:190:24:22

-It is... What is two by four?

-It's a plank of wood.

0:24:220:24:25

Yeah. But it's not two by four.

0:24:250:24:28

It's about 1.5 by 3.5 inches.

0:24:280:24:30

It's based on a dimension block which was originally itself two by four

0:24:300:24:34

but it's then shaved and planed so it's smaller.

0:24:340:24:38

But even now the original dimension block is smaller or larger.

0:24:380:24:41

It doesn't actually matter. It's still called a two by four even though it no longer is.

0:24:410:24:46

Now, we've saved the most disgusting, the most horrible thing, for last.

0:24:460:24:50

What am I describing?

0:24:500:24:52

Allegedly, it can cause birds to fall dead from the sky

0:24:520:24:57

and it's banned by airlines but it's quite good on toast.

0:24:570:25:01

Will your...? Oh, no!

0:25:030:25:05

-No wonder you've not been getting points.

-VOMITTING NOISE

0:25:050:25:08

-Oh, that's typical.

-That's unfair. Chris, you can answer.

0:25:080:25:12

Er... What was the question?

0:25:120:25:14

Is it gentleman's relish?

0:25:160:25:17

No. I have some here. I have a can of it.

0:25:170:25:21

But... And this is a genuine can of it.

0:25:210:25:26

-Caviar.

-No.

-It's something rotten, isn't it?

-Yeah.

0:25:260:25:29

-Scandinavian rotten food.

-It's Scandinavian rotten fish.

0:25:290:25:33

They have it on midsummer's night, don't they?

0:25:330:25:35

-I've always wanted to try that.

-Surstromming.

0:25:350:25:38

I've actually been told, and you may say, "Oh, go on, Stephen," that I cannot open this

0:25:380:25:42

and if I did, the audience... Probably the audience at home would go away.

0:25:420:25:46

It is apparently so disgusting, it would never leave the studio

0:25:460:25:49

-and I think we'd be sued by the studio.

-By the Graham Norton Show.

0:25:490:25:54

Yeah, by the Graham Norton Show.

0:25:540:25:55

It's called surstromming. It's herring.

0:25:550:25:58

What happens is, they put the herring in a barrel first of all

0:25:580:26:02

with about half the amount of salt you need to cure it,

0:26:020:26:05

so instead of being cured, it ferments, it putrefies.

0:26:050:26:09

And then after it's been like that for a month or so,

0:26:090:26:12

you then put it in a can

0:26:120:26:13

but the can is designed, as you can tell,

0:26:130:26:16

to swell up slightly, so it's continuing to ferment.

0:26:160:26:19

-They buckle, don't they?

-They buckle.

0:26:190:26:21

And it is absolutely unbelievably disgusting, the smell.

0:26:210:26:26

There is nothing, apparently, as revolting on the face of the earth.

0:26:260:26:29

-A friend of mine lives in Sweden and he says that is something you have to be Swedish to eat.

-Indeed.

0:26:290:26:34

They consider it a delicacy.

0:26:340:26:36

Often, they open the can underwater

0:26:360:26:38

because the way to eat it is to rinse it and cover it with onions.

0:26:380:26:43

It's got a best before date.

0:26:430:26:45

-I'm going to move this away...

-Best before we canned it.

0:26:490:26:53

Apparently, in the 16th century, there were...

0:26:530:26:56

You can have a look but please don't open it.

0:26:560:26:59

-There were Swedish sailors...

-LAUGHTER

0:26:590:27:02

No! Who ran out of salt and they had this rotting fish

0:27:020:27:06

and they found some Finnish islanders that they sold it to,

0:27:060:27:09

thinking they were idiot foresters who knew no better.

0:27:090:27:13

And then a year later, they came back and met them again

0:27:130:27:16

and they said, "Can we have some more of this rotten fish, please?"

0:27:160:27:19

So they tried it themselves and apparently, it is tasty,

0:27:190:27:23

even though it smells beyond anything else.

0:27:230:27:26

I'm glad to say the can is holding up.

0:27:260:27:28

So there you are. Surstromming. Baltic herring fermented in cans

0:27:280:27:33

with foul smelling and explosive but allegedly delicious results.

0:27:330:27:37

So we head now staggering towards the bucket

0:27:370:27:41

and there only remains the horrible embarrassment of the scores.

0:27:410:27:45

And, well, I have to say, totally repulsive as they all are,

0:27:450:27:49

it's pretty impressive.

0:27:490:27:51

In first place, repulsing all comers,

0:27:510:27:53

with a positive 2 points, Dara O'Briain.

0:27:530:27:56

APPLAUSE

0:27:560:27:57

In second place, with a reasonably bad taste in the mouth with 13.8 points

0:28:000:28:05

-it's Chris Addison.

-APPLAUSE

0:28:050:28:08

Gagging slightly from time to time,

0:28:110:28:13

Sean Lock with minus 33!

0:28:130:28:15

-APPLAUSE

-What?

0:28:150:28:17

What?

0:28:180:28:20

And just behind him taking an early barf,

0:28:200:28:24

on minus 35, Alan Davies.

0:28:240:28:27

APPLAUSE AND CHEERING

0:28:270:28:28

That's all from this stomach-churning edition of QI.

0:28:330:28:37

It's goodnight from Chris, Sean, Dara, Alan and me

0:28:370:28:40

and one final word of advice.

0:28:400:28:41

If you can't be a good example, try to be a horrible warning. Goodnight.

0:28:410:28:46

APPLAUSE

0:28:460:28:48

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:29:080:29:09

Email [email protected]

0:29:090:29:11

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