A compilation of some of the best bits from the ninth series of QI - a quiz show in which contestants are rewarded more if their answers are 'quite interesting'.
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Good evening, good evening, good evening, good evening, good evening, good evening,
and welcome to QI, where tonight, once again, the "I"s have it.
So, which international head of state snubbed Jesse Owens
after his triumph at the 1936 Olympics?
Oddly enough, it's not true.
It's what the whole world thinks but it isn't true
and we know this from no greater source than Jesse Owens himself.
In fact, it's a really rather sad and a very typically, I'm afraid, unfortunate story.
Jesse Owens, as you probably know, won four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
The Olympics was staged-managed, of course, by Hitler.
Now, on the first day, Hitler congratulated only German winners.
And someone said to him that he should either congratulate all the winners or none of them.
So he said, "Well, in that case, I won't congratulate any winners."
So he didn't snub Jesse Owens at all.
In fact, according to Jesse Owens, he said,
"When I passed the Chancellor, he rose, waved his hand at me and I waved back at him."
"Hitler didn't snub me. It was..."
King of England.
-The president of his own country.
He didn't personally congratulate Jesse Owens.
Who are you looking at there?
The bloke on the far right is just going like that...
He is a bit.
That bloke on the far right is called Hermann Goering.
Surely they're all on the far right.
It's usual amongst George Formby fans, I believe, that they teach themselves the banjolele.
And as you are one, we have a banjolele.
Can you delight us with some Formby?
-Am I on the spot?
-I don't know if it's tuned or not but just do what you can.
-Oh, don't worry about that.
-We'll be very happy.
My dog has fleas, is what you need to remember. My dog has...
Well, this one doesn't have fleas. He has distemper.
When I'm Cleaning Windows has got another bit that goes,
# Eight o'clock, a girl awakes At ten past eight, a bath she takes
# At quarter past, my ladder breaks When I'm cleaning windows... #
Heh-heh heh-heh hey! Wahey!
There's a bit that goes
# There's a famous movie queen She looks a beauty on the screen
# She's more like 80 than 18 When I'm cleaning windows
# She takes her hair down all behind Then takes down her never-mind
# And finally takes down the blind When I'm cleaning windows. #
Now for something terribly important.
Why did the MoD want the PM to join the AA?
-This present, David Cameron, PM, or any?
The Prime Minister at the time was Harold Macmillan.
Did the MoD want the country to become part of the temperance movement?
-Ha ha! No, it's not that AA.
-The Automobile Association.
The Automobile Association, exactly.
-It's that AA.
So when Harold Macmillan was Prime Minister, what was going on in the world around that time?
-The Cold War.
-The Cold War was at its absolute height.
And they knew that Kennedy had this system where, wherever he was,
he could retaliate in case the Soviets sent missiles.
And they thought, "Well, we better have a similar system."
And they thought...
There's Lord Mountbatten who was the chief of staff at the time.
And they said, "Well, you know,
"you better have men going round with the Prime Minister who
"have got radios and things in case there's news of a Soviet attack."
And he said, "Well, that's far too expensive."
The Prime Minister said,
"I don't want people following me around all the time."
"I tell you what, we'll use the system the AA use." So, basically, the idea was
that they would get a signal from the AA to the car if the Soviets had launched a strike.
That would mean the Prime Minister could then stop off
at the nearest telephone and issue the order for a counter-strike.
And there were some very exciting memos.
This is very British. You'll like this very much.
Brian Saunders, private secretary to the Prime Minister, said,
"It will presumably be necessary for someone to make a daily or weekly call to the AA control station
"as a check that they are in working order.
"And I understand that,
"if an emergency arose while the Prime Minister was on the road,
"the proposal is to use the radio to get him to a telephone.
"Perhaps we should see that our drivers are provided with four pennies."
They'd gone and thought it through.
So imagine them stopping and going, "All right, we've got the signal.
"There are bombs on the way from the Soviet Union."
"Stop off at the nearest kiosk," and nobody's got any money.
But they thought about that. Bligh, the Prime Minister's private principal secretary, replied,
"Shortage of pennies should not present any difficulties, such as you envisage.
"In such cases, it's a simple matter to have the cost
"of any telephone call transferred by dialling 100 and requesting reversal of the charge."
This is all true!
"And this doesn't take any appreciable extra time.
"The system works in both normal and STD telephone kiosks. And our drivers are well-aware of it."
So we were safe all the time.
The Prime Minister would have got a message and said,
"Look, there's a red kiosk,"
would have stopped, got in and called... called up the operator and said,
"I want to call the Ministry of Defence armed bunker.
"And could you reverse the charges?"
-Scouting for Boys has got something on suicide?
-It has an amazing entry on suicide. Maybe you'd like to hear it?
-I would love to hear it.
"When a man has gone so far as to attempt suicide..."
They don't count women for some reason - "..a scout should know what to do with him.
"In a case where the would-be suicide has taken poison, give milk and make him vomit,
"which is done by tickling the inside of the throat with a finger or a feather.
"In the case of hanging, cut down the body at once,
"taking care to support him with one arm while cutting the cord.
-"A tenderfoot, which is scouting for novice..."
-That's not hard.
-To me, that sounds very simple.
-It does, doesn't it?
"A novice is sometimes inclined to be timid about
"handling an insensible man or dead man, or even seeing blood.
"Well, he won't be much use till he gets over such nonsense."
Slaughtering cattle. Advice to young boys on how to slaughter cattle.
"If you're a beginner in slaughtering with a knife,
"it's sometimes useful to first drop the animal insensible
"by a heavy blow with a big hammer or the back of a felling axe on top of the head."
The kindest thing to do, really.
Stopping a runaway horse?
-He doesn't give advice on that, does he?
-He does, yes.
-That would stop the horse?
-Oh, no. They don't tread on you.
What you don't do is stand in front of it waving your arms. That's the mistake to make.
What you should do is go to the side and basically ease it towards the side of a wall or side of a house.
-What, when it's running?
You ease a running horse to the side of a wall?
Don't worry, mate, I'll just ease this running horse to the side of the wall.
It'll see you and will be pushed towards it. That will slow it down naturally according to Baden-Powell.
"Give us a hand."
"I can't. Uncle Pete's hung himself."
What about saving someone who's fallen in front of a train?
Oh, well, I know this. You ease the train up against the wall.
"If the train is very close, lie flat between the rails.
"Make the man do the same till the train passes over,
"while everyone else will be running about, screaming and excited, and doing nothing."
-You're supposed to jump on the track with him.
-And push his head down?
-Yeah, sure. I'm going to do that.
Does that work, though? Is there such a big gap between the wheels?
It does in movies but I wouldn't be the one to try it.
It'd be great if you hung yourself and then a Scout cut you down
and you went, "Oh, don't worry, I'll jump under a train."
-He's here again!
All right, mate?
I've just done voice for them.
So if you have Tom-Tom or Garmin...
You'd drive along and it goes, "Now the interesting thing is..."
APPLAUSE DROWNS OUT SPEECH
"The most daft thing. You would not believe it but..."
Did you do it as if you were talking to me? That's the worry.
"Left, you moron!"
If you take a wrong turn instead of making a U-turn,
does the hooter come on?
I've put my voice on Katie's. When she drives, it's me.
Oh, that's nice, because you can put your own voice on, can't you?
Yeah, you can record it. "Left, left, left! LEFT!"
Which is funny the first couple of times.
Yes, that's the problem.
I had a sat-nav and the Nullarbor Plain in Australia, the big, long...
Between Adelaide and Perth.
Yeah, the longest straight road in the world.
And I started my bike, turned it on and it said,
"Drive forward for two days."
But the best bit was, it went, "Then turn left."
But the stupid thing was, it was such a long road,
I missed the left-hand turn!
Patrick Lichfield once told me a very good story.
-Oh! Beautiful name-drop, if I may say so.
-He was lovely. Did you know him?
-Such a lovely man. He'd been asked to photograph a royal wedding at Hampton Court.
The Queen told him it'd be the first time all the crowned heads of Europe
were together, available for a photograph. He said,
"Well, I know them all, ma'am. Everyone except Princess Catherine of Greece.
"She's very elderly. She's in a wheelchair." She said, "Oh, right."
"It's very difficult with all these heads, about 60 of them and everyone's ma'am," and so on.
And he noticed in the corner an elderly lady in a wheelchair.
He said, "Oh, marvellous!"
He went over and pushed her into the photographs like this
and he took the picture.
And the Queen said, "Patrick, who's that woman?
"Princess Catherine of Greece." She said, "No, it isn't."
Anyway, apparently some bloke had been on a tour of the house with his mother...
..and needed the lavatory. And he just opened the door and shoved his mother through,
just to keep her quiet while he went to the lavatory.
And Patrick gave her a Polaroid of this elderly woman with all the crown heads of Europe.
Have a look at this glass tank behind me
and tell me how many balls there are in there.
-Well done, Alan.
-So far, so good.
The worst episode of the National Lottery, ever.
-So how many are there in there, would you say?
Five? Five. Well, it looked like five, didn't it?
But you might be rather surprised to know that there are actually over a thousand.
-And we can show you, perhaps, a better view of how many there are.
They're all invisible and, in fact,
we have an example of precisely these kinds of...
There they are.
-Yeah, they're gooey.
-They're really weird.
-They're called hydrogel beads.
-Are they edible?
-I wouldn't want to take responsibility but I don't think they'll do you any harm.
What are they used for?
Well, they have a commercial use, actually.
-Oh, I broke it!
-Oh, no! Has it burst?
No, it's sort of gone into pieces, actually.
It's a rather strange material. Can you guess their commercial use?
-No, flower arranging is one.
Is it for packing goldfish, when you get them through your...
Why aren't they making battleships out of it?
-All kinds of new uses may be found.
-Submarines. Make a submarine out of it.
I have to say, this feels gorgeous.
-JACK: It's quite good, isn't it?
-It's actually quite addictive, isn't it?
-Something quite gorgeous about that.
-JACK: Might have a play around with that later.
-Yep, you might.
Another use is the manufacture of...
Jack's going to put his willy in it.
-I've already put it in that one.
It's weird because when he put it in, you couldn't see it.
-It's the refractive index.
-I need time to think of a comeback!
What variety of lettuce did they serve on board the Titanic?
-Well, bless you for...
-I took one for the team, as it were.
You did take one for the team.
The iceberg lettuce had been developed in Pennsylvania
but was not available in Europe until many years later.
Was it is rocket, lollo rosso?
-The answer is, we don't know.
We do know there were 700 heads of lettuce on board.
-You make them sound like heads of state.
The most grand of all the lettuce, the head of lettuce.
Why did they only have 700 lettuce - how many were on the Titanic?
Either they'd already eaten that much and that's how much was saved, or they just didn't order that much.
What, they saved the lettuce, but not the people?
1,500 people died and they're going,
"Get the lettuce, for crying out loud!"
I have a horrible feeling I misread my card.
It was, "Hold the front page. 7,000 heads of lettuce."
No wonder the bloody thing sank, then, if it was full of lettuce.
Well, why did it sink, then?
What is wrong with these people?
What about the durable Mike Malloy, have you heard of him?
Now here's a man who really wouldn't die.
This is a very extraordinary story.
The durable Mike Malloy.
We're in the age of Prohibition.
And we're in New York City.
And we've got a gang of criminals because, obviously,
anyone who runs a speakeasy is a criminal by definition, during Prohibition.
And they hit on a scam.
They thought, "We'll get some drunks. We'll get them to sign life insurance forms to our benefit.
"And then we'll just feed them so much alcohol that they'll die."
"And we'll get all their money."
What can go wrong?
Had they never met Irish people before?
-That's the problem.
-They were bankrupt.
They ran out of booze!
-So owner Anthony Marino hatched this plan.
-"We're going to need a bigger pub."
He got this Irishman called Mike Malloy. They befriended him, they plied him with free drinks.
And they got him to sign three different life insurance policies,
amounting to nearly 2,000, which was a lot of money in those days.
After several weeks of free booze, they started to get a bit impatient because, because he wasn't...
-He kept singing the same songs!
-So they started...
"God, he's doing that one again"!
# Oh, Danny boy The pipes, the pipes... #
They started adding antifreeze.
He collapsed a bit but he kept coming back for more drink.
So they then gave him drinks that were filled with turpentine,
horse liniment, rat poison, rotten oysters in wood alcohol
and sardines mixed with carpet tacks.
-Do we have any record of... "Oh, thanks very much."
-None of this would have any effect.
-I suppose if it's on the house...
He's downing that.
So, next, they got him drunk, they stripped him naked - this is midwinter in New York - and
they poured five gallons of cold water on him, before dumping him on a snow bank.
-New York in midwinter is seriously cold, minus 20 degrees sometimes.
-Why didn't they just shoot him?
-A bullet hole might have been a...
-..a bit of a giveaway.
Oh, I don't know. I think naked on a mound of snow is quite a giveaway.
-Well, he was very drunk.
-So drunk he was having sex with a snowman?
But the police found him and he turned up the next day saying,
"You'll never guess what happened. They found me in Central Park, on the snow, naked.
"Dunno how! They took me to a hostel and got me these nice new clothes."
So he carried on drinking and they were really getting desperate.
They paid a cab driver 150 bucks to knock him over.
After two attempts, they left him sprawled in the road,
awaiting news of his death.
Several weeks later, he came fresh out of hospital and turned up, looking for a drink.
So, finally, they challenged him to a rigged drinking contest.
They got him really, really pissed
-and then pushed a gas hose in his throat and gassed him to death.
-So they cheated.
But a few months later, don't worry, they started squabbling amongst themselves
and all went down the river to Sing Sing and got fried in the electric chair, the whole gang of them.
The thing I find interesting about that story is when you said they put a gas hose in his mouth and cheated,
the audience went, "Aww." But, before that, when they were trying to kill the man,
you were going, "Well, that just sounds like bloody good fun!"
Then, the gas hose, you went, "Now that's not playing straight."
It's an interesting morality you're working with there.
Take a good, hard look at yourselves.
There it is. That's the story of durable Mike Malloy.
A hero of his time.
I've got a little task for you to do. A little Christmas party game.
I've got these phonebooks here and they've been interleaved.
That's all it is. There's no glue or anything.
They've literally, like a pack of cards, one page inside another...
-That must have taken ages.
-It did. Our props people are very proud of their work. There you are.
-All I want you to do - you've got ropes there - is just pull them apart.
-So you can take one each.
-Can't be done.
-Go on, pull them apart.
-It can't be done.
-Go on. Try. You can't, can you?
-It can't be done.
You literally can't.
It's quite extraordinary.
-Strong as Brian is...
-Go on, pull, Brian, pull!
How come your water wasn't spilt? That's magical.
Yes. Yes, it's an old trick.
Me and Brian have been doing this trick for years.
That is, I think, proof positive...
I'm trying to sit on top of me tipped-up chair.
A man as strong as Brian, he may pull Sean off his chair, but it can't be done.
In fact, you need 8,000lbs of force in order to do it.
-It really is quite bizarre.
-And it's just replicated each time by...
If you loosen them...
This time it's me. This time it's personal!
He's having a tantrum.
ROSS: You can't, can you?
BRIAN: Still can't do it!
How can you tell which of these chicks is male and which is female?
Oh this must be, this must be.
-Oh, I'm afraid not.
In the 1920s, the answer would have been "Nobody knows".
-Oh, for crying out...
-But in 1929, the Japanese astonished the world
by revealing that they found a way to sex chicks.
In other words, to determine their gender. It sounds...
It sounds so wrong, doesn't it? I know how to sex a chick!
It seems impossible to the naked eye to do it
because you have to wait until they're six weeks old.
In the egg-laying industry, that's a heck of a waste
because male chicks are of no use whatsoever to the egg-laying industry.
Gassed on the first day?
Enjoy your eggs!
That's why... Ha! Quite.
So how do you tell the sex, how do you sex a chicken?
Well, it's very complex. That's the point. It's highly...
No, we do know. It's highly paid.
And the discovery lowered the price of eggs worldwide overnight.
That's how important it was.
And the Zen Nippon Chick-sexing School was founded.
That is true.
You're looking at a graduate.
And they taught their sexers in such a rigorous way that
only 5 to 10 percent of applicants received accreditation.
When you passed, you were paid huge sums of money.
-COD-CHINESE ACCENT: You're a chick master.
-Yeah, hundreds of dollars a day.
-It was a really big business.
-It still is.
-How do you know?
-You don't know.
-There was one handsome...
The best in the business can sex around 1,200 chicks an hour and there
are some incredibly talented ones who can have one in each hand...
Boy. Girl. Boy. Boy. Girl. Girl. Girl. Girl. Boy. Girl. Girl. Girl.
Boy. Girl. Boy. Girl. Boy-y-y.
The point is, the point is you pick them up and you just go like that and pop them in bins.
Girl bin, boy bin. Girl bin, boy bin.
And you can do 1,200.
So, something to do with the weight?
-No, it's not. They look, they do a slight squeeze...
You won't like this, they do a slight squeeze.
Eek! And if they go, "Ow," they're a girl.
-If they go, "steady on, mate..."
-..it's a boy.
They have a cloacal tract, which is their reproductive and their excretory tract,
and there is a slight difference in the ridges and bumps - sort of innies and outies that they have.
So you do a slight squeeze.
If it's too big, you throttle them or the outie becomes an innie,
so it's a real skill.
This is something I vaguely knew about growing up in Norfolk.
Because, in Norfolk, there is a community of Vietnamese turkey-sexers who live...
I know it sounds mad!
I can never watch Platoon again!
You've ruined Apocalypse Now for me.
I'm sorry about that.
What sexy chicken?
You tell me now!
This is this.
I know it sounds bonkers.
They live in tunnels under the Fens.
This is not in the Fens, it's in Norfolk, he said, defensively.
The Fens are in Cambridgeshire, I mean Huntingdonshire.
Tell me they work for Bernard, please.
Well, of course. Bernard Matthews is the largest employer for...
Mr Matthew, this one beau-iful.
Imagine being conned by a pig salesman.
It's called buying a pig in a poke.
There is actually a phrase for it.
-Pig salesmen used to be dishonest.
Can I say that, Nina?
-What, pig in a poke?
-Can I say that?
-Is that what that means?
-Go on, say pig in a poke.
That is a challenge to a ventriloquist. Come on.
-No, if I said pig in a poke, it's fine.
-You say it, Gran.
Go on, Gran. Pig in a poke.
That was impressive.
How long do the best hugs last?
-That's a very long hug.
I would start getting embarrassed and restless if someone hugged me for 20 seconds.
Do you want to test that? Can we test that?
Yeah, no, please.
Oh, hello. Here we go.
That was lovely.
I'm on the clock.
I'm on the clock.
Yep. That was... Oh, God, this is too long.
-It is really bad.
-This is too long.
-This is really long.
-Oh, I'm embarrassed now.
Dave, did you say, "I'm on the clock"?
-On the clock, yeah.
-And, lovely! Thank you.
-That's got to be at least 20 seconds and that was embarrassing.
-That was very uncomfortable.
-See if you can beat it!
Oh that's lovely. Lovely.
Gather round. Come on.
I've been waiting years to do this.
Well, if you lot are all hugging, I'm playing tiddlywinks so sod the lot of you!
Right, that was love... That was unusual.
-RONNI: Aw, that was lovely.
-I wasn't expecting that response
-but it was charming. You're both wearing very nice aftershave, by the way.
-Want your watch back?
Which well-known invention is
"the wickedness which lurks in the belly and deserves to dwell in the cesspool"?
"The wickedness which lurks in the belly..."
-Oh, I know!
-We know cos this is...
Er, yes, because, erm,
I'm a belly-speaker.
You are a belly-speaker. Ven-tril-o-quism.
That's it. So you're a tummy-speaker.
And it was considered to be possession by demons if someone
could have this voice come from their tummy, that didn't seem to come out of the mouth,
-or throw their voice, as you used to say.
And there was a Patriarch of Constantinople by the name of Photios
who once ex-communicated the Pope.
And he was the one...
There you are! Have a go. Have a go.
Oh, have we all got one of these?
-Pig in a poke.
I'm very impressed.
The weird thing is...
That puppet is a ventriloquist and its lips didn't move when you said that.
So it is operating you, which is fantastic.
It really is a lot...
It really is a lot harder than it looks.
Give me hope.
-You've had a stroke, dear.
-It's like ET.
-Hig in a hoke.
No, don't, Gran.
Oh, no, let's not kiss.
I am Bogdan. I like you very much.
You are attractive lady.
-You're too small for me, dear.
For certain, you'd never see the light of day again.
Come with me. I have Oyster card.
Are you, are you moving your lips?
How about that? Urgh-urr, der, er, der.
You do look like you're in a state, you really do.
Sean, let's see if you can do any better.
-Are you hoping we're going to...
-I'm not moving my lips. I'm just...
Oh, sorry. It's a left-handed puppet, isn't it? Sorry.
-It looks like he's...
That's the only thing I tend to do, this "oooh".
This is great. This is great!
You don't actually have to stretch your mouth to do it.
It's the only way I can do it. I can't do it any other way.
Oh, no. Oh, I've broken it.
Oh! Oh, Bill Bailey.
What the hell's he doing?
Oh, dear, oh, dear, oh, dear.
What a wretched disappointment to us all, you are.
I can't get the talking to... I can't get to talking to you.
Well, you're an idiot.
It's very difficult.
-You have to look like you're listening when you're talking.
-You look at her when she's talking?
You have to look like you're listening when you're talking.
-It's quite difficult.
-The first rule of showbusiness - make everything look easy.
-Yes, that's true.
-Like this half-wit over here.
I'm milking it for all it's worth, dear.
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