The best way to recap a year is with laughter
January 2, 2019 8:25 PM   Subscribe

What better way to look back on another mad year with BBC 4's The Big Fat Quiz of the Year? [YouTube] Stand-up comedian Jimmy Carr recently returned to host the 2018 recap, with teams featuring previous panelists, including comic actors Richard Ayoade, Noel Fielding and David Mitchell, and presenter Claudia Winkleman, joined by comedians Mo Gilligan and American comic Michelle Wolf, who appeared on the show for the first time. You can expect the usual mix of pithy one liners, risque jokes and general shenanigans from Carr and the panellists [iNews UK]. And if that's not enough, you can take a jaunt back through time with the BFQotY for 2004-2017. [YT Playlist] But why is it that panel shows [Wikipedia] like this are so ubiquitous in England, but not elsewhere?

The dry wit doesn't travel well across the pond, where US comedy is more slapstick? [Mic] America had a panel show heydey in the 1960s and 70s, but the Brits use panel shows to share satirical humor from comedians, found in the US on late night talk shows. [Vulture]

Enough chin-stroking and pondering, how about some more of that dry, British wit!

The Vulture provided a 2011 guide to British Panel Shows, highlighting:
  • Have I Got News For You [YT playlist of episodes, 30 long] -- "After 21 years, Have I Got News For You has become a part of British culture"
  • Mock the Week [YT pl, 144 episodes] -- "Unlike HIGNFY, which regularly features politicians and various celebrities, Mock the Week is a comedian’s den, with six comics vying every week to get in as many jokes as possible"
  • 8 Out Of 10 Cats [YT pl for Season 19, 13 episodes]-- a show ostensibly about “opinion polls, surveys, and statistics,” where the panelists discuss pretty much anything that happens in the news and the world
  • QI [YT pl, 17 semi-random full episodes] -- (Quite Interesting) "topics read more like a liberal arts curriculum: science, art, literature, law, maths (math), and anything else that the production team finds curious"
  • Never Mind The Buzzcocks [YT pl, 65 videos comprising episodes from seasons 1 through 17 as parts or whole] -- "Alongside the comedians, it features current and past pop stars, who appear knowing they will be mercilessly mocked"
  • Would I Lie To You? [YT pl, S1-11, 93 videos] -- "a classic parlor game, wherein celebrities and comedians tell stories about themselves, and the other team questions them to determine if they’re telling the truth"
  • Just a Minute [YT pl, 10 episodes in 2 parts each] -- "One of the classics of the format, Just a Minute premiered on BBC Radio 4 in 1967 with its current host, Nicholas Parsons. The premise is basic: speak for one minute on a certain topic without repeating any words, hesitating, or deviating from the subject."
  • I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue [YT pl, 74 musical clips] -- started in 1972 as “the antidote to panel games,” and is just a lot of silly games. Perhaps the best sort of way to start 2019.
If that isn't enough, The British Comedy Guide has its own Top 20 list of panel shows with some overlap of the above list, but I'll let you explore those yourself.
posted by filthy light thief (79 comments total) 60 users marked this as a favorite
 
As a huge fan of all the shows you listed, I'd like to share that Jimmy Carr is also hosting The Fix, which is a Netflix-produced panel show with Katherine Ryan and D. L. Hughley as the regulars.
posted by davejay at 8:35 PM on January 2 [10 favorites]


This is a fairly good year, with some solid performances by John Snow and Charles Dance. The former reads song lyrics and dances, and the latter reads a salacious tell-all book as only Charles Dance can.

Plus, a play by the Mitchell Brook Primary School, which is always great.

Would I Lie To You? is amazing. Did Kevin Bridges buy a horse? Lee Mack losing it gets me every time.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 8:37 PM on January 2 [7 favorites]


oh and don't forget 8 Out Of 10 Cats does Countdown, in which the cast of 8 Out Of 10 Cats does...well...Countdown, which is a BBC game show mainstay.
posted by davejay at 8:38 PM on January 2 [6 favorites]


My wife binges British quiz shows like its her job when her actual job is stressful. I adore WILTY and Lee Mack's attempts to spin yarns about interacting with strangers. It's truly an art form.

I cannot stand Jimmy Carr, though. You could not pay me to watch him.
posted by lownote at 8:40 PM on January 2


I LITERALLY was just watching BFQ from 2011 before coming here. Honestly, British panel shows busting on Donald Trump have helped me a lot over the past couple years. (Charlie Brooker took the words out of my mouth on HAVE I GOT NEWS FOR YOU the week of the election.)

The US does have "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" on the radio, which sort of fits.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:59 PM on January 2 [6 favorites]


I thought this year's panel had great questions but not so much in terms of genuine riproaring organic comedy. I think my favourite recent year was the one Noel Fielding and Richard Ayoade really cemented their rep as losers who couldn't be bothered, only because how much it bothered Jonathan Ross... I think it's the 2013 one.

And I think Frankie Boyle's New World Order has to count as a panel show, and if you want to see him repurpose bits of his 2018 review that was in the Guardian, here's his end-of-2018 show.
posted by cendawanita at 9:04 PM on January 2 [2 favorites]


Lee Mack is so quick with quips and comebacks. Metafilter introduced me to British panel shows 5 or 6 years ago, and his razor-sharp mind still blows me away today. I'm utterly envious of that ability.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:18 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


The 2011 Vulture badly mischaracterized American Panel Shows, ignoring the too-similar celebrity guessing games of the 1950s, What's My Line, I've Got A Secret and To Tell the Truth, as well as the massive human tic-tac-toe board of Hollywood Squares (with regular characters Paul Lynde, Wally Cox and Cliff Arquette in character as Charley Weaver) while Password was NEVER a Panel Format, using competitive one-celebrity/one-civilian teams, and Match Game evolved from a mixed-team format to true paneling, with its own regulars, Charles Nelson Reilley, Brett Sommers and Richard (in training to be a game show host) Dawson.

But the only thing close to a panel show that was successfully imported from England to America was Whose Line Is It Anyway, based on standard improv shows with a thin veneer of competitiveness, and featuring non-Brit performers, most notably American Ryan Stiles and Canadian Colin Mochrie (and was only imported because Stiles had become a regular on Drew Carey's sitcom and used Carey's clout with ABC to pitch the show).

But the format of randomly topical Q&A never crossed the pond, except for the radio Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, which proved that Brit Panels were just another format that only survived in the U.S. on Public Broadcasting.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:22 PM on January 2 [8 favorites]


My theory as to why America doesn't really have any panel shows is that our entire culture is currently constructed around hating smart people and education. There are incredibly smart, funny, talented people in the US, but they're on podcasts or the internet because the culture has a massive anti-intellectual streak.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 9:23 PM on January 2 [31 favorites]


They're all so good at taking the piss, but Lee Mack is so quick it's almost supernatural.
posted by dazed_one at 9:35 PM on January 2 [2 favorites]


Match Game still exists! It's on Hulu!

Celebrities who have made multiple appearances to date include: Jason Alexander, Rosie O'Donnell, Tituss Burgess, J. B. Smoove, Ana Gasteyer, Jack McBrayer, Leah Remini, Cheryl Hines, Niecy Nash, Ellie Kemper, David Alan Grier, Sheryl Crow, Horatio Sanz, Caroline Rhea, Chris D'Elia, Judy Greer, Judah Friedlander, Sherri Shepherd, Mario Cantone, Jane Krakowski, Adam Carolla, Jenna Fischer, Lamorne Morris, Casey Wilson, Wayne Brady, Jay Pharoah, Amy Sedaris, Rick Fox, Constance Zimmer, Taye Diggs, Mark Duplass, Kenan Thompson, James Van Der Beek, Anthony Anderson, Joel McHale, Yvette Nicole Brown, Adam Pally, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Ice-T, Christina Ricci, Thomas Lennon, and Ali Wentworth.

Also I saw some reruns of 70s era Match Game at my grandma's last weekend and it's way funnier now. Although it could use some Nipsey Russell. Maybe they can get Nipsey Hussle!
posted by elsietheeel at 9:50 PM on January 2 [2 favorites]


For those who are fans of QI, you might also look into the podcast No Such Thing as a Fish, wherein four QI researchers chat about the most interesting thing each of them has found in the last seven days.

But the only thing close to a panel show that was successfully imported from England to America was Whose Line Is It Anyway,

I have long maintained that its success in the USA was an utter fluke: ABC put it on at 8 PM on Thursdays in the twilight of the Three Big Networks era. The competition was Friends and Survivor, so anything ABC ran was going to be third place in the ratings. It was very crafty to air a show with a total budget that probably equaled the cost of lighting the Central Perk set. A host, four performers, two or three musicians, four chairs, no scripts... the ABC’s emulation of the ever-strapped BBC paid off.

And note that John Hodgman once turned up on QI as a fifth panellist (unprecedented!) once when he was lobbying to launch it in the US as well. He was manifestly unsuccessful but I think he would have been a great host.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:01 PM on January 2 [3 favorites]


I had no idea about these shows. They are amazing! I’ve loved wait wait for years. It’s like you just gave me infinity more seasons.

Hera bless you for this post!
posted by greermahoney at 10:15 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


One of my favorite highlight reels from The Big Fat Quiz of the Year is the spontaneous attempt by Rob Brydon, host of Would I Lie to You?, to stage a panelist insurrection and wrest the host's role from Jimmy Carr.
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:24 PM on January 2 [15 favorites]


If you like "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me," you may also be interested in BBC Radio 4's The News Quiz!
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:26 PM on January 2 [3 favorites]


I still miss My Word, which traveled across the pond to air on NPR in my youth.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:29 PM on January 2 [5 favorites]


Just to be pedantic for a moment, BFQ is on Channel 4 rather than BBC Four.

Channel 4's not a BBC channel, and - unlike the BBC - has to fund itself mostly through advertising sales, which puts a lot more pressure on short-term ratings success. As a result, the two operations have a noticeably different programming style. It's not a hard-and-fast division, but I think it's fair to say Channel 4's panel shows tend to be that little bit brasher, cruder and more youth-orientated than the BBC generally provides. Which approach you prefer is down to personal taste.

Just to confuse matters further, there's also Radio 4, the BBC's national speech station, which has panel shows like The News Quiz on its schedule. For my money, The News Quiz is always far sharper and funnier than either of its Johnny-come-lately TV rivals (HIGNFY and MTW, both BBC shows). YouTube has some News Quiz "videos" for anyone who wants to check it out, and can also be found on the iPlayer.

Finally QI fans might also like to investigate Radio 4's The Museum of Curiosity. It's hosted by QI originator John Lloyd and has much the same laughs+knowledge mix as the TV show. David Mitchell's Radio 4 panel show The Unbelievable Truth is pretty good too.
posted by Paul Slade at 12:35 AM on January 3 [9 favorites]


I found that Wait Wait Don't Tell Me is an American panel show only in the sense that it has American news. Sagel's script isn't especially witty, and he's a host, not a comedian, so he can't really build on the panel's contributions the way that Sandi Toksvig can. The panel themselves seem to think this is supposed to be a competition about answering news questions rather than making the biggest impression. Paula Poundstone kind of gets it, but Paula Poundstone is only on fire when the topic is food.

The News Quiz is my favourite panel show; I find Never Mind the Buzzcocks too tedious and mean-spirited to enjoy most of the time.
posted by Merus at 12:37 AM on January 3


I still miss Nevermind the Buzzcocks.
posted by runcibleshaw at 12:44 AM on January 3 [7 favorites]


I actually think the problem with modern panel shows in the US is that everyone involved is too invested in whatever the game is, while for UK panel shows the game is mostly just there to make the funny. And when the game isn't funny, like on Countdown, they make a lot of extra time for funny segments, and constantly fuck with the game to make it funnier. I'm now trying to imagine what it would be like if a group of US comedians took over a show like Wheel of Fortune...
posted by runcibleshaw at 12:49 AM on January 3 [4 favorites]


I didn't like the first Buzzcocks host, but the rest were fun.

This years BFQotY didn't have the energy of previous ones, I'm not sure why.

https://www.reddit.com/r/panelshow/new/ is a good place to track/get started with panel shows.
posted by sebastienbailard at 12:50 AM on January 3 [3 favorites]


The only reason I know that Countdown exists is because of several scenes in the About a Boy film in which said Boy shows up at the home of Hugh Grant's character to watch Countdown. Those few moments of on-screen time were not especially compelling but I am will to be wrong about the show as a whole.
posted by Bella Donna at 1:13 AM on January 3


Rebecca Watson's Quiz-o-Tron is a decent attempt at an American panel show.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 2:35 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


Pretty good BFQ this year. I wish they'd do some extra "Big Fat Quiz of Everything" episodes like they've done from time to time. The best one was the one where Jack Whitehall made jokes about being afraid of Mr. Blobby, and then at the end of the quiz Mr. Blobby Showed up and scared him to death.
posted by mmoncur at 3:43 AM on January 3 [2 favorites]


mmoncur - I saw a clip somewhere that said the BFQ of everything for this year airs tomorrow!
posted by okayokayigive at 3:48 AM on January 3 [3 favorites]


I wonder if the disconnect between UK and USA is the competition/lack of competition itself?

Even with WWDTM, someone "wins" a prize each round. True, the only prize is "someone famous does your voicemail message", but they still come up with a way for someone to win a prize. In the UK they don't even do that - the points are arbitrary and mean absolutely nothing.

I've always wondered if this is a reflection of the USA having been trained to expect some kind of prize going to somebody with a game show context, and US producers not being able to comprehend the concept of "but there's no prize, this is an excuse to listen to comedians be funny" and so they just don't get it. Or - in the case of QI briefly airing on BBC America, audiences also just not getting it. (Although with QI in BBC America, I also suspect the bizarre schedule also didn't help.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:43 AM on January 3 [3 favorites]


Bella Donna - I just came to make the crucial distinction between countdown ( the original format, and which is still going strong) and 8out of 10 cats does countdown- which is the funny one. Part of the humor of the latter is predicated a bit on the unlikeliness of making countdown funny, as it’s really something its fans take rather seriously. It’s a fine game show but rather dry if you are looking for entertaining banter. Another example of countdown as the unlikely basis of a joke is the episode of the i.t. Crowd where our heroes are inducted into the murky world of street countdown . Also featuring the excellent Benedict Wong as a kind of Matrix-style host whom some might recognize as Genghis Khan from the sadly missed Marco Polo series. I did end up watching a lot of countdown as a kid though, as it was on when I got home from school.
posted by aesop at 4:49 AM on January 3 [4 favorites]


Countdown, which is a BBC game show mainstay.
Countdown is a Channel 4 show, as is 8 out of 10 Cats.

And HIGNFY went off the boil quite some time ago. Nowhere close to being as good as it was.

Mock the Week is still good though.

Lee Mack on Would I Lie to You? Genius for reasons stated above.
posted by markx2 at 4:53 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


I think I said this in the last British panel show thread we had but I fucking love it when Claudia Winkleman turns up on BFQ or WILTY. (Her WILTY game is strong, friends.)

This year's BFQotY wasn't as energetic as past years but it was still really enjoyable.

I'm also really enjoying it when James Acaster is on MTW. (If you enjoy James Acaster check out his FOUR HOUR special Repertoire on Netflix.) Netflix has been pretty great as far as giving space on the US version for British comedians' specials.

Ed Gamble and James Acaster have a newish podcast called Off the Menu that can be funny. Richard Herring's Leicester Square Theatre Podcast is pretty good - he interviews other comedians.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 5:18 AM on January 3 [2 favorites]


Also an American here that loves the comedy panel shows. QI was my gateway drug. All these shows have regular and guest contestants that draw from a common pool of comedians, a show might have regulars or just people who come back frequently but not always, which is part of the fun and something we don't have in the US. But sometimes you also discover someone new. Often these guests will then also work as a single host or presenter on a completely different show, like a documentary as well. It's how I watched the various shows hosted by Stephen Fry, Rich Hall (various documentaries about American culture and history), Richard Ayoade (Travel Man, Gadget Man), etc.

Just watched Last Leg (Of The Year) last night which was pretty good.
posted by thefool at 5:18 AM on January 3 [3 favorites]


Isn't Claudia Winkleman always on BFQ? And always brings wine and snacks?
posted by thefool at 5:22 AM on January 3


Couple of other shows worth catching:
- Insert Name Here - (BBC2 TV) loosely structured around trivia about people who share a name. Sue Perkins chairs with regular panellists including Richard Osman and Josh Widdecombe
- The Unbelievable Truth (BBC R4) - each panellist has to give a short talk which is all lies apart from hidden true elements that the others have to guess. David Mitchell chairs.
posted by crocomancer at 5:25 AM on January 3 [2 favorites]


HIGNFY is unwatchable nowadays. It was good some ten years ago but it has not kept up with the changing culture and the resulting show is absolutely dire.
posted by kariebookish at 5:37 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


Claudia Winkleman has been on BFQ six times (Wossy has apparently been on 16 times) according to the wikipedia page. It does seem like she always has snacks and booze.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 5:42 AM on January 3


My addiction to panel shows started when I first got a VPN in order to watch Doctor Who in a more timely and thorough manner. Not then they're we're all these other shows (and David tenant kept popping up on them). I always thought the "why" of their ubiquity on UK TV is that they're incredibly cheap to produce, even more so than reality shows. And once you get a couple going, with a regular stable of comedians, it's easy enough to just rotate all those same people.

I can basically watch unlimited QI (and listen to unlimited No Such Thing as a Fish). The more stressful the world gets, the more that becomes true. I agree that HIGNFY has lost its edge, which is a shame.

Stateside, Lovett or Leave It fills the US-based panel show hole for me. Wait Wait is amusing but I'm never thinking, hold up, I haven't listened to to Wait Wait yet this weekend! (I enjoy Peter Segal more in the context of the person having the piss taken out of him in Game of Thrones recaps.)
posted by soren_lorensen at 5:44 AM on January 3 [2 favorites]


Oh lordy I am sorry about all the swypos in my comment above. I am much more literate than my phone thinks I am.
posted by soren_lorensen at 5:51 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


I have to say I really like Countdown itself (and can't possibly imagine an American game show that asks celebrities to do math), and I really like 8 Out Of 10 Cats, but 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown is just ridiculous.
posted by briank at 5:55 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


I still miss Nevermind the Buzzcocks.

They never recovered from losing Simon Amstell as host. Brexit might not have happened if had still been on TV to do the "What the hell is happening?" looks he used to give his crazy or intoxicated guests.
posted by srboisvert at 5:56 AM on January 3 [6 favorites]


Just watched Last Leg (Of The Year) last night which was pretty good.

Comrade! That's what I watched before BFQ 2011!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:19 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


I still miss Shooting Stars.
posted by elsietheeel at 7:12 AM on January 3 [2 favorites]


Also: The fourth Big Fat Quiz of Everything New Year special was recorded at BBC Elstree Studios on 21 November 2018, to be aired on 4 January 2019. The teams will be:

- Sandi Toksvig and Joe Lycett
- Katherine Ryan and Big Narstie
- David Baddiel and Frank Skinner

So I might watch that for Sandi and Big Narstie if there's nowt else on, but I also might just give it a miss.
posted by elsietheeel at 7:21 AM on January 3 [3 favorites]


Even with WWDTM, someone "wins" a prize each round. True, the only prize is "someone famous does your voicemail message", but they still come up with a way for someone to win a prize. In the UK they don't even do that - the points are arbitrary and mean absolutely nothing.

It also seems like most/all panel shows don't have an element of non-celebrity contestants, like Wait Wait does. It's a bit like Price is Right with NPR-grade political jokes.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 7:29 AM on January 3


Lee Mack describes the function of every single key he carries around at all times. He also shares the acronym for his ex-girlfriends' names.
posted by maudlin at 7:38 AM on January 3 [3 favorites]


I can't recall the name, but there was a short-lived British panel show a few years ago where the celebrity guests would be sequestered for a week without any access to news, and then quizzed on what news events were real or not. Imagine the US reboot of that, in the current news climate?
posted by Gortuk at 7:44 AM on January 3 [6 favorites]


Gortuk: My knee-jerk reaction to that comment was "shut up and take my money", seriously.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:48 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


Wow, I'll have fun exploring these links!

I'm trying to remember a show (in the UK) where the guests are given a certain amount of time to talk about a certain subject without having prepared what to say. I think I saw one where they talked about things they really didn't like -- although I'm not sure whether it was just that episode. Any ID for this show from that vague description? I don't remember who the host was.
posted by trillian at 7:49 AM on January 3




Or Just a Minute?
posted by crocomancer at 8:01 AM on January 3


Yes, it was Room 101, thank you!! (So that's Frank Skinner. Knew his name but had never seen him.)
posted by trillian at 8:04 AM on January 3


Woah, Room 101 is still on?
posted by elsietheeel at 8:37 AM on January 3


My absolute favorite BFQ segment of all time still remains Mr. Blobby (from BFQ of the 90's). Gets me every time.

Also James Acaster's delivery of the cabbage story completely sold us on him, and my husband gifted me his book for my birthday. (Hilarious!)
posted by erratic meatsack at 8:45 AM on January 3 [10 favorites]


I'm a huge fan of all British panel shows and would love to see the format adopted on this side of the Atlantic, but I think there's a cultural divide that prevents that from happening. I can't think of many North American celebrities, especially non-comedians, who would allow themselves to be mocked relentlessly and just laugh it off like the Brits do.
Just watch some of the Simon Amstell hosted episodes of Never Mind the Buzzcocks and try to imagine any current American pop star putting up with that level of abusive but hilarious roasting. American celebs tend to take themselves and their "image" far too seriously.
posted by rocket88 at 8:55 AM on January 3 [2 favorites]


a hilariously irreverent take on the panel show is the fab podcast Do the Right Thing.
posted by fregoli at 9:17 AM on January 3 [2 favorites]


Staying in and watching BFQ while downing an entire bottle of champagne has become my NYE tradition. Started one year when I was too sick to go out, and now I genuinely look forward to it. Loved Big Narstie on the 2017 show, excited to see him back for the Big Fat Quiz of Everything.
posted by Tentacle of Trust at 9:44 AM on January 3


Loved Big Narstie on the 2017 show

"Mo Farra sign!" :-D

I had no idea what that reference was that he was making and still am not entirely sure, but watching Jimmy Carr get increasingly angry still made it funny.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:51 AM on January 3 [5 favorites]


Mo Farah "Mobot".
posted by elsietheeel at 10:18 AM on January 3 [4 favorites]


WILTY is the greatest show in the history of human entertainment tbh. The clip of David Mitchell losing his entire mind at the cuddle jumper sketch has carried me through some terrible times.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:49 AM on January 3 [3 favorites]


Gortuk, I think you might be thinking of The Bubble.
posted by Acey at 11:20 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


I am watching a collection of David Mitchell appearances on WILTY? and trying very very very very hard not to laugh out loud in my cubicle.

Thank you all for giving me this amazing gift.
posted by hanov3r at 1:34 PM on January 3


I'm a big fan of panel shows and lean more towards the cerebral ones like QI than the more ridiculous ones. I think Wait Wait Don't Tell me is the closest we have here in the states.
posted by ShakeyJake at 1:45 PM on January 3




FWIW, my cousin came over one time when my folks and I were watching Bake Off on Netflix, and she asked what people got at the end, and when we told her "an engraved cake stand," she was confused that anyone would do it without some sort of cash prize or anything.

I think I mumbled "well, i guess they probably get some money from other appearances if they win, or do a cookbook or something..."

But it just kind of confused me. "Because it's fun? Because it's cool to push yourself and your skills to see how far you can go? To feel proud?"
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 3:08 PM on January 3 [3 favorites]


what people got at the end

they get BAKED GOODS which they can EAT with their MOUTHS
posted by poffin boffin at 3:09 PM on January 3 [12 favorites]


FWIW, aside from the Fix, I think the closest the US had to a panel show in recent years was @midnight. It would have been even better had the host not been a vague blur that made static sounds....
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 3:10 PM on January 3 [2 favorites]


they get BAKED GOODS which they can EAT with their MOUTHS

This is almost verbatim what I said when I was in 7th grade and a teacher asked me about whether I liked cooking ("yes, I like to cook because you get to eat afterwards.")
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:10 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


If you're into this sort of thing, you might also enjoy Because News, from CBC Radio.

Three panelists, usually comedians, riff on the week's events in varied ways. The grand prize is getting to read the credits at the end.

Any week that has Tom Howell or Martha Chaves is usually a good one.
posted by The Outsider at 6:36 PM on January 3 [3 favorites]


FWIW, aside from the Fix, I think the closest the US had to a panel show in recent years was @midnight. It would have been even better had the host not been a vague blur that made static sounds....

I was a devoted @midnight watcher and yet I had completely forgotten it existed until you mentioned it.

Which I think says more about the vague staticky blur than the show itself.
posted by elsietheeel at 7:25 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


This is my favourite television these days. How lucky to have the technology and er, sharing, culture so that non-Brits can enjoy, too.

Lee Mack is unbelievably quick-witted. I'm generally in awe.
posted by Savannah at 8:35 PM on January 3


His proposed teletubby method is quite useful.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:53 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


Are we not sharing clips?? The Last Leg's half-naked tribute with tipsy Chris O'Dowd. And today I plan on playing Carrot In A Box. My friend's twins play pigeon-shotgun-worm successfully.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 9:10 PM on January 3 [4 favorites]


In case anyone else missed it like I did, they did a Big Fat Quiz of Everything last January. That should hold us over until the new one tonight!


dorothyisunderwood: "Carrot in a Box" was the best thing I've ever seen on 8OOTC... Hilarious double/triple bluff by one of the contestants. There must have been some prep and scripting, but it seems completely improvised and incredibly lucky that it worked out how it did...
posted by mmoncur at 3:45 AM on January 4 [3 favorites]


omg, Carrot in a Box! I swear I must have died laughing the first time I saw it, and I am not truly here. We tried sharing this with one of my husband's brothers and his wife, but they just... didn't find it as funny, which is how I know we will never truly be friends.
posted by erratic meatsack at 3:01 PM on January 4 [2 favorites]


Here's the 2019 Big Fat Quiz of Everything.
posted by mmoncur at 12:36 AM on January 5 [4 favorites]


Why is it that panel shows like this are so ubiquitous in the UK, but not elsewhere?

I'm in the throes of that annoying thing (annoying to everybody), where I have an Ooh! Ooh! Me, Miss! answer to that question that has probably already come up but if I don't post it it'll rattle around inside my head, and I haven't got the time to read all the links, but the tradition of panel shows goes back a very long way on the radio in the UK into the forties and fifties - when I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue was launched in 1972 it was intended as a parody (or "antidote") to something that was already a cliche.

They are incredibly cheap to make. Logistically speaking, the production of one panel show is exactly the same as the production of another - especially in the world of the BBC Home Service/Radio 4, when all the resources were in-house, so you just needed to break out the desks and microphones and let everyone take their places and talk. They didn't even used to be scripted, or at least not much. The early ones were obviously just groups of friends chatting away, and I think that's the key to their longevity - the best ones are more about conviviality ("night in the pub" conversation) than competitiveness.
posted by Grangousier at 3:54 AM on January 5 [5 favorites]


That makes sense to me — I tend to think of, say, QI as the world's best dinner party conversation.
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 12:33 PM on January 5


Jimmy Carr hosts so many of these shows that he should be prosecuted under antitrust laws.
posted by runcibleshaw at 5:16 PM on January 5 [2 favorites]


British panel shows, and Taskmaster, (and murder documentaries) are about the only thing I can watch anymore. They are simply the best!
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:49 PM on January 6


Also James Acaster's delivery of the cabbage story yt completely sold us on him, and my husband gifted me his book for my birthday.

Oh yes, Acaster is my new favourite as well! I wasn't aware he had a book, I will secure a copy forthwith!
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:51 PM on January 6


For those who are fans of QI, you might also look into the podcast No Such Thing as a Fish, wherein four QI researchers chat about the most interesting thing each of them has found in the last seven days.

Coming over here from the "Also check out these posts from last week" MeTa only to say that QI's podcast was what basically got me thinking "Gee I might like some podcasts" and I listen to it all the time. When I was in the UK I watched QI and it wasn't quite as good as the podcast for me (focusing a little on personalities some of which I did n't know and not the raw interesting facts part). I've been reading Planet Funny this week (Ken Jennings' book on humor) and he does go out of his way to mention that the UK really has the lead on funny in the English-speaking world and specifically cites panel shows as a thing generally enjoyed in the Uk and a little inscrutable to US audiences. Thanks for this, Richard Ayoade is a favorite and I look forward to seeing some of these.
posted by jessamyn at 10:26 AM on January 12 [1 favorite]


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