Advent Calendar: NMTB Christmas Special!

Happy holidays, all y'all!

Yes, that is a dress. He's wearing it with shiny gold cowboy boots. I don't know. Because. At least this one is long. Fielding is distinctly not good at remembering that when you raise your arms when wearing a minidress, the dress goes with. This is hilarious, possibly unintentionally, but probably ought to be encouraged mostly in live shows, where no one will stop him and make him do the number again before they get complaints.

Yes, he is in full face tonight, and in fact is wearing more makeup than the lady on-panel. I've seen him in the whole nine yards before, both in drag for a character part and in whatever it is you consider Vince Noir's normal wardrobe to be, but he doesn't normally bother. Christmas episodes are evidently a special occasion. His eyeshadow is very Theda Bara. The lady's is a very modern look. I can dig up references for both if anyone cares.

Yes, the other one does look remarkably normal, until you notice that he's wearing a Hello Kitty necklace. He's just more quietly subversive. This year's QI Christmas special briefly involved a musical instrument. It was passed to Jupitus and the result was exactly what you'd expect. (It was a percussion piece, which was taken away after he caved to the temptation to use it accompaniment as he sang pop tunes.) After that he essentially got the panel -- including the notoriously yet wistfully non-musical Fry -- to play the intros round, only with head-invadey advertising jingles.

Yes, that is the ex-Spice Girl. Mel C has been on the show several times over the past few years. Fielding and Jupitus both adore her. She's quick, she's adaptable, it's easy to make her laugh, and she also doesn't think mean is funny. Her sense of humor bottoms out about where theirs do, at "true, but extremely flippantly phrased". I am tempted to go buy all of her music whether I like the sound of it or not, just because I would like her to remain comfortably famous to the point where she continues to be on TV.

The Brian Cox to whom the host refers is Professor Brian Cox, OBE, a particle physicist at the University of Manchester. He is famous for presenting a wide range of pop-science things on the BBC, usually to a respectable degree of accuracy despite the non-technical audience, and for being extremely pretty and not looking even remotely his actual age of 44 years. He is sometimes picked on for once being the keyboardist for a band called D:Ream, although I'm not sure why, as both of their albums not only charted but cracked the top five. He and his wife met in what is quite possibly the single nerdiest conceivable way that does not somehow involve the starship Enterprise, which is that they were both working on something at the Large Hadron Collider. They have a small son whose middle name is "Eagle", after the lunar lander.

I would be flabbergasted if there were not some sort of alcohol involved in the taping of this show. Americans are extraordinarily prudish when it comes to drinking; having a couple before going out to perform is not generally talked about, and rarely admitted to in interviews, because we as a culture are really not good with things like 'gray areas' and 'being fucking reasonable'. The Brits are generally better about it, recognizing that having a pint does not instantly make you into a slavering alcoholic monster, although having several more does put you at risk of turning into a complete wanker over a football match. It's tough to tell with Jupitus, since I don't have a known-drunk reference to compare with, but given the way things roll steadily but cheerfully downhill over the course of the episode, I'd lay good odds that Fielding has got a coffee mug full of champagne on the desk in front of him. He hesitates less than usual before speaking, and even interrupts once or twice, which he almost never dooes. Booze is excellent for dissolving any of those pesky filters between brain and mouth.

[ETA: I do have a reference for drunk!Fielding. A few of them, in fact. The audio commentary on the Mighty Boosh DVDs covers about half of the episodes over the course of three series. Fielding at one point mentions the presence of champagne in the booth, and there exists video for some of the commentary outtakes involving obvious beer. The commentary tracks seem to have all be done in one solid recording block, because it's several hours of Barratt, Fielding, and Rich Fulcher getting audibly drunker and drunker and drunker in a small room with a TV and some recording gear. By the last episode, Fielding and Fulcher are getting so silly and laughing so hard that they're just making pterodactyl noises into the microphone, and the normally-quiet Barratt, who is the only one even remotely on topic, is actually talking right through the two of them.

There's also the time he and Barratt turned up on 1 Leicester Square, years and years ago. He's got a bottle with him for the first segment -- which he manages to drop, and which Barratt quietly picks up for him, with an air that suggests to me he's used to a little bit of chaos accompanying the combination of Fielding and beer -- and he's pretty buzzed by the time he gets down to trying to dispense wisdom to people who quite clearly need some, inasmuch as they thought the best thing to do with their life problems was to go on MTV and ask advice from Russell Brand. He is a cheerful, mouthy, and occasionally rather soppy-WAFFy drunk. Pretty much just like sober, only more.]