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TV: Comedians May Not Know Appeared On QI

One of the most high-profile and storied British panel shows has to be QI: Quite Interesting. Running since 2003, the show has been a comedy and information forum for comedians for years – perhaps as the biggest platform for permanent panelist Alan Davies comedy career. Beyond Alan, many others have made notable advancements in their career from their appearances on the show: Bill Bailey, Sean Lock, Jo Brand, Jimmy Carr, David Mitchell and Phil Jupitus are just some of those who are the most common and known featured guests. However, what about some of the comedians you likely know but do not remember their appearance on the show. 

Tim Minchin

A piano made of cats - QI: Series K Episode 8 Preview - BBC Two - YouTube

A recognised name across the world, the Australian comedian is likely best-known for his musical anthems that question aspects of religion with mocking and logical lyricism. Tim is actually a very methodical and talented musician, showing his grit on the piano and proving he is much more than just a comedy punchline but a very genuine maestro.  

Minchin would occasionally pop up on British panel shows such as Never Mind The Buzzcocks and 8 Out Of 10 Cats. 

As for QI, Tim Minchin appeared on the 8th episode of the K series titled Keys. Not only did the comedic pianist appear but so did fellow piano player and comedy mind Bill Bailey. The episode covered pianos, typewriters and lockmakers amongst other topics relating to the topic of the episode. 

As for his score, this was not revealed in the episode. However, we do know he came third behind winner Bill Bailey and runner-up Isy Suttie. Suttie has –8 points so we know Minchin got less than this, having triggered the klaxon. However, Tim did prevail over Alan Davies. 

Greg Davies

Although you may not notice it initially, Greg Davies is one of the most prolific TV stars in the modern day. Taskmaster, Cuckoo, Man Down, The Cleaner, Never Mind The Buzzcocks, The Inbetweeners, Would I Lie To You?, Live At The Apollo, 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown, Mock The Week and Have I Got News For You are just some of his contributions to British TV since 2010. 

Davies has to date only made 1 appearance on QI. This took place in 2016 in the M series in the episode Marriage and Mating. Greg was impressive in his singular appearance, managing to keep up with the common panelists even if he was in a different environment than he usually is.  

Greg would end in 2nd place with –4 points, losing out to Jo Brand.  

John Bishop

A stand-up comedian, John Bishop is not exactly someone most recognised as a panelist on quiz shows. Despite this, he would appear on QI in the 3rd episode of the I series Imbroglio alongside Sean Lock and Frank Skinner.  

After a show involving mobile phone signals, banjoleles and double entendres – the Liverpudlian Bishop would win the episode with 4 points. This means John Bishop has a 100% win record as he has not resurfaced on the show since. 

With his positive overall points, it makes Bishop’s 4 point total the 39th highest ranked panelist of all time as of 2016 according to the QI Scoreboard website. 

Andy Parsons

Andy Parsons seemingly will go down as a comedian whose career is synonymous with a singular panel show: Mock The Week. So his one-off QI appearance may seem weird.  

At this point, the bald-headed comic had only recently made appearances on the Dara O’Briain-hosted show and was not yet a permanent panelist at the time of his QI appearance’s recording, and would be a constant presence on the show from 2005-2015.  

Parsons appeared on the episode Death. He would not win the episode, ending with a grand total of 0 points – losing out to the audience. That said, he was the winner out of the 4 panelists besting Alan, Sean Lock and Clive Anderson.  

Andy Parsons scarcely appears outside of Mock The Week making his surfacing on QI all the more strange and obscure. 

Henning Wehn

Star of the QI episode Inequality (the 8th episode of the I series), Henning When may not exactly be a comedy household name but he is beloved by all that know him. 

Born in West Germany, Henning managed to overcome the language barrier to make it into British comedy. He is now a sought after name and has made various appearances on 8 Out Of 10 Cats, Have I Got News For You and Would I Lie To You?.  

His time on the Stephen Fry-hosted quiz show saw him share a panel with Alan, Sandi Toksvig and Clive Anderson. Henning would memorably get the klaxon for answering a question with a reference to something he did not know.  

As for his score, it was not announced in the episode but the website QI Scoreboard estimates it is a score of –60, thus making it one of the lowest amongst single-time participants.  

Barry Cryer

A proper sign of the old guard of comedy, Barry Cryer’s career in comedy has spanned over 60 years, with him staying on TV today often with talking head roles on documentaries and historical recollections of significant comics and shows.  

The writer, comedian and actor has appeared on a plethora of radio and TV comedy efforts over the years as well as having written material for some of the biggest names in British comedy of the 20th century such as Dave Allen, Tommy Cooper, Bruce Forsyth, Spike Milligan, David Frost, Eric Morecambe, Ernie Wise, Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett.  

Barry Cryer’s sole appearance was on the 4th episode of the B series titled Bible. Unfortunately for Cryer, he would tie joint-last with Alan on –6 points, with Jeremy Clarkson winning the instalment.  

Ed Byrne

Byrne holds the distinction of the only listed comedian here that appeared in the era Sandi Toksvig hosted the show.  

The Irish-born Byrne burst onto the scenes in the 1990s, most memorably from his set about Alanis Morissette’s hit single Ironic. A nominee for the 1998 Perrier Award – an esteemed comedy award won by Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Emma Thompson, Jeremy Hardy, Sean Hughes, Frank Skinner, Lee Evans and more before Byrne, he even appeared in an episode of Father Ted pre-fame. 

More recently, he has become a regular but not permanent member of the Mock The Week lineup. He has also made appearances elsewhere on popular panel shows Would I Lie To You?, Never Mind The Buzzcocks and Have I Got News For You amongst others.  

Ed would appear in series P, in the episode Pathological. Alongside Sandi and Alan, Rhod Gilbert and Sindu Vee were the featured guests – with perhaps the most memorable part being both Ed and Alan shooting water pistols. Ed would win the episode.  

Dom Joly

Appearing in the QI episode Fire And Freezing, Dom Joly would make a solitary QI appearance in 2008 on the Christmas special.  

Best-known for his hidden camera TV show Trigger Happy TV, Joly was actually born in Beirut, Lebanon and claims to have gone to school alongside Osama Bin Laden (a statement shared by Ian Hislop, editor of Private Eye). He went on to become a fixture on various panel shows and comedy stunts. 

His appearance on QI saw him lose out to winner Clive Anderson whilst Alan, Stephen and Rob Brydon were also on this edition. His score was –16 at the end of the episode. 

Greg Proops

An improvisational comic best-known for his work on Whose Line Is It Anyway? in both the UK and US, Greg Proops was also the voice of Bob The Builder on the show of the same name for 4 years from 2005-2009.  

Proops only appearance came in 2012 in the episode titled Jungles in the J series. Discussing hydrophobic sand, frogs using a semophoric communication system and sperm-distributing spiders, he would come 3rd in the episode on a total –8 points. 

A rather odd-looking and unique panel, his QI appearance saw him joined by Stephen and Alan as well as Reginald D. Hunter (making his 2nd of 3 appearances to date) and another one-off showing comedian David O’Doherty. Reg would win the episode with a grand score of 1 point.  

Adam Hills

An Aussie better known in the UK, Hills is the host of The Last Leg on Channel 4 for which he is most known. Elsewhere, he has appeared on Mock The Week and Never Mind The Buzzcocks in addition to his works back in Australia, voice-over work and coverage of various Olympic Games (the latter in both Paralympic and non-Paralympic events due to Hills being born without a leg, using a prosthetic in place of an actual foot).  

Hills only appeared on QI once but I might be lying – which just so happens to be the name of the episode in the L series in which he co-starred.  

He would score a whopping 14 points, winning in the episode also featuring Jack Whitehall and Sara Pascoe. This single appearance and relative high score ranks him as the 18th highest scorer as of 2016. 

Hills has not made a re-emergence on the show, having not appeared on a panel show outside of The Last Leg in a significant role very often. 

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Griffin Kaye
Griffin Kaye is a contributing writer for TWM. He is a life-long pro wrestling, comedy and music fan. He can be reached by e-mail at [email protected], on Twitter @GriffinKaye1, as well as on Instagram at @TheGriffinKaye, @NoContextQI, @NoContextHaveIGotNewsForYou and @WrestlingInTheYears.
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