QI (2003) s17e05 Episode Script

Questions and Qualifications

1 This programme contains some strong language.
Good evening and welcome to an episode of QI where I'll be asking quite interesting questions about questions and qualifications.
I will be invigilating.
The panel's phones have been confiscated.
And joining me are the neatly underlined Nish Kumar CHEERING AND APPLAUSE .
the slightly smudged Ade Adepitan.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE Asking for extra paper, it's Holly Walsh.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE And, no, you can't go to the bathroom, Alan Davies.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE And their buzzers are all asking the really big questions.
Holly goes Where have all the flowers gone? Yeah, it's a good question, right? Ade goes # Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? LAUGHTER Nish goes Is there life on Mars? LAUGHTER LAUGHTER Alan goes What's new pussycat? Whoa, whoa, whoa LAUGHTER BELL RINGS Ah! There's the school bell.
There are eight questions tonight and you should attempt three of them.
Please show your working.
You can turn your papers over and start now.
This is my worst nightmare.
Is it? - Oh, my God.
- This is just terrible.
- Oh, God.
- Does it makes you actually feel slightly anxious? - Yeah.
- I feel physically sick.
- I am sweating.
These have been made up for us.
And it says on the inside, "This page has been left intentionally blank.
" Then it says here, "This one was an accident.
" LAUGHTER Quite a good list of equipment required on the paper.
Oh, yes.
What have you got? Well, it says you need a Walther PPK with silencer.
LAUGHTER Mine's got for equipment required, disposable gloves and a schematic of Dungeness B Power Station.
LAUGHTER I've got a kilogram of self-raising flour and a map of Sheffield town centre.
LAUGHTER Mine just says "bring your own booze".
LAUGHTER Let me ask you a question that is not on paper.
What is the hardest exam in the world? I mean, I hope the answer's "doctor".
This is actually, apparently, tougher than that.
Oh, isn't it a vet is harder than being a doctor? Cos that's what vets always say, they're like, "Oh, doctors do it in seven.
And we do it in nineor eleven.
" Yeah, with our hands up a cow's arse.
LAUGHTER What are you diagnosing there? LAUGHTER I'm not a vet, darling.
I've no idea.
You're blagging your way through the exam.
- Yes! - Stick it up there! - Exactly! Sandi, I don't know why in your thing of you putting your hand up a cow's arse, you're also doing a bhangra move.
LAUGHTER Inside the cow, reaching out.
LAUGHTER Isn't it to get a job at Apple or Google or one of those places? No.
It's the test to become a commander of a Royal Navy submarine, is thought to be the hardest exam in the world.
It is, in fact, known as The Perisher.
Officially, it's called the Commanding Officers Qualifying Course but it's so tough that officers from other nations think it's the thing to take.
The failure rate, it varies from year to year, but it's about 30-45%.
And if you fail, you cannot serve on a sub in any capacity.
You can serve in Subway, though.
LAUGHTER The elves have just told me that it's a myth about the nine years for a vet training - it can be done in four.
I don't believe that.
When you're a doctor, you only have to know how one, like, organism works.
But when you're a vet Yes.
people come in with, like, "Oh, my stick insect's got eczema.
" And then someone else is, like, "This horse is going to explode!" LAUGHTER It's going to blow! Is it ticking? LAUGHTER - That's the ultimate Trojan horse, isn't it? - Yes! LAUGHTER Absolutely.
It's simple, you just stick your hand up its arse and give it one of these.
LAUGHTER That's me unscrewing the bomb.
I think animals are like cars.
They all work the same way, really.
We've spent a fortune on my cat.
I've spent over £1,000 in the last two years on my cat.
- £1,000? - Yeah.
- Trying to make it into a dog.
LAUGHTER CHEERING AND APPLAUSE So, what's wrong with the bloody thing, apart from it's a cat? LAUGHTER Hard to come by, cats, aren't they, after all? LAUGHTER You know those bits of elastic that keep chicken legs together like that? It swallowed one of those and it went all through its system, tied up, like, tied it all up.
That's why you need to go up, go Exactly! Get in there! LAUGHTER Anyway, she died, so that's fine.
LAUGHTER Oh, my God.
Well, I wasn't going to pay a grand.
LAUGHTER APPLAUSE Right, so, submarines.
They do three months of theoretical work.
There are simulations and exercises at sea.
And they're kept sleep-deprived and stressed.
They get them drunk and see how they operate with a hangover.
And, nevertheless, right on the very last day you can fail, and if you do fail, you get called into the captain's cabin, you're given a glass of whisky, and you're escorted to land and you never serve on a submarine again.
- At least you get a glass of whisky.
- Yeah.
In America, you have to pass a 150-question exam to become a certified cheese professional.
You need - I love this - 4,000 hours of working with cheese.
I've got that already.
I just stand in front of the fridge and, like, eat it cos there's no calories if you take it straight out of the fridge.
Is that right? LAUGHTER There is a reading list of at least 32 books that you have to read.
A cheese reading list? Cheese reading list, yes.
Is that the sort of health and safety reading list? It's about origins, manufacturing, pasteurising, all of the different elements.
I reckon after about 3,000 hours, you get cheese BORED.
LAUGHTER To get a Master Sommelier Diploma, so in other words, to know everything there is to do with wine, you have to identify a wine by its grape, by its region, the year, and since 1940, only 200 people have passed the exam.
Don't they get their noses insured for, like, hundreds of thousands of pounds? It's all about having a good nose.
You can't smoke as well, cos that kills all your taste buds and smell buds.
- Who wants to have a glass of wine without a fag, eh? - Booze and fag! LAUGHTER Oh, yeah, Master Sommelier, me.
LAUGHTER This is absolutely true.
I've never done cocaine and I told a friend of mine that and he said it's a real waste of that nose.
LAUGHTER Right, moving on.
Exam papers away, please.
Ah! Phew! Can you name the question in the least successful poll - of all time? - Oh, God! Should the United Kingdom leave or remain in the European Union? KLAXON LAUGHTER APPLAUSE Take that, people on the internet who say I bring everything back to Brexit.
LAUGHTER It is not that.
Not that.
Although it is to do with Europe, I can tell you that.
- So, when's the last time there was a massive bust-up with Europe? - 1939.
The war.
Yeah, so, the Second World War That was a bust-up, wasn't it? LAUGHTER - It was a to-do.
- It was.
LAUGHTER A carry-on.
It was a fracas.
We had a poll? There was a wonderful and eccentric scientist call Geoffrey Pyke and he tried to avert World War II using an opinion poll.
They'd tried everything.
What he was interested in was having some kind of plebiscite finding out what the public wanted.
And Hitler had frequently relied on plebiscites to gauge opinions, and they were rather fashionable and plausible, and Pyke thought that he could sway opinion.
So in 1933 the Oxford Union had held a debate in which the student audience had declared they would not fight for king and country and the press reported that Hitler had taken a very close interest in the result.
In 1939, Pyke sent ten specially trained volunteers to Germany to question the populace to work out how they felt, and then he was going to present Hitler with the detailed findings and hopefully, he thought, it would put Hitler off from going to war.
Well, that worked, didn't it? Well, it's such a British idea, because he said he didn't want the men to openly say why they were doing it.
They all went disguised as golfers.
LAUGHTER And each one interviewed ten Germans a day, asking whether Germany - could win the war - Dressed as golfers? - Dressed as golfers, yes.
And then Pyke wanted to meet them and find out what they were doing and he thought it was too much - to also go as a golfer, so he sneaked in - He went as a sheep.
LAUGHTER He went as a canary buff complete with a caged canary.
LAUGHTER And he had code names.
He used to write to his spies as Aunt Marjorie.
And they did find the results that they were looking for.
Most Germans didn't want to go to war.
They were ambivalent about the Nazis but sadly it was a bit late.
They went in August 1939, and, of course, war broke out in the start of September.
But don't you love that a man thought, "I know what we'll do, "we'll go disguised as golfers, to sort it out"? - Just soso random.
- Yeah.
Geoffrey Pyke went to the polls to try and prevent Hitler goingto the Poles.
AUDIENCE GROANS The war's not happening now, you know? LAUGHTER Now, some people are introverts, some are extroverts.
What kind of "vert" are you? I think I'm a bit of both, actually.
I think you would be right.
I think, as far as we can tell, most people are, in fact, a bit of both.
Does anybody know who came up with the idea of introverts and extroverts? Mr Vert.
Mr Vert.
First name, Per.
LAUGHTER HOOTER APPLAUSE I really hope they use that as the still for radio.
LAUGHTER Me and Alan with just "pervert" LAUGHTER People'll be, like, "I knew it.
I knew they'd catch up with them one day.
" It was Carl Jung, the great Swiss psychoanalyst.
- Oh, what a portrait! - Great glasses! Yeah, it's good, isn't it? I don't know how he could see through them.
That's weird.
LAUGHTER So, it's about your motivation.
So, either you get your motivation from within yourself and that makes you an introvert, or from your surroundings and your relationships and that makes you an extrovert.
But Jung himself said that introverts and extroverts are the minorities and we're mostly ambiverts.
You're an ambivert.
- You can vert with both hands.
- Nice.
But it's very bad news for something called the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
- Oh, that's insanity.
- Is that personality types? It's a personality test.
So, it was invented by a woman called Katharine Briggs and then her daughter Isabel Myers, and they worked on it together.
They had no particular expertise in this area and they developed it because Katharine Briggs met her future son-in-law, didn't think he fitted with the family and wanted to find out why.
So she developed this personality test, and basically it divides people into particular types of categories.
So, you get extroverts versus introverts, which we already know - not really a thing - and then sensing versus intuitive, thinking versus feeling, and judging versus perceiving.
The thing about it is, it's really sort of nonsense but it is used by HR departments around the world.
Two million people take this test every year in 26 different countries.
In the USA alone, 200 federal agencies use it, and it really is ridiculous.
It's a bit like the horoscope.
You just can't divide the whole world up into 12 categories.
Oh, that's classic Libra, that is.
LAUGHTER My dad was forced to take it at work.
I don't know how he managed this but I think he failed.
LAUGHTER He said, "The guy said I was a, you know, basically, a sociopath," and he told me, my mother, and my brother.
And we took - in his words - "too long to respond".
LAUGHTER "Oh! No, Dad!" The problem with it is it's too binary.
It's an "either or" thing that you have to use to determine personality - ridiculous.
It's also self-reporting.
So if you think, for example, that you're an extrovert, that is pretty much the result that you're going to come out with.
The real problem is that about half the people who take it a second time come out with a completely different result.
So it clearly doesn't work.
The one I think is most extraordinary is the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory.
It was first written in 1943 and it's been updated a few times.
But you basically just have to say true or false.
OK? So, I'm going to ask those of you who are able, please, will you stand up so that we can see whether you can pass my test here, please? There's a couple of people here dressed as golfers.
LAUGHTER So, hands on your head for true.
Hands on your bottom for false.
True or false? At times, I have a strong urge to do something harmful or shocking.
Oh, my God! Everyone put their hands! OK.
True or false? I have never indulged in any unusual sex practices.
There was a Unusual is a loose word.
- Yeah, it is.
I mean - Yeah, I had a wank in a Portakabin once.
- Is that? - LAUGHTER That was my dressing room, you bastard! LAUGHTER These are genuine questions from this test.
I would like to hunt lions in Africa.
True or false? Hardly anybody.
A few.
Quite a few.
True or false? I am fascinated by fire.
- Oh, wow! - We've got a lot of maniacs in! OK.
And finally, true or false? I am a special agent of God.
LAUGHTER Thank you very much.
Right, applaud yourselves.
That was very good.
Very well done.
APPLAUSE But those are genuine questions to try and decide whether or not somebody would be suitable for a job as a clerk.
Now for a bit of role play.
Three of you have got police hats under your desk.
Ade, I want you to play good cop.
Holly, you play bad cop.
- Alan, you're going to be normal cop.
- It's good, here we go.
I don't have the voice to play a bad cop.
- Go for it.
- I can't Like, I just can't swear with this voice.
It doesn't Give me your fucking secrets! It just sounds delightful.
LAUGHTER Nish has a secret.
I want the three of you to find out what it is, please.
You look like a traffic warden.
LAUGHTER It looks like someone from the Village People.
LAUGHTER I think he's about to go to a hen night and strip.
LAUGHTER Right, Nish is in the spotlight.
- Oh, my God.
- He's got a secret.
Come on.
This is American immigration all over again! LAUGHTER I know you've got something going on, mate.
No, leave it! You've gone too far! Oh, we're a comedian, are we? Actually, yes! Now, be nice, be nice.
It's a lovely beard you have there, Nish.
Thanks very much, Ade.
I've had it combed and I also really love the fact that you've turned your policeman hat backwards and are wearing it like Samuel L Jackson's Kangols! That's what I'm talking about! Hashtag time's up.
We can't flirt at work any more! Hang on, you're supposed to be the bad cop.
All right, Sonny Jim.
- Sonny Jim? - It's just bizarre! I'm sorry about this, Mr Kumar.
It's an absolute nightmare.
It's like being interrogated by Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins! Just tell us what the secret is and I'll call her off.
I haven't got a secret.
I'm an upstanding member of society.
I've not even taken cocaine in spite of the size and volume of my nose! Good cop.
Ertell us your secret.
That's not good.
Good would be like, "Listen, sir, I'm terribly sorry" We've switched round, we're switching round.
TELL US YOUR SECRET, YOU! Sonny Jim! Are you going to confess? I-I will confess to .
farting in Sandi's dressing room.
Oh, my God! "Nish farted in Sandi's" Are you getting him to sign it? You have a right to remain silent but violent! I'm really worried, Holly, you're getting into it now.
Shut your face! APPLAUSE So, here is the thing about the good-cop-bad-cop thing.
What we do know is it's a very, very good way, if you want to prize a confession out of somebody.
It is not a good means of actually discovering the truth.
So, somebody will just confess but it's not So, Nish wasn't telling the truth, then? No, darling, he's never been allowed in my dressing room! It's been tested by scientists and they carried out all sorts of experiments to emotionally destabilise their subjects and then try to manipulate them, but it doesn't work.
Anyway, good cop bad cop is not much cop.
Why do English paintings have so many squirrels in them? I've never noticed a squirrel.
Well, with her Are they sort of like symbols for nut-hoarding? Is it because they had amazing agents and they just managed to get them in all the big paintings? Like the Kate Moss of squirrels.
It's specifically 18th-century paintings.
And there's a possible reason.
At the time it was common to keep squirrels as pets.
Apparently they often walked around with their owners and they would have little chains and that kind of thing.
But why would I ask you this question? Where do you think this question has come from? Oh, is this one of the first questions in the citizenship test? This is the one they should have asked instead of, "Do you want to be in or out of the EU?" Squexit means Squexit! Before the internet, people used to go to the library to ask questions and there is a wonderful list of questions that the New York Public Library has been asked since the 1940s.
They keep a record of them.
This is one of the questions.
Why do 18th-century English paintings have so many squirrels in them? And there was a follow-up question.
How did they tame them so they wouldn't bite the painter? I like these other questions.
Where can I rent a guillotine? - Don't want to buy one - Yeah.
don't want to borrow one.
I'm prepared to pay a reasonable hire fee.
Used once! And sometimes the questioner could write back.
This one is from 1967.
The question, "What is the natural enemy of a duck?" The librarian, "What do you mean?" Reply, "Well, a whole flight of them landed in my pool "and I have waved a broom at them "but all they do is look at me and quack.
"I thought I could introduce the natural enemy into the pool area.
" Surely the natural enemy of the duck is some small pancakes and hoisin sauce.
No, it's a dog with a canoe.
The library continues this service.
They receive about 30,000 calls a year and they can even outfox the experts.
They were asked, "Could you tell me the thickness of a US postage stamp "with the glue on it?" And the library replied, "Sorry, we couldn't tell you that quickly.
"Why don't you try the post office?" And they got the reply, "This is the post office.
" In 1967, they got a call from a woman saying, "When you meet a fellow and you know he's worth 27 million "and you know his nationality, how do you find out his name?" Now, to really test who's qualified for the job, we come to the question of General Ignorance.
Fingers on buzzers, please.
What's the best thing for an exhausted bee? - Nish? - Honey? - KLAXON Oh! Honey! What do you reckon, Ade? Sugar water? KLAXON Speed.
LAUGHTER So, here's the thing.
Never give it honey.
The RSPB say feeding a tired bee honey, it's really a short-term solution.
It needs nectar.
Why are the RSPB wading in on this? That's not a bird! Keep their beaks out of it! It can do all sorts of damage because, first of all, honey contains spores of bacteria and it's perfectly possible the bee may pick those up and take them home and infect the entire hive.
- It needs nectar, is what it needs.
- Who's got nectar? I mean, really Um, they're called flowers.
The thing is, darling, it either needs a rest or it needs to be left alone so it will be encouraged to go and pollinate.
Or it could just be dying.
In which case, the kindest thing is to sit with it and give encouragement, I think.
If you make the sugar too thick, you could block up the bee's proboscis.
You could then stop it being able to get the nectar at all.
I mean, there's nothing really good about giving any honey water or any sugary water whatsoever.
Have more bee-friendly flowers in your garden, is the best thing you can do.
That's not something you can do there and then.
No, that's tricky, just suddenly planting a buddleia just for the sake of it.
Here's a few bee facts.
Bees have furry tongues.
They have long hairs to trap the nectar.
But what sort of bees make milk? What sort of bees make milk? Boo-bees.
LAUGHTER APPLAUSE I try all series to raise the tone! Sorry.
One for the kids! They've got furry tongues, they've also got furry eyes.
That's quite weird, right? Urgh.
So, they have those big compound eyes.
They've got hairs between them.
They grow at the intersection of the lenses.
What I particularly love about bees, they can really take their alcohol.
OK, so, scientists fed them pure ethanol and they can drink the human equivalent of ten litres of wine in a single sitting.
- Wow.
- Yeah, I know.
Give it up for the bees! Oh, come on, we've all done that when we've been dumped! The best thing you can do for a bee is stock your garden full of flowers.
What do bears do in winter? Shit in the woods.
KLAXON APPLAUSE Nice! Obviously hibernate, right? KLAXON Watch TV? No, they're not true hibernators.
So, there are a few species that go into a deep sleep.
It's called a torpor.
But it's not hibernation.
So, a hibernating animal will not wake if there's a loud noise or if you touch it or you move it.
But bears in torpor, they can wake really easily.
And hibernating animals, their temperatures drop a tremendous deal, whereas the bears' just decreases a little bit in torpor.
Much less dramatic.
So the only British mammals which truly hibernate - are things like hedgehogs and dormice.
- Middle-aged men.
Middle-aged men.
So, bears don't shit in the woods in the winter.
Why? - Why do they not do that? - Cold, innit? Yes, that is true.
So what do they do instead? They pay you good money to just Push it out! Bhangra it out! Either they go or they don't go.
They don't go at all.
They keep in it.
They keep it in.
- So their first poo of the spring - Good lord! - Woo! Is Yeah.
It must be like that bit in Ghostbusters when all the ghosts escape out of the safe.
But there's a particular way they keep it in.
Does anybody know what the particular way is? - Cork.
- HOLLY: Cross their legs.
You are the closest.
Really? Yes.
- A cork! - A cork.
- I thought you said pork.
They use a small pig! Imagine my confusion when he says "pork" and you go, "You're very close!" They make a faecal plug that's called a tappen.
It's sort of faeces dried out and hardened and then they bung it up inside and it stays that way for six, seven months.
- Oh! - And then shoots out in a mass It is Let's say it's jettisoned in the usual way.
Apparently it's not a terrible smell.
The North American Bear Center insists the odour is light and not unpleasant.
Anyway, moving on.
Have a look at this sequence.
It goes 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 31 What is wrong with the sequence? Hmm.
Well, they're all doubling up, aren't they, - and then there's one? - Apart from the last one.
So it should be what? 32.
It should be 32.
KLAXON I love this because it is a sort of philosophical thing.
The fact is, we simply don't have enough information here in order to give a single unique solution.
So, it would be that if everything was doubled Sorry, I'll get my stick out.
So, if you have a quick look at this.
So the sequence is actually the number of regions in a circle and divided by the lines connecting a number of points.
So, if you have a look here, here's the one and there's one point, so we have just one region.
Here is the two, so we have two points and we have divided it into two regions.
When you get three points, like that, it divides into four regions.
Four points like this, eight regions.
Five, it becomes 16 regions.
But when you have six points, there are 31 regions and therefore it is a completely correct sequence that it should go 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 31.
So there are at least two valid answers.
32 just seems to us to be the more obvious one.
That's because of the darts.
- What? - 32.
- Is that in darts? - Yeah.
In darts, it's very important, if you can Yeah.
to try to get to a double 16.
- OK.
- Because if you miss it, your next dart is probably going to be on a double 8.
And if you miss that, you'll be on a double 4.
But if you're on another double, double 17, for example, and you miss it and you hit the 17 Yeah.
you're not now on a double.
You've got to get another odd number Yeah.
and then you can go onto a double.
How many people? It's best if you can Yes.
to work to 32.
Are there any darts players in who'll back me up? - Yeah.
- Yeah.
- Three.
The QI audience and the darts audience - Is it an Olympic sport, darts? - No.
Should be, though.
Anyway, I really, really like that we just didn't know enough to say what comes next so it's a nice QI philosophical point.
1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 31 is a perfectly sensible answer as long as you're asking the right question.
If you hold your breath underwater, what is it that makes you want to come up for air? - I mean, the obvious thing is lack of oxygen.
- To breathe.
KLAXON It's not lack of oxygen.
- Too much carbon dioxide.
- It is too much Yeah, exactly right.
Yes! It's our body sensing an excess of carbon dioxide, not a lack of oxygen.
You can actually last more than twice as long as the CO2 reflex makes us think.
So, competitors of something called static apnea - it's an inexplicable thing you do, lying face-down in the water and holding your breath, they learn to completely ignore this reflex and they force themselves to stay underwater until their oxygen has genuinely run out rather than coming up when your internal CO2 sensors go off.
So, there's a guy called Branko Petrovic of Serbia.
He currently holds the static apnea record.
Imagine this, he's lying face-down in the water.
- His record is 11 minutes and 54 seconds.
- Wow.
- Ridiculous.
I know, it doesn't sound like it's going to be possible.
- Why would you do that? - Ridiculous.
- It is a proper sport.
So, here's the thing.
If you breathe pure oxygen first, it forces CO2 out of your body so you can last longer.
I mean, some people consider it cheating but it is a way of doing it.
Aleix Segura of Spain holds the record.
- 24 minutes and three seconds.
- Holding his breath?! Can he breathe through his bumhole? - Not if he's a bear! - No.
The bell doesn't dismiss you.
I do.
Let's take a look at the scores.
In first place, graduating summa cum laude Oh, my word, with minus 13, it's Holly! APPLAUSE In second place, scraping through on a 2:2, frankly, with minus 14, Ade! APPLAUSE In third place with a fictional diploma from Trump University, on minus 19, Alan! APPLAUSE Third! And in last place, with minus 27, barely qualified to wipe his own bottom .
it's Nish! APPLAUSE That's it for this edition of QI.
Thanks to Ade, Holly, Nish and Alan.
And I leave you with a quaint thought on qualifications from Rita Mae Brown.
"Education is a wonderful thing.
"If you couldn't sign your name, you'd have to pay cash.
" Goodnight.

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