Stephen Fry on QI: his most interesting moments

Stephen Fry

Following the news that Fry is stepping down as host of the BBC2 panel show we delve into the archive to find his best bits, from the intelligent to the stupid

King of factoids Stephen Fry is stepping down from the helm of QI, the BBC2 comedy panel show, after 13 years. Here are some of the best moments from his 180 episodes.

The one with the robot: ‘It’s not like YO! Sushi is it?’

Robot dancing with Asimo.

Asimo, a Japanese robot, is summoned by Fry from backstage and is carrying a tray of coffees.

The host asks the robot: “So you’re the most advanced humanoid on the planet, is that right?”

To which the smart invention replies: “That is what they tell me.”

“Why don’t you show us what you can do,” Fry motions, spectacles in hand. The robot then dances with comedian Jo Brand.

Edible insects – the answer to a food shortage?

It’s crunch time when insects are on the menu.

Along with panellists Jimmy Carr, Sarah Millican, Johnny Vegas and Alan Davies, Fry discusses the merits of eating insects. One of the perks is that we have the chance to “feel like giants”, according to Johnny Vegas.

They say of the Acropolis where the Parthenon is...

A quite interesting sing-along.

The phrase leaves Fry tongue-tied, only for his panellists to join in for a raucous but jovial singsong about what people say of the Acropolis where the Parthenon is.

Fry is unhappy about mediums

The host doesn’t believe in talking to the dead.

The host does not hold back when talking about people who claim to be clairvoyants. Fry says, in front of a black and white image of what appear to be Victorian Ouija board enthusiasts: “There are people who pretend, quite wrongly, that dead people can speak. Which they can’t. They’re dead.

“They won’t talk to you, they’re dead.”

He adds, looking directly into the barrel of the camera: “If you are a medium, you are fraudulent.”

The one with Fry’s exploding custard

Lashings of hot custard.

Fry enlightens us when he demonstrates that nothing happens when a lit match is held to a bowl of custard powder.

He then puts on his goggles, pours the dry custard powder into a funnel contraption linked to a pump, which he pushes to raise the custard – and oxygen – into the air and the blaze of a small flamethrower. Result. With added euphemisms.

Pink polenta, Incas and Aztecs

The teacher and his pupil.

When challenged on his explanation of the origin of pink polenta, Fry witheringly puts down Davies, a regular panellist on QI, with a history lesson on the Mexica people of the 14th and 16th centuries.

The biggest questions: how to save a dying bee?

A hive of activity.

What happens if you give it honey? But that would be showing the bee more honey than it has produced in its whole life, the panellists say. Fry concludes that this is an interesting and fiercely productive debate.

On the word ‘cool’

There’s a groovy theme for this episode.

The history behind Fry’s chat-up lines, on words such as cool, and a discussion on “jazz Nazis”.

Who is the biggest hypochondriac?

It’s a worrying disease, hypochondria.

Fry, wearing a white lab coat, gets his panellists – all in hi-vis jackets for this health and safety episode – to do the hypochondria test, which measures the level of chronic anxiety about their health.

On naming the giant tortoise

Slow thinking.

“Why did it take 300 years to give the giant tortoise it’s scientific name?” Fry asks his panellists.

Because scientists thought giant tortoise was quite good, David Mitchell replies. “Let’s leave it at that.”

What are your favourite QI Fry moments?

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Aisha Gani, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 14th October 2015 16.36 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010