yani's big adventure - qi live

qi liveI had a moment of being somewhat star struck as we waited in the foyer of Her Majesty's Theatre for the doors to open for QI (Quite Interesting) Live.

Out of a hallway just behind us came the QI maestro himself, Mr Stephen Fry, looking perhaps a little taller than I'd expected, but every bit as distinguished as you would expect. And he walked past us (not quite within touching distance, but not far off if I'd flung myself in a fannish stalkerly manner) and up the stairs.

Ma missed the whole thing, even though I pointed him out... she never even saw him.

Not long after that his QI cohort, Alan Davies wandered past as well. It was a bit exciting... actual famous people off the telly, almost close enough to touch. It shouldn't be that exciting, but it kinda is.

So while people all around Australia tuned into the ABC last night to watch an episode of QI on the teevee, Ma and I saw one live and in person.

We turned out to have decent enough seats... I mean we were at least closer to the stage (and hence Mr Fry and associates) than we were when we saw him in Melbourne last year. At this rate, we should get front row seats by about 2016 if he keeps coming back once a year.

While everybody was seated and we were waiting for the show to start they projected a number of "quite interesting" facts onto the screen at the back of the stage. Most of them seemed reasonable enough, but a few of them have to be big fibs... but maybe not... one assumes the QI Elves do their research.

Before we knew it the lights were dimming and out on stage strode the effulgent Mr Fry.

He started off with one of his trademark monologues... and even though some of the material was the same as the last time we saw him, it's still a pleasure to hear him talk.

And he had the audience, as always, in the palm of his hand... granted, given the somewhat high price of the tickets, it was probably only the Fry/QI faithful in the audience, but still.

I had assumed, or misread something or misunderstood, and though that they were actually filming the live shows for a future series. That probably would have been nice, but I don't think it would have given them quite the freedom that the live format did. Also, it meant there weren't any cameras in anybody's way or people with headsets and clipboards wandering about.

It was really just pure QI.

When Stephen finally started introducing the guests, I thought that he would probably introduce Alan first and then together they would welcome the Australian comedians/guests on. But he didn't... a little like he does when he introduces the show on teevee, he left Alan right until the end.

Given some of the names in the programme, while it wasn't the best possible panel, it turned out to be really very good and a fun group.

The first guest was Shaun Micallef who very much got into the spirit of the thing, even if he was a little bit of a "points whore"... always trying to fish for more points.

I was very happy to see that the lone female guest on the panel was Meshel Laurie. I always enjoy her when she's on Spicks and Specks, and she was equally good here and willing to dive in with an answer.

The third guest was Arj Barker... who tended to do what I've seen some of the other comedians do on the show (and I think he does it on Spicks and Specks when he's on there too)... mostly he made with the funny. Which is fine, and possibly why he was there.

Stephen introduced each of them in turn and they had a little time chatting before the next guest was introduced. I kind of think that that may be the way that they do it when they're doing the teevee show, but I could be wrong.

As I mentioned before, last but by no means least was Alan Davies, who appeared to be a tiny bit buzzed on cold and flu medicine, and more than a little enamoured by the fact that the chairs they'd been given had wheels (on more than one occasion he did a slow spin around in his chair while Stephen was making a quite interesting point about something or other).

Before they started "the show" properly, Stephen gave them a warm up question, complete with a warm up check of the buzzers... and a display of the AWOOGA AWOOGA incorrect answer noise. Then Micallef tried to give a technically correct but slightly vague answer and then skirted around trying not to set the noise off... which he failed to do and ended up setting it off anyway.

Once they were all warmed up, the game of QI began in earnest... complete with title music/credits, introductions and another buzzer check... which was actually a little weird, although the second set of buzzers was much better (even though I think that really only Shaun and Arj tended to use theirs throughout the show).

And it ran pretty much like a normal episode of QI... except without the specific theme for the episode, and without General Ignorance at the end I think. Oh, and Arj left the stage in the middle to go and pee... which is seemingly a first for QI generally and the live shows specifically.

I didn't even mind that some of the questions were ones I remember from old episodes of QI... in fact, one of them was from an episode that only screen last week.

It was all over far too soon though...

Oh, and Meshel won by the way (thanks to the 100 point bonus question)... go Meshel.

And I can honestly say that I wouldn't have missed it for the world!

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