British comedy game show touches everything

Photo courtesy of Channel 4

What could be better than a rotating panel of comedians, hidden snacks, occasional alcohol and an hour and a half to kill, the general mayhem of “The Big Fat Quiz of Everything,” hosted by comedian Jimmy Carr (“8 out of 10 Cats”), a three-episode off shoot of “The Big Fat Quiz of the Year,” a British trivia quiz game show in which the comedians attempt to answer questions about — everything.

The “Everything” series aired Aug. 15, 22 and 28 on Channel 4 in the UK and can be currently viewed on YouTube. The game show is split into three teams of two comedians and the host. The questions range from music and sports to history and politics, as well as videos featuring various celebrities posing questions not asked by the host.

General mayhem ensues as the panel pits their wits against each other in the show that has some comedians coming back for multiple episodes to entertain the audience with jokes that are spectacular for horrific to hilarious reasons.

Facing off in the first episode were the teams of Claudia Winkleman (“Strictly Come Dancing”) and David Mitchell (“Peep Show”), Mel Giedroyc (“The Great British Bake Off”) and Kristen Schaal (“The Last Man on Earth”) and Jonathan Ross
(“Friday Night with Jonathan Ross”) and Bob Mortimer (“Shooting Stars”).

The teams comprising the second episode were: Noel Fielding (“The Mighty Boosh”) and Richard Ayoade (“The IT Crowd”); Adam Buxton (“Hot Fuzz”) and Jonathan Ross; Aisling Bea (“The Savage Eye”) and Rob Beckett (“8 out of 10 Cats”).

The final episode was staffed by the following teams: Alan Carr (“Alan Carr: Chatty Man”) and Romesh Ranganathan (“Mock the Week”); Dara Ó Briain (“Mock the Week”) and Chelsea Peretti (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”); Noel Fielding and Eddie Izzard (“Valkyrie”).

Given that it is a British show, there are quite a few references that get lost on an American audience, such as Jon Snow, a newscaster on Channel 4 News. The only Jon Snow here in the States is Ned Stark’s illegitimate son from “Game of Thrones.” Other lost references include British slang and TV shows. The American audience can sympathize with American comedians Chelsea Peretti and Kristen Schaal as they appear to be just as lost.

The most entertaining comedian by far is Richard Ayoade. Known for “The IT Crowd,” he is also a writer like most of the guests on the show. The second episode included a long three-minute diatribe once his Maltesers, a UK milk chocolate malt balls, are stolen from him leading into a rant about bullies. “It’s like every break time at school, there’s always someone like you with my tray of Maltesers,” Ayoade spits out as Rob Beckett starts shoving them into his mouth one-by-one. His straight-faced accusations and insults as he decides he will “take the matter to tribunal” as the “bullying” is wildly hysterical.

The banter, wits and insults are so different from American TV shows. The comedians have absolutely no filter as they jot down obviously wrong answers for laughs. The jokes are equally vile and amusing, and some of the most hilarity comes when the comedians make fun of the host.  The absurdity of how uncaring they are about the crudeness of their jokes is slightly refreshing and enjoyable watch, even if purely for the no holds barred attitudes of the comedians.