The Now Show

British radio comedy show

The Now Show is a British radio comedy broadcast on BBC Radio 4, which satirises the week's news. The show is a mixture of stand-up, sketches and songs presented by Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis.

Steve PuntEdit

  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang — the original Pimp My Ride.
  • "Blue skies thinking" is thinking that isn't clouded by thought.
  • It's Chaos Theory. It's all due to something called the Butterfly Effect: a butterfly flaps its wings over Tokyo and the result is a tidal wave on the other side of the world. The butterfly effect apparently explains storms, weather patterns, tornadoes, stock market crashes, epidemics, economic collapses. In fact, basically, this a menace. If we could find this bloody butterfly we could solve a lot of problems. Forget Saddam and Al Qaeda; get the U.S. Air Force into the air over Tokyo and find that sodding butterfly!
  • A road map to reducing carbon emissions was announced this week by the government, "road map", of course, being code for "completely non-binding, vague ideas we know won't ever happen."
  • The Apollo landings, by contrast, didn't seem to lead anywhere, and the exciting space-traveling future never arrived. By this time we were supposed to be walking around dressed in lycra body suits, drinking florescent drinks, having recreational sex with holograms, and sleeping in an oxygen pod. All we've actually got are the florescent drinks.
  • In America some people are still upset about Michael Jackson, who was a singer and dancer who, across a 40-year career, became famous, changed colour, and died.
  • So today all is the last shuttle flight. From this day on all American made rockets will be aimed at people.
  • Over 100,000 people signed a petition saying "No" to the government's health reforms. The government are refusing to back down because they think any further concessions will leave the reforms so diluted that they will be classified as homeopathic. And then only Prince Charles will take them seriously.

Hugh DennisEdit

  • There will be more of those signs that light up when you drive towards them too fast, but they only work the first time you pass one. After that, once you know where they are, you want them to come on, don't you? You try to make them come on. It is brilliant; it's like collecting the apples in Crash Bandicoot.
  • Glass is the thing which we recycle most, apparently, which always makes me a little concerned about those toilet rolls made from "100% recycled material." ...Effective, though.
  • [Equine meat has been found in food] And there's nothing we can do. We're trying to shut the door after the horse has been bolted.

Marcus BrigstockeEdit

  • You see, that's how privatization and banking seems to work now: profits go to the companies and losses to the taxpayer. It's a brilliant system, unless you're one of those odd people who find money useful, or think that fairness is important.
  • If you even question the nature or sanity of waging war on Hydra...sorry, did I say Hydra? I meant terror. A war on Hydra, that would be absurd; dangerous, unwin-able war, and every time you cut off one head two more would appear, silly me. No, if you even question the war on gremlins fought with only water pistols and water bombs—whoop, there I go again.
  • I get very angry that Big Brother and Celebrity (insert title of wretched show here) continue to fill our lives with vapid, pointless emptiness and I wish the producers and development executives would crawl back under the rocks they emerged from, but the truth is they sell stuff that people consume. Without the audience to prop it up Heat magazine, and fundamental religious fanaticism, goes away. Imagine what humanity might be capable of if we had that much spare time; we could explore space properly, have a decent look in the sea, find a cure for James Blunt, anything!
  • Tofu really is proof that Nature abhors a vegan.
  • Your argument is buttocks; it stinks, it has a large crack up the middle, and frankly it's beneath you.
  • Of course, in the Flood it was the giraffe who came out worst of all, being the tallest; he had to watch, terrified, as God killed everything else, knowing that even his gentle, chewing face would eventually fill with water and he would lollop off this mortal coil.
  • Apparently, global warming is a liberal conspiracy, uh, y'know, because of all the stuff we have to gain from it, like um... y'know, things like, uh... NOTHING AT ALL, YOU LYING BASTARDS!!!
  • [on Lost] If that show doesn't conclude with something absolutely breathtakingly clever and explanatory, I am going after the writers as a livid ticking column of angry black smoke, and I will be flinging people up trees.
  • The climate is not our friend. It probably never was. If it were a conscious entity it would probably hate us. We've treated it like a fat kid with an account at McDonalds: we've filled it full of crap, and now it's gone all unpredictable and wobbly.
  • No one really wants peace on Earth, do they? If everyone who said they wanted it actually wanted it, we would have it — peace on Earth. Peace on Earth is like sprouts: we say we want them, but it's a gesture.
  • I suppose I could wish for an iPad, but then I'd be the sort of person who has an iPad, which, with the exception of Our Father Who Art Steven Fry, should be punishable by death. "Look at me! I've got an iPad! I can read books on the beach." Really? I learned to swim.
  • Posh people treat their money the same way they treat their children: send it away and when it comes back it's bigger.
  • I've only just had a new irony meter installed after Rebekah Brooks complained about how she'd been unfairly reported by the British press.
  • I swear, someone only has to stub their toe in Eritrea and some lefty in a hair shirt will start scratching their forearms and squaking "We're to blame, really" and "What's so good about our value system anyway?" and "Yes, actually I do believe a world without borders could work." Oh shut up, tiresome, lentil-munching, self-hating, reductionist... oh, I'd better stop there or none of my friends will speak to me.

Jon HolmesEdit

  • This week I saw a man wearing a t-shirt that detects wireless hot spots, and lights up whenever the wearer enters one. Fortunately, I was wearing a flamethrower that detects geeks, and it, too, lights up whenever it encounters anyone with more computer interface leads than friends.
  • The microwave oven turned out to be not all that dangerous, not if you used it properly. Ours was dangerous because I thought of it as a toy, and to this day my sister still does not know the real reason her Barbie went all melty. At the time I told her it was because, while she'd been out, Barbie had opened the Ark of the Covenant.
  • Fine, stay horrified at the dystopian future as depicted by Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth if you must, but, for balance, at least rent the DVD of Kevin Costner's Waterworld. He's got gills!
  • [on Kim Jong-il] I do know he downloads the podcast. I say "downloads", I mean "tortures."
  • Why doesn't Paul McKenna just call all his books "I Can Make You £7.99 Poorer"?

Laura ShavinEdit

  • [as pirate GPS] In 100 yards turn to starboard and give 'em a broadside, me hearties.
  • The pop group Girls Allowed are to break up because of musical disagreement. They wanted to make music, and the public disagreed.

Andy ZaltzmanEdit

  • Strauss probably had the worst day a British leader has had since Charles I got on the wrong end of an axe in 1649 and picked up his career ending neck injury.
  • The economy has melted down like a dead zebra's ice cream.
  • Batten up the hatches, unlock your daughters, and take the cyanide capsule out of your pet iguana's false tooth.
  • I'm not afraid of flying in an airplane. I accept that it will probably be kept airborne by the tried and tested combination of statistics, witchcraft, luck, and Zeus-defying arrogance, or, as they're collectively known, physics.
  • There was no actual problem with Al-Qaeda in Iraq, but we bravely addressed the problem of a lack of a problem by creating the perception of a problem. We then repeated that perception often and loud enough to turn it into a genuine problem which, by virtue of being real, was in fact far more dangerous than the pretend problem we were trying to get people to perceive in the first place, thereby justifying the war.
  • Labour could get fewer votes than either of the other two main parties but still win, which would be bad news for democracy lovers, good news for fans of obvious miscarriages of justice, and great news for aficionados of awkward looks on the faces of people who have just undeservedly won something.
  • Surely it is better to have a government that does what you don't want it to do than to have no government not doing anything at all...Vote Conservative! What an inspiring call to arms.
  • I am literally petrified of unicorns. I can't get to sleep at night due to my fear of having one eye poked out when arguing with a unicorn at a Scrabble tournament. And the more people tell me unicorns don't exist, or that they're no good at Scrabble, or that they're in fact excellent negotiators, the more suspicious I get.
  • On the very few occasions in my life when I have had to search for the hero inside myself, well...he wasn't in. In fact, all I found was a large pile of unopened post addressed to the hero inside myself, suggesting that he'd never even lived at that address.

Mitch BennEdit

  • I hope that England qualifies for the 2010 World Cup
I hope the Smiths get back together and James Blunt splits up.
...I'll just let you savor that image for a moment.
  • Scientists in Newcastle have apparently succeeded in synthesizing artificial human sperm. I would like to say to them WHAT THE HELL DID YOU DO THAT FOR?! Nice going, guys, you just rendered us all completely superfluous, haven't you?!
  • I know this is probably gonna get me kicked out of the atheist's union, but I think I'd miss it if you completely dechurchified schools. But anyway they should still definitely sing hymns in assembly. Atheist hymns, obviously.
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures far and near,
All things vast and miniscule
Just happen to be here
There was no great creator, there is no grand design.
The Universe is getting on without all that just fine
All things known and still unknown
We can or cannot see;
All things are just 'cause they are
  • Gandalf's Song
In order to get to Mordor, we must cross these frozen peaks
The snow comes down in buckets, the road goes on for weeks
My beard is like an icicle, hanging from my cheeks
Sometimes it is be a a blizzard
This path is hard to follow as it twists and winds and forks
This really doesn't count among my favorite country walks
I could do without the company, the weather, and the orcs
Sometimes it is be a a blizzard


Loyd Langford: I heard another newsreader say, "If you want to hear more about what the minister said you can read my blog." Yes, I do want to hear more of what he said, that's why I'm watching the news. Tell it to me straight, you vainglorious tool. You're not leaving bits out in case I get upset, are you?

Lloyd Langford: [on waterboarding] Simulated drowning is a very effective way of getting someone to confess to something. If you remember, it helped us to catch all those witches in the 1600s. Even if it's possible that the person concerned isn't involved in wizardy, terrorism, or the raising and arming of a brigade of flying monkeys, the waterboard is certain to get a confession out of them. It's a sort of reverse lie-detector test; you come up with a lie, and then nearly kill them until they decide to agree with it.

Paul Sinha: [on Iris Robinson saying, "It is the government's responsibility to uphold God's law."] Oh, no, it isn't. It is the government's duty to uphold UK law. There are many things which make this country great like Ikea, chicken tikka masala, and Kevin Pietersen, and one of them is that we live in a secular democracy; we have complete freedom of worship here whether your deity is God, Allah, Buddha, Yoda, or Stephen Fry.

Lloyd Langford: I couldn't give a fig about newsreaders' opinions and I feel the same way about people who text into the news also. There's this common misconception that all opinions have equal value. They don't. The people who can express a viewpoint on a complex and intricate political situation in 140 characters or less are precisely the people I don't want to hear from.

Carrie Quinlan: In times past government was about war, and making a minority of people rich, and ensuring we don't all become French. Call me naive, but I hope that doesn't need to be the case anymore. Shouldn't government be about giving everyone the best chance possible of a healthy, free, safe existence...and ensuring we don't all become French?

Marc Maron: I miss my cats, which is even more embarrassing than having cats.

John Finnemore: So the moral of this piece, if there is a moral, and let's be honest, there isn't...

Tom Wrigglesworth: An announcement came over the tannoy saying, "Ladies and gentlemen, we are slashing prices on picnic-based items today, so why not try some of our best quality English ham?" Sounds innocent enough, but I stopped dead in my tracks and thought, "NO! You can't say that! You can't say 'Why not try our English ham?' You're supposed to tell me why I should try it, not put me on the spot and expect me to come up with reasons why I shouldn't. It's your ham! You're supposed to sell it to me! I don't need to un-sell it to you!"

John Finnemore: Although not necessarily against tax cuts, I'm not prepared to give the Tories a blank check to take whatever they see fit in order to pay for them. Because that's how people wake up in ice baths without their kidneys.

Nish Kumar: A friend of mine is economically right wing, and we always have arguments because my politics are–... well, he describes my politics as "a no-good liberalistic Guardianista who, when he's not trying to betray the traditions of this nation, is trying to replace the royal family with al Qaida and 'some gays'." But I prefer the term left-of-center because its... pithier.


Steve Punt: Speed humps don't really work at all, especially the ones that only cover part of the road, where there's three of them, because that only encourages you to head for the middle one, get one wheel either side of the hump, and crash into the car doing exactly the same thing in the opposite direction.
Hugh Dennis: It's like the modern equivalent of jousting.

Steve Punt: U.S. officials, of course, have criticized WikiLeaks for publishing the the material, saying it could be a risk to national security.
Hugh Dennis: The problem seems to be combining freedom of speech with not wanting the Taliban to read it. A simple solution here would be for WikiLeaks to publish all 90,000 documents, but with a cartoon of Muhammad on each page.

Laura Shavin: The county of Oxforshire is turning off its speed cameras.
Hugh Dennis: Although this isn't to save money, some residents just didn't like the idea of things standing by roads getting turned on by drivers over sixty and then flashing at them.

Marcus Brigstocke: Sometimes you can't ask ordinary people to do difficult things. Mitch?
Mitch Benn: Yes?
Marcus Brigstocke: You are now in charge of quantum physics at the Cambridge Research Institute.
Mitch Benn: Wha-hey!
Marcus Brigstocke: You see?! Anyone who says "wha-hey" is not qualified for that job!

[about a new toll motorway]
Marcus Brigstocke: In a Now Show survey, a group of motorists said:
All: Hooray!
Marcus Brigstocke: A group of environmentalists said:
All: Boooo!
Marcus Brigstocke: And some 4x4 drivers said:
All: [posh] Hurrah! More space for my stupidly large car! Hurrah!
Marcus Brigstocke: The government also announced that it intends to create designated lanes for cars with more than one passenger in. Our motorists said:
All: What?! In my car?
Marcus Brigstocke: Our environmentalists said:
All: What?! Uh, okay then.
Marcus Brigstocke: And our 4X4 drivers said:
All: [posh] There simply isn't room, what with the child seat and the dogs! Hurrah!

Steve Punt: My friends! The barons now plan to charge people to ripen their own produce!
All: You mean...?
Steve Punt: Yes! They're raising fruition fees!
[Audience groans]
Steve Punt: Panto jokes, ladies and gentlemen.

Steve Punt: The sun came out this week and Britain experienced a heat wave, and immediately the British did what they do best: they moaned about it. Whatever the time of year it's...
Hugh Dennis: [newscaster] Experts say they're worried that the weather is too—
Jon Holmes: Hot
Mitch Benn: Cold
Steve Punt: Wet
Laura Shavin: Dry
Hugh Dennis: ...and children have been warned not to—
Jon Holmes: Forget sun cream
Mitch Benn: Throw snowballs
Steve Punt: Go near rivers
Laura Shavin: Do anything
Hugh Dennis: order to avoid—
Jon Holmes: Skin cancer
Mitch Benn: Hypothermia
Steve Punt: Drowning
Laura Shavin: Having any fun in life, ever.

Hugh Dennis: There are now a range of official agencies trying desperately to counter the entertaining lies made up by the media, and one of those agencies is the European Union, which has selected some choice headlines from the British press and the stories behind them. Headlines such as...
Laura Shavin: "British yogurt will be renamed 'fermented milk pudding' if Brussels has its way!"
Steve Punt: But Brussels won't have its way cuz it's not true, and, in any case, since the English call sour cream crème fraiche, and fromage frais is nothing to do with cheese, and the French call custard English cream, while in England custard cream is a biscuit containing neither...I think a bit of standardization would help, quite frankly.

[on Pastor Terry Jones]
Marcus Brigstocke: Jones was asked about his Qu'ran burning scheme and he said...
Mitch Benn: [as Jones, thick American southern accent] Islam is a dangerous religion and drastic means are necessary.
Marcus Brigstocke: Yes, it's sufficiently dangerous that it's well worth pissing these people off by refusing to engage in the debate and instead setting fire to their holy book. Why not just shove your head in a beehive and scream...
Mitch Benn: Hello, bees! You're all stupid, stripy buzzy-buzzy toss-pots! I hate you! Your queen is ugly, and making honey is gay! STING ME! STING ME!

Jon Holmes: Despite its nearly constant onslaught of headlines about how—
Jon Holmes: I've worked out that it's actually The Daily Express that costs the taxpayer millions of pounds. Every day The Express has at least ten headlines telling us that—
Jon Holmes: Now, to get these stories, The Express files hundreds of Freedom of Information requests to government and councils on an almost constant loop. It takes twenty days to respond to each request, and the person whose job it is to respond to FOI requests is an information governance officer who earns 23 pounds and hour. How do I know? I asked them, under the Freedom of Information Act. So, that's twenty days at £23 an hour, and let's assume eight hours a day. So that's twenty times eight, that's 160 hours times £23, which is £3,680 per officer — and there will be more than one — so that's £7,360. And given that The Daily Express appears to ask for information under the FOI Act roughly 200 times an hour, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, that's £7,360 X 200 X 24 X 7 days a week X 52 weeks a year, and, given that council salaries are paid out of the public purse, that means that all by itself, The Daily Express costs you and me, the taxpayer, £12,859,392,000 a year!...Bastards.

Marcus Brigstocke: The print media in this country have waged a long-running campaign to disenfranchise the people through a slow grinding down of our political engagement.
Jon Holmes: Here's ten pages on Big Brother!
Mitch Benn: Here's a picture of what might or might not be a sex beast with fifteen pages of guess work about what he might or might not have done!
Laura Shavin: Here's a press release from a company selling Product A telling us that, in a survey carried out by boffins who work for the company who make Product A, people who bought Product A were happier than those who had never read this article.
Jon Holmes: Here's a fun puzzle for readers to play: Six pages a day of pictures of MP's next to expenses claims and you have to guess which ones are legitimate and which ones are not, with no real information to help you make an informed choice.

Hugh Dennis: For the first time in decades, doctors have gone on strike over pensions. Apparently, pensions need to be reformed because people are living longer.
Steve Punt: And whose fault is that, eh?

John Finnemore: Are Now Show guest pundits allowed to speculate wildly without any actual evidence?
Hugh Dennis: You're not just allowed, John, it's the whole point of you.

Audience QuestionsEdit

  • Low Budget Movie Titles?
    • The Dis-count of Monte Cristo
    • Free Willy...with every packet of corn flakes
    • Star Wars: The Empire Cuts Back
    • Schindler's Post-It Note
    • The Bargain Hunt For Red October
    • The Six Billion Zimbabweian-Dollar Man
  • What three things would have to coincide to ruin your life in one week?
    • 1) All games consoles destroyed. 2) Britain bans cheese. 3) Being made to shower every day.
  • What details about your boss would you like to be made public?
    • He's got two mistresses, never starts work before eleven, and spends half the day playing computer games. God! I love being self-employed.
    • His name. I've forgotten it. It's rather awkward.
  • Updated Commandments
    • Thou shalt not Twitter details about argument with girlfriend and get everyone to tweet back on which of you was right.
    • Just don't be a dick, alright?
    • Thou shalt not blame it on the sunshine
  • What were you scared of when you were young?
    • Geese.
    • Why?
      • Attacked as a child in the park.
      • How did you get over it?
        • Christmas dinner.
  • What have you ever said that you've regretted?
    • "I do."
    • "Yes, I'd love to come to a recording of The Now Show."
  • What is your definition of success?
    • Continence.
    • Discovering that a paper shredder doubles as a cheese grater.
  • Did you ever try to bribe someone?
    • Yes, a diamond ring in exchange for a lifetime of ironing shirts and hot meals.
    • Did it work?
      • Not for the last four times.
  • Top tips for having a happy holiday?
    • Don't come back.
    • ALCOHOL!
    • Bring underwear. You never know when you might need it.
    • Take a variety of flags so you can wave whatever is required to get you out of a fix.
  • What makes you cry?
    • Doctor Who when Rose left. Doctor Who when Madame de Pompadour died. Doctor Who when Donna's memory was wiped. Doctor Who when the Ninth Doctor died. Oh, and the plight of the hungry and the impoverished.
    • Not washing my hand between cutting chilis and going to the toilet.
    • Women, because I live by the rule, "No woman, no cry."
    • Hymns...and power tools.
  • Take us through your morning routine.
    • As I am now retired and living off the backs of all you working people I will take as long as I bloody-well like!
    • I get up at 4:30am and do a ten-mile run before writing 2000 words of my novel. Then I wake up.
  • What invention are you waiting for?
    • Making a computer that can play chess is easy. I want a robot that can beat me at Twister and doesn't fart.
    • The invention I was eagerly awaiting was penicillin. It's helped me no end. I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to give a public shout to Sir Alexander Fleming. Boo-yah!
    • The bus.
  • What do you regret?
    • My last move in Scrabble. I put "ravens". I could have put "ravines" and hit a triple-word score.
    • Not going to the loo before the show started.
    • Not being a geologist. Wouldn't you?
    • My son.
    • Your name?
      • Rupert Murdoch.
  • What benefits of aging have you discovered?
    • A greater appreciation for wine... and MILFs.
    • My parents don't know who I am!
    • You get to be ruder, angrier, and more racist, and nobody tells you off.
  • What was the best year of your childhood and why?
    • Second half of 1945 – They stopped bombing us.
    • 1976 – It was hot. I was hot.
  • What's the stupidest you've ever looked?
    • Coming back from a Halloween party at eight in the morning dressed as Count Dracula, I took a shortcut through a graveyard, and stumbled into a very disapproving funeral.
  • What's the best excuse you've used to explain your absence?
    • I couldn't get to registration because I had my arm up a sheep.
    • A colonoscopy, which was infinitely preferable to teaching maths to year 8.
  • What do you spend more on than you know you should?
    • Thoughts that are long and non-conclusive.
    • Why?
      • Because starting somewhere is necessary.
    • Legal fees.
    • Why?
      • Because of my bastard neighbors.
  • How did you cope with the record heat this week?
    • I'm British – I put on a suit and tie and pretended it wasn't happening.
    • I upset my wife to get some icy stares.
  • What's the riskiest thing you've ever done in pursuit of pleasure?
    • I lied.
      • Your name?
        • Pinocchio.
    • I once used a carton of mile that had reached its "Best before..." date.

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