There’s a programme on BBC Radio 4 called I’m Sorry I Haven’t Clue. It’s subtitled ‘the antidote to panel games’ and consists of ‘two teams of two comedians ‘being given silly things to do’ by the host. A simple enough format, but one that has endured for years. The show began, hosted by the late Humphrey Lyttelton, in 1972. After the death of the famously grumpy Humph, Jack Dee took over and the show is still going strong.
I rarely miss the show when a series is running, and if I do I try to do the Listen Again thing to catch up with it. In fact, I often do the Listen Again thing even when I did hear it go out live, just to have another chance to giggle. We are too short of things that make us laugh out loud these days, but ISIHAC is one of them for me.
One of my favourite rounds has always been the teams reading out their entries from the UXBRIDGE ENGLISH DICTIONARY, where new meanings are given to existing words. In 2016 some enterprising spark at Random Penguin finally brought out a collected edition, edited by Graeme Garden (a regular panellist) and Jon Naismith, who has been the producer of the show since 1991.
Here are a few of the ones that made me laugh the hardest. For more, you’ll simply have to listen to the show or buy the book.
Accomplish: a drunken sidekick
Befuddle: a tight group of cattle
Croquette: a tiny little crocodile
Dictaphone: someone you really don’t like calling
Economist: cheap fog
Falsetto: fake ice cream
Ghoulish: Hungarian stew that comes back to haunt you
Hobnob: cooking accident
Intercontinental: someone who has wet themselves all over the world
Juniper: Did you bite that woman?