Alan Davies' greatest QI quotes

Alan has proved his stand-up metal with some choice quips on QI. Here's our top ten.

Alan Davies

10. On the nourishment of spiders

Rare is the interesting fact whose point is not immediately and deliberately missed by Alan. Take, for example, Sean Lock's fascinating revelation that the huntsman spider is the only spider with lungs. Alan's first observation? "So you can get it a birthday cake with a candle on." Yes, Alan. If it makes you happy.

9. On ornithology

Never let it be said that the nation's comics aren't all committed birdwatchers. Marcus Brigstocke was impressed by news of a bird that can "mimic anything", and said he'd "get it to do Bill Oddie." To which Fry replied, "surely that would be a bearded tit, if it was anything." Alan Davies swiftly corrected him: "You're thinking of Rory McGrath."

8. On domestic matters in China

There's been much talk lately of China's growing dominance, both economically and in terms of global political influence. Stephen, clearly an expert, also revealed that according to the latest statistics, the most dangerous cars are green and in China. Alan was in agreement. "They're called tanks," he pointed out. Ah.

7. On the effect of trauma on the human brain

Loyd Grossman's accent is one of the great wonders of the natural world. And Alan is an expert on its inflections. In fact, he even knows how it developed. "You get a bang on the head and that’s what happens."

6. On the intricacies of the French language

Now, for all we know, Alan Davies can speak French with all the haughty fluency of a bow-tied waiter about to eject you from a Michelin-starred restaurant for not chewing the right way. But, when asked by Fry if he knew what the French for "flying fish" is, his response was: "Poisson... d'aeroplane...?" Very good, Alan.

5. On the joys of Christmas

Christmas, we're all agreed, is an utterly fantastic time. Fat glistening meats, tragic cracker jokes, sodden grandmothers headbutting you after drinking too much sherry. But how do you stop your kids from peeking at their Christmas pressies prior to the day? Alan Davies: "Blind them."

4. On highly unfortunate surnames

Being called Jimmy Glasscock is surely tribulation enough, without having your unfortunate moniker being brandished by Alan Davies for the amusement of the nation. "We had a Jimmy Glasscock at school," Alan revealed. "Oh, did you?" asked Stephen Fry. "Yeah. You could always see him coming." Dear oh dear.

3. On the cleanliness of tunnels

Ever wondered how they clean the tunnels of the London Underground? Us too. Alan himself came up with a solution worthy of Brunel: "I don't understand why you can't have a – you know, like you used to have a cleaning tape for your cassette deck – you can't have a cleaning Tube? You'd just send a big furry train down…"

2. On traditional dance

Apparently, the inventor of the Hokey Cokey died in 1996. Well, Stephen said so, and we're not about to argue. Asking what happened at the chap's funeral, Mr Fry was met with Alan's response: "Oh, it was terrible, they couldn't get him into his coffin." Why? "Well, they put the left leg in... Then the trouble started."

1. On punishing fruit

And we end with a rubbish joke told on primetime telly. Proving that such things were not the sole preserve of Cannon and Ball in 1986. Take it away, Alan Davies: "What's red and sits in a corner? A naughty strawberry." Brilliant.

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