The Humble Quest for Universal Genius - The Perfect Contestant
'The Humble Quest for Universal Genius' is a live comedy format where contestants are put through their paces across a series of rounds to see if they have what it takes to be considered a true genius.
The 50th show is coming up, so we asked creator Mark Allen (pictured with 'glamorous' assistant Eli Silverman) to create the ideal contestant for us.
If we were to create a hybrid genius, based on the best contestants at each round over the previous 49 shows, here's how it would break down...
The aim: I have a Bulgarian phrasebook, which claims to be translating popular English slang words and phrases. However most of the phrases within the book are utter nonsense, such as "Basket scrambler", "Gammon queer" and "Dicked in the nob". The contestants are given examples from the book as asked to explain what they mean.
Honourable mentions: Richard Herring, whose definition of "Gull-groper" is sadly not fit for publication; and Nick Helm, for his definition of "Suck the Monkey" as an exclamation to be used when things go horribly wrong.
The winner: Mike Wozniak, for his glorious definition for the phrase "Old man milk". According to Wozniak, it is used in Portsmouth to describe something that's very difficult to procure, but which - once procured - is totally undesirable.
The aim: Based on the Debrett's Guide to Modern Etiquette, the contestants are asked to respond in the correct manner to various questions on how to behave in polite society.
Notable mentions: Rufus Hound and Isy Suttie, who decided to forgo the round in favour of having a banana eating competition. Hound won as Suttie ended up regurgitating a mashed-up ball of banana back into her hand (Video).
The winner: Paul Foot, who - unsurprisingly for a man of such sophistication - knew that the correct way to eat peas in polite society is to squash them onto the back of your down-turned fork. Superlative manners from Foot.
The aim: To compose a poem in five minutes based on a suggestion from the audience.
Honourable mentions: Dan Antopolski, who came up with an impressive number of rhymes for the word cucumber; and Tom Parry from Pappy's for his seven-minute long epic poem about Rod Stewart and Moira Stewart.
The winner: Marcel Lucont, whose magnificent poem on mice contained the unforgettable line "If you eat my Roquefort, I'll give you what for".
The aim: The contestants are presented with graphs and charts which have had the labels removed. They simply have to use their best science to explain what the graphs are illustrating.
Honourable mentions: Andrew Maxwell, who gave an impassioned lecture on the rise and fall of gold prices, which ended in a rousing rendition of a Spandau Ballet hit; and Humphrey Ker, who revealed that a bar chart was actually a pictorial representation of Pac Man and his battle with depression.
The winner: Josie Long predictably showed a flare for this, explaining a bar chart which illustrated the scientific breakdown of types of women that Russell Brand has slept with.
The aim: My "glamorous" assistant Eli Silverman is forced to wear a velcro dartboard and run around the stage in the guise of various animals, as the two contestants hide in the audience and fire nerf guns at him.
Honourable mentions: Terry Saunders and Kent Valentine, who teamed up to haul Eli down and shoot him at point-blank range. Also Thom Tuck who, when faced with a final shot to win the game, chose to shoot at the floor so the "deer" he was hunting could go free.
The winner: Lloyd Langford who surprisingly possesses an unparalleled killer instinct. Not only is he the only contestant to score a bullseye, but he is also the first to hit his prey in each of the three rounds - a feat he has accomplished both times he has competed in the show. Sensational stuff from the Welshman.
The aim: During the interval of each show, the contestants are asked to create a sculpture entirely out of plasticine and to then explain the symbolism behind the piece.
Honourable mentions: Holly Walsh, for her scarily accurate depiction of Eli; and Joey Page for his intricate work "Fisherman's Luck".
The winner: Tom Bell, whose astonishing creation "Shame" featured a half naked man and woman who were hiding their faces in shame. Not because they were naked, but because they were ashamed of Britain - represented by them being stood by a union jack as a native British red squirrel was being brutally sodomised by an American grey squirrel (Video).
The aim: The contestants are given extracts from genuine, but little-known literary abominations and they are asked to continue the story where the extract left off.
Honourable mentions: Robin Ince - himself no stranger to books - had the audience on the edge of their seats as he transformed Catherine Cookson's seemingly tepid novel The Nice Bloke into a bawdy romp. Henning Wehn also excelled as he introduced some trademark Teutonic bluntness into the Inspector Morse book The Wench is Dead.
The winner: Mark Watson, who - as an actual real-life novelist - would have been disappointed had he not taken this accolade. His story of platonic love between a woman and a wolf (separate beds) was an unexpected plot twist in The Bomb That Could Lipread, but it was nevertheless enormously well-received by a late night Edinburgh audience.
The aim: The contestants are given a mathematical formula without being told what it means. They then have to explain to the audience what each of the letters in the equation stands for and what the formula is used to calculate.
Honourable mentions: Josh Widdicombe, whose mathematical formula for the causes of divorce was a stark warning to all married couples; and Romesh Ranganathan, who as a former maths teacher was very convincing in his explanation of the formula for how to be ejected from a nightclub.
The winner: Sara Pascoe, who brought the house down at Latitude Festival as she talked us through the equation for how you know if someone is cheating on you.
The aim: Contestants are asked to solve a common problem by coming up with an invention based on a given set of household items.
Honourable mentions: Simon Evans who accidentally flung an apple on a chopstick into the audience whilst demonstrating a new Olympic opening ceremony; and Marek Larwood, whose trial-run of his new system of voting disastrously led to the BNP being elected to run the country.
The winner: Phil Nichol, whose solution to the Greek Debt Crisis involved enthusiastically drawing a moustache and monobrow on glamorous assistant Eli, before suddenly realising that the marker pen was permanent.
The aim: A quick-fire round where contestants have to prove their grasp of actual knowledge.
Honourable mentions: Angela Barnes scored very highly on this - perhaps aided by her previous stint as a professional know-all for the AQA text service. James Sherwood also displayed an impressive knowledge of some obscure subjects.
The winner: Paul Sinha. No contest at all here, as he was the 21st highest-ranked quizzer in the world at the time he competed and has subsequently gone on to become a resident clever clogs on ITV's The Chase. I like to think that his victory in the actual knowledge round on The Humble Quest for Universal Genius spurred him onto greater things.
To find out more about THQFUG visit www.universalgenius.co.uk and follow @THQFUG. The 50th show special is on Thursday 20th December 2012 at The Leicester Square Theatre in London, with guests Tony Law and Steve Hall.
Rob Brydon is set to host a BBC Children in Need concert featuring comedy about Sir Tom Jones. Read
The comedians involved in new channel Dave show Taskmaster talk about taking part in the bizarre challenges. Read
Dave has confirmed the commissioning of Crackanory Series 3, with star readers set to include Christopher Lloyd. Read
Robert Lindsay and Maureen Lipman will head up the cast of Bull, a TV sitcom set in an antiques shop. Read
Happy Days star Henry Winkler is to return to CBBC for a third series of Hank Zipzer. Read
Kunt And The Gang - the musical comedy act delivers 'songs of questionable taste' - talks about his career. Read
Phillip Schofield will return to ITV with four new episodes of comedy game show You're Back In The Room. Read
Glory Pearl explains why she will be performing her Edinburgh Fringe shows totally naked. Read
Spitting Image producer John Lloyd says he wants to bring back the satirical puppet format, maybe as an online show. Read
Milton Jones, Katherine Ryan and Seann Walsh, amongst the many comedians at Reading and Leeds festivals. Read
The writers of the army-based BBC Three comedy Bluestone 42 have confirmed that the sitcom has ended. Read
Absolutely, the comedy sketch group who starred in their own Channel 4 show, are making a series for Radio 4. Read
You can vote for which of this year's Edinburgh shows has the best poster. The winning show will get cash. Read
Big School, the sitcom created by David Walliams, has ended. The star is now working on a sketch show. Read
The hit comedy panel show podcast is back for a fifth series, with guests including Katherine Ryan. Listen
Radio 1 DJ Greg James talks to BCG about how proud he is to have written his own BBC sitcom pilot. Read
Grindah and Beats, the main two characters in BBC mockumentary People Just Do Nothing, talk to BCG: Read
The cast of Yonderland talk about the return of the fantasy comedy series, and the labels put on their show. Read
Writer Andrew Mettam lists out seven reasons why his sitcom pilot Fishbowl is great, but he can't take credit. Read
Sky1 is making Rovers, a sitcom set in the clubhouse of a lower league football club. Sue Johnston stars. Read
Ashley Jensen will return to Sky1 for 8 more episodes of Agatha Raisin, the show based MC Beaton's books. Read
The popular Twitter feed 'Very British Problems' has been given a three-part TV series by Channel 4. Read
Chris Barrie has revealed that a new episode of the leisure centre sitcom The Brittas Empire is being written. Read
Channel 4 has ordered Look Into My Eyes, a comedic prank show starring 21 year-old hypnotist Archie Manners. Read
Marc Wootton is bringing back his psychic character Shirley Ghostman for two live shows this October. Read
Audible, the company that sells audio downloads, has produced five British sitcom pilots for free. Read
Here's a new podcast series in which James Cary and Dave Cohen talk about the art of sitcom writing. Listen
Brian Pern, the comedy series starring Simon Day as an art rocker, has been given a third series by BBC Four. Read
John Finnemore, the creator of Cabin Pressure, is working on a series called The John Finnemore Project. Read
Series 4 of the insanely silly podcast series has now launched. Check out this funny and surreal sketch show. Listen
Miles Jupp will take over from Sandi Toksvig as the new host of The News Quiz when it returns. Read
The cast of Channel 4's new office-based comedy drama Not Safe For Work talk about making the show. Read
Joanna Lumley is working on a new show for Sky Television. Thought to be a sitcom, the title is Harmony. Read
Radio 4 has given the greenlight for five more lost Hancock's Half Hour episodes to be re-recorded this July. Read
David Walliams is reportedly working on a sitcom based around a TV talent show, inspired by Britain's Got Talent. Read
John Thomson, in character as Bernard Righton, will present an archive stand-up show on TV channel Gold. Read
Sharon Rooney, the star of My Mad Fat Diary, talks about the final series of the comedy drama. Read
Si Hawkins explains why he often enjoys work-in-progress stand-up gigs more than the resultant polished tour show. Read
Catastrophe, the sitcom created by Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney, has been sold to TV stations across the world. Read
Sketch group Gein's Family Giftshop talk to BCG ahead of recording their first radio series. Get free tickets too: Read
It has been confirmed The British Comedy Awards are leaving Channel 4, to move to a new network this December. Read