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.
BCG chats to Count Arthur Strong. Somehow he gets the impression we've booked him for Just A Minute. Read
ITV2 has ordered a brand new panel show focussed on the world of reality television. Read
The BBC has announced a set of 9 new iPlayer comedy programmes to mark Valentine's Day 2015. Read
Sky has announced a raft of guest stars for Moone Boy Series 3, which returns to screens in March. Read
The BBC has axed new sitcom The Walshes, prompting writer Graham Linehan to complain. Read
Mighty Boosh actor Rich Fulcher is to star in a Channel 4 sitcom pilot set around a struggling adult store. Read
Rowan Atkinson is to return as the hapless character Mr Bean for a new sketch for Comic Relief 2015. Read
Canadian comic Katherine Ryan is to host a pilot episode for her own series, The Katherine Ryan Show. Read
Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney talk about how Catastrophe, their new Channel 4 show was conceived. Read
100s of comedians will take part in Dave's Leicester Comedy Festival 2015 between 4th & 22nd February. Read
Episodes star Stephen Mangan is to play a pregnant man in Birthday, a comic drama coming to Sky Arts in 2015. Read
The second series of Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton's anthology show is filming now. More details here: Read
Channel 4 has confirmed it has ordered eight final episodes of university-based comedy drama Fresh Meat. Read
The Pub Landlord - aka Al Murray - is to stand in the election as an MP against UKIP leader Nigel Farage. Read
Chris Ramsey is working on a new comedy format for Channel 4 called Too Much Information. Read
Here's a list of the ten British comedy shows that were repeated the most in 2014. LOTSW was top. Read
We've selected 10 great facts from David Mitchell's Radio 4 show The Unbelievable Truth. Have a look: Read
The hit panel show podcast returns. Pappy's are joined by guests Alex Brooker and Angela Barnes. Listen
Sky has ordered a comedy drama about characters from Slough, faced with a comet hurtling toward Earth. Read
Jack Whitehall is working on a film version of his BBC Three sitcom Bad Education, according to his father Michael. Read
Comedy Central has commissioned a pilot episode for a new version of the comedy format Impractical Jokers. Read
2014 saw the usually politics-fuelled Josie Long take a more personal fork of the comedy freeway. Interview
Rowan Atkinson is to return to TV comedy with a role in CBBC sketch show Horrible Histories. Read
Milton Jones joins Richard Herring to discuss killer heckles, when gigs go wrong and more besides. Listen
Jeremy Lloyd OBE, the co-creator of Are You Being Served? and 'Allo 'Allo!, has died at the age of 84. Read
David Walliams talks about bringing another one of his books, The Boy In The Dress, to television. Read
Dave's Leicester Comedy Festival is organising a trip for Londoners featuring a packed day of comedy. Read
The finalists for the NATYS contest have been announced, but the organisers warn of problems with the circuit. Read
High Hopes, the BBC Wales sitcom which ran for six series between 1999 and 2008, is to return. Read
The internet has been busy creating lots of funny festive video sketches. Here's 20 of the best from 2014. Watch
UK Pun Champion Darren Walsh has written us some festive jokes. There's a couple of drawings too. Read
Lee Ridley, a stand-up comedian with cerebral palsy, has won the BBC New Comedy Award 2014. Read
Pointless star Richard Osman joins Richard Herring for an entertaining chat. Watch or listen here: Listen
The winners of UKTV Gold's Christmas Cracker joke competition have been announced. Read the top 10: Read
Alistair Barrie and Nick Revell host a festive edition of the No Pressure To Be Funny political podcast. Listen
Check out some of the puns from the comedians who will take part in the UK Pun Championships 2015. Read
A list of 25 festive comedy specials to look out for between now and 2015. There's lots of treats ahead: Read
Shopping for gifts? We've plenty to choose from in our Christmas selection, from books to DVDs. Browse
Channel 4 has commissioned Space Ark, a new sci-fi sitcom pilot about a crew living on a spaceship. Read
Boomers and Citizen Khan will both return for another series, as the BBC outlines its plans for comedy in 2015. Read
Will Mars talks about his 'bulletproof' live comedy format Joke Thieves. It's on tour and heading for TV. Read