'Volkswagen sell more sausages than cars': QI elf Andrew Hunter Murray talks ahead of No Such Thing As A Fish live show coming to Birmingham
Did you know that boxer crabs pick up sea anemones and use them as boxing gloves?
How about the fact rejected names for British storms include Baldrick, Noddy and Branchwobbler?
These are just two examples of the incredible facts fans can expect to hear at the upcoming Birmingham performance of No Such Thing As A Fish.
The show which stems from the award-winning podcast of the same name, starring fellow QI elves Dan Schreiber, Anna Ptaszynski and James Harkin, comes to the second city’s New Alexandra Theatre this Thursday.
Having worked for many years with presenter Sandi Tovskig and Alan Davies, Andrew has led an interesting life thus far. One that has even seen him mistakenly booked onto a Belgian TV show, when he was confused with Scottish tennis ace Andy Murray.
The 30 year old got started working on the hit quiz show 10 years ago on a work experience placement. The rest, as they say, is history.
And he loves his work, claiming there is ‘no end to the interestingness’.
“I started by meeting the producer and begging him for work experience - and eventually he said yes. That was 10 years ago, and I haven’t had a proper job since,” laughed the researcher.
“The really fun bits of the job are when we can go off-piste and contact the first-hand researchers - or even do first-hand research ourselves.
“My colleague James once spent more than a month not washing his hair, and a full day with an onion in his shoe. I forget why, but it was to prove a point.
“Currently, my favourite fact that this year is that a brewery in Nottingham failed to organise a p***-up in itself. We found that researching our new book, The Book of the Year.”
When asked for a series of interesting, outlandish facts, Andrew had no shortage of intriguing items.
“You won’t believe this, but: some babies grow in the mother’s liver, not the womb,” added Andrew.
“It’s only happened about fifteen times in all of human history.
“Volkswagen sell more sausages than cars.
“Cinema audiences blink at the same time.
“The oil company Shell used to actually sell shells.”
Due to the number of bizarre facts Andrew finds on a daily basis, it is perhaps unsurprising some of the team’s discoveries have ended in strange reactions from fans.
“A few months ago we covered the fact that Canadian people can get a free photo of the Queen if they write to the government,” explained Andrew.
“Dozens of people started writing off for their Queen kit and sending us proof. We hope some Canadian officials were completely baffled by the spike in requests.”
And when asked who, out of anyone from history, he would like to interview, Andrew’s answer was equally hilariously intriguing:
“A British army officer called Mad Jack Churchill, best-known for being the only British officer in the second world war to routinely go into battle with a bow and arrow.”
During his time on QI, Andrew has met many a celebrity, but says he was particularly starstruck by the late Carrie Fisher.
“When we’re making the series we see a lot of Sandi - she’s absolutely great to work with, a consummate professional, and does her homework extremely well before the show,” added Andrew.
“Not only that, whatever you say to her, she’s got a story to match. If you mention a river, it’ll turn out she once spent six months kayaking up it.
“Sandi knows quite a lot of what we submit to her. We are definitely not the real geniuses behind the show - our job is to find really unusual facts, back them up with decent sources, and hopefully prepare the host for any extra questions that pop up.
See a trailer for the show here:
“But then it’s over to Sandi and the panel to provide the fireworks.
“Alan is great - he has a way of honing in on the very funniest aspect of any question we ask and producing brilliant comedy out of that.
“Working on QI, the main thing is that everyone is extremely nice and normal and that helps you not to be too starstruck.
“But meeting Carrie Fisher a couple of years ago for the Christmas show was pretty special.”
When asked about his experiences of playing the Midlands, Andrew replied that he has had some great times performing at the MAC, which he ‘absolutely loved’.
“As far as what fans can expect from the show, in the second half we record a brand-new podcast, which is the main event for fans. But before that, there’s all sorts of madness in the first half,” explained Andrew.
“We all have our own comedy sets, and there are other bits where we ask the audience for their best facts. It’s a night of complete dorkery and whether you’ve heard the podcast or not you’ll learn 50 new things and laugh a lot.
“It’s going to be an absolutely raucous night of crazy facts, stupid jokes, and Dan’s Conspiracy Theory Corner.