• Greg Davies and Alex Horne in ‘Taskmaster’. (SBS)Source: SBS
Which comedian will take home a cast of Greg Davies’ head and be crowned the ninth ‘Taskmaster’ champion?
By
Yen-Rong Wong

31 Jan 2022 - 2:22 PM  UPDATED 31 Jan 2022 - 3:32 PM

Greg Davies and Alex Horne are back with David Baddiel, Ed Gamble, Jo Brand, Katy Wix and Rose Matafeo for another season of tasks, hilarity and baffling costumes. Not convinced? Here are more reasons why Taskmaster should be next on your to-watch list.

Greg and Alex’s awkward (yet hilarious) banter

Even though Greg Davies has the title of Taskmaster, it’s Alex who creates and administers the tasks. Though it’s obvious many of the jokes are on autocue, it’s Alex’s excellent comedic timing and ability to remain relatively straight-faced that sells the awkward hilarity of these interactions. Greg doesn’t pull his punches on Alex, either – he calls the 6’2” Alex “little Alex Horne”, by virtue of the fact that Greg himself is a whopping 6’8”. Other highlights include Greg describing Alex as “a pipe cleaner mixed with a weasel”, and his absolute disdain for any sort of pun Alex makes, especially if they’re particularly clever or funny.

Alex putting himself in awkward situations

As previously mentioned, Alex sets and oversees the completion (or sometimes non-completion) of the tasks, but to the contestants’ pleasure, he sometimes inserts himself into the task in the most awkward way possible. In this series, he crams himself into a bin at least five times, while knowing that there’s every chance a contestant could club the side of the bin he’s in with a frying pan, asks the contestants to lasso him, and often gets roped into helping the contestants complete a task in a number of undignified ways.

Prize task

Every week, the contestants are asked to bring in something from home that fits a specific brief or theme, and the winner of that episode gets to claim all five prizes. Themes include: weirdest wooden thing, most desirable smooth thing and best thing they’ve taken from someone’s house, and the Taskmaster allocates points according to how much he likes (or dislikes) each item. The prize task is always the first task of the episode, and brings together a brilliant mix of creativity, strange interpretations of the theme, and impassioned justifications for that contestant’s particular thing. Prize task-winning items include a copy of War and Peace that had all the pages removed and taped together to make one big piece of paper, and a contestant’s cat’s ashes.

Catchphrases

The names of each episode are derived from a line in that particular episode, and it’s worth keeping an ear out for them. In keeping with the theme of the show, they are almost always a little absurd, or a line uttered by a contestant during a task that Greg latches onto. Examples include “don’t like them go bang”, a reference to Ed not liking the idea of popping balloons, and “quisps”, one of David Baddiel’s attempts to justify his actions after he chose the letter “Q” for a particular task.

David Baddiel being absolutely awful at most tasks

Most seasons of Taskmaster involve at least one contestant being woeful at almost every task they’re set, and in season 9, this mantle belongs to David Baddiel. More often than not, he misunderstands what the task is or how to complete it. Even when he does understand the task, it doesn’t always go well: In one instance, he had to call a friend, who had had a hip replacement, to figure out where his hip was, before proceeding to identify the incorrect part of his body as his hip. During the series, he also accuses a series of ice-blocks of being a dodo, and attaches a bunch of wooden spoons to a piece of rope in an attempt to lasso Alex.

Team tasks

This season, the teams have been divided into “the old people” and “the young people”. It’s hilarious to watch the different teams’ approaches to the same task: the chaos of the younger group is contrasted against Jo and David’s reluctance to move anywhere with any sort of speed, even when the task is timed. Keep an eye out for the teams’ attempts to make Alex a cup of tea with equipment that is locked to the table, and their adventure around the Taskmaster house and caravan based around the word “demeaning”.

Live task

This often involves contestants deliberately dressed in silly costumes, doing deliberately silly or awkward tasks. Sometimes they’re simply absurd and completely based on luck. For example, one of the live tasks asks the contestants to read the Taskmaster’s mind, which really just involved them guessing whether Greg had selected a card with either a horse or a laminator on it, with one point being awarded for each correct guess in a row. Other times, they are deceptively simple – like sliding a drink towards the Taskmaster, never mind how much liquid is spilled in the process. The team live task for this series is also a banger. 

Season 9 of Taskmaster premieres at 8.30pm, Monday 31 January on SBS VICELAND. Episodes air weekly and will stream at SBS On Demand after they go to air.   

Follow the author @inexorablist

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