The Have I Got News For You (HIGNFY) stars caused a stir on The One Show this week after Merton accused his co-host Ian Hislop of being drunk on air. It followed the slated star going off track while discussing what news stories they would be covering on the BBC show. Hislop said there was a range of topics from Adrian Dunbar in the popular crime drama Line Of Duty to “corruption in public life”.
The Private Eye editor said: “He’s looking out for the erm – the worst offenders.
“So, you know, he could ‘Mother of God’, whenever we came up with a story about yet another… bad behaviour in high places.”
Merton mocked his TV colleague’s umming and ahhing when he stated: “I think he’s drunk?
“Does anybody else think he’s drunk? He’s coming across as drunk, isn’t he?”
The playful exchange caused One Show’s hosts Alex Scott and Alex Jones to burst into hysterical laughter.
“And now, being a really miserable b*****d… I didn’t know! But I would get yourself tested!”
Merton argued against being called a “miserable b*****d” and said it was Hislop’s fault because he had been his mentor for 30 years.
In another swipe on a 2018 episode of HIGNFY, Merton joked about the frailty of the Queen.
It followed a discussion about the food due to be served at Meghan and Harry’s wedding reception.
They revealed the 600 guests would tuck into British classics in canapes and bowl dishes.
Comedian Roisin Conaty took aim at the royals’ choice of crockery during HIGNFY.
She said: “I just can’t believe they are serving food in bowls.
“Imagine you’ve got a glass and a clutch, do you just put your bowl under your chin and eat from a trough?”
Conaty playfully joked that the Queen might need “to stand up and eat out of a bowl”.
Merton fired back: “No, she will have a footman chucking cheesy Wotsits at her.”
The statement implied Her Majesty was unable or unwilling to feed herself in a playful pop.
Tonight’s (April 30) episode of HIGNFY, which is hosted by Alexander Armstrong, is due to feature comedian Joe Lycett and journalist Kirsty Wark.
Earlier this week, during the stars’ playful exchange on The One Show Merton took another swipe at Hislop.
After joking about the star being inebriated on air, he mocked Hislop for how he conducted himself.
Merton said: “This is a good thing for kids at home who want to grow up to edit a satirical magazine.
“And there he is, look, it’s quarter past seven and he can barely string a word together.”
Hislop laughed at the jibe via video link and raised up his glass, which contained a clear fluid presumed to be water.
He quipped: “He’s absolutely right!”
Alex Scott, who could barely contain herself, added: “My cheeks are hurting!”
Ian Hislop and Paul Merton star in Have I Got News For You, which airs at 9pm tonight (April 30) on BBC One.