Currently in its 13th season and recently launching its it’s own streaming service (Taskmaster Supermax +), it’s fair to say that Taskmaster is immensely popular. What makes the show unique is its ability to turn silliness into serious competition. Unlike most panel games, contestants want to win.
Great Taskmaster tasks can inspire panic in even the sharpest comic minds. Some rise to the challenge, producing moments of brilliance or lunacy that even they did not see coming, whilst others slowly die of confusion, despite Little Alex Horne assuring them that “all the information is on the task.” What makes a task the best is that it either inspires variety or creates iconic moments that continue to be discussed amongst fans for years afterward.
10 Train Yard Hide And Seek (Season 8: Episode 1)
Some tasks just make funny people do funny things. Some are epic, some simple. However, none looked more fun to take part in than this. Tasked with crossing a train yard, remaining unseen by Alex (hiding on a bridge, popping up to look every ten seconds), this task feels like route one on paper. It’s hide and seek.
What makes it special is the number of wonderful moments it created that can only come from a Taskmaster task. That is in part due to the longer format (it takes time to complete), allowing contestants to showcase their skills and their unique comedic styles; from awkward and sweet (Joe Thomas trying to befriend Alex) to bafflingly surreal (Lou Sanders hiding in a trash can).
9 Watercooler Moment (Season 5: Episode 5)
A “watercooler moment” is something interesting or exciting that gets people talking around the watercooler at work. Here, the contestants had to create one using an actual watercooler. This is a perfect example of Taskmaster‘s unique approach, in that it does not mean anything specific, and when minds as creative as Bob Mortimer and Sally Phillips are set free, brilliance usually occurs.
Whilst Bob ripping an apple in half was impressive, he’d done it before (on the excellent British panel show, Would I Lie To You?), but Sally created the watercooler moment (arguably of the entire season) by simulating comically vigorous intercourse with the watercooler and cementing her place as a Taskmaster great.
8 Tell The Taskmaster You Love Him (Season 6: Episode 10)
“Tell the Taskmaster you love him in the most meaningful way. “A simple premise and yet one with endless possibilities (a hallmark of great Taskmaster tasks). One aspect of great Taskmaster tasks (demonstrated here) is that the key to winning is not always written on the task.
Some may be obvious, but this task felt vague, demanding creative, lateral thinking. The task may have invited contestants to “tell” the Taskmaster they love him, but the best (and most memorable) decided to “show” him. This prompted Upstart Crow star Liza Tarbuck to create one of the most bizarre / iconic moments in Taskmaster history, involving a cake, Little Alex Horne’s bare backside, and a shed full of shame and regret.
7 Long Distance Painting (Season 4: Episode 2)
The Taskmaster loves to be painted, and Little Alex Horne often commissions contestants to create likenesses of Greg in creative ways. Here, contestants needed to paint the best picture in ten minutes- from a distance. What elevates this task to “best” level is the individual task set for Joe Lycett; smile every 30 seconds, with increasing enthusiasm.
This not only demonstrated Joe’s physical comedy gifts, but also created one of the most iconic montages ever on Taskmaster. The only downside here was the limited number of approaches used, however, some of the efforts were astounding, with Noel Fielding, in particular, showing his skill.
6 Incremental Animal Line Drawing (Season 10: Episode 6)
Studio tasks produce some of the funniest moments on Taskmaster, especially if team-based. This task saw one team member drawing an animal in three-line increments, with the remaining members guessing the animal after each increment. What made it brilliant was the contrasting emotions it inspired.
Both drawings were ultimately terrible, but whilst Katherine Parkinson’s awful “chicken” was jovially handled by teammates Mawaan Rizwan and Jonny Vegas, Daisy-May Cooper’s odd-looking hippo prompted an angry outburst towards Richard Herring, creating tension rarely seen on the show. That Herring still talks about the incident on his brilliant RHLSTP podcast to this day, demonstrates the impact this task had on both TM history and popular culture.
5 Get The Potato In The Golf Hole, Fastest Wins (Season 2: Episode 1)
Great tasks create iconic Taskmaster moments, with few more iconic than star of dark comedy After Life, Joe Wilkinson, throwing a potato into a golf hole- first time. This task brilliantly demonstrates two things: how casual approaches can create unforgettable moments, and how utterly ruthless the show can be.
Joe’s disqualification for touching the “red-green” with the tip of his toe was a heartbreaker for the fans, who felt the sheer audacity and elation of his effort warranted it being allowed. But whilst Taskmaster is ultimately a silly show about people doing silly things, this showed just how seriously it applies the rules. This task’s joy-to-disappointment arc rivals any major sporting event for drama, creating a moment that lives long in many fans’ memories.
4 Impress This Mayor (Season 2: Episode 3)
Comedians by their nature are often show-offs. Given this, it may seem that this task- to impress the Mayor of a small town- was pretty straightforward. But it’s the specificity of the word “Mayor” that is the key to this task’s brilliance. With little clue about how to impress this particular type of person, the contestants created a surreal menagerie of attempts, that perfectly showcased what Taskmaster is about.
Some were underwhelming (Joe Wilkinson), some cringe-making (Jon Richardson), but all were hilarious. Taskmaster’s Ability to conjure comedic moments from pointless endeavors makes it what it is. This task is weirdly British, oddly specific, and painfully embarrassing. That’s Taskmaster.
3 Buy The Best Gift For The Taskmaster (Multiple Episodes)
This task is such a winner that it was featured three times in the first three seasons. it may seem simple, but it produced wildly varied results. This task demonstrates the lengths some contestants will go to impress, as well as highlighting those who, frankly, couldn’t care less.
From sunglasses with wing mirrors to an actual tattoo on someone’s actual skin, the Taskmaster has received many memorable gifts throughout the series. A possible weakness is that it allows the lazier contestants to just buy any old rubbish, but that in itself inspires hilarious contempt from the Taskmaster; proving that whatever happens, comedy is guaranteed.
2 Make The Best Extension To The Taskmaster House (Season 7: Episode 7)
Team tasks are a large part of what makes Taskmaster amazing, as they allow contestants to showcase their teamworking skills and ability to play nice together. Not for Rhod Gilbert, Phil Wang, and the creator of some of the best-rated stand-up specials ever, James Acaster. When the trio were tasked with building an extension to the Taskmaster house, however. Their efforts demonstrated why Taskmaster is such a compelling watch: everyone has different ideas (or in Phil’s case, no ideas).
A variety of approaches provides a platform for comedy, but without cohesion, teams can quickly start squabbling. Whilst funny, this rarely results in success. Rhod, James, and Phil imploded spectacularly, sparking a hilarious meltdown from James Acaster and creating an iconic Taskmaster moment.
1 Fart, Your Time Starts Now (Series 11: Episode 6)
Taskmaster is well-known for giving individual tasks to contestants and reveling in the unfairness and hilarity that follows. None though were more hilarious than Alex handing Mike Wozniak an envelope instructing him to fart as quickly as possible. What makes this task great is who they gave it to.
Mike Wozniak is a surreal genius who flies under the radar of casual comedy fans and had this task gone to anyone else, it would never have become so iconic. The fact that this moment trended at number one in the UK when the episode aired is a testament to the genius of Wozniak, and the bonkers brilliance of Taskmaster. It’s simple, childish, puerile, odd … and produced one of the most talked-about moments in the show’s history.
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