No Such Thing As A Fish hosts keep a database with every fact they've ever used

The nearly 30,000-row spreadsheet is the show's "secret weapon"

No Such Thing As A Fish, the award-winning podcast from the researchers behind QI, uses a spreadsheet containing nearly 30,000 facts that have been said on the show to help the hosts stay organised. 

The award-winning podcast was launched in 2014 by four staff members from the hit BBC panel show - Dan Schreiber, James Harkin, Anna Ptaszynski and Andrew Hunter Murray - and has since amassed over 400 million downloads. 

Schreiber and Murray told PodPod in the latest podcast episode that the group keeps a spreadsheet which contains - at the time of recording - all 27,139 headline and supplementary facts that they have ever spoken about on the podcast in order to avoid repeating the same ones. 

“What we'll do is pre a show… we just do a keyword search, each of us individually, find out all the things we've said about [a topic] before, and make sure not to say that again,” said Schreiber. “Sometimes we slip up… you'll get accidents where we do double up, but our attempt is to not do that. So in theory, that's 27,000 unique facts.” 

No Such Thing As A Fish has toured around the UK and around the world, performing sold-out live shows in front of audiences that sometimes reach 3,000, including at The London Palladium and the Sydney Opera House. The pair said that when it comes to doing live shows, the process of finding facts has to come with a slightly different mindset, and often involves trying to be a bit funnier to get a laugh out of the audience, or finding regional facts based on where the show is being held. 

“If you want to make the best show possible for the audience in the room, you also have to remember that when the show goes out, it's a global show reaching far more than the people that were in that room, so we’ve got two shows we’re making,” said Schreiber. “The regional stuff always just feels really fun because there's something about the adventure of going to Doncaster, finding out about Doncaster facts, and lobbing them into that episode.”

“There's just something that’s like, when you see a great standup and the room becomes part of the act, that always makes for a better show.” 

Despite the international success of the No Such Thing As A Fish live show tours, the pair also admitted that touring in Europe can sometimes be of “varying heights” in terms of dealing with the language barrier. Still, they hope to continue expanding their live tours around the world and go over to places like Singapore and Hong Kong. 

“I often describe the podcast as a club, and the four of us are the steering committee, if you like,” said Hunter Murray. “We're the ones who are actually on stage, but everyone is part of the club, everyone is a member of it, and so when you're watching a show, you are watching the individual facts and jokes, but really you're more watching the four of us make fun of each other and be interested in each other's facts and laugh at each other's jokes so that intimacy is always preserved no matter where we are.”