Taskmaster’s Mike Wozniak: Saluting the King of Our Hearts

On the subject of Edinburgh, series 11 isn’t Mike Wozniak’s first Taskmaster experience. Before he developed the format for television, Alex Horne performed a version of it with comedian contestants as a live Edinburgh Fringe show in 2010. The winner of the stage version? Dr Mike Wozniak. 

TV-wise, Wozniak played strait-laced financial advisor Brian in Greg Davies’ Channel 4 sitcom Man Down, opposite Davies and fellow Taskmaster contestant from series one, Roisin Conaty. All four series of that weird delight are available to stream in the UK on Netflix, so hurry along and watch. Among many other things to recommend it, Man Down‘s first series features a brilliant performance from Rik Mayall as the scheming and sadistic father to Davies’ character, one of Mayall’s final screen appearances before he passed away in 2014. 

Wozniak also appeared Kevin Eldon’s much-missed sketch show It’s Kevin, several episodes of Drunk History: UK, played various parts in 2015’s Walliams & Friend, and starred in Dave original comedy Dial M For Middlesborough, alongside former Taskmaster contestants Johnny Vegas and Sian Gibson. Podcast-wise, you can see him interviewed at length by series 10 champion Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast (always worth listening to) back in January 2020 here, or stream his new collaboration Three Bean Salad, with fellow comedians Henry Paker and Benjamin Partridge here.

Mike Wozniak’s Best Taskmaster Moments

“It’s an absolute casserole down there”

In Taskmaster history, there are a chosen few; special contestants hand-picked to perform tasks set for them and them alone. Mark Watson, Joe Lycett, Josh Widdicombe, Mel Giedroyc… and in series 11: Mike Wozniak. 

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Often, the individual tasks are set for the most genial contestants, as an attempt to get under their skin. Mike Wozniak’s task did that in a most surprising, discomfiting and literal way. His task was to “Fart. Fartest wins.” Starting off with no gas in the tank, Wozniak tried a few primary school brewing positions to “massage the inner Mike”, but to no avail. Then later on in the day, he felt success on the horizon and delivered an unsatisfyingly wet ‘sproot’. The flatus had gone through. Task? Tick. But that’s not all that went through. Skip to 3:36 for the moment of truth (though you might wish you hadn’t.)

“It might be sensing my creeping sense of dread”

This episode one task was the moment the nation started to think they liked the cut of Mike Wozniak’s jib. Given the choice of a scooter, bicycle or hoverboard which which to deliver a stack of plates to Alex, he went for the latter, no doubt anticipating futuristic speed and agility. Instead, we were treated to the sight of a man in a carefully contrived posture progressing at roughly the speed of a paper boat on a puddle. The helmet and kneepads only made it better, as did the optimistic hoverboard instructions to “come on, buddy” and “mush, mush, mush.” Skip to 2:27 for the Wozniak joy.


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