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April 11, 2011 5:00 PM   Subscribe

Years after its final broadcast, the award-winning, pond-hopping, cult comedy hit Whose Line is it Anyway? is returning to television! Sort of! Tonight in just a few minutes, Drew Carey's Improv-A-Ganza (promo, sample segment) makes its debut on GSN, reuniting Carey with popular "Whosers" Ryan Stiles, Colin Mochrie, Greg Proops, Brad Sherwood, Wayne Brady, and many more. Though the show will air every weekday, you don't have to wait around for new episodes to get your improv fix -- in spite of the lack of DVD box sets, there's a veritable treasure trove of past content available free from multiple online sources, including the complete run of the American Whose Line on both YouTube and fansite WatchWLIIA along with every episode of the original UK run from Channel4's official YouTube channel and their streaming video site 4oD. Too much content? Look inside for selections of the show's most hilarious moments as sampled from the show's burgeoning TVTropes entry. See also: Fan guide - American episode guide (UK version) - List of game types posted by Rhaomi (49 comments total) 82 users marked this as a favorite

 
The show's actually starting now, but there will be a repeat at 11 EST, IIRC. I would have posted it earlier if I weren't currently BESET BY TORNADOES. :O
posted by Rhaomi at 5:02 PM on April 11, 2011


Oh dear. See y'all in a month or three.
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:03 PM on April 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Greg Proops is performing here soon. Might see him.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:03 PM on April 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Whose Line is my favorite thing on a TV. Ever. UK, US, whatever. OK, I might lean toward the UK version due to magic of Josie and Mike McShane, but to this day, the mere mention of the word "Cuba" (or "tapioca"), if it catches me off guard, can render me paralyzed.
posted by Wolfdog at 5:14 PM on April 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Is that your head or is your neck blowing bubbles?" Paul Merton always made me laugh on the UK version. Drove my college roommates crazy watching that show.
posted by youknowwhatpart at 5:16 PM on April 11, 2011


I met some of my best friends through the Whose Line fan community (yes, there is one). Our 12th annual convention/get-together is coming up in Toronto. Glad to see the guys back doing improv.
posted by Gridlock Joe at 5:20 PM on April 11, 2011


While Drew himself isn't really the best improviser in the world, I genuinely appreciate that he has championed improvisation as mainstream entertainment in the U.S.A.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:24 PM on April 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


@Wolfdog - "tapiOOOOOOca!"
posted by luminarias at 5:25 PM on April 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, there goes my GPA.
posted by TheMidnightHobo at 5:30 PM on April 11, 2011


One of my favorite moments ever was from the US version, actually: Wayne and Josie nail a song about a chiropractor in the style of Gilbert & Sullivan.
posted by davidjmcgee at 5:35 PM on April 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


every episode of the original UK run from Channel4's official YouTube channel and their streaming video site 4oD

Not in the US they're not. Bah.

Is the Peter Cook one in series 1 as bad as I remember it?
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 5:39 PM on April 11, 2011


I watched quite a bit of the UK version when I was younger and less capable of judging such things. Now I know that it was hands down one of the worst comedy shows I've ever seen. Most of the guests who were funny on the show were much funnier elsewhere, and many of the performers just weren't that funny. I think UK comedians came to the same judgment, as in the later series as most of the performers were North American.

Worst of all: Clive Anderson.

(Sorry to be a downer.)
posted by Jehan at 5:42 PM on April 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wayne Brady's only an guest star (his daytime game show is more labor-intensive than Drew's). Kathy Kinney (Mimi from Drew's sitcom) is on there too and she's lost almost as much weight as Drew has, so this will be a genuine 'fat-joke-free-zone'. I hope they can include that OTHER Drew Carey Show veteran, Craig Ferguson as a guest sometime.

I loved this clip from Charlie Sheen's guest appearance where he makes his grand entrance and hugs everyone on stage, to which Ryan Stiles declares "and all of our wallets are gone". It must be noted that Ryan has a recurring role on "2.5M" as Jon Cryer's character's ex-wife's second husband, and I was thinking how cool would it be if Stiles replaced Sheen (but his character may be too similar to Cryer's; even the 2.5M hacks know you can't have an Odd Couple with two Felixes). It would be another step in a complete takeover of CBS by Carey-Co-Stars, leading to Colin Mochrie replacing Katie Couric on the Evening News (hey, Canadian anchormen have worked before!).
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:50 PM on April 11, 2011


Yea, was going to chime in about the mis-represent of Wayne. And the show could be nothing but continual Scenes from a Hat and I'd be happy.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 5:52 PM on April 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


8 new comments, show

It is like I forgot how to laugh.
posted by clavdivs at 5:58 PM on April 11, 2011


BUY AN ENCYCLOPEDIA!!!
posted by dirigibleman at 6:05 PM on April 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


every episode of the original UK run from Channel4's official YouTube channel and their streaming video site 4oD

Not in the US they're not. Bah.


Google Ron Paul web proxies UK
posted by hippybear at 6:38 PM on April 11, 2011


You know, as the weather has gradually gotten nicer, I have more and more been craving really good comedy. Enough with my usual stable of procedural dramas and subtitled horror movies. I want to laugh!

Three minutes in to the first episode of Whose Line, I may die from a lack of oxygen. Thank you for this post.
posted by jess at 6:42 PM on April 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I remember being very excited to watch Colbert's apperance, but it wasn't nearly as awesome as I was hoping. Similar to John Hodgman on QI, where he barely said anything the whole show.
posted by kmz at 6:51 PM on April 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


This show is great and fun.

That said, I'll be that poster and say it's not the end all and be all of entertaining improv.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:03 PM on April 11, 2011


That said, I'll be that poster and say it's not the end all and be all of entertaining improv.

I'll be the guy, then, who points out that short form games (the sort of thing WLIA featured) are the gateway drug for the rest of improv. So, yes, you got your Harolds and Armandos and Bassprovs and Drum Machines and Screwbukis, but before you got any of those, you got some people who see Josie singing on WLIA and say "I would love to see more of that/do that myself."

Net win. :D
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:09 PM on April 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Well, it's fifteen minutes after and I'm still without power. How did the new show stack up to the old one, for anyone who saw it?
posted by Rhaomi at 7:16 PM on April 11, 2011


I'm a huge, huge Whose Line fan. My wife is, too. We've seen Colin and Brad live twice now, and Wayne Brady and Jonathan Mangum once (in Vegas!) and we've got tickets to see Whose Live Anyway in Delaware next month. Unfortunately, though, we don't have cable, so there's absolutely no way we can ever watch Improv-A-Ganza. I mean, yes, theoretically, someone could MeMail me a link to a download or torrent, but of course that would be copyright infringement and completely unacceptable. Yup. Absolutely, utterly unacceptable in every possible way, no matter how happy it would make both me and my wife.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:23 PM on April 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


The Richard Simmons clip made me laugh so hard I got dizzy.
posted by anotherkate at 7:38 PM on April 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


but before you got any of those, you got some people who see Josie singing on WLIA and say "I would love to see more of that/do that myself."

Point taken. Is the closest live equivalent still ComedySportz?
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:40 PM on April 11, 2011


Is the closest live equivalent still ComedySportz?

I imagine this varies from city to city. The North American improv world tends to be very city based, which means the style you would see in (say) Chicago is significantly different than the style you'd see in Seattle, L.A., Vancouver, Minneapolis, Austin, Toronto, Milwaukee, New York, Madison, Juneau, Honolulu or wherever.

In general, though, I'd say ComedySportz is probably the closest thing many cities have to WLIA - and also a great way to make a few bucks if you're an improviser. No small feat. God bless 'em for it.
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:43 PM on April 11, 2011


And, to describe that God, could I get a suggestion for a kitchen object and a verb?
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:44 PM on April 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Spork" and "spork".
posted by erniepan at 7:47 PM on April 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I remember being very excited to watch Colbert's apperance, but it wasn't nearly as awesome as I was hoping. Similar to John Hodgman on QI, where he barely said anything the whole show.

I'd say with Hodgman and QI, they're both very funny but they were very mismatched. Hodgman's humor is very slow, quiet, dry, and QI is fast, loud and up somewhat... obvious is the wrong word, but there you go. They just didn't fit together.
posted by gc at 7:59 PM on April 11, 2011


Warning: Censorship Fail should not be watched at work unless you don't mind losing your composure.
posted by bruzie at 8:05 PM on April 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


So, who is this guy? He look so familiar.
posted by gc at 8:30 PM on April 11, 2011


I went to see a taping of The Drew Carey Show when I was a freshman in high school. I learned something that day. Ryan Stiles isn't used to being catcalled by 14 year old girls.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:57 PM on April 11, 2011 [13 favorites]


It must be noted that Ryan has a recurring role on "2.5M" as Jon Cryer's character's ex-wife's second husband, and I was thinking how cool would it be if Stiles replaced Sheen

In addition to Two and a Half Men, Stiles, Sheen, and Cryer appeared together in Hot Shots!, and Stiles and Sheen costarred in Hot Shots! Part Deux.

(The sad part is, I didn't have to look that up.)

I'd say with Hodgman and QI, they're both very funny but they were very mismatched. Hodgman's humor is very slow, quiet, dry, and QI is fast, loud and up somewhat... obvious is the wrong word, but there you go. They just didn't fit together.

It would seem to work on paper: QI's a show about obscure and interesting facts with a dose of entertaining baloney, and that's not too far off from Hodgman's books--and he was the PC in the Mac commercials, just like David Mitchell, so...!

But he's not really an actor, let alone a quip-whipping improvisational one. He's more of a reader-writer who fell backwards into a TV gig. (At least that's my understanding.)

Plus there was the added awkwardity of Mr. MetaFilter's Own being wedged into an already-full panel, which was just plain weird. What was that about?
posted by Sys Rq at 9:46 PM on April 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


My face is swollen shut and I have to have a root canal in two fucking days, but I'm laughing my ass off tonight. Thanks, Rhaomi.
posted by carsonb at 9:48 PM on April 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hodgman is actually pretty astonishingly quick-witted with quips in character on the Judge John Hodgman podcast.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:14 PM on April 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


BACKSTREET BOYS!

/you are welcome, Wolfdog
posted by cerulgalactus at 11:57 PM on April 11, 2011


Never cared for Whose Line... Every time I happened to see it, I was struck by just how damned lazy the improv was, with everyone constantly falling-back on adolescent sex gags.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:23 AM on April 12, 2011


(The sad part is, I didn't have to look that up.)

Even sadder: I was scanning the thread as I raced to the bottom of the page in order to share the exact same information.

Saddest: When I saw you beat me to it, I swore.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:30 AM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have an mp3 version of that Improbable Mission bit and I listen to it whenever I need a pick-me-up. The cat!

Whose Line was my in to the world of comedy, and the gateway by which I found many other funny things. Watching it now there are certainly bits that make me cringe, and too many sex/fart/poo jokes, but it'll always hold a special nostalgic place for me.
posted by marginaliana at 6:43 AM on April 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Plus there was the added awkwardity of Mr. MetaFilter's Own being wedged into an already-full panel, which was just plain weird. What was that about?

Yeah, that was just super-weird. And the other panelists kept talking over Hodgman too. I don't really blame either party, it just seemed to be a bad fit.

And actually watching the Colbert segment linked above, he's way funnier than I remembered. According to IMDB he's been on twice so maybe what I saw was his other appearance on the show.
posted by kmz at 6:48 AM on April 12, 2011


People who natter that WLIIA was a lazy show, or uneven, or not always funny are missing the point rather grandly. One of the things I liked about Whose Line at a meta- level a decade ago was that it had been dropped into the death slot at 8:00 PM on Thursday. ABC had to counterprogram against Friends on NBC and Survivor on CBS. Anything they put there was going to be the third-most watched program on TV then. Why the hell not put on something inexpensive and occasionally very very funny? I would happily take brilliant improv comedians creating stuff in front of my eyes than the seventeenth tired iteration of Ross and Rachel, or the incredibly artificial conflict of a bunch of unpleasant people forced into an heavily edited series of challenges involving conch chells.

ABC was getting 20% of the viewership (and presumably, ad revenue) that the other networks were getting for maybe one percent of the expenditure. Seems pretty canny to me.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:25 AM on April 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


Meh.

I never could stand the US version of WILIIA. I liked Drew Carey well enough on his show, and Ryan Stile is full of complete awesome. But the US version of WILIIA has always fallen completely flat compared to the British version. While even the bad episodes of the British one will still have me clutching my stomach in pain and gasping for breath as I can do nothing but point and laugh, the US version has done that maybe twice. And the only time I can recall is the Richard Simmons appearance.

I think a lot of the US performers are great. Wayne Brady is pretty awesome. But I really can't say I've seen anything that makes me seek out the US version. It's just not consistently as funny as the British version.
posted by zizzle at 7:44 AM on April 12, 2011


Remember when the British version of the show was on at least eight times per day on Comedy Central?
posted by kuanes at 8:30 AM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Remember when the British version of the show was on at least eight times per day on Comedy Central?
posted by kuanes at 8:30 AM on April 12 [+] [!]

Much of what I am today can be traced to reruns of Whose Line, Kids in the Hall, and Mystery Science Theater 3000.
posted by gc at 8:38 AM on April 12, 2011 [10 favorites]


You forgot the warning label: NSFProductivity
posted by owtytrof at 9:45 AM on April 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ohgodohgodohgod. People are looking at me funny because I started snorting to myself halfway through Impossible Mission and by the end was choking on laughter into my hand. In the middle of the office.

The next time someone utters the words "the cat!" to me, I'm going to lose it.

Now off to embarrass myself with more public laughter...
posted by badgermushroomSNAKE at 10:27 AM on April 12, 2011


Wayne Brady dramatized my first kiss.

In the mid-90s, Wayne was a member of the Orlando ComedySportz team (Sak Theater Comedy Lab), where my sister was a volunteer worker. I worked there too, when I was home from college, just so I could watch the shows for free.

At one show, they were looking for a story to act out. I volunteered the story of my first kiss, which occurred on Great Thunder Mountain at Disney World. Because we were going up the hill, the car we were in jerked, and I accidentally bit him.

Almost all of the performers had worked at Disney World at one time or another, and they took any excuse to rip on the place. They took this and ran with it. Wayne played my date, escorting "me" to DW, chatting uncomfortably as they got onto the ride, leaning in for the kiss, then *screaming* as the performer playing me bit him. He mimed jumping out of the car, and Jonathan Mangum grabbed him and dragged him off, shouting "Get him off the property! He cannot die on Disney property!"

That was second only to the fifteen-minute improvised musical where Wayne played a Disney ice-cream salesman who found out that the secret ingredient in the ice cream was tiny scoops of Walt's frozen corpse. I will never forget the song they sang, "A little piece of Walt in a little piece of you..."
posted by cereselle at 2:34 PM on April 12, 2011 [6 favorites]


You can now watch the first episode online at the GSN website. Even better, it isn't region locked at all, working fine here in NZ.
posted by netd at 5:36 AM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]




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