KITHfan.org: A Whole Lotta Kids in the Hall


Whose Line Is It Anyway?

This week's focus is on Whose Line Is It Anyway? Tune in to Comedy Central every Tuesday at 10:30PM for a "New-to-US" episode, Monday from 8-10pm for a two hour block, and various other times each day. Join us at the Palace this Friday at 9PM for a chat about Whose Line with your fellow KITH fan/Whosers. THEN, come back to the Palace on Saturday at 10PM to try your own hand at improving for a KITH-themed Whose Palace Is It Anyway?

Background

"Whose Line is it Anyway?" is a television comedy during which four guests play games and act out brief scenes. Everything the guests say and do is completely improvised and is often based on suggestions from the studio audience. The panel generally changes from show to show, although some guests become permanent cast members and appear every week. "Whose Line is it Anyway?" has a rather complicated history, as it has undergone some major changes in format and location and has been produced in several different versions. The show began as a program on BBC Radio 4 in 1987, hosted by Clive Anderson. It moved to British television the following year and remained on the air until May of 1998. During its 10-year run, Whose Line became popular in both England and the U.S., and the panels came to include North American actors and comedians as well as British ones. One of the regulars on the show was Ryan Stiles, an American comic who currently plays Lewis on ABC's "The Drew Carey Show." The cast of Drew's show often performs improv comedy, occasionally on-camera but more frequently on-stage in the Los Angeles area. This interest in improv led Drew to decide that he'd like to do an American version of "Whose Line is it Anyway?" and, after recruiting Ryan as a co-producer, he approached ABC with the idea. Drew's Whose Line began production in the spring of 1998, and the first episodes aired that summer, shortly after the British version of the show ended its run. The cast for the most recent season of Whose Line consists of Ryan Stiles, Colin Mochrie, and Wayne Brady. The fourth guest varies from week to week, but regulars include Brad Sherwood, Greg Proops, and Chip Esten, as well as English comic actress Josie Lawrence. These players, except for Wayne, all appeared on the original British series along with frequent panelists Tony Slattery, Paul Merton, Stephen Frost, and Mike McShane.

The KITH Link

Kevin may be the only Kid to have shared a stage with Whose Line cast members (he guest-starred in an episode of "The Drew Carey Show" as a co-worker conspiring to make Drew's life miserable), but there are a few subtler connections between the two shows. Colin Mochrie, veteran of the British program and current cast member of the American series, is Canadian. He currently resides in Toronto, Ontario and was once a member of the Second City comedy troupe, whose workshops were reason Kevin and Dave met and began working together. Ryan Stiles, though born in Seattle, spent some time in Vancouver and also performed with Second City.

Why You Might Like It

The obvious reason a KITH fan might enjoy Whose Line is that both shows are great comedy, pure and simple. The improvised nature of Whose Line, combined with the studio audience's efforts to make the most random suggestions possible, makes for some pretty offbeat humor. The guests aren't afraid to say anything, and although some jokes get censored (where have we heard that before?), many games take some shocking turns. The format is somewhat familiar, as well. The division of Whose Line into many different scenes, or games, creates a sketch-y feel which should appeal to any KITH-o-holic. And certainly, KITH fans are no strangers to improv. The Kids all have strong improv-comedy roots; in fact, it was improv that brought them together. Kevin and Dave met at the aforementioned Second City improv workshops, and Bruce and Mark met doing improv with TheatreSports. They bring this background to their live shows, sometimes to such a degree that improvised lines and bits (and the on-stage laughter that results) add a full half-hour to the show. Most KITH fans who attend a live show will agree that the improvisations are among the night's funniest moments. The same unrehearsed wit and lack of inhibition make "Whose Line is it Anyway?" one of the funniest shows on television. You never know what will happen...and the performers don't, either.

Forget What You May Have Heard

Many longtime fans of the British "Whose Line is it Anyway?" dismiss Drew's Whose Line (or "Drew's Line") as a poor imitation of a brilliant original. While it's true that Drew's hosting style differs significantly from Clive Anderson's, the bottom line is that there is very little that the two shows don't have in common. Both versions of Whose Line are produced by Dan Patterson and Hat Trick, and Patterson ensures that every episode, American or British, meets his standards. The faces on Drew's panels are familiar (most of them starred in the British series), and they all interact with him in much the same way they did with his predecessor--they are as ruthless in their taunting of Drew as they were when they mocked Clive. Drew's Line even features many of the same games that made Whose Line a success, though it also includes new ones that take advantage of comedic opportunities unheard of in Clive's time (such as spoofs of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" and, in the coming season, "Survivor"). The probable cause of fans' dislike of Drew's Line is a fear of change. If they'd give Drew a chance, they'd probably realize that this change was for the better...or at least admit that it wasn't a change for the worse.

-Laura Cihocki (10.09.00)

YML archives:

EXPLANATION PLEASE!- What the hell this section is and how to submit your own YMAL.

Barenaked Ladies- 9.11.00
Norm MacDonald- 9.19.00

 

More about the YML:

The Whosers Page- Dedicated to Whose Line fans.
Whose Page is it Anyway?- Contains comprehensive FAQ.
Mark's guide to Whose Line is It Anyway?- Regarded as one of the most complete WLiiA fan pages.
WLOnline- Regarded as the other most complete WLiiA fan page.

Hat Trick Productions- The production company's WLiiA page.
ABC- ABC's Whose Line page.
Comedy Central - CC's Whose Line page.

Ryan Stiles- Fan page.
Colin Mochrie- Officially approved page.
Wayne Brady- Official site.
Brad Sherwood- Official site.
Greg Proops- Official site.
Tony Slattery- Fan page.
Josie Lawrence- Fan page.
Steve Frost- Fan page.
 Laura Hall- Official site.

 

Buy the YML's work:

ryan stiles:
   

 Hot Shots Part Deux
 Hot Shots
 Courting Courtney


tony slattery:
   

 Peter's Friends (see his ass ;o)
 How To Get Ahead In Advertising
 Crying Game
 Heaven's a Drag


josie lawrence:

 Enchanted April


wayne brady:

 Geppetto


greg proops:
 

 Nightmare Before Christmas
 Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace


mike mcshane:
   

 Drop Dead Gorgeous
 Office Space
 A Bug's Life

   

 Tom and Huck
 Richie Rich
 Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

 

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