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?
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.
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.
You Might Like It
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.
What You May Have Heard
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.