Seasonal Code: S12E11
Production Number: 404
CW Seasonal Code: S12E03
During the Season 10 tapings, Ryan fell ill and had to be replaced by a very stoned Greg Proops, altering the strong three-man regular team of Ryan, Colin and Wayne. In Season 12, it happened again, but this time it was Wayne’s turn.
Yes, Wayne Brady was simultaneously Lola-ing on Broadway in Kinky Boots while the tapings were going on in LA. Most of them he was able to make in between performances. This one he was not, and had to choose Broadway over Whose Line. It’s an admirable reason to miss a show, as Wayne is a professional and has done Broadway and theatre work occasionally [even starring as Aaron Burr, sir, in Hamilton Chicago in 2017], but it would still leave Whose Line without Wayne Brady for the first time since 1998.
So the producers booked two different fourth seaters, and two that had worked with each other before on IAG- Jeff Davis and Brad Sherwood. Which means it’d be a show for the Jeff-Ryan duo, the Jeff-Brad duo, the Ryan-Colin duo and the Brad-Colin duo. So a lot of possibilities, especially considering that we haven’t seen much of this taping other than guest star shows.
Which this is, actually. Misty May Treanor showed up, and the olympian beach volleyball player did a few games, yet only one makes this show for…reasons we will get into. Treanor is a friend of popular culture, making appearances on The Soup during her eventually injury-plagued run on Dancing with the Stars, and marrying former Dodgers backup catcher Matt Treanor.
Still, this is a Wayneless Whose Line, and will be covered as such
This is cool as heck
Questions: Passions erupt on the farm
Brad: “do you know that I find you udderly beautiful?”
Jeff: “…d’you want some pussy?”
AND WE’RE OFF
And Jeff has to motion to Aisha that he is referring to the cat. The old Tiffany Haddish trick
Brad: “…oh, nevermind.”
Ryan, with a chicken hat: “thigh or breast?”
Jeff: “I’m more of a leg man.”
Aisha: *DOES NOT BUZZ FOR SOME REASON*
Ryan: “are you going to stuff me?”
Jeff: [leaves anyway]
I think Jeff knew his last one should have been buzzed
Colin, corn-cob hat: “care to play with some niblets?”
Ryan: “whose niblets are we talking about?”
Colin: “do you know the kernel?”
There’s a very funny moment where Ryan has a surprised expression waiting to think of response, then Colin leans in with a similar expression, like ‘that would be your cue’, and that cracks up Ryan and gets him off the step
Brad, dog-ear hat: “did you see a pussy around here earlier?”
Colin: “who’s asking?”
Brad: “are you Lee J. Cobb?”
SO IF THEY DIDN’T GET THE WILFORD BRIMLEY JOKE FROM LAST EPISODE, HOW ARE THEY GONNA GET THAT ONE??
Jeff, with a chicken hat, gets away with answering “BU-CAAA?” by shrugging it off as a question.
Jeff: “DID YOU KNOW THERE’S A SNAKE ON YOUR HEAD?”
Ryan, snake hat: “a snake???”
Jeff: “DIDN’T YOU HEAR WHAT I JUST SAID?”
Ryan: “you’re making an asp of yourself.”
Ryan, panicking: “…ARE YOU MAKING AN ASP OF YOURSELF?”
[The occasional lapse in this game from someone who’s usually really good always kills me]
I love that. Just ‘leave’
Ryan, still trying: “WHAT’S AN ASP??”
Ryan: “THIS WAY??”
That’s a great ending. Jeff literally shoving Ryan offstage
A really strong Questions to start us off. Fun stuff from everybody and great opening energy
Aisha mentions ‘such incisive political satire’, meaning there was a Trump joke cut from the game. Also, Ryan brings back a rifle from the box with him and we never get a payoff. Something happened.
Duet: Brad and Jeff sing a Beastie Boys song to Misty-May
Brad takes the Wayne role of interviewing the subject, which he’s a natural for. Then, right when he gets a good amount, Misty-May goes “but there are downfalls”, right as Laura and Linda start
Jeff: “HOLD ON, STOP THE MUSIC.”
Brad: “NEWS ALERT, what are the downfalls?”
Misty-May: “who wants it?”
Aisha: “he really does want it to, he really wants it”
Jeff: [pretends to bring Misty-May offstage]
Aisha: “MISTY-MAY TREANOR EVERYBODY”
Wouldn’t it have been something if that was the extent of the guest material this show?
Brad: “that’s one of the downfalls…”
Misty-May: “our uniforms, shaving and waxing-”
Jeff, looking at Colin and Ryan: “HELLO…”
Jeff and Brad’s Beasties stuff is pretty good. For some reason, nobody’s doing the higher-pitch/nasal Ad-Rock voice, as Brad usually covers that in Wayne duets, but they’re getting along well and Misty-May’s having a great time
This gets Jeff to pause his verse, suffice to say
Jeff: “YEAH, I GOT SAND UP THERE, GIRL
GOT SO TIGHT I MADE A PEARL”
[Misty-May loves this one]
Look, Brad and Jeff get to a point in this game where they’ve got energy, lyricism, and are moving all around with Misty into it. That is where they want to be, Wayne or no Wayne.
Heck, there’s even an audience call and response bit that Jeff makes work. They are on FIRE
Then, the audience responds with the beat as Jeff hesitates, and he has to go “I DIDN’T SAY IT.” Same reactive energy as his “NO, WRONG” in Flap My Jack, but this is slightly more sober, I think
A fun-as-hell Duet. Maybe not as substantial as some of the other big ones this season, like Tamera’s, Yvette’s and Joey’s, but a fun one, and a great Brad-Jeff showcase.
Aisha talks about a Misty-May gold medal win where she and her partner hugged “and every 13 year old boy exploded”
Brad: “hey, they weren’t ALL 13…”
MOVING PEOPLE: A worldwide shortage of wedding dresses; Colin and Brad
The first playing of Moving People on the CW, which would be thrown into the rotation here and there going forward. This is a hell of one to start with, as you’ll see. Also, this is a Colin-Brad moving people, meaning we do not get a traditional Colin-Ryan game this show despite both players being here. This is even a scene prompt right out of the Colin and Brad shows [“what could there be a shortage of?”]
I had a feeling that everyone onstage knew what was happening except for Amanda. Cause as Aaron and Amanda come onstage, Jeff is smirking, and Ryan is keeping stonefaced.
Also, you can tell something’s about to happen because Aisha’s onstage explaining it as well. Not behind the desk. Onstage.
Then, as Aisha asks if Aaron has any questions, she goes “take the microphone, I wanna make sure that everyone can hear you”, and as the audience, AND AMANDA, realize what’s going on, the place goes nuts
My one note is that maybe Aaron could have blocked this a little better. If the cameramen were in on it, they’d be right there with him getting the pretty angle. But this is…not exactly playing to the audience’s eye view.
I KNOW IT’S A SWEET MOMENT but I gotta think about this from an improv performance standpoint
Hell, Brad has the exact same note:
LITERALLY MOVING THEM LIKE THEY’RE ABOUT TO MOVE COLIN AND BRAD. It’s honestly kinda perfect
Of course Amanda says yes:
Jeff is friggin great this show
Colin and Brad, meanwhile:
Heck, Aaron has to re-put the ring on Amanda on camera, at Aisha’s request, so they can get a good shot of this. Aaron just didn’t have a good mind for TV, I suppose
Then, after another very sweet moment:
Aisha: “we’re gonna do this game now”
Colin: “just when you thought things couldn’t get any better…”
Aisha needs a moment to wipe her tears. “Oh, you’re gonna get SO LAID TONIGHT, AARON…”
Aaron, kissing Amanda, to the audience: “I’M GONNA GET LAID!”
At least he’s honest
Brad has a funny moment to start where Colin tells him to come in and Amanda’s not moving him, so he sort of has to wait awkwardly for a second before she starts tapping the backs of his legs. And he does a raspier version of his LMAD voice
Aaron has Colin cover his mouth, so he does a worried shout, completely incoherently. They are still pros at this game
Colin, as Aaron twists him towards the camera without moving his legs: “well first I’m gonna…crush my testicles…that clears up my mind.”
Colin, responding to Aaron randomly covering one of his eyes with his hand: “I’m just…checking out this eye chart”
Brad, similarly responding to misuse: “I’m saving my left arm for a special occasion”
Colin, smiling: “WELL, THANK YOU.”
Brad, as Amanda has him climb with just his arms: “I don’t need my legs, I’m strong like an orangutan”
THERE’S THE OBLIGATORY BRAD PRIMATE REFERENCE
Brad, frantically, to Amanda: “TOUCH ME, I CAN BE THE LAST OTHER MAN YOU EVER TOUCH!”
PFFFFF. Amanda dies at this
Colin, confused, as Aaron moves him back: “wait a minute, I’m just trying to figure out how my legs work..I’M SO NERVOUS, I’M TOO IN LOVE WITH YOU TO THINK RIGHT.”
Amanda and Aaron, cutely:
I have always loved that move. A slight meta moment, then right back into the game. It’s also a great ending move, as Aisha calls it right after this
So, even with the pregame angle to it, that was a fantastic Moving People. Mostly it was great to see this game again, and Brad and Colin had some great response moments, but Amanda and Aaron were really good movers who understood improv as well as humor, and while the top-heavy edit made this a little shorter, it was still a great game that’s a classic for a number of reasons
Ryan: “…they really moved us…in so many ways.”
Ryan, for several reasons, is getting a milder edit this show, but at least he can still do that
Jeff, bringing us right back to Questions:
Scenes from a Hat
Only one scene, but that’s all this one needs.
There’s some extra giggliness as everyone comes down to positions. Brad takes a longer time than usual. Not sure what happened there
“Bad times to say what you’re really thinking”. It’s the only scene we get, and it’s vague enough to go for a while
Brad: “now that’s an affordable casket…”
Jeff, as he is prone to do this season:
Jeff: “HI, I’M AISHA TYLER WELCOME TO WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY, WHAT HAPPENED TO MY CAREER I’M *DOOMED!*”
Like the ‘Colin and Ryan go as themselves’ gag, I will never not laugh at a ‘Jeff running down the stairs’ gag
Just flailing his arms and crying off. Also, HEY, AARON AND AMANDA ARE STILL THERE
Ryan has a different idea:
I love Aisha’s expression here. Just waiting for the joke. It’s an expression that also doubles as her ‘stopping Wayne from going backstage’ expression back in S10.
Ryan: “…god I can’t get a good angle…”
AND JEFF IS GONE. AGAIN
Aisha: [gets up towards the stage]
Aisha loves this, too
“…I thought this was Let’s Make a Deal.”
Jeff: “BOOOOOOO….WHERE’S WAYNE?”
AMAZING. The meta joke we were all waiting for, because to this point Wayne’s absence hasn’t been acknowledged.
My favorite part of this is Brad’s reaction:
THE SUDDEN DROP. Brad’s sad face, which the camera ZOOMS IN ON. So damn funny. Also confirms that maybe Brad was the fill-in.
Then Aisha runs into the audience with the same chair
Aisha: “…I really thought there’d be more black people on this show…BOOOOO..”
This is a great shot, too. Aisha unified with the audience.
This one ends with Jeff just buzzing out, but in the CW version:
“…we’ll be right back.”
So that’s a cool formula-switch, and one of many in the next season or so.
A strong SFAH, even if it was only one suggestion, and even if, yes COLIN DIDN’T GO UP AT ALL. For a show that needed to fit everything in, I get that some cuts were taken, but it’s a slightly odd move.
Aisha gives all 4 points to spend on “the therapist of your choosing…or booze.”
Ryan: “Booze is therapy…the best kind of therapy there is.”
Brad: “my therapist, Johnnie Walker”
Greatest Hits: Songs of Football
Seeing Brad and Jeff do GH songs together brings me back to IAG.
Colin: “Hi, we’ll be back to our documentary on insane nudists, “I can see your nuts”, in just a second.”
Ryan: “Colin, how long have we been doing this show together?”
Colin: “oh, 25 years, I guess”
Ryan: “25 years…welp…”
Ryan: “Colin…would you do Greatest Hits with me?”
[SUCH A GOOD CALLBACK]
Colin, genuinely: “YES!”
SO WHOLESOME, TOO!
Aisha even feigns crying again
Ryan calling football “feetball” nearly gets Colin. He recovers quickly
So Jeff, in this punk number is clearly aping Johnny Rotten from the Sex Pistols, with just a little bit of Joe Strummer from the Clash.
Jeff does his verse, and then the editors, kinda shoddily, cut around Brad’s verse to get to the refrain, if only to save time for what’s about to happen with Jeff:
BOOM. Brad, who’s keeping the refrain going, audibly cracks up here.
Brad: “I THINK HE JUST BROKE-A COLIN. RIGHT THERE, NOW I AM STALLIN.”
Ryan’s cracking up. Brad’s barely staying together.
Jeff finally returns:
Shaken but still very much in character.
Jeff: “I JUST KILLED COLIN MOCHRIE.”
Dear god this is good. Colin is staying down, Ryan’s dying, Brad is trying his best to keep composure, and Jeff is selling it.
Even the wide shots are working this show. So much of the story is being told.
Jeff, right up to the camera: “AND NOW, COLIN MOCHRIE’S NEVER GONNA BE COMING BACK
BECAUSE I GAVE COLIN MOCHRIE A BIG LEG CRACK.”
And this is so punk, too. Most punk songs are against ‘the man’, and in this case ‘the man’ is Colin who introduces the songs. It’s perfect
JEFF EVEN COMES BACK:
I also do love, as Jeff and Brad finish up the number, Jeff has one last look over at Colin and then decides not to go back there.
I also love, as Colin rushes to set up again and the number blasts out, Brad distantly throws in an ‘OI!’. It’s so goofy the way Brad does it
Just…acting like nothing happened
Ryan: “THIS IS RUINING OUR DAY”
Colin: “no, don’t worry, I’m gonna make a lot of money from the lawsuit…”
A great response to that. Making it clear that this happened IN-STUDIO
Colin: “You know…when Springsteen and Pavarotti joined together…”
So innocently delivered. Also, SECOND CONSECUTIVE SHOW WITH JEFF’S PAVAROTTI!
Colin: “Two different worlds, rock and opera, came together…you could say it was a rock opera, but it wasn’t.”
Colin is great in this game when he just lets funny dialogue like that stand alone
Ryan motions to Aisha, keeping the throughline going: “I don’t think he’s alright”
Ryan, to Colin: “Look, I think you took a blow to the head-”
Colin: “NO! IT WAS *SPRINGSTEEN* AND PAVAROTTI.”
Jesus christ this show…
Colin: “I’VE HEARD THIS SONG, I’VE HEARD IT. Pavarotti stayed in one spot the whole song and NEVER CAME NEAR HERE.”
Ryan: [begins to leave]
Colin: “AND YOU’RE WITH ME…cause you gave me the ring, you’re not going anywhere!”
Brad’s Springsteen hasn’t aged a day, but as he starts singing, Jeff does something hysterical:
That’s right. The hook of this one is that Brad is gonna keep singing over Jeff, which is very funny
I love this shot. Turning and posing and still not getting anything
After a Brad chorus, Jeff does come in and do a big long Pavarotti note, which wins over the audience. And then stops, and walks off.
Brad: “That’s all he’s gonna say, he’s gonna hang me out to dry for the rest of the day”
Jeff, meanwhile, refills his water as Brad continues
Then, as Brad’s still in the middle of a stanza, Jeff barges right in with another long note
So damn funny. Jeff is pulling some IAG moves in this game, and he’s absolutely dominating. And Brad’s fantastic at playing off him
This ends in a fantastic final note, and a really impressive moment from both performers. Proof that not every Greatest Hits needs Wayne in order to be truly great. Brad and Jeff were great working off of each other, Ryan and Colin had great banter, classic even, and the leg crack incident made the rest of the game even more interesting as they used it as a runner. Such an excellent game on so many levels
Jeff: “I almost killed Colin”
Aisha: “I think he was just grateful for the rest”
Ryan: “I TRIED to catch you…”
Colin: “way to go there, flash…”
Overall: Proof that breaking the formula can pay off as far as Whose Line is concerned. Wayne Brady is not in this episode, yet it was still an all-time classic.
The first two games were good for a normal, solid guest star show, but once Moving People started this show became something entirely different, and it even put the first two games into perspective. Questions and Duet are great, fun games, but Questions becomes hooked to the rest of the show thanks to the ‘Jeff making Ryan leave’ runner, and it establishes a bit of normalcy before Moving People subverts the norm.
The one bit of this show that I think could have been better is the editing. The editors were mandated to include the proposal AND GH because they ran together, AND at least one guest star game, and an opener that had to connect to Moving People. Their hands were tied, and cutting out bits of Questions, songs in GH, pieces of Moving People and the other scenes in SFAH are understandable given the scope of what needed to be in there. If I were editing this show, I would have pleaded for it to be guestless, and just make it a four-game show with just Questions, Moving People, SFAH and GH, so all four games could breathe without being hampered for time.
But even with the editing issues, this show still soars. Moving People, SFAH and Greatest Hits are classic, having Jeff and Brad provided some excellent IAG-esque energy, the banter and asides seemed loose, and even big games like GH have throughlines and runners pulling it together. Ryan and Colin take a backseat to some of the action, but even they have nice moments throughout, especially in GH.
The biggest takeaway from this show? This is a CW episode without Wayne Brady, that doesn’t rely solely upon the Ryan-Colin duo, and that doesn’t underedit any of the fourth seaters, and it’s one of the best ones of the run. While Greg subbing in for Ryan felt a bit rushed-together [as that taping was], this show felt clean, smooth, and well-prepared, and proved that panel variance can still make this show work, as it did in the UK. Having different performers in different roles, and having shows without Wayne, or even Ryan or Colin, bring the show back to the ‘anyone can be a winner’ mentality that Clive’s version strove for, and Dan&Mark’s Mock the Week has continued to make work.
So why only do dual-fourth-seater shows in case of emergency? Well, since all three regulars are executive producers, and probably have in their contracts that Whose Line isn’t Whose Line without them [mostly Wayne but probably the other 2 as well], the show is going to continue to be set in stone until either someone leaves or Dan&Mark relent to the CW’s plea to make the show younger. Plus, you also have to factor in the outcry from casual fans of having someone who is usually there not be there, especially someone like Wayne who makes the show a slam dunk in certain demographics.
And while I understand why shows like this one may never happen again…I still kinda wish they could. Because this is one of the freshest, funniest, most anti-formula shows of the CW run, and the fact that there haven’t been similar taping formations, or even subsequent episodes from this taping after E20, saddens me.
Whose Line is best when it’s unpredictable. This show was absolutely unpredictable, even without Wayne. It’s that simple.
Show Winners: All four
Best Performer: Jeff Bryan Davis. The lack of Wayne Brady opened the door for Jeff to truly shine, and his scenes working off of Ryan, Colin and Brad funneled him to the top of the heap tonight. He also wielded some Improv a Ganza energy both in the call and response bit of Duet, telling Ryan to leave throughout and, obviously, Greatest Hits.
Worst Performer: Ryan was barely in the show. He had good moments in SFAH, Questions and GH, but he was mostly a support performer tonight.
Best Game: Greatest Hits. Despite a few dodgy edits, this is a full and clear picture of an entire Greatest Hits game, with exceptional Colin-Ryan banter and great songs from Brad and Jeff.
Worst Game: Duet was the most normal. I like this game, but I wish production hadn’t have wanted this to be a guest star show.
Guest Star Rating: 8/10. She was fun in her one game, but I didn’t think it was a good enough picture of her presence at the taping.
COMING UP NEXT: Brad does a show WITH WAYNE. Another guest star show, and this one hopes to be the better of the two WL guests from CW’s Nikita.