After Jeff’s first-half taping was fraught with Greg, Jeff got his own taping in the second half, with everybody. This is very just.
The guest star for this show is Robbie Amell. Robbie’s brother Stephen is the Green Arrow. Robbie had a role on a short-lived CW series called The Tomorrow People in 2014 before joining the Flash in a recurring role, and sort of cramping his cousin’s style. The Amells were very big deals in 2014, so getting one for WL was a big deal, even though it probably should have been Stephen.
Questions: A busy night in a hospital
This game’s officially programmed as a consistent opener
Wayne takes a clown wig to bring back his Ed Wynn impression: “Can’t you see that 45 of my friends are trapped in a VW bug?”
Jeff: “Can you stick out your tongue?”
Wayne, trying a loophole: “…BLAAAAH?”
Colin comes in with a hat with eyeballs hanging everywhere: “have you ever seen anything like this?”
Jeff: “Have you got a lot of balls to ask me that question?”
I also love Jeff’s ‘KIIIIIIAAAHHHHHH’ noise when he doesn’t think of a question here.
Ryan comes in with a nurse hat: “will you take down your pants?”
Colin: “are there any good-looking nurses?”
I love Ryan’s casual reveal that he’s actually the janitor
Colin, in the middle of a line, just goes ‘AH SCREW IT’ and leaves.
Wayne, with a very funny old man voice: “IS IT TIME TO BE EXAMINED?”
Jeff, perfectly: “DID SOMEONE SAY THEY WANTED TO GET EXAMINED?”
Wayne: “AAAAHHHHHH HELL-”
Ryan, as a cowboy: “…why you lookin at me so deep in the eyes like that?”
Ryan asks Colin when he first knew he loved him
Colin: “When did the bird…first…BURST FROM ITS TREE…SINGING A SO-naahh, it’s…”
A pretty fun, and kinda classic-seeming, Questions. Some scenes were shorter than others, but I did like Colin divebombing both of his runs .
Duet: Wayne and Jeff sing a One Direction song to Robbie
Robbie’s one power, says he, would be “to be one of the guys from One Direction”.
A little closed-minded, seeing as that was the suggestion, but I’ll allow it
Wayne: “ALLO EVERYBODY. I’M HARRY.”
Robbie, breaking: “…what’s the other one’s names…”
Wayne: “I dunno either…”
[shit, even I know that..]
Jeff: “I’M THE GUY WITH THE BIG EYEBROWS.”
Wayne: “and as sure as I can dance, the direction that I’m going is in a girl’s pants..”
Robbie is very good with keeping up with Jeff and Wayne with dance moves
Wayne suddenly pimps Robbie out to do a rap, which catches him completely off-guard. Robbie struggles MIGHTILY IN THIS RAP PORTION, to the point where it boggles the mind why they chose to air this.
He literally counts to four, then has Wayne remind him how many members of 1D there are, and gets five…and then struggles to rap.
Jeff rebounds, pimping him out to dance and/or sing instead
And Wayne….oh, Wayne…
“Because I know you’ve got that mind, and you’ve got telekinesis
You can just see you dance, but don’t show people your penis…”
AND ONCE HE REALIZES WHAT HE’S SET HIMSELF UP TO RHYME WITH, he COMPLETELY BUCKLES. Not since ‘Two big meatballs’ have I seen Wayne completely lose it mid-verse like this. He screwed himself by having to rhyme with ‘telekinesis’.
Jeff has the best reaction to Robbie refusing to do that as well: “No, don’t say no way
You’re on Tomorrow People, but you’re doin this shit today.”
AND THEN ROBBIE JUST…BREAKDANCES. He was hiding THAT?
I love Colin here.
So…against all odds, they got through that one. It was haphazard, kinda messy, but the Jeff-Wayne portions kept the middle bits from tearing it all apart. Jeff and Wayne had great lyrics, great screwing with Robbie, and kept it going despite Robbie’s reluctance to do things.
Wayne, as he sends Robbie away, recreates the ‘inability to count to 5′ gag from earlier.
Wayne, as the seats, is talking about how great Robbie is on Tomorrow People. “he can move things with his mind…”
Jeff: “Yeah, and he can count to five, too…”
Wayne: “THAT’S HIS POWER.”
Aisha: “So he’s like a hotter version of Count Count. TOMORROW PEOPLE, AH AH AHHHHH.”
Aisha’s missing a Von, but I’ll allow it
Ryan, suddenly: “And the guy with the eyebrows is Niall, okay, so if you don’t know their names, don’t talk about it…”
Aisha awards Robbie “1-2-3-4-5 points, ah ah ah ah’ for his breakdancing, or as Wayne descriptively refers to it, “a coffee grinder into a backspin”
Dubbing: Ryan is an Army drill sergeant putting Robbie, voice by Colin, through basic training and then Wayne enters as Robbie’s female rival determined to prove that she’s the best cadet
Aisha: “but Robbie’s not gonna use his own voice-”
Robbie: “probably for the best…”
Ah yes, Duet still stings..
Wayne’s reaction to playing Robbie’s “…female rival”:
Robbie kindly brushes Wayne’s shoulder
Aisha, right as she starts the scene, refers to this as ‘GI Jane, the black version’
HOW DARE YOU USE THE PHRASE ‘THE BLACK VERSION’ WITHOUT GARY OR NYIMA BEING ON!
Wayne: “…GI Janesha?”
Ryan starts by asking Robbie how long he’s been in the army. I reckon everybody onstage except for Robbie knows what joke is coming.
Colin: “FIVE YEARS, SIR. ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR, FIVE.”
Ryan: “IS THERE SOMETHING FUNNY ABOUT THE UNITED STATES ARMY?”
Colin: “ABSOLUTELY NOT, SIR, IT’S JUST THE NUMBER FIVE MAKES ME LAUGH.”
I love the way Colin riled off that line
Ryan: “I don’t suppose you’d like to get down and do 20 with me, would you?”
Colin: “I hope you’re talking pushups…”
Colin, on how Robbie knows Wayne: “yes, we were in college together, we took…Animal Gynecology for 3 years.”
A Colin standby. Of course this gets Robbie, but Ryan and Wayne are kinda immune to it
I also love Robbie’s dawning realization once Wayne pimps him out to do pushups with him. A lot of moments of Wayne or somebody pimping out Robbie, and him slowly sinking, realizing he has to do the thing.
Sure enough, Robbie and Wayne get down and do a bunch of pushups together. Robbie even switches to one-handed.
Eventually, Wayne joins in one-handed, but Robbie bests him, and just sits on Wayne’s back as he crumples down, exhausted.
Colin: “I would have challenged you to no hands, but then I realized you didn’t have a penis.”
TWO STRAIGHT RANDOM DICK JOKES IN THIS SHOW.
A genuinely great Dubbing. The air of silliness was all around, but a ton of the lines worked, the eventual pimping and push-ups worked, and Robbie did well here in between crack-ups. This game continued the runner while still being pretty good itself.
Ryan: “it’s harder to do pushups real slow like that, too”, and he does an impression of Wayne struggling near the end
Wayne: [starts doing an impression of that push-up, and then:]
Scenes from a Hat:
“Bad things to say in a job interview”
Jeff: “let’s see, special skills? uh….one-two-three-four…..FFFFFUCK.”
And a classic one: “if Sesame Street was a Soap Opera”
Ryan is giggling coming down with a big-bird mouth. Jeff has one: “Mr. Big Bird, I’m afraid you have…ONE tumor. TWO tumors. ONE TWO THREE, AH-AH-AHHHH.”
Hell, this is a callback to Aisha after Duet. This is great
Colin, with Wayne: “WE USED TO BE SO CLOSE [moves to the back of the stage] NOW WE ARE FAR.”
Wayne, inevitably: “You need to leave…ABIERTO…..SERRADO.”
Colin: “I’M CARRYING YOUR CHILD.”
Once again, Colin must always say the last thing in order to throw Wayne. He’s so good at this
Jeff, as Ernie, brings up Ryan as Bert: “I’ve got some bad news, I’m actually straight.”
The audience ‘OHHHHHs’
Ryan, however, has a better joke in response:
Ryan: “Sesame Street is brought to you by the Letter H.”
AN OLD FAVORITE RETURNS.
Wayne has one, calls up Ryan and Jeff again
Ryan: “THE SAME? …ohhh no no…”
Wayne: “CAPITAL H.”
Ryan sees Aisha coming, and before he realizes why, he thinks it’s another H joke, but:
Jeff: “I DON’T WANNA BE ON THE SHOW ANYMORE…”
Then, as Jeff passes to the side, Aisha nearly slaps him on the ass.
“Chants schoolgirls never sing during jump-rope”
Wayne, who regrets this right as he comes up: “jumping rope, all day long, daddy thinks I’m a virgin but daddy is wr[…]ong…”
I love Colin’s eyebrow raise at that.
Ryan: “OH, LET’S GET OUT ON THAT.”
Wayne does a longer one, doing a ‘stay away from me’ chant
“I will never be a capital h in a man’s alphabet.”
A really damn good SFAH, not just good at keeping runners going but also good at doing really funny scenes, like the entire Sesame Street round, which was too damn funny.
Helping Hands: Ryan, hands by Colin, is Robbie’s Italian mother passing down her family’s secret Italian recipes
My, what a basic game-load.
I love Ryan’s reaction to the audience applause once he puts on the grey wig. Like ‘…really?’
Jeff, with one of the best background jokes I’ve heard in a while: “NORMAN? NORMAN IS THAT YOU???”
Robbie: “Mama…you look like crap…”
Ryan, after a cute face kiss: “Robbie, what’s with the tongue? No tongue, Robbie…”
I love Colin crushing the tomatoes, and spatter getting on Ryan’s apron.
Ryan: “and it’s good for the face too, the complex-”
Colin: [puts hands towards Ryan’s face]
Ryan: “NO, I ALREADY GOT SOME ON ME…”
Ryan then moves for Colin to squish another tomato, and Colin instead chucks it downward. It’s a funny subversion
Ryan, realizing Robbie hasn’t done much in a while, snaps: “ROBBIE, HELP-A YOUR MOTHER!”
Once again, as Ryan’s eating out of Robbie’s hand but not the inverse, Ryan uses the character to snap again: “WHY IS MAMA NOT FEEDING YOU?”
And as Ryan exalts, Colin talks with his hands, while still holding a bunch of spaghetti, and just…hits Ryan in the face with it.
Ryan: “…sometimes I hate-a my arms…”
Ryan now grabs the olive oil, wanting Robbie to take a swig, which, of course, Robbie rejects.
Ryan: “HEY! Did mama shove the pasta in your mouth? No, she didn’t. Cause Mama arms were chicken, weren’t they?”
Ryan, as Colin raises the bottle of olive oil to his lips: “god, I hope this is something else and not-a real oil…”
He takes a sip, and winces. “….DA REAL OIL.”
So…that was a good game, despite Robbie essentially refusing to participate. The good news is, Ryan used this to his advantage, and played the character as more cloying and desperate for Robbie’s love, as Robbie…did what he could without getting messy. The ending olive oil stunt was also pretty funny. Not as good as last show’s.
Colin, defending himself postmortem: “I CAN’T SEE ANYTHING. My head was in his back. I was heading towards where I thought his mouth would be.”
Aisha: “that could describe a lot of personal encounters…”
Colin: “I am taking points away from you…”
Aisha: “You know what, I will voluntarily give you my points…they’re in bitcoin, they’re worth nothing…”
Colin, immortally: “I’m sorry, was that bitch-coin?”
THE PLACE GOES WILD.
Ryan: “SHOVE SOME PASTA IN HER MOUTH!”
Aisha and Colin do kiss and makeup, while staying away from Colin’s dirty hands.
Overall: Back when I covered the Drew version, I got a lot of shows that people remembered, and had great running gags, but weren’t as good as I remembered because a lot of the material was ‘good’ rather than ‘incredible’. The Africa show, the Ryan the freak show, the Letter H show, etc. And this one is in the same category.
There was great continued energy through this show, and Robbie Amell brought that energy through all his games, but his games aren’t funny because they’re well-improvised, they’re funny because Robbie does good and funny things in them, like screwing up a rap or not wanting to do anything in Helping Hands. Therefore the humor can’t come from unified improv, but the absence of unity, and therefore more localized, less-long-lasting laughs.
Not that this show wasn’t funny. It was very funny. ‘Counting to five’ is a great running gag, and Colin bringing it back in Dubbing was a great move, one of many moves that impressed me in that game. But Duet and Helping Hands, and even Questions, are funny not for improv reasons, but for funny, mistake-y things that happen in them.
The best actual improv game is Scenes from a Hat, actually, because there’s good interpersonal moves, and the saga of Jeff getting caught in dirty suggestions. That is both lifted by the runner and self-sustaining. I wish the rest of the show were that good. And yes, this show having amazing seats energy, and so many good moments of the performers at rest still succeeding, also makes this one a lot better in my mind than the games show.
But yes, this is a solid show, one of the better ones of the season, and another great entry into the S10 Part 2 run. It’s just a 9/10 for me rather than a 10/10. Which isn’t bad.
Show Winners: All four
Best Performer: Colin had some early wins that stuck, for me, but Jeff was tailing him the whole show.
Worst Performer: This was very close for me, cause everyone had a lot of outward moments. I just had to do the math, and Ryan had more moments of deferring to others, despite Helping Hands.
Best Game: Scenes from a Hat was outrageously funny.
Worst Game: Questions had the least to it.
Guest Star Rating: 8/10. Robbie was game, but his reluctance at several points puts him down a few pegs for me.
COMING UP NEXT: The other prodigal son of Whose Line returns to the fourth seat. Also, a guest star that probably got a lot of teenage girls really excited in 2014.