Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S11E11, or Is This Against the Law, What We Just Did??

I’ve mentioned before that the CW era is one I don’t have the familiarity with that I have with the ABC version. I’ve seen Drew episodes tons of times and know which ones to look forward to. The CW shows, I may have watched in full once over, maybe seen clips from a few more times. I know the parts *I* like, but I’m never entirely sure which shows are the ‘oh my god’ ones, because the CW version hasn’t had the YouTube second life that the ABC version has [thanks a lot Angst copyright bots].

So, going into this episode, I know for a fact it’s a classic because I laughed my ass off the first time I saw it, and likened it to the Richard Simmons episode in how while the guest booking goes. I’m not sure if the fanbase thinks this one is a classic anymore, but I sure do. So here we go.

Kathie Lee Gifford used to host a talk show with Regis Philbin called, well, Live with Regis and Kathie Lee. Both were chatty and amiable, and while Kathie Lee was the more quirky one, she was an endearing TV presence, and spoke of love for her son Cody and husband Frank, the former New York Giant. In 2000, Kathie Lee leaves Live!, probably due to public outcry, and Regis carries on for another few years with Kelly Ripa, who’s hosted the show ever since.

The reason why Kathie Lee was relevant in 2015 is that from roughly 2008 until then, Kathie Lee had been hosting the fourth hour of the Today show on NBC with more hardened and trusted news anchor Hoda Kotb. Their barely-coherent and often-times drunken banter on the show was the stuff of bad-TV legend, ripe for parody on The Soup and SNL, and a veritable cauldron of daytime TV trash.

And that’s where we find Kathie Lee in 2015- America’s wine mom, in charge of pre-Trump daytime news for people who shouldn’t be watching daytime TV, and someone who seems like a fairly wild booking for Whose Line.

So, regardless, they booked her for Whose Line, during the Brad Sherwood taping that previously gave us the excellent and wildly-off-the-rails E7. And…madness is about to ensue, because I think she had some wine before she went on.

Questions: One Night in a Seedy Motel

Wayne starts with a Randy Savage impression, Brad invokes a ‘special called the Lady Gaga’
Wayne: ‘what does the Gaga entail?”
Brad: “Can you keep a poker face?”
it’s that simple
Wayne: “if you poke me in the face, will I keep it?”
Brad, exiting: “I’m on the edge of glory…”

Ryan:
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Ryan, smirking: “Is my face steaming up?”

Wayne: “would you mind if I left a chocolate on the pillow?”
Ryan, perfectly delivered: “what’s THAT mean?”
Wayne cannot take that insinuation and leaves

Colin enters in a fly mask
Ryan, not over that: “did you hear there’s chocolate on the pillow?”
PFFF
Colin: “WHERE?”
Wayne is audibly giggling still

Brad, with a wolf mask: “would you like me to blow your…….house down?”
Colin: “How much would that set me back?”
Brad, for a brief moment:
Screen Shot 2021-01-25 at 11.36.45 AM
Just comes ever-so-close to breaking. Then: “do you know your fly is open?”
Colin: [leaves]

I love Brad cutely going “…yes” when Wayne asks him to stand over there. Everybody’s in such a good mood, EVEN THIS EARLY IN THE SHOW

Ryan, playing a southern belle: “would you care for THESE?”
Wayne, still in his Pope hat: “would you like them blessed?”
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Ryan reacts to Colin’s horned helmet with an ‘OOOOOOH’ that catches him off guard. He’s even repeating it as he heads to the seats.

A pretty fun Questions. I don’t know if it was entirely to the quality of other playings we’ve seen this season, but I liked this one a lot, and it had some very loose, fun moments.

Also, as Ryan and Aisha are still doing ‘OOOOOOOH’s, Wayne throws in a full-on Frank Nelson ‘YEEEEEES?’. Which makes sense- Wayne has talked about watching a TON of old TV, and Frank Nelson must have cameoed in every 50s and 60s show out there.

Aisha mistakes the ‘do you know your fly is open’ for a Ryan line, which confuses him. Brad goes “CAN I HAVE THOSE POINTS?”

Duet: Wayne and Brad sing a boy-band song to Kathie Lee

Right at the start of this song, Kathie Lee is doing some very spirited dancing, boob-jiggling, arm raising and everything. I do think she had some wine before she came on.
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I have no idea what is the catalyst behind Kathie Lee gravitating towards Brad during this number, but, uh:
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Barely anything has happened other than thrusting, and already Ryan is facepalming, and Wayne is turning back to the seats, which is his usual cover for cracking.
Kathie Lee then does this:
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Just an aggressive thigh-brush. Is Kathie-Lee…okay? Were things getting really tough with Frank at this point in 2015 and did she REALLY need sex?

Wayne: “for just three minutes, close your eyes and let me be your black Frank.”
[Honestly, ‘let me be Frank’ would have been a more clever pun]
Kathie Lee, IMMEDIATELY AS THAT MUST HAVE BEEN A TOUCHY SUBJECT:
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Ryan AND Wayne lose it here
Kathie Lee shrugs and embraces Wayne. In a ‘i mean, he’s not wrong’ kinda way

Wayne has a verse with some pretty good lines, about “like you and Hoda let’s drink some wine”. And then Brad starts again, and…
Screen Shot 2021-01-25 at 2.37.45 PMScreen Shot 2021-01-25 at 2.37.54 PM
Brad mentions “drain[ing] a bottle of Zinfandel”
Kathie-Lee: “I don’t like Zinfandel [to Wayne] I’m all yours.”
A GOOD LINE FROM KATHIE LEE. She can play along!

Kathie Lee says “I want you to buy a piece of my vineyard”
Wayne, very confused [in-character] “…I guess that’s sexy?
Nothing like a piece of land transaction between you and me…”

Brad: “Don’t make me beg, I’ll buy your vineyard-”
Kathie Lee, pointing to the floor: “BEG.”
DOES SHE KNOW WHEN THIS GOES OUT???
Brad:
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Brad’s want to please a guest may have just…put things into motion
Screen Shot 2021-01-25 at 2.42.51 PMScreen Shot 2021-01-25 at 2.43.03 PM
Colin and Ryan are laughing at something else in the back. However…
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As the song gets sexier and sexier…Screen Shot 2021-01-25 at 2.44.49 PMScreen Shot 2021-01-25 at 2.44.58 PM
BOOM. Kathie Lee just made this into a completely sexualized game. And Brad, of course is selling it. Wayne has no choice but to keep it going. I love Colin’s ‘hmmm’ reaction at the back. ‘What could this be?’Screen Shot 2021-01-25 at 2.45.07 PM
I have no idea what happens when she looks at Ryan and Colin, but it completely does them in:Screen Shot 2021-01-25 at 2.45.15 PMScreen Shot 2021-01-25 at 2.45.27 PM
And Brad is still trying to keep the game going, continuing the ‘OH YEAH’ hook of the song and trying to keep professional, but…Kathie Lee is simulating a sexual act on top of him right now. It’s hard to keep composure.
Screen Shot 2021-01-25 at 2.50.35 PM
This is…one of the most disgusting images the show’s ever put out. Kathie Lee looks absolutely drunk, and is completely into this sex-simulation bit. And Brad, as he is prone to do, is absolutely selling it.
Wayne: “And if you keep goin, you’re gonna make another Cody…”
Aisha:
Screen Shot 2021-01-25 at 2.45.47 PMShe is GONE.

The song ends:
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That says it all. Wayne’s gone. Colin’s gone. Ryan’s gone. Even Kathie Lee is gone. But Brad has finished the song and made everything work.
Wayne: “ONLY ON THE CW.”
[Also, we actually hear the postgame audio]
Brad: “oh, that was so funny…”
Wayne: “OH MY GOD.”
Kathie Lee: “IS THIS AGAINST THE LAW, WHAT WE JUST DID???”
Brad: “I hope not.”
That dialogue there is proof that Kathie Lee was self-aware, and an active participant in this game rather than just collapsing in a drunken mess. I mean, yes, she’d had some wine…but she was lawful in this game by making it into an oversexed mess of a Duet rather than just not being self-aware and wanting to kiss everyone like Chyna. The fact that Wayne and Brad are reassuring her and giving her postgame assessments like any other performer is proof of this- they were combined together to make this a bawdy, out-there game and all three decided to absolutely sell it, especially Brad. There’s no ‘HOW DARE YOU DO THIS’.

I will say that Kathie’s immediate response is similar to Charlie Sheen’s after his IAG Story playing. Immediately asking Drew ‘Did I just ruin the whole thing?’ While Drew was clearly lying, Kathie Lee didn’t break any rules of improv. Hell, she followed some- she made her scene partners look REALLY GOOD by turning a simple boy band number into a steamy, sexy scene in itself. There was no incongruence, and the sum of this scene’s parts fit together to create something very funny and very vulgar.

Now, the singing component is basically an afterthought, as while there were some good lyrics it was mostly background for the actions and physical bits of this scene, but it was still a good Duet in that the style remained intact and Wayne and Brad had material. It was just boosted by being an absolute spectacle.

Also, Kathie Lee jokingly clutches her hip as she walks off, winking to the camera. Very Hasselhoff-esque

Brad, referring to the lifetime point offered to him earlier in the taping: “you can have that point back, I’m done…”
Ryan: “Brad wants to know if we can take a break so he can have a smoke..”
HA

Aisha: “don’t act like you hadn’t fantasized about that before tonight..”
Wayne: “RIGHT AFTER SUPERNATURAL…”
Screen Shot 2021-01-25 at 3.02.43 PM

Brad is still relatively speechless. He genuinely can’t believe what just happened. I don’t blame him one bit.

Dead Bodies: Sexy CIA agent Kathie Lee is seducing Russian spy Ryan, trying to steal secret codes that he has hidden somewhere on his person, Wayne enters as a rival female spy who also wants the codes

Yep, Dead Bodies is back this season! And this is how we found out.

Aisha: “trying to steal secret codes that he has hidden somewhere on his person”
Kathie-Lee:
Screen Shot 2021-01-25 at 3.12.39 PM
Aisha: “she’s already getting into character”
Ryan:
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As the scene starts, Kathie-Lee is still seducing Ryan. Colin has to go ‘…you’re dead’ for Kathie Lee to snap into place. It’s some of the funniest timing I’ve seen in a while, and, again, it doesn’t tear the scene up.

So Colin does a line for Ryan, which goes well. Then he tries to do one for Kathie Lee
Screen Shot 2021-01-25 at 3.16.44 PMScreen Shot 2021-01-25 at 3.16.57 PMScreen Shot 2021-01-25 at 3.17.10 PMScreen Shot 2021-01-25 at 3.17.19 PMScreen Shot 2021-01-25 at 3.17.26 PMScreen Shot 2021-01-25 at 3.17.41 PM
Colin: “I’ll do some Russian dancing…”

Screen Shot 2021-01-25 at 3.26.23 PMRyan immediately smirks as Colin puts Kathie Lee there. And then Colin has to move Kathie-Lee’s head directly out of Ryan’s crotch, which is a very fun move.

Sure enough, Colin has Ryan start spanking Kathie Lee, AND SURE ENOUGH…
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The struggle of Colin hopping Wayne over to the chair reminds me that Colin is doing this game again despite still having the back issues that caused them to phase it out. He seems to be doing alright so far.

Colin plops Kathie Lee in between Wayne and Ryan, and as Kathie Lee is doing TOO GOOD of a job being dead:
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Wayne just starts giggling after a few seconds. Again, I don’t blame him

Colin as Wayne: “YOU WILL DIE UNLESS YOU GIVE ME THE SECRETS.”
Colin, as Ryan: “Can’t you see I’m in the middle of something here?”
PFFFF. I love that line. Just rationalizing the ridiculousness of the scene

Then Colin makes Kathie Lee do this:
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Which means Colin has to go behind the chairs to operate Kathie Lee and give us this visual:
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Colin, from behind them: “I FOUND WHAT I WAS LOOKING FOR!”
That alone is funny, because disembodied voices always make me laugh on this show
Colin, peaking his head up: “I HOPED IT WOULD BE BIGGER.”
BUZZZZZ

Kathie Lee: “I haven’t had a night like this in a long time…”
Brad comes in for a hug as she says this. Again, she’s making the atmosphere chaotic, but she’s doing it in lawful ways. Everyone still loves performing with her. It’s not like Chyna where it’s repulsive.

Aisha comments on the ‘total physical commitment to that bit’. “We should probably get her a visit to the chiropractor after that…”
Brad: “I’LL WORK OUT HER KINKS.”
BRAD SHERWOOD.

So yeah, another insanely fun game that was more spectacle than improv but still funny. Colin had a lot of really funny moves in operation, and Kathie Lee was more than capable of playing dead and being funny. Not as explosive as Duet, but still a funny game of this.

Scenes from a Hat:

“Odd things to be turned on by.”
Brad: “this is a two-hour video of Kathie Lee Gifford…”
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“I can’t stop watching it…I have this recurring dream where-”
Ryan, entering: “OH IS BRAD IN IT? BRAD’S IN IT.”
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“What’s she doing to Brad???”
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Aisha:Screen Shot 2021-01-25 at 3.58.09 PMScreen Shot 2021-01-25 at 3.58.17 PM
Wayne: Screen Shot 2021-01-25 at 3.58.28 PMScreen Shot 2021-01-25 at 3.58.37 PMScreen Shot 2021-01-25 at 3.58.47 PM
This is the funniest part, to me. Everyone leaves but Wayne. Like the end of a U2 concert. One by one they all leave one man behind. Screen Shot 2021-01-25 at 3.58.55 PM
Aisha: “GET AWAY FROM THERE.”Screen Shot 2021-01-25 at 3.59.05 PM
THAT IS JUST THE FIRST SCENE

Screen Shot 2021-01-25 at 4.03.27 PMBrad: “I just like ONE shade of grey…”
Wayne: “AWWWW..”
Brad:
Screen Shot 2021-01-25 at 4.04.35 PM
BUZZ
Brad: “thank you.”

“Unlikely things to hear on a morning show.”
Brad, inevitably: “So, Hoda, last night I made love to Brad Sherwood…”

Colin, with the literal interpretation: “…it’s midnight.”

“weird things to see in a nature documentary”
I love Brad and Wayne’s wordless ‘monkeys on cellphones’ scene. Hell, it might be the same monkey character Brad played in WN.
Ryan, with binoculars: “OHHHH YEEEAHHH…make a cub, that’s it…”

Wayne does a good wordless one as a deer who hears a gunshot:
Screen Shot 2021-01-25 at 4.09.02 PM

A pretty good SFAH. Not as wild as E7’s, but pretty good, and with some nice runner-based stuff

Helping Hands: Ryan, hands by Colin is an upbeat celebrity chef appearing on Kathie Lee’s morning show demonstrating how to prepare the perfect breakfast

As Kathie Lee enters, she makes a clear glance at Brad in the back. Of course.

Already this has a very loose mood. I love Colin’s uncontrollable hand gestures when Ryan says that the griddle is hot, and also the way he catches a pancake as he flips it.

Kathie Lee is an active participant in the pancake concoction Ryan’s gonna imbibe, and is working well with Ryan for this outcome. Again, she knows enough about improv to know when to take part and when to be lawful.

I also love the moment where Colin shoves his jam-covered fingers towards Ryan’s mouth and Ryan has no choice but to lick.

Ryan: “I have a special way of warming up that butter.”
Colin: [brings pancake hand towards Ryan’s ass]
Ryan: “I…NNNNOOOOOO…”
I love that. A complete refusal on Ryan’s part. Telling off Colin. So damn funny.

Ryan: “Are you gonna squeeze the oranges onto the pancake?”
Kathie Lee: “Then you don’t have to drink your orange juice!”
Ryan: “VIVA LA BREAKFAST!”

Here, Ryan has to do some directing of Colin as where the plate is, where the knife is, and it’s very funny and amusing seeing Ryan struggling with this. Kathie-Lee gets a kick out of it too

Ryan: “now, I want to see you eat that WHOOOLE THING.”
Kathie-Lee:
Screen Shot 2021-01-25 at 4.31.26 PM

Kathie-Lee says that “the message in the bible is…to feed the hungry”, and then goes back towards Brad. YES. She KNOWS that her and Brad has been the runner of the show, and she knows that giving it back to Brad is bridging the runner all throughout the show. THIS IS A SMART MOVE.
Also, this is the only time Kathie-Lee brings up her devout christianity on the show, and, in the words of Spence 12Medbe, “she only brings out her faith in order to contribute to a running joke”. That is the sign of someone who is wise in the ways of improv, and is fully onboard with this show.
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Jesus Christ. This is very funny, but it works so well in the realm of the game and the show, even if it is, similar to the Penn and Teller show, slightly game-breaking.

Ryan: “HIGH-FIVE.”
Kathie Lee, going into Colin’s hands: “Wayne wants some too.”
And she just casually slaps Colin’s hands and heads back. Again, someone in full control of the scene.
And, back with Wayne…
Screen Shot 2021-01-25 at 4.39.05 PM
Good lord. All of these people are married…hey, except Wayne, so it’s cool

Ryan, barely in character: “you know…sometimes these cooking segments can be boring…but you just made this a special day for me…please, shove the rest of the pancake in my  mouth.”
THAT is perfect. Usually he rejects the disgusting food ending, but this time the game has been inverted and he knows that it’s the thing that will be the perfect ending to this game. That is a big culminating move in the history of this show.
Ryan, perfectly: “AND BY THE WAY…don’t be gentle.”
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Perfect. Absolutely perfect. The zoom makes it.

That was a phenomenal Helping Hands. It started off as a really good variation on the usual ‘putting together odd food’ type of this game with great support from Kathie Lee, but then Kathie Lee broke the game and it became less about finishing the scene and more about summing up the entire show, which was a huge move. Her shoving food in Brad, Wayne and Ryan’s mouth was a perfect way to bring the whole show full circle and leave them with a big ending. And again, she was relatively lawful in terms of improv but most of all she knew where the funny was, and she kept bringing it there no matter what. And I respect that.

Ryan, summing the whole thing up: “SHE TURNED THE TABLES!”

Colin: “I get nothing…except…stuff on my hands.”
Aisha, perfectly: “welcome to sex, buddy.”
Yeah, I think that was an international-only line

Even the credit reading is great, with Kathie Lee throwing coffee in Wayne’s face
Ryan: “did you hear they have a meth lab in studio four?”
Kathie-Lee: “THAT’S MINE!”

Kathie Lee has the best ending, slapping all four, muttering under her breath…and then smiling for the cameras. Yeah, she knows EXACTLY WHO SHE IS, and it’s fantastic that she made it on.

Overall: Phenomenal. One of the most insane, entertaining, randomly-horny WLs of all time, and I still love it. Honestly, I just wish that the non-guest games were up to par with the Kathie Lee ones, but…again, the producers are doing some subliminal stuff with that. Duet and Helping Hands are all-time guest games, and Dead Bodies was a pretty-high tier playing of that with some very fun, live moments. Questions already had some of the fun energy that was all over E7, and SFAH bridged some runners and did some fun stuff there.

I honestly feel like this one is better than the Richard Simmons one. Kathie-Lee Gifford was always on the side of the joke- we were never laughing at her, and if we were, it was because of how into it she was. She was able to sacrifice her integrity for laughs. That’s a few more dimensions than Simmons was- with him, it was ‘hey, laugh at the funny gay guy doing sexualized things’. This one, there’s the element of wine in play, there’s her willingness to do anything, there’s the entire Brad arc that she keeps coming back to, and there’s the fact that in Helping Hands, she knows what will get the laughs and bypasses Ryan’s plan to get there. Is it a bit strong? Yeah, of course it is. But when has Kathie-Lee not come off strong? It’s her thing.

Yeah, I’ll vouch for this one to the end. I still think that the Heather Morris episode is better, but that one was more of an improv-heavy, runner-heavy show that’s hard to beat anyway. Therefore, we still have a 10/10 show, and it’s still one of the best ones of this era. And…undoubtedly it’s one the fans will never forget once they’ve seen it.

[EPILOGUE. I looked back at my initial thoughts from when this aired back in 2015, and I knew it was a classic even then. My friend Marc’s reaction was “onto duet….annnnnnnd she’s fucking Brad.” We were all shellshocked, and impressed.]

Show Winners: All four
Best Performer: Brad Sherwood. For obvious reasons he was all over this show, but his improv moves in SFAH and Questions were befitting of a career night.
Worst Performer: Colin had the quietest night.
Best Game: I wanna say Duet because that was the highlight-maker, but Helping Hands made up for everything Duet lacked in improv ability and became a big, climactic, show-tying game. I talk a lot about how I love games and moments that think about WL as a story show as well as a comedy show, and that game was the best ending to the story of this episode that we could have possibly gotten.
Worst Game: Scenes from a Hat was the most simple.
Guest Star Rating: 10/10. Kathie Lee was the best kind of into things, and every chaotic thing that happened points to this.

COMING UP NEXT: We’ve reached the era of whosers attending tapings. This is one a friend of mine from Ireland attended. It’s a Jonathan taping where both Jonathan and his marriage get the crap beaten out of them.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S11E10, or UNSUNG, MY ASS!

[giggles to self]…Okay.

By Whose Line’s third season on the CW, the audience has definitely arrived, but it’s still this niche, specific audience that isn’t the same as the rest of their teen-centric programming. So around here, around 2015, the CW begins to package Whose Line with another…similar program that’s difficult to market but easy to produce.

A show called…Penn & Teller: Fool Us.

Like Whose Line, the show centers on the clout of a comedy team that has preexisting fans, it focuses on a niche subsection of entertainment that allows itself to both live performance and taped, edited programming, and it really shouldn’t be on the CW yet remains on there to this day. Thanks to Whose Line, in 2015 they have a steady lead-in.

For those unfamiliar, Penn & Teller refers to Penn Jillette and Ray Teller, a comedy magic duo that have been performing in clubs, on television, and on Vegas stages since the 80s, and are famous for their deconstructive take on magic as a medium. Their Showtime program ‘Bullshit’ was basically a chance to go ‘these tricks have integrity, but they are exactly that- tricks’. Penn is the tall one with the middle finger doused in red nail polish [or, as he told a friend of a friend, “the blood of a reporter who asked too many personal questions”], and he does the heavy lifting and all of the fast-talking and obnoxious schtick. Teller is the short one who looks a hell of a lot like Amy Farrah Fowler’s father, he stays silent and makes facial expressions. They’re both libertarians. Penn nearly won Celebrity Apprentice but hates Trump.

They’ve remained fringe-relevant since the 80s, and Fool Us, a show that started out being hosted by Jonathan Ross who relished in the fact that he couldn’t correctly pronounce the name of the comedy duo yet eventually was handed to flute aficionado and prompter-reliant talent Alison Hannigan, was an opportunity to modify their act for a new audience while also showcasing magicians from around the world. The conceit of the show is that a magician has five minutes to present a trick that Penn and Teller cannot figure out; they’ve seen everything, and therefore can pick out the strings in newbie acts better than anyone, so when a talent comes around that completely stymies them, they call them a Fooler and give them a trophy. If not, they still complement the trick and keep the integrity of magic intact. Nobody truly loses…except CW cause it’s an hourlong variety program that’s difficult to market.

So it’s a welcome but interesting choice to see Penn & Teller on Whose Line. In this case, they are the amateurs appeasing the experts, Ryan, Colin and Wayne, and the latter three seeing the rookie mistakes and the strings of what they have to offer. At the same time, though, will Penn and Teller’s ‘this is all fake’ attitude apply to an improv program, where breaking is welcome but scenes still have integrity?

Moreover: will Teller speak?

A lot going into this episode, from the same taping as the fun-filled Cedric show, E1, and a last glimpse til S16 of this taping.

Let’s Make a Date: Gary must choose from:
Wayne – Character in a fighting video game being controlled by a useless first-time player
Colin – County fair judge who thinks parts of people’s bodies are fruits and vegetables
Ryan – Owl looking for ugly things to build his nest with

Aisha starts laughing at Wayne’s the second he just keeps doing the same moving shoulder motion for 10 seconds. She’s familiar with these kinda of players. Wayne does some really good video game physicality with this quirk though

Colin: “Look at THIS big piece of corn…”
Ryan:
Screen Shot 2021-01-23 at 5.57.57 PMColin, grasping Ryan’s nose: “LOOK AT THAT COB.”
Ryan: [shakes his head]

Right when Ryan’s quirk comes up, the audience knows exactly where he’s about to go

Sure enough:
Screen Shot 2021-01-23 at 6.15.58 PM
Gary, after Ryan does a lot of things with his ass against Colin: “Tha…nk you number 3…”

Wayne is really good at his frustration with the player’s lack of ability, accentuating his failed mission with a ‘yoooou DICK.”

Colin, over by Aisha’s chest: “nothin like small little plums..”
AWWWWW

Colin, eventually: “I’m gonna give that FIRST PRIZE.”
Aisha gives him a look that says ‘figures’

Then, as Colin accosts some audience members [there’s one girl he draws a blank on and just goes ‘hi’], Ryan flaps after him, which is a fun collaboration moment.

I also love the moment where Ryan’s sitting on Colin, and Wayne’s punching Colin’s butt, and Colin just…sinks his head and sighs. He has lost this one.

As Aisha buzzes
Ryan: “you want me to get up?”
Colin, strained: “yeah, get off me!”

Gary gets them all pretty close. Ryan didn’t give a lot for the ‘ugly’ part so he got as much of his as he could.

A really good LMAD. All three contestants had fun characters and linking moments, Gary had good questions, and the ending Colin moment made me laugh.

Duet: Gary and Wayne sing a Motown song to Penn and Teller

Gary and Ryan both have genuinely surprised reactions to Penn and Teller arriving.

Penn, upon the style: “yeah, we’re KNOWN for Motown”

Wayne asks what Penn and Teller would make disappear if they could. Teller immediately gives Penn a look for talking over him, which is clever, and then Penn answers “Teller.” Not an especially introspective answer, but there you go.

Wayne: “he’d like to go, HAH, ALABAM, no more Teller.”
That is a clever line, I like it a lot
Then, once the chorus becomes ‘Make Teller go away’, Teller actually begins to leave towards the back of the stage before Wayne goes ‘where you goin?”

Gary is really good in this style, with very adept lyrics and style, and the line “it’s just a little bit of that tall man’s magic.” Note that Teller is a bit more into the dancing than Penn is.

Wayne’s ‘do the’ central bit detailing exactly how to subdue Teller, including driving him out to the desert, hitting him over the head with a shovel and burying him, is so silly and yet really fitting with Penn and Teller’s at-times pitch-black sensibilities. Plus, Teller is doing really well with playing dead, and has really great timing as Penn tries to get him back up and ‘attempt’ some of these.

I also love Gary’s line about assuming Teller’s identity, and ‘taking all the black jelly beans out of his jar.’ In that case, Teller, just helps Gary put on his suit jacket. I kinda love how Teller is really good at playing along and yes-anding with this number, and how into it he is. Penn is a bit more stiff comparatively, but…that’s Penn, tbh.

Hell, Penn even hands Gary some cards and he does some fancy deck-cutting as Teller. This is a ton of fun.

Also, as Gary fumbles a card-throwing trick, he chuckles, going ‘aaah, this magic might be TOO black for me’, which gets him AND WAYNE laughing as they wrap up the song.

Also, as the number ends, Teller, pulls out a bouquet for both Wayne and Gary, with a very charming ending reveal to send us off.

Ryan, to Gary: “I remember last year, you telling me that you wanted to lose enough weight that you could fit into Teller’s jacket…”
The audience gives Gary some much deserved applause here, and thankfully, too, as this was his number for the most part

Gary, taking off the jacket: “I found out how they do one of their tricks…there’s a smushed-up bunny in the pocket…”

That was an insanely fun and clever Duet, with great work from Wayne and especially Gary, and some game moments from Teller, and some good lyricism and subject. Penn did much less, but he’s a bit more present in HH later, so I’ll let it slide.

Secret: Ryan and Colin are Robin Hood and Little John

Less Secret this season, and here on out, but it’s still welcome

Colin has a big sigh of relief in finding out he’s not playing the woman.

We’re very quick to the reveal, which Ryan chuckles at:
Screen Shot 2021-01-24 at 11.42.04 AM

Screen Shot 2021-01-24 at 11.43.18 AM

Colin, obviously: “I wondered why you were looking for more merry men…”

Ryan reveals he’s not with Marian anymore, “I’m with the Friar, cause he’s tucked…”

Ryan: “I’ll still support her, I’ll still [coming up with gold and running with it] steal from the rich and give to the whore…”
Colin: “You’ve changed your…corporate plan there…”
Ryan: “Yes, I’m all puns now.”
I kinda love this exchange. Lewd joke, goofy rationalization

Ryan: “why won’t you join us?”
Colin, cracking a bit: “what are we talking about exactly?”
Ryan: “I THINK YOU KNOW WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT. Come to the forest with us.”
Colin, confusedly glancing towards Aisha: “I thought we WERE in the forest…”
Ryan: “NO, I MEAN THE *FOREST*.”
PERFECT

Colin is still very conflicted.
Ryan: “get the book again. Turn to page 25.”
Colin, with the magazine: “I don’t think that’ll make-HOLY MAMA….or PAPA.”
Ryan, trying to progress the scene: “that’s how we defeat the sheriff.”
Colin, still stuck on the magazine: “wow, that’s a quarter and a half staff…”

Ryan: “We’re going to….get him aroused and-”
AND RYAN JUST THEN COMPLETELY BREAKS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SENTENCE.
Ryan: “LAUNCH ROCKS OVER THE C…ASTLE WALL..”
Wayne:
Screen Shot 2021-01-24 at 12.53.20 PM
Screen Shot 2021-01-24 at 12.54.23 PM
I love this. Wayne has had enough. He’s fleeing the interview.

Aisha finally buzzes. Ryan and Colin fully break. Wayne bends over and returns to his seat, still dying.
Wayne, as Ryan and Colin return: ‘you’re gonna launch…rocks…”
Ryan: “yeah, LAUNCH ROCKS.”
Gary: “ONCE HE GETS AROUSED…”

Aisha approves of the magazine as well.
Ryan: “tell me you couldn’t launch rocks with that.”
Wayne, still not sure: “what did the magazine, uh-”
Colin: “oh, it’s the one from your, uh, dressing room.”
HA
Aisha: “it actually came from my dressing room…points for ME…”

So…that might be one of my favorite Secret playings that no one talks about. It was a fluid, full scene with great translations and great ideas, and the usual amount of Colin’s slightly-shaken reactions. And that ending visual cracked me up. As did the rest of the cast.

Scenes from a Hat:

“Outtakes from the Olympics”
I love Colin’s skeet-shooting one, where he waits til the clay has hit the ground to shoot at it. Very fun.

Gary does a buildup for a synchronized swimming one with Wayne, realizes it’s not getting the laughs he wants, then goes ‘I just realized that neither one of us can swim..”

Gary does a skeet-shooting by drive-by one that the audience seems torn over. Gary apologizes to Aisha. I kind of love that about Gary, when he does a particularly offensive one he’ll just drop character and do a big I’M SORRY.

“Things that you might say at sea that you wouldn’t say about your partner”
Ryan, taking a sigh before this knowing he’s probably just taken everyone else’s: “THERE SHE BLOWS.”
Screen Shot 2021-01-24 at 1.03.24 PMWayne: “NOOOO!!”
Ryan: “all three of us at the same time…”

Colin: “this is the first time I’ve done this without throwing up…”
Gary: “aye, it’s a little dingy, but it’ll get us there..”
Colin, doing the other obvious one: “SHE’S GOIN DOWN”
Ryan, on his back: “LAND, HO!”
PFFF

“Unlikely things to see or hear in Star Wars”
Colin’s delivery of “USE THE FORK, LUKE”, and his biting annoyance lift what could have been an easy joke
Screen Shot 2021-01-24 at 1.07.23 PM

Ryan does a Chewbacca gurgling joke that doesn’t work as well as it should because he can’t do a good Chewbacca impression
Ryan: “I can’t do that sound…Wayne, you do it, you can do that sound, do that same thing but make that sound, it’ll be much funnier”
That is an improv mentality. I can’t do it, but YOU sure can.
Wayne, sure enough, delivers the joke and does the accurate Chewie noise. Getting the laughs. TEAMWORK!

Ryan and Colin do an easy-but-fun peeing lightsaber noises gag. Wayne and Gary go up and do the black version, with longer lightsabers. Ryan even feigns getting sliced by one of them from the steps

A pretty good SFAH. Some fun energy throughout, and some good live-feeling moments [Ryan and Wayne’s chewbacca joke].

Helping Hands: Ryan, hands by Colin, is a cheesy nightclub magician desperately trying to sell Penn & Teller on some new tricks for their act

I love that as Penn and Teller enter, they both interact with the same audience member, Penn kissing her on the cheek and Teller kissing her legs.

This goes as well as you’d think with Colin not being able to see his own hand-eye coordination. Ryan even admits “I can’t see very well…without my glasses” after he bungles a sleight trick.

Ryan: “WHERE DID THE BALL GO?”
Penn: “…I think you dropped it off the table…”
Ryan: “My balls dropped a LONG time ago…”

The general thesis of this is that Colin is fumbling these magic tricks because he can’t see, Ryan is trying his best to sell them, and Penn is playing the part of a slow-burn, gradually-more-disappointed person. There are moments where he’s a bit too brusque with keeping the integrity of the trick, or lack thereof, intact, but he gets the idea of yes-anding and keeping the scene going.

Ryan goes into the ‘donut illusion’
Penn: “that’s, uh, not a donut, it’s an eclair”
Ryan: “IT IS *NOW*…”
This, suffice to say, gets Penn. A genuine laugh here.

As Colin shoves the eclair into Ryan’s mouth, Teller attempts the eclair trick and pulls scarves out of it, proof that he’s got that apparatus on him AT ALL TIMES.

Penn and Teller take hold of the scene after this, teaching him how to do the trick by handcuffing Colin’s hands together, in front of Ryan, goes “HAVE FUN IMPROV BOY”, say goodnight and walk off, blowing the scene wide open and leaving a panicked Ryan with Colin’s hands handcuffed to him and with the eclair still in his mouth. Then, as they exit, Penn kisses another audience member and Teller takes her with him as they leave.

It’s the most chaotic way for a guest star to end a game, and go about a game in general, but to me it works. This is very fitting of Penn and Teller’s mentality, to pull the illusion apart and replace it with their own reality. Penn Jillette hijacking an improv scene and leaving on that high note is definitely more indicative of his strengths as a performer than his improv integrity, and yet it works because it fits with the spectacle component of improv. Sometimes a scene has to be blown up in order to illuminate something fun about a performer or the performance in general.

Penn and Teller do have to run back, grab the key to the handcuffs [Ryan audibly goes ‘thank god’, as he was worried that’d be the rest of the show’] and share that they were in the eclair THE WHOLE TIME [sort of], and unlock Colin. Penn mutters “lucky he didn’t swallow it”.

I also love how Teller gives Aisha a kiss on the cheek, and the key to the handcuffs. Always the charmer.

Aisha gives all the points to Teller. “Teller, who is the silent, unsung bedrock of that team…”
THEN, SUDDENLY, PENN RUNS RIGHT UP TO THE CURTAIN AND YELLS, WITH HIS MIC STILL ON, “UNSUNG MY ASS!” It is a moment that will never not crack me up, because of how surprising it is, and because of how on-brand it is for Penn.

I liked that one a lot. It’s not the most iconic HH, but it’s good because it’s a balanced, competent improv scene between Penn, Teller and Ryan, it doesn’t rely solely on gross food [the eclair is not gross], and Penn and Teller are able to take hold of the scene and make it their own, which happens ever so rarely with guest stars [but frequently this season]. It’s a very live, fun moment to end on, and proof that while Penn and Teller came to be lawful, they couldn’t resist being as game-breaking as they are with magic.

Overall: I imagine a lot of fans are mixed on this one because of how they feel about the integrity of improv vs. Penn and Teller’s destructive tendencies. I happen to really like this one, though, because I do like Penn and Teller quite a bit. I liked both guest games, and I like that each half of the pair came to life in each game, with Teller doing a lot in Duet and Penn taking hold of Helping Hands. I also enjoyed the non-guest games, with Secret being a favorite of mine, LMAD being funny for Colin’s ending abuse, and SFAH being just a solid round of the game without getting too out of hand. It’s a solid show, one of the better ones of the season in my opinion, and a nice end to the first half of the season.

I would equate this to the episode of Saturday Night Live that Don Rickles hosted. Rickles’s entire schtick was improvising and insulting people, and even though the show was scripted, Rickles spent the entire show ad-libbing and assaulting the cast. It was the loosest, most spontaneously funny show they’d done, and it was iconic because Rickles broke the show while also making it great. That’s what the Penn and Teller WL is like- it didn’t always succeed in improv, but it definitely succeeded as a comedy show.

One more observation- we’ve had ten shows so far this season, and the ones I’ve enjoyed have been the guest star shows. The two guestless shows so far, 11×03 with Keegan and 11×09 with Jeff, were more meh for me because they seemed to be missing some spark, or some games didn’t work as well as others. With the exception of the Vernon Davis show, all the other guest star shows so far this season have really impressed me, even the Willie Robertson show which has the stink of racism around it. So the producers are still trying to win over the whosers by making really good guest star shows in an effort to convince them that guest star shows can be good. They will also trail off these guest star shows over the second half of the season to still give the fans clamoring for more guestless shows what they want.

Show Winner: Gary and Colin
Best Performer: Ryan continues his INSANELY strong S11 run with another win from me thanks to great moments in Secret, SFAH and, of course, Helping Hands.
Worst Performer: Wayne didn’t win any games for me and backed up Gary in Duet. He mostly did background work tonight.
Best Game: Secret. Shouldn’t be much of a doubt. A top tier Ryan-Colin scene, and that ending line is so damned funny.
Worst Game: This is hard, cause I liked every game. Duet was the most simple, though.
Guest Star Rating: 9/10. Though their improv wasn’t perfect, Penn and Teller brought a lot to this show, and gave a lot of their own energy to the proceedings in a way that didn’t compromise Whose Line.

COMING UP NEXT: The second half of Season 11 unofficially begins with a taping we glimpsed in the first half. The Brad taping. This is the other guest star show from the S11 Brad taping. The one I’ve been foreshadowing this entire fricking season. Ladies and gentlemen…the CW would like to pitch a rival to the Richard Simmons episode.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S11E09, or Don’t Milk my Fingers

We’ve seen one show from this taping, back in E2, but this Jeff taping has prioritized this new guestless show rather than putting the Lolo Jones show we’re getting next season out now.

Bold move, but, hinging on the quality of this episode, I’ll allow it.

Weird Newscasters: Colin anchors, Jeff, Plumber desperately trying to plug all the leaks in Colin, co-anchors, Wayne, Going through an entire crazy weekend in Vegas, does sports while Ryan, a war movie in 30 seconds, does weather

Jeff and Colin’s immediate reaction to Jeff’s quirk:

Colin: “our top story today, triumph turned to tragedy when a scientist who was the first person who had successfully cloned a human being, pushed that same person out of a window for making inappropriate remarks. The police are charging him with making an obscene clone fall.”
I keep expecting to be disappointed by Colin’s puns in this game but they’re all still fantastic
Also, Colin’s stopped from moving onto Jeff by Wayne audibly giggling at this one.

Jeff:
Screen Shot 2021-01-22 at 4.34.09 PMScreen Shot 2021-01-22 at 4.34.20 PM
Poor Colin
Jeff does the other nostril with a coughdrop

Colin’s facial expressions are helping sell this:
Screen Shot 2021-01-22 at 4.35.49 PM

Colin just shrugs after this, and passes over to Wayne with a jokingly nasally voice.

Wayne’s is a relatively basic progression of bad luck. Not much to say about it

Ryan does the progression of flying in, parachuting down, and then:
Screen Shot 2021-01-22 at 5.06.02 PM
And he turns this into American Sniper: “don’t pick it up, don’t…pick it up…”
Proving that yes, Ryan has watched the occasional movie.

Ryan: [fires]
Wayne: [drunk giggle then drops dead]
I like the collaborative nature of that

A pretty good WN, but a lot of it seemed pretty basic as far as WN is concerned, closer to a S2-era playing.

Ryan’s about to put a button on the game when suddenly:
Screen Shot 2021-01-22 at 5.08.45 PMScreen Shot 2021-01-22 at 5.09.08 PM
Ryan: “…DUCK, AISHA, DUCK!”
I love this move so much. To me, it’s the CW answer to ‘more ale, wench’. A full way of screwing with the stagehands and incorporating it into the show.

Aisha: “500 points to Colin for tolerating something up his nose.”
Colin: “those mentholated cough drops really burn…”

Hoedown: Baseball

Wayne prefaces his by saying he doesn’t know a thing about sports. But he does get a great pun in, talking about a girl who “let me go to her Wrigley Field”

Colin’s is very cute, talking about being rich and giving his wife a baseball field, “cause everyone knows a diamond is a girl’s best friend.” SO WHOLESOME

Ryan: “I’m a baseball catcher, and that takes a lot of guts
Squatting there looking at other players’ butts.
I have to admit that I don’t know where they’ve been.
Just last week I took two balls to the chin.”
I usually don’t love Ryan’s penchant for going blue to make funny hoedown verses, but this was a pretty solid construction all around.

Jeff’s, about a girl who ‘won’t stop scratchin’ crotch’, was a weaker one to end with.

Okay Hoedown. Some good verses, but mostly pretty, heh, baseline.

Newsflash: Ryan and Jeff in the studio, Colin in the studio in front of kissing

Jeff: “Colin, could you give us a COUPLE of details?”
heh
Colin, pointing to both halves of a same-sex kiss: “Yeah, I know that one and that one.”
PERFECT
Ryan: “yes, WE’VE SUSPECTED AS SUCH, COLIN”
Jeff: “we’ve always known, Colin, it’s totally fine.”

All of the sudden, the footage changes from stock footage to:
Screen Shot 2021-01-22 at 5.18.29 PM
[from 9×01’s LMAD]
Screen Shot 2021-01-22 at 5.20.05 PM

Screen Shot 2021-01-22 at 5.20.55 PM[10×17’s WN]

Ryan: “what do you think is the cause of all this?”
Colin: “…money.”

Jeff: “do you think this could last?”
Colin: “Oh, I say it could go on for another 3 hours..”

Colin: “I had a really nice conversation over there about…”
Screen Shot 2021-01-22 at 5.23.28 PM

Screen Shot 2021-01-22 at 5.24.36 PM[back to 9×01 LMAD]

Aisha probes Colin to guess just as the kissing girls come back on
Ryan: ‘wait…just one sec…”

Colin guesses “people engaging in…something of a sexual nature?”
Aisha: “yes, something of a sexual nature that could be safe for TV…what kind of sexual activity could that be, that you could show on television?”
Colin: “…uh, improv?”
10/10. He’s more right than he knows..

A solid Newsflash. Most of it was serviceable as improv rather than what was on the screens, but it got pretty good late.

Scenes from a Hat:

“Things you can say about your clothes that you can’t say about your partner.”
Colin: “I’m gonna have to steam that…”
Jeff: “oooh, that’s not gonna come out…”
Ryan: ‘that’s been hanging in my closet for years…”
OOOOOHH

“Terrible ways to start a conversation”
Wayne, shoving his hands towards Colin: “what do my hands smell like?”
Colin, confused: “…beef.”

Jeff: “Get in the van.”
Wayne: “…I’m done, get out of the van.”
Wayne: “…where’s my van?”
This is a spiritual sequel to the latin american soccer announcers one, because they keep the same read of ‘van’ throughout all 3.

“Bad Times to be Naked”
Ryan does a really good ‘crossing guard’ one. Wayne helps by trying to walk past and getting tripped.

Wayne and Colin do a really good ‘oompah band’ one, with Wayne and Colin doing different instruments. Ryan comes in with cymbals near his crotch area and yelps in pain. THAT got me

Wayne:
Screen Shot 2021-01-23 at 11.53.00 AMAgain, Colin’s facial expressions are on point this episode
Wayne: “get the ball…wrong one…”
Ryan enters and does the ‘deflated ball’ joke everyone was thinking of

“Dating Videos of Sesame Street Characters”
Jeff, as Count: “well, truth be told I have ONE STD…TWO STDS…THREEE, AH-AH-AH!”
PERFECT
Ryan, removing his pants: “One of these things is not like the others.”
Jeff, with his zipper: “abierto…cerrado…”
Ryan:
Screen Shot 2021-01-23 at 11.56.40 AM
“Sesame Street is brought to you by the letter O.”

Colin doesn’t even let Ryan get back to the step:
Screen Shot 2021-01-23 at 11.59.31 AM
“Big.”Screen Shot 2021-01-23 at 11.59.55 AM
“…SMALL.”

Jeff ends it with a too-funny Mr. Snuffleupagus motion with his hand between his legs.

A pretty good SFAH. They kept stuff going all throughout.

Greatest Hits: Songs of Los Angeles

Colin: “Hi, we’ll be right back to our nature documentary, ‘Emu, the cow who liked to email’, in just a second
A WHOLESOME ONE! HOORAY!

Ryan says that SKA sounds for ‘Singin Kinda AAAOOOOUTTATUNE?”
[I prefer his later answer]
After some more tone-deaf Ryan banter, Colin:
Screen Shot 2021-01-23 at 12.05.06 PM

Okay, this ska number sounds frigging AMAZING. Wayne is so good at staying in the fast-paced rhythm and keeping along with the backing. Also, the backing sounds almost exactly like Sell Out by Reel Big Fish. Jeff’s verse is also really good, and there’s a four-bar harmony that he and Wayne do that is SO DAMN GOOD, and even the audience applauds at it. Absolutely phenomenal number from both the performers and the musicians. AND THAT’S HOW WE START.

Colin starts an intro with this position:
Screen Shot 2021-01-23 at 12.09.46 PM
And Ryan, still in a very goofy mood, springs into action:
Screen Shot 2021-01-23 at 12.10.52 PM
“MOOOO”Screen Shot 2021-01-23 at 12.11.11 PM
Ryan, a la Fred Willard: “Cow, it’s a-lying down though….milk just shoots out…”

Colin, moving on:
Screen Shot 2021-01-23 at 12.15.10 PM
Screen Shot 2021-01-23 at 12.16.10 PM
Colin: “don’t milk my fingers…I can’t believe how often I have to say that…”

Once Colin mentions “Prince and Keanu Reeves”:
Screen Shot 2021-01-23 at 12.17.24 PM

Already, without a word being sung, the two are set- Wayne’s doing his coy Prince expressions, and Jeff’s doing his amazed, aloof Keanu stance.

Wayne does a really good Prince verse, and then Jeff comes in as Keanu: “WHOA WHOOA WHOOA WHOOOOOA WHOA WHOA.”
[somewhere Jonathan Mangum is taking notes]

Jeff, finally doing some lyrics: “I try to eat some cereal, but WHOA, there is no spoon.”
YES

Heck, even the jokey Keanu/Prince number ends up being really good. Damn.

Aisha: “I just wanna say this, in all earnesty, and you’ll never hear this from me again, that was…ffffucking awesome.”

I kinda agree with Aisha, that was a really damn good GH. The banter was fun, the finger bit felt classic, and both songs were really damn good Jeff-Wayne songs. I’m impressed all around.

Overall: A solid show that got way better as it went on. The first half was more basic than anything, but Newsflash, SFAH and GH definitely felt bigger and more interesting to me, and lifted this one a lot for me. Not that things were too wrong with WN- the sniper gag and the saga of Jeff sticking things up Colin’s nose felt like classic WL, but in both good and bad ways.

Show Winners: All four
Best Performer: Jeff and Ryan were close the whole game but I gave it to Jeff for dominating over the course of the second half, as well as impressing me right at the start in WN.
Worst Performer: Wayne had the most mistakes and quiet games for me tonight.
Best Game: Greatest Hits really impressed me. All-around, really.
Worst Game: Hoedown was the most basic.

COMING UP NEXT: A return to the Gary taping that brought us episode 1 for…yeah…THE BEST KIND OF CW CROSS-ADVERTISING.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S11E08, or I’ll Put on Harbaugh’s Khakis

From the same taping as E3, we get another Keegan Michael Key show. This one has a guest star, and it’s…one I think the fandom collectively doesn’t like.

I mean, I have no problems with Vernon Davis as a football player. VD made it to a Super Bowl with the 49ers in 2013, but lost to the Baltimore Ravens. The year after this episode airs, VD gets traded to the Denver Broncos, who he actually WINS a Super Bowl with. He was a solid tight end for the better part of a decade…and yes, he is the second tight end to appear on Whose Line, and has a VERY TOUGH act to follow after Rob Gronkowski impressed the hell out of me in S10.

Still, knowing people don’t like him, I’ll try to be fair.

Let’s Make a Date: Keegan must choose from:
Wayne – Elephant seal on a mating rampage
Colin – Enthusiastic customer who thinks people are massage chairs for him to try out
Ryan – Talking robot learning human behavior from the other two

Just from Wayne’s opening noise and then look over at Keegan, I can tell he has this character down. And he’s just hornily thrusting atop his stool…and then again as Keegan continues. Dear god.

Wayne, eventually:
Screen Shot 2021-01-18 at 11.01.46 AM

Wayne, back at the stools, to Colin: “you’re next.”
Colin, smirking, mouths “so are you” to Wayne, who then starts laughing in fear.

Colin, sitting on Wayne: “nnnooo, there’s a little something sticking in my back”

Colin, after about 10 seconds of vibrating on Ryan:
Screen Shot 2021-01-18 at 11.05.33 AM

Ryan’s quirk gets a lot of response once the audience realizes he’s about to do some of what Wayne and Colin just did.

Ryan does end up sitting on Colin and Wayne, and is confused by Wayne’s arm things as he does his. “This is a little more pleasurable than I thought…[to Colin] MUCH MORE PLEASURABLE THAN YOU.”
Screen Shot 2021-01-18 at 11.09.18 AMColin:
Screen Shot 2021-01-18 at 11.10.18 AM

Keegan: “Bachelor #1- oh, jeez, go ahead and do what you’re gonna do…”
Wayne: [mounts Colin]
Screen Shot 2021-01-18 at 11.12.31 AM
Ryan, knowing what he has to do:Screen Shot 2021-01-18 at 11.12.44 AMScreen Shot 2021-01-18 at 11.12.52 AM
JESUS CHRIST. This is insanely funny, but I think Colin’s confusion at the front is the funniest, cause he’s barely in character

Keegan: “Is Ryan Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation?”
I wish, man
Aisha: “you’ve got half of it right”
Keegan: “is he a sex android?”
Ryan: ‘…thank you very much!”

A pretty funny LMAD. I liked that all the quirks corresponded with each other, so we could get that really funny ending moment.

Aisha compliments Keegan on his nonverbal character work as a female
Keegan: “I work on the feminine stuff…”
Ryan, checking his watch: “I’d like to work on some feminine stuff tonight if we ever get out of here…”
So Ryan’s checking his watch NOW, and the guest star that everyone hates hasn’t even shown up yet?

Song Styles: Wayne sings a Nicki Minaj song to VD

Aisha admits that the 49ers are her team, which is gonna make this show pretty awkward, imo

VD seems very worried before Wayne starts up. That says it all.

Wayne’s Nicki is actually really good- he has her regular rapping voice down, and her more aggressive, modulated voice down. And this show is on the heels of Anaconda-era Nicki, which…I mean, there are better eras, but at least this one is striking.

To be fair, VD is really into this one, dancing around to it, and being in the right goofy mindset for this game. So whatever people don’t like him for doesn’t show up in this game, it seems.

Wayne, with the joke I’ve been making in my head: “hey, look at that, initials VD, DON’T CATCH THAT”

As Wayne is killing it with some really good Nicki rhymes, Ryan throws a handkerchief right through the scene, which is a very goofy move. Wayne says it’s a ‘flag on that play’, and goes into some really good, rhythmic stuff to end it.

Yeah, one game down with the guest star no one likes, and it’s a top-tier Wayne song styles playing. Wayne’s Nicki Minaj is excellent, and he got every facet of her onstage persona while Vernon continued to be really into it. So I don’t see the problem quite yet.

Aisha: “everybody doing really nice feminine work tonight…”

Props: Wayne and Colin vs. Ryan and Keegan

Proof that Ryan knows at least a few contemporary references:
Screen Shot 2021-01-18 at 11.36.26 AM
Ryan: “YOU’VE GOTTA SELL MORE BURGERS, SPONGEBOB!”
Keegan is the one who makes the mistake of referring to Ryan as ‘Krusty’. THAT IS MR. KRABS. GET IT RIGHT.

Heck, even Colin has a ‘I forget how much he knows’ one:
Screen Shot 2021-01-18 at 11.38.01 AMColin: “I believe you know the Coen brothers.”
THAT IS FANTASTIC
Wayne, chuckling: “I’m a big fan.”

Screen Shot 2021-01-18 at 11.43.12 AMWayne: “yeah…the vet put it on WRONG.”

Ryan’s meek parallel bars routine even cracks HIM up

Screen Shot 2021-01-18 at 11.45.05 AMRyan: “TWO devils??”
Keegan: “You can be Satan, I’ll be Beelzebub…”

Ryan and Keegan’s long ‘skill crane’ one is fantastic just from how the two of them are supporting each other. This is Keegan’s last props, I think, and it reminds me how good he is at this game.

Screen Shot 2021-01-18 at 11.48.07 AMWayne: [does mermaid song]
Colin: “stop, you’re arousing me…”
Wayne is taken aback. We cut to Ryan and Keegan setting up, then we cut BACK to Wayne and Colin
Wayne: “once you go mer, you don’t go back therr..”

Wayne does his while Colin just stays in the same position:
Screen Shot 2021-01-18 at 11.49.58 AM
Colin: “…what a horrible birth.”

Screen Shot 2021-01-18 at 11.51.14 AMKeegan: “it’s good to see that we both belong to the innie club.”
Wayne, inevitably:
Screen Shot 2021-01-18 at 11.52.15 AM
Wayne: “it’s good to see that we both belong to the outie club…”

Once Aisha buzzes, Keegan erupts in exaltation: “YES, WE DID IT. WE’RE DONE!”

A really damn good Props. So many original suggestions, and so many moments that threw people.

Dubbing: In the 49ers locker room after a big game when flirty female journalist Ryan is interviewing sweaty tight end VD, voice by Colin, who is trying to impress her and suddenly star quarterback Wayne comes out of the shower to show that he is the manliest man on the team

…starring Wayne as…Colin Kaepernick…?

Aisha, reading the scene: ‘…OH DEAR LORD.”

Colin: “Can I say frankly, and please don’t take this the wrong way, I’d like to hold possession of you for a little while…”
Ryan: “Let me make myself a little more attractive to you, I’ll…put on Harbaugh’s khakis.”
That is such a 2015 football reference. This is right before Jim Harbaugh left the 49ers to coach Michigan. Also very telling of how much football Ryan watches, especially as a Seahawks fan.

Vernon’s lip movements are pretty good, he’s good at brushing Ryan’s face, and staying into the scene. I’m not getting the backlash.
Screen Shot 2021-01-18 at 2.43.37 PM
Ryan moves his hands over Ryan’s chest area.
Colin: “NICE BOOBS”
Vernon: [sells this line, a bit too well]
Ryan: “you don’t have to say it, he’s saying it…”
PFFFFF

Wayne comes in, calling himself a ‘REAL football player’
Ryan: “I want a tight end, not a wide receiver.”
BEAUTIFUL
Vernon loves this and happily laughs in Wayne’s face with Colin. Heck, Colin draws out the laugh so Vernon could keep skipping around and overplaying it. Again, I’m not seeing very many flaws here.
Colin keeps drawing this out, to the point where Wayne has to turn around and hide his laughter.

Ryan’s suggestion of a ‘huddle-off’ cracks up Vernon

Once again, Vernon starts talking himself under Colin. Which…I mean, it’s a rookie mistake, but at least he’s INTO IT, rather than not trying at all.
Colin: “I’m also a ventriloquist…”

On the next line, you can even hear audible dialogue coming from Vernon, which is probably the reason why people don’t like him. But he’s still bringing it, though.

Ryan, ending the scene: “I’m sorry, but I’m going with the man with the biggest contract”
Colin: [brings back the over the top laughing]

Alright, so this was a goofy scene, and not one of the better dubbing playings we’ve had here. I can’t entirely credit it to VD’s over-exuberant desire to say things in this game, though that added to it late in the game. This was still a very basic playing that had a lot of the same beats that Dubbing usually hits, didn’t have much for Wayne to do that was funny, and only really had Ryan to come in with the good, funny lines. Vernon did his best, and I salute that, but I can see why the whosers don’t like him in this game.

After this game, we do get a rare look into performer prep on this show:
Screen Shot 2021-01-18 at 2.52.52 PM
Wayne randomly shows up with what I can only assume is a glass of whiskey, or as he calls it, ‘daddy’s funny juice’. It wasn’t there in the previous shot. I don’t know where he got it. But it’s a rare shot of a WL performer drinking in the middle of the show, included only for international markets. If this is legit alcohol, it confirms the theory of whose line performers having a drink or two before doing improv to get them in the right mindset. It is a theory that a friend of mine tried to get Brad and Colin to confirm before a show, with no avail, and it’s a theory that owes itself more to live shows like Whose Live and Improv a Ganza than it does to the more drawn out, structured Whose Line.

All I can say is it feels odd for the editors to decide to show this on the finished episode. Why ruin the illusion? Unless it’s not actually alcohol.

Living Scenery: Ryan and Colin are a married couple getting ready for a night of passion when suddenly a nearby river bursts its banks and the loving couple have to flee their house; Keegan and VD are props.

Ryan: “you know what? I’M gonna be the woman this time.”
AWWWWW
Colin: “ME TOO.”
This is why I love them

Okay, VD does make a slight faux pas in having his back to the audience and covering Ryan as the mirror, but he still knows to come in as Ryan’s reflection [“I am so much better looking than I thought it was”]

Keegan has his arms up for a bit.
Colin: “I’m just admiring my painting.”
Ryan: “what do you call it?”
Colin: ‘…guy.”
PFF

Colin mentioning ‘water rushing towards us’ leads to VD just…flailing his arms around Colin.
Ryan: “IT’S IN THE HOUSE”
Keegan also rushes towards Ryan as the water. Silly solution to an odd problem.
Colin, even funnier: “QUICK, THE DOG IS PANICKING.”

I love Keegan’s move of rushing into the house as another person thrown by the water, yelling ‘HEEEEELP’ and crossing through towards the back. That is FANTASTIC scene dressing, and proof that he’s a grade-a improv mind.
Ryan, even funnier, with the rationalization: “it’s your mother!”

Ryan sets up an inflatable raft that A.) Keegan initially has to do most of the work for, and B.) Keegan has to GRAB VD and get him into the same physical position for. He’s just sitting there idly for a few seconds. Noowww I’m getting SOME of the backlash.
Colin: “takes a while to assemble, doesn’t it?”

Of course, Colin has to re-inflate the raft with the nozzle, at Keegan’s butt. Once Colin blows, Wayne doubles over.
Ryan: “put the plug back in or all the air will come out.”
!

Yeah, a lot of this game is clumsy because Vernon’s not doing great at physical things, and is just sort of standing by a lot of the time, and Keegan has to do a lot of the work.

Both Keegan and Vernon jump into landing on the ground after a ‘volcano’ bit
Colin: “OH MY GOD…STARS ON ICE.”
And with that clumsy rationalization, we’re out.

Yeah…not a very good playing of this. Vernon was the wrong pick for this game, he should have done Helping Hands. He seemed lost a lot in this playing, and Keegan had to really make up for it, as did Ryan and Colin with more rationalization and more pointing out. It was too chaotic and too clumsy to really work for me, despite a good start to things.

Overall: Odd show. Started really well, and had three solid games including an awesome props and one of Wayne’s best solo numbers of the CW version. Then Dubbing was clumsy and okay, and Living Scenery completely fell apart. So we’re left with a show that’s cumulatively okay despite starting with 3 great games. I hate to say it was Vernon’s fault for the bottom falling out, as I was trying to give him the benefit of the doubt…but his improv skills and lack of real mechanics, especially in LS, is definitely responsible. He made the other performers have to do more work than usual, which isn’t a sign of a good improv compatibility, and he flirted with breaking rules in Dubbing, even if that was more funny than anything. Just…an odd show that I can’t completely like due to that last half, Wayne drinking, and some genuinely odd energy. Hate to say it, but S11 has finally produced an episode that isn’t ‘pretty good’ to ‘exemplary’. Hate to see it.

Show Winners: All four
Best Performer: Ryan has ANOTHER SHOW WIN FOR ME. This man is ON FIRE this season. His stuff in LMAD and Dubbing were very present and held those games together.
Worst Performer: I hate to do this, but Keegan’s best work tonight was support work, and he didn’t get a chance to really lead scenes, so he goes here. But he was excellent throughout.
Best Game: PROPS. SUCH A GOOD PROPS. BOTH PAIRS HAD FUN MOMENTS.
Worst Game: Living Scenery. Good lord this one was a mess.
Guest Star Rating: 6/10. He was fine in Song Styles and was excited to be here, but Vernon’s raw improv skills weren’t very impressive, and he faltered in Dubbing and Living Scenery.

COMING UP NEXT: There’s another guest star episode left from Jeff’s first taping…but it won’t air til next season, so here’s a guestless show to tide us over.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S11E07, or Speaking As a Part-Time Leaser

For Brad Sherwood’s first guest star episode of S11…and his less memorable one at that, we have another Glee cast member. Heather Morris, who played Brittany, is another relatively big gun. I mean, say what you will about pandering, but they never really got any eight-string Glee cast members on here. Amber Riley, who shows up in another few seasons, is another high-tier get.

But yeah, Heather Morris is here, Brad is here, and I’ll be looking for residue from…another episode that came from this taping.

Weird Newscasters: Colin anchors, Brad, Colin’s over-affectionate orangutan, co-anchors, Wayne, a day in the life of Aisha, does sports while Ryan, evil poltergeist causing havoc in the studio, does weather

Casting Brad as a monkey? Christmas came early this year!

Ryan’s overexcited ‘OHHHHH’ is the beginning of the trend of Keith stopping takes, saying ‘more up, Ryan’, and Ryan responding by doing the most sarcastic excited noise before games to placate him. There was one last show, but it wasn’t as pronounced. Here it feels damn near deliberate.

Wayne and Ryan’s reactions make me think this intro was a pickup

Colin: ‘a man died in his home today when a pile of books fell on him. Police say he had no one but his shelf to blame.”
HE’S STILL GOT IT

Brad, well:
Screen Shot 2021-01-16 at 2.56.59 PMScreen Shot 2021-01-16 at 2.57.08 PM
Colin, essentially to Brad out of character: “you’re stronger than you remember…”

BRAD THEN:
Screen Shot 2021-01-16 at 2.59.32 PMScreen Shot 2021-01-16 at 2.59.46 PM

Colin: “…I gotta get a real job…”

Wayne’s is a classic. He does a nice bit to camera, cuts to commercial, closes the door, rips off his wig and goes into a gruff voice “AW MAN, I NEVER THOUGHT THE CAMERAS WOULD..”
Aisha, thankfully:
Screen Shot 2021-01-16 at 3.03.20 PM

Wayne completely subverts Aisha’s persona- calls in ’10 beefy boys pizzas and a couple Coronas’, then brags to his friends, then airs out his balls for a bit. It’s a fascinating character assassination done with the best of intentions. Thankfully Aisha loves it

Then, to finish it off, Wayne has to pull a Mrs. Doubtfire and get back into costume to get the door. It’s a fantastic, full-arc scene he does with this quirk.

At the end, Aisha sarcastically slow-claps. Wayne slowly turns to Aisha
Screen Shot 2021-01-16 at 3.06.48 PM
Perfect. Phenomenal staredown

We cut back to camera 2, and:
Screen Shot 2021-01-16 at 3.07.36 PM

Also, Ryan starts his by going over to Wayne, as an epilogue to the Aisha scene, and going ‘hey baby, I gotta do the show’, and politely kissing him. Meaning Ryan has no idea about Aisha’s double life. That is a fantastic layer on that. Ryan’s even cracking up as he starts his own quirk.

Ryan runs over to the keyboard and starts playing random notes.
Screen Shot 2021-01-16 at 3.09.46 PMScreen Shot 2021-01-16 at 3.09.58 PM

Once Ryan starts moving the chair up, Wayne, knowing these kinds of movies, goes ‘OH HELL NO’ and leaves.
Ryan, still in character as Wayne’s lover but out of character as the ghost, sulks back to his spot. That is a fantastic, layered ending.

As Colin signs off:
Screen Shot 2021-01-16 at 3.12.14 PM
Their working relationship is so strong that Brad can just pull shit like this all the time

Wayne, looking over at Aisha postgame: “Hello, Tyler, how are you?”
Aisha: “…when you least expect it, Brady….I’MMA FUCK YOU UP!”
CLASSIC
Screen Shot 2021-01-16 at 3.13.56 PM

A phenomenal WN to start us off. Every quirk had layers and was insanely funny, Wayne’s was a classic for the entire CW run, and Ryan’s building off of that made it even funnier.

Dubbing: Hunky Hockey Honky Foxy coach Ryan is audition new cheerleader Heather, Colin voices, for the squad when suddenly her bitchy rival, Wayne, bursts in to compete

I’m guessing the intro for Heather was spliced from Duet, as Wayne’s reaction to Heather showing up seems genuine from the audio, and it doesn’t match his stance as she enters the stage.

As Aisha does the scene description, Brad runs down and fixes Heather’s collar. Awfully nice of him.

Ryan is very confused by his character, ‘hunky coach Ryan’: “HOCKEY coach Ryan”
Aisha: “no, you’re HUNKY.”
Ryan: ‘…oh I thought you said HONKY Coach…”
Aisha: “that too…”
Wayne: “if it would have been 1978…’SAY BLOOD, IS THAT A HONKY COACH?”
First ‘Jack’, now this.
Also, is Honky Coach Ryan the new Police Chief Colin?

There’s a nice opening gag where Colin and Ryan are getting Heather to spell out the name of the school, which is Xavier High. After ‘X’ and ‘A’, Ryan, knowing how difficult it is to do V, goes ‘you’re hired!’

Colin: “Coach, I don’t think I want to wear this, it pushes the stereotypes of cheerleaders.”
Ryan: “…that’s right.”
Colin: “…okay.”
PFFF
Heather: [puts it on]
Ryan: “well, here’s a curtain, you can….oh, nevermind.”

Ryan screws up with Wayne’s name, going ‘Shaneila’, before actually going ‘Sheila’
Screen Shot 2021-01-16 at 3.23.31 PM
Wayne: “that’s very culturally insensitive of you, coach.”
Perfectly delivered by Wayne, at an even keel.
Ryan: “I like that name, though, Shaneila…”
Wayne, now cracking up: “Honky…”
Ryan: [loses it]
Colin: “I NOW WANT TO BE KNOWN AS DENISE-A.”

Wayne, on a supposed cheer-off: “I was born to cheer-off, are you ready?”
Colin: “I WAS…TOO BORN.”
Screen Shot 2021-01-16 at 3.25.55 PM
Just…the undercurrent of confusion
Colin:

EVEN HE’S CONFUSED BY IT

Wayne does some good cheerleading moves and immediately pulls a leg muscle.
Ryan: “SHE PULLED HER VAGINA!”
Wayne:
Screen Shot 2021-01-16 at 3.34.32 PM
Absolutely dying. Brad facepalms in the back

Wayne, standing up after the buzzer: “I PULLED….MY VAGINA.”

Wayne, back at the seats: “she is wondering why she’s here right now…”
Aisha: “I do wanna give a special [cracks] mention to Ryan Stiles…for pointing out with deep compassion that she may or may not have-”
Ryan: “pulled her vagina? It’s a serious injury, it takes a long time to come back from that.”
Aisha: “it is, and speaking as an owner, I do use it every day…”
Wayne: “speaking as a part-time leaser, I do…”
WOW
Wayne: “you want it in GOOD SHAPE…”

Also, this is not the only time Ryan would use the phrase ‘pulled her vagina’ in a scene. There’d be another one years later.

So…that was another really funny Dubbing. It took a bit to get going, but the middle bit, where everybody kept cracking up and doing huge, live stuff, was great. it did go through some very normal Dubbing story beats, but it was still funny, Heather was good at this game, and it had that ending Ryan line that made it even funnier. Just a really funny game.

Living Scenery: Colin and Ryan are two rock-and-roll musicians rehearsing on their luxury yacht when it suddenly runs into trouble; Heather and Wayne are props

Ryan does another sarcastic ‘OHHH’ as he gets up for this one

Colin, picking up Heather: “i guess I should practice a few of my licks…”
Ryan: ‘YOU MEAN, UH-”
Colin: [plays Heather as a guitar]
Ryan: “ohhh, okay…you really scared me when you said ‘practice a few licks'”

Wayne and Heather end up doing the mime for an iceberg, Heather more reluctantly
Colin: “oh god, it has two levels!”

Colin and Ryan are having fun with Wayne and Heather, and responding to them, like the anchor breaking through the ship rather than the water, or Heather as the iceberg just coming onto the ship
Colin: “OH MY GOD, THE ICEBERG’S A LIVING ORGANISM. IT’S STARTING TO MATE.”
Heather: [grabs onto Ryan]
Ryan: ‘…oh, yeah…”
Wayne: [grabs onto Ryan]
Ryan: “OH NO. THE FIRST PART OF THAT WAS GREAT!”

This is such a goofy and chaotic playing, because so much is happening, and Colin and Ryan are trying their best to deal with it all. Colin’s getting overtasked, shaking his head before playing Heather as a keyboard.
Ryan, with Wayne: “We’ve got a seal, there’s a seal on deck…”
Colin: “Yeah, you deal with the seal, I’m working on my lifeboat…”
Ryan, after a too-long pause: “WOULD YOU PUT THE LIFEBOAT DOWN???”
Colin: “NO, CAUSE THERE’S A TIDAL WAVE COMING TOWARDS US. QUICK. TAKE THE SURFBOARDS.”
PFFFFFFFF

The second Colin gets on top of Heather, you can hear an unimpressed ‘awww’ from Aisha, and Heather immediately starts shaking her head

Ryan still hasn’t gotten on Wayne
Colin: “HURRY IF YOU WANT TO SAVE YOUR LIFE.”
Ryan: “I’m coming…”

Screen Shot 2021-01-16 at 4.26.06 PMWayne, in this position for the second time this show, starts giggling

Ryan, pointing to Wayne’s butt: “Mine’s got an inflatable raft IN the surfboard…”
Wayne: [muffledly sighs]
BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ

So we’re three for three with really funny games. This isn’t the best LS we’ve had recently, and Heather continued her trend of skirting down the middle, but the funny things that happened, especially with Wayne, but also between the chaos and Ryan and Colin, made this an insanely fun one, and a joy to watch.

Aisha: “as the old saying goes, ‘when in doubt…play with…Wayne’s booty.”
Screen Shot 2021-01-16 at 8.07.03 PM

Scenes from a Hat:

“lines you wouldn’t expect to hear in a love song”
Colin, shaking his head as he comes down: “you’re the sweetest girl in all the land, though you look like something I drew with my left hand.”
FUNNY, BITING *AND* APPROPRIATE
Brad, smiling too widely: “YOU’VE GOT MUFFIN-TOP, A LAZY EYE AND VARICOSE VEINS!”
Ryan: “LET’S SAY I CALL SOME FRIENDS, TO HELP MAKE LOVE TO YOU…”
Colin, gruff voice: “I’M REALLY AISHA TYLERRR…”
HAHAHAHAHA

“If Cops spoke like Dr. Seuss”
Brad, with Colin: “I’m arresting you now, don’t you know
we were listening in, cause Horton hears a hoe.”
A repolish of an old joke, but still good
Colin, perfectly accentuating this:
Screen Shot 2021-01-16 at 8.21.23 PM
I love them both

Wayne tries doing a ‘green eggs and ham’ style recap of all the places he chased someone, then he gets stuck on one, and we cut to the side:

Screen Shot 2021-01-16 at 8.24.31 PM

Wayne: “I…topped you with my cream…WHAT THE HELL AM I SAYING??? [to Aisha] WHY DIDN’T YOU STOP ME? YOU’VE GOT IT IN FOR ME! I’M NOT MOVIN!”
Ryan: “YOU CAN DO IT, WAYNE!”
Oh my god. Wayne-Aisha has been such a strange, chaotic dynamic this show
Screen Shot 2021-01-16 at 8.28.13 PM

Wayne pops behind the desk, returns to his WN character, and goes “HEY MAN, LOOK, I’M AISHA!”
Aisha, at Wayne’s spot: “HEY EVERYBODY, I’M WAYNE BRADY”
Ryan cracks up and points to Aisha, imploring Colin to look
Aisha: “OOH, MY PANTS ARE SO TIGHT, I DUNNO WHERE MY DICK WENT!”
Wayne: “GO BACK TO YOUR SEAT! GO BACK!”
Ryan, cumulatively through the entire taping: “WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THIS SHOW???”

Brad, with Wayne: “I arrested you in an elevator
BANG, I shoot first, ask questions later”
Wayne and Aisha have a saddened chuckle
Wayne: “Now I can’t go home to my kids and to my wife
Hmm, this makes me sad, cause this shit is like real life.”
WOW. And it’s still a relevant line 6 years later.

Another phenomenally funny game. Oh my gosh. The chaotic energy made this insanely funny, even through only 2 scenes. The first one was a more traditional SFAH run. The second one was a complete dissolution thanks to Wayne breaking down in the middle of one. Still amounted to a fantastic and memorable game, and a culmination of the crazy energy of the entire taping.

Greatest Hits: Songs of the Hospital

Colin and Ryan’s intro is so over-the-top that it’s funny. Colin brings it right back to the suggestion starter [“IT’S A PLACE THAT SICK PEOPLE GO TO”], and just sells it with pure exuberance

Colin: “I love Korean Pop”
Ryan: [downs a soda bottle]
Brad and Wayne, at both the style and the pun:
Screen Shot 2021-01-16 at 8.35.32 PMColin: “I’m talking about my dad, I’m adopted..”

Colin mentions “it was a Korean Pop song with Johnny Cash”, which is a great image.
Ryan: “what do they call Johnny Cash over there?”
Colin: “…Johnny.”

Brad’s Johnny Cash is a bit more vocal-fry than Jeff’s, and more authentic arguably. I do love him rhyming with “I love you deep down inside my Soul…SOUTH KOREA.” [Soul/Seoul…very clever]

Wayne does some really nice fake Korean. This is 3 years post-Psy and like 2 years pre-BTS, so he still has a handle on an accurate k-pop style, which helps

Brad tries doing Korean as Johnny Cash. Wayne ends up doing a ‘WE-E-E-E-E-ELLL’ as Cash which makes him sound more like Mr. Ed. He then stops, cracks and looks over at Aisha.

Ryan: “A lot of people don’t know this, but Johnny Cash recorded that song while sitting on a washing machine.”
Brad busts up at that

For the power-metal number, Brad really nails the over the top high octaves of most power metal singers. Wayne is much better at the fast-paced, back-of-the-throat talk-singing for the chorus. It works really well

Honestly, this song seems like a spiritual sequel to ‘DO YA WANT MEAT OR FISH’ from Songs of the Flight Attendant. Wayne and Brad have the same vocal tones here as they did in that one. It feels like such a throwback.

A good GH, if a few steps back from the rest of the show. This one came down to Brad and Wayne’s excellent song material and great teamwork together, something that we hadn’t seen yet on the CW in this game. That power metal number was awesome all around, as was the goofy nature of the Johnny Cash Korean Pop number.

Brad: “it was easy for me cause I saw them in concert.”
Aisha: “what, Korean Pop?”
Brad: “no, Johnny Cash when he played….Ping-Song Prison…way back in the day…”
Ryan: “is that when he sang that song ‘A Boy Named TING-DAI-SAAAHNNN…”
PFFFFFFF. DEAR GOD EVEN THE END OF THE SHOW IS CRACKING ME UP

Overall: Season 11 has a new king of the mountain. My god. This show hit the live, ‘how is this happening’, uncontrollably funny improv mojo of the original series at several points, with four back-to-back explosive games followed by a modest, lawful and still funny finale. Even if we had a rather basic guest booking with Heather Morris, the things she had to go through, including a vagina-pulling joke from Ryan and Colin lying on top of her, were not basic. Nor was the energy in WN and SFAH, both invoking some Wayne-Aisha dynamic moments that made their stage relationship even juicier than Wayne and Drew’s. Not to mention a fantastic fourth seater performance from Brad, some really mischievous work all night from Ryan, and the most bleeps-per-show to date. This one felt like an undeniable, unstoppable classic with some of the funniest energy the show’s had in a while…and yet I don’t even think it’s the funniest one from this taping.

Show Winners: All four
Best Performer: It came down to Brad and Ryan for me…and Ryan gets it just for being in the best mood all taping. Spence 12Medbe was saying to me recently that Ryan every once in a while will show up to tape in just the most sly, pranksterish mood, and it was definitely on display here.
Worst Performer: Colin mostly did support work tonight, which isn’t bad, as he still had laughs,  but it wasn’t much to compete with the other 3.
Best Game: Weird Newscasters. Almost gave it to SFAH, but literally every part of WN was funny. It never stopped.
Worst Game: Greatest Hits was the most normal, but still really good thanks to two great Wayne/Brad songs.
Guest Star Ranking: 8/10. Nothing too special, but Heather at least rolled with the many punches.

COMING UP NEXT: Keegan’s guest star show. Go Niners.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S11E06, or Quack Kills.

And now our streak of awesome guest star bookings comes to an abrupt but unsurprising halt.

People may forget this now, but back in the early 2010s, there was a show called Duck Dynasty, about a bunch of bearded guys from Louisiana who make duck hunting supplies. It was a reality show about a family who worked hard, so naturally American audiences ate that shit up. Heck, we even let it fly when one of the brothers on the show said some really homophobic things in an interview with GQ, which…why the fuck is GQ doing an interview with one of the guys from Duck Dynasty anyway? Did Elon Musk cancel?

Anyway, the show went until 2017, which figures because if a bunch of racist, bearded republican southereners were to stay on TV past 2017, it would have gotten ugly fast [seeing as that was right after the presidential election of 2016].

But for a few years, the Duck Dynasty boys were ubiquitous, appearing on all kinds of TV programs where they didn’t fit. And Whose Line was one of them, as Willie Robertson, the protagonist of the show…in a sense, did a guest bit on this S11 episode.

It’s a Jeff Davis show from the same taping as E4. This should be fun.

Questions: In a police station on a busy night

Jeff and Wayne’s first scene rolls off quickly, and has some great back-and-forth, but Wayne gets Jeff on “that one?”, and Jeff has to shrug and go “…YEEES”, and leave

Ryan:
Screen Shot 2021-01-15 at 10.36.47 AM
Wayne: [takes off his ski mask and leaves]

Ryan and Colin have a good run, but Ryan breaks it open when he asks “what’s with the thong?”
Colin: “have you seen an operatic stripper before?”
Ryan: “who hasn’t?”

Wayne enters:
Screen Shot 2021-01-15 at 10.40.19 AM
Ryan: [audible giggling]
Wayne: [bops Ryan on the nose] “Are you my attorney?”
Ryan: “I’m not your turney.”
BUZZ
Ryan: ‘oh.”
PFFFFF

Jeff, with a police constable’s hat, gives literally the only line you SHOULD do in a police constable’s hat: “WHAT’S ALL THIS, THEN?”

Jeff: “don’t you know there’s a serial killer about in these parts?”
Wayne: “is he…killing people, serial-ly?”
Jeff: “did you just say seriously or serial-ly?”
Wayne: “serial-ly.”
AND HE IMMEDIATELY GRIMACES, KNOWING THAT GOT HIM.
BUZZ

Colin arrives with an excessive beard
Jeff: “can I offer you a razor?”
Colin: “what are you saying?”
Jeff: “I’M SAYING…I’M LEAVING, I GUESS.”
BUZZ. Man, the divebombs are really good this show

Ryan:
Screen Shot 2021-01-15 at 10.45.57 AM
Ryan: “what’s up, Jack?”
Colin: “are you cold?”
Ryan: “do you have a room for ‘Bieber’?”
[AND THERE IT IS. A season late, but still valid]
Colin, weakly: “…yeah.”
BUZZ

Wayne enters with this:
Screen Shot 2021-01-15 at 10.48.08 AM
Which also doubles as foreshadowing for Newsflash
Ryan: “you know you got some weird shit growing on the side of your face?”
Wayne: “You know earlier you said ‘Jack’ like somebody from 1976?”
Ryan: “you know that’s pretty late for me?”
Wayne: “where’s the officer in charge?”
Ryan: “I am the officer in ch-AAAAIII-WHOOOO-”
BUZZ

Another strong Questions from this season. Maybe I just really like this game, but these have all been great, and this one had some great runs and moments as well.

Aisha: “10 points for Ryan for making the Super Mario hat into a black guy from the 70s”
Wayne and Aisha do impressions of what Ryan was trying to do
Ryan: “no one says ‘Jack’ anymore? What if the guy’s name’s Jack?”

Duet: Wayne and Jeff sing to Willie as Mick Jagger and Neil Diamond

Wayne’s Mick Jagger is still as strong as it was in the ABC version.

Also, Willie flashes a hand-signal that I had to triple-check to make sure it wasn’t a white-power sign. Actually, HOW DOES WILLIE FEEL WITH A BLACK GUY SINGING TO HIM? Is his brother in the audience tugging at his collar? How racist are they feeling today?

Maybe not too racist, as Wayne’s Jaggering-into-duck-calls does crack up Willie

Jeff, in his exemplary Neil Diamond: “when Willie was a young BOY-AH
He liked to play with ducks
So he took a piece of wood and drilled a hole inside
and now he’s got 14 zillion bucks”
Willie: [‘sort of’ hand gesture]

Jeff is very good at boosting this number by throwing in a random ‘QUACK’ or ‘TO-NIGHT’ to hype up Wayne

OH YEAH, BACK TO MY ORIGINAL POINT
Wayne does a Jagger move right up to Willie and he flinches
Wayne: “DOES IT SCARE YOU?”
Willie: “a little…”
HAAAAAAAAAAAAA, THE RACIST’S SCARED OF STRONG FUNNY BLACK PEOPLE, HAAAAAAAAAA

EVEN BETTER
Jeff: “LET ME TOUCH THAT BEARD
I wanna CRAWL INSIDE LIKE A BEAVER and ENLODGE INSIDE YOUR FACE”
That’s the best way to go about guests who support racist and homophobic things- MAKE THEM SQUIRM

Jeff, continuing: “I WANNA BLOW ON YOUR DUCK CALL, WILLIE!”

Jeff even does a call-and-response audience bit with them all yelling ‘QUACK’. This is…a little stupid, but I’m enjoying it.

Jeff Davis is saving this number, running into the audience and getting random passersby to quack on command. It’s the kind of exuberance and gonzo nature that I hadn’t seen from him since IAG. Maybe he had a few before the taping.

So yeah, that was a really fun number, against all odds. Jeff and Wayne built material off of just Willie’s profession, had some goofy moments, and brought the house down with it. Plus, Willie’s prejudices were used to make him really uncomfortable a couple times, which is great!

Jeff: “Remember, quack kills.”
Aisha: “I’m sorry, what the kids are saying nowadays- quack is wack.”
Jeff: “Ryan says ‘quack is wack, Jack’
Aisha: “Ryan doesn’t know what quack is…a soft bowl of oatmeal and an early bedtime for Ryan..”
I’m already laughing at that, but then Ryan does this:
Screen Shot 2021-01-15 at 11.39.47 AM
Dear god this is funny
Ryan: “how would you know that?….my little soft bowl of oatmeal?”

Newsflash: Ryan and Jeff in the studio, Colin in the field in front of THE ACCLAIMED MOVIE BASKET CASE. 

Yes, having heard of this movie when this one aired, I triple-taked. The fuck is Basket Case doing on Whose Line? Why unleash this wild-ass movie on the masses?

Jeff: “Have there been any fatalities so far?”
Colin: “Not yet…but we’re getting PRETTY CLOSE…”

Colin: “LOOK…THERE’S NOTHING SAFE GOING ON THERE.”
Colin’s usual yelling in this game is fitting really well with the stopmotion carnage happening behind him

Ryan: “Colin, it seems like this is a surprise to…”
and then he just loses his character and just reverts to himself as someone who watches movies: “WHERE’S THE OTHER HALF?? WHERE IS THE OTHER HALF, COLIN.”
I love that. He’s not even in character, just flat out asking.
Colin: “…..it was here just a minute ago!”

Colin: “I know the first half got hungry, so maybe it went off to get…some…thing…a sandwich?”

Ryan, saying this right as the monster pops up again: “well, Colin, it looks like it’s all ovOH NO IT’S NOT”
[I don’t know why this Newsflash is so funny to me. There’ve been several like it, yet this one’s getting to me]
Colin: “I KNOW, EVERY TIME YOU THINK IT’S OVER, IT’S NOT”

Jeff, who clearly knows this movie: “I’m clearly turning into a Basket Case just watching it right now”
Colin, who clearly does not: “…that’s interesting.”

Ryan, as a few people crowd at the door: “well it looks like everybody’s coming to help.”
Colin: “YEAH, YOU’D THINK THAT, AND THEN THEY ALL RUN AWAY.”

SUDDENLY, A SHOT OF THE MONSTER GRABBING A GUY’S CROTCH
Colin: “OHHH MY GOD.”
Jeff: “Colin, you’ve got a lot of balls just being there!”
Ryan: “well, Colin…that’s just nuts!”

Colin: “I’m guessing it’s an alien monster with a big penis.”
I can see how he got there.

Oh man, I loved this Newsflash. Not just because of the fact that I know this movie [I was annoying my friend Marc the night this episode aired going ‘BASKET CASE IS NEWSFLASH’ as he just sort of shrugged], but because it led to so many great moments between Colin and the contrast between the screen and Ryan and Colin. Like a modern answer to the Joe’s Apartment playing.

Scenes from a Hat:

“Things you don’t want to hear from your waiter.”
Colin: “I’ve been shot!”
PFFFF
Wayne: “I just shot another waiter.”
YES

Wayne: “Aah, here’s your bowl of…oatmeal.”
I FORGOT THIS WAS A RUNNER.

Colin: “Our best wine? ‘NNNNI DON’T WANNA WORK TONIGHT.”
AMAZING PUN WORK

“How to ruin a romantic moment with your partner”
Wayne’s first one is pretty basic, but Colin seamlessly backing away is the big laugh

Jeff: [calls Colin up again]
Colin:
Screen Shot 2021-01-15 at 2.06.42 PM
That alone is funny.
Ryan:Screen Shot 2021-01-15 at 2.06.55 PM
Jeff, now cracking up: “listen, my friend…”
Wayne, entering: “Am I late?”
Jeff: ‘LIKE 30 MINUTES LATE. 7:30 MEANS 7:30.”
Ryan: ‘can I get something to eat?”
Colin, quick as hell: “there’s some oatmeal.”
PFFFFF

Wayne, holding Colin close: “JAR-JAR LIKES LOVE-LOVE.”
[SOMEONE SNAP HIS NECK]
Colin: [does Chewbacca growl]

Ryan does one laying down, then Jeff joins him:
Screen Shot 2021-01-15 at 2.10.38 PM
Jeff: “IS THIS YOUR CARD!”

Wayne and Colin, similarly:
Screen Shot 2021-01-15 at 2.12.04 PM
Wayne: “you still here?”
Colin: “i told you, I don’t have change for a 20!”
Wayne: [cracks]

Wayne does another one with Colin, not even remotely remembering Colin’s name, then
Wayne: “…Jordan?”
Colin, gruff: “yes. HOW YA DOIN?”
PFFFF

“If rappers sang, or rapped, about their embarrassing problems”
As a foreshadow for S17E01, there’s a cut to Colin as she reads this, as Colin just did a rap-themed SFAH suggestion.
Ryan, nevertheless: “Wayne?”
Screen Shot 2021-01-15 at 2.15.45 PM
Aisha: “RRRRACIST!”
[no, he’s back next game]

Wayne’s eventual rap:
“sometimes it gets so lonely, cause this here ain’t fun,
oft times I’m doin this I’m the only one
but the way that y’all lookin at me, I think that it’s crap
stereotypical son of a bitch, why the black guy gotta rap?”
BOOM.

Another really strong SFAH. Here, we get the case of scenes being really fleshed out, and ideas having serious legs and more than just quickfire lines, which is the next stage of this game’s evolution.

Aisha notes that Ryan isn’t wearing plaid for once
Ryan: “eeehh, wasn’t a plaid night…”
Aisha: ‘it’s been a plaid night for TWENTY YEARS, RYAN.”
Ryan: “you don’t know that, you haven’t been around for 20 years.”
Audience: “OHHHH”
Ryan: ‘…why would I get groaned on that? That’s like saying ‘oh, I don’t like soup’ ‘OOOAUUUGHHH’

Helping Hands: Good old boy Ryan, hands by Colin is teaching his buddy Willie how to hunt ducks

Ryan, immediately pointing out the flaw in the scene: “you know, when I go duck hunting, I like to lay out a WHOLE TABLE FULL OF FOOD.”

Inevitably, as Colin picks up the beer, Ryan filibusters so Colin can end up shaking the hell out of it

Then, Ryan, as Colin’s about to pull the tab:
Screen Shot 2021-01-15 at 4.32.24 PM
Ryan: ‘…cheers.”
There’s only a modest sea of foam. “Oh, that wasn’t too bad at all”

Ryan has a sip of the beer…and clearly it’s a beer he enjoys. “We might not even do any hunting, we might just do that..”

Ryan hands Willie a prop gun
Willie, with a line that gives me a bit more confidence in his improv than before: “…but we just drank!”
Ryan: “that’s alright, that’s the only way to hunt”
Colin twists the gun in a way that knocks some stuff around on the table.
Ryan: “I almost hit myself in THE HEAD THERE.”
He does this in a way that nearly has him lash out at Colin’s hands. I love the moments of incongruence between them in this game. Mostly they’re on the same page but when Colin overrides Ryan, it still works in the realm of the improv scene because it’s something Ryan has to respond to

Willie has to demonstrate how to work a duck call for Ryan, as he screws his up. So Ryan tries him again, and it’s a very high squeak. Jeff reacts thusly:
Screen Shot 2021-01-15 at 4.41.25 PMScreen Shot 2021-01-15 at 4.41.37 PMScreen Shot 2021-01-15 at 4.41.49 PM
Willie: “what kind of duck was that?”
Ryan: ‘that’s a very SPECIAL duck…that’s a duck that WANTS to be shot…”

Ryan, as Colin picks up two eggs: “y’ever juggle?….I think I’m about to…”

Willie is mostly cracking up through this game, and is doing his best to be a good support, but is mostly an audience member who’s participating. He’s not doing much in this game at all, but he seems to be enjoying himself.

Ryan, mouth full of beer and egg: “hey, let me try my duck call now…”
Colin picks it up, and there’s a struggle to get a sound out. Ryan has to turn away and go “NO.” He tries it again and some of the egg goes flying towards Willie. THE CLOSE-UP OF THE EGG LEAVING RYAN’S MOUTH may be the most disgusting thing I’ve seen on WL in a while. More disgusting than anything in Basket Case.

So that was a good HH. Not perfect, and it still went towards gross eating and still had a support guest who couldn’t be a reliable improv foil, but…there were funny moments, and it was amusing to see Ryan struggle through the egg and duck call bit.

Overall: Even with a mediocre guest star, S11 still delivers another great show. The central core of this episode- Duet, Newsflash and SFAH, impressed me so damn much. Duet because Wayne and Jeff got the whole house rolling and kept freaking out Willie, Newsflash because so many moments cracked me up more than many recent Newsflashes had, and SFAH because it felt like the game was going in a more advanced direction for once. Questions was another solid one, and HH wasn’t that bad, despite my issues with the sameness of it. The only game tonight that I didn’t love was when the guest star had to do improv, so all the other games where the improv rested on the performers were all fantastic. So…this show succeeded as a guest star show, without having a very good guest star. Interesting.

Show Winners: All four
Best Performer: Ryan. All four had game wins, Ryan was the only one with two, thanks to Newsflash.
Worst Performer: With the exception of Duet, Jeff had a very low-key show. He didn’t do much in SFAH or Newsflash. I hate having to put fourth seaters here, but this is how CW edited shows.
Best Game: Scenes from a Hat was more fleshed out than it’s been in a while, and was the start of a new era of really advanced playings of this.
Worst Game: Helping Hands was the most normal for CWLIIA.
Guest Star Rating: 7/10. Willie wasn’t bad, but he also didn’t exert himself too much in terms of improv, and visibly squirmed at a number of improv possibilities tonight. Also, he’s a red-stater who’s probably as homophobic and xenophobic as his brother.

COMING UP NEXT: Our third Glee guest star joins Brad Sherwood for his…less-eventful guest star show of 2015.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S11E05, or Don’t Stop Coughin’ Now

For the first Greg Proops show of the season, we turn once again to Hart of Dixie, which has succeeded in giving us 1 out of 2 good guest appearances, and we get Scott Porter, also an alum of Friday Night Lights, giving us a ‘big white jock type’ trope for a guest. Like we needed any more of those.

Let’s Make a Date: Greg must choose from Wayne, Hells Angel rounding up his biker gang to terrorize the neighborhood, Colin, a toddler tasting everything in sight to find his favorite treat, and Ryan, lizard going on a dangerous journey

Wayne starts this game by doing one of the coolest things in the world- going right up to a fan in the front row with cerebral palsy, in a mobility chair, and going “you ready to ride, brother??”
Screen Shot 2021-01-09 at 11.25.54 AM
There are so many reasons why this is great. When I’m not watching WL, I’m looking for accurate and positive depictions of people with disabilities in the media. So this move is Wayne not being herded on by anyone, just seeing a person with disabilities and including him because it’d be awesome. He’s already on wheels, it’ll be easy for him. Plus, the audience member is immediately into it, and is already yes-anding, which is a plus. 

And Wayne just rides around the front part of the stage, the floor, with this audience member, cheering along. Note that the cameramen have gotten out of the way of his chair, and there’s no effort to awkwardly get him onto the carpeted floor. ALL GOOD THINGS. 

Wayne gives him a hug and says ‘see you back at the hideout’. And he goes back to his seat, fully overjoyed.

Colin, inevitably:
Screen Shot 2021-01-09 at 11.38.50 AM
We all knew something like this was coming

And then he just sort of squirms away, hating the taste
also, note Ryan’s reaction:
Screen Shot 2021-01-09 at 11.41.17 AM
Right as Colin lifts up Ryan’s hand and starts to put it in his mouth. Ryan knew exactly what was about to happen
Screen Shot 2021-01-09 at 11.42.49 AM

Ryan has his usual lizard physicality, but takes ‘dangerous journey’ literally, packing a suitcase at the start. He then goes over and puts his finger in Aisha’s mug. 

We don’t really get a second round, just a highlight of Colin going over to Aisha’s desk:
Screen Shot 2021-01-09 at 11.46.11 AM
Screen Shot 2021-01-09 at 11.47.44 AM
and as Colin returns to his stool, Ryan reappears:Screen Shot 2021-01-09 at 11.48.20 AMWayne starts laughing at the poor audience member flapping his arms

Greg guesses that Ryan’s suitcase motion was a typewriter
Ryan: ‘it was CLOTHES…THIS [does typewriter mime] IS A TYPEWRITER…THIS IS A SUITCASE!”

Ryan: “your tea smells like vodka…”

A pretty good LMAD. Yes, only one round, but lots of fun collaborative bits, Wayne being awesome, and the ending bit with Ryan and Colin

Song Styles: Wayne sings a boy band song to Scott

Scott admits he plays “superhero chess, you know with all the little figurines?”
Wayne: [leaves]
Scott: ‘…it’s called HeroClix, what’s up y’all…”
[oh shit I’ve heard of that…I MEAN, UH, RRRGH MASCULINE THINGS]
Wayne, proper voice: “…very well.”

The backing for this is clearly ‘Bye Bye Bye’ by Nsync

Heck, Scott essentially frames this as a dual-song, hyping up Wayne and going ‘EBONY AND IVORY’. So he’s in a really good mood.

Wayne’s lyrics are pretty sharp, Scott and Wayne are pretty, heh, in sync in terms of choreography, and it’s a song the audience seems to be really into.

SCOTT IS ACTUALLY REALLY DAMN GOOD IN HIS VERSE. Not only does he have serious pipes, but he has rhythm, good rhymes, and keeps the energy of the song going. Which means it’s looking like the THIRD really damned good guest WL has booked so far this season. WOW. 

Heck, on a wide shot, you can see Colin VISIBLY BOPPING to this one. Not in a condescending way like a recent GH playing. Genuine.

A GENUINELY AWESOME DUET. Great energy, and a guest that seemed to be on par with Wayne in terms of ability and exuberance. Such an impressive first game for Scott, and one that really impressed me.

Aisha awards 7000 points to Wayne and Scott. Ryan has to cough and point to the band section so Aisha can, rightfully, give points to them.

Aisha: “and I almost lifted up my shirt, but it’s still DAMP…”
Wayne, taking out a pen: “Dear Aisha’s husband, you really need to come to a taping…love, Wayne.”
Aisha: “DEAR WAYNE…I CAN’T LOOK AT THIS SHIT NO MORE…THAT BITCH IS ALL YOURS…”
Wayne: “DEAR AISHA’S HUSBAND…THANK YOU.”
[…Aisha separated from her husband around the time episodes were taped…so this isn’t especially a joke]

Dubbing: Ryan is an Army doctor examining mild-mannered Bruce Banner, played by Scott, voice by Colin, who suddenly starts turning into The Hulk when Wayne enters as She-Hulk to take him on

HOW DID PRODUCTION KNOW TO GIVE SCOTT A SUPERHERO QUIRK??

Aisha still casts Wayne as She-Hulk
Wayne: “Why am I a woman in EVERY SCENE?”
Colin, coming from experience: “SHUT UP. JUST SHUT UP AND DO IT.”
[Wayne did a WN playing where he played a woman before this]
Also, Scott mouths this, so he’s already warming up to the game. And he covers for Colin by motioning that he said it.

Ryan: “just step into the x-ray machine”
Colin: “…is that a good thing? I’ve just been exposed to gamma radiation.”

As Scott pounds around angrily, Ryan pivots and goes “ALRIGHT, IT’S FREE! IT’S FREE!”. Which is a funny response to that

Colin: “OH, PUNY DOCTOR WITH BIG NOSE.”
Ryan, for the second time this show:
Screen Shot 2021-01-13 at 11.58.15 AM
Scott:
Screen Shot 2021-01-13 at 11.58.24 AM
Colin: “WAAAH WAAHHH WAHHH WAHHH.”
Ryan: “LISTEN, YOU’LL BE ALRIGHT-“
Screen Shot 2021-01-13 at 12.00.19 PM
Bam. Perfect.
Screen Shot 2021-01-13 at 12.01.36 PM
Yeah, worth it.
Now Greg’s cracking up in the back

Scott, as Wayne enters:
Screen Shot 2021-01-13 at 12.02.37 PM
Colin: “I’VE NEVER BEEN ABLE TO PICK UP A CHAIR BEFORE.”

After Wayne turns into She-Hulk
Colin: “HULK. IN. LOVE.”
Scott: [ESSENTIALLY JUMPS WAYNE]
Screen Shot 2021-01-13 at 12.04.34 PM
And as this game dissolves into random humping, Aisha buzzes, Colin stops shouting to just crumble and crack up, and Wayne starts DYING LAUGHING.

Dear god that was funny. Not a complete improv scene, but Scott’s performance gave it some energy and insanity, Colin’s lines for Scott were really damn funny, and that Ryan-Colin moment is classic.

Wayne: “I think he poked my Hart of Dixie.”
Aisha: “aaaah…so many pictures in my head..”

Scenes from a Hat:

“Hillbilly versions of famous movies”
Wayne: “ey, Luke, I reckon I’m your pappy…”
Greg: “THE COLD NEVER DID BOTHER ME ANYWAY…”

Greg has been shut out of this episode, but that Frozen gag is great

Ryan: “You gotta ask yourself one question…d’I have FIVE teeth or six? In all this confusion I forgot myself..”
pffff

“Sportscasters at home”
Greg: “Oh, no, disappointment, I’m sorry, honey…my balls were under-inflated!”
Greg is doing a nice job this SFAH

Ryan: “…he has about two feet to the hole…”
[audience laughter]
Ryan, after waiting a few more seconds: “…I guess you got that one..I HAD MORE, but I guess you kinda get that…”

“Dr. Seuss breakup lines”
Colin: “I do like green eggs and ham
More than you, old Skanky Pam.”
How this hasn’t become an iconic Colin SFAH moment I have no idea
Ryan, at the side: “SKANKY PAM??”
Colin: “well, it fit into the rhyme scheme…”

Colin: “my heart grew two sizes, yes that is true
But nothing else grows when I’m with you.”
Buzz
Ryan, at the side: “…., Skanky Pam.”
PFFF

Ryan: “the toaster, the blanket, the bed and the dog
Take it all, you fucking hog.”
I have no idea why he has a John Wayne accent on ‘fucking’. 

A really damn good SFAH. Kept the momentum of the show going, gave Greg some things to do, and had that great Dr. Seuss round

Aisha: “some points…? yeah…? Later, we can talk about it in therapy.”
Ryan: “I’M GETTING HUNGRY, LET’S MOVE ON.”

Living Scenery: Colin and Ryan are working out in a gym when all of a sudden one of them gets hurt and is rushed to the hospital; Wayne and Scott are props

Scott initially plays Ryan’s treadmill, but does some arm strokes.
Ryan: ‘…it’s a SWIM-MILL.”
Colin: “you have to actually lie down on there-“
Scott:
Screen Shot 2021-01-13 at 1.32.51 PM
Colin initially agrees to do it for him, but Ryan gets down anyway
Ryan: “Let me try it…AAHHHHH…”
Screen Shot 2021-01-13 at 1.36.41 PM
Scott: [clears throat]
Ryan: “ohh, don’t start coughin’ now, you’re the one that flipped over…”
BOOM. Amazing in-scene move. Ryan’s been having a nice show in general tonight, but that was a pure Ryan move. He doesn’t care if it permeates the scene, he just does it anyway.

As Ryan does this, Colin does some ‘weights’ motions that nearly cracks up Wayne

Ryan: “yeah, I’d do more stuff, but I’ve never been to a gym, so I have no idea what to do…”
Again, very meta, very introspective of Ryan’s thought process.

Scott and Wayne do a door motion that goes outward
Colin, making the joke I would have made: “it’s based on Star Trek.”
Ryan even goes back and forth and tries playing with the censor and having them swing back in and out
Colin: “stop screwing around!”

Colin: “alright, let’s get on our hogs”
Scott and Wayne do motorcycle mimes
Ryan: “I’m gonna kickstart mine”
Colin: “You have an ACTUAL hog?”
HA. I didn’t think the hogs would come by til next show
Wayne, shrugging: [squealing noises]

Ryan, to turn off his ‘hog’, does a click near Wayne’s neck. Wayne, taking this all the way, keels over. Such a silly move.

Colin: “alright, let’s go to emergency”
Ryan: “Oh, more of those fun doors!”
Scott, as he does another door motion:
Screen Shot 2021-01-13 at 1.49.05 PMRyan: ‘those doors are a little gayer than the last door we went through”
Wayne and Scott: [do even more flamboyant motions]
Ryan: “that one swings both ways…”

A strong LS. Not as good as the Jaime one, but really funny, and with great work from Scott, and Ryan and Colin responding to them both. 

Wayne’s cracking up afterwards. Perhaps at something from the cut last bit of the game. 

Overall: Folks…there wasn’t a single bad game in this show. Every game worked with me. The guest games were great across the board thanks to some great work from Scott and some great improv moves from Wayne, Colin and Ryan in each. The non-guest games worked because it was a good LMAD and a really good SFAH, and made better use of Greg Proops than the rest of the show did. Duet and Dubbing were two fantastic, very funny guest games and go right up there with some of this version’s best of them. There were some great Aisha moments throughout, and some great banter. I really have to think about whether this was better than E1, cause that one had full games that counted as highlights, whereas this had pieces. Still, a phenomenal show, and my second 10/10 of the season so far. 

Show Winners: All four
Best Performer: Ryan Stiles was the rock in this show, essentially. He really came alive in the second half, but he was sneakily good in various ways in the first half. 
Worst Performer: Greg was barely in the show. The CW just keeps doing him dirty.
Best Game: Scenes from a Hat. Felt very live, big, and funny all the way through. This was nearly Duet, though.
Worst Game: Ohh man this is tough, cause, again, no bad games. Jesus, I really don’t want to put anything here. So, uh…I won’t. There. No worst game. Nyah. 
Guest Star Rating: 9/10. Scott was having a nice time, did some above-and-beyond things, and only really stumbled in LS.

COMING UP NEXT: We’re back at the same Jeff taping that gave us E4. The streak of awesome guest star bookings had to end eventually. 

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S11E04, or No One Wants The Dingalong

To kick off our second of three Jeff Davis tapings, we feature an actor who was stealing scenes on Jane the Virgin in 2015, the great Jaime Camil, the Mexican actor who’s also been getting some mainstream roles recently, despite a recent failure of a CBS sitcom. I remember not knowing who he was before this, but being really impressed with him after this.

Hollywood Director: Ryan is an Italian pizza chef trying to seduce his beautiful female coworker Jeff, and suddenly Ryan’s heavily-pregnant and very jealous wife Wayne rushes in

Ryan and Jeff’s opening Italian goofiness sells this to me. It’s both goofy and bad sexual tension, and that’s what they’re going for. I also love Ryan’s ‘OHHHH DE DOUGH GO DOWN, OHHHH DE DOUGH GO UP’

Wayne: “Why would shaking your hands up, putting the dough up, you put-a the dough in me, I make-a the rye…”
jesus..
Ryan: “hey, you got-a the yeast infection!”
HAAA
Colin comes in to cut at that one
Wayne:
Screen Shot 2021-01-07 at 11.11.57 AM
Screen Shot 2021-01-07 at 11.12.44 AM
That man is GONE. Laughing OUT LOUD.
Colin: “…what the hell?”
Ryan: [shrugs]

Colin: “Do it like you’re in a science fiction movie. Try not to offend too many people.”

Hell, this takes away the accents, and has Ryan, in a very serious sci-fi accent, go “would you like to…rub the dough with me?”

Jeff uses a moment where Ryan and he are talking over each other as an opportunity for both to start babbling in each other’s face.

Wayne, very slowly jetpacking from left to right: “I GOT-A DA BABYYYY…”
And he just exits to the right, shaking his head.
Ryan: ‘SHE GOT-A DA BABY???”

Jerry Springer:
Ryan: “i rubbed that dough, AND I rubbed your sister’s dough.”

Wayne, entering with a friend:
Screen Shot 2021-01-07 at 11.17.39 AM
Wayne: “THIS IS YOUR BABY.”
The guy seems to think Wayne means HE’S the father, when he does mean Ryan.
Colin, entering: “WHO THE HELL ARE YOU? GET OUT OF HERE?”
Audience member: “apparently I’m the baby daddy…”
Colin: “WE DON’T HAVE THAT KIND OF BUDGET!”

Colin going ‘BRRRAAAAINSTOOOOORM’ cracks up Ryan and Jeff. This has been a very good playing for Colin as the director

The ending Les Mis bit is pretty fantastic. Yes, they’d do similar Les Mis musical endings in this game in the future, but this is a good way to start.
Wayne brings in HALF THE AUDIENCE:
Screen Shot 2021-01-07 at 11.22.50 AM
INCLUDING THE BABY DADDY WHO LOOKS A LOT LIKE BRANDON FROM CANADA FROM IAG.

Then, as Wayne has the baby, Ryan starts waving it around like a flag.

I do love that, as Colin cuts, he goes to the audience members “nicely done!”

A pretty good Director. The Les Mis scene, the game-breaking accent moments, and Colin’s director stuff lifted this for me.

Duet: Wayne and Jeff sing a Mariachi song to Jaime, who enjoys extreme sports

Jeff even gets Jaime to do a traditional Mariachi yell right off the bat, which he does skillfully. Yeah, Jaime came in a really good mood.

Jeff: “you might think I’m crazy, you might think I’m looney
but this guy here looks like the latin George Clooney”
Of course

Wayne: “bikes and mountain climbing, those are things brothers don’t do!”
Jeff may be taking the lead on this one, but Wayne’s doing well in support

Jaime: “I will sing along with you, even if I don’t know what I’m saying
and is song is beautiful, I’m gonna take it home with me.”
Not bad for an amateur

Wayne justifies Jaime’s dancing by saying “hey, he IS the guy from the show all about that virgin..”
Jaime cracks up at that.

A very fun number from all 3. Jeff took more of a lead, even though one of his verses was cut, and Wayne had some good laugh lines, but I was impressed by how much fun Jaime was having.

Dubbing: Teen sensation Ryan is auditioning Latin American heartthrob Jaime, voice by Colin, to join his boy band when Jaime’s rival, Wayne, comes in to show that he is the one that should get the gig

Jamie is great at doing over-the-top hand gestures to correspond with Colin’s dialogue.

Jaime’s dancing is a lot more spirited in this game, though goofy enough to get Jeff laughing in the back

I giggled at Colin continuing his random singing even after Ryan has told Jaime to stop, and therefore Jaime has to keep going.

Colin: “I don’t know if I want to join your group, by looking at you it must be a really hard road..”
Ryan:
Screen Shot 2021-01-07 at 4.46.46 PM

Colin, as Wayne enters: “OH, IT’S DINGALONG DINGY.”
Wayne: [stifles a smile]
Also, I love that the others know the name is funny, so they keep saying it, even Wayne
Ryan: ‘this is Dingalong Dingy, from the band One Dimension”
HA. Jaime likes that one

Hell, Jaime has a great miming to Colin’s long, drawn-out ‘NOOOO’. Jaime gets exactly what this show is, and what this game needs, and it’s refreshing to see.
At Colin’s impassioned: “I NEED-A THIS JOB”, Jeff cracks again in the back

Ryan: “That would never happen, I would never take Dingalong Dingy in my band”
Wayne: “…you wouldn’t take de Dingalong?”
[I cackled]
Colin: “NO ONE WANTS THE DINGALONG.”

Ryan: “I suppose we could go to a shake-off.”
Colin: “ohh, I have shaken things that have not yet developed.”
The dialogue for Dubbing isn’t usually this consistently good, but MAN I’m impressed

Jaime’s uncontrollable shaking, paired with Colin’s incomprehensible babbling, managed to crack both ME and Jeff up. This is a fantastic Jeff-watching game

Wayne, after Jaime’s killed it: “yeeeahh…I don’t want de job that bad…”
Colin: “I’m sorry, I just saw a spider…”

PHENOMENAL Dubbing. Jaime was fantastic, energetic, befit the crazy mood of Colin’s lines, and was perfect for this scene. Wayne and Ryan supplied great dialogue, and the whole Dingalong Dingy repetition was just goofy enough. One of the best Dubbing rounds in a while.

Aisha: “700 points to Jaime for having to work with that miserable accent you gave him, Colin…”
Colin: “….yeah, fair.”

Props: Ryan and Jeff vs. Colin and Wayne

Wayne, for his and Colin’s first one, steals one of Ryan and Jeff’s:
Screen Shot 2021-01-07 at 4.59.14 PM
Wayne: [Pacman noises]

Screen Shot 2021-01-07 at 5.00.23 PMJeff: “President Roosevelt, you’re wanted in the oval office
Ryan does this tiny little ‘argh’ that cracks me up. The audience somehow groans at this.
Ryan: “IT’S HISTORY.”
Aisha: “TOO SOON?”

Screen Shot 2021-01-07 at 5.01.41 PMWayne: “GENE SIMMONS!”
PFFF. Colin’s expression also makes this work

Ryan, opening his props for a ‘toilet’ mime, cracks up. Jeff, holding it up for him, shakes his head, not believing he’s doing this on TV

A solid props, though it ran out of steam in the second half.

Living Scenery: Ryan and Colin are two paramedics at the hospital get a call to travel across the city to deal with an accident at the zoo; Wayne and Jaime are props

Jaime passes his glasses over to Wayne, as he won’t need them for the scene. Wayne, as a joke, puts them on, goes “DAYUM”, and immediately puts them on the desk

Colin answers the ’emergency phone’:
Screen Shot 2021-01-07 at 5.08.14 PM
Colin: “I don’t understand why we have it in the shape of a corpse..”
Jaime: [cracks up]

Jaime, as the ambulance, makes a siren noise that Wayne, as Ryan’s seatbelt, starts dancing to

After Jaime does the windshield wiper motions
Colin: “…look how AGGRESSIVE it is!”

Wayne and Jaime’s turnstile motion is very cool
Ryan: “I’m kinda scared to go through…I’m just afraid I’m gonna get spanked”
Wayne: [spanks Ryan anyway]

Ryan asks Colin to ‘tie a balloon animal”
Colin: “…yes, I guess the sick tiger can wait…”
And that’s a great move. Yes, the sick tiger is the point of the scene, but Ryan wants to do more physical gags.

Wayne starts making tiger noises
Ryan: “it’s a SEXY TIGER. He’s not even in a cage…”
Jaime’s audibly laughing here

Wayne’s entire tiger performance has some great riffs from Ryan and Colin, and is just a really funny character in itself

Ryan gives Wayne some oxygen, and slams Jaime’s hand in Wayne’s face, prompting an immediate bust-up from Jaime
Colin: ‘that’s okay, he doesn’t need that left eye…”
Wayne: [uncomfortable rawr]

Colin: “alright, I’m just gonna take his temperature.”
Wayne: [gets down on all fours away from Colin]
The audience, knowing what’s coming, reacts in shock

I also love how apprehensive Jaime is as Colin pulls his hand closer and closer to Wayne’s ass
Wayne: [SURPRISED RAWR]
AND I’M GONE
Jaime: “HE’S FINE!”
[I usually frown upon prop actors talking in these [wait til we get to Ross Matthews], but that was funny]

ALSO:
Screen Shot 2021-01-07 at 5.24.46 PM
AISHA HAS BEEN WEARING JAIME’S GLASSES FOR THE ENTIRE GAME.

Colin: “he’s down a quart…”
Jaime:
Screen Shot 2021-01-07 at 5.25.56 PM
That cracked me up
Ryan starts squirming by the time Aisha buzzes.

A really good Living Scenery. Wayne’s tiger character, Jaime’s zeal and apprehension, and that ending, made up for some simple rationalizations from Ryan and Colin

Aisha: “I’ve never seen a medical bag RESIST being used…”

Aisha: “Colin, I will give you 1 million points if you drink that water.”
Colin:
Screen Shot 2021-01-07 at 5.28.50 PM
Colin: “I switched glasses with Ryan.”
Ryan:
Screen Shot 2021-01-07 at 5.31.17 PM

Doo-Wop: Wayne, Jeff and Colin sing about Kelly, who died terribly in an India-related accident

Wayne: “I treat you sacredly, just like a cow-IT’S NOT OFFENSIVE, THEY LIKE ‘EM!”

Jeff has a clever “I guess it’s time for me to say Mum-Bye’ pun

Colin: “a sacred cow hit you, I feel so blue
We were about to make love, I guess you’re not in the MOOOOD.”

A basic, okay Doo-Wop. Nothing too out of the ordinary.

After Aisha gives them all 8000 greek points, which amounts to 7 american, Wayne goes “man, I miss Drew…Drew gave us points willy-nilly…”
Aisha: “he did, he was hella slutty with them points…but can he do this?” [pounds buzzer with her boobs]

Overall: Better than last show, and a solid show, but with a few uneven edges. Jaime Camil’s guest games were the best part of this show- Camil brought a lot of fun energy and can-do spirit which made him stand out in all three of his games, especially Dubbing and Living Scenery. Director was really the only non-guest game that completely worked for me- Props was only partly good and Doo-Wop was a regular playing. Still a good show, and a fun guest show, but it could have been better.

Show Winners: All four
Best Performer: Once again, Wayne is either worst or first for me. This time, he’s first, for ruling several games, including his tiger in Living Scenery.
Worst Performer: Jeff wasn’t especially well edited this show, sadly.
Best Game: Dubbing was a great playing, and a great use of improv and Jaime’s exuberance.
Worst Game: Doo-Wop was take-it-or-leave-it. I’d have preferred Jeff’s extra Duet verse, a few more Props suggestions, and more of Director over it.
Guest Star Rating: 10/10. That’s right. Jaime was phenomenal, and had a ball. As did we.

COMING UP NEXT: The string of CW synergy guests keeps coming for the first Greg Proops show of the season.

QI Watchdown: K16 (Kaleidoscope), or The Sixth Jonathan Ross

I actually managed to finish a series of QI in less than a year. Miracles never cease.

Despite initial stumbles and blandness, Series K of QI gelled into a nice routine of solid shows, from the middle of this series onward. Once this series hit its stride, it impressed me a great deal, with some very classic-seeming moments, and some good panel cohesion moments. It’s not a PERFECT series, but it was better than I’d anticipated.

And so we finish this one off with another ‘three girls and Alan’ show, always a fun progression. Tonight we have Sandi Toksvig, Susan Calman and Liza Tarbuck, two lesbians and a radio host, together with Alan for the finale. I’m down with this, even if Liza is a bit more panel dressing than anything a lot of the time. This is Liza’s last appearance til Series O, but it’s not THE longest drought.

I love the irony of Stephen announcing the ‘keen-eyed’ Sandi Toksvig, then accidentally motioning to the wrong side of the stage. Sandi can’t help but laugh at this

The buzzers are all successive verses of a Donovan song [not sure which one] involving colors. Alan’s is ‘WEEEEEE’LL DRINK A DRINK A DRINK TO LILY THE PINK A PINK A PINK…”
Stephen, after Alan’s bobbed his head to that for a while: “…it’s like an old people’s home..YOU’LL HAVE YOUR COCOA IN A MINUTE…”
Alan: “It’s only for an hour…”
Sandi: “then that old people’s home is like a Nazi rally…”
Alan: ‘that’s how they used to warm up in Nuremberg.”
PFFF. That thought cracks me up. The Nazis warming up to The Scaffold.

Sandi: “Grandmothers don’t smell the same at all now, they used to smell faintly of mints…”
Alan: “BAILEY’S, that’s what my grandmother smelt of…”

Stephen: “Men who can’t smell get fewer….sexual partners.”
Alan: “I thought you were gonna say ‘takeaways’..”
PFF

on ‘blackmailing your parents’
Sandi: “Well, if you’re talking of emotional blackmailing. My children can blackmail me at any point by threatening to play a team sport..”

On the bird who can have a face on their beaks:
Screen Shot 2021-01-06 at 8.01.06 PM
Alan: “it looks like Alan Carr…”
Stephen, Alan Carr voice: “YOU’RE RIIIGHT”

Sandi guesses, matter-of-factly that ‘house-spiders’ live in the house. “I’ve got the hang of this show!”
Alan: “I still think there’s a trick coming, though…”

Stephen: “but one thing they can’t do without…”
Liza: “…is a drink.”
Alan: “are they voyeurs, do they like watching people in the bath?”
HA
Stephen: “that’s why they’re called SPY-der…”

Stephen: “they can do without food, and they can do without drink, but they can’t do without…”
Alan: “washing.”
I love that they’ve continued not to get this one

Liza mentions sprinting away from a falling spider in record time.
Alan: “that should be an Olympic sport…”

Stephen mentions ‘spray cobwebs’ they use for movie sets, turns to Alan and goes “I’m sure you’ve had it in Jonathan Ross”
Liza, about 10 seconds later: “Did you just say ‘Jonathan Ross’?”
Stephen nearly malfunctions: “sorry, I meant, uh, Graham Creek…”
Sandi: “I like the idea of Alan having a brief career as Jonathan Ross…”
Susan: “maybe it’s like Doctor Who, everybody gets a shot at being Jonathan Ross..”
Stephen: “you were the sixth Jonathan Ross, were you?”

Sandi: “Spiders, I think, can’t see very well…so I think you [Liza] would have been just as surprised as they were…I don’t think they drop on you on purpose, I don’t think they see you and go ‘OOOH, I’ll have a go…”
Alan: “IT’S LIZA TARBUCK, I’M GONNA GET AN AUTOGRAPH!”

Alan does a whole mime of a spider frantically crawling about looking for Liza
Sandi: “that was amazing, it was like Jonathan Ross was in the room…”

It is very funny to hear Susan Calman say the phrase ‘sexy sexy time’. She did a similar bit in a contemporary series outtakes reel, doing ‘narration for BabeStation’

A question on Snakes and Ladders is fielded by Liza, who recently did a program on the subject. Nice when people have naturally-accumulated knowledge to share on here.
Liza: “wasn’t it linked as well with Ludo?”
Alan: “well you had Snakes and Ladders on one side of the board and Ludo on the other.”
Liza: ‘yeah, as easy as that, is it?”
Alan: “so they are, in many ways, linked.”

It’s actually very interesting how Stephen explains that Snakes and Ladders was karmic in design, and that the snake represent sins to commit, while the ladders are good qualities like kindness, virtue, and, as Alan adds, ‘Arsenal supporter’

Stephen: “yes, and one of those that has survived, DO YOU YOUNG PEOPLE IN THE AUDIENCE PLAY SNAKES AND LADDERS?”
[an audible ‘no’]
Stephen: [sinks]

Liza, on the flipping top device, talks about it in relation to the Earth
Susan: “sorry, Liza, is the world about to flip upside down?”
Liza: “apparently so?”
Susan: “soon?”
Liza: “tuesday, apparently Tuesday.”
Susan: “just so I know what to do with my bills..”

Stephen: “name the world’s scariest spice”
the behind screen OF COURSE shows the Spice Girls
Susan: “well, it’s none of them…cause I was a member of the Spice Girls fan club at the age of 20…they were AMAZING.”
I love how Stephen looks at his fingers as he tries not to brag about being in Spice World. 
Sandi: “which one did you play???”
HA

On people sampling allspice for specific spices, Liza and Susan guess clove, which gets a klaxon. Alan worriedly goes “it wasn’t me…”
Liza fesses up
Susan: “I said *LOVES*”

Alan, smelling the allspice: “it actually smells like a grandparent…”

There’s conversations of spicy peppers and the scoville scale, which is great cause I love spicy food.

Stephen: “which olympic sport should women not take part in”
Liza, at the behind-screen photo: “weightlifting…”
Screen Shot 2021-01-06 at 8.51.55 PM
Sandi: “she looks so pleased with herself”
Liza: “4 seconds from a prolapse, she is…”

Alan, on weightlifting: “usually I say the trainer, but it’s more like a handler…”

Alan, on Olympic weightlifting: “there was one woman who fell down and got crushed under it…people craning their necks…’SHE ALIVE?”

Alan noticing the photo of the woman with arrows and another woman with a baby on her side. “You wouldn’t wanna get those mixed up.” And he mimes launching a baby with a bow, which cracked me up

Stephen: “what’s the advantage of having an arm surgically attached to your face?”
Liza: “you can use it like a trunk, feed yourself buns..”
Stephen: “can you not feed yourself buns already??”

Sandi mentions the Danish man with the brass nose
Alan: “could he play it like a trumpet?”

Alan has a great gag about having an eye on his finger, sticking in his mouth, into Liza’s ear, and eventually behind him [which Stephen rejects to]. Then he puts his finger in his notebook and goes ‘I’m reading’. Alan is in such a goofy mood this episode.

Stephen talks about german soldiers’ breast growth due to knocking their guns against their chest
Sandi: “women should save money on breast implants and just get a gun!”
Susan: “I think it’d be quite odd if you were sitting on the bus just doing that” [candidly pats against boobs]
Sandi: “I think if you were taking a gun on a bus, it’ll be trouble..”

Stephen brings back his slightly camp German accent: “FUHGET ALL YOUAH NOTIONS OF DE NAZI AHMY, WE AH ALL NEW PEOPLE…WE’RE VERY AT EASE WITH OUR INNER WOMAN…DERE’S REALLY NO EMBARRASSMENT, I COULD SHOW YOU MY BREASTS…”
Susan: “that’s an incredibly sexy accent…”

Sandi: “You know, I think camouflage clothing is particularly weird, because you can see them very well…”

On the day in Russia made for people to conceive
Sandi: “what did gay people do that day, redecorate?”

Susan admits she’s never met a person called Kevin, and they point one out in the audience
Stephen: “not only that, he’s GORGEOUS!”

Sandi: “I did an extraordinary trip where I canoed across Africa…I don’t recommend it, you get a condition called trench bottom, and uh…”
Susan: “sorry, did WHAT nude?”
Sandi: ‘…I CANOED across Africa..nono, not NUDE…
Susan cackles at this, barely composing herself to go ‘IN MY HEAD’
Sandi: “It wasn’t dangerous enough, so I thought…”

Sandi: “anyway, I met this woman, this missionary…”
Alan and Liza get the wrong idea and laugh at that
Alan: “she said ‘I hope you’re not in a kayak'”
Now Susan’s gone again

Sandi wins, Liza and Susan tie for last.

Overall: Better than last show, but still mostly just fine. There were some funny moments here, and this was a good panel dynamic, but a lot of this show sort of went by without really impressing me. Nobody’s fault, everybody was great, and Sandi and Susan had great nights. It just never really got a good momentum going, sad to say. 

MVP: Sandi
Best Guest: Susan
Show Winner: Sandi
Best QI Fact: german soldiers’ breasts
Best Runner: Jonathan Ross

SERIES K SUPERLATIVES:

Best Episode: K5, Kings. The last all-male show, but one that felt like OG QI, with great stuff from Jimmy Carr, Bill Bailey and Jeremy Clarkson, and a boatload of klaxons.
2nd Best Episode: K2, Kit & Kaboodle, for the immortal bizarro pairing of Noel Fielding and Ross Noble cracking me up repeatedly, so many basking shark jokes, and some really fun dynamic moments.
3rd Best Episode: K12, Knights and Knaves, for just being a really funny and solid all around episode, proof that Sue Perkins can anchor a panel, and great work from Victoria Coren-Mitchell and Richard Coles. 
Episode Most Deserving of Another Look: K8, Keys, for being a really fun musical episode, and a great duo show between Bill Bailey and Tim Minchin. I’d wanna go back and re-immerse myself in all the little musical bits that made it great. 
Worst Episode: E15, Kitsch. Just a very blank episode that didn’t impress me at all. 
Best In-Episode Runner: Jimmy’s noise-making bowel movements, K6: Killers
Best Recurring Guest: Bill Bailey, for doing three episodes and winning all three for me. I’m so glad Bill can keep acing episodes this far into his QI career.
Most Underused Recurring Guest: Jo Brand felt very quiet in all three of her episodes.
Most Improved: Johnny Vegas, K11, for being entirely composed and sober yet still being insanely damned funny [‘SHUT UP, MR. PENGUIN’]
Best Guest Appearance: Tim Minchin, K8. Not only was Tim Minchin on a QI, but he was wonderful and fun on it. All I could have asked for, besides more episodes.
Worst Guest Appearance: Reginald D. Hunter, K15. I just don’t think he’s right for QI.
Rookie of the Year: TIE! Noel Fielding, K2, for fitting right into the bizarre joke-spewing function of QI, and Richard Osman, K13, for being informational while also having a very dry, helpful sense of humor and acting like he’d been doing this for years. 

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S11E03, or When I Think of the ‘Leans

By 2015, Keegan Michael Key’s career is just about taking off. Key and Peele is ending, and he’s embarking on a film career which completely blossoms in 2015, appearing in Tomorrowland [reprising some of his robotic physicality from S9], Pitch Perfect 2, the Vacation remake, and replacing Cee-Lo Green in the Hotel Transylvania movies, while also prepping ‘the Key and Peele movie’, which would turn out to be Keanu, and a dramatic turn in the underrated Don’t Think Twice.

What I mean by saying all this is that after 2015, Keegan Michael Key would become very, very busy. And thus, this being his last taping season does not shock me. Because, sad to say it, Keegan has a career now. And WL is seeming less like a fun exercise and more like a hazard in the way of bigger gigs.

Still, they get 4 more shows out of him this taping season, and they keep using him occasionally throughout the next few seasons, so he’s not gone completely, just…phased out. Which is sad, cause he’s been a fun fourth seater.

This is his guestless show, and it comes even before his guest star one. Already, the producers are figuring out what we want.

Aisha’s opening joke is “like a fine-tooth comb at Keegan Michael Key’s house, the points don’t matter.” Glad she can do bald jokes with other people now

Questions: Drama erupts at a big family reunion

Keegan shows up in a Jamaican accent
Wayne, with an angel’s halo: “Haven’t I told you to stop smoking that?”
Keegan: “are you gonna use that old ex-cuse?”
Wayne: “Are you gonna use that old ac-cent?”
HA

This Wayne-Keegan opening is fun cause they’re trying to throw each other, and once Keegan throws Wayne, something it took more than one scene for most people to do in the previous 2 episodes, Keegan cracks up.

Colin enters in a hairy, horned hat
Keegan: “did you see Uncle Marty?”
Colin: “where?”
Keegan: “my…YOU ARE…aaghh”
BUZZ

Ryan and Colin have a great scene with Ryan as a widow.
Ryan, lifting his veil: “how bout a kiss?”
Colin, completely straight: “…why would I do that??”
Ryan: “are you married?”
Colin, remembering the scene: “aren’t we related?”
Ryan: “……COUSIN BOB???”
[he does a little question mark sign to make sure Aisha doesn’t buzz him]

Ryan: “haven’t you noticed I have no clothes on?”
Colin: “is THAT what that is???”
HAAA
Ryan: “….HOW DARE YOOUUU?”
BUZZ. I mean, it was worth a shot

Keegan, with a sombrero: “do you still owe us 200 dollars for the catering?”
[Some people groan but I think that’s pretty clever]
Colin: “are you serious?”
Keegan: “…were the tamales good?”
Colin: [with no other ideas, he just does a thumbs-up]
I love that move. And then he tries doing a question mark sign like Ryan, but Aisha still buzzes

Wayne, with a black leather daddy hat: “would you be my friend even if I shared a secret?”
Keegan: “…will you wear nipple clamps?”
Wayne, undoing his shirt: “what do you call these?”
Keegan, stifling a laugh: “how did you get those ON there?”

Wayne ends with going ‘FAMILIAR?’, and Keegan hesitates. Aisha buzzes, and Wayne goes ‘LET’S BOTH LEAVE’. I love that sort of game-breaking attitude in this game, it rarely shows up

It does lead to this pairing:
Screen Shot 2021-01-06 at 11.25.54 AM
Ryan: “DID YE EVER [dissolves into Irish babbling]?”
[cut to a very confused Aisha]
Colin: “How long you been out of Belgium?”
Ryan: “I WOULD HAVE HARDLY [Irish babbling]”
[Aisha doesn’t buzz???]
Colin: “…are you on acid?”
Ryan: “WELL WHO [Irish babbling]?”
BUZZ
Aisha: “GET OUT OF THERE”
Ryan, as if Aisha understood: “Oh, so THAT wasn’t a question…”

Another in a long line of really strong rounds of Questions. Perhaps not as iron-tight as the last two, and without a real anchor, but there were a lot of good pairings and scenes, and attempts at keeping the scene environment stable, though that wore off late.

Aisha: “DESPITE THE USE OF SOME QUESTIONABLE ACCENTS…”
Wayne: [is still laughing his ass off]
Keegan: “well, now I know how you ask questions in Irish…”
Aisha: “I mean, it’s genius that you didn’t use an actual language, because I couldn’t tell if you were actually asking a question or not.”
Ryan: “AND YET you buzzed me out on the last one!”
Aisha: “BECAUSE THERE WAS NO INFLECTION, DEAR SIR.”
Ryan, demonstrating: “WHY DID YA [Irish babbling]” [he shrugs, knowing Aisha was right]

Newsflash: Ryan and Keegan in the studio, Colin in the field in front of mostly sexy people at the beach

This is how we start:
Screen Shot 2021-01-06 at 11.33.52 AM

Colin: “WHOOOAH, LOOK AT THAT!”
Screen Shot 2021-01-06 at 11.35.22 AM

Keegan: “it seems like a place that no one would ever wanna leave”
Colin: “no, no…I’m thinking of setting up shop here”

Colin: “you have to be in good shape to be clean, because dirty people are….out of shape people…”
And he just peters off, confused by his own line

Suddenly, the feed cuts to a very hairy chest and the audience erupts in fear
Colin: “DID YOU SEE THAT??”
Keegan: “We can’t help but see it, it’s filling up the whole screen!”

Screen Shot 2021-01-06 at 11.38.36 AMRyan: “OH, PLEASE FALL OFF…PLEASE FALL OFF…”

Colin: “I am going to guess that it has SOMETHING…to do with giant chickens.”
PFFFFFF
Aisha: “WHAT???”
Keegan: “Not that kind of breast, Colin!”
[I kinda love how he delivers that]

Wayne: “there was the one dude that was TRYING to be hot, just sitting in the hammock and looking over…”
Colin: “God, I hope he’s not watching…”

A pretty good Newsflash, though not much that pushed it over some of the best playings.

OLD JOB NEW JOB?!?!?: In a hospital, Wayne is a young woman about to give birth and Keegan is her nervous husband, the doctor, Ryan, and the midwife, Colin enter, but they used to be Vegas entertainers

A classic, rare game makes its final appearance to date and I couldn’t be more here for it

Keegan: “I feel all of your pain”
Wayne, shifting into a demonic voice: “YOU DO NOT FEEL MY PAIN YOU SON OF A- [back] I mean, I’m fine..”

Even Ryan and Colin entering with their own theme music is silly enough

Ryan, reaching into Wayne: ‘IS THIS YOUR WATCH??”
Keegan, shocked, checks his arm. That is great

Ryan then removes several babies from Wayne, and he and Colin start juggling them. I lost it there.  Then Colin covers his eyes. All while Keegan reacts in horror. This is just working for me
Wayne: “…that is pretty good, though..”

Colin then cuts the umbilical cord with a knife-throwing trick, which is also a really fun move.

The ending gag is also awesome, as they do a ‘saw Wayne in half’ trick
Keegan: “What about the fourth child? It’s still inside of her.”
Colin: “Oh, is it??” [grabs it out of Keegan’s ass]
YES. AMAZING

A very fun playing, aided by all four performers being really into it, some great support from Keegan, and Ryan and Colin continuing to be great at this game. Not as good as some of the UK playings, but still great

Scenes from a Hat:

“Unlikely things to read in a children’s book”
Keegan: “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your weave…”
Colin: “Then after 2 weeks, Cinderella and the Prince found out that you can’t base a relationship on shoe size.”
I love that one.
Ryan: “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall…Humpty Dumpty lost one of his balls…”

Ryan: “ooh, a pop-up book”
Screen Shot 2021-01-06 at 11.56.28 AM
Ryan eventually looks down at Colin and breaks. It’s that simple

Wayne tries a similar pop-up book tactic:
Screen Shot 2021-01-06 at 11.58.03 AM
Wayne: “Oh, it’s the life and times of…Steve Urkel.”
Keegan: “LAAAAURRRAAAAA..”
10/10

Aisha: “Unlikely lines from a James Bond movie”
Ryan: “I appreciate the offer, but I’m gay.”
Colin: “and this is my assistant…….Brenda Smith.”
[YES. It’s like a Mock the Week joke]

Aisha: “products that shouldn’t be advertised in a sexy way”
Colin, doing a sexy up and down motion: “…the newest in rectal thermometers…”
[there’s a BIG LAUGH from some loud guy in the audience at this. ‘AWWW HAW HAW HAW’. Not quite to ‘HAEEEEEERRH’ levels, but close]
Colin, caressing his arms: “….Old Penis deodorant.”
YES. Also, this might be a callback to another gag from this SFAH

ALTHOUGH. Colin heads back to the seats doing the arm movements of the dance, making me think that it ended with ‘we’re old men, and these are our penises’ after all.

Aisha: “I don’t know if the deodorant WAS a penis or smelled like penis.”
Colin: “that’s the beauty.”

Pretty good SFAH. Some scenes had more obvious ones than need be, but there was a lot of funny stuff here.

Greatest Hits: Songs of New OrLEEEANS

Aisha gets ‘New Orleans’ as our American city
Ryan: “is it New Or-lens or New Orl-eeeans?”
Aisha: “It’s pronounced New Or-lens, not New Or-leeeans, it’s a common mistake.”
AND SO IT BEGINS.

Colin: “we’ll be right back to our movie about Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as a couple going to Bangkok to learn new sexual techniques in…ThaiTantric, in just a second.”
It’s that simple

Ryan: “I am not feelin’ too well, Colin. I just got back from a trip to New ORLEEEEANS.”
[immediate cut to Aisha]
This is what we’re in for. This is CW’s answer to Songs of Horror.

Ryan: “I love Irish rock, which is both a music style and also the name of one of the lesser wrestlers on the WWF circuit.”
Wayne chuckles audibly, because Ryan doesn’t know they changed it to WWE to combat lawsuits from the World Wildlife Foundation. Keegan even facepalms in the back

Ryan: “But when I think Irish rock, and when I think of THE LEANS…”
Colin:
Screen Shot 2021-01-06 at 12.12.12 PM
Colin breaks a little. He can’t believe Ryan’s going with this. Keegan and Wayne audibly crack here. Aisha facepalms.

Ryan: “I think of one that hit the top of the NEW ORLEEEANS CHARTS IN NEW ORLEEEANS…”
Colin, looking right at Aisha:
Screen Shot 2021-01-06 at 12.14.10 PM
Colin is just amused by the whole thing
Ryan: “THAT BIG NEW ORLEEEANS-”
Colin:
Screen Shot 2021-01-06 at 12.17.34 PMScreen Shot 2021-01-06 at 12.17.43 PM
I love how this has thrown Colin in such a way. Like, he’s really just impressed with how much Ryan’s throwing into this.

The Dropkick Murphys style backing that Laura and Linda do is pretty cool, and impresses me more than a lot of Wayne’s lyrics here, sad to say. He has the style sort of down, but loses the accent. His ending boob shake dance is pretty good, though.

Ryan: “Is that a style, stadium rock, or is it just rock that’s in a stadium?”
[there’s a cutaway here, which means there was more banter that somehow didn’t make it in]
Colin: “…three more years, I’m retired.”

I kinda love Colin setting up this stadium rock number as one where there was mic failure, as a way of making it more difficult for Wayne.

Wayne’s Stadium Rock song has a backing track that sounds a LOT like Don’t Stop Believing by Journey

Wayne: “is there anyone here in love tonight? [cheers] Well I’m not, so screw you.”

Wayne in this number is masterful. Singing without sound, and then going through an entire crisis onstage. But major props go to Keegan Michael Key for jumping into the game as Wayne’s roadie, trying to fix the electrical equipment as the song goes on. Hell, Wayne does a nice long note broken up by the faulty mic, going in and out.

The second time Keegan rushes to the electrical wires, AISHA joins him in trying to fix the mic.
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My favorite part of this is the third time Keegan comes up, as Wayne’s mic goes out. He takes another mic, switches it on, yells ‘LALALALA’ into it to test it, then hands it to Wayne. This is Wayne’s game, but Keegan might be making it his own with a beautiful support performance. That is owing to his improv abilities, and his way to scene-dress even if it’s someone else’s. This sort of stage improv mentality is all-too-rare on WL, sad to say.

The end, where Aisha and Keegan keep furiously handing Wayne mics until there’s a electrical shortage sound.

Wayne has a great ending note, and Keegan motions to the tech guys that we’re good. A great ending to a really funny deconstruction of a song.

A pretty damn good GH. I’ll say that Wayne’s actual song stuff is not quite as good as the rest of it, as the best moments came from Ryan and Colin doing banter, and Keegan and Aisha helping with the stadium rock number. But the LEANS stuff cracks me up, as does Colin’s amusement, and the support work in the second time is some all-time stuff.

Overall: A good show with great moments, but not quite as good as our first two shows of the season. We had more moments of okayness tonight, like Newsflash, stretches of SFAH, and Wayne in GH. We had no real centerpiece in this show, unless you wanna count good games like OJNJ and GH that the show wasn’t exactly built around. I’m not sure why I’m so critical of Keegan’s shows, as I was also kind of critical of 10×02, which had great runners but the guest games dragged it down. This show’s games, like Questions, OJNJ and GH, needed something like a good guest game to make it pop more.  But instead, this show was missing a real backbone. It was just an assortment of adjacent games, and while those games were good, the show itself altogether could have been better.

Show Winners: All four
Best Performer: Colin had the most great moments. He was also a rock in Questions and SFAH, and a great reactor in GH.
Worst Performer: Wayne, once again, had the most that didn’t work for me. Last three shows he’s been either best or worst, there’s no middle ground so far.
Best Game: Greatest Hits. It may be a little clumsy with Wayne’s songs, but the improv work, and the fighting back towards Aisha, makes this one so funny.
Worst Game: Newsflash was just okay.

COMING UP NEXT: A new Jeff taping. Yes, another one. This one has a very fun CW synergy guest, though