Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S03E06 or BUT WOMAN, HANDS OFF MY LOINS!

There’s been a trend of late on QI where they’ll have a panel of three women and Alan Davies. They did one a few years ago, it was Sandi Toksvig, Sue Perkins, Susan Calman and Alan, and a more recent one with Sandi, Susan and Aisling Bea.

This episode is Whose Line’s version of an ‘3 Woman and Alan’ episode- Josie Lawrence, Sandi Toksvig, and Canadian comic Denalda Williams make up the 3 women, and Mike McShane, essentially the regular of S3, is the Alan Davies here.

Emotion Option: Josie and Denalda (traffic warden and ticker receiver)

Interesting that they’re doing this one, essentially F&TS with emotions. Did Denalda admit that she wouldn’t get many of the styles?

On ‘Panic’, Josie goes into sort of a nervous babbling.
Denalda: “AAAAAAAH….I can’t understand you!”

Nice moment where Denalda, in ‘Paranoid’, finishes a sentence with ‘you back off, you little traffic warden monkey’.
Josie, after the buzz, breaks slightly to sort of cringe, and sort of shush Denalda, as that may have been a bit too far over the line.
Clive: “And edge into Embarrassment?”
Josie: “…I’m sorry, but you shouldn’t call me a monkey…”

This game has a really nice ending with ‘ecstasy’, with surprisingly sensual work from both Denalda and Josie, and Josie polishing it off with a really nice, literal line.

Slightly odd variation, but the performers made it work.

Film and Theatre Styles: Sandi and Mike (5 minutes before their daughter’s wedding)

Mike: “Honey, I have no cufflinks! Where are my cufflinks?”
Sandi: “NEVER MIND ABOUT THE CUFFLINKS, WHY ARE YOU NOT WEARING ANY TROUSERS?”
Mike: “OH MY GOD!”
Sandi: “I mean, for goodness sake, I have TOLD YOU, YOU CANNOT GO BUFFO UP THE AISLE!”

A style ends on this image:
Screen Shot 2017-11-29 at 4.56.10 PM.png
Clive: “How about a bit of Biblical epic?”
Mike: “BUT WOMAN, HANDS OFF MY LOINS!”

Sandi does so amazingly well in this style that she overdoes the buzzer by about 10 seconds.
Sandi: “I’m sorry, just…I saw the light, and I kept going…”

Clive: “How about James Bond movie to end it.”
Mike: “Moneypenny…I must tell you, I’m a man…the BEST man…”
Sandi: “…I hardly know what to say, but later on I’ll show you my gold finger.”
BUZZ

A really nice scene, even if it had a quieter middle. Sandi and Mike are just terrific at working with each other.

Expert Translation: Sandi translates for Denalda, a Polynesian drain expert

This is my least favorite playing of this game. Not due to lack of trying from Sandi, but mostly because Denalda’s fake polynesian is very slow and drawn out.

Sandi does have a really nice way of powering this game, as her first big line is “…took me forever to get here from Polynesia, and I think it’s partly because I swam.” She’s very quick in her dialogue, and very matter-of-fact. Unfortunately, it contrasts with Denalda’s slower delivery in a less-than-favorable way.

Sandi doesn’t get to talking of drains until the end, but it’s less literal, more on the subject of bodies of water and such. Some of the details (“I said ‘thanks very much’ in the only way I could think if, and put my hand straight down his swimming trunks”) do crack up Denalda a bit.

Clive: “…and one mark for Sandi, for mentioning drains once in the translation.”

Funny, but not to the caliber of shearing one’s entire body, getting the yak to go to the toilet, having sex with a horse or Albanian Postman Pat (which we’ll get to next episode)

Psychiatrist: Josie
Denalda: scared of peanut butter
Mike: obsessed with easter bunnies

The fact that Mike is at the receiving end of this game proves that Bartender would be greatly needed on this program quite soon.

The first number is pretty good- Denalda’s first song is very basic, but Josie saves it for mentioning she should use the crunchy peanut butter instead of the smooth ones.

Mike’s number is with the sort of manic energy he became known for on the show, with high tempo and low sanity.

Pretty solid round, without any highlights or lowlights.

Props: Mike and Denalda vs. Sandi and Josie

You can hear Mike, as Sandi and Josie are handed their shark-fin-esque prop, go, to Denalda, “look what THEY got”, as maybe Denalda was nervously pessimistic about the number of suggestions they had.

Screen Shot 2017-11-29 at 5.13.56 PM.pngSandi: “He must have been a very unusual husband.”
Josie, over the buzzer: “Yes, he was FINNISH.”

Sandi, as a witch, to Josie: “I have made you the ugliest woman in the world!”
Josie, pointing to Sandi: “BAR ONE!”

Screen Shot 2017-11-29 at 5.15.49 PM.pngMike: “EBENEEZER SCROOGE. LOOK UPON THIS TOMBSTONE. WHAT NAME DOES IT SAY???”
Denalda, after a beat: “….YOURS!”
Mike: “…oh, shoot…”

A very, very silly round, as both sides had a ton of fun with the props, and working with each other.

Song Styles: stapler
Josie: Irish jig
Mike: soul

Josie’s is good, if quick, with the addition of Richard on the recorder. I forget sometimes that Richard was a multi-instrumentalist, as opposed to Laura Hall, who was primarily a pianist and would get Linda Taylor to do guitar parts. Richard has played keyboard, guitar, recorder, AND HE’S AN IMPROVISER AS WELL!

Mike’s may be a new career high for him, as it’s an incredibly well-done song by him and Richard, something that could be taken seriously as a contemporary song.

News Report: Little Bo Peep: Sandi and Mike in the studio, Denalda and Josie in the field. 

Yeah, second show in a row where they give the field assignment to the Canadian while the Dane gets the desk job. If I were Colin or Denalda, I’d cry xenophobia.

Sandi does the heavy-lifting for everyone tonight, even giving Denalda the personality of being not especially bright. She takes this wholeheartedly, asking Josie “UHHHHHHH HOW DO YOU LIKE BEING A SHEEP?”
Josie: “BLOODY AWFUL. We HATE having Bo Peep as our boss, we think she’s a real BAAAAAAAAAstard.”

Like last show, a very tight ship, but Josie had some nice highlights as a miffed Bo Peep. Sandi may have been a wee bit too controlling with the timing, but it worked out, for the most part.

Alphabet: Sandi and Josie (encouraging the other to parachute)

Ah yes. The infamous Alphabet round from this taping. This one seems to be the later version of it, as the original would end up in the compilation.

Even as Clive tells Josie and Sandi to come down, Josie’s gritting her teeth and not looking especially confident. I imagine they’d just done the first, and more ill-fated Alphabet round. Sandi reassures her as they get to the stage.

This one goes a bit better, though Josie does get stuck at H. Sandi does give her a visual clue, which gets Josie back on her feet, crying with a ‘HUH-HUH-HUH’ noise.
Sandi: “….I wish I’d thought of that…”

When Sandi gets to Q…she smirks, and goes “Queen’s Regiments are taking us up’, which is the exact line that was supposed to start the ORIGINAL playing of this game (that’d make it to the compilations). This gets a nice amount of recognition applause from the audience, and it gets a laugh from Josie.

The game ends clumsily, but better than the alternative- Sandi does give Josie the clues to help her with those last few pesky letters, and Josie kisses Sandi on the head for her services.

Good enough game, though I’m not sure that it has the same impact without the context of Josie’s failures at this game immediately beforehand.

Gospel: Woodworking 

The energy in this game is there from the start. Denalda’s verse gives some vocal enthusiasm and finesse that’s been mostly absent from the rest of the show.

Sandi takes a different approach entirely to Gospel- she does a sort of ‘fire and brimstone preacher’ way of talking through, getting the audience to recite ‘I AM A PIECE OF WOOD’.
Sandi: “……and therefore I won’t sing, although maybe I could…”

A pretty nice Gospel, with no real bad verses anywhere in it, and high energy all around.

Overall: Better than E5, and better than I’d previously given it credit for, but still not to the caliber of the first four shows of the year. I do feel bad for Denalda Williams, because her situation was very similar to Colin’s last episode- she couldn’t always compete with the three semi-regulars. Unlike Colin, there would be no second chance for Denalda, and it’s kind of a shame, as she had moments in Gospel, Emotion Option and News Report where you can see her potential. Mike, Josie and Sandi all had equally impressive nights, all excelling in several things throughout the show.

The reason why it’s not quite as good as Episode 4 or 2 is that even the highest heights of this show don’t really square up against something from E4 or E2, which were more consistent, not a bad game on the night type of shows. There wasn’t anything truly bad here, but a lot of the show skewed more ‘middle of the road’.

Show Winner: Sandi
Best Performer: Josie Lawrence, for bringing some insane energy and performances to the show, and for grinning and bearing it through what may be her least favorite Whose Line game of all time.
Worst Performer: Denalda Williams, only in comparison to the other three.
Best Game: Film and Theatre Styles. This was very tough, and Props and Gospel nearly went in this space, but the Mike-Sandi duo was too strong to compete with anything else.
Worst Game: Expert Translation, but only because it was one of the few games that had any true flaws in it. I still laughed, but it didn’t exactly work as Translation.

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Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S03E05, or UNDER THE NECK, THAT GOES!

In Whose Line’s attempts to bring new blood to the show in S3, they went back to where they got gold from to strike again- they’d gotten two of their flagship stars from the Comedy Store Players, so they grabbed Jim Sweeney from there. They convinced Julian Clary to come on because of his friendship with Paul Merton. They tried to recreate Greg Proops by getting other San Fran-based comics like Jim Meskimen and Chris Smith. And since Ryan Stiles was such a hit on the show, they returned to Second City Toronto, and got his friend and collaborator, uh…I forget his name….it’ll come to me eventually…

Good news is that, like the other shows in this stretch, it’s been patterned with 3 regulars to circumvent the newcomer, so Sandi, Tony and Mike are all here.

Screen Shot 2017-11-28 at 11.43.06 AM.pngTHERE HE IS! WITH HAIR! IT’S THE GREAT COLIN MOCHRIE!!!!

Film and Theatre Styles v1: Sandi and Colin (helping someone get to sleep)

The irony here is that in real life, Colin was very-much sleep-deprived, leading to what he’s described as a less-than-stellar outing on the show tonight.

Kitchen Sink drama, after Sandi lets the sheep back in:
Sandi: “…I think I should tell you something, Derek, before Flossie comes in?”
Colin: “…what’s that, Deirdre?”
Sandi: “Flossie’s pregnant!”
Colin: :…I thought I was protected!”
AND THERE HE IS!

Colin: “DAMN! DAMN! DAMN! AND DAMN ONCE AGAIN!”
Sandi: “I’m just guessing, but are you cross?”

Colin: “It was just once! JUST ONCE!”
[BUZZ]
Sandi: “I know, but she had a hell of a smile on her face…”

The farce section cracks me up, because it’s just Colin and Sandi opening doors and running around frantically.
Sandi: “HANG ON! YOU HIDE IN THE SHEEP- Oh no, we’ve done that before…”
BUZZ

Sandi, heading back to the seats, pats Colin on the back and says something to him. Perhaps she knew that he was nervous as all hell, and was making him feel better.

Pretty nice scene, even though Sandi did most of the heavy-lifting, Colin had some great moments.

Film and Theatre Styles v2: Mike and Tony (having a duel)

This is one of the rare scenes that feels like it has a style even before Clive interjects, with some very proper dialogue.
Tony: “Right, you have a spade, and I’ll have a Kalashnikov.”

Chinese Opera style made me laugh, because instead of attempting an accent, Mike supplies subtitles for himself as he says the dialogue.
Tony, not following, points to where the ‘subtitles’ were and goes “WHAT’S ALL THIS RUBBISH GOING ON HERE???”

Clive: Melodrama
Tony: “So, you point the camera at me…the very camera yoooooooooooou film?”
Mike, as tony cracks: “Oh, go ahead, make long noises at like a cow! Nothing will save you now!”

This has a very nice ending, and you can tell Mike and Tony bring out the best in each other. Quaint, if lacking in consistency.

Props: Mike and Sandi vs. Colin and Tony

Screen Shot 2017-11-28 at 11.58.12 AM.pngColin: “I killed the dutch boy, and stole his shoes.”
Tony: “GOOD!”

Screen Shot 2017-11-28 at 11.58.43 AM.pngTony: “…I am the dutch boy’s friend, where is he?”

Screen Shot 2017-11-28 at 11.59.35 AM.pngTony: “…SHIRLEY BASSEY, PUT YOUR CLOTHES ON!”
Tony cracks halfway through this one. They cut over to Mike and Sandi, and THEY’RE cracking up at it too.

Arguably the best part is when everyone is heading back to the seats, and Mike underhand tosses the large prop to Clive, which he’s not expecting, as he admits an “AAAIIIIIIIIIGGGHHH” noise unrivaled by any other human.

Helping Hands- Sandi orders a sandwich from Colin (with Tony’s hands)

Oh dear…Tony doing Helping Hands…yeah, to quote Josie Lawrence “well, this’ll be clean…”

Also, it’s very odd that Colin’s acting in this, as usually he’s the one supplying the hands (and screwing over Ryan).

Very silly game, as Tony has way too much fun poking Colin’s face, and sticking his hand in his pockets. Both Colin and Sandi are great at responding to the scene. Can’t really label this one anything other than a standard scene.

Musical Producers: Colin and Sandi describe a musical about wasps; Tony and Mike act it out

Again, putting Musical in the middle of the show is an odd idea, but they were experimenting with game placement this year, so I’ll let ’em have this one.

Once again, Colin lets Sandi take more of the work, but it pays off, as Sandi’s really good at throwing things at the contestants in this game. Also, this one boils down to Tony and Mike’s relationship, which is still very strong.

This musical is a little clumsier than I’d like, as the 2nd act does lose some of the plot, but Mike and Tony do end really strongly with the last number, giving it a happy ending, and ending the musical about wasps with the line “…okay, honey.”

World’s Worst- Person to be a Superhero

Colin: “Don’t worry, it’s me, Salmon Man!” [writhes around on the floor]
[The entire panel applauds this one]
Tony: “You will NOT burn down the fourth bridge…not faced with MIME-O-TRON!”

Weaker round, but not without its moments

Song Styles: Mike sings a rock and roll song about bananas

Like with last time, this is more of a 50’s rock type, but Mike does well, even if he underplays it compared to his other Song Styles numbers.

News Report: Grand Old Duke of York- Sandi and Tony in the studio, Colin and Mike in the field

Once the music starts, Tony just starts picking his nose until Sandi comes in, and Sandi yawns until the camera zooms in. Not as good as Paul’s measuring or Greg’s attempted fellatio, but still.

Sandi: “Now, the Grand Old Duke of York, he’s been with a rather lot of men, has he?”

Colin, to Mike: “10,000 men, and you were one of them. When you were up, you were up, and now you’re down. How do you feel?”
Mike: “He’s a Grand Old Duke, and Party til ya puke, I’ll tell you that…”

Tony: “I think one of the things to bear in mind is that there were points in which he was only halfway up…”

Tony: “Well, it’s just come through from Reuters that he’s going to be re-christened ‘The Grand Old Duke of Pork'”
Sandi loses it before going on.

The pace was quick, but I actually think that helped the scene, as the lines were flying fast, and everybody had something funny to do.

Alphabet: Mike and Tony are surgeons performing an operation, starting with L.

I’d like to point out that, unless I’m mistaken, this is the first time, on record, on Whose Line, where Tony Slattery emits his world famous ‘OOOoOoOoOoOOOOOHHH!”

Mike is slightly better at this game than Tony, but they’re both hysterical. There’s a moment where, Mike having just done a T, Tony goes “that goes under the neck”. He realizes his mistake, and goes for the Yoda version: “UNDER THE NECK THAT GOES!”

Tony: “Awww, he’s dead!”
Mike: “…..BIG DEAL!”
Tony: “CARELESS BUTTERFINGERS!”
Mike: “DOCTOR COCK-UP!”
Tony, to the camera: “EVERY TIME!”

Really nice game, helped by how into it they both are, how good they both are, and how they can both tell when a scene’s ending.

March: Banking

Aww, I would have loved to see Colin try to do Gospel…

Clive: “Banker I think has an obvious rhyme or two….there’ll be penalty points for anything too obvious on this…Tony…”

Sandi knows she’s not very good at this game, and sort of grimaces the second she finishes.

Colin…tries. He gets two lines in, breaks, and then motions to Richard, going “INSTRUMENTAL!”

MIke, of all people, makes this sexual:
“She let’s me make deposits, all day and all night
An early withdrawal’s a penalty, but for me, it’s all right!”

Overall: Our first ‘adequate’ show of the season. Yes, everybody did well, but there were less surefire laugh riot games than the first 4 shows. The show did get better towards the finish, but a lot of the games were more ‘fine’ than ‘excellent’. Mike McShane finally has a standout show this series, excelling in numerous games and bringing up everyone else; Tony wasn’t far behind, but had far less great moments than Mike. Sandi wasn’t as good as usual, though she had a strong start. Colin had some nice moments, but mostly took a defensive approach to the game.

Show Winner: Tony
Best Performer: Mike, for enthusiastically owning the games tonight.
Worst Performer: …I’m actually giving it to Sandi, for having more clumsy moments on the night than Colin. Colin was quieter, but his improv was better- Sandi stepped over people and didn’t follow the rhyme scheme in March.
Best Game: News Report. Everyone had something very funny to do.
Worst Game: World’s Worst. Take out Salmon Man, and there’s not much to talk about.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S03E04, or Have You Ever Had Sex With a Horse?

I’ve done two today, and that’s all well and good, but I’d like to get to the Julian Clary episode. Like the first three, it’s a good one.

Paul, Josie and Mike are back, Paul coming off a down show, but he does happen to have some nice moments of resurgence tonight, with Julian Clary, an old colleague of his, in the room. Julian’s an odd choice for an improv program, however…the fact that I’ve seen this one a few times proves that he’s a fine ‘guest star’ type.

The intros, once again, bring out the best in the performers
Clive: “Paul Merton, with a face that expresses anything up to two emotions.”
Paul, expressing one of them mouths “FUCK YOU” to Clive. The audience starts laughing at this right as the camera lands on Julian.

Film and Theatre Styles v1: Julian and Paul (door to door salesman and customer)

Greek Tragedy
Julian: “WHYYYY HAVEN’T WE MET BEFORE?”
He then turns to the confused audience, and goes “…that’s the chorus.”

Julian: “I’ve come to sleep with your mother and then kill her. [strategic beat] …in that order.”
Paul: “I’m afraid I’ve done it already.”
BUZZ
Julian: “….how about your father, is he around?”
BUZZ
[Meanwhile, I’m laughing my ass off back here]

Julian, on the Disney style, goes campily patting Paul around with brushes.
Paul, momentarily breaking: “….WHAT DISNEY FILM’S THAT??? Hang on, there’s some chipmunks in me hallway, GET OUT!”

Clive: “Berkoff.”
Julian: “Oof….lots of swearing, right?”
Paul, getting into character: “….MUM DIDN’T UNDERSTAND ME.”
Julian: “I’m not surprised.”

Julian, purposely contrasting with the style, grabs Paul and goes “Well, how about you cheer yourself up with a few brushes?”
BUZZ
Paul,  to Clive: “BERKOFF??? ‘CHEER YOURSELF UP WITH A FEW BRUSHES???'”

Julian has a beat too many getting into the Pirate Movie style, eventually going: “Well, if you’re not interested in my brushes, young man-”
Paul, with the saving line: “Fancy a jolly roger?”
BUZZ

That was a pretty hysterical game top to bottom, even if Julian would peek out of character every so often. It brought out the best in Paul, and Julian was quite funny, especially in his earnest ways of keeping the plot going.

Film and Theatre Styles v2: Josie and Mike (suspecting someone of having an affair)

Mike: “I’ve just been out with the guys.”
Josie [sniffs Mike[]
Mike: “….some very fragrant, floral guys…”

This is a very well-acted scene by both parties, only going into comedy when the styles hit, with Josie having some great lines in Australian soap, and Mike…not even trying an Australian accent (must have learned that from working with Kevin Costner).

Okay…Josie’s rendition of Twin Peaks, wearing an eyepatch and opening and closing the drapes, made me laugh VERY HARD.

Josie does a nice job, in the old-time musical style, covering for a lack of Richard Vranch, by saying that someone’s shot the piano player and they’ll have to go on unaccompanied…which Mike does, in a very jolly number about shagging the next-door neighbor, which ends the scene.

Not as good as Paul and Julian’s, but still very well done.

Film Dub: Paul is a customer at Julian’s escort agency

There’s a brief moment of ‘who’s talking now’, but this has some great back-and-forth, with Julian wanting sex and Paul wanting champagne.

Julian: “What, don’t you want to do anything else?”
Paul, in a suit of armor: “Why, have you got a tin-opener?”

Fun scene, but a bit clumsy in parts.

Interview: Julian, from a Fanzine, interviews Mike, Julius Caesar

Mike, literally the first line of the scene: “Wow, uh, excuse me…my wounds are still a little sore…”

Mike makes this scene. Julian knowingly takes a passive approach, and Mike so sells his character, especially when he’s going over his favorite ways to kill people, going in graphic, and nostalgic, detail about them.

Julian: “And what about all this aggression you seem to exude? You don’t think that’s a bit too strong for this day and age, for all the young people that might be reading this?”
Mike: “Heeyyyyy, I’m CAESAR, GET IT WHILE YOU CAN, KIDS!”

This is a pretty nice one, better than most of the Interviews we’ve seen.

Song Styles: Electric Drill
Mike: Jamaican Reggae
Josie: Heavy Metal

Mike’s is a pretty nice one, as it has some really good lines, and it gets funnier as it becomes clear that he’s drilling chickens, ending with the line ‘CLUCK CLUCK, DRILL DRILL, Oh, what a thrill…”

As usual, Josie is able to COMPLETELY rock it out of the park with the Heavy Metal number, giving some amazing vocal range, and getting truly into the song. I’d give Mike’s song the edge here, but she’s giving it her all here.

Props: Mike and Julian vs. Paul and Josie

Julian, on the prop: “…it’s falling apart…”
Clive: “The whole program’s falling apart, don’t worry…”

Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 10.10.20 PM.pngMike: “Very good, sir. Before we fit you for a new pair of buttocks, let me just get a reading…”

Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 10.11.20 PM.pngPaul: “…right, before we fit you for a new bra…”
As they cut over, you can hear Paul going “can we have a smaller size, Jack?”

And then…
Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 10.12.25 PM.png
Josie: “Alright, before we fit you for a new, erm…”
and then, inevitably: “COULD WE HAVE A SMALLER SIZE PLEASE, JACK?”

Really nice playing, with both sides playing along with each other, even, and with running gags.

Alphabet: Julian arrests Paul, starting with A

Julian loses his place once or twice, but there’s some GREAT back-and-forth here between Julian and Paul.

There’s a terrific moment where Julian reminds Paul he’s up to Q, then Paul looks Julian over, getting the PERFECT Q WORD IN MIND. Without even saying anything, the entire audience knows what he’s about to do.
Julian has to nod no, and say ‘children are watching’ underneath the laughter, for Paul to eventually go “….Queen Mother’s good for her are, isn’t she?”

As usual, this game gets trickier when it gets down to the later letters, so it ends with
Paul: “….yes.”
Julian: “….Zoo.”

As haphazard as usual Alphabet games seem to be, but still pretty funny.

Expert Translation: Paul translates for Josie, from Sweden, talking about Volvos

My SECOND FAVORITE Translation, behind ‘how the yak goes to the toilet’. This proves how this game can be at the mercy of its translator, especially when it’s Paul Merton.

Josie: [makes a driving motion with her arms]
Paul: “Have you ever had sex with a horse?”
The audience laughs. Josie cracks a bit, shakes her head, LOOKS AT CLIVE, and then continues.
Josie: [outlines the shape of the car]
Paul: “I HAVE, I HAVE!”
Josie, trying to get the game back on track: “VOLVO, VOLVO!”
Paul, not having any of that: “….I often drive to the stables in my Volvo”

The rest of the game is Josie trying to veer the game back on track, and Paul refusing. Josie has a long sentence ending clearly in ‘PETROL’, and Paul goes “My favorite brand of aftershave on a horse is petrol.”

Josie, very pissed, ends a sentence with “PAUL.”
Paul: “Anyway, I should be talking about the car…”

Yes, Paul had to betray Josie to get there, but this was still a very funny scene, and was proof that Paul was in a really nice mood tonight.

Gospel: Needlepointing 

The  best thing about this game is that the entire panel gets into it, ‘WHOAH’-ing and clapping at each other.

So…Paul gives this game his ALL, going all out and being very ‘fire-and-brimstone-y’, which is odd, because I’ve never seen him try this hard in a singing game before. Rap used to scare him away.

Julian just talks through his, sort of like Stephen Fry with slightly more rhythm, makes a joke, and then nods that it’s Mike’s turn. At least his heart was in it.

Mike, as usual, ends this game in grand fashion, even with Julian still sort-of no-selling it.

Overall: I’d put this one a notch above E2, and a few notches below Episodes 1 and 3 on the series so far, so this was another FANTASTIC show, with all four performers doing a great job. Paul felt revitalized, giving his best material since Series 1. Josie wasn’t far behind, selling her scenes, and biting back at Paul, even has he pissed her off throughout the night. Mike wasn’t bad either, although he’s made this habit this season of settling into a standard rather than being outstanding in shows- so far I haven’t named him Best Performer yet this series, and he’s been on 3 episodes. Julian…as funny as he was, knew he wasn’t gonna stack up to the other three, and just decided to lay back and have fun. His personality sort of matches with the show, and he worked well with Paul, but compared to the other three, he wasn’t much.

Show Winner: Paul
Best Performer: Paul, with a comeback for the ages
Worst Performer: Julian, only because he was up against 3 legends who had amazing nights.
Best Game: Film and Theatre Styles v1, for being incredibly watchable and really funny, even as Julian broke once or twice. Expert Translation came close.
Worst Game: Film Dub, but only for not having as many great moments as the rest of the show.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S03E03, or How On Earth is it Gonna go to the Toilet?

For once this series, we have 3 established regulars, now that Jim Sweeney has appeared once- Mike McShane, Sandi Toksvig and Paul Merton are also here, the latter two giving their first appearances of the season. Paul, sadly, was beginning the downslope of his Whose Line career, as he’d appear less and less as he made more and more commitments to Have I Got News For You.

Film and Theatre Styles: Mike and Sandi (two strangers with adjoining hotel rooms)

Interesting note- this is the first time that WL gets away with one playing of F&TS. Usually Jim and Paul would have to do one, but perhaps theirs didn’t make it in.

Sandi: “Uhhh…HELLO…Are you the waiter, and if so, why have you got nothing on?”

Mike, awkwardly, tries hiding his privates
Sandi: “No, please don’t cover it up in any sort of way, your hand doesn’t seem to do it…”

Clive: “Medical”
Sandi: “What an interesting medical phenomena this is…a man who’s as big as he says he is, NOW…”
Oooooh, satirical AND funny. Way to go.

This scene actually, unlike most other F&TS scenes, has a nice, well-formed ending, that feels less like Clive saving time and more like a logical end to the scene.

Alphabet: Jim is rescuing Paul from quicksand, starting with P.

They must have learned from last playing, as they’re giving a starting letter instead of just going from A.

This is a slightly-clumsy one, because it’s tough for Paul to keep it going towards the trickier letters, but it does get a TON better once they’re into easier ones.

Jim: “Goodbye to the quicksand, then.”
Paul: “Hello to a new life.”
Jim: “…..I love you.”
Paul: “…just saying that.”
Jim: “kinky little devil…”

You can definitely tell that Jim’s way better at this game than Paul, and Paul stumbles, but it’s still a nice enough round, and ends well.

Song Styles: Mike sings a Calypso song about a Moldy Tomato.

There’s a nice amount of banter towards the beginning, as Clive can barely say the style, and then mistakes the tomato for a potato. Mike at least grins and bears it, unlike his fellow west-coast counterpart.

Mike gives a high-energy, high finesse song here, and he does it in only 12 or so bars. Clive and the audience are going wild when he finishes.

Expert Translation: Paul translates Sandi, from Outer Mongolia, speaking of how yaks go to the toilet

So…real talk. This is my favorite playing of this game. I feel like it came together like no other playing of this game has, and made me laugh harder than any other has (even the Volvo one). So…let’s examine this.

Sandi: [Ecstatic and loud, long enthusiastic intro line]
Paul: “Hello.”
[Audience, and me, laugh like hell]
Sandi: [smaller line]
Paul: “Now calm down.”

I’m just gonna transcribe most of Paul’s stuff here: “Imagine you are in Outer Mongolia and you see before you, walking, the most beautiful specimen of yak you’ve ever laid your eyes on.
[Sandi gives an impassioned, heart-felt plea]
Paul: “You think, how on earth is it gonna go to the toilet?”

The best part of this is that Sandi keeps trying to actually explain, in motion, how this process works, but Paul keeps negating her: “You can try leading them into your house, you can show them how the flush works, but most yaks don’t care for that sort of thing.”
Sandi: [gives a more detailed flushing motion]
Paul: “Most of them are happy with a cast-iron bucket.”

Sandi, at her wits end, starts cracking up, and Paul turns this into an opportunity for her to tell a joke: “There’s two yaks on an exercise bike. One yak says to the other yak “Oh, I’m really hot and tired, in fact I think I might go to the toilet.” And the other yak says “You’re too late, I already have!”

I know I basically wrote down everything, but I adore that game, as Paul could make it into a way of doing what he wanted, regardless of the scene description. Yes, it may not have been with good improv intentions, but Paul makes it work by still getting a hysterical scene out of it, and still talking about the bathroom habits of yaks (instead of negating a topic of, well, volvos, but that’ll be next show.)

March: Hang-Gliding

This is the other singing game they introduced this season, and i’d put it a peg below Gospel, simply because it does get a bit tedious, but it fulfills the Hoedown-esque song structure. Also, like the Hoedown, they already hate the game, causing Clive to remark “well, don’t all rush forward!”

Jim, already, gets a taste of the song motif, looks at Richard Vranch, and cracks a smile. I feel like Jim, who knew him from the comedy store, was like ‘this is what you’ve degraded yourself to’, and Richard must have knowingly nodded.

Jim actually has the first wall-to-wall fantastic proto-Hoedown verse on this show:
“March, march, march, march, that’s what we hang-gliders do.
March, march, march, march, YOU CERTAINLY WOULD TOO!
We glide all day, we have such fun, it’s great fun by the pound
Until we forget how to land, and hit the bloody ground.”
That just works really well.

Sandi, like Stephen, loses the scheme a bit, and is cracking and eye-rolling all the while, but manages to land on her feet. AND THEN WE GET TO PAUL…
Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 3.55.49 PM.png

You would literally see Paul lose himself every time he had to play March or Gospel, and this time is no outlier. He stumbles through, and THANKFULLY lands on his feet with the final one, but…he came close to having to start over, which he’d do many times in this game.

Mike has the longest one, as he’s the one singer in this lineup, but even HE stumbles slightly, though he has a great ending, and a great all-around verse.

This game is pretty shaky, but I got some laughs out of it, even if they all hate this one.

Props: Mike and Paul vs. Jim and Sandi

Clive, pulling a long prop out of under the desk, goes “…oh, sorry, thought that was part of me…”
Sandi: “Trust me, Clive, it isn’t…”

Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 5.09.35 PM.pngJim: “I told you it’d work- look, a zebra mated with a python!”

Paul: “Could you have a look at this satellite dish? I think there’s something wrong with it, it’s been picking up crap all day…”
Mike: “YOU MUST HAVE *SKY!*”

Really nice round of props, albeit a bit short.

News Report: Humpty Dumpty- Sandi and Paul in the studio, Mike and Jim in the field.

First of all, Paul and Sandi master the ‘talking to each other quietly before the news report starts’ trope, with Paul even throwing in a ‘this is how big it is’ motion to punctuate it. Sandi and Greg would eventually go even further with this, in a way that’d end up on the cutting room floor (because god forbid somebody gives a WOMAN head on this program…)

The reason this game works, and would continue to work, is how the cameras can frame this like a real newscast- Sandi goes over to Jim, in the field ‘with one of the King’s horses’, and we zoom out to this.
Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 5.15.49 PM.pngScreen Shot 2017-11-27 at 5.15.53 PM.png

And it’s a seamless zoom, too- so that the ‘angry Mike as a horse’ visual isn’t spoiled from the getgo, also trying to emulate that style of news camerawork.

Mike actually has a great, slightly-camp performance as a miffed Humpty, going through the whole scenario, topped off by a smirking Jim going “I’m afraid the yolk is indeed on him, back to you.”
Clive has to end the scene as the audience groans at that.

Pretty good scene all around, though I wished they’d let things progress a bit more, especially in the studio.

Helping Hands: Paul is a patient going to Dr. Jim (Sandi is his hands)

Sandi has to stand on the World’s Worst step in order for this technique to fully work, but, on the plus side, she’s able to do this:
Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 5.22.12 PM.png

Sandi seems to get that the idea of this game is to screw over the person who can’t use their hands, so she reaches into Jim’s pocket and pulls out a handkerchief, stuffing it in his face mid-scene.

This is an incredibly silly, near-Pythonesque scene that works because of how broadly Jim is playing it, and how natural his arm movements seem to be to his character.

Also, it ends with Sandi’s hands undoing Jim’s buckle, the culmination of several silly moments of sexual tension. So by gosh, this scene worked, and it worked well, better than last time.

Musical Producers- Election of a Prime Minister- Paul and Sandi describe, Mike and Jim act it out.

So…Mike and Jim’s first segment is absolutely perfect, musically and narratively, and it sets this game off at the highest height, right out of the gate.

Also, I love that immediately after that ends, Sandi goes “It’s good, but I feel like both women are playing it too heavy…”

The second number, done as a rock opera love ballad, is even more powerful, even if Jim, knowingly, takes a more passive approach. It’s not often that Mike can find an equal in a singing game, and Jim is giving him a run for his money.

Sandi: “I think the Prime Minister should die…and in his last death throes…”
Paul, sort-of following: “…….he sings a really raunchy reggae number.”

Even better, as Jim is trying to act and go towards his character’s death, Richard Vranch starts in with the upbeat reggae music, which makes Jim, once again, turn to Richard and crack up.

They do get a really nice reggae tune out of this, and Mike even passes a blunt, which raises Jim’s vocal tone by a decibel.

At close, this may be one of the most impressive all-four musical games they’ve done in a little while, with no flaws, no awkwardness, and…it’s almost exactly like a musical I could see on the West End. Does it rival the Christmas show playing of this game? It very well might.

Overall: We’re three shows in, and not only was this one as good as Episode 1, but it’s even better, and keeps the insane momentum of S3 going. Every panelist was having a great night, every game was hysterical, there were moments of interplay between the performers, as well as between the performers and the show personnel, with Mike having a moment with Clive, and Jim having a few moments responding to Richard Vranch. Jim had his second insanely good show in a row, not having a dull moment in the whole show, and working off of people really well. Mike McShane was tight on his heels, having great musical moments throughout. I’d put Sandi and Paul a few notches below, as despite some nice moments, Paul especially felt like he was on his downswing.

Show Winner: Mike
Best Performer: Jim Sweeney, still a breath of fresh air
Worst Performer: Paul, for not keeping up with the other three
Best Game: …..BOY that’s tough. I could go with Expert Translation, News Report, March, Helping Hands or Musical Producers, and I’d still be satisfied with myself But…I’m going to have to go with Musical Producers, simply because as fantastic as this episode is, I don’t think anything got as strong as that game did. Not even my favorite Expert Translation.
Worst Game: Alphabet, merely because Paul’s confusion stopped it from truly getting going.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S03E02, or That Dramatically Changes Your Chances of Winning Tonight…

Going along with the theme of sticking three established performers with a new addition to the fold, tonight we have Mike McShane, in the first of his essential residency on the Whose Line stage, as he spent the entire year in England while filming (and subsequently stealing all of his scenes in) Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (hence the trademark Mike beard), as well as Josie Lawrence and Tony Slattery, who would only film 2 more episodes after being in the first two of the series.

In the new corner, we have Mark Cohen, veteran of the L.A. Improv, unsung hero of the comedian circuit of the 80’s and 90’s, and friend of Sarah Silverman (and Larry David, as I literally just saw him on an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm).

Clive’s intros tonight get some reactions out of the panelists, especially when he calls Tony the ‘non-thinking man’s spotted dick’
Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 1.09.53 PM.png

Film and Theatre Styles v1: Tony and Josie (Butcher and Customer)

From here on out, I imagine Tony & Josie is going to be the new Tony & Paul in terms of ubiquitous Whose Line pairings.

Clive, getting suggestions: “Perhaps a more theatrical one?”
Audience member: ‘Star Trek movie!”
Clive: “Yes, Star Trek, a very popular play in Shearsby avenue…”

Clive: ‘Star Trek movie’
Josie and Tony: [MELODICALLY SINGING THE STAR TREK THEME TUNE]

Clive: “Disney”
Josie, in her usual Disney voice: “Oh, look at all the little animals…and they’re all…dead..”[she breaks completely]
It takes Clive and the audience about 7 seconds to recover from this, even as Tony tries to help the scene progress.

Clive: “Pantomime”
Tony: “Yes, they’re all dead, but I know a song that can bring them all back to life!”
Josie: “Yes, the ‘Make  the Dead Animals Come Alive’ song!
Tony, ever the smartass: “That’s right! You start!”

There’s a missed opportunity when Josie suggests they split the audience down the middle. Tony, as the butcher, was trying to make this a literal option. Josie stands her ground, perhaps KNOWING he’s gonna do that.

Tony: “Right, Team A, that’s your half, and Team B, that’s…you, madam…”

Josie, in gangster style, makes a slight flub, and covers: “Well it weren’t me…WEREN’T? THAT’S AMERICAN, ISN’T IT? Well, it wasn’t me…”

Tony: “I hear Big Jake’s coming round with his hamburger-type meat filling!”
Josie: “Yeah, I just love his pork!”
Tony: “Yeah, I wanna talk to you about that…you’ve been porking him pretty good and neatly, haven’t you?”

Right when Tony sits down, he’s already defending himself to Mark back at the seats. Or something. Something definitely came up in conversation.

A really, really great scene, with some definite interplay, some great improv moments, and some really good laughs. One of the best ones we’ve had here in a while.

Film and Theatre Styles v2: Mark and Mike (at camp)

This scene takes a while to get going, but the Laurel and Hardy bit is phenomenal. Mark immediately knows where his place is in the equation, and goes into a nice Stan Laurel. We already know that Mike’s Hardy is great, so the rest is kind of history.

It’s also very convenient that Tragedy is next, so Mark can go from his Laurel sobbing to actual sobbing.

Very quaint, small-scale scene with a few good moments, though I feel like it ended right as it was about to get going.

Props: Mike and Mark vs. Tony and Josie

Same pairings as the first games? I mean, they used to switch them up every once in a while, but whatever works…

Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 1.33.05 PM.pngMike: “HELLO, IT’S ME, FREDDY THE FORESKIN, HOW YOU DOING?”

Tony: “…d’you like our windmills in…DUTCHLAND?”
Wow, for a minute Tony Slattery turned into Tony Wright…

Pretty good round, if lacking in out-of-the-box choices.

American Musical: Being a Doctor, Giving Birth, Attack of the Mumps, Traveling around the world

….Musical this early in the show? Alright then.

New for a musical, Tony and Josie establish all the story beats in the first segment (Josie’s pregnant, Tony’s got the mumps, and they’ve always wanted the travel the world), which is a pretty bold idea.

Sure enough, just as Josie goes into labor, Mark runs in and pops up under her legs, which throws Josie and Tony for a loop. Even Mike, in the back, is losing it.

Josie: “oh, Bernard, what are we going to call him?”
Tony: “…….PATRICIA!”

The middle section is highly suspect, as Mark builds his song on a motif that…could be taken the wrong way in 2017, and the song borders on tedious. Luckily, Mike enters and bridges the scene back to Tony’s early profession, as a dying man Tony once operated on.

It’s a nice scene, and does pretty well, but Mark goes a bit too annoying, and brings this one down a few pegs.

World’s Worst: Entertainment Act

I’d like to note that Mark’s first suggestion seems like the audio was added in later, as his mouth doesn’t move when you hear him saying “I’m going to juggle my boogers”. Was that added in so the audience would have a clear picture of what he was doing? This has always confused me.

Mike: “Next, Alonso and his Giant Tongue will lick everybody in the Albert Hall!”
Mark: “I will now chew my fingernails into all the Disney characters”

And, of course
Tony: “Great moments in history- #1, the parting of the red sea!” [Unzips trousers]
BUZZ
Josie: “OH, TONY!”
Clive: “STOPPIT, STOPPIT!”
The whole place goes into hysterics. This was basically the norm for Tony, though.

Duet: Mike and Josie do a blues song about a dentist

The game is listed as Song Styles, but it is two people, so, well, IT’S A DUET.

This is a pretty fantastic duet, as Richard has a nice understanding of the genre, and Mike and Josie both have a nice amount of time to shine. More proof that both were unrivaled in singing games.

Film Dub: Tony asks Mark for his daughter’s hand in marriage

Tony, doing a Cornwell accent: “I’d like if I may to ask for your daughter’s hand in marriage. I know I’m 103, but it doesn’t matter, I’m a real go-er…”

Mark: “My daughter is 4000 years old.”
Tony: “Oooh, but that’s only 2 years older than I am!”

Tony, realizing something about his character’s sex-aid: “Hey, wait a minute, this isn’t a stick, it’s a sex-aid!”
Mark: “Can you part the red-sea with that sex-aid?”
Tony: “Oooooh I can do whatever you’d like. See this beard? It’s false. I can use it to tickle her in all sorts of places…”

[Tony’s character lunges and bows towards Mark’s character’s crotch area.]
Mark: “Moses, not now, I have a headache!”
Tony, whose character is now checking Mark’s pants: “OOOOOH, WHAT HAVE YOU GOT UNDER THERE???”

Mark: “Wait a minute now, you have my ball in your hand…”

Tony ends the scene by just hitting on Mark’s character…and then a random guard. My gosh, this was way funnier than I expected, and one of the better film dubs we’ve had so far.

Clive: “I think I better clean up this show a bit…I’ll give you 69 points each…”

Party Quirks: Tony hosts
Mark: has a five-second memory
Josie: Little Red Riding Hood
Mike: a hell’s angel

As Tony sets up the party, he hunches his shoulders and manically describes anything, and goes “Oh, I’ve never done a ‘Come as Clive Anderson’ party before’.
Clive, getting the joke: “…alright…”
The audience applauds this.
Tony, hiding behind his goodwill: “When’s the first guest arriving?”
Clive: “That dramatically changes your chances of winning tonight…”

Josie: “What big teeth you have, Tony!”
Tony, perhaps genuinely: “Big WHAT?”

Tony gives Josie some food.
Josie: “Gobble Gobble Gobble Gobble.”
Tony: “No, that happens upstairs…”

Something I never thought I’d hear on this program
Clive: “Alright, I’ll give it to you on ‘Julie Andrews’, he’s a Hell’s Angel…”

Gospel: Trainspotting

Another rendition of perhaps my favorite of the new anti-Rap innovations at WL.

Mark’s surprisingly good at this game, even though he stumbles a bit towards his final rhyme. He definitely gets the spirit of the game, which arguably isn’t hard to get.

Everybody’s spot-on in this game, and it brings the show to a pretty nice finish.

Overall: Not quite as good as E1, but proof that Series 3 is starting off fresh and innovative, unlike most of Series 2. Mike, Tony and Josie were all in career form today, though I have to give the edge to Tony Slattery, for absolutely owning every single game he was in, and contributing some of the best laughs of the show. It’s a shame that Tony ended up not wanting to take a flight out to New York for the second half of this series, because we’re 2 shows in and he’s still in career form. Mark…ebbed and flowed, going from annoying to impressive.

Show Winner: Josie
Best Performer: Tony, for having a career show.
Worst Performer: Mark, for stumbling a ton this episode.
Best Game: Film and Theatre Styles v1, a really smart, well-formed scene with Tony and Josie racing to outdo each other. Film Dub nearly took this spot.
Worst Game: By default, Film and Theatre Styles v2, for not having the same momentum as the rest of the show.

 

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S03E01, or I Think That Speaks for Itself..

Onto Series 3 of WL, which took the themes of Americanization from S2 and dialed back on them, slightly, having more of an emphasis on burgeoning Comedy Store Players folk, as well as letting a few more Second City and LA Improv folk in quietly. For one of the few times in WL history, the UK newcomers outnumber the US newcomers. Also, less surefire-hit-lineups, like in S2, and more emphasis on mixing winning improvisers with newcomers. The Mike-Paul-Josie-Tony show from last season was a one-of-a-kind outing, as successful as it was.

Tonight, we do, however, have half of that show, as Tony and Josie are anchoring the panel tonight, along with slowly gaining Greg Proops and a pretty important newcomer, Comedy Store Players legend Jim Sweeney, who’d appear intermittently throughout the next few series.

You can tell the show has come along, as the applause at the end of the opening sequence is raucous and near-deafening.

Authors: How I Killed my Fairy Godmother
Josie: Michelin Guide to Famous Buildings and Landmarks in London
Greg: Jack Kerouac
Jim: J.R.R. Tolkein
Tony: My Little Pony

Greg: “London was cold and foggy, but it was cool, because I was in San Francisco…”

This game works, firstly due to Jim’s impressive abilities at this game, and secondly due to how into his style Tony gets.

Jim descibes Strider as “Aragorn, son of Arathorn, known to the hobbits as ‘the big tall git with Halitosis’.
Tony: ‘….known to the little ponies as BIG PONY…”

Alphabet: Jim and Greg are at a stick up.

Clive: “Now, the scene I’d like you to do is a stick up…you do have those in America, do you?”
Greg: “Yeah, we invented it…”

This game works really well, firstly because Greg and Jim work well together, and secondly because there are a ton of good exchanges.

Jim: “My mom sends her best, by the way.”
Greg: “Not your mom, how’s your dad?”
Jim: “…Old.”
Greg: “Pa, old-old-old pa.”
Jim, not seeing any alternatives: “….queer fella, isn’t he?”

Ends a bit clumsily as Greg tries to set Jim up for a tricky finish, and they mix up a few letters, but still a really nice round.

Song Styles: Josie sings a calypso song about a rubber duck

Clive, getting suggestions: “…duck or loofah there- let’s go for rubber duck, because of the, uh…easier rhyme scheme…”

Clive: “Don’t think we’ve done Calypso yet, and I don’t know if you CAN Josie, so away you go-”
Josie: “I’ll try…for you, Clive.”
Clive, ever the cheeky one: “No, just do the song…”

This is a pretty fun song that Josie does with gusto, even working the loofah in there to spite Clive.

Props: Josie and Greg vs. Tony and Jim

Great moment- Tony begins to walk forward, but Clive calls Josie and Greg first, so Tony, confusedly, walks back to his seat, as the audience ‘awwwww’s

Screen Shot 2017-11-21 at 2.30.32 PM.pngJosie: “Hello, little boy, I know where you can buy really crap hamburgers!”

Tony does throw a dirty joke in there, but either way it’s a pretty so-so round, even if Jim’s energy is still very present.

Gospel: Cake Decorating

This series, they decided to try some four-person singing games that didn’t suck as badly as Rap, so we get Gospel, March, and…eventually ‘Western Hoedown’.

Already this works a ton better, because the tempo’s less, and you can actually get a smarter, more-thought-out rhyme out. Plus, instead of Rap, it’s less contemporary and more designed to get a laugh from lyrics rather than from tone.

Even Tony, who’s usually listless in these types of games, gets a HUGE laugh from the desire to cover himself in icing and ‘Take my body down with the marzipan’.

Josie brings the game to huge, musical close, bringing the entire panel together, and proving why she was so indispensable in the early series.

Helping Hands- Josie and Jim (complaining to decorator), with Greg and Tony providing hands

Clive: “Tony, you will be providing the hands for Jim.”
Josie: “Thank God for that…”

This was a very silly game, and Jim was very good at responding to the circumstances, but to perfectly honest, this game works best when there’s a table full of props to use, so that Ryan could end up eating countless things.

Party Quirks: Tony hosts
Jim: Gets everything wrong
Josie: progressively turning into a kangaroo
Greg: compulsive talker

There’s a nice moment where Jim reads his card, then shows it to Greg, who nods. I never knew that the panelists were allowed to share their quirks with each other. Perhaps they did this to avoid what happened last time, with Sandi guessing people’s quirks while also having one herself.

Josie enters and pulls the invitation out of her pouch
Tony, of course taking this the wrong way: “I…I DIDN’T INVITE THAT TYPE OF STRIP-O-GRAM!”

Relatively nice round, though it went rather quick. Jim, as usual tonight, did some really nice work.

Expert Translation: Jim translates for Josie, explaining sheep in Albanian

I always liked this game, which was a precursor to Foreign Film Dub, only in more of a solo/monologue type way. This game would definitely fit Paul when he’d play it (in a matter of episodes)

I do love Clive’s utter bafflement at what aspect of Albanian life the audience wants to explore (“The sheep?…THE *SHEEP?*”)

Jim does come a few notches below Paul, as he actually makes an effort of trying to translate Josie’s motions, rather than just using this to say whatever he wants. His best moment is, as Josie makes a shaving motion “…Shearing is a lot of fun. I often shear my entire body.”

Josie sort of mimes getting sheep to come to her.
Jim: “…some of those sheep play REALLY hard to get.”

and then Josie manages to do this…
Screen Shot 2017-11-21 at 3.07.51 PM.png
Jim: “…I think that speaks for itself…”

Psychiatrist: Josie is the psychiatrist
Greg: thinks he’s an eskimo
Jim: afraid of hats
Tony: in love with the teenage mutant ninja turtles

Another new-type of game, utilizing Josie’s singing skills as a way of bridging back-and-forth between people. This game would also sprout variations, like Prison Visitor and, well, Bartender.

Josie and Greg’s is quaint and nice, with Josie finishing in the line “Never, ever live in an igloo”. Just a fun, inoffensive, very fine number.

Jim, immediately from the getgo, is put off by his fast-paced march style for his number, and has a moment to respond…and then goes into a really good cockney-esque quick number about his fear of hats. Really good stuff from both parties here.

Tony, the second he gets his, sinks and rolls his eyes.

Tony: “….I’ve got a problem, doc.”
Josie: “…yes, I can see. Tell me about your other one.”

This is probably the best of the three, as Tony uses his rhymes to accurately depict a desire to mount a terrapin, which is very similar to his later “in love with an inflatable pig” one. Josie’s response is one of the cleverer ones of the nice, referencing living in a sewer, and ending with “you don’t want to end up in a turtle soup”.

Really fun game, though I’ve always been more partial to Bartender.

Tony’s credit reading, auditioning for an Australian Soap, is great, as he manages to drop an f-bomb, and immediately apologize for it. Still my 2nd-favorite Tony credit reading involving an australian soap star.

Overall: The producers wanted to change things up, and they brought forth a really fresh, really funny premiere. I’ll agree that one of the problems in S2 was its degree of monotony, as the same games were being played every time, and I could only say so much about them. This formula worked, and there wasn’t a single bad game on the night. Jim had a fantastic debut, springing seamlessly into scenes throughout the night. Tony had some really great moments, though he did go blue quite a few times. Josie had some fantastic musical moments. Greg brings up the rear, just from not having as many standout moments as the rest, but he still had a pretty nice show.

Show Winner: Tony
Best Performer: Jim Sweeney, for coming in strong and selling his scenes
Worst Performer: Greg, but only by comparison to the other 3
Best Game: Psychiatrist. This was tough, as I nearly went with Translation or Gospel, but Psychiatrist had a pretty full arc, had moments for everyone to shine, and had some good laughs.
Worst Game: Props, for not having enough good moments. 

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S02E17, or That’ll Make Good Television, Won’t It?

Onto the final compilation for Series 2, and a cap on a pretty okay series of Whose Line. I think the consistency would grow the more John Sessions stayed at home.

Film and Theatre Styles: Ryan and Sandi (couple meeting on a blind date)
From: E5

Well, already the audience gets a nice laugh at the height difference between Ryan and Sandi. Sandi rams her head into the side of Ryan’s torso. It’s pretty great.

Sandi, on her and Ryan: “Yes, I think this will be very compatible.”
BUZZ
Clive: “Mel Brooks.”
Ryan: “Yeah, at least I’ve got a place to set my beer…”

Andy Warhol
Ryan: “Shall I take off my clothes and lie on the bed and start talking about nothing at all?”
Sandi: “You can if you’d like, but we’re still in Waterloo Station…”

Clive: “…I don’t know what this is, but a Dog Film.”
Ryan: [starts sniffing Sandi’s arse]
A lot like ‘Bearded Collie’

Shakespeare
Sandi: “Lord preserve us, our tongue has gone wild.”
BUZZ
Clive: ‘Woody Allen’
Sandi: “…I’m sorry, I don’t know why I said that…”

Really nice round, great for both performers. The sad part of this is that, thanks to whatever went down during John and Tony’s playing, the game winds up here.

Duet: Mike and Josie sing an Andrew Lloyd Webber song about a lemon squeezer
From: E11

On getting the style, Clive, to Mike: “Have you heard of Andrew Lloyd Webber?”
Mike, disgusted: “OH YES…we’ve heard a LOOOOT OF HIM…”

This is a pretty extraordinary one, with both doing an insane job, hitting melodic heights that hadn’t really been hit in this game. Also, thanks to Mike, the lyrics are pretty hysterical. It doesn’t even drag on for too long, either.

Clive, postmortem: “…and if you’re interested, LEMON is opening at the Prince of Wales theatre next week….”

That’ll be Charlie Now: Josie, Tony and Paul are waiting for a train, and for Charlie (Mike)
From: E15

Tony, already looking to screw someone over: “….does he still have that awful habit of grinding up against people whose names begin with J?”
Josie sees this coming, and still cracks when it happens.
Paul, with the parry: “I don’t know, but anytime he has to speak to someone called Tony, he throws up into a galvanized bucket…”

Mike, of course, owns the scene the second he enters, nailing all of the prescriptions, and eventually, yes, grinding up against Josie, as she completely cracks up.

Even better, Mike starts talking about how the train’s arrival makes him ‘fill with sperm’, and Josie slowly walks to the other side of the stage, away from Mike.

Even better, Tony gives one last ‘train’ (which means Mike has to run an aerobics class). Mike takes 5 seconds, realizes the cue, yells ‘TRAIN’, and goes back into it. And then the game ends.

Far more successful than last Charlie, with more emphasis on letting the round run its course, and less on keeping it trim for time.

Interview: Tony, from a children’s program, interviews Greg, Noah.
From: E1

Tony nods as he gets the style, then goes right into it. “…….hello……..today we’ve got Noah.” [weak grin] “……it’s a long word, isn’t it?”

This is a very quick game, but only because Greg mentions that all the animals ‘make a mess all over the ark’, and Tony, motioning to the camera, goes “…are you going to make a mess with us?” So, with the scene heading into ‘everyone at home is pooping’, Clive has no choice but to end the scene.

Rap: Arthur, Sandi, Mike and Josie sing of Dustmen
From: E11

Arthur doesn’t follow the tempo, and thinks he’s got to follow Josie’s story, but he does well enough, and ends with a nice slam at the captain of the English rugby team.

Sandi’s is actually pretty good (“actually, I’m a sanitary engineer”), even if it looked as if it’d end in disaster.

Mike’s, as usual, is the strongest of the group, and he ends what’s honestly one of the better raps they’ve done.

Extra Bits:
-A Rap blooper from E4 where Mike gets tongue-tied, and goes “ah, fuck that!”
-JOHN fucks up a rap in E5, trying it for 2 seconds, going “nah, can’t do it. Fuck it.” Unlike Mike’s, THIS f-bomb makes it past the censor.
-Clive fucks up the opening of the show, and lands in disgust with his head on the desk.
-Paul ruins an Authors take from E3
-The most famous one, cut from E15, where Josie can’t get through a rap about fishing, and Clive…does a really damned good one for her…at which point, Paul stops and says “WHY DON’T YOU GET UP AND DO THIS?” In the background, you can also hear Mike egging him on.

Song Styles: Josie sings a jazz song about an ironing board
From: E2

….Because her reggae one that got into the show wasn’t good enough??

I put this around the same kind of level as the one that made it- good, cute, but not memorable enough to stand out this series.

Film Dub: Paul is taking his driving test from Tony
From: E15

Very haphazard, and very shouty, and relying on a few too many lowbrow jokes.

Party Quirks: Paul hosts
Archie: lounge singer
Jonathan: mad highland dancer
John: from The Great Escape

…..WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO DO ANOTHER ONE WHEN THE ONE THAT MADE THE SHOW WAS SO GOOD?

Archie, while killing it, is sent back to the seats by CLIVE, as apparently Paul’s guess of ‘Frank Sinatra’ was enough to get it? I don’t agree, and the audience doesn’t either, booing as Archie heads back.
Paul: “….that’ll make good television, won’t it?”
Yeah, that’s probably why this one didn’t make air

WHAT’S THIS???? JOHN ACTUALLY ELICITING *LAUGHS* OUT OF ME IN PARTY QUIRKS? He LEAPS into the game on a motorcycle, running offstage. WHY DIDN’T HE DO THIS ANY OTHER TIME THEY PLAYED THAT?

The game ends clumsily, as Clive forces JOHN out for a near-guess, and Paul’s even complaining as he heads back. Maybe they did the second one so that Clive would relax, and thank god he did.

Musical Producers: Paul and Tony describe a musical about hairdressers, sung by Josie and Mike
From: E15

The first segment is great, almost exactly what a musical would be…until Josie, rhyming with bitch, goes “and you’re just a…smitch!”
BUZZ
Paul: “Yes, I’m not sure about ‘just a smitch’ as a rhyme…I DON’T THINK THEY’RE GONNA UNDERSTAND US IN LA!”
Tony: “Yes, or indeed ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD…”

Tony: “How about we set it in Barcelona, and instead of the rivalry they just really, really want to get it off with each other!”
Paul: “YES, YES, LESBIANS IN SPAIN!”
BUZZ
Mike:
Screen Shot 2017-11-20 at 12.18.55 AM.png

The second segment is actually a really sensual spanish sort of song, and both Mike and Josie truly nail it.

Paul: “…..I don’t know, I missed the ‘smitch’ that time around…”

The final segment, again, is something with the kind of harmony you would see on broadway, and with a really impressive final note, at that.

Dare I say it….that was better than Rock Opera. It would have been cooler if they’d put that in. Also, I love how most of these compilations are just showing us how much better E15 would have been.

Best Performer: Mike McShane, for nailing some of the bigger moments in this comp.
Worst Performer: Jonathan Pryce, simply because the little we saw of him wasn’t great.
Best Game: Musical Producers, narrowly edging out Charlie.
Worst Game: Film Dub. Way too frenzied.

SERIES 2 SUPERLATIVES
Best Episode: E7, the Christmas special that brought together 6 of the best performers of this era, and had them take part in some truly great games, including a great 6-person Musical Producers, a crazy Props, and a ton of really good moments along the way.
2nd Best Episode: E5, Ryan and Sandi’s first show, with star turns from both right off the bat, along with a great Remote Control, a fun round of tag, and Expert, one of the best games of the season, which turned into a round of ‘who can screw over each other more’ between Ryan and Tony
Worst Episode: E10. This season didn’t have any truly terrible shows, but this one, with Lee Simpson struggling, Jan Ravens being destructive, Mike and Tony doing their best, and only a fun Tony cock-up in Rap saving it from being forgettable, comes very close.
Best Recurring Performer: Tony Slattery, for OWNING the stage in nearly all of his appearances this season, and making a case for consistent legitimacy on the show.
Worst Recurring Performer: John Sessions. Nearly went with Ron West, but at least Ron showed signs of improvement along the way. John…did not.
Best Guest Star: Paul Rider, a graduate from the school of ‘WHY THE HELL DIDN’T HE COME BACK MORE OFTEN??’ Nearly went with Griff Rhys-Jones here, but the feeling was nayyyy, as was the answer (holy shit, I’m going into Shooting Stars references. What’s wrong with me?)
Worst Guest Star: Chris Langham. I imagine they tried to hype him up as a ‘star’, after a career with Not the 9 O’Clock News, the Muppets, and so on, but…once he tried improv, it didn’t seem as such, at least not completely.
Best Newcomer: Ryan Stiles, for bursting onto the scene and making great improv right off the bat. Sandi and Greg came close.
Performer We Wish Had More Episodes Later On: Griff-Rhys Jones. Because he seemed like he was still having fun.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S02E16, or Bet You Never Expected to find me in your Urine

Onto the compilations. You know the drill- I’ll be judging these games in the context of their specific tapings, and how they would have done had they made it into the episode.

Film and Theatre Styles: Sandi and Mike (two people in a car crash)
From: E11

So…this one was filmed probably after Sandi and Mike’s first F&TS, maybe due to the sadomasochism sequence (“I’ll get the plunger”) being too racy for TV? Ah well, it’s a great pairing either way.

Of the many really good suggestions people offer up, somebody goes “SCOOBY-DOO”, which cracks Mike up, leading to an okay Scooby impression (“THAT’S RIGHT!”). Adam Hills’ is still better (“…RAAGGGY?”)

Sandi, starting with great physicality: “It is NOT MY FAULT that the crash propelled you out of your car, and stuck me in mine! I don’t think you need to shout at me…especially since I’ve got my head through the sunroof, and it’s quite painful…”

War film
Sandi: “Something at nine o’clock…[realizing she’s in the wrong direction]….which is over that way, I think…”

Clive: “Agatha Christie”
Sandi: “I think I’ve discovered something that could be of great importance in the crash.”
Mike: “Yes?”
Sandi: “…..I’ve got no engine and no brakes.”

Mike, in making a point, flubs a line and tongues the rest of his sentence…breaks, and goes with it- ‘STARRING JERRY LEWIS!’
Sandi, answering the question of when she first discovered it was him: “…it was when I first met you at those speech therapy classes…”

The scene ends with a rather compassionate moment between Sandi, now a car-alien being thanks to the Sci-Fi style, embracing Mike, then going “….this could be fun, you know?”

I’d dare say that this scene was more top-to-bottom entertaining than the one we got in the taping, which had the ‘plunger’ moment and that was basically it. Either way, the Mike-Sandi F&TS would have been the highlight of the show.

Duet: Josie and Mike sing a love duet about a food processor
From: E4

This was after Mike’s Chuck Berry number and Josie’s flamenco number. Maybe this one got cut for time, because so much was being spent on Song Styles.

This number is, what else, incredibly sweet, incredibly powerful from both ends, and shows that these two were even better when they worked together. I might have even thrown this one in instead of the Song Styles, as this one was friggin’ phenomenal all-around.

Tag: Neil and Josie start, Mike and Ryan enter later
From: E8

Screen Shot 2017-11-18 at 3.20.00 PM.pngMike: “DON’T LET GO OF THAT, OR THE ELEPHANT WILL GET REALLY MAD!”

Screen Shot 2017-11-18 at 3.20.55 PM.pngNeil: “Excuse me, uh, which way is the olympic games?”
Ryan, teeth gritted: “I HAVE NO IDEA.”

Screen Shot 2017-11-18 at 3.22.15 PM.pngRyan: “Bet you never expected to find ME in your urine!”
BUZZ

Not as good as Ryan’s first round of tag, and had some lulls and references I didn’t get, but still pretty funny.

Interview: John, from the NME, interviews Paul, Peter Pan
From: E3

We see Griff and Ron heading back to their seats, so I’m guessing their Interview wasn’t even good enough for the compilations.

Paul sets this on a good path with a first answer: “It doesn’t matter how many hotel rooms I trash, or how much cocaine I shove up me nose, cause I can always fly out the window before the cops arrive.”

John: “Well, you can’t really play a stratocaster going through the sky in your nightie with an arrow in your ass, can you?”
Paul: “…No, Keith Richards did it in 1965, so…”

Perfectly alright interview, as John was able to at least TRY to collaborate, but Paul was kind of muted…possibly going back to his intense dislike for John.

Rap: Ryan, Josie, Neil and Mike rap about Veterinarians
From: E8

Ah yes, the intensely unmusical Neil Mullarkey having to do rap. Lovely.

Ryan’s was a little quick and didn’t go 100% to the beat, but was funny.

Josie: “Being a vet is lots of fun [begins to crack] sticking my hand up an animal’s bum….”

Not a particularly bad rap, as people were definitely into it, but…still not the greatest singing game for all four. They’d do better once ideas like March, Gospel and…er…Hoedown were introduced.

Props: Paul and Mike vs. Josie and Tony
From: E15

Screen Shot 2017-11-18 at 3.50.00 PM.pngTony: “…hello, do you have an unwanted incontinent elder relative?”

Screen Shot 2017-11-18 at 3.51.28 PM.pngTony: “………HELLO, I’M A MAN WITH A SHOPPING BASKET ON MY HEAD…”
He and Josie break halfway through that one

And, as usual
Josie: “Hello, I’m Esther Rantzen”
Tony: [vomits into prop]

Really nice round, as both pairings were in great moods. Could have used this with the leftover time from Authors.

Song Styles: Josie sings a hymn about a fish slice
From: E13

I think they did this one just to have an extra if the love ballad was too long for air.

This song was still really good, and on the same par as the Love Ballad, which must have made the editors torn when one had to make air. Great rhymes here, too.

Party Quirks: Sandi hosts
Tony: is slowly inflating
Ryan: does everything twiceJohn: a Roman emperor
from: E5

Another playing from this taping? I do agree that the one that made air was a bit too truncated thanks to Clive, but…why didn’t this one make it, then?

Ryan immediately is a champ at this game, by going right into his quirk, pausing as Sandi takes a guess (“there must be an echo in here”), and then continuing as if nothing’s been said.

Again, Sandi is great at guessing. It’d still take her a while to figure out how to interact with everyone.

John, ONCE AGAIN, is a bit too talky in his quirk, but it’s a nice enough game, arguably more of a standard playing than the other one.

Film Dub: Arthur asks Sandi on a date
From: E11

Again, there was a Film Dub in this taping, and it wasn’t good, so…why didn’t THIS one make it in?

(Also, a note that this movie, featuring the hairy gentleman, has been used in a few US WL film dubs)

This one is funnier than the other one, because Sandi sets up a ‘here’s what I want you to do’…and then her character doesn’t talk for a little while, and the guy rests his head on her hand. It’s the kind of film-scene dissonance that’s actually really funny, because of how the performers are reacting to it.

Sandi: “The way your hands are carpeted are just how I want the front one done.”

Again, better than the other one, funnier than the other one, even if Arthur’s still not great at this game.

American Musical- Mike, Josie, Tony and Greg- driving a car, getting up in the morning, and skiing
From: E1

Once again, this is another game that was played in the episode, so…let’s see why this one didn’t make it in.

The opening segment, with Mike and Josie, is actually fantastic, and flows seamlessly throughout, almost as if it was written.

And then, of course, Tony enters and does a variant of his usual dancing character, i.e. “Hi, I’m Ralph, the dancing ski instructor!”

Greg enters and powers the scene to its second segment, which proves he was able to carry a scene early on. It’s a bit odd that they progress to part 2 with all four people there, but it works well because they all have an idea of what they’re doing.

This scene actually has a great ending, with Mike, Josie and Tony skiing wonderfully…and then Greg runs back into the scene and crashes over them. Cherry on top of a scene that would have done great in the taping, possibly in place of the musical we got in that taping.

Best Performer: Mike McShane, barely edging out Sandi Toksvig for having a ton of great games over the course of the night.
Worst Performer: John Sessions, for slowing down the momentum of his games.
Best Game: Film and Theatre Styles, for rivaling the already awesome one we got in that episode, and barely edging out Musical.
Worst Game: Rap, by default, as no games in this were truly bad.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S02E15, or Shut Your Face and Put this Collar On

Tony Slattery! Josie Lawrence! Mike McShane! Paul Merton! The culmination of the last two series of Whose Line. The four best performers in the show’s history up to that point, all on one stage. This…would be good.

Authors: A Day at the Seaside in Singapore having a Hungarian Meal
Josie: nursery rhymes
Paul: Yakoshimo Okomo
Tony: ITV Continuity Announcer
Mike: Mark Twain

Paul does fake Japanese, stopping only to say ‘goulash’ in english, and stopping earlier than the buzzer.

Clive started being more liberal with the buzzer the more everyone talked about prostitutes, but it was a very funny round.

Film and Theatre Styles v1: Josie and Paul, Cinderella meets her Fairy Godmother

Again, this scene works well because of Josie and Paul’s chemistry, and the fact that they’ve done a million of these. In this one, you get a sense of one trying to outsmart the other (sort of like a later Colin and Ryan scene).

Oscar Wilde
Paul: “A man who drinks with the handle facing himself is clearly a liberal. A man who drinks his tea without the cup has clearly gone mad.”
BUZZ
Clive: “…it’s as though Oscar has walked in…”

The 3-D style is a great opportunity for Paul and Josie to go mad, and act towards the camera, sort of like Paul and Ron’s slapstick style from earlier in the season.

A very fun scene, with a nice amount of progression.

Film and Theatre Styles v2: Mike and Tony (recruiting the Magnificent Seven)

The first part of this scene ends with “dog-raper” Tony saying “shut your face and put this collar on” to Mike. As if the prostitution theme in Authors caused Clive enough trouble..
At the buzzer, Paul’s completely losing it in the background, as are both performers, struggling to keep frozen. Tony even goes, motioning to Mike, “don’t blame ME…”

Really good scene, though, even if the rest of it could never match up to the opening laugh.

Song Styles: Toaster
Mike: Gospel
Josie: Motown

Mike, of course, has a rousing, energetic Motown number. It also has a great stinger line: “praise be Jesus the bread…goes in light, and comes out dark.”

Josie starts her Motown number by doing two different backup singer voices, including a deeper one. Which is fantastic- that WAS Motown..

It’s actually a really cool number, with a ton more vocal hookage than Mike’s, ending with a really nice high note, and some nice applause from the audience.

World’s Worst- person to be stuck in a lift with

Josie: “I’ve just been out to buy a carving knife…”
Tony: “…..AIIIIIIIIIGGGHHHHHH!!!!”
Paul: “Hello, my name’s John Sessions.”
[THE AUDIENCE LOSES THEIR MINDS HERE. Josie, Tony and Mike all have nice reactions, too.]
Tony: “MY WATERS ARE BREAKING!!!”
Paul: “Yes, that’s right, Hitler’s the name, what about it?”
Josie, hunching over: “I SHUPPOSHE WE COULD ALWAYS TAKE OUR CLOTHESH OFF AND HAVE SHEXSH!”

Party Quirks: Tony hosts
Paul: obsessed with trivial facts
Josie: a cavewoman
Mike: narrating the party

Paul: “Did you know that Cliff Richard, in a previous lifetime, was a carmelite nun?”
Tony: “I’m sorry, I’m getting terribly bored, would you like a Twiglet?”
Paul: “D’you know that the word Twiglet was invented in 1874 by Gustav Twiglet?”

Josie, sniffing Tony
Tony: “….you’re not Anne Diamond, are you?”

Solid enough round, as Tony did allow everyone to interact, though it wasn’t as clean as last show’s playing.

Rock Opera: carpentry, rugby, washing a car

First of all…this is a really good variant on Musical, as it allows for more melodic moments, and more of an emphasis on guitar than on Broadway-esque stuff. The Mike and Josie section of this game works really well because they can adapt to this style, and once Tony enters, he can work even better with it.

Tony: “I’m a rugby player…and I WANT YOU…TO SEE MY *BALL!*”

It’s even better when Tony, Mike and Josie set up exactly who Paul’s going to be, the Sponge Man, and he enters with a bound, bringing a musical spike with him. It’s even in a way where Paul doesn’t have to sing, and the day can be saved, even if it sacrifices a more concrete ending.

They get a ton of applause at the end of this, and it’s well deserved- this was an incredibly cohesive and fun scene that didn’t have to be overly funny, but was just a really good musical scene.

Overall: Not quite as good as E14, but still a pretty solid finale to a middling season. All four performers did well, though there was a lack of true highlights, save for World’s Worst and Rock Opera. Josie and Tony had the best games of the night, and Mike had some solid moments but mostly played defense. Paul, despite having some nice lines, was a bit off tonight (also, this was filmed close to the Xmas Special), owing to his eventual hospitalization post-season.

Show Winner: Mike
Best Performer: Josie, for a TON of great moments
Worst Performer: Paul, for being quieter than the rest, despite the Sessions slam
Best Game: World’s Worst, for being a stellar top-to-bottom playing. Rock Opera came close.
Worst Game: Authors. It was cohesive enough, but Clive didn’t allow enough time for it to truly blossom.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S02E14, or Whose Front, Though?

Onto the last two episodes of a relatively boilerplate Series 2 (though admittedly less scary-hectic than S1). This one features the LAST RORY MCGRATH EPISODE, thank the lord, as he’d retire to the producer’s office after this. It also features aggressive American comic Ron West, and…thankfully Tony Slattery and Sandi Toksvig.

Authors: Annie the Orphan, Get Your Rifle
Ron: Kurt Vonnegut
Sandi: Enid Blyton
Tony: Marquis de Sade
Rory: Desmond Morris

Note that everyone keeps adding suffixes to their authors after Ron goes with ‘Kurt Vonnegut Jr.’. We get ‘Enid Blyton Sr.’ and ‘Desmond Morris…….the Third.’

Tony: [slaps self] “mmmmmm…”

This is a pretty well-connected round, as everyone’s getting equal time and working together, as well as coming up with really funny stuff.

Very simple scene, but effective because nobody was disrespectful.

Film and Theatre Styles v1- Ron and Sandi- taking a pet to the vet

Sandi: “Well he doesn’t look good, but YOUR TIRES are in great condition, you can see the hull of the tread on the back…”

Sandi’s acting in the horror style is really good, nailing the sort of macabre staccato and eventual romanticism (“WAIT….I THINK I LOVE HIM…”)

Clive: American gangster
Ron: “…so, you’ve been seein’ my dog, huh?”

The reason why this scene works is that Ron and Sandi are able to adapt to each other, and not have any jarring mood changes. Sandi’s able to control Ron’s propensity for more obnoxious, bawdy choices, and reeled him into just naming various animals and getting them into jokes. It’s not THE FUNNIEST, but it’s good improv.

Film and Theatre Styles v2- Tony and Rory (two commandos in a submarine)

Audience member: “FARCE!”
Clive: “Grass?? OH, *FAAAHSE!*”
Rory: “If anyone HAS any grass, by the way…”
Clive, covering for this: “Yes, Rory likes to play football…”

Tony, top of the scene: “….I love you.”
Rory, with the periscope: “….going up…”

The ‘farce’ suggestion actually works well, with Rory lowering his trousers to cover for Tony and Rory’s relationship, to hide from someone coming in. Works even better than Stephen Fry’s dare I say it.
Tony: “Just HIDE…IN THE TORPEDO CHUTE…”

Jackanory style
Tony: “D’you know what we’re going to be doing with our missiles?”
Rory: [cracks]

Advert
Rory: “Ladies, stop shaving your legs!”
Tony: “……BLOW UP RUSSIA INSTEAD!”

This was a very funny scene, owed to the fact that it was so silly to begin with, and got progressively sillier as it went on, while still holding onto the plot. Rory even behaved, which goes back to Tony bringing out the best in bad improvisers in this game.

Interview v1- Tony, from a rock magazine, interviews Sandi, Snow White.

Tony: “So, is it true that you went to bed with each dwarf in turn? Or is that just light gossip?”
Sandi: “Well, I think it’s fair to say that I’ve loved each dwarf individually…in their own special, little way.”
Tony: “….are they very little, in every way?”
Sandi: “Well, certainly Grumpy’s not very big…and I think that’s what makes him quite so grumpy…”

Sandi makes a reference to having Coca Cola and crisps.
Tony: “…yeah, I bet you have 7 up as well…”

Sandi, on her relationship with the Wicked Witch: “well…it’s not been carnal, but we do like to do it looking in the mirror.”

Really great work from both parties- Tony from setting up a character and slinging lines (literally and figuratively), and Sandi in responding well literally every time.

Interview v2: Rory, from TV AM, interviews Ron, Rasputin

Ron has a nice move in getting Rory to interact- Rory spends the first 10 seconds setting up his own character, and the show, without actually getting to the, well, interview. So Ron, trying to get him to the point of the game, yells ‘I AM RASPUTIN, TALK TO ME NOW!”

Rory: ‘What’s particularly grabbing about this morning’s Sun to you?”
Ron: “I thought it was very interesting…that a woman could give birth to a mermaid!”

As Rory ONCE AGAIN tries to NOT-interview Ron, Ron instead complains of Bolsheviks all around the studio, which leads to some really nice saving-of-the-scene.

Ron did great, but…THE NAME OF THE GAME, RORY, IS ‘INTERVIEW’. FUCKING INTERVIEW, RORY.

World’s Worst- Things to say/do at a funeral

Sandi: “His last words to me were ‘I’M COMING, DARLING’, it was so nice- oh, you’re his WIFE…”
Ron: “Uh, yeah, Mrs. Smithers…he owed me ten pounds, if you could see your way clear…”
Tony: “Uh, dearly beloved, ashes to ashes- oh, this is too dreary, we should do something else, uh YESSIR I CAN BOOGIE…”
Ron: “HAPPY NEW YEEEARRR…”
Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 4.34.34 PM.png
Ron: “…..SURPRIIIIIISEEEE!”

Truly great Ron, with fantastic stuff from Ron and Tony

Props: Tony and Sandi vs. Ron and Rory

Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 4.47.01 PM.png

Sandi: “Well, I know it looks a bit vicious darling, but honestly it’ll make sex so safe!”

Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 4.48.00 PM.pngRory: “Salman, it’s a great disguise!”
[Topical joke!!!]

Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 4.49.04 PM.pngRory: “…I now pronounce you man and basket..”

And, of course, the return of:
Sandi: “Hello, I’m Anne Diamond”
Tony: [vomits into prop]

Film Dub: Sandi and Ron

NO SCENE PROMPT???? WHOA.

Actually, the lack of a prompt gets them working early, and it’s a nice little scene. I did laugh at the loud kissing/vomiting noises Ron and Sandi made.
Sandi: “Boy, that’s the fastest we’ve ever done it.”
Ron, as they get cigarettes: “Boy, time for a smoke, huh?”

Ron, reading a letter: “…I’ve been called to the front.”
Sandi: “…whose front, though?”

Actually a pretty nice scene, even when it had every motive to be bad (especially with the lack of a prompt).

Party Quirks: Tony hosts
Ron: thinks he’s a reptile
Sandi: having a secret love affair with Tony
Rory: Accident-prone

Sandi, from the getgo, is amazing: “ooh, someone else is here, TONY, DARLING HOW ARE YOU, you left your watch….”

Sandi, after Ron has a nice line about eating penguin eggs: “Tony, quick word…..you, uh, left your underpants…”

Rory electrocutes himself ringing the doorbell, bellowing out an “OH SHIT!”

After Rory falls off the step, Tony: “…not an England fielder, are you?”

Rory: “Tony, uh…I’ve got a twiglet stuck up my nose…”

Ron: “The rival gang that I often battle is the amphibians…”
Tony: “I dunno, West Side Story?”

Tony barely manages to guess everyone (Sandi does help in guessing Ron).
Clive: “Tony, you really are a natural at that game, aren’t you?”
Tony, bashful: “Oh, I’m sorry…”

Overall: Not a single bad game on the night, and a ton of really nice moments throughout. Everyone behaved, though Rory had a few more flaws than everyone else, even if he still had more highlights than his last time out (especially in Props). Ron had his best show of the season, really standing out in World’s Worst and Film and Theatre Styles, and holding back his more aggressive responses. Sandi and Tony, as per usual this half, excelled, having great lines and great improv throughout. Tony had the better show, just for controlling Rory in F&TS, and just having a very funny show all-around.

Show Winner: Sandi
Best Performer: Tony for the second show in a row.
Worst Performer: Rory, but not without improvement.
Best Game: It was a very close race between Film and Theatre Styles v2, Interview and World’s Worst, but….Interview takes it by a nose, just for the work Sandi and Tony did off of each other. Maybe on another watch World’s Worst takes it.
Worst Game: Interview v2. Still funny, but Rory was adamant about not collaborating with the person he was supposed to be interviewing.