Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S04E08 or ZAIRE? I asked for Lapland!

The Ryan and Greg combo continues its reign of New York, now featuring an appearance from Chip Esten, and the obligatory return of a guy…who’s been here since Series 1…and is only now deciding to leave.

Archie Hahn’s last appearance was…not good. At all. He and John Sessions sank the momentum of a perfectly good Ryan & Mike show. He’s had approximately one landmark show, S02E09, featuring a great round of Sound Effects and a great run in Party Quirks. Now, he’s got a ponytail, and looks incredibly out-of-place among the younger, and, well, better improvisers.

Scenes from a Hat

What, we START with SFAH? Okay then…

Clive: “Arguing over the tip”
Archie: “I got it.”
Chip: “Look, I circumsized him, I get to keep it…”
BUZZ
Clive, as the audience howls at this: “Yes, off to a great, tasteful start…”

Clive: “What else did Noah take with him on the ark.”
Archie comes in carrying some large object
Ryan: “…Budweiser?”
Archie cracks, as that’s better than what he had

Clive reads an incredibly wordy one about two scuba divers, which leads to Chip just floating around stage for 5 seconds…then walking off. Ryan, to at least the scene worth it, runs across as some fish.

Clive: “The last words of a sewer-cleaner”
Chip: “…that lid looks a little smAAAAUUUUGGHHH”

Clive: “A pointless way to die”
Chip, without a choice: “…THAT LID LOOKS A LITTLE SMAAAUUUUGGHHH”

A few too many on-the-nose ones, but still an amusing round. Archie hasn’t made a single joke, though.

Alphabet: Greg buys an airline ticket from Ryan (starting with F)

This is a particularly amusing Alphabet, as Greg wants a ticket to Lapland, and Ryan and Greg wonder why so many people want to go there.

Ryan: “Yes, here’s your ticket”
Greg: “ZAIRE? I ASKED FOR LAPLAND!”

For one of the first few times, they wrap up the scene positively, without missing a letter or getting confused. Even Ryan asks Clive ‘did we skip any?’, possibly referencing the time he forgot the letter O existed

Song Styles: Chip sings a reggae song to Yvette the Receptionist

For the first time, a new Song Styles format, one that’d be used to this day- Chip has to sing to a member of the audience. This works better than the ‘starting/ending line’ one, and allows for more audience participation, which the show hadn’t really had by that point.

Already, the energy that Chip throws into this reggae song is pretty admirable. He has his usual rhyming and word choice (including “sometimes I drop my drawers, and she gives me shorthand.”)

At the end of the day, this is a fantastic song styles, not only in terms of how nice of a reggae song it is, but in terms of how great the lyrics are, and how much fun Chip is having. I wonder now why they didn’t get Chip for Series 5, or a longer tenure. Possibly it was due to the return of Josie Lawrence’s better moods.

Party Quirks: Chip hosts
Archie: thinks he’s been shipwrecked
Greg: elevator operator
Ryan: champion wrestler

This is an extremely quick game, one that’s without much time for the participants to interact, but Chip carries it, guessing each easily, and having nice jokes.

World’s Worst: Person to be a Parent

Ryan: “How many weeks can you leave a baby alone?”
and then, as people are still recovering from his last joke,
Ryan: “She just loves to play with that dry-cleaning bag”

Ryan: “My baby’s not spoiled. They all smell that way…”
Chip: “WITH TRIPLETS, YOU CAN JUGGLE!”
Greg: “Son, you can really take a punch. Now it’s your turn!”
Chip: “…Hi, I’m Clive Anderson.”
BUZZZZZZZZ

You can hear Ryan and Greg doing overexaggerated laughs at Clive’s expense as they head back to the seats

Great round. Archie’s weren’t funny. We’re halfway through and that’s still 0 successful jokes on the night for Archie.

Bartender: Chip tends bar
Greg: angry about no toilet paper
Ryan: has bunions on his feet

I don’t believe Bartender has been done yet on the UK version, and having Chip kick it off is a wise move, as he and Mike would lead it to some amazing starting rounds.

Greg’s verse is a bit lowbrow, and Chip brandishes it off with ‘go on back and you can use my towel’.

Chip is still excellent at backing up at this game, giving an ‘oooohh ooooh’ as Ryan does his verse about only needing one reebok. Chip does hit this one out of the park after a crack-up at a ‘cuttin onions’ rhyme, but he brings it home by suggesting Ryan go to see Dr. Scholls.

Solid game, though not as good as the round of Psychiatrist from e5

Props: Ryan and Greg vs. Archie and Chip

Screen Shot 2018-01-14 at 9.30.28 PM.pngChip: ‘REALLY safe sex!”

Also, Ryan does his first of many ‘you have a table for Madonna’ jokes

Screen Shot 2018-01-14 at 9.32.03 PM.pngChip, with the cleverest pun of the evening: “This is Frankie, that’s a net!”

Film Dub: Ryan tries to get Archie, his secretary, to make him a drink

Not a great one, because Archie manages to disagree with HIMSELF throughout the scene, rather than just yes-anding Ryan.  Just a very haphazard one all around.

Helping Hands: Greg is seeing child entertainer Ryan (w/Archie’s hands)

First of all, I think it’s very amusing that Archie’s head comes around lower than Ryan’s shoulders.

Greg, with two balloon animals, is pissed.
Ryan: “Hey…never hit an adult…”
Greg: [throttles ryan with balloon animals]

There’s no ‘making Ryan eat something bad’ this time, but Archie has Ryan blow up a balloon, and gets it stuck on Archie’s finger. There’s a five second period where Archie’s flailing his arms and Greg’s trying to get the balloon. It may be the only funny thing Archie does all night.

Greg, post-throwing things: “this is bogus! You smell like bourbon!”

Pretty nice game, as everyone was able to keep it high energy, and roll with the punches.

Hoedown: Doing the Laundry

Archie has arguably the worst Hoedown verse ever made. It’s not rhythmic, it’s not in time, it’s not PC, and it’s not funny. George Wendt did a better Hoedown. And that’s saying something.

Again, not an especially good round, but Chip’s verse saves it from being terrible.

Overall: It’s not everyday when one person can drag down an entire show. Archie Hahn wasn’t funny at all tonight, and brought the momentum down with him, as the show awkwardly tried to use him as little as possible. It sort of worked, with Chip and Ryan having some great moments, and having games like Helping Hands, World’s Worst, Song Styles and Alphabet that really rocked. But I can’t really put myself through a show like this again when I know that Archie will only be funny by accident. Arguably the first truly bad show of S4

Show Winner: Archie
Best Performer: Chip, for mastering the games tonight, and having the kind of performance that justifies his usage this season
Worst Performer: Archie Hahn, for…not making a single successful joke on the night.
Best Game: Song Styles. Just a fantastic song by Chip.
Worst Game: Film Dub. Not good.

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