Series 5 of Whose Line is its most compact, clocking in at only eight original, non-compilation episodes, one lower than the series that follows. The brevity works, but at the same time, as this has been a pretty solid and light-on-disasters series, it robs us of some more combinations of all of these people at their prime. We could have had a Ryan & Colin vs. Sweeney and Steen episode. We could have had Colin Mochrie work with Paul Merton. We could have had Steve Frost work with Greg Proops instead of Tony Slattery.
Instead, this is the last of the Series 5 shows, and it’s the first of five episodes featuring the classic lineup of Steve Frost, Colin Mochrie, Ryan Stiles and Tony Slattery. It is, in hindsight, the closest thing we ever got to Colin and Ryan vs. Sweeney and Steen, because from here on out, Tony and Steve turn into a rather impressive comedy duo. This is Steve’s only appearance of the year, and one that would cement his status as a usable figure in the show’s future series.
Tony is wearing a fringed jacket that makes him look like someone off of Rawhide. The Doc Holliday jacket gets all the publicity but this one doesn’t??
Film and Theatre Styles: Ryan and Colin (galley slaves)
Clive asks for some American styles for Ryan and Colin
Audience Member: “NEIGHBOURS!”
Clive: “…Neighbours. That’s VERY American…still taking the o-level Geography, are you?”
(Russell Fletcher would be proud)
Clive: “Dougie Howser [looks at Ryan] I think we’d have an unfair advantage there.”
Ryan, the spitting image of Neil Patrick Harris, cracks, not knowing he’d have to endure these jokes for the rest of his career.
Clive: “School play”
Ryan: [feebly waves to someone in the audience]
Colin: [giggles, and whispers to Ryan]
Clive: “Somebody suggested Neighbours, why don’t you do AMERICAN Soap Opera”
Colin: “I think I’m pregnant.”
Ryan: “…came a little close to the oar, didn’t you?…After all, this ship is FULL of seamen, you should have known better.
It ends with a very silly ‘chase movie’ scene, with Colin and Ryan chasing each other with galley pieces. Good enough scene, though, with enough fun touches.
Film and Theatre Styles v2: Tony and Steve (fairground rifle range)
Clive: “…unfunny commercials?”
Tony: “Oh, I’ve done quite a few of those…”
Tony comes in bobbing like a child.
Steve: “How old are ya?”
Tony: “…I’m 42…”
Tony and Steve’s ‘kitchen sink drama’ is a prelude to their Eastenders round from a season or so later, with overlapping dialogue and flaring tempers, culminating in Tony grabbing a gun.
Tony, holding up Steve: “Yeah, who’s in charge now? You, and your grown up…pants?”
Steve hides his crack-up at that.
Steve: “…THAT’S THE GUN….*SHE* USED!”
Steve: “Notice the way the blood is drippling- DRIPPLING? Would you like some gin?”
Tony: “That teddy is beginning to move in a weeeeeird way.”
Steve: “Look, it’s driving the dodgems by itself now!”
Steve: “Not since that flash in the sky while you were asleep last night.”
Tony: “Yes, which was…filmed very cheaply, in a quarry…”
Tony, gesticulating towards Steve’s chest
Tony: “JANET, DON’T! You’re a woman, and-”
Steve, noticing where Tony’s hands are: “…well take your hands off me tits then…”
Tony and Steve are gone.
Funnier than Ryan and Colin’s, solely because the scene went on with more sophisticated jokes and less moving around obviously.
Old Job New Job: Colin buys drugs from Ryan, joined later by Steve, ex-greengrocer
Colin somehow nails the jittery, neurotic nature of someone buying drugs perfectly.
Ryan: “What are you looking for?”
Colin, still shaking uncontrollably: “…downers.”
Steve spends the whole scene shouting, which is an amusing contrast.
Steve: “YOU TELL ME WHAT HE NEEDS, I’LL TELL YOU WHAT I’VE GOT.”
And then, inevitably, Steve: “IIII’M NOT ASKING 5 POUNDS. IIIII’M NOT ASKING 4 POUNDS. I’M NOT ASKING NOTHING- IT’S FREE.”
Ryan: “Wait a minute, you can’t give stuff away for free, this-”
Steve: “Oy…push off, bruv, this is my patch.”
Really well done, amusing scene, with great work by everyone.
Whose Line: Colin and Ryan are at a school reunion.
Colin: “YOU HAVEN’T CHANGED AT ALL!”
Ryan: “YOU HAVE! You’ve, uh, gained a lot of weight and lost a lot of hhh….top…”
Colin, nodding, used to it, “…yeah…”
Colin: “Last time I saw [my ex-wife], she was hanging onto the back of the milk truck saying “take it to the bridge, Mr. Brown, and someone will be along shortly.”
Ryan: “I mean, in your yearbook, under your picture, it said… “quick, let’s rub noses like the eskimos do!” Did you ever get up there, to Alaska?”
Colin: “Yeah, I went up there for 5 years…well, two weeks, their time.”
The last bit is hysterical, because Ryan and Colin attempt singing a song in one voice, which, as you know, never ends well. They end up going with strained, barely-coherent words, the last line, which is ‘a dead duck will never fly backwards’, and finishing off together. A very amusing ending.
I’d put this below a few of the other Whose Lines, as this one was meant to be quicker and we didn’t get a full scene, but it was funny enough.
World’s Worst: Person to be a weather forecaster
Tony: “Hello, my name’s Michael Fish.”
Ryan, stoner voice: “Word is there’s some acid rain headed in over the weekend..”
Steve: “And if the piece of string mooooves….IT’S-A GONNA BE WINDY…”
Colin: “Well, let’s check with the weather snake [beats down]…it’s COLD out there…”
Ryan: “Word is things will be heating up over the weekend, much like that BITCH WHO TOOK ME FOR EVERYTHING I HAD!”
Nice enough round.
Props: Ryan and Colin vs. Steve and Tony
Colin: “…would you like a cup of tea?”
Ryan: “What d’you mean ‘what kind of shark am I?'”
That took me a moment, but very impressive
Steve: “…Pinocchio, it’s gone wrong!”
THAT made me laugh.
Very nice Props round, with the edge going to Colin and Ryan
Song Titles: Ryan, Colin and Steve (in a restaurant)
Colin, as a waiter: “Yes, we have no bananas.”
Steve: “Ah, I heard it through the grapevine.”
Colin, looking at the table: “Where have all the flowers gone??? ANGIE!”
[Ryan comes back in]
Colin: “WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE?”
Funnier than the last one by far, but definitely operated at a stop-start function.
Film Dub: Tony does a new VO track for an advert on shampoo
This is the single greatest Film Dub of all time. I’m not sure if I can give it justice here, but I’ll try.
Tony, going off a waterfall which dissolves to a mermaid abruptly: “Imagine the freshness of a -OH HELLO, IT’S A WOMAN!”
Tony, on the verge of laughing: “Do you want your entire family…to smell of haddock? Well…you…I’m sorry, a bird’s just dumped on my head.”
The rest of the ad goes on, with Tony haphazardly trying to incorporate the random words into the pitch, before cutting back to the woman.
Tony: “Yes, that haddock smell lingers.”
The ad then cuts to a split-screen of two different cups, for a compare/contrast thing. Tony just goes right to work
Tony: “For instance we took…these liquids. One, from an unknown passerby [pause for audience laughter] and the other from the seeea. What’s the difference? One smells of a dirty old man. The other? Smells….OF FISH!”
[That entire excerpt will never not make me laugh. Especially the way he says ‘OF *FISH*”
The last shot is of the woman taking a sniff of something, and smiling.
Tony: “MMMMM, HAD-DOCK!”
That was a golden achievement from Tony, who made every second of what could have been a thankless film dub (like the GLEEN one from 5×02) absolutely hysterical. One of my favorites to this day.
Superheroes: probe heading toward Uranus
Colin: Suction man
Ryan: leg-humping man
Steve: erotic film director guy
Tony: Royal Procession Commentator Man
Obviously the audience laughs at the crisis suggestion.
Colin: [scrubs out his eyes]
Clive: “…you’ve been working on that, haven’t you?”
Clive, describing the crisis to Colin: “A spaceflight is going out of control near Uranus.”
Clive, after Colin’s superhero name suggestion: “I, uh, hope the suction doesn’t get anywhere near Uranus, but…”
Colin, reading the world crisis monitor: “OH MY GOD, THERE’S A PROBE HEADING FOR A BLACK HOLE!”
Colin: “OH, NO, IT’S URANUS!”
[I laughed HARD at that one]
Ryan bounds in, attaching RIGHT TO COLIN, confused
Ryan: “…I WASN’T EVEN PLANNING ON COMING OVER!”
The first few seconds of Ryan’s quirk is hysterical, because the force of Ryan’s leg-humping just sends Colin bobbing along with him, and there’s this great shot of Ryan and Colin swaying slightly back and forth together.
Sure enough, Colin adds more and more suction to Ryan as it goes on.
Ryan: “MY GOD…URANUS IS IN TROUBLE!”
AND THEY JUST…KEEP…COMING.
Steve comes in and starts directing Colin and Ryan
Colin: “BUT WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT THE *PROBE?*”
Steve: “…lick your lips.”
Nobody caught that, but I did.
Tony, upon getting his: “And, as we move…towards Uranus, we can see…”
Steve: “LICK YOUR LIPS, LICK YOUR LIPS!”
Steve is about to say an exiting line, but Ryan’s still humping him, so he freezes, panics, and cracks up. Ryan just looks desperate as he does.
After Steve exits
Ryan: “NO, GIMME ANOTHER 15 SECONDS, WHY??”
Colin, after everyone’s left and the hysteria has lifted: “….I think I’ll have a shower.”
That was an incredible Superheroes game, as everyone was insanely funny, there were several great moments of physicality, and Colin and Ryan alone just cracked me up the entire time.
Helping Hands: Tony learns about wine tasting from Ryan (ft. Colin’s hands)
Ryan: “Bonjour my friend, or as we say in France….’HELLOOOOO…”
After the ceremonial putting-on of the berets, Tony strikes at Ryan first: “I hear there’s this wonderful trick you do, where you put an entire brie in your mouth.”
Ryan takes his moment to recover. This used to be what he’d do with Tony in Expert, so he’s finally on the receiving end.
Ryan: “YOU SEE, THE SECRET OF BRIE, MY FRIEND-”
Tony: “yes, hurry up.”
Ryan, in putting the brie down, knocks over some bottles.
Ryan: “Oh, I have become intoxicated by the CHEESE KNOWN…AS BRIE.”
Ryan: “Would you like a little wine? ‘HOW COME IIIIII DON’T GET TO GO TO MIAMI?” There, a little whine, d’you like that?”
Ryan, pouring: “NOW, WHAT WE HAVE…IS A LITTLE RED WINE FOR YOU, MY FRIEND-”
Tony: “It’s white, you blind twit!”
And then, Tony, realizing there’s still time to screw with Ryan: “I’d love to see…THE BRIE TRICK AGAIN!”
The audience even applauds.
Then, for the last beat of the scene, Ryan throws the brie in his mouth while also pouring wine on it. Clive must have buzzed because he’d seen enough.
A really nice helping Hands, with great Ryan work, and Tony finally fighting back and screwing with Ryan.
Overall: A show that got way better as it went on, with some fantastic work from everyone, and the last-third that did not let up in terms of humor. Obviously the two brands of humor were better when they mixed, as the F&TS rounds exposed how different their humor was, but everything after, especially after a middling 2nd act, was golden, from a top-tier Film Dub from Tony, to an uproarious Superheroes from everyone, and finishing off with a pretty great Helping Hands. Yes, it did take a bit to get to the good stuff, but the mood was pretty electric all night, with some short spurts in Old Job New Job and Props teasing us for what’d come. The workflow was pretty even, though Ryan narrowly edged out Steve and Colin with some great work all night, and a great performance in Helping Hands. Meanwhile, this episode marks the beginning of Tony’s descent into addiction, as he was noticeably less put-together, and cracked up slightly more often than usual, though that didn’t detract from his abilities in Helping Hands and Film Dub. He was still very funny, but his patience was beginning to wane.
Show Winner: Colin
Best Performer: Ryan, once again giving the best performances this series.
Worst Performer: Tony, for being quieter and less put-together than the other 3.
Best Game: Superheroes. Top-to-bottom hysterical
Worst Game: Song Titles, by default.