So. How do you follow the departure of two of the series’ finest improvisers? Well…with quite possibly Whose Line’s most ambitious guest starring appearance since Jonathan Pryce was on.
Eddie Izzard, at the time of this taping, was not only one of the foremost stand-up comedians of the time, but he was also becoming a panel-show staple, appearing on Have I Got News for You in Paul Merton’s absence, and taking the UK comedy world by storm. Having him on Whose Line was an UNBELIEVABLE get, and one that would need to keep the show relevant after the Tony incident in E6. Luckily, stacking the panel with people like Ryan, Greg and Steve, who would supplement or compliment Eddie’s bizarre sense of humor, was an inspired, trusted idea.
Remote Control: Lobsters
Steve: The Bill
Greg: Game Show
Ryan: Cookery Show
Clive asks for a general topic all these programs can be about
Audience member: “HUGH GRANT!”
Clive: “Hugh Grant, nice idea, but…I don’t think we could do more than 5 minutes with him, could we?”
Greg: “HELLO, GOOD EVENING, and welcome to OUCH, stop pinching my butt!”
Steve: “We’ve got a crayfish in the third cell, Sarge. [Smirking, coming up with the best pun] It belongs to the Kray brothers.”
Steve’s laughing at that one
Greg: “Oh, I’M SORRY! That means YOU’RE going into the pot of boiling water!”
Ryan, referring to the other suggestion that almost made it: “While cooking lobster, it’s important not to set your oven too high because of global warming.”
Steve, with another one: “Alright, sargeant, take him into the interview room and, uh, grill him for us please?”
Simple game, with some people, like Greg and Steve, going for sillier jokes, while Eddie went for more satirical, longer bits.
Film and Theatre Styles: Eddie and Steve (Hannibal and his elephant keeper)
First of all: HAHA, EDDIE’S PLAYING HANNIBAL HERE, AND IN 15 YEARS HE’D BE ON THE *PROGRAM* HANNIBAL, HA HA HA. There. Got that out of our system.
Steve, picking a Northern voice for his elephant keeper: “I’ll tell you…they’re not gonna go up those bleedin’ mountains, they’re KNACKERED!”
Steve: “How you gonna get an elephant up the alps? You can’t even get one in a ski lift, can you?”
For Ivor the Engine, Steve and Eddie go into fun, campy Scottish accents, much to the delight of the audience.
French with subtitles
Steve: [says something in french, then dubs below] “the elephants can’t go up the mountain.”
Steve: [says something else in french] “It’ll be okay.”
[Ahhh, that’s such an Eddie thing, too]
Steve: “You’ll never get my elephants up there…the strings won’t take them!”
Very fun scene, helped by a really nice Eddie-Steve dynamic, and some great lines from Steve.
Film Dub: Ryan and Greg have forgotten to do something
Ryan, getting up to see his wife: “…Ohhh my GOD, but you’re ugly!”
Greg, matching a random character motion: “If you think I’M ugly…well, look at the floor!”
Greg: “You’ve forgotten to put your robe on!”
Ryan: “Yeeeahhh, I should put it over my head so I don’t have to look at that ugly mug of yours…”
The scene ends a bit clumsily, but it’s still kinda funny, even if it is one-note.
Old Job New Job: Ryan is a dental nurse, Eddie is a patient, and Steve is a dentist who used to be a builder
Steve, as with the last time he was an ex-builder, enters with his ass-crack in full view. The audience response to this is OVERWHELMING.
Steve also spends the scene ordering around Ryan as the nurse, first asking for more sugar in his coffee, then whistling at him halfway through an Eddie line.
Ends a bit too soon, but still another great Steve scene.
Clive: “Steve shoots into the lead there, with some clever witticisms, and one of the funniest cracks I’ve ever…”
News Report: Gulliver in Lilliput. Greg and Eddie in the studio, Steve and Ryan in the field.
The ‘what are they doing while the music plays in’ bit this week is Eddie opening his mouth and Greg looking in it. It might even be a callback to the last game, but Greg goes “is it an abcess, d’you think?”
Greg, immediately: “GOOD EVENING…I’m Red When Excited.”
Greg, smirking as he delivers the blow: “We have a doctor here, who’s both an expert on diminutiveness…”
Greg: “…and the condition of being GARGANTUAN…”
Eddie: “Tall people have always liked to be strapped down, and that’s what that story is all about!”
Steve, noting the obvious with Ryan: “…you’re pretty big for a small person.”
Ryan: “..I’m Jojo, the mutant small person.”
Greg, to Eddie: “Now, Gulliver also went to Brogdavnia, where he was the smallest person there. How does that feel?”
Eddie lets off that small people really rule the world
Greg: “How do small people rule the world, then, doctor?”
Eddie: “By pressing buttons.”
Ryan, as Gulliver: “i love the little people! I like to paint them all different colors and play snooker!…Tie ’em onto long pieces of rope, and use them as a sexual aid, if you know what I’m saying…”
Greg: “Doctor, any safety tips for the children out there who might travel to places where they might end up being tied down by small people.”
Eddie: “Yep. Take scissors.”
A really nice News Report round, with Eddie doing some really silly work from the studio, and Ryan doing great character work from the field.
Props: Greg and Ryan vs. Steve and Eddie
Eddie, using his props as guns: “Okay, I know you’re not loaded, but I’m gonna kill you anyway!”
Greg, doing a David Attenborough impression: “…TO MY LEFT…you can see the exotic Irish Elk…”
Ryan, with the prop between his legs: “Not only do I have blood in my urine, but it’s damn cold out here…”
A better Props round than the last few, with some silly choices all around.
Sound Effects: Ryan and Greg are on the beach
Yes, this is another ‘canned sound effects’ round, but wouldn’t it be cool if Eddie was doing Sound Effects for Ryan or Greg?
Ryan: “How do I look?”
Greg: “I can’t turn, my neck is too muscular.”
Ryan, chuckling: “WHAT neck?”
Ryan says he’s leaving the lifeguard business, “perhaps pick up a new line of business”
As he says this, heavenly church organ music plays
Ryan: “…maybe become an organ donor.”
Ryan dives into the water, expecting to prompt a sound
“…RED ALERT, RED ALERT.”
Ryan: “…I’VE GOT A SUBMARINE!”
Ryan hangs onto the hull of the sub as it surfaces, and there’s a maniacal laugh.
Ryan: “…the crew seems to be happy about it!”
As close as we’re going to get to an audience members SFX, as Ryan and Greg’s responding to these sounds were pretty great.
Film Trailer: The Creature from Essex. Greg narrates, Ryan, Eddie and Steve act it out
Greg, starting: “Just outside of London is a place where women with enormous hair and white stilletos go to bars and dance around their handbags. It’s called…ESSEX!”
Narratively, this is more advanced than previous ones. More than just Greg saying things and then they happen- there’s a conscious story, with Ryan creating Eddie in a lab, which is a very silly sequence, and Eddie going around and killing men.
Greg: “The first man she met, was the first man she wanted to make love to!”
Steve, entering: “HELLO, DARLING!”
Eddie then grabs chest balls and punches him in the nuts.
Greg: “BUT IT ALL WENT HORRIBLY WRONG!”
Greg: “She only stopped twice. Once at an off-license, and later at a cosmetic counter to pick up some white lip gloss.”
Eddie, in a move that always cracks me up
Greg: “Who can forget that night on the cliff, when Tracy found her second victim?”
Steve enters, and Eddie does the exact same crotch grabbing move, which cracks up Steve…and Eddie.
Greg: “YES, SHE REPEATED THE SAME ACTION OVER AND OVER AGAIN.”
Steve: “You’re from Essex, inn’t you?”
Then the actor intros. For Ryan’s, he walks onstage looking at Clive, takes a long pause, then quickly turns to the camera. This is enough to get the audience laughing.
Greg: “And introducing Fiona Lamb, as Tracy. She was the woman who had only the language of love at her fingertips.”
[I die every time]
Arguably the funniest top-to-bottom Film Trailer we got on this show, as this was (I think) the last one that aired. It was more of a coherent story than just a mixture of setups and scenes. Plus, Eddie got more opportunity to shine here, having a ton of fun, and smiling more than he has in the earlier games.
Moving People: Ryan and Steve are two firemen at the scene of a fire
Clive announces the scene as they’re in this position. “You’ve captured the atmosphere already…”
Steve, to start: “…I’ve forgot me bleedin’ helmet! I can’t go in there without me helmet.”
Ryan: “…what a coinky-dinky…”
Ryan gets the movers to get he and Steve to high five…by saying ‘HIGH FIVE’ for 5 seconds until they get the picture. Steve’s mover gets the bright idea to hit Ryan in the face instead, which is a great move.
Steve shushes Ryan for five seconds
Steve: “Listen…I think I can hear gas escaping…”
Ryan, who’s in the same, bent over position: “…I wish I could be of some help to you..”
Ryan: “Look, I thought if I use my OWN hose, then we can put out this fire quickly…”
Steve: “It’s not a very long hose, is it? I’m not getting personal, but it’s not fair…”
Ryan’s mover puts his hand around his crotch area.
Ryan: “…well, there ya go…”
A really funny Moving People, made better by the fact that the movers actually helped the scene get funnier, while Ryan and Steve knew when to react accordingly.
Party Quirks: Greg hosts
Eddie: child come to play in the playground
Steve: getting on the tube
Ryan: circus parade going by
Clive: “Is the party in full swing?”
Greg: “Yes, it’s a come as Greg Proops joke party. ‘OCELOT, OCELOT’ ‘NYEEEEEHHH’ ‘God, you’re bald, Clive…”
Steve’s physicality is pretty great here, being yanked around the stage, and occasionally being crammed between people.
Eddie, however, is just really good, and nails the innocence the quirk’s going for, sort of hanging around in the background.
Ryan’s quirk always cracks me up. He starts with a count off, then comes in as a marching band, racing around Greg, then turning into an elephant, then doing a juggler. Greg finally guesses him, he rolls his eyes and goes back to his seat. It’s the slack-faced-ness that kills me, sort of like his ‘all the dogs in a dog show’ one from US S5, just tiredly doing faces and motions until someone guesses it.
Greg manages to nab Eddie at the last second, which gets some cheers from the audience.
Overall: A great, fun little episode to lead us out of the dark times. Everybody was putting up great work, with a surprising emphasis on Steve, for just having great lines and showcase games all night, and carrying as well as helping others. It was a tough competition though, as Ryan had great moments in Sound Effects and Moving People, Greg had great News Report and Party Quirks rounds, and Eddie, while maybe a show or two away from being completely immersed in what this show was, still was decent enough in his only appearance, having funny moments in News Report and Film Trailer, and being himself as much as he could. Very watchable, very fun show.
Show Winners: Ryan and Greg
Best Performer: Steve Frost, for being in a great mood and working well with everyone
Worst Performer: Eddie Izzard, only for being outshone a bit by the other three.
Best Game: Film Trailer. Hilarious all the way through, and more successful than previous playings.
Worst Game: Film Dub, which was kinda one-note.