So, we covered Episode 1, and while a bit different, it was still normal for WL, especially considering we’d just gotten off of Series 8. Now…we move to Episode 2, and now things begin to get a little weirder.
This is another Greg-Colin-Ryan, as most of the weirder ones this series are, but the fourth seater is Karen Maruyama, one of the first attempts to breed new blood from North American improv theaters. Karen came from the Groundlings in Los Angeles, and this would NOT be the last time the show would draw from that well (roughly half of ‘The Black Version” has appeared on Whose Line at least once). Karen is also famous for keeping many of her Groundlings connections to this day–she’s still a friend of Ben Falcone and Melissa McCarthy, who cast her in a small role in this year’s Life of the Party. Her best known mainstream role is playing a housekeeper in The Campaign, and she steals every scene she’s in.
Karen would end up being one of the flagship female performers of the early US run, and she often is forgotten about in terms of her contribution to the show. Let’s see how she stacks up to the other three titans of improvisation.
Superheroes: Perishing Elastic (and Painful Nipple Erections)
Greg: Muscle Zimmer Man
Ryan: Seductive Eating Man
Colin: Incoherent Boy
Karen: Shampoo Commercial Woman
In the annals of Greg-Clive banter, one instance reigns supreme. And it might be this very one.
Clive: “Mr. Muscle! That’s not bad. Can we combine that with a little sort of humor as well?”
Clive: “And what is the problem he’s solving?”
Audience member, matter-of-factly: “..Painful nipple erections.”
Clive, shaking his head, turns right to the guy that said it. AS DOES THE ENTIRE PANEL. GREG LITERALLY WALKS OVER AND LOOKS AT HIM.
Greg: “That can’t be right!”
Clive: “Painful nipple erections may be YOUR problem, but it’s scarcely…a worldwide problem. I’ll see you afterwards…hell, I can see you from here. I wondered what was nudging me in the back while I was, ANYWAY-”
Greg is confused by ‘perishing elastic’
Clive, taking the wrong part of that: “Elastic is a substance we have over here, it stretches…and things fall down, and stop.”
Greg, having just about enough of this over the last 7 years: “…when’s it gonna stop, huh? The aggression?”
Clive, without even batting an eye: “When are you gonna give us our colonies back?”
As the audience applauds this, Greg nods.
Clive, trying to get on with it: “So you’re Mr. Muscle, Mr. Zimmer Man-”
Greg, still not done: “YOUR colonies…”
Clive: “And there’s perishing elastic-”
Greg, to the camera: “CLIVE’S colonies.”
Greg: “We call zimmer frames walkers. Just for our American friends.”
Clive: “Oh, okay. They’re crisps over here. And you’re just one letter away from what we call you…”
ANOTHER POINT TO CLIVE.
Greg: “My god, my strength is so enormous that I always crush this zimmer frame. Here, I’ll throw it at the prat with the bald head.”
Ryan: “Sorry I’m late, I was bungee jumpin’ and got stuck.”
Greg takes about 5 extra seconds to come up with ‘Seductive Eating Man’.
Ryan, without batting an eye: “Banana?”
Colin, entering: “Sorry I’m late, but I wasn’t on time.”
Ryan, still deepthroating the banana: “Thank god you’re here Incoherent Boy”
Colin: “……MONKEY LUKE.”
[Gee, I wonder where THAT came from. She goes by Monkey Kinley now, for the record, but I digress]
Karen, entering and ALREADY CEMENTING HER STATUS ON THE SHOW: “Sorry I’m late, I had a PAINFUL nipple erection.”
AND THE PLACE GOES WILD
Karen not only nails her quirk, and has enough asides to the camera, but, and this is a rarity for the UK version, she actually finds a solution to the crisis, instead of just leaving. She makes a proactive choice, and solves the problem. This is proof that the Groundlings actually new a thing or two about objective-based improv.
Colin stands confusedly about
Greg: “It’s time for you to go now! Or as you say, BLING BLANG, POBOLOLOBLA!”
Colin nods and leaves
Ryan remains, still deepthroating the SAME EXACT BANANA
Greg, seeing this: “….not done with that banana?”
Then, as Ryan exits, “to go by some kiwifruit”, he literally moonwalks to the step while still deepthroating the banana. It’s fantastic
A pretty masterful Superheroes playing, as it’s one of the few that satisfies the complete specifications of the game, as well as having 4 really funny Superheroes, some banter, and an actual good solution.
Let’s Make a Date: Greg chooses
Karen: a call girl
Colin: first-time nudist
Ryan: thinks Greg’s the ugliest woman in the world
Clive, explaining the game: “And this could be really fun, or it could just provide Greg with a social life at last.”
Karen goes one step further with her quirk and becomes a Thai call girl, the sleaziest, ending her first round with a ‘i love you hard and long’
Greg: “…well, that answers my first question.”
Greg: “Do you believe in sleeping together on the first date?”
Ryan: “…not without a bag over your head?”
Ryan slowly brings up a ‘sign of the cross’ with his finger
Greg: “You sound very nice and accommodating”
Karen: “Mmmhm, for 5 dollar I treat you real nice”
Greg: “………..I LIKE SHOPPING. If we were gonna go shopping where would you take me?”
Karen: “I would take you to Sporting Good store, where we would buy some ping pong balls and I could keep you up ALLLLL NIIIIIGHT.”
Dear god, why don’t people remember her more? She’s doing great so far
Greg: “CONTESTANT NUMBER TWOOOOOOO”
Colin: “Are these seats vinyl???”
Colin’s physicality in adjusting himself is hysterical, as he’s trying not to show anything. Clive’s loving that
Greg: “Number 3, I love boxing, do you?”
Ryan: “…uhh, it’s obvious YOU do…”
Clive: “And number 3 is?”
Greg: “…A BIG JERK is what he is-”
Clive: “Yes, but who is he pretending to be?”
[FOR SHAME?? Ryan’s one of the nice ones!]
Greg only gets Karen, but it’s still a nice enough version of the game. All three quirks worked really well, and I loved Colin’s shuffling around and nervousness.
World’s Worst- Chat-up Line
Karen: “These implants are biodegradable…”
Colin takes a few seconds before going: “…you know I have wooden legs, and I know how to get rid of splinters.”
As the audience gets it, he has this confused expression, as if he has no idea how he came up with that one.
Ryan: “Sure I like to have sex, but it’s hard to find four or five hours during the day.”
Clive: “…That’s a GOOD line!”
Colin: “….Wanna hear a Hoedown?”
Greg loves that one
Karen: “You look just like my dad…”
Greg: “So, you’re the Duchess of York. D’you wanna go to an all-you-can-eat place?”
Dead Bodies: Ryan and Karen are a boyfriend and girlfriend at the beach; Greg is a muscular rival. Colin moves them all.
Oh lord, this game returns…
This one starts innocently enough. However, eventually Colin realizes that in order for Ryan to successfully apply suntan lotion to Karen, he needs to move her closer, so he tips her chair over so she’s right on Ryan. Thankfully, this is the playing where Karen’s chair stays on the ground.
Of course, Colin slumps Karen over Ryan’s lap, which leads to an easy visual.
Colin, as Ryan: “How’s that?”
Colin, as Karen on Ryan’s lap: “MPHHMSPPHHMMM”
Colin’s next trick is standing Greg up, and then going back over to Ryan and Karen without letting Greg fall. So, as Colin operates Karen, Greg just leans on Colin’s back
Colin, as Karen: “Oh, no, it’s the bully! It’s the beach bully! Stand up for me.”
Colin, as Ryan, with Greg on his back: “…actually I think I’ll sit for a while.”
Colin realizes there should be some sort of conclusion, so Colin, not even moving Ryan’s mouth as much as his bottom lip, goes “…ALRIGHT…I AM GOING TO JUMP UP…TO A HEIGHT OF SIX FEET…GO COMPLETELY HORIZONTAL…AND THEN KICK YOU INTO YESTERDAY, MISTER.”
Colin, realizing the better way of ending this scene, as Greg: “….oh, I’m scared.”
He then shuffles Greg offstage
A quainter, simpler, and slightly less funny Dead Bodies, made great though by Colin’s force of will
Mission Impossible – Greg gives Ryan and Colin a mission to catch hairy caterpillars.
Ah yes. And now we follow the unmistakably hilarious 9×01 playing
Greg, in the intro, is stumbling over a few words, and making some gaffes. He ends with “this…mission will self destruct before this tape makes sense.”
Ryan: “Look, I just want you to know- if I don’t make it back, I want you to have my thong.”
Colin, with some plot convenience: “MY GOD, LOOK! THE HAIRY CATERPILLAR FARM!”
Ryan shakes his head
Colin: “D’YA THINK??”
Ryan: “I hope there’s not admission, I’m broke”
Clive’s cackling at this
Colin and Ryan brainstorm ways to keep the caterpillars
Colin: “I have a better idea. We put one on my head, make it look like hair.”
Colin: “You better go get it?”
Ryan: “Why me??”
Colin: “It’s your last mission! If you die…who cares?”
Ryan grabs the huge caterpillar, and puts it on Colin’s head, when he just starts moving his head around aimlessly, carrying the weight. Then, Ryan holds a mirror up in front of his head and starts combing it.
Ryan, taking after Colin, tries to pull the whole ‘the caterpillar’s ticking’ gag, and throws it off to the side.
Ryan: “…it didn’t explode, he must have just had a watch on.”
Colin ends the scene by doing the ‘Hairy Caterpillar Mating Dance’, which lures them all out of the tree. It’s a fantastic visual, one that Clive can’t help but end on.
Like Dead Bodies, this game paled in comparison to the last playing, but was still a lot of fun, and had some nice moments.
Party Quirks – Greg is the host. His guests are Karen (infomercial for exercise equipment), Colin (keeps waking up during an operation), and Ryan (a dog in a car).
Clive: “I presume the party’s in full swing?”
Greg: “Yes it is, it’s a ‘come as Colin doing a dinosaur’ party.”
[Greg proceeds to do his best impression of Colin’s dinosaur impression. Colin even nods in approval.”]
Clive: “Well, let’s hope he doesn’t. Colin’s very good at doing a dinosaur, unlike, say, you.”
Greg, once again not taking this shit: “…You know I could sit in the chair and smart off, and you could get your butt up here and work!”
Clive, as he rings the doorbell: “You oughta get a better agent”
Greg goes and opens the door, and then closes it, looking right at Clive, going “Oh, I can hold this door closed as long as you have quips.”
The audience applauds this. Greg’s about to open it, and go ‘but I won’t!’
Clive: “What are you hoping to do?? Wear my finger out???? I’ve got loads of practice with this finger!”
Karen’s imitable energy is worthy of attention, as she’s using a strained voice and challenging Greg to hit her
Colin’s quirk cracks me up, especially as he keeps passing out at the exact right time.
Greg, seeing a golden opportunity: “Hey, Karen, look, your date’s here!”
Greg makes the mistake of leaving all 3 onstage together, so the energetic Ryan and Karen and the screaming Colin all blur together
Greg does manage to get everyone, though Colin takes the longest, as his yelling of “I SHOULDN’T BE SEEING THIS” gives it away.
Hoedown: Giving Birth
Greg bobs his head to the opener verse, with an annoyed smirk, as if he’s heard a million of these fucking Hoedowns by now.
Greg: “But when I go into the room and have those little drugs,
I…FUCK MY ASS!”
The audience applauds, and Clive, chalking up another tally for himself, grins.
Greg: “You know…failing is one of the major parts of television…”
Clive: “yeeeeah, yeah…”
Greg does eventually get a workable one out, inverting his original verse to end with “so she doesn’t cry I hope she takes a lot of drugs.” Karen, Colin, and the audience cheer him on.
Karen: “Having a baby should be given to men
Cause, when I had mine I killed my OBGYN…”
Colin: “Just seeing this filled me with ecstasy
The thing I liked best was THANK GOD IT WASN’T ME!”
Ryan talks of being so excited about childbirth that he parks right at the woman’s feet
“They called the police on me, so I’m heading out the door
Apparently because she’s never seen me before!”
BRILLIANT! Great way to end the hoedown, and the show!
Once Clive calls that Greg, Ryan and Karen have won, Colin applauds, only to realize he’s the only one that didn’t win, and slumps back down.
Overall: Not quite as good as E1, but still fantastic, with coherency between all four, and a newcomer that showed only a few signs of immaturity. You can tell Karen was not only well versed in improv, but also studied up on the show after she got the audition, and made sure she was good at the short form rounds as well as the long form rounds she was more famous for in LA. She fit in well with the 3 regulars, especially Greg. Speaking of Greg, he, along with Colin, was one of the two MVPs of the show. Greg’s strength was less involving improv and more involving fucking with Clive, which he did THE ENTIRE SHOW. It was kinda amusing. Colin, though, made the best improv moves, the wackiest moments, and continued his recent streak. Ryan was kind of quiet this show, if we’re being honest.
Show Winners: Ryan, Karen and Greg
Best Performer: Colin Mochrie yet again, for using the best improv moves, especially in games where he wasn’t always the spotlight
Worst Performer: Ryan Stiles. He just had the least to do, imo, aside from the banana deepthroating
Best Game: Superheroes, for being the most well-balanced, and for having some incredible banter at the beginning.
Worst Game: Nothing really stood out as bad, so I’m going with World’s Worst because it had the least amount of funny stuff.