Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S10E07, or I Am About to Call for a Big Teletubby Hug Here..

Three episodes left in regulation for the UK series, then we get to compilations. This one is a repeat of a pairing we’ve seen before: Greg, Phil LaMarr, Colin and Ryan. It worked pretty well last time, and it should work well enough this time. This is not only Phil’s last taping, but it’s Greg’s last UK taping as well. And, as we all know, Greg never appeared on Whose Line again.

[chuckle]

Let’s Make a Date – Greg is the bachelorette. The bachelors are Phil (Arnold Schwarzenegger as a stand-up comic), Colin (an astronaut taking off), and Ryan (impatient driver who gets stuck in traffic).

Phil…nails his. Again, a lot of Phil’s impression-related quirks feel like they belong in a Family Guy cutaway gag, and I say this endearingly.

Colin’s is all physicality, and after a few seconds of prep, he starts to take off, and it’s very silly the amount of power he throws into that.

And Ryan’s, who’s doing his bitter schtick immediately, gets laughs just from the audience connecting the quirk to his demeanor. Already, everyone’s doing really well.

Phil’s one downfall is not emphasizing the ‘stand up comic’ aspect of his quirk; the Arnold is down though.

Greg: “Contestant #2-”
Colin: [tries to grab upward, but is jerked back downward again by the gravity]
Greg: “I like to shop, d’you like shopping on a date?”
Colin: “….we GOT A PROBLEM!”

Greg: “Contestant #3-”
Ryan: “WHAT. WHAT. [cocks gun]”

After Colin is guesses, he turns to Ryan, and, after 3 minutes of pressing himself downward onto the stool, mutters under the applause: “I have no feeling in my nuts right now…”

Greg: “…and #3 is the guy I got caught behind on the freeway on the way over here.”

A solid, pretty funny playing of this.

Animals – Colin is a father playing basketball with his son Ryan, who is trying to tell him about his gay lover, Greg. All three are penguins.

Immediately, this game works, because Ryan has to dribble and shoot a basketball with flippers, and by god it’s hysterical

Greg: “How do I know your son? Why, we kept each other warm all last winter- I MEAN-”
Colin: [astonished shrieks]

Colin: “…alright, everybody, calm down and let’s have some fish”
He then begins to do his impression of a penguin trying to swallow a fish with its mouth. Ryan tries to get another line in here, but cracks up at this visual.

Colin, in a read that makes me crack up in its over-the-top-ness: “AHHH! IT’S! UN! HOLLLYYYY!”

Colin: “Oh, I wish I had longer arms.”
Greg: “So do I!”

Ryan: “Greg, there’s something I have to tell you, too-”
[lays egg]
BUZZZZ

Not as good as previous Animals playings, but not bad either.

Daytime Talk Show – Greg hosts a talk show about Hey Diddle Diddle, with Ryan and Colin as members of the public; Phil is in the audience.

Ryan: “I’m, uh, Rand McNally”
HA
Colin: “I’m Hoss Perriwinkle”
Ryan:
Screen Shot 2019-06-27 at 5.37.22 PM.png

Greg: “Hoss Perriwinkle. Ah, I knew your cousin.”

Greg: “Look, we’re not about that. We’re all about love and sharing and then at the end we’ll throw some chairs.”

I love Greg’s delivery of this: “THE DISH RAN AWAY WITH THE SPOON, MR. PERRYWINKLE. THE DISH…RAN AWAY…WITH THE SPOON.”
Colin collapses in anguish.
Colin: “I GAVE THAT DISH THE BEST YEARS OF MY LIFE.”

The fighting starts rather early in this, with Colin throwing punches at Ryan. Then Ryan runs offstage, Colin chases after him, and…Greg’s just standing onstage alone for a sec.
Greg: “Not sure what to tell you, emotions are running very, very high today.”
Meanwhile, Ryan and Colin just solemnly reenter and sit back down. I just love how accurate this parody is to actual Springer-esque shows.

Phil: ‘YEAH, YEAH I DON’T UNDERSTAND…WHY THE GOVERNMENT SPENDING MONEY…SENDING COWS UP TO THE MOON…YOU KNOW, WE AIN’T GOT DISHES, WE AIN’T GOT SPOONS RIGHT HERE ON EARTH, MAN…”
The crowd loves this.

Greg, after the umpteenth argument: “I am about to call for a big teletubby hug here…”

Phil: “I’m in a relationship with a very lovely fork…and WE SHARE. WE SHARE. WE’RE OPEN WITH EACH OTHER. THAT’S WHAT YOU NEED TO DO.”
Immediately after he finishes, some lady 3 rows behind him in the audience starts clapping and gets everyone else to applaud. Clearly someone knows how this game works.

Then, after another ‘YOU DON’T KNOW HIM’ from Ryan…Ryan gets down on one knee and proposes to Colin.
Ryan: “D’you wanna marry me?”
Colin: “….okay.”
BUZZZ. AND I’M GONE.

I’d put this a step below last show’s playing of this, but this one really heated up as it went on, and Phil did an awesome job from the audience. I also loved that ending. It was like a Questions Only-esque non-ending.

World’s Worst – All four act out the world’s worst ad for a body product.

Ryan: “Find there’s certain parts of your body you just can’t reach to clean? Why not try ‘Midget in a Can’!”
Greg: “How many times have you heard this: “Mom, I’m covered in ocelot juice!”

Ryan does a Greg and refuses to go back up after the buzzer, continuing his ‘make connect-the-dots pictures out of moles’ jokes for nearly 30 seconds. Colin has to begin his tradition of concernedly taking Ryan away.

Phil has a moment where a joke doesn’t go the way he wanted it to, he doesn’t have another line, and he just sort of shrugs at the audience as Clive buzzes.

Colin: “I’m Clive Anderson and I used to have no neck. But now, with new neck insert, LOOK!”
Screen Shot 2019-06-27 at 5.54.24 PM.pngScreen Shot 2019-06-27 at 5.54.50 PM.pngScreen Shot 2019-06-27 at 5.54.58 PM.png[The crowd goes wild]

Clive just shakes his head, as if to go ‘really, Colin?’, and buzzes.

Screen Shot 2019-06-27 at 5.56.18 PM.pngGreg: “Hello. I’m Clive Anderson. I used to have no hair. BUT LOOK!”

Ryan cracks up in the middle of his last one, ‘hemorrhoid taxi’: [slams door] “FAIRFAX AND LA BREA!” [Winces]

Wild playing of this. Liked a lot of it

Props – Ryan and Colin vs. Greg and Phil

Screen Shot 2019-06-27 at 5.58.43 PM.pngColin: “CINDERELLA, CAN YOU STILL HEAR ME?”
[great callback to last show]

Phil is pretty much spearheading his and Greg’s, which is the exact opposite of Ryan’s pairing last show. Phil’s even bringing a ton of energy.

Hell, Phil even gets some recognition applause for his Titanic reference, this being 1998 and all.

Screen Shot 2019-06-27 at 6.00.59 PM.pngRyan, bringing back a good gag from S3-era Tag: “I ruined the whole party, Col…”

Hell, nice round of this one, too. Pretty evenly balanced.

Strange Bedfellows – Greg (Woody Allen), Phil (Jack Nicholson), and Ryan (John Wayne) share an apartment and something has broken down.

A ONE-TIME GAME. AND YOU ARE ABOUT TO SEE WHY.

Clive: “In this scene, you’re 3 guys sharing an apartment, or a sidewalk as we say in England.”
Greg cracks at that one, and Ryan joins in.
Greg: “THE OL’ SWITCHALOOMBA!”

I will never not laugh at Ryan’s reaction to being John Wayne in this:
Screen Shot 2019-06-27 at 6.03.21 PM.pngScreen Shot 2019-06-27 at 6.03.33 PM.png
“…what?”
Clive: “YOU SHARE AN APARTMENT. It’s so obvious, it could have happened.”

On line one, we’ve already got a great gag, with Phil: “I’m NOT GONNA TELL YA AGAIN. You keep your asian hookers OUT OF MY ROOM.”

Phil’s Jack really shines on the “I hear you two through the wall at night, and she SOUNDS LIKE A HOOKER TA ME” line.
Greg: “If I could interject with a point, it’s- the problem is that there’s no wall anymore, you’re hearing right through the wall because there IS…no wall, you see you can go through it as if it were…not there because, in essence …IT ISN’T there…anymore.”

RYAN’S JOHN WAYNE IMPRESSION GETS RECOGNITION APPLAUSE WITH THIS AUDIENCE. Like a welcome recurring character. He walks in, going “THE DAMN ELEVATOR WAS STUCK I HAD TA TAKE THE STAIRS AGAIN.”
And then immediately, he realizes how off the impression is, and just shakes his head and cracks a bit.
But, he has to soldier on: “ARE YA TALKIN’ ABOUT THE…..NOISE LAST NIGHT?”
Screen Shot 2019-06-27 at 6.08.35 PM.png
Ryan’s shaking his head. He has nothing. He has no idea what to do with this scene. And Greg knows it. He just shrugs, while doing Woody Allen noises.

Phil realizes a place the scene can go: “I don’t want you to fighting again, you HEAR ME?”
Ryan, doing the walk again: “OH, THERE AIN’T GONNA BE A FIGHT.”

Ryan, in the middle, realizes how bad the John Wayne impression is: “I’M MOVING OUT OF HERE I TELL YA-it’s nowhere near it, is it?”
Greg, barely able to hold it in himself: “It’s…in the ballpark.”
And with that, Ryan shrugs, and closes the door, shaking his head and leaving. Without a choice, Clive ends the game.

Clive, postmortem: “…that was the worst John Wayne impression-”
Ryan: “I KNOW!”
Ryan, cracking while drinking, tries to do one more John Wayne line. The edit cuts it off.
Clive: “I think in a show of kindness, I am gonna give the points to Colin, because he at least didn’t take part.

So…let’s analyze this. On paper, this may have been the worst idea for a Whose Line game we’ve ever had. All we’re given is three impressions and something that’s broken. It’s not really a scenario as much as it is a sketch comedy idea. It’s hard to improvise something when so much, and so little, has been provided for the scene. So it just sort of limped along until Ryan’s impression exploded and he just left.

Now, was it entertaining? Yes, because you got to see an improv scene implode right before your very eyes. I laughed a lot, though not particularly at lawful things within the scene, but just stuff from the performers just trying to keep it going but failing miserably. Only this era of WL could make a game like this work.

Moving People – Ryan and Colin are a couple asleep when Ryan, the wife, goes into labor.

AT MOMENT ONE, Ryan’s mover just starts moving his torso up, to simulate labor. Good lord, how I love this show.
Ryan: “OH! SOMETHING’S MOVING!”
Colin: “OH MY GOD!”
Ryan: “THE BABY’S COMING! AND MY BREASTS ARE BOUNCING LIKE CRAZY!”

Ryan: “IT’S TIME, IT’S NEVER GONNA COME OUT”
Colin: “IT IS. Don’t forget…I’m a trained plumber!”
Ryan loses it for a moment: “…what d’you mean, we’re gonna have it right here at home?”

Colin says twice that he’s going over to the sink to wash up, but he stays put, and his arm stays on Ryan’s shoulder. Eventually, he has to go: “Don’t worry, part of me will stay behind to comfort you!”
I love his eyebrows as he says that, like he’s just trying something, anything, and it’s not working.

Ryan: “I CAN’T EVEN LOOK. IT’S MY OWN BABY, AND I CAN’T EVEN-”
[Just then, Ryan’s mover whips his head down”
Ryan: “OH MY GOODDD!”

Ryan’s mover gets him down on one knee
Ryan: “I figure if I do this, it might help. This way, when it comes out, I can just lay him right down on the floor…”
Phil’s just shaking his head in the background

In order for Ryan to ‘push’, his mover just keeps yanking his upper body upward, like a crunch, so it’s a complete physical reaction. Even Ryan’s surprised how high-maintenance his mover is.

And this is where Clive ends it. Ryan struggling to stay composed as his mover just yanks him up and down. He’s gotta be exhausted by the end of that.

Wild, hysterical game of this. I wish we would have had a tidier ending beat, though, but I definitely laughed a lot at this one.

Weird Newscasters – Greg is the anchorman; the coanchor is Colin (a stagecoach driver under attack); Phil (Robin Williams) is the sportscaster; and the weatherman is Ryan (a ventriloquist on the edge of a nervous breakdown).

Around this time, you start to see more bizarre quirk suggestions, possibly morbid. Subsequently, around this time, Ron West [yes, THAT Ron West] joined the crew of Whose Line as a quirk-writer and scenario specialist. Every time I see a bizarre, dark quirk, I think ‘well thought could have only come from Ron West’. Between this Ryan one, last episode’s ‘an alien is speaking through him’, and many subsequent ones during the US run, a lot of them could be rooted back to Ron, though I’m not entirely sure.

Greg, bringing back an old favorite: “Good evening, I’m Curved Slightly”

I feel like this taping must have come earlier than some of the other ones this season, as Greg is still leading this like a S9, ‘anchor trying to keep control’-type playing of this. A few earlier playings of this in S10 are a bit more similar to later playings, in that everything is handled with a straight face.

Phil’s Robin Williams is great. Again…not many impressions this guy couldn’t do. I do feel like the edit ended up cutting the second half of his bit, which…you wouldn’t do that to Wayne Brady. Why do that to Phil?

I love the image of Greg trying to throw to Ryan as Colin is in the background, frustratedly trying to put out the fires on the coach.

Ryan’s is very quick, but still funny, with him strangling his dummy, then crying out, cutting his wrists and hanging himself.

Even funnier, as Colin’s still fixing the back of the coach, he undoes Ryan’s rope, as he falls back, going “WHYYY”. A funnier ending than just a hanging.

I do, actually, love the more collaborative nature of this one, especially the ending. As Greg tries to wrap up, you can see a collapsed Ryan in the background, to the left of Greg, crawling on the ground. Plus, as Greg signs off, Phil comes back in to give a ‘nanu nanu’, which is just the right end-capper for this game.

Another really good one. I did not expect this many games to work in this show.

Also, just a note: this credit reading feels like it happened after several credit readings had been taped, or at least at the end of a very long taping. As the title screen comes up, you can hear Ryan go ‘Okay, 12 more games and then we’re out of here’. As if he needed to redo a Hoedown or refilm a pickup for Weird Newscasters or something.

Overall: For the second show in a row, I am pleasantly surprised. I never thought much of this one back in the day, and yet watching it now, I was pretty blown away across the board. I don’t know if it was a 10/10, because…[motions to Strange Bedfellows], but literally every other game got a 9/10 from me. Every other game was lawful, had a ton of laughs, and had great performances in every category. The ensemble games worked (Daytime Talk Show, Weird Newscasters, LMAD), the two-shot games worked (Moving People was hysterical, the quickfire games worked (Props AND World’s Worst were great). Hell, this one’s a Ryan win again, but I had to carefully separate him with Colin and Phil, as all three were in great form all night.

Phil was edited REALLY WELL. After this edit, I wonder, aloud even, why Dan and Mark didn’t recommend him to be on the Drew Carey version. He would have been great! Is it solely because Wayne Brady was a more dynamic performer? They do shows now where it’s two black guys, Gary and Wayne, so having Phil wouldn’t have crowded things. Maybe there was a scheduling conflict with MadTV (which reminds me HEY, RYAN WORKED WITH PHIL BEFORE THIS EPISODE. HOW ‘BOUT THAT?). Bottom line is, Phil LaMarr deserves more respect as a Whose Line performer, if watching his episodes hasn’t made that abundantly clear.

But yeah…this one was pretty great. I don’t know why I remembered E2 more fondly, because not much besides the Clive Press Conference and the Colin Hoedown stand out for me in that one. This one…might be one of my new sentimental favorites.

Show Winners: Ryan and Colin
Best Performer: Ryan Stiles. The big man was on a roll.
Worst Performer: Tough one, but…Greg had the least amount of highlights. He just did a lot of proctoring tonight. And not much else.
Best Game: …frickin’ Moving People, man. That one just cracked me up.
Worst Game: …do I even need to say it? I wrote a book about why it didn’t work, man.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S10E06, or I’M A BRONZE GOD!

I have not figured out UK WL’s preoccupation with the cast of Cheers. First George Wendt comes on, and now Catherine O’Hara, star of Cheers but also SCTV, every Christopher Guest film, and also Schitt’s Creek, comes to Whose Line for a show. If O’Hara didn’t have improv experience, which she does, I’d be more worried. But at least O’Hara’s presence gives us a second Canadian on the program.

Colin, Ryan and Greg are standing by, as well.

Ryan has gotten onto his tradition of pretending to do something during his intro.

Let’s Make a Date – Catherine is the bachelorette. The bachelors are Greg (an alien invader is speaking through him), Colin (horny Tarzan), and Ryan (a compulsive liar).

Catherine: “It’s been a really, really long time since I’ve been on a date…basically cobwebs, SO…”
It’s good to have her on the show, man.

I love how, as Greg’s doing his alien bit, they cut back to Catherine, and she already looks bewildered.

Greg: “All of you, go out of your homes. Put your underwear on your head. Clive Anderson is in charge now, he will be the man who gives you your orders.”

Colin is cracking me up without doing much.

And Ryan ends his by going “I have the largest penis in the world.” Colin gives him a LONG LOOK for that one.

I’m surprised this one only went one round, but…eh, works for me, I guess. Funny enough on initial stuff.

Fine enough round. Nothing that stood out too much.

Home Shopping – Ryan and Colin attempt to sell a book of someone else’s opinions, indigestion simulator pills, and a rusty bathtub.

Ryan: “I don’t have an opinion of my own, but I don’t need one with someone else’s opinions. Hey, this is the best book I’ve ever read! [pause] That one’s MINE.”

Ryan: “Hey Colin, what’s that? Looks like some sort of salt-shaker, is it?”
Colin: “…YOU NAIVE FOOL.”

Colin looks like he’s stretching for a lot of his explanation.
Ryan: “And what could you do for the extra time you’re not eating”
Colin: “…PERHAPS….READ A BOOK!”
Ryan, off the book: “…You are one smart man. That one’s mine, too.”

Ryan, on the rusty bathtub: “Wait a minute, I’m going to Hawaii, but I don’t wanna be white when I get there…”

Ryan: “WHY…[looks in book]…I’M A BRONZE GOD!”

I loved that one because it just kept building off itself as it went on, leading to a really bizarre and fun ending. Better than the first game, too.

Hats: Dating Service Videos

Screen Shot 2019-06-27 at 1.34.50 PM.pngRyan: “Just the thought of me dating you makes me say ‘WHOOPI!”
Funny, and prophetic

Greg briefly reprises his role from last season as ‘the guy who won’t leave after Clive buzzes him midway through his joke’, with a jockey hat on

Screen Shot 2019-06-27 at 1.36.14 PM.pngThe audience doesn’t let Colin start for another 10 seconds, just wowed at the novelty of this hat. Even Catherine looks over and emits an audible “…my god”
Colin: “And I never break!”

Screen Shot 2019-06-27 at 1.37.32 PM.pngGreg: “I am Vishnu, the Destroyer”
Clive: *buzzes before he gets too worked up*

Colin, in a pilgrim hat: “…you’ll be giving thanks ALL YEAR ROUND..”

Screen Shot 2019-06-27 at 1.39.11 PM.pngGreg: “….hello, I’m Colin Mochrie-”
BUZZZZZ
Colin:
Screen Shot 2019-06-27 at 1.40.07 PM.png
Greg, still going: “SOMETIMES I LIKE TO GO OUT IN DISGUISE AS GREG PROOPS.”

Ryan, with a cow’s head: “…..are you in the MOOOOOOOOOOD?”
BUZZZZZZ

A pretty classic Hats round. My only gripe was Catherine’s lack of participation, but she tried.

Daytime Talk Show – Greg hosts a show about Cinderella; Ryan and Catherine are members of the public; Colin is in the audience.

Greg: “Hello everybody, I’m Proop Doggy Dogg”
the audience goes wild at this, but I love when they cut to the audience and:
Screen Shot 2019-06-27 at 1.43.02 PM.png
He just…stands out.

Ryan: “I’m Jim Phillips, I own Phillips Rent-a-Pumpkin”
HA

Catherine does a really fun characterization here, building off of Ryan’s character and saying that his pumpkin rentals are to blame for everything. It’s a very old-school improv approach to this, and…perhaps if this show were still shot in the UK, she’d be getting more laughs.

Ryan gets a bigger laugh by making fun of Catherine’s lispy way of speaking.

Colin gets so exasperated, as a rival horse-and-buggy salesman, that he just explodes into his words after a beat: “…..WHO WANTS TO BUY A PUMPKIN???”

Catherine, to Colin: “I CALLED YOU! I CALLED YOU! ‘Press one if you’d like a carrot, press two if you’d like a fruit?”

Ryan, taking Colin’s orange shirt into consideration: “This man has been standing outside my business for two months, trying to take my business, DRESSED AS A PUMPKIN…”

And again, because Catherine’s stuff builds on itself, it doesn’t get immediate laughs. So Greg has to cut hers short and make another outward joke about her character’s strange manner of speaking.

Colin returns as Catherine’s ex-husband: ‘She’s been pulling stuff like this for years. She once rented five peas…just because she could…SHE HAS A RENT-A-VEGETABLE-OR-FRUIT PROBLEM…AND…there’s no one to help her!”
Catherine: “The peas went under the mattress, you liar, because I wanted to FEEL SOMETHING!”
Colin:
Screen Shot 2019-06-27 at 1.51.31 PM.png

Greg: “Let’s not get into a vegetable judgment situation here, alright?”

Ryan: “I don’t…I don’t actually own the pumpkin rental business…I’m an actor, your producer hired me.”
BUZZZZ…wait, why end it on that line?

A really, REALLY good playing of this. All four had funny stuff to do, Catherine did a hell of a job essentially leading this scene into a really funny place, and Colin was just funny as audience members. This one really felt like a cohesive, live scene.

Props – Ryan and Catherine vs. Greg and Colin

Screen Shot 2019-06-27 at 1.54.16 PM.pngGreg: “Excuse me, Salvador Dali, what time is it?”

Greg: “We’re the presidential elves! Let’s push the button, while he’s gone!”

Not a great Props round, as Ryan did all the heavy lifting for he and Catherine, and none of his were especially original. Greg and Colin had some funny ones, though

Foreign Film Dub – Colin and Catherine act out the Hungarian film “The Greatest Banana,” translated by Greg and Ryan.

Note that Greg FINALLY claps back at Clive on his turf, as he goes for ‘The Greatest Banana’
Greg: “When you say Banana, you mean…Ba-NAH-na…”
Clive: “I thought you pronounced it ‘tomato’
Greg: “Let’s call the whole thing off…”

Greg: “You know I lost all my muscles in that bizarre paprika accident…”

Catherine, who’s doing great in this, does an aside to someone at the end of her line.
Ryan, at the end of his: “D’you think that’s good, my little midget friend?”

And, of course:
Colin: [rolls off a long, emotional Hungarian line]
Greg: “….SO???”

Ryan: ‘AND NO LONGER WILL I HAVE TO LISTEN TO YOUR BAD JOHN WAYNE IMPRESSION. ‘ROUND ‘EM UP, PILGRIMS'”
Colin does a line, then goes into his bad John Wayne from last show, in Hungarian
Greg: “You think my John Wayne impression isn’t what it ought to be? [John Wayne impression] WELLLL TAKE YOUR BANANA AND GET OUT OF HEARHE..”

Catherine, at the end of her line, kisses Colin’s arm
Ryan, at the end of his line: “mm-mm-mm: you taste like pork!”
BUZZZZZ

A really nice playing of this one, too. This game rarely works, IMO, and yet a combo of the zeal of Colin and Catherine, the tricks they tried to pull on the translators, and how funny the translations were, just kept me enjoying the whole thing.

Party Quirks – Greg is the host. His guests are Catherine (just can’t remember names), Colin (trying to go round a fairground in record time), and Ryan (everything he touches becomes enormous).

Catherine’s first move always makes me smile: “AWWW…Greg, thank you so much for wearing the nametag…”

Greg guesses Colin easily, but Colin’s quirk is so funny that it doesn’t bother me.

I’ve always loved Ryan’s, because it’s just bizarre physicality stuff. Like, as he’s ringing the doorbell, he’s just being more and more wowed by it as it gets bigger and bigger.

And then he slaps his head, only for his head to grow even bigger. It’s so silly, but it works.

Clive gives Greg 5 seconds to guess Ryan
Greg: “Uhh…you’re here to make my life a living misery, and make Clive feel superior to me”
Ryan: “OHHH, IT’S SO OBVIOUS GREG, I-”
[Ryan scratches his balls, and THEY grow enormous]

Once Clive tells Greg what Ryan was, he just confusedly facepalms.

Fun round, too. Everyone had a good time torturing Greg

Hoedown: Coffee

Ryan sarcastically leaps to his feet on this one. “Bit more up, Ryan?”

Greg: “When I’m in America, I have a lot of luck
I’ll order coffee from a fast-food place, but it’s hot as…”

Catherine has a different rhyme scheme to hers, which I’ve always found kinda fun. She ends it with a “shove them up my asses” rhyme. Looks like she had fun, though

Colin has a fun approach, by doing his Hoedown as if he’s taken several cups of coffee, doing his lines at double time, jittery, without a lot of coherency. He finishes by the end of Laura’s second stanza.

This is one of the first few Hoedowns where you can REALLY TELL that they had to go back later and film another hoedown for Ryan, because he’s in a completely different place onstage in the four-shot as opposed to his closeup for his verse. So whichever one he did initially, they must have had to do again. Of course, his final ‘why don’t they take that expresso machine and shove it up their ass’ is…kinda similar to Catherine’s?

A fun Hoedown nonetheless, though.

Overall: I don’t know why this show didn’t seem as good to me from my memories, because this was a really fun one. Catherine O’Hara brought a lot to the proceedings, as you could tell her strengths were in character work and long-form story work. She also worked really well with all four performers, especially Greg, who himself had a really nice night. The show does belong to Ryan, though, for having some very inspired moves throughout the night. The only thing that stops me from giving this a 10/10 is a few minor stumbles from Catherine in trying to place the mood/ideologies of the show, as opposed to the improv performances she is used to. I would have loved to see her on another show, and I actually am interested in how she would have gotten along with a predominantly british panel, like a Tony-Steve-Josie kind of thing. I bet she would have been awesome with those guys, not to downplay her still-good work here.

Show Winners: Ryan and Catherine
Best Performer: Ryan Stiles
Worst Performer: I really don’t want to put Catherine here. I really don’t. Let’s assume the superlative instead is ‘fourth-best’, because that’s honestly what she was.
Best Game: Daytime Talk Show. It could have gone for cheap laughs, but Catherine made it a lot more meaningful.
Worst Game: Props. Just had the least amount going on.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S10E05, or Who are the Damn Norwegians?

Back in Series 4, Whose Line began its second American run of the show by bringing out four North American comedians: Greg Proops, Colin Mochrie, Ryan Stiles and newcomer Brad Sherwood. It was a fantastic show, a highlight of the US trips in general, and a masterclass in chemistry.

Now, a mere SIX YEARS LATER, the producers got the bright idea to repair all four of these guys. How Steve-Brad-Ryan-Colin got like 5 shows and this matchup only got 2 will never cease to confuse me.

Superheroes – Amnesia is breaking out all over the world, but here to save the world are Sticky Man (Greg), 70s Disco Boy (Ryan), Kama Sutra Boy (Colin), and Captain Bullshitter (Brad).

Greg: “Amnesia’s breaking out all over the world! How can I let people know this problem if they’ll forget immediately?”

After a few seconds of disco dancing, Ryan just cracks a smile. He can’t believe it either.

Greg: “Amnesia’s breaking out all over the world!”
Ryan: “I know, I heard earlier, but I forgot!”

I’m sad that the camera angle isn’t showing Colin’s face when he hears his superhero name, though perhaps he’s funnier, as he just stands there and stares at Ryan for a few seconds.
Then, he just goes through a few positions, just…absentmindedly.

One position lands Colin on the floor, thrusting upwards…so Ryan starts dancing on top of him. Meanwhile, poor Brad’s just trying to figure out what his superhero name is.

Colin, realizing he should probably name him: “…thank god you’re here…..Captain Bullshitter?”
He then shrugs, like, “that’s all I got”, and continues doing positions and licking Brad

Brad, to Greg: “That suit is really slimming!”
Greg nods, then realizes, and walks upstage, baffled. The audience loves this.

A very funny game of this. Probably right on par with this group’s other playing of this [“LOOK AT HIM, IT’S POULTRY IN MOTION!”], but still a lot of fun collaboration going on

Sound Effects – Colin is Tarzan waking up in the morning and encountering dangers in the jungle. Ryan provides sound effects.

Ryan wakes up Colin with a loud bird noise. Colin just turns it off like an alarm clock.

Colin gets some information from a bird…then it shits on him, so Colin wrings out its neck. I love the little ‘D’OH’ noise Ryan throws in.

Colin prompts a full Tarzan yell, and Ryan does a…strained, over-the-hill sort of throaty yell.

Then, after some mouth spray, Colin has Ryan do another Tarzan yell…and holds it for as long as he can. So Ryan, after about 6 seconds, takes a loud breath and continues.

A really fun playing of this. A lot just worked.

Quiz Show – Greg hosts “Wheel of Fish”; the other three are contestants.

With this name, I feel like Brad would be a better choice of host, but here we go with another Greg-proctored game.

Clive, getting the suggestion: “Wheel of Fish! I think we have that in England, but…”

Colin: “I am Name Withheld, and…I am from a small city somewhere you’ve never heard of.”
Ryan: “I’m Jimmy Lucas, I’m a Mormon, and I have 46 children”
Greg: “So you’ve never seen this show, because you don’t watch TV at night…”

Greg, of course, is nailing the game-show-host style, just rapidly listing out the rules to a round without coming up for air.

Ryan, on the first fish displayed: “Who is Pamela Anderson”
Greg: “CORRECT”

Colin, on the audio clue: “That was an act of cod?”

Brad comes out to spin the wheel…and of course, everybody gets pelted with fish as he does.

Greg, with the funniest line of the game according to Clive: “Well, it looks like you’ve landed on shrimp…so it’s time to do the dance!”

Then, after Brad’s shrimp dance, Ryan, OUT OF NOWHERE: “Who are the damn Norwegians?”
I’m gone

Greg has them end it by singing, unison, the Wheel of Fish song. It kind of meanders and everyone kind of does their own thing, but it’s still very funny.

A very silly, pretty well-formed game. Definitely funny enough to warrant its placement.

Hey You Down There – Colin and Ryan act out a documentary about hunting in the wilds, narrated by Greg.

Third game tonight proctored by Greg. And yet Brad really hasn’t had a chance to be showcased yet. Hm.

I’m gonna say this now in case I haven’t said it before: Greg’s HYDT voice is absolutely perfect.

Greg: “Remember, don’t shoot anyone who’s your friend!”
Ryan: [shoots Colin]
Colin and Ryan: [laugh about it]
Greg: “…Ryan…”

Ryan and Colin fire bullets at an english squirrel…then Colin keeps firing…then he starts beating the carcass with his gun. Ryan’s panicked face here is priceless.
Greg: “You should try talking to your family more before you go on these trips, Col…”

I also love the visual of Colin and Ryan just picking up the pieces of the squirrel.

Greg: “Won’t everyone be proud at home when [cracks] they see that shredded english squirrel?”
Ryan and Colin: [shake hands, then realize where their hands have been]

Not the best of these I’ve seen, but a relatively amusing one. I think there were a few times where Greg didn’t know where Colin and Ryan were taking the scene, but it all worked out, I think.

World’s Worst – All four act out examples of the world’s worst lover.

Greg, as Woody Allen: “…um…how old did you say you were?”
[At last, a Woody Allen joke that’s aged well]

Ryan: “I feel like making love, but…there’s really no need for you to be here.”
Colin: “…maaaaah”
Brad: “I’m wearing Essence of Chicken”
Greg, as…well, it’s 1998, so guess: “How’d ya….like a position in mah cabinet”

Colin, because it’s 1998: “I’M…THE KING OF THE WORLLLD…”

Props – Ryan and Brad vs. Greg and Colin

Screen Shot 2019-06-22 at 6.03.19 PM.pngGreg: “You’re right, that IS a hell of a case…”

Greg also brings the number of Pam Anderson slams to 2.

And then Ryan realizes where he is, and:
Screen Shot 2019-06-22 at 6.04.19 PM.png

The crowd goes wild. Remember, this is the country that got excited in S4 back when one of the props looked vaguely like a bong.

Three of a Kind – Greg, Colin, and Ryan work at an oil rig. All three are John Wayne.

Oh, god. This one.

The best reactions to who everyone is belong to Ryan, who just dejectedly walks toward the piano, and Colin, who bashfully shakes his head.

We’re two lines in, and already Colin’s trying not to laugh. Colin’s John Wayne is…comically bad, while Greg’s is at least passable. And they’re just trying to stay afloat.

Ryan comes in, and…it’s one of those nights where even HIS John Wayne isn’t working. He just looks at them, shrugs, and keeps doing the walk.

Ryan, as he gets the hose, is already cracking up.
Colin, trying his best: “Let’s put the hose in a….circle?”
Ryan:
Screen Shot 2019-06-22 at 6.08.42 PM.png
[poor guy]
Colin: “And…TURN IT ON.”

Greg, trying to make an innuendo: “Wait a minute, that’s no hose.”
Ryan, with delivery that will almost always make me laugh: “Are you sayin’ I don’t know a hose from A PIECE OF BROCCOLI?”
[Brad loves this one]

Ryan, coming up with a solution to the fire: “I seem to be spitting…maybe that’ll put it out.”
Greg: “Well, maybe if we all say PILGRIM.”
….
Colin, Ryan, Greg: “PIIIILGRIM!”
BUZZ

Clive: “It’s as if John Wayne had come into the room…with just a hint of Norwegian”
Ryan cracks at this.

This is one of those games that…isn’t good, but succeeds solely on how funny it is to watch them struggle. It’s very entertaining watching three men doing passable John Wayne impressions try to stay composed. Ryan was close to going like MULTIPLE times throughout that.

Scene to Rap – All four are at the zoo.

It’s evident almost immediately that while Brad is pretty damn good at this game, Greg…is not. And is kinda comically out of his element. He’d get slightly better over time, I think.

Ryan struggles as well: “Well I’m a nudist, I’m walkin’ round the zoo
I find it’s what the animals want me to do
Walking around like this, it takes some guts
I’m gonna go to the monkeys and give ’em some nuts”
Brad: “Well, I see that you’re gonna give ’em a treat
It’s too bad you couldn’t give ’em more to eat.”

Colin: “I’m the security guard right here
What’s the guy doing? Is he….[dodging an obvious rhyme]…weird?”

Colin: “We can’t have naked people running ’round like this.
Excuse me please, I gotta take a piss.”

I mean, as good of a game as you can get out of this format, but…still a little disjointed thanks to the fundamental flaws in the actual game. Colin and Ryan had funny verses though.

Weird Newscasters – Brad is the anchor; Colin (fishing and landing dangerous deep sea creatures); the sportscaster is Greg (a character from Braveheart); Ryan (auditioning for a porn film) is the weatherman.

Greg has a very excessive scottish accent that has Clive laughing almost immediately.

And, of course, Ryan’s pointing to the weather charts with his member. Why did I think he wouldn’t?

Ah yes, a moment that never would have made it on in the US: Ryan’s character, post-cutaway, starts taking a couple shots to the face. Oh, Ryan…

Brad: “Well, I guess there’ll be…plenty of moisture this weekend…”

Overall: Better than last show, but not as good as the first episode with this formation. I think a lot of the flaws have to do with the general Series 10-ness of this, with a few games, like Scene to Rap and Three of a Kind, that didn’t work, and a few others, like Weird Newscasters and Props, that were such well-oiled machines that it’s hard for the funny to arise naturally. Also, Brad didn’t have many opportunities for showcases, especially compared to the other three. Nobody did too badly, though, and there were definitely some highlights, like Quiz Show, Superheroes and World’s Worst, and this was definitely a good show for the Colin-Ryan duo.

Show Winner: Brad
Best Performer: Ryan, for having a ton of nice moments throughout the night
Worst Performer: Brad, only because we didn’t really see enough of him
Best Game: Superheroes, for having the funniest dynamic moments
Worst Game: Scene to Rap, but mostly because I don’t love that game.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S10E04, or LOOK AT THE DIFFERENT…THINGS…

Right. Let’s pause the list for a little bit, and get back to something people wanna see: the end of the UK Whose Line run. I don’t wanna leave y’all without knowing what happens to Whose Line. It’s pretty ambiguous, right?

So we left off with a killer Karen Maruyama episode, and now we go back into some bold booking strategies for Dan & Mark. Wayne Brady is back this episode, after an impressive debut, and joining him is another veteran of LA’s Groundlings, the very energetic and very gay Patrick Bristow. Bristow is one of those guys that you’ve probably seen in a bit part in something (he’s the tour guide in Austin Powers 1, for instance), and one of those guys who never really found his footing on WL, despite a few tries (one of which, on the US version, didn’t make it to air until 9 years after it’d been taped).

I’d forgotten that Patrick came to this show with a goatee. Oh, 1998.

Colin is introduced as “the man who is to improvisation what viagra is to Bob Dole”, which gets a VERY confused reaction from Colin himself.

Let’s Make a Date: Patrick chooses
Wayne: overdramatic spanish soap opera actor
Colin: in the middle of a pie-eating contest
Ryan: overly smooth airline pilot

Now we’re really getting into the US-style specifications of quirks.

Ryan has a nice reaction to reading his. Clive notices this, as does the audience.

Patrick’s contestant voice sounds like a combination between Kathy Griffin and Carl Wheezer from Jimmy Neutron.

Wayne nails his quirk by the time he goes into rapid, energetic spanish. The audience immediately loves him, too.

I always laugh at Patrick going into Colin’s question, and Colin’s already yanking his head back up from the table. Clive’s laughing at this immediately.

Ryan: “Whatever song it is, I want you to sit back, relax, and I’ll wake you up just before we get there.”
Already we’re playing to Ryan’s strengths
Ryan, after the laughter fades: “Did I mention my name’s Dave?”

Colin, by the time we get to his second question, is already filled up, and is sluggishly going about it. I love that detail, and how tired his face looks.

Patrick gets ’em spot on. It’s a very fine game. Nothing too good or bad, just…works. Which kind of sums up this final UK season, to be honest.

Song Styles – Wayne sings a Barry White-style song to Ashley, a student of astronomy.

I love the fact that Ashley is perfectly fine with having a song improvised about her…up until the part where it’s revealed she has to come onstage for it. Yep, that’ll change the comfort levels.

This one also begins (I think?) the tradition of whenever a pretty girl comes for Song Styles, Ryan and Colin both come downstage and introduce themselves. Never ceases to make me laugh.

Wayne absolutely sells this one, and having Ashley onstage definitely helps, as he’s pretty tactile with her while also throwing in some solid rhymes.

Wayne: “That’s right, Ashley. I dig ya. All the way from your Orion’s Belt…to your Big Dipper…”
After this line, he cracks a little bit.

A very good, very energetic song from Wayne. I do find it weird that all the young college students from this era of WL are all in their forties by now.

Secret – Ryan and Colin are lab technicians working at a sperm bank. The secret is hidden in a porn magazine.

The scene description gets a chuckle out of Ryan.

Clive, to the guy who made the suggestion: “You show…touching familiarity towards the proceedings of a sperm bank”

The scene begins with Colin absent-mindedly shaking something. It looks suggestive. The audience laughs. Ryan, after about 10 seconds, goes “…you gonna share that Coke?”

I’d been getting a bit tired of ones where Ryan came up with the Secret, as Colin’s are better. So once Colin stood there, and paused…and then looked at Ryan, I was worried it’d be another one, like “I can’t think of one, you do it.” But, eventually he spits one out: “there are…plans for a…sperm bank ATM.”

Colin: “Jerry, I thought I told you before, we can’t have the sperm bank machines.”
Ryan: “OH, CAN’T WE?” [PULLS BACK CURTAIN]

Ryan helps demonstrate a voice activation, by throwing a ‘HELLO, COLIN’ towards the ‘machine’. Colin spots this, and Ryan, barely holding it together, goes “…I’m doing the voice now, but SOON IT’LL BE IN THE MACHINE!”

Colin: “Let’s just imagine that for a second, shall we? ALL OVER CORNERS OF THE STREETS, ARE PEOPLE…LINING UP…”
He just looks at Ryan, being very careful not to say anything that can’t be broadcast.
Colin: ‘AND HOW EXACTLY DOES THAT WORK?”
Ryan, who clearly can’t believe he’s about to do this: “…I’LL SHOW YOU…”
BUZZZZZ
Ryan, the second Clive buzzes, looks over, betrayed. Sort of a mock-serious “what, we CAN’T show that?”

Beautiful game of this. So many weird, funny back-and-forth moments without being too complicated.

Daytime Talk Show – Patrick hosts a show about Jack and the Beanstalk; Ryan is the shop owner, Colin is Jack, and Wayne is members of the audience.

Patrick surprisingly nails the tone of the game right from the start, sort of keeping the mood very serious, semi-condescending.

Ryan slowly lets off that he sells “a lot of products, beans, wheat.”
Colin, exasperated: “BEANS. REALLY?”
Ryan: “Hey, nobody forced you to take ’em.”
Colin: “HEY, YA TOOK MY BEST. COW.”

Colin: “I’m Jack. We’re too poor to have a last name, okay…”

Ryan: “Did I FORCE YOU to take the beans, did I say HEY, GIMME THE COW?”
Colin: “YOU TOLD ME IT WAS A CAR.”
A moment for this to sink in. Slowly, the audience laughs at this, especially as Ryan shrugs, and Colin eventually cracks a bit.
Ryan: “I didn’t think ya’d BELIEVE me…”

Patrick: “Okay, well don’t have a fight…”
[He then indirectly motions for them to fight]
Colin: [tackles Ryan]
Patrick:
Screen Shot 2019-06-22 at 4.45.36 PM.png
I think I like this move. It’s sort of like the opposite of the George McGrath “I have no control over these people” attitude.

Wayne: “Excuse me…I’m a divorced mother, recently married and divorced again on the same day…”

Wayne’s performance in this is fantastic: initially wanting to heal Colin with the power of Jesus, then immediately cutting him off whenever he tries to speak. They almost fight, but then Wayne takes out his extensions, and undoes the bra, adding a ‘spro-i-o-i-o-iong’ sound effect.
Patrick: “First of all, ma’am, put your breasts back, we do have security…”

Wayne returns as a member of the sanitation committee who gets in a fight with Ryan. The highlight is when Wayne finally goes “shut up, you lanky bastard, I’m gonna kill you!”

A pretty good Daytime Talk Show playing, but it didn’t do too much out of the realm of ‘good’. Patrick ran a fine ship, Wayne had some great characters, and Ryan and Colin did good work, but there was no startling admission or progression. It was just a scene that didn’t move to point B, especially.

Props – Ryan and Patrick vs. Colin and Wayne

There’s a great one where Ryan and Patrick are just simultaneously contenting the props, and…it becomes clear that neither of them have a good one for this. After about 10 seconds, Ryan just goes “this job sucks, man…”

And, of course:
Screen Shot 2019-06-22 at 4.53.53 PM.png

Wayne: “PUSH, MRS. JOHNSON, PUSH!”
Screen Shot 2019-06-22 at 4.54.12 PM.png

Huge audience reaction from that one.

A very uneven one. Not a lot of ones we haven’t seen before.

Party Quirks – Patrick is the host. His guests are Wayne (strutting pimp from a 70s movie), Colin (a succession of insects hitting a car windscreen), and Ryan (gets tremendously upset by trivial things).

Wayne, immediately: [does ‘rolling down window’ sound] “…wassup, baby…”

Colin’s is just classic WL. I think in the future, they’d give Ryan more of the ‘series of _____ doing something’ quirks, but Colin’s still good at ’em.

Another…very solid game, though Clive had to walk Patrick through Ryan’s.

Greatest Hits – Ryan and Colin advertise “Songs of Camping in the Wild,” sung by Wayne.

Wayne’s 60’s Protest song is great, as he’s essentially doing a boilerplate Bob Dylan impression. It’s very funny, though.

Colin: “Oh…I don’t remember that song at all…”

QUITE OBVIOUSLY Wayne can do a reggae number, and the audience gets on his side well into his second verse.

Ryan: “You know, I don’t feel like selling any of these CDs, I feel like keeping them all. Can I do that?”
Colin: “NO, WE NEED THE MONEY.”

Colin, who clearly can’t think of one: “That GREAT MOTOWN HIT….and here’s the title……..LOOK AT THE DIFFERENT….THINGS…”
Ryan’s reaction is great. He waits for Colin, as if he’s gonna go back and do something else, realizes he is, in fact, going with that one, then looks at the camera and nods.

Wayne, thankfully, takes this mediocre suggestion and sells it, throwing in some energetic dancing and vocal hooks.

Overall: An incredibly okay show.  Only one or two true standout games, but mostly a lot that were more lawful than really funny. Wasn’t anybody’s fault, as Patrick had a surprisingly alright debut, even if he couldn’t hold a candle to the other three (bit of a theme this season). Wayne had the best night of anybody, bringing those singing games to the forefront, and having some fantastic moments all night.

Show Winner: Patrick
Best Performer: Wayne. Two shows in and he’s already killing it.
Worst Performer: Patrick, but look at the competition.
Best Game: Secret. One of the best Secret playings, and that says something.
Worst Game: This is hard, because nothing was downright bad all night, but I’ll go with Party Quirks because it had the least amount to it.