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.
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-”
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”
Colin: “I’m Hoss Perriwinkle”
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?”
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!”
[The crowd goes wild]
Clive just shakes his head, as if to go ‘really, Colin?’, and buzzes.
Greg: “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
Colin: “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.
Ryan, 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:
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?”
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.