Whose Watchdown is it Anyway US: S01E17, or You’re Not That Good an Actor

Well…it’s that time. It’s time to talk about how and why one of the funniest and smartest comedy minds of our generation, Mr. Stephen Colbert, sucked on Whose Line.

Colbert’s record speaks for himself: he got his start in Second City, and in the improv scenes of Chicago and New York, teaming with Steve Carell early on, then joining the writing staff of the Dana Carvey Show and getting sketch comedy experience. His credits then played like a comedy writing hall of fame: several years as a correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, then eight years as the host of the similar show The Colbert Report, and finally…the latest host of CBS’s The Late Show, where he has remained to this day. To say Colbert is funny is an understatement, and possibly an insult.

So…why didn’t he work on Whose Line? Well, according to Colbert himself, he didn’t know WL would be so dependent on short-form improv. Unlike Ian Gomez, Kathy Kinney and Phil LaMarr, I don’t believe that he saw the show ahead of time in order to prep, and didn’t seem to be the greatest fits for many short-form games, especially one in particular.

This is all from recollection, and Colbert’s retrospective disappointment may not connect to this being a good episode or not. So, let’s see what we’ve got here:

Weird Newscasters: Stephen anchors, Colin, mother doing baby talk to the anchor, co-anchors, Wayne, Bill Cosby, does sports, while Ryan, in love with the camera, does weather

Stephen is dry as all hell as anchor, and I did see him trying not to laugh during Colin’s initial briefing, though his eventual turn back to camera with “Keep us up to date on that, Bill”, got a laugh from me AND Drew

Surprisingly, Stephen’s doing the best so far, because Colin’s was kind of one-note, Wayne’s hasn’t aged well and is ALSO one note, and…now we get to Ryan

Ryan’s is damn near masterful. First he catches passing glances of the camera. Then predicts “a little moisture”, which gets a laugh. Then eventually does a spinning move from a 30s romance movie, spinning about under the camera, singing something. It’s pretty graceful, especially given Ryan’s usual bawdiness

Eventually, Ryan sees the other camera, goes “who’s he?”, then beats the other camera to a pulp
[Stephen, under this, tries to wrap up, but Ryan’s not done. They kept the feed where his mic doesn’t pick up as much, but it’s still audible]

An uneven WN, that’s for sure, but damn if Ryan didn’t bring it

Scene to Rap: Avalanche

As they get up for this, Stephen feigns an excited expression towards Colin. One of the things the producers promised Stephen, according to retrospective interviews, is that they wouldn’t make him rap. And yet…

And then there’s this shot:
Screen Shot 2019-07-30 at 3.01.20 PM.png
…which is great

Okay, the start of this scene is great, because Stephen and Wayne coordinate a very fun skiing dance.

Wayne: “oh look at my, oh look at me
I’m the only black guy here to ski”

Stephen…has a different rhyme scheme than Wayne, and is a bit clumsier, but still has the style down. I mean, at least he’s trying

Ryan does hop in as a ‘St. Bernard’, who gets them to safety, which is a nice touch

Colin’s just as clumsy as Stephen, comes in with a magnifying glass, and…gets stuck on the end of his rhyme, so just goes into the next verse, going “way way way way…SAFER.”
He shrugs

Wayne, at the end, goes “OH…NOW..” thinking the song’s gonna keep going, but it ends…and Drew buzzes. Everyone cracks at that.

An EXTREMELY clumsy playing of this. Which is to say…a Scene to Rap playing

Moving People: Two Navy SEALs at the beach about to embark on a mission to blow up an enemy boat

Drew, on Colin’s mover: “Uh, Bonita’s spanish for lots of bones”

Ryan’s mover is having trouble getting Ryan to smile, so he’s just waving at his cheeks. Drew gives him more direction
Ryan, eventually:
Screen Shot 2019-07-30 at 3.19.00 PM.png

Ryan: “I see something in the distance”
Ryan’s mover drops him to his knees
Ryan: “…it’s VERY LOW in the distance”

Ryan, whose mover keeps raising his arms: “I’m using semaphore!”
Colin, whose mover is only moving his leg back and forth: “…so am I, but just with my legs”

Ryan’s mover pulls his head out from on the floor after 10 seconds: “AGH! I ALMOST SUFFOCATED IN THE SAND!”

Colin, after a crash:
Screen Shot 2019-07-30 at 3.22.13 PM.png

Ryan, whose hand is still raised upward: “…I must be in the german army!”

Colin: “Sir, the boat is right in front of us!”
Ryan, as his mover is just moving his arms periodically in poses: “QUIET, I’M EXPRESSING MYSELF”

Another very clusterfuck-y game, with at least a few amusing moments, but they couldn’t do anything because of the ineptitude of their movers

Props: Wayne and Colin vs. Ryan and Stephen

Screen Shot 2019-07-30 at 3.28.33 PM.pngStephen: “…forgive me father, for I have sinned…”

Screen Shot 2019-07-30 at 3.29.19 PM.pngColin: “whoever killed these smurfs meant business…”

Screen Shot 2019-07-30 at 3.30.15 PM.pngColin, doing a great props joke of this for the second show in a row: “I have brought you the head of Woody Woodpecker”

Pretty damn good Props round. I’m glad Stephen and Ryan worked well together

Greatest Hits: Songs of the Pro-Bowler

Am I the only one who would have loved to see Stephen do this game with Colin?

Ryan, after some bizarre opening tangents from Colin: “…you’re drinking coffee again, aren’t you?”

Ryan nearly cracks before his, as he’s got basically nothing, but comes through with ‘gutterball’ right at the last second. Colin cracks as well

Ryan’s crying as we get back from Wayne’s song
Colin: “Hey, don’t cry, you’re not that good an actor!”
HA! And Colin just goes right back like nothing’s happened

There’s a laugh after Colin gives Wayne his Jerry Lee Lewis title, “bowl me, strike me, spare me?” Is there another connotation here, other than the fact that Wayne has to sing a Jerry Lee Lewis song?

That being said, Wayne’s Jerry Lee Lewis voice is pretty damn good in this.

Wayne high-fives Laura after this one. Must have been another ‘beat THAT’ GH playing, which…have been beginning to tire me out.

Party Quirks: Stephen hosts
Wayne – World’s longest touchdown celebration
Colin – Lobster trying to talk his way out of being cooked

Ryan – Footage of crash test dummies

Colin’s has him immediately facepalming

Colin has me laughing almost immediately, with his little pincer hands. He looks at the appetizers, and goes “…I HOPE YOU’RE MAKING TEA…”

And Ryan is fantastic at his, because he’s great at imitating the moment of impact by having all his limbs just go limp at once, and then going back and doing it again. So far, Stephen seems to have no leads

Wayne is getting all the laughs from Drew by continuing to high-five audience members, hooting and hollering…and he knows Stephen has no clue

Yes, a lot of this is just Stephen looking around, looking insanely overwhelmed by all 3

Stephen cracks a little when he realizes what Wayne’s been doing, which is nice

Ryan just…does his whole motion again. And restarts.
Stephen, still dumbfounded: “…you’re an amoeba”

Yeah, as funny as everyone was being…poor Stephen. He was completely overwhelmed, and not even in a Tony Slattery way

Hoedown: Television

Drew does this in place of Stephen, but I would have loved to see Stephen attempt a Hoedown

A lot of these are ho-hum, but, as per the theme, Ryan’s is good: he talks about how there’s nothing on, and there should just be a show about him, “and it’ll happen when [whispered] I murder Drew Carey”

Forgettable Hoedown for a forgettable show.

Overall: Good lord. Even the Kathy Kinney show had a few games that not only worked, but were funny. What did this show have? Props? Ryan in WN? Party Quirks? Gosh, this one was really dull and uninspired, with no real standout games, and Ryan’s usual standout stuff keeping it chugging along. Stephen seemed to do well when he could, but overall…he was just miscast. I don’t think he was right for this show, and he seemed to know it, even if he was having a good time. Perhaps if he was given one more show, he would have really nailed it and swapped off with Greg Proops, but…as is, he got a better career by not being on WL.

Show Winner: Stephen
Best Performer: Ryan, for just…doing his thing
Worst Performer: Stephen. Poor fella never had a chance
Best Game: Am I really just gonna say Props because it’s easy? Yeah.
Worst Game: Hoedown had basically nothing.

Coming Up Next: Thank god, a Denny show. This means it’ll be a ton better…I HOPE.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway US: S01E16, or Are you my Mommy?

Down to the final five episode of US Season 1, which…if anything, proves how mercifully short it was, especially compared to the better, longer next 3 seasons. This one comes from the same taping as E12, which I liked, as it built momentum as it went on. Hopefully this one will keep momentum strong from the start.

Drew’s stumbling through his opening description, to the point where he just collapses into a ‘figgin’farggin…briggafuggle…”

Superheroes: The crisis is bad wallpaper
Brad: Body and Paint Man
Ryan – Just Back from the Dentist After Invasive Root Canal Surgery Man
Colin – The Exhibitionist Kid
Wayne – Captain Breakdance

Brad’s always fun whenever he starts Superheroes.

At the crisis suggestion, Ryan, like there’s a dog there, goes “BAD wallpaper. BAD!”

Ryan has some great mouth physicality here, unsurprisingly

Colin, as The Exhibitionist Kid, leads to a ton of physical moments, like Ryan tripping over his penis, and Brad suggesting he get rid of some of his “dents and dings”

Thank god Wayne can deliver on Colin’s name, as he starts breakdancing like a pro all over the floor.

I always like Wayne’s surprisingly practical solutions in this game. Like here, he just spray-paints over the wallpaper, says ‘WASSUP’ and leaves

Ryan: [says something very loud in gibberish]
Wayne: [audibly laughs]
Colin: “…I can’t top that, bye”

A solid, if excessively lawful, Superheroes playing. It had some nice laughs towards the end, but I wished they’d collaborated more

Weird Newscasters: Brad anchors, Colin, who thinks he’s in a confessional, co-anchors, Wayne, delivering the sports from underwater, does sports, while Ryan, lost toddler looking for his mommy, does weather

So in two consecutive episodes, we’ve had a tentpole featuring Brad bomb, and then Weird Newscasters bomb. Fingers crossed

Ryan, upon hearing his, looks towards the other side of the audience, looking absolutely betrayed

Colin: “I’ve been very bad, I, uh, shave…….animals…for my own entertainment…and then I make them do high-stepping broadway musicals…”

Wayne’s is essentially a sequel to his ‘intercom system’ WH quirk. Not much else to this one. Of course, by the end, he’s run out of air and feigns floating up, motionless, in the water…

Colin: “I just thought of another one. I have impure thoughts about the teletubbies…”

The opening visual, with just Ryan doing his sad face, gets a rousing ‘AWWWW’ from the audience

After a bit, Ryan walks into the audience, terrified, asking people ‘are YOU my mommy?’. It’s one of those things that just gets funnier with repetition and timing. He starts saying this to a camera, which is also hysterical…and then:
Screen Shot 2019-07-29 at 3.58.32 PM.png
Screen Shot 2019-07-29 at 3.58.43 PM.png

A very satisfying ending visual there

Drew: “‘are you my mommy’…huh…if I had a nickel for every time I heard that…”

Thankfully, a much better WN playing, with funny stuff spread all around

Scenes from a Hat: 

A favorite UK game finally hits our shores. You’ll notice that this playing is more similar to the UK version: you get one, maybe two, suggestions per scene. Very quickfire, very specific

“Playing too hard with the puppy”
Ryan, to Wayne: “Wanna take a run at ‘im?”
Wayne: [kicks field goal]

“If Carol Channing were president”
I love Brad’s move here of only coming onstage to set up the mic for Ryan, as if he knows nobody else can do that impression. Ryan, for I believe is the first ‘formal’ time on the show, goes right in:
Ryan: “I nyeeever made love to that woman. I nyever had sexual affairs with her”
All the while, Brad’s doing the sign language version, complete with dirty signings
Ryan, finally: “…who the hyeelll are you?”

“Least likely person to end up on a stamp”
Brad: “Right this way, Mrs. Lewinsky”

“Famous Last Words”
Brad, not thinking it’d be this easy: “Right this way, Mrs. Lewinsky…”
Wayne, to Ryan: “Trust me, you’ll blend in in Compton…”

“If dogs could talk”
Colin, whilst humping Brad’s leg: “MY WIFE JUST DOESN’T UNDERSTAND…”

Colin: “Hey Timmy, old lady Wilson’s in the well!”

And, of course:
Drew: “People who shouldn’t rap-ohh boy”
Screen Shot 2019-07-29 at 4.10.41 PM.png
This was a meme image for a couple years

At the end of the game, instead of flinging it at the camera, Drew puts on the hat, leading to this visual:
Screen Shot 2019-07-29 at 4.11.27 PM.png

Solid playing of this. From here, we’d sprout some serious legs on this game.

Props: Ryan & Colin vs. Brad and Wayne

Screen Shot 2019-07-29 at 4.14.40 PM.pngBrad: “BRING ME THE HEAD OF FROSTY THE SNOWMAN!”

You get the point that both sides don’t have a ton of ideas, but the executions are fun: Wayne and Brad doing a silly Flintstones car complete with impressions, Colin shrugging as Ryan says “you’ve burnt enough ants today”, and Brad having the jerky-motions of a foosball gamepiece.

Screen Shot 2019-07-29 at 4.17.29 PM.pngRyan: “I’m giving ya three hours to leave town…”

A pretty nice Props round. So far, I’m impressed with this one

Greatest Hits: Songs of the Exterminator

Ryan: “Hi, we’ll return you to your movie, Hoedown: The Neverending Story, in just a moment”
Yeah, he must have done this during pickups. Because pickups also included like 20 hoedown do-overs this taping

Brad does a really good harmonica impression here! It’s a kooky little instrumental, as Wayne’s doing his impression of the bass violin, and Brad only comes back in with vocals to say the title of the song

I love Colin’s delivery, when Ryan asks “boy, they don’t make music like that anymore, do they?”, of just point-blank going “NO.”

Second show in a row that Ryan mentions Saskatchewan.

Ryan confuses the hell out of Colin with the line “and our favorite kind of movie…was 80s rock music”. Drew even laughs at that

Wayne and Brad’s rock number is pretty good. This show is proving that Brad and Wayne do belong together in this game

The lounge number might be their finest, with both nailing the style’s laid-back nature, and both doing simultaneous goofy scatting

A much stronger playing that even last show’s which was more lopsided towards Wayne. Here, everybody had something funny to do, and all three songs were pretty strong.

Helping Hands: Ryan is a highly-strung entertainer at a child’s party trying to entertain birthday boy Drew

Ryan, immediately, to Drew: “Hey, I don’t care if your dad has a television show or not, shaddap…”

Drew, as Ryan pulls scarves: “I see ’em up my sleeves”
Ryan: “D’you see the gun up my sleeve that I’m gonna use on you in about 15 minutes?”

This is a great ‘screwing with Ryan’ moment: as a ‘magic trick’, Colin stuffs two eggs in Ryan’s mouth, then quickly slams on Ryan’s cheeks, so they get spat out in pieces.

The reason I like this one so much is that, for the most part, Ryan and Colin seem to be in sync in order to screw over Drew, like with all the many magic tricks, and the eventual snakes in a can thing. It’s not really a ‘Ryan torture porn’ thing, it’s just as much annoying Drew.

The can of snakes backfires, and Drew has to pull them out and throw it at Ryan
Ryan: “AHAHAHA, oh don’t worry, happens to me all the time”

This comes to an apex when Ryan realizes there’s a custard pie in the center of the table, and Drew doesn’t want any pie.
Ryan, as Colin raises the pie higher: “well I certainly don’t want any pie…”
It’s comedy roulette. They both know there’s a definite laugh if someone gets pied. Neither of them want it to be them.

Ryan, “just to make you laugh”, tries the pie, but on a count of three. Drew, having none of this, launches the pie back at Ryan’s face. Ryan, getting hit with most of it, ducks, getting COLIN a bit hit as well.

The betrayed, pied look on Ryan’s face as Drew tries to wrap up the show is pretty hysterical. He’s flinging bits of it at Drew was we cut to commercial.

A very, VERY funny playing of this. One of the better ones we’ve had, because it didn’t solely feel like the object was for Ryan to suffer. There was kind of a story going on, which helps with these.

Overall: Thank the lord, a MUCH better show. So many solid games, so many funny moments, and so many moments that expanded upon the original episode. You also just had so many casual moments of brilliance, like Brad reprising his joke in SFAH, Ryan’s casual impotence joke in HH, Wayne’s breakdancing in WN, and Colin’s ‘NO’ in Greatest Hits. It also feels like one of those shows where a lot more will stand out to me on a second watch. Helping Hands, Scenes from a Hat, Greatest Hits and Weird Newscasters all felt fully-realized tonight, and Ryan and Wayne both had great shows

Show Winners: Ryan and Colin
Best Performer: Ryan, for just having the best lines all night
Worst Performer: For the umpteenth show in a row, Colin felt very distant
Best Game: Helping Hands, narrowly defeating Weird Newscasters
Worst Game: This one was tough, because no games were bad tonight. I’m gonna honestly go with Superheroes, because it felt less realized than some of the other games tonight.

COMING UP NEXT: Well, we’ve prolonged it enough. Next episode, we reach into Second City for the first time since it got us Ryan and Colin. This time, despite the success the fourth-seater has had in popular culture, it doesn’t go as well.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway US: S01E15, or I am Down with That

Onto another new Greg Proops taping, featuring Ryan’s bright yellow shirt and red tie combination. Maybe it’s because of the general S1-ness of it all, but Ryan’s louder shirts, like his red shirt and blue tie from E12, or the maroon shirt from the last Denny taping, stand out more. Possibly because he wore so many non-contrasting ties this year, though eventually he’d do away with those. For a brief period.

Weird Newscasters: Colin anchors, Greg, a crazed James Bond villain, co-anchors, Wayne, spots his girlfriend with another man in the audience, does sports, while Ryan, a psycho with a chainsaw, does weather

Ryan, audibly, upon hearing his, goes “NO, NO…”
Drew: “Just pretend it’s the weekend”

Greg’s seems mighty tame after the invention of Dr. Evil, but his zeal is definitely there

Wayne runs into the audience to confront the guy. The audience member playing the ‘other man’, playing along, puts his arm around the woman next to him. He’s also great in being laughably dismissive, so…props to him for knowing what show he was showing up to

Wayne pulls a Ryan and does a suicide jump behind the chairs, which works because of the energy Wayne is throwing into this

This one goes off the rails rather quickly, as Ryan goes and chainsaws the legs off Colin’s chair, then goes and attacks the already-dead Wayne with the chainsaw. Colin has to hastily wrap up the game as Drew’s buzzing early.

Aside from Wayne’s, a very hectic, not-particularly-great WN playing.

As the game ends, Wayne is still making eyes at the audience member
Drew: “Hey, man, calm down, it’s just a bit…”

Drew: “Usually I give points to the performers, but this time…1000 points to the bald guy”

Song Styles: Wayne sings to Carly, a fashion designer, as Cab Calloway

Wayne already has the style down pat, as well as the stances Cab would do.

Wayne: “Tell me something, can you design
Pants to fit on my big behind, AAHHH”
Yeah, he’s got this down pat

Not only does Wayne have Cab’s uncontrollable scatting down, but he throws in some well-done audience participation into it. If this were QI, the audience would be winning so far.

A really fun number from Wayne, even if it didn’t do too much in terms of humor

Plus, Laura continues the music as Carly goes back to her seat, and Wayne dances around as he puts the stool back. Already, there’s a fun energy going through the first few games, especially with Wayne

Hats: Dating Service Videos

Screen Shot 2019-07-29 at 12.15.43 PM.pngColin: “Once you’ve had me, you’ll never forget”

Greg, with a Queen mask: “…one hopes you don’t mind dating an old queen”

Ryan has a rubber croc mask, and just…inhales and exhales, so the snout goes in and out. It’s a very amusing, if simple, gag

Ryan, wearing a lamp on his head: “…care to have a three-way?”

Not a bad Hats round, but…not to the standard we’ve had so far

Sportscasters: Ryan and Colin are two plumbers making a house call

Wayne decides to do his in a thick spanish accent, which actually makes exclamations like ‘OH NO, IT’S THE PLUNGER’ even funnier
Greg, who has clearly used this line in a voice-recording session recently: “I don’t care who you are, that has got to hurt”

This does have a funny physical ending, with Ryan shoving Colin’s head in the bowl, and flushing.
Wayne: “The good thing in his defense is he has no hair”

Another game that got silly towards the end, but…I don’t have much to say about this one. It fulfilled its purpose.

Film Dub: Two suitors asking the father for his daughter’s hand in marriage
Colin, Ryan and Greg

Drew: “Let’s go onto a game called Film Dub, shall we, it’s a game called…Film Dub”
The panel cracks at this

Greg, before the clip starts, to Drew: “What’s this game called?”

Greg, in a wonderful accent: “Thees, is a LOVELY naked rendering of your daughter”

Greg: “I would take your daughter away to the highest-”
Greg: “…I’m thinking mountain maybe?”

Ryan: “I could give her everything you can’t”
Greg: “…you do not have a feather in your hat”

Screen Shot 2019-07-29 at 12.27.52 PM.pngColin: “I could teach her how to smoke! Look, my hair’s on fire even as we speak!”

There’s a random shot of a horse and carriage inserted
Ryan, as his character begins to leave: “Oh…nice lookin’ horse. Excuse me…”

…HOW IS *FILM DUB* THE BEST GAME OF THE SHOW SO FAR? This was a really good one, and had so many good lines, and you’d think that something like Weird Newscasters or Song Styles would top it for me, but…FILM DUB is winning so far. Weird show.

Greatest Hits: Songs of the Mechanic

Colin: “We’ll be back soon to the wildlife movie Bertha, the Dyslexic Ephelant”
[From here on out, Colin does most of the ‘we’ll be back to’ titles, and…it’s one of his best innovations]

Ryan throws this line in for the first time: “I know as a small child growing up on the south side of Saskatchewan…”
Colin doesn’t give him the weird look he usually does. Ryan does talk about growing up in Canada a lot for a guy who’s more associated with Seattle

There’s a fun callback here: Colin, right after Ryan names Wayne’s first song, quickly turns to him, wondering if he can beat that. Then Wayne, after he finishes, puts a hand on Colin’s shoulder, as a direct response to that. Even as Ryan starts back up, Colin’s giving him the side-eye

Ryan: “You know, these songs are one bad-”
Wayne, from across the stage: “SHUT YOUR MOUTH!”

Colin does his own variant on Ryan’s line: “You know…when I was a young boy growing up in the hood…”

Colin’s Snoop Dogg song title is “I’m gonna lube ya whether you like it or not”, which makes the audience go wild, and cracks Wayne up

Wayne’s Snoop number is pretty legendary, as he does a ton of good rap tricks, and fits a lot of fun stuff into two verses. The audience rightfully loves this

Ryan, immediately after: “I…am down with that”

Colin, AGAIN calling back to Wayne’s move from earlier: “You know, one of MY favorite artists was Pat Boone!”
Wayne, in response, looks to his left and right, as if to look for another singer
Drew’s gone. It’s a harsh truth Colin pointed out, but at least it wasn’t too demeaning of Wayne.

Colin: “But what we DO have is that great Stevie Wonder hit…Supertransmission!”
[Ryan takes a moment to completely double over laughing]

Wayne’s Stevie number is pretty standard, but he gets the audience on his side easily.

A much better Greatest Hits than most things in this show so far. Thank god for Wayne, and for Colin and Ryan screwing with him, or else this show would be a complete dud.

Hoedown: Surgery

Greg seems pretty fried by this point in the taping (a lot of doing nothing will do that to you), so he limps through this one, but he ends with the slam of ‘his name was Newt Gingrich, and I removed his heart’
If he thought NEWT was bad…

Colin: “Throughout my life I used to laugh like this: HEE HEE HEE
Not so since I’ve had some major surgery
It really was quite horrible, it realized all my fears
Because of that surgery, I now pee out my ears”
Typical bizarreness from Colin. Wayne and Drew love his one

Ryan’s is also pretty great, as he takes his brother to a veterinarian, “so I thought ‘what the hell’ and had him put to sleep”

A solid Hoedown, even if Greg and Drew’s weren’t as good as Ryan and Colin’s

Overall: For the second show in a row, I’m extremely disappointed. A major anchor game fails (in this case, Weird Newscasters), most other games are forgettable (Hats, Sportscasters, Song Styles a little), and even the highlights, like a funny Film Dub, a good Hoedown, and Wayne owning Greatest Hits, don’t amount to much. The barrage of shows that chug along quietly has caught up to me, and we’ve gotten to shows that aren’t doing anything for me. At least Wayne had one hell of a night.

Show Winner: Wayne
Best Performer: Wayne by far
Worst Performer: Colin was quiet tonight
Best Game: Greatest Hits, again by far
Worst Game: Weird Newscasters was a wash

COMING UP NEXT: A second episode from the same taping that gave us E12. More red-shirt/blue-tie madness, and more from Brad.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway US: S01E14, or AAAAROOOOOOOOO!

After the…’success’…of Kathy Kinney’s appearance on one of the prelim shows of US season 1, Drew Carey asked his DCS co-stars to see if anyone else would want to do a taping of the show. I do see his idea here, trying to establish a repertory company with the contacts he had, rather than stretching too much outside his comfort zone by having to audition people. Also, had this trend kept going, could we have seen other people like Diedrich Bader, Craig Ferguson or John Carroll Lynch finding their way onto the WL set? Hell, Bader’s been dragged onto WL-esque events by Ryan, so he would have been a nice fit.

But no…instead, we’d put a finishing point on the DCS crossovers by having supporting actor Ian Gomez, who’d later be a regular on CougarTown, try his hand at Whose Line, alongside Brad. How would it go? Well…let’s find out.

For the umpteenth time, Ryan gives a rehearsed laugh at Drew’s ‘everything’s made up and the points don’t matter’ line. This time, Drew adds a ‘shut up.’

Let’s Make a Date: Ian chooses from Brad, latin american soccer announcer, Colin, turning into the incredible Hulk, and Ryan, Ian’s teenage daughter throwing a tantrum

Brad’s immediate reaction:
Screen Shot 2019-07-25 at 4.28.05 PM.png

Brad’s is great. He nails the fast-talking elements, and the eventual yell of ‘GOOOOOOOOOAL’

Ian: “Bachelor #2…say I was to lose all my hair”
Colin: [furrows brows]

Colin: “Was that a hair crack, because…it could make me mad…”

Brad: “And some day I will buy you a bracelet…of solid GOOOOOOOOOOOOLD”
He goes on so long that he falls off the stool. Ryan’s looking at Drew, hiding his reaction

Colin’s doing a great job with his, jumping around the stage and grimacing. Then, out of nowhere, he swats Brad out of his chair, which is so well timed by Brad

Ryan then has a nice idea, and presents his character as “in love” with Colin; “AND WE’RE GOING AWAY TOGETHER, AND YOU CAN’T STOP US”
At that, Colin PICKS UP RYAN and begins to carry him offstage

Drew is impressed, as am I, that Ian names Colin as ‘Dr. Bruce Banner turning into the Hulk’

Drew: “Of course, Ian doesn’t have a teenage daughter, but if he did, it would look JUST like Ryan Stiles”

Yeah, knowing what we’re up against, this is a surprisingly solid playing of this, with some great collaboration throughout. And knowing what we’re up against with Ian, he came off really well here, with some funny questions.

Moving People: A honeymoon wedding night starts off great, but then goes horribly wrong when an earthquake hits

Drew asks the movers to put Ryan and Colin in posiion
Drew: “Okay…that…oh, TWO fingers is good”
Ryan: [slowly begins to rescind the second finger]

Ryan, his hands outstretched: “I love you this much”
Colin’s mover bends him over completely, so that Colin’s head is directly in front of Ryan
Ryan: “Oh, NOT YET”
Ryan’s mover quickly backs Ryan up so that implication isn’t a thing

Colin: “Do you hear that rumbling?”
Ryan: “A rumble?”
Colin: “Yes, how come you’re not shaking as much as me?”
Now Colin’s mover starts throttling him back and forth

Ryan: “QUICK TO THE FLOOR…apparently you’re feeling it a lot more than I am”

Now Colin’s guy is just moving him up and down on the floor, trying to create the effect of an earthquake, but…again, it just looks suggestive. Ryan’s beginning to crack

Colin: “Let me excite you with my strange [confused expression] uhh…movements”
[Brad completely loses it here]

Then, Colin’s mover accidentally tips him over Ryan’s lap. Then, as Ryan begins to be thrown on top of Colin, Drew has to buzz like 50 times.

Dear god, that one was insane. Not exactly lawful, but pretty damn funny. It got funnier as Ryan and Colin got less and less control of the scene

Weird Newscasters: Brad anchors, Colin, has a five-second memory, co-anchors, Ian, Ricky Ricardo at his wit’s end, does sports, while Ryan, the Wicked Witch of the West, does weather

Colin’s is simple but perfect.

Ian has the impression down immediately, with an ‘EH, EH, EH’ that gets the audience on his side from the start.

Ian: “There’s Sandstrom going down the…that’s not Sanstrom…..LUUUUUUCCCYYYY!”

I mean, as ‘meh’ as Ian’s been on this show, I still love this bit of his. It’s not always good to win with volume, but…damn, he gets it done

Ryan vamps right to the camera for this one, doing a very over-the-top Wicked Witch. It starts out a bit north of Carol Channing, though, which is not the first time someone will make that mistake

Ryan’s ends with his flying behind the seats, then hitting the side wall and falling.

Colin even ends his by just checking his watch and walking offstage. A very goofy ending to a very goofy, but still good, WN playing.

Greatest Hits: Songs of the Ant-Farmer

One of the few times we see Brad play this game solo.

Colin: “As long as there’s been ant farms, there’s been music made about ant-farms. And if THAT ISN’T THE TRUTH…it would be a lie.”

This is one of those where initially they’re setting Brad up for doom. When Ryan announces Brad’s first one is a French can-can number, Drew cracks up

Ryan: “Hey, Colin, where’s your favorite place to listen to this CD?”
Colin: “In the bathtub?”
Ryan: “Really? How would I know?”
Colin: [adjusts collar]

Brad’s ‘sitcom theme’ song even seems to be the backdoor pilot for Title Sequence, which they’ll start playing next season

My one problem with Brad in this game is that he seems to not be on the same page as Laura a few times, either stopping songs too soon or not soon enough, having Laura have to think very quickly. It’s not entirely a bad thing, as his Theme Tune song is hysterical, and has so many weird details the audience loves, but he seems to go one or two beats more than Laura seemed to be thinking

And of course, they throw in the B-52s for Brad, because, as established, THERE’S an impression he can do

Like…2 seconds into his Fred impression, the place goes wild

Not one of the better Greatest Hits we’ve had recently. I was waiting for a standout moment that didn’t especially come.

Funny moment when Drew awards everyone 100,00 points, and Brad points to Ian, as if to say ‘he wasn’t even IN that one’

Party Quirks: Brad hosts
Ian: a gangster being riddled with bullets
Colin: a bad tempered sperm trying to find an egg
Ryan: bloodhound trained to sniff out complete idiots

Brad: “Yeah, Drew’s out of town and I’m housesitting, he’s got a water slide! COME ON OVER!”

Ian’s is immediate and broad, but it is amusing how he’s doing other things, like having a drink, while still getting shot at

Colin, entering: “WHERE is she?”


Ryan’s is simple but never fails to make me laugh. He comes in, and sniffs out Colin, Brad and Ian, nothing. He goes over to Drew’s desk
Screen Shot 2019-07-25 at 5.09.11 PM.png
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[I’m gone]

Brad, throwing a bone: “HERE BOY!”
Ryan, shaking his head and pointing to Drew: “AAROOOOOOOO”

Brad tries guessing Ryan several times, and he’s not getting it. Ryan sighs, walks over to Brad, sniffs
[It’s like a pavlovian thing. Every time I hear Ryan howling, I crack up]

Drew: “Guess what he’s trained to sniff out”
Drew: “NO!”

Brad, getting Colin: “Were you in the marines? Because you look like a merchant seaman!”
Screen Shot 2019-07-25 at 5.13.05 PM.png

Yeah, that was a funny one. Another one that benefitted from being live, and having everyone [especially Ryan] collaborating off each other

Helping Hands: Ryan is a flamboyant cocktail waiter showing off his skills to a female customer, Drew.

Colin casually tosses an ice cube into the glass as Ryan’s talking. The disconnect makes it look skillful. Of course, he misses one right after that

Then Colin starts throwing around the vodka bottle, spinning it as it eventually falls to the floor

I love Ryan’s face when he realizes Colin’s gonna shove olives and onions in his mouth. Colin, to his credit, just keeps going as Ryan eats ’em. Just keeps shoving ’em in there. Then pours the rest of the bowl into Ryan’s mouth. Then, as Colin tries shoving one more olive in there, he spits ’em out into Colin’s hand

And then, Ryan’s facial expression as he shoves the lemon in his mouth is great too. First not believing he has to do this, then getting the full force of the citrus. Colin adds to the effect by flailing his arms around as Ryan reacts

The scene ends kind of abruptly, as maybe something was cut for time, and the shot is on Brad buzzing, not the scene wrapping up. Maybe Ryan did something dirty with the vodka? Not exactly sure

A step down from the last few HH playings, but not bad.

Overall: Another very okay show. First time in a while I can say something didn’t work, and in this show it was Greatest Hits, which was supposed to be the centerpiece. Tonight, it showed how much Brad needed Wayne in this game, as great as Brad has been this season. This show may have been the deciding factor in bringing back Wayne full-time instead of using Brad and Wayne interchangeably. Aside from that, you had some good games, like LMAD, Moving People and Party Quirks, and some okay games, like Weird Newscasters and Helping Hands. As far as Ian is concerned…I honestly think I didn’t see enough of him to make a full opinion. In LMAD and WN, he was fine, and had good lines. I just think if anything cemented people’s opinion on Ian, it may have come in this taping’s second show, which…we won’t cover here for a while. Even the best game here still left a bit to be desired, which doesn’t bode well for its standing when I rank the shows at the end (which I’m doing as I go along on Twitter anyway, @WLIIAWatchdown)

Show Winners: Ryan and Colin
Best Performer: Ryan, I guess, as this was a very Ryan-Colin centric show
Worst Performer: In a controversial pick, Brad Sherwood. Yes, I am saying that Ian Gomez had more standout moments than Brad, because he did more character work. Brad proctored a lot of games, and kind of blew GH.
Best Game: Party Quirks. AAAROOOOOOOOO.
Worst Game: Greatest Hits.

COMING UP NEXT: Greg Proops is back, and Ryan Stiles has a yellow shirt on.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway US: S01E13, or There’s Enough of me for Everybody

On with the S1 shows we go; this one is a second episode from the taping that gave us Episode 8, which was a Denny show that I liked, but didn’t love as much as her second taping, the unstoppable E10. Since we’ve gotten several obvious games out of the way from this taping (LMAD, Props, Greatest Hits, Party Quirks), hopefully we’ll get some variety here.

Questions Only: Trouble breaks out in a wild-west saloon

Drew, introing the game, makes the verbal faux pas of ‘we’ll see who doos the best’, which the audience laughs at. He buzzes himself out for that

Denny and Wayne have a really competent first round, but Wayne ‘wins’ when he comes closer and goes “don’t you want a REAL man?”, which makes Denny walk off in disgust

Ryan, coming in with his…randomly great british accent from UK S07E10: “Have you got the time?”

Ryan, trying to fit in though keeping the accent: “Y’all from around these parts?”

Colin, coming in: “How’s it goin?”
Ryan, now playing piano: “D’you have any requests?”
Colin: “what d’you play?”
Ryan, taking a moment: “…Do you know…the way to San Jose?”
Colin: “How does that go?”
Ryan: “….I’d…”
Ryan: “I can’t do it!”

Denny: “Could you help me if I tell you I’ve got the bandit upstairs tied up in my bedroom?”
Colin, being Colin: “what?”
Screen Shot 2019-07-24 at 5.01.55 PM.png

Colin: “Do I look like a boy scout?”
Denny, tired of holding in laughs: “…YES YOU DO!”

Ryan, back behind the piano, in song: “DOOOOO YOOOOU KNOWWWW…?”
Colin: “Can you do it on key?”
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Ryan: “What key would you like it in?”
Colin: “…G or F?”

Really funny scene. All four had funny bits in this, which…means I’ve been underestimating Denny for the last 12 years.

Song Styles: Wayne sings to Marie, who does step aerobics, in the style of Prince

Wayne doesn’t do Prince very often on the show, but he’s great here, owning the sexiness, the vocal range, and the eyes.

Wayne, in a PERFECT Prince inflection: “When I said I didn’t like the way you danced, I LIIIEEDEEEUUGHH…”

Barely above average for most Wayne songs, but the impression keeps it over.

Drew: “You know, I’d give you points for that, but I’m never gonna be able to get that screech out of my head”

Dead Bodies: A Deleted scene from The Graduate: Mrs. Robinson (Mary, from the audience) is seducing Benjamin (Ryan) when her daughter [ELAAAAIIINE] (Denny) comes in. Colin moves them all around

Oh lord. This game finally comes to America, after…what I can only imagine have been several failed attempts foiled by censors

Drew starts his intro by saying he loves this game. We cut to the four shot, and Colin is shaking his head. He…must not.

Mary says something to Colin when she gets onstage, and Colin must reassure her, because as Drew explains the concept, Colin pats her on the shoulder. She must be nervous.

And as Drew keeps explaining the scene, Mary keeps cracking, which…Drew calls her out on [“you can’t be laughing, you’re dead”]

So Colin begins this scene by having Mary reenact the poster for this movie:
Screen Shot 2019-07-24 at 5.16.49 PM.png
And he even has her smoke a cigarette…which gets Drew cracking up immediately

Colin, as Mary: “I’m having trouble with my…”[tilts head]”…CABLE”
Mary even laughs at this one

I’d say Denny came in a bit early, but…it’s easily rectified by Colin, who knocks her unconscious

Colin, as Denny: “I can’t believe, mom, that you’re here with my boyfriend-”
Colin, reaching to work Mary: “…huh?”
[Mary cracks at this a bit, too. She’s gotta be amused by the whole thing]

Then Colin has to bring Denny over to where Mary is, so now he’s carrying one body.
Colin, as Mary: “…now let’s act like adults.”
Colin then realizes the irony and cracks himself.
Colin, as Denny: “Act like adults, you’re stealing my boyfriend!”

Then Colin has to work Ryan, so he reaches all the way across, keeping Denny standing just on the strength of his back alone.
Colin, as Ryan: “There’s enough of me for everybody!”
Drew: [dies]

Then Colin realizes he has to carry both Denny and Mary at once, which he stumbles with. Now Mary’s cracking. Denny has to bite her lip. Drew is COMPLETELY gone [huh, wonder why he loves this game].

It’s even funnier when Colin just has Ryan do ‘eeny-meeny-miney-mo’ over Denny and Mary. It just keeps getting sillier

Colin, as Ryan: “…whoever gives me the deepest, longest kiss…”
Screen Shot 2019-07-24 at 5.24.17 PM.png

I always laugh at how Colin, in response, just has Mary and Denny interchangably go “…alright…sounds good…”

There are few things more amusing than Colin trying to orchestrate a love scene with Ryan and Denny while moving them both.

The kicker is the final moment, when Denny falls over onto Ryan’s lap, and Colin responds…by having Ryan’s arm start miming smacking her butt. The audience erupts at this.

Dear lord. I have to check my notes, but that might be my favorite Dead Bodies playing. Yes, I might like it better than the 8×02 UK one with Rory waking up halfway through. That was…hysterical top to bottom.

Sound Effects: Colin is a hairdresser with a busy day, and all his colleagues have called in sick. Ryan does SFX

Ryan starts with a very funny detail, having a muffled, gibberish voice telling Colin he can’t work today. He then shifts into a female muffled voice, goes “OH’ITSHARD’, and then goes back to the man’s voice, and hangs up. Always classy with Ryan

Colin starts cutting a customer’s hair.
Ryan, eventually: “AGH!”
Colin: [holds up ear]

Eventually, Colin just snaps that customer’s neck, apologizes to…the audience, I think, and continues.

Another great gag: The blowdrier doesn’t work, so Colin puts it down…and blows by himself. So he gets it started manually, then grabs the dryer and…it turns off. And repeat. Colin’s exasperated face here kills me

Around the third time Colin took out a person’s neck in this scene, it got to me. It just kept getting sillier and sillier

Hell, the scene just ends with Colin throwing the bodies in the river. Ryan even adds in a disembodied ‘aaah!’

A pretty great SFX scene. One of the more morbid ones of this era of the show

Drew: “Well, I guess somebody has a little anger for places that cut your hair”
Colin: [playfully raises eyebrows]

Weird Newscasters: Denny anchors, Colin, acting out scenes from a soap opera, co-anchors, Wayne, a middle aged woman who’s proud of her body, does sports, while Ryan, Tarzan sensing his woman is in danger, does weather

Colin, nailing the tone: “…HOW can you be so calm, Ling-Ling…WHILE you’re CARRYING MY BABY…”

Colin’s is so silly that Drew bursts out laughing near the end

Wayne: “HELLO…[looking down]…HelLO…”

Wayne: “Who would have thought? Fifteen kids and DAAAMNNN, look at that.”

Ryan: “Mm, rain come weekend, make thing wet.”
[So…he’s done Frankenstein on here…he’s done Tarzan…he’ll probably do Tonto. Jeez, he’s all three singing SNL christmas characters…]

Then Ryan starts swinging across the area behind the chairs [not the first time this area would be used in a WN playing], crying for Jane. I love how instead of the camera switching to the four-shot, the shot just stays with Ryan, back and forth, even dirtying it with Denny and Colin occasionally

He then squares off against one of the cameras

Ryan, coming back carrying something: “Ah, me got Jane. OH, NO JANE…[looks down, cracks]…ugly man…”

Not a bad one of these, but not as good as the Frankenstein one. Yes, Ryan’s quirk was great, but it wasn’t as cohesive as some of our better ones

Hoedown: Birth

As Drew announces this, Ryan just stays back at the chairs, in awe.

Wayne: “Thank goodness for my mom, that I was made
It was 27 years ago, that my dad got laid
That’s right, you see, upon closer inspection
I’m standing here cause he didn’t use protection”
A classic verse, but…ABC censored the word ‘laid’, which, to me, is a load of horselaid

They cut to the wide shot, and Ryan’s already got his pissed stance. Either Wayne just took his or, for the second show in a row, he has NOTHING

Denny’s is pretty good, saying every woman’s lament after labor is saying to the husband “you jerk, you got to do the fun part, and I’m doing all the work!”

As we know from the outtakes, Colin took SEVERAL TRIES to get this Hoedown done. He was having serious trouble. The one that eventually made air, this ‘straw passing a melon’ one, is…shoddy, but at least he finished it. The second he does, he just gives a confused expression.

Ryan: “I came out of my mother at exactly 10 to 5
Everyone ran around and yelled ‘it’s alive'”
I’m already laughing at that bit
“I can’t really blame them, I guess it was kind of scary
Everyone tells me I resemble Drew Carey”
And so begins Ryan’s trend of just slamming Drew whenever he can’t think of a verse.

Great hoedown, though. Everyone had good verses except maaayyybe for Colin

Stand Sit Bend: Drew and Ryan, two Cleveland Indians fans, have turned up at the big game to find that Colin, a rival fan, is sitting in Ryan’s seat

I love the scene description already, because it appeals to Drew as a Cleveland sports fan…and it leaves Canadian Colin completely out of the loop.

Drew: “Who you rooting for anyway?”
Colin, covering: “…the other guys.”
[We also would have accepted Minnesota, Cincinnati, Detroit, Kansas City or Chicago]

Also, note that there are some Indians fans in the audience who cheer whenever their home city is brought up. Must be Drew’s family.

Drew brings up Colin’s Canadian-ness, and right as Colin’s about to rebut, he notices both he and Ryan are standing…so he bends over on the chair and moons them.

Drew’s abilities in this game have come so far from the first time, as he’s just as quickly changing positions as the other two, to the point where it’s pretty damn fluid

By the end, Drew and Ryan are…both standing and bending at the same time, thinking the other one is doing the other thing. Which is at least a funny subversion.

A pretty good, if kind of hollow, playing of this, but you have to applaud the abilities of all 3…which you don’t really get to do very often in the US version imo.

Overall: Like the other show from this taping, a consistently solid affair with no bad games. I would put E8 a little above this one, because while I can name a few highlights from that one [Greatest Hits, Helping Hands, Party Quirks], the only real highlight I can name here is Dead Bodies. Possibly Questions as well. Everything else was solid and lawful, which is perfectly fine. But while all the games were good, only those ones really jumped out at me to remember the next time. I mean, Hoedown, Sound Effects and Weird Newscasters are all great, and SSB is…quaint, if not laugh-out-loud. But I was waiting for another game that matched up to Dead Bodies, and I really didn’t find one. I might be being a bit too harsh, as I still liked the show, but…I just think they peaked with Dead Bodies and never found it again.

Show Winners: Colin & Ryan
Best Performer: Colin Mochrie, continuing his dominance this season, and also for being put front and center in multiple games.
Worst Performer: Denny, another victim of the show’s fourth-seater problem
Best Game: Dead Bodies? Of course. Because that game made me die laughing.
Worst Game: Honestly? Stand Sit Bend. Over Song Styles, barely, but…it just had the least amount to it.

COMING UP NEXT: Another cast-member of Drew’s stops by with Brad, and if you thought Kathy Kinney was unprepared…

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S01E12, or BIIIIIIRDMAN!

I didn’t love E11, and want to leave with a good taste in my mouth, so here’s a Brad Sherwood episode. Remember, he’s the ‘bad boy’ this season.

Unlike a lot of S1 tapings, we would get a second episode from this show within this season, a luxury reserved for only two other tapings (a Greg one, and a Denny one; sidenote, I planned on asking why they emphasized Denny so much, but seeing as she’s really damn good, I’ll be asking that less and less now)

Let’s Make a Date: Wayne must choose from Brad, game show prize announcer, Colin, the world’s biggest glutton, and Ryan, talking chicken having trouble laying an egg

Again, we’re letting Brad do more character work and less proctoring…but I liked his bachelorette voice

Both Colin and Ryan seem betrayed by their quirks for this

Unsurprisingly, Brad gets this one down to a t.

Wayne: “You make me want to pick Door #2, one for me and one for you…”
[…how eerily prophetic]

Colin just answers his question with his mouth full.

First of all, Ryan’s panicked facial expression gets the audience laughing even before the know who he is.

And then Ryan’s facial expressions and contraction noises are…just ridiculously funny.
Then, while Ryan isn’t looking, Colin takes Ryan’s egg and eats it. Ryan, in response, just looks away, trying not to laugh.
Wayne, just barely keeping it in: “Bachelor Number O[..]ne?”

The way Brad lists this off, just jutting past the whole ‘monkey fur’ thing, without even moving his head or body, then ending with the same, rehearsed, ‘BACK TO YOU, gooorgeous’…that is skill.

Wayne: “You make me want to pick a vowel, and it’s ‘OOOOOHHHHH'”

Then, Colin, TOPPING EVEN THE FIRST ROUND, yanks a leg off of Ryan and starts eating it. Ryan starts panicking and clucking like mad.
And then Ryan’s heart, leaving him collapsed on the floor. Dear god, Colin

Then Ryan, still lying on the floor, has the egg pop out, so Colin grabs that.

Once Drew buzzes…the relieved, horrified noise from Ryan is one that amused the hell out of me.

Wayne: “And bachelor #3”
Ryan, still on the floor: “ohhhhhhhh”

Drew: “1000 points to Ryan, because I love the way you cluck. Nobody lays an egg like you do, buddy”

We start on an exceptionally high note, with…an insanely silly and cohesive LMAD. Really dug this one.

Duet: Brad and Wayne sing to Dana, a dental hygienist, in the style of a 60s R&B song.

Already, Brad and Wayne are impressing me with their coordinated hand movements

Wayne: “Why don’t you take me to your love sink, and let me spit”

Wayne and Brad do pretty well vocally on the escalated chorus bit, which is very Motown, and very cool.

Wayne: “Why don’t you open your mouth. Here comes my big drill.”

A very solid SS from Brad and Wayne, though you could tell Brad was deferring to Wayne for most of it.

Drew: “2000 points to Dana. Saw the big drill, didn’t even flinch”

Newsflash: Brad and Ryan in the studio, Colin in the field in front of snow monkeys

Brad: “Could you please me very descriptive of what’s going on here?”
Colin: “Well apparently it all started with new pictures of Dr. Ruth on the internet”

Brad: “What do you actually call those things?”
Colin: “well, I call that one Frank…and, uh, Terry and Jill”

Colin, still not sure: “You know what? They also do… a show. Every Thursday night. It’s amazing to watch, and the drinks are free”

Ryan, knowing Colin’s right there, makes a Michael Nesmith reference, which…gives it to him easily

A fine, if uneventful, playing of this.

Drew: “During the commercial, I got spanked.”
[Ryan, Wayne and Brad all start shaking out their hands]

Film, TV and Theatre Styles: Wayne is the Birdman of Alcatraz, and Ryan is his prison warden

Now Wayne’s been indoctrinated into this game, which is a very wise idea, especially now that it’s still a two-piece.

Drew: “What? Porno, okay”
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Drew: “Porno, said the woman we’d all like to get to know”

I’d like to specify: they cut the first part of this out, and foolishly put it in the bloopers, but a guy in the audience starts shouting ‘Bergman’, but Wayne and Ryan, apparently Adult Swim subscribers, keep thinking it’s ‘Birdman’, with Ryan even going ‘BIIIIIIIRDMAAAAAN’.

Drew: “Wayne…is the Birdman of Alcatraz”
Ryan and Wayne, calling back to…what happened 30 seconds ago: “BIIIIIIRDMAN!”

The scene begins with the already-silly visual of Ryan just firing rounds at a bunch of birds.

Ryan: “That bird is the one who shot my pa!”
Wayne: “…you’re pa’s the one who ate my bird!”

Ryan, doing his usual redundant Shakespeare: “IF YOU WERE A MAN…WHO WAS AWAY FROM BARS, YOU WOULD BE…freeeee…”

Also, Wayne’s Shakespeare, as we’ll be reminded time and time again, is pretty accomplished

The physical aspects of the Sumo Wrestling style are just…really silly. Ryan taking food out from under his flab. Wayne making ‘shhppling’ sound effects.

Drew lets this image sit for a few seconds:
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Drew: “…..porno.”

By the end of the scene, they’ve lost the plot, but this was still pretty funny. Ryan and Wayne do work pretty well together, and I do enjoy this pairing.

Telethon: NBA Players

Charity Anthem returns with a new name. I say this is Greatest Hits, but more collaborative

Someone, when asked for a suggestion, yells out ‘Spice Girls!’ I would have loved to see that one.

Colin, immediately permeating Ryan’s calm mood: “THAT’S RIGHT, WE’VE BEEN UP FOR SIX STRAIGHT HOURS.”

Ryan: “…386 million dollars, ladies and gentlemen? HOW CAN THEY LIVE ON THAT?”
YES! Loving this subversion

Colin: “Because to entertain you…THEY NEED ENTERTAINMENT.”
[and with a beat, Colin shifts into a pants-wettingly funny delivery]
Colin, suddenly sad: “…PEOPLE…

Ryan: “D’you have any idea how much it costs to make one Size 18 shoe? 350 dollars, and that’s for ONE SHOE. MOST OF THESE PLAYERS WEAR *TWO*.”
God, they’re killing me in this


Ryan: “They have families to feed; some of these guys have three or four wives…”

I kinda love how they shoot/frame this like an actual telethon as well, using a classy fade from the Laura shot to the two-shot of Wayne and Brad, and having them walk onstage as well. The little things are cracking me up so far

Brad and Wayne do some of their usual impressions, like Brad doing Springsteen, and Wayne doing Aaron Neville and Stevie Wonder. I did like Wayne’s Michael Jackson, which came out of nowhere and got some applause, and…as always, Brad’s Fred Schneider impression, making its…I think 1st appearance.

Dear god that was a great game. Not only did it give everyone something funny to do, but the singing bits tonight was equally as funny as the Colin-Ryan banter, but…it was close. I really wish they would have played this more often, as this is a nice alternative to Greatest Hits, and it emphasizes Wayne and Brad’s impression skills. But, as it stands, we’d only get a few more playings.

…and now I act like I don’t know what’s coming next. Hm. This show’s been getting some awesome momentum late. Wonder if they keep it going?

Hoedown: Going Bald; Brad, Drew, Colin & Ryan

Yeah. We’re doing this.

Drew: “We need a major life event”
Audience member: “MENOPAUSE!”
Drew: “…how bout a major life event that men can relate to?”

Eventually they decide on ‘Going Bald’. Immediately when he hears it Drew looks at Colin, to make sure he’s cool with it. He is, but…
Screen Shot 2019-07-23 at 6.59.07 PM.png

Let’s see…I think I know this one by heart, so…Brad’s is first:
“I’m losing my hair, and it really is a pain
I find out every morning when I see the shower drain
But as you can see, it isn’t quite for me
But at least I’m not quite as bald as Colin Moch-a-rie”
[The second he says Colin’s name, the audience goes wild]
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And the immediate reactions:
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Drew is still thinking when the shot falls on him.
Drew: “Aw man…took my rhyme. I WAS GONNA DO THAT!”

Drew pivots, and talks about how he’s happy he has all his hair, and he loves combing it, “I never need a breather. I’m really happy I’m not Colin Mochrie either.”
Again, the audience is loving this
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So we get to Colin. Who, like Drew, takes an extra beat. I have a feeling he was working on a rebuttal piece solely for Brad, but now he has to redo it in his head. Meanwhile, Ryan is completely blank. It’s late in the show, and he probably was gonna do something like Brad’s, but now is probably thinking of a rebuttal verse, saying Drew has a little cock or something.

Colin goes ahead, now smiling:
“People always kid me, cause I’m losing all my hair
I can’t really help it that I’m follicly impaired
It really is quite horrible, but my life isn’t through
I still get way more sex than either Brad or Drew”
And with that, he steps back, having owned both of them. The audience dies about here. He just sort of shakes his head, knowing he’s won.
And Brad and Drew…
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Ryan has nothing, as I said, because Colin just took the rebuttal verse from him, in some way. So now he has to act fast, and…he does a simple, clean one about using a bald head for other things, “or you can rent it out for advertising space.” Which is…at first glance, a disappointing finale to an otherwise stellar hoedown.

…it is until you find out what Ryan was GOING to do for that last Hoedown verse. Again, it was the end of the show, the producers, including Dan, wanted a funny final line from him that was usable, and he had literally nothing, and everybody took his so…he just rolled:
“When it comes to Hoedowns, I’m doing another one
After the first one, I thought that I was done
I feel like such a fool, and I feel like such a twit
This is what I have to do to please the fuckin’ Brit.”
And…yes, the audience died. And in an alternate universe where WL is on HBO or something, that makes it to air and it’s the greatest Hoedown of all time. But…for now? It’s just an outtake that could have been.

But…as it stands, that’s still a phenomenal hoedown, from Brad and Drew’s slams all the way to Colin’s ownage. There’s a reason people remember this one so fondly.

Overall: I always prefer a show that gains CRAZY momentum late to a show that chugs along quietly, and thankfully this episode was the former. Not that LMAD wasn’t an awesome start, because it was, but Duet and Newsflash were preparing me for another very okay show. Then about halfway through F&TS, the show hit its stride. From the sumo portion of F&TS on, this show was hysterical: all of Telethon made me laugh, and that Hoedown was skillful as hell. So what if it took a while to get there, it still got there in the first place, which is more than I can say for E11. This had a ton of fun moments, a lot of nice character work from Brad (which was much-needed), some great dynamic shifting, with Ryan and Wayne having a great duo presence, and some much-needed Colin dominance after a quiet last show. Not perfect, and I guess we’ll find out in a few shows which games I would have swapped Duet and Newsflash with, but…still a grand old time.

Show Winner: Wayne
Best Performer: Colin, by a [heh] hair.
Worst Performer: Brad, who didn’t standout as much as I’d like, despite a great showing in LMAD
Best Game: Telethon. I just loved this game tonight. I dunno if it ever works again like this, but…it was so good here.
Worst Game: Newsflash. Very ho-hum, ‘this is there because it fits’ kinda game.

COMING UP NEXT: A second episode from Denny’s first taping…aka, the one I liked less than the second one. Liked her first two shows, hopefully will like this one.

Whose Line is it Anyway US: S01E11, or A Close Friend of Teen Attorneys

On the heels of the best show of the season to date, we hit another Greg show. I am kind of happy that the producers banked on Greg as a recurring fourth-seater, but I get the feeling that they were in between using Brad and Wayne as the third regular, and used both in similar roles. So…why did Greg not get that treatment? Yes, he can’t sing as well, but he’s still hella funny.

Let’s Make a Date: Wayne chooses from Greg, President Clinton, Colin, gradually being eaten by soldier ants, and Ryan, a masochist

For the first time, Wayne gets to guess in this game, rather than Greg. So Wayne begins the game by putting on lipstick.

Greg: “Scuse me, can I interrupt for just a second? How old are you?”

For the first time, Colin lets the audience read who he is, then once he knows they know, just sighs and shakes his head. Like ‘…yeah, now you know my pain’

Ryan just starts by beating himself up for a stupid answer, and then:
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A confused Colin starts throwing the ants towards Ryan

Greg: “You don’t mind if I smoke, do you?”
A loud ‘OHHHHH’ from the audience

By the time we cut back to Colin, he’s missing a leg, which is a great visual

Wayne: “What’s your favorite book and why?”
Colin, exasperatedly fending off ants, “…WHO GIVES A DAMN???’

Colin’s final image, his head on the stool as ants crawl past and finish him off, is actually kind of horrifying

…as is Ryan’s, as he just ends up slapping his ass, yelling ‘bad boy’…which leads to this:
Screen Shot 2019-07-23 at 4.08.43 PM.png

Wayne: “…and bachelor #3….”
Ryan: [motions for Drew to come here]
Drew: [nods no]
Wayne: “…was the pornographic version of Rain Man”

Great playing of this. I do think having Greg as a contestant made it more collaborative. Felt like a later playing, especially with Colin’s head ending up on the chair (which means I was expecting Ryan to try and yank Colin’s head back up with him)

Film and Theatre Styles: Greg is a farmer who comes to complain to Ryan, a neighboring farmer, about some giant killer bees coming from his barn

Ah yes, sometimes I forget that they paired Ryan and Greg in early F&TS games.

I feel like Drew buzzed too early, as Ryan was whispering to one of the bees ‘back to the barn, my little-” before Drew went in.

Also note that Drew pronounces horror as ‘Hor-roar”. I think he does this because he doesn’t want the ABC censors thinking he’s shouting ‘WHORE’ at them, but…this pronunciation will backfire on him when we get to S6.

Ryan, in a very Vincent-Price-movie read: “They’re not my bees, I have no control over them- ‘back into the barn, wait until I call you'”

The Kabuki style has Greg subtitling a line of his as ‘my cows are swollen and red’

…and, in the Elvis style, Greg uses bee stings as a way of doing some Elvis wiggling with his legs

Hell, right as Drew buzzes, both Ryan and Greg are simultaneously doing some Elvis ‘oh-ho-ho-ho-ho’s, and it’s hysterical

Sesame Street:
Ryan, perfect delivery: “…you can’t SPELL ‘B’, b’s a letter!”

Drew: “Greek tragedy”
Greg, pivoting: “…Testiclees”
Ryan walks over, crouching
Drew decides to end it there, as there’s no way they’re topping that.

A very alright playing of this. I just wish Drew would have waited to end styles a beat longer, or waiting for the right line to end on.

Hats: Dating Service Videos

Screen Shot 2019-07-23 at 4.21.55 PM.pngGreg, with a grade-A sports reference: “I am from Minnesota, we have come for your women!”

Screen Shot 2019-07-23 at 4.24.03 PM.pngColin: “…I will have you on a boat, I will have you with a goat…on a boat? with a goat? I don’t care!”

Screen Shot 2019-07-23 at 4.24.54 PM.pngWayne: “…yes, Captain, I’d like some booty”
Multiple members of the audience yell ‘YEEEAHHH’ at this. People were really clamoring for Geordi LaForge jokes in 1998?

Screen Shot 2019-07-23 at 4.26.04 PM.pngGreg: “MY NAME’S MIMI, AND I’LL TAKE ANYONE BUT THAT DREW CAREY!”

I find it funny that someone who’s BEEN ON THE SHOW was used as a Hats joke.

Great round of Hats. I feel like most of the US ones so far have been really good.

Weird Newscasters: Colin anchors, Greg, Captain Kirk, co-anchors, Wayne, sports, is on a tape is speeding up and slowing down, and Ryan, weather, is an excited rock star in front of a big crowd

I’m glad they’re giving Greg more improv things to do other than proctor, and this…involves impressions tonight.

Greg starts by adjusting his toupee, which is a great touch

Greg, OBVIOUSLY, nails this impression. I know Jim Meskimen did a great Kirk, but…Greg’s just may top his. And remember, Greg has WORKED with Shatner, so he’s seen him up close.

As a baseball fan, I find it very funny that Wayne’s talking about how great the San Diego Padres were playing, especially considering how much of a punchline they’ve been in the last decade.

Ryan’s is kinda basic, though I do like his coming up to the cameras, and smashing the weather-board like a guitar

Greatest Hits: Songs of the Postal Worker

I notice that when this game is announced, Wayne just comes up rapidly with astonishing force. It’s not everyday you see HIM feign enthusiasm for a pick-up. Usually it’s Ryan for Hoedowns.

Colin: “For as long as there’s been mail, there’s been…someone to deliver it. That’s just a fact!”

Colin and Ryan are both looking at each other for the first one like ‘I’ve got nothing, do you have anything’. So Colin thankfully takes it anyway, with “that great Latin song……MAIL!”
Greg enjoys this

I absolutely loved Wayne’s first number, even if it was short.

Again, Colin and Ryan don’t have a ton to do in terms of banter, as it’s really just some Wayne showcases, but Wayne’s doing a bang-up job so far.

Ryan: “Hey, why don’t you buy one for me this Christmas?”
Colin: “Sure…like I’m made of money.”

Colin does lead to a fun laugh here, by accidentally saying ‘Tina Turneys’, or Teen Attorneys, and then correcting himself “…Tina TURNER’S…”
Meanwhile, Drew’s already cracking up.

Colin, finally: “TINA TURNER’S BIG HIT…’Hey, man, tie up your dog!”
Greg and Wayne lose it at this

Also, DAMN, WAYNE DOES A GREAT TINA TURNER IMPRESSION. That’s some pretty nice vocal resemblance going on there.

Solid playing of this, though I wish Colin and Ryan had more banter bits

Helping Hands: Ryan is a pet care guru teaching Drew how to look after his dog

Ryan starts as a fan of Drew’s show: “The tall guy on that show is SOOOO FUNNY. Gotta give ‘im more lines. He doesn’t get enough lines on the show.”

As Ryan describes this stuff dog as ‘the sweetest little’, Colin has the dog attack Ryan at the neck

Colin is doing great at dealing with Ryan’s dissonance in mood, saying pleasant things while meaning that this dog needs to pay. Like Ryan says he can give the dog a bath, but Ryan forcefully shoves the dog into the water. It’s a very complex, very fun character thing they’re doing together

There’s a great bit where he takes the dog out of the water, and wrings the stuffed animal out…by the neck. So it means two things.

Ryan starts talking about his blend of dog food
Drew, saying the magic words: “How’s it taste?”
Colin: [shoves the dog food into Ryan’s mouth]
Ryan sighs, and just offers some to Drew, who declines. The audience is going wild, though

And then, Ryan says a contemplative thing about his history with cats…as Colin shoves another handful of dog food into Ryan’s mouth

Drew suggests he wash this down with something
Screen Shot 2019-07-23 at 4.48.38 PM.png
[of course]

Yes, this is ‘the Helping Hands where Ryan eats dog food’, but it’s also a very funny, very complexly-characterized playing as well. I do feel like they’d try to repeat the apex of this playing too many times, but it was funny enough.

Overall: A very middle of the road show, to be honest. Nothing bad here, but a lot of games that felt truncated, like F&TS, or not as good as usual, like the banter in Greatest Hits, and Weird Newscasters. There were some good games, like Helping Hands, Greatest Hits in general, and Let’s Make a Date, but…this show felt pretty safe at times, like it was resting on the games they knew would work. Not a lot of surprises, not a lot of changes in format. Funny in points, but not one of the better ones of the season.

Show Winners: Ryan and Colin
Best Performer: Ryan Stiles, for commanding a number of scenes as well as eating dog food
Worst Performer: Honestly? Colin had a down night.
Best Game: Helping Hands, though LMAD and Greatest Hits came close.
Worst Game: Film and Theater Styles. It just didn’t work as well as it could have.

COMING UP NEXT: After an episode of Star Trek references, Ryan comes in the reddest shirt in his collection. Actually, Brad makes this a very colorful show, sort of like the ones where he, Steve, Colin and Ryan all had neon colors on.

Whose Line is it Anyway US: S01E10, or Are You Dutch?

Two episodes after her debut, Denny Siegel returns to Whose Line for her SECOND taping. If you think getting Denny Siegel for two tapings, even after the preliminary rounds of tapings, is odd…wait til her third.

I mean, it’s probably thanks to a logical explanation, like ‘Karen Maruyama was out of town’, or ‘Denny bribed Dan & Mark’, but…was it really about talent, or was it about availability. That’s, I guess, what we’re figuring out this time around.

Also, unpopular theory: I feel like the outfits all four wear tonight are a bit more reminiscent of the general wardrobes of Season 2, so I always confuse this taping with the Denny taping from S2.

Questions Only: In a Daytime Soap Opera

Denny: “Why didn’t you tell me my twin sister was prettier?”
Wayne: “Why didn’t you work out so you looked like her?”
Screen Shot 2019-07-22 at 7.22.06 PM.png

Wayne, already regretting that line, mimes taking a drink

Ryan: “Are you Mrs. Phillips?”
Denny: “….”
Colin enters
Ryan: “Are you MR. Phillips?”

Ryan: “Are you aware you’re going to be a father?”
Colin, knowing the genre they’re going for: “WHO’S THE MOTHER?”
Ryan: “You don’t know?”
Colin: “Don’t you know I’ve had a wide experience of women?”
Ryan: “…are you Dutch?”
Colin, barely hanging on: “Why should that be taken into account?”
Ryan: [breaks]

Wayne: “Would you believe that I’m your son?”
[Colin gives the audience a minute to laugh at that]
Colin: “Do you mean from that…one night of passion with Jarelda?”
Wayne, doing his first of MANY Gary Coleman jokes: “…what’chu talkin’ bout, daddy?”

Wayne: “Don’t you want a REAL man in your life?”
Colin, after a beat: “…why not?”

Ryan: “Don’t you know you have to leave this town, Gary?”
Colin: “…”
Ryan, as Denny enters: “did you hear Gary left?”
[jesus, this round]

Already, we’re on a very high note, as that’s one of the best QO rounds we’ve had since the UK version. Good stuff all around.

Song Styles: Wayne sings a gospel song to Sheila, an attorney for the INS

Drew seems skeptical that the very beautiful Sheila is an attorney
Sheila: “I’m serious!”
Drew: “Yeah, so is Susan Dey…”

Wayne has an early line about how Shiela “is keeping me from crossing her border”, which reminds me that a lot has changed in 20 years as far as immigration is concerned..

And this general gospel scheme is…a cousin of the Game, Gospel, and last show’s Greatest Hits gospel. Like it’s three stages of evolution

Wayne puts everything into this one, going on about how he’s gonna ‘run for your love, I’m gonna swim for your love, I’m gonna swing for your love.’

And Wayne comes to an apex by saying “the dogs and the guards can’t stop me from jumping your fence”, and with that he jumps right at Sheila. Sheila, PROVING HIS POINT, lets out an audible scream. Man, hindsight is interesting with this one, isn’t it?

Wayne ends by patting himself with an imaginary face towel, and going “HOLA, WELCOME”.

My god, the energy on that one rose it to the top. Wayne, after a limp one or two, completely went into overdrive, giving an entertaining and funny SS round.

Newsflash: Ryan and Denny in the studio, Colin in the field in front of a 60s beach party

FINALLY, Colin gets put at front and center of this game, where he belongs.

Colin: “Well, it all started at a revival of the King and I, starring Jerry Springer”

Screen Shot 2019-07-22 at 7.41.00 PM.pngDenny: “Now, Colin, i notice that you’re appropriately dressed, are they accepting you as one of their own?”
Colin, sort of following: “…YES, I’VE HAD NO PROBLEM FITTING IN…”

Colin: “The only thing that is keeping me here is this incredible sense of dedication…or, look, I’d be right there:
Screen Shot 2019-07-22 at 7.42.51 PM.png
[Colin would occasionally get a pointing gag that perfect]

Ryan: “Colin, I understand there’s a twist to this story.”
Colin: “…yes, there is….you wanna know what it is?”
Ryan: “…sure!”
Colin: “…well, of course, all these people are from the senate.”

Drew knows Colin’s close, as he thinks it’s a nude beach rather than a 50s beach party, so he asks for one more hit.
Ryan: “I understand they’ve caught some fish in, uh, Annette?”

Pretty good Newsflash. They’d only get better with time, but this was a nice start for Colin.

Sound Effects: An eastern-European gymnast needs a perfect 10 on all his routines

Ryan: [does trumpet theme]
Colin: [stands for national anthem]

This is just a silly scene in general, with Colin performing all these ridiculous gymnastics routines, and Ryan piping in the crowd going wild

Colin does a javelin throw…and Ryan has it land meekly, so Colin just moves it when no one’s looking.
Ryan, abruptly: [trumpet fanfare]
Screen Shot 2019-07-22 at 7.50.19 PM.png
[Denny laughs LOUDLY at this one]

Then, as Colin ends up stuck on the pole vault, Ryan throws in the trumpets again, meaning Colin has to salute WHILE ON THE POLE VAULT

And then, of course, as Colin lines up for the 100 meter dash
Ryan: [gunshot]
Screen Shot 2019-07-22 at 7.52.21 PM.png

An INSANELY SILLY SFX round. Great work from both of them, but that National Anthem runner had me dying

Drew: “I’d love to give you a lot of points for that, but I distinctly said gymnast, and all your things were track and field.”
Colin: [does ‘rats’ signal]
Ryan: [cracks, then does an impression of Colin doing the pole vault]

Weird Newscasters: Denny anchors. Colin is the co-anchor, and Denny has spread rumors of their disastrous date. Wayne, sports, is stuck in the middle of a busy freeway. Ryan, weather, is Frankenstein’s monster looking for a mate

Colin: “…this just in, ten out of ten men need a second chance. a SECOND CHANCE, THAT’S ALL I NEED. I DIDN’T KNOW YOUR SHIRT WAS FLAMMABLE!”

Denny inadvertently starts a naming theme, naming Colin Ripley Back, then handing it over to Wayne, as ‘Ripley Arm’. Halfway through, she realizes the pattern, and cracks a bit.

Wayne’s is a very basic, very silly one, that ends with him being hit by a car from behind.
Denny: “Well, that’s gonna be the end of his sportscast for a very long time-”
Colin: “My mother had a nice time, why don’t you just accept her?”

The beginning of Ryan’s…will always crack me up. Because he just stands there, as Frankenstein’s monster, just staring, grunting. He begins to turn around, stick his hand out slowly…then just does his weather forecast: “RAIN ON WEEKEND.” It’s just an abrupt tonal change, and I, and Drew, just die laughing.

Ryan, looking at Colin: “…EEEEUUURGGHHH…”
[he turns towards the audience]

For the first time, someone decides to directly interact with a member of the audience in a regulation game. Specifically, Ryan as Frankenstein’s monster goes right for his ‘mate’, a short, bald, mustachioed guido type in the front row, and starts embracing him, as he squirms, and as his wife laughs hysterically.

Then, Ryan takes him slowly over to the green screen set, another first. The guy begins to try and go back to his seat, but Ryan just loudly yells at him, and the guy comes with.

And then…
Screen Shot 2019-07-22 at 8.03.41 PM.png
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…followed by this visual:
Screen Shot 2019-07-22 at 8.04.01 PM.png
Screen Shot 2019-07-22 at 8.04.16 PM.png
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[the poor guy is trying to play along, but is just bemused by the whole thing]

Finally, Ryan hands the guy his number, and goes “CALL ME.”
Screen Shot 2019-07-22 at 8.05.59 PM.png

Pretty much the whole audience, and Drew, are losing it as Denny signs off. I don’t blame them. For the first time, Weird Newscasters works as a truly live game, that can be collaborative as well as unpredictable. Ryan as Frankenstein’s monster passionately screwing an audience member may be the first truly iconic WN moment.

Drew: “Oh…1000 points each…one for every moment I’ll be dreaming of that.”

Scene to Rap: Earthquake

I swear to god, if this game kills the momentum, I’m gonna be so mad. I’m LOVING this show so far.

Denny, despite having ‘Mic-Turned-Up-Way-Too-Much’ syndrome, is a NATURAL at this game, and gives Wayne a much-needed equal at this game.

Wayne, also killing it: “You better get it, get there fast, or else a big rock will fall on your ass”

Ryan enters, and has a clever line: “I’m okay, I’m not sunk, I ain’t movin’ because I’m drunk.”

Colin: “Stand back everyone, only one chance
I am the lord of the Riverdance
I’ll do something to stop the vibrations
By doing the dance of the Celtic nation”
…and then all four, but MOSTLY COLIN, start furiously riverdancing. Perfect.

You know…not even Scene to Rap could stop this show’s momentum. I mean, my god, that was pretty hysterical. Nobody had any bad lines, Denny MORE THAN held her own, and Colin came in with a great ender. I think this game is FINALLY starting to work.

Hoedown: Blind Date: Wayne, Drew, Colin & Ryan

Wayne’s punchline is a Crying Game reference. Tough one. Is The Crying Game a more obscure reference than Annette Funicello?

Colin’s verse is about a blind date who was really abusive, and kept hitting her
“What else can you expect when your blind date is Roseanne?”
…I take it back, this show may have aged well after all

Ryan’s is kind of classic: she says the girl was “the kind of girl that shouldn’t ever see the light”, but…at the end of the day “she still beats the hell out of using my right hand”
…ABC censored the word ‘hand’. And for that, they’re a bunch of asshands.

Although…in the sung-refrain, you can VERY CLEARLY hear Wayne passionately singing ‘hand’ at the end, so…guess it’s not entirely censored?

Overall: This…was the best episode yet. So far, my high-bar for WL S1 has been episode 1, because it was one hell of a strong debut, and easily the strongest of the 7 prelim shows. This one…topped it easily. This one didn’t have a single bad game, or even a single OKAY game…and had three or four absolutely fantastic games, with Questions Only, Sound Effects and Weird Newscasters providing a ton of laughs, and Song Styles just being hella impressive. This is the kind of show where even Denny impressed me, and when the show is biased against fourth seaters and Denny Siegel still has a great showing, you know she might have been something special.

Show Winner: Denny
Best Performer: Ryan, not just because of the Frankenstein bit, but because of the number of great improv lines he had throughout the night.
Worst Performer: Denny. This was closer than I’d like to admit between her and Wayne, but Wayne arguably stood out in more games. Not really a knock on Denny, as she was great all night, but…the other 3 were just better.
Best Game: Weird Newscasters. I can’t not.
Worst Game: I guess Hoedown. And this is proof of how good this episode was, because I enjoyed Hoedown, and I’m putting it last. Man, this was such a good show.

COMING UP NEXT: Onto Greg Proops’ fourth of five S1 tapings with Wayne, Colin and Ryan we go.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway US: S01E09, or Is God a Fireman??

Yep, another one. I am rolling, man. Also, I wanna get through US Season 1 as soon as possible, because it’s kinda monotonous and because the fun stuff happens around S2.

This one’s another Greg show, with Wayne, Ryan and Colin, but this is the first Greg show of the ‘regulation’ tapings, after the first six tapings went well enough. I know for a fact we get another show out of this specific taping, because they stuck it in S3 due to lack of options (my theory? They had another episode planned from the Mork taping, but his people shot it down, they had a set number of shows and didn’t want to squeeze anymore out of S3 tapings, so…went back to S1? Again, I’ll talk about this when we get to S3, because there’s definitely better options than doing a random S1 taping in the middle of S3 ones, but…US WL is screwy.)

Superheroes: Frizzy Hair
Greg: Fruit and Vegetable Man
Ryan: Ice Hockey Kid
Colin: Irate Film Director Boy
Wayne: Playful Licking Puppy Boy

First Superheroes of the US tapings. Nice.

If the suggestion for ‘Frizzy Hair’ seems…weirdly edited, then it’s because originally, Greg was supposed to be ‘Cross-Dressing Man’, which…by 2019 CW censor standards is perfectly fine, but by 1998 ABC censor standards, was a no-go. So they had to doctor ‘frizzy hair’ coming before the actual game, rather than the botched go at it (As the censor shouted hold, Colin muttered “you can’t use frizzy hair, people HAVE frizzy hair”)

As Drew hands the game off to Greg, Greg adds “thank you, meat and potatoes man”

Greg: “I hope my super friends arrive soon, I’ll send out a telepat-”
Ryan, entering: “…ah, I’m already here”

Ryan, in a great move, punches Greg randomly when he thinks he’s touching him.

Colin as Irate Film Director Boy is a great preview of a game we’re not gonna get for two more seasons.

Greg: “There’s frizzy hair everywhere!”

Greg, as Wayne does puppy things: “Please, you’re making my celery stalk go wild…”

Wayne, once again, proves he’s great at bringing in the solution at the end of the game.

Greg, as Wayne leaves: “Be careful on the rug, I jus-OH, NO!”

Ryan: “I should stay, but…what the puck.”
So…’cross-dressing man’ didn’t make it on, but ‘what the puck’ DID???

Solid enough, if…kind of uneventful.

Song Styles: Wayne sings to Jennifer, an English Lit major, in the style of Luther Vandross

Never knew Vandross was culturally-accessible enough to have his own Song Styles

This is a pretty basic SS playing, though I love the part where Wayne is pointing out all his books, then goes “I’ve got Playboy books-NO I DON’T, JUST KIDDIN’.”

This was a cute number, but…compared to the last few, it’s a little too basic.

Weird Newscasters: Colin anchors, Greg, co-anchor, is a gremlin, Wayne, sports, is an emotional preacher at a funeral, Ryan, weather, is being attacked by ferocious animals

Colin anchors WN for the first time, first using the name “Wolverine St. Jack John”, which is less punny but more ridiculous than his usual ones

Colin: “Our top story, an infinite amount of monkeys just came up with the Fox fall lineup”

Greg’s is just off-kilter great. Reminds me how good his character work is…and how it should be used more in the US shows.

Wayne: “The Redskins…who are we to call them Redskins?”

Wayne has the kind of ridiculous energy that enforces collaboration, as he tries to heal Greg but Greg goes after him

Colin: “This just in, 9 out of 10 dentists agree the 10th one should really chill out”
[I’ve always loved that line]

Ryan’s is just…all Jim Carrey-esque goofy, violent physicality. Simple, but hysterical

Ryan’s ending, with…the implication that he’s getting pulled off by rats, is…odd. To say the least.

A good, if lower key, playing of this.

Greatest Hits: Songs of the Lifeguard

Colin: “Sand, water, muscles, GLEAMING THINGS.”

Ryan: “Who can forget that grace- great, OR GRACE. I say Grace, because it’s a Gospel hit-”

I find it very funny that Linda does the backing of…a game of Gospel, from the UK. And that’s what Wayne’s song is, a round of Gospel. Which isn’t a bad thing, as that was a great game. Though, unlike Gospel, Wayne makes his song less about lyrics and more about musical prowess.

Ryan does another mess-up with ‘2 CD set’, which he even makes note of

Drew gets a nice laugh out of Colin’s idea for “that great salsa hit, ‘Son of a BEACH'”

Wayne manages to rhyme ‘thong’ with ‘thong’ in his
Colin: “If you order now, you’ll get the sequel song, ‘two thongs don’t make a tights!'”

Ryan and Colin do another ‘how much d’you think this would cost gag’
Colin: “I would pay…twenty dollars.”
Ryan: “How much d’you think the average person would pay?”
Colin, rehearsed: “89.”

Ryan does another ‘simply titled’ one, ‘[gargling noise]’

Wayne completely nails the faux-friendliness of the lounge style, too, getting some easy applause from the audience.

And…his lounge number is great, because he inserts the title into the lax, laid-back nature of lounge, and the dissonance itself is just hysterical

Party Quirks: Greg hosts
Wayne: aging rapidly
Colin: the roles of Charlton Heston
Ryan: an eagle struggling to carry heavy things

Wayne, with his old man face, stares at Greg for about 10 seconds, looking agitated
Greg: “…you know, we have a bathroom, Wayne…”

Ryan makes his first great Drew fat joke on the show, by going over to Drew’s seat and struggling to pick him up. Consequently, Drew premieres his ‘grin and bear it’ face we’ll see over the next hundred Drew slams from Ryan
Screen Shot 2019-07-21 at 9.44.40 PM.png
Drew, under his breath: “I’m gonna kill you…you’re a dead man…you are fucked up.”

Also, there’s a great bit where Ryan’s trying to pick up the camera, and we just see the camera’s feed:
Screen Shot 2019-07-21 at 9.43.44 PM.png
Screen Shot 2019-07-21 at 9.43.53 PM.png

Then Ryan goes over to the piano, and…
Screen Shot 2019-07-21 at 9.45.30 PM.png
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[I am dying here]

Greg, having guessed Colin and Wayne easily, is now guessing every winged creature EXCEPT a bald eagle, and trying to keep composure.

Drew’s trying to give Greg a clue by saying ‘Philadelphia football team’, and meanwhile Ryan’s trying to pick up Greg’s chair.

An absolutely wild Party Quirks round, topping even last show’s in how wild it was, as Greg would interact with everyone, and…also because Ryan’s was making me cry.

Questions Only: Drew, Wayne, Colin and Ryan are at the Towering Inferno

This QO scene actually seems to have a plot, with a fire Wayne and Drew start in the first round keep going throughout. Colin just enters and goes “WHAT’S GOING ON???”
Wayne: “Will God save us?”
Colin: “…is God a fireman???”

Colin, as Ryan enters: “D’you know where the water is?”
Ryan: [says something in Japanese, and draws a question mark in the air]
Screen Shot 2019-07-21 at 9.51.49 PM.png
[I laughed HARD here]

Drew, running in: “Could you put me out?”

Colin: “Is everything alright?”
Ryan: “Have you stayed at the Bates Hotel before?”

Pretty nice playing of this, though I would have ended it one round earlier. Drew held his own, which is nice.

Overall: Despite some moments of goofiness, this show was a very inoffensive kind of okay for most of its duration. A lot of lawful, perfectly fine games that served their purpose, not a ton of mid-game crackups, and just…perfectly adequate stuff from all four. The only time this show really became something wild was Party Quirks, and that was mostly thanks to Ryan. Nobody did anything wrong, but…I’d file this one under ‘forgettable’, aside from PQ and parts of QO.

Show Winner: Greg
Best Performer: Wayne, who is OFFICIALLY on a roll.
Worst Performer: Tough, because the other three were pretty equal for me. I guess I’ll go with Greg, because aside from WH he was mostly proctoring games.
Best Game: Party Goddamned Quirks. That eagle thing was…unfairly funny.
Worst Game: Song Styles, which had the least going for it out of everything tonight.

COMING UP NEXT: Not only is another Denny Siegel episode next, it’s a different taping than before. They booked Denny on MULTIPLE TAPINGS this year.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway US: S01E08, or I’m Contractually Obligated to go on

I do find it interesting that the most used female performer of the first two seasons of Whose Line wasn’t Kathy Greenwood, or Karen Maruyama or someone like that, but Denny Siegel, an LA-based improviser (and survivor of Quik Witz). I find it interesting that WL would bank so hard on Denny during the first two seasons and then drop her in favor of a more passive improviser like Kathy G.

Well, I guess we’ll find out why tonight, as Denny makes her debut alongside Wayne, Colin and Ryan. This taping would have three episodes produced from it, so if this one’s a misfire, we’ve still got two more chances to make it right.

FOR THE FIRST TIME THIS EPISODE, we feature the new, improved theme music for WLIIA, the one the show would use for the next 8 seasons. I’m not sure why the sudden change, but…it does feel more natural.

It feels like this taping came after the ones from the first 7, as Drew seems a bit more confident, the audience is a bit louder, and…it just feels more polished. Also, for the first time, Drew doesn’t ask the audience if they’re ready. Perhaps the first six tapings were a test run, and now we’re in the thick of the show?

Let’s Make a Date: Denny must choose from Wayne, an amorous Italian opera singer, Colin, gradually turning into a pig, and Ryan, who gets an electric shock every time he has an impure thought

Another outtakes reference, but I think of this game, and I immediately think of the bit from the S1 outtakes from this game, where Keith must have asked for a pickup, and Denny just goes “Bachelor #1, I’d like to lick you like a candy cane”, Ryan starts getting electric shocks, and Wayne just goes “LICKIN’ MY CHOCOLAAAATE”. Either that was a pickup or round 2, because it’d need all 3 to have been revealed.

Wayne turns his laughing into vocal exercises. He’s…nailing the hell out of this.
Denny: “I could just stop playing right now, but I’m contractually obligated to go on..”

Colin’s not as good at animal stuff as Ryan, as this is the kind of quirk that’d usually go to Ryan, but Colin is great at gradual panic, and this scene has a ton of that

Ryan: “Hello, it’s very nice to make your acquaintance”
[exhales, relieved. and then the audience sees his quirk, and applauds]

Ryan: “You have lovely hair, by the way. I’m sure that’s your natural color…FFZZZZTTT”
Denny, playing right into Ryan’s hand: “Well, #3, if the date goes well, you might get to check”
The audience, who KNOWS what’s about to happen, give some ‘OH’s. Ryan does eventually get zapped again, but he times it PERFECTLY

And this laugh is…just simple. Colin makes some grunting noises. Silence. Then Ryan gets zapped again. SO SIMPLE, but hysterical

Then, after Colin answers he’d ‘go all the way home’, Ryan starts getting zapped BIG TIME, drawing the laughs over the edge. He spins around, gets Colin hooked, and then they BOTH start getting zapped. I do think Ryan did something else in his question that was cut in between here, but it still comes across.

Denny nails the first two,  even Colin’s, saying he’d ‘upset all my rabbi friends’. But she’s stuck on Ryan, who she thinks is either taking a lie detector test or a fly getting zapped.

A really nice playing of this. No complaints from me on any of them.

Song Styles: Wayne sings to Trisha, a swimming instructor, in the style of Louis Armstrong

Wayne gets some early applause for just doing a really good Louie.
“I want to sing a song, today
I saw you at the YMCA
I knew it would not be far
If I was drowning, would you give me CPR”

This is an incredibly cute number, made even cuter by Wayne’s trumpet solo, and some scatting.

A really nice one from Wayne, made evident by the applause from pretty much everyone.

Props: Ryan and Denny vs. Colin and Wayne

Screen Shot 2019-07-21 at 12.26.29 PM.pngDenny: “MASTER LUKE, I’VE BEEN SHOT!”

So far, some funny executions of usual ideas; Colin getting his hair burned by the olympic torch, then doing ‘bird tracks’ and going “I’m going THAT way”

Also, Ryan and Denny do a really inspired shower mechanism

Basic enough Props rounds, but there was some fun energy here.

Party Quirks: Denny hosts, Wayne is a pinball in a machine, Colin is a chicken with its head cut off, Ryan is the films of Alfred Hitchcock

So, you know how last episode I remarked that Colin watches a lot of movies and always knows the events of them all. This does not apply to Ryan. As made ABUNDANTLY CLEAR by the Aisha shows, Ryan doesn’t watch a lot of movies. So…how many Hitchcock movies is he gonna know here?

Screen Shot 2019-07-21 at 12.30.55 PM.pngANNNND I’M GONE

Drew is dying here, with Colin making disembodied noises and running around while Wayne’s simultaneously bopping around the studio

I may have misjudged Ryan, as he starts doing Vertigo…though NOT a Jimmy Stewart impression. Then he throws in ‘Lifeboat’. Then ‘The Birds’. So…is Ryan’s selective-movie-memory thing a sham in the Aisha shows? Is he doing it to get laughs? Or did he just know all the Hitchcock films and NOTHING ELSE?

I’ll give Denny credit that she lets everyone interact, but now all three are running about the stage and she hasn’t begun to guess. I’m getting flashbacks to Tony Slattery

She does eventually guess Wayne, but it’s after an extra 15 seconds of madness. She also gets Ryan spot on, and gets Colin with some help. I’d forgotten how good Denny was at guessing.

An insane round of this. Denny was definitely overwhelmed, but I laughed

Greatest Hits: Songs of the Butcher

Colin: “Bellbottoms, platform shoes, glitter, afros- but enough about Ryan”
Ryan smirks at this one

Wayne’s disco number is great, but he gets it done with pastiche rather than with funny lyrics.

Ryan: “As an added bonus, if they order it by midnight, what will they receive?”
Colin: “…They will receive it earlier…than if they ordered it later.”
Nice save, Colin!

Wayne’s number as ‘Ray Charles’ cousin Buddy’, is awesome too, with the line “I love your white meat, gimme that pork”

Wayne, essentially taking that number as a dare, turns to Colin and Ryan afterwards and goes “THERE!”

So now Ryan and Colin have to screw over Wayne again, and start introing an international hit, which makes the audience and Wayne crack. Ryan hesitates slightly before introing the ‘ska hit’ “….wieners, legs and chops”

This is the second take of this song, as the first take had an issue with the keyboard, going at 2 different tempos. Ryan had to come back and say ‘YOU’VE GOT THAT ON THE WRONG SPEED’. This is why when Laura comes in at the correct speed, Wayne turns to her and goes “OH, THAT’S RIGHT, MON.”

Wayne does one hell of a ska number, too.

This was one of those Greatest Hits playings that sort of became a dare for Wayne, and goddamn did he pull it off, doing 3 progressively trickier styles with ease and finesse.

Helping Hands: Ryan, who is aiming for a promotion, has invited his boss Drew over to impress him with his barbecue

Immediately, Ryan tries to do a trick by throwing and catching a wiener, but Colin drops it, so Ryan’s already losing it a bit

Ryan eventually throws 2 wieners in his mouth and does a walrus impression.

Yes, this is the Helping Hands where Ryan gets covered in mustard and ketchup. Of course. There’s a brief moment where, after Colin’s gotten ketchup all over the hot dog, he points the spout at Ryan’s face, then he shakes his head, not wanting to go down that road. At least not yet.
Drew, knowing now what has to happen: “Say, d’you ever drink ketchup raw?”

Ryan does eventually have to shotgun the ketchup, which he does not seem enthused about

And then he gets a beer for Drew, purposely shaking it up, knowing what now has to happen to him

This does actually have a nice plot wrap-up, as Ryan figures out he doesn’t need the promotion, or the job. Then he cries into Colin’s mustard covered hands

The game ends, Ryan just stands there, shaking his head, not believing what he just had to do. Drew tries to wrap up the show, but he’s laughing too hard, as are Wayne and Denny who come up for the end. Denny’s just looking at Ryan, impressed and horrified.

I love the outtake of Ryan immediately after this game singing “I smell like condiments”, only for Laura to jump in with a musical motif

Wild playing of this. They’d rely on HH as an ender several times after this thanks to this playing, though it would eventually become a game of ‘how will Colin screw over Ryan this time’. I honestly think this game would improve a bit once it became a mid-show game that Ryan would play with Kathy Greenwood. I can name a few playings of that in that era that truly shined.

Overall: A ton more eventful than E7, with several highlight games, like the collaborative energy of Party Quirks and LMAD, the sort of daring happening in Greatest Hits, and the sheer insanity that went down in Helping Hands. Once again, all three regulars were pretty even, but I’m giving the show to Wayne for his tour-de-force performances all night, especially in GH. Denny was a fine fourth-seater in that she didn’t do a lot, but compared to Greg, who’s been stuck into a lot of proctor-y roles, she had a ton of energy and funny lines that actually impressed me. My one problem with this show is that it felt a bit shorter and lighter than the last few, but there was still enough energy to keep things interesting. Definitely a better show than the last few, and one of the better one so far.

Show Winners: Ryan & Colin
Best Performer: Wayne, for making it look easy tonight
Worst Performer: Denny, despite a great debut performance, for not doing enough to stand out.
Best Game: I’m actually going with Party Quirks, for combining the live energy that would inhabit many later UK playings with the collaborative energy that would become this game’s greatest tool in later US playings.
Worst Game: In a show with no bad games, I’m going with Props, which was the sole okay game in the bunch.

COMING UP NEXT: There are five Greg-Wayne-Colin-Ryan tapings used in this season. Next up is our third of five.