Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S04E27, or Would Ya Like Some Jello…..Hitler?

Oh, man…where do I even begin with this one?

This is from the same Brad taping as episode 17 of this season, which was a great show with a lot of awesome improv moments. This was shot in April 2001, 66 years after the end of World War II, and 13 years before Hannibal Burress would bring allegations of sexual misconduct by one Dr. William Cosby to light.

Yeah, that’s all the setup we need. Onto an all-time classic:

Let’s Make a Date: Wayne must choose from Brad, a puritan witch hunter who sees the devil’s work everywhere, Colin, Pompous politician at a press conference who starts a terrible fight with his fiancee in the audience, and Ryan, the head of Colin’s angry ex-wife sprouting from Colin’s neck

Wayne has a little ‘OH, YES!’ when Drew announces he’s the contestant in this

Ryan gives Drew a confused squint upon reading his

Wayne: “What kind of uniform would you dress up in for……me?”
That pause cracks up Drew
Wayne, still off-camera: “You have to pardon my inflections…’

Brad: “I don’t know WHAT kind of work you’re doing, but I know it can’t be the LOOORD’s work.”
Gotta love Brad just inching right up against what it says on the card

Colin has a very funny stance and voice for his character, and his squabbling with an off-camera girlfriend is very funny, again bringing out the pseudo-Lithgow tones of his voice

Colin: “I’M WEARING THE SHIRT…..I’m having second thoughts. I’M HAVING SECOND THOUGHTS.”
Then he turns to Wayne and remembers the question, and pompously goes “…yes, I’d sleep with you”
In past viewings of this, I’d always thought Colin’s character was the least interesting of the three, but now he’s really winning me over

I love the moment where the audience reads Ryan’s quirk, and Ryan is just looking at Colin, knowing he’s gonna have to get in there. Colin sees this, and knows something’s coming

As Ryan burrows out of Colin’s shoulders, Colin is just shaking his head, so used to Ryan’s crap. And Ryan gets in there, and the first thing he says is “SO YOU’D SLEEP WITH HER, HUH?” Which has to be just what the quirk writers wanted to happen

Ryan keeps going on, Colin has to shush him, leading to this procession of moments:
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The randomness and abrupt timing of that line gets me now more than it ever has.

Colin, barely hiding his feelings toward Ryan, just wipes his nose. Yes, this counts as a nose jab.

Wayne has a snafu where he asks for Colin when he should be asking Brad. Ryan, for Colin, goes “YES?”

Wayne: “Bachelor #1?”
Brad: “YES, HARLOT?”
Wayne, perfectly delivered: “…now HOW’D YOU KNOW MY MIDDLE NAME?”

Then, Colin stands up for his, which means Ryan has to stand up with him. It’s a very silly visual of Ryan’s head being yanked upwards behind Colin.
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Wayne: “I like a man who’s able to make decisions”
Ryan: “SO DO I!”

Colin: “I am very concerned, blather blather, platitude platitude”
Brad, swooping in again: “HE’S SPEAKING IN TONGUES!”

Then, as Colin goes towards the audience, Ryan struggles to A.) hang onto Colin and B.) keep composure. This point, it’s just Colin trying to screw with Ryan as much as he can while still doing this character to the best of his ability

The audience member Colin picks to play his fiancé does perfectly, and plays along, and has a full fake argument with him. And acts like Ryan being on Colin’s neck isn’t weird. 10/10. I also love Ryan asking ‘WHO IS SHE?’ as Colin does this, and Colin’s continued voice for this character

The only person missing from this confrontation is Brad, and once again he SWOOPS IN to protect the audience member

Then, Colin continues to screw with Ryan by turning in a circle in going back to the seats and avoiding Brad. This is amusing as hell

Ryan, to Colin: “Nobody treats you like I do…”
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OH MAN. The restraint from both of them is amazing. Ryan of course going the extra mile, but…both guys refusing to crack up despite this ridiculous position to end the game on.

Drew buzzes, mercifully, and Ryan doesn’t notice for a bit:
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Immediately after, Colin just…cleans his entire ear. Without facially reacting.

Ryan, meanwhile, takes most of Drew’s altoids

Drew: “That picture’s so nasty, they won’t even post that on the internet..”

Ryan, coming back to the seats, spits out most of the altoids, and then goes to Colin: “My mouth’s on fire…I put about thirty of ’em in…”
And they crack at that
Drew: “You know these mints are curiously strong if you pop ALL OF EM in your mouth at once…”
Wayne: “He’s gonna have great breath for like 20 years now…”
Brad, being himself: “FINALLY.”
Drew: “The poor stage guy’s gotta pick them all up…”

Probably a candidate for one of the best LMADs of the show’s history. All three quirks kept coming back up and interacting, everyone had funny things to do, Brad kept cracking me up and popping back in, and Ryan…went for that lick.

If You Know What I Mean: Ryan, Colin and Brad are hotel employees working the night shift

Colin, immediately before the scene starts, is shaking his head. As you can see, he’s still not very good at this game

Brad, starting with a fun one: “I’ve gotta take some bananas up to room 405 if you know what I mean…”
Colin: “I was up there yesterday, I had to go down to the FOURTH FLOOR, if you know what I mean”
Brad: “You don’t wanna go to room 69, if you know what I’m talking about…”
Is it me, or are all of these really good tonight?

Colin: “You’re one with no reservations if you know what I mean..”
Ryan, inevitably: “…no idea…”

There’s a pause where it looks like Ryan’s about to say something, Colin sets him up, and Ryan buckles a bit.
Colin: “You look like you’re expecting a vacancy, if you know what I mean…”

Ryan eventually shakes his head- he’s got NOTHING. For the first time, someone other than Colin comes off pathetically in this game.
Brad, perfectly: “Looks like your elevator’s not going up, if you know what I mean…”

Brad: “Don’t let me be the one to put the mint on your pillow, if you know what I’m talking about”
Ryan and Colin don’t respond
Brad, shaking his head: “…N-no?”

Ryan: “DING-DING-DING-DING-DING….if you know what I mean…”
Ryan shrugs after this one

Colin, after a long silence: “Well, I’m holding out for a bigger tip, if you know what  I mean…”
Ryan: [stiles laughter]

So…a little haphazard, but still very funny, because this worked similarly to Stand Sit Bend to watch all 3 to see who has a lapse next, and who has to get around thinking of a new one. Ryan was shakier than he’s ever been at this game, and Colin was at his strongest in this game.

Duet: Brad and Wayne sing to Susie, who sells drywall, as the Rolling Stones

Like usual for this duo, both of them are kinda doing Mick Jagger, but the Mick impressions are pretty great across the board

Brad gets some fun lyrics down, especially ‘A LITTLE STUCCO’, which gets Susie laughing

Wayne, flailing some arms: “When she laughs, she cackles
Does drywall have anything to do with spackle?”
[Susie is loving the hell out of all of this]

Wayne is nailing the crazy dancing Mick does, probably more than Brad

Brad eventually starts doing some Mick faces up against the camera, which is a nice touch

Heck, Brad even goes back to the seats and keeps dancing, which gets Ryan to do an ‘avert your eyes’ signal

I even like when Wayne sucks his cheeks in and plays guitar like Keith

A very fun number, and it looked like Brad and Wayne were enjoying it as much as Susie was

Title Sequence: Wayne and Brad sing the title sequence of the hit sitcom Bill Cosby and Hitl The Insurance Salesman; Ryan and Colin act it out

So this all starts innocently enough: Drew asks for two unlikely roommates
Audience member: “…Bill Cosby and Hitler.”
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Drew’s even nodding, going “Bill Cosby and Hitler, CERTAINLY unlikely roommates”, and he’s very down with the  suggestion.

Of course, for the first time on the broadcast show, we hear Keith, the director, interrupt the taping by yelling HOLD, and re-pivoting Drew to do something cleaner. Drew’s even going “You’ve gotta be kidding me”, but this is television.

I do love Ryan just reverting and fucking with Keith, like this won’t make air: “Not THAT Hitler…”
[i love his delivery of that, too]

By the time we restart the proceedings, Ryan’s still laughing at Cosby and Hitler, even though it’s probably been eradicated and isn’t making air.

Drew, on a word from Keith, asks the other end of the audience for an occupation, insurance salesman. This would go on to be the way they played this game, getting a celebrity AND THEN an occupation, so they don’t get two unsavory celebrities. But, as we find out, the censors didn’t like Hitler, and Drew, who couldn’t be more pissed and spiteful through all of this, goes “the name of this 70s sitcom you guys are gonna be singing about is Bill Cosby and the INSURANCE SALESMAN. FUCKIN’ HILARIOUS, ISN’T IT?”

The obvious funny thing about this is that in 2001, Hitler is the objectionable thing in this song, yet 19 years later, NEITHER OF THEM would probably make air.

I love that, while Drew explains the game, Brad gives an overly cheery look, and Ryan and Colin are still cracking up, and everyone’s pretending Cosby and Hitler never happened yet IT FEELS LIKE SOMETHING DEFINITELY DID.

Ryan immediately goes into Cosby, which is a very amusing impression of his.
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Wayne: “One of them is an insurance fellow
The other goes ‘DAAAAHH’ and loves the jello!”
Even post-scandal, I still love this line. I also love Colin doing insurance things while Ryan gleefully has jello pudding.

Brad: “One is a crazy sitcom star
The other helps you protect your car
The hilarity never stops
With policies and jello pops”
Man, even if this isn’t the desired suggestion, these lyrics are friggin great. And Ryan cracking me up by keeping the cigar in his hand

Ryan, however, decides to just be himself and bite the hand that feeds him:
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This…will always crack me up. Because not only is it funny enough itself [So Cosby’s a Nazi], it also FORCES the editors to include the prelude to this, because why else would Cosby doing a Nazi salute be funny?
Colin IMMEDIATELY shakes his head no, which is a fun detail- this is the sitcom dynamic. ‘OH, DR. COSBY. DON’T MAKE FUN OF HITLER.’
Wayne even cracks up in the middle of a lyric

A genuinely solid playing of this. Honestly, you didn’t NEED the prelude in order for this to be a good game, as it’s just well done by Brad and Wayne, and with that goofy Ryan impression. But WITH the prelude it becomes legendary, and a deconstruction of censorship. It also makes the following game funnier:

Scenes from a Hat:

“How the cast of Baywatch would react to an actual emergency”
Ryan: “…waitrighttherei’ll….WAITRIGHTTHEREI’LL…….LINE!”
Wayne: “I’M FALLING” [inflates implants]
Drew, STILL BITTER: “…you can do that, but whatever you do, don’t fuckin make fun of Hitler.”
Wayne comes on and does the exact same joke in German. PERFECT

Drew: “If Tarzan and Tonto were roommates”
Brad: “…you want watch TV?”
Wayne: [Tarzan yell]

Brad thinks of a truly great one:
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“…Tarzan, your in-laws are coming.”
Drew, STILL BITTER: “I love it, let’s make fun of the Native Americans all we want, who gives a shit about them?”
Again…they have no choice but to air all this now. It’s so good.
Drew: “…What did I do?”

Drew: “If you could give the youth of America just one piece of advice, it would be…”
Colin, diverting to another gag: “…don’t let Ryan’s tongue near your ear”

Drew: “Unlikely Souvenir T-Shirts”
Brad: “HOW AM I WALKING? 1-800…”
Colin, ever so wholesomely: “I’m with Me.”
Brad, shooting his shot: “COSBY AND HITLER!”

A pretty fun round of this, even if it was short, but the goal of this was keeping the legend of Cosby and Hitler going, and letting this runner sprout legs.

Hoedown: Director

I do think it’s very telling that they went with this topic TONIGHT. After Keith messed up the show.

Wayne talks about getting into the Hollywood business out of nowhere:
Wayne: “My first directing job was in a homemade Drew porno movie”

Drew stumbles towards the middle of his, talking about his first directing gig:
“It was a porno movie starring Wayne’s mom.”
[It’s kind of appropriate to see Wayne and Drew going after each other right after the allegations that Drew might be on a famous US reality show that Wayne won a few months ago]

Colin: “Nothing really scares me, I know no fear
Nothing scares me since…Ryan licked my ear.”
I do love Colin bringing back this gag, because it’s a great gag, and LMAD is still the best game of the night, even in the wake of the showier Title Sequence drama

Ryan, however, goes for the jugular in the best way possible:
“Our director, he really is the boss
For yelling and screaming, he’s never at a loss
He’s the meanest guy that you will ever see
He should sprout a mustache and move to Germany!”

A pretty good hoedown. Not perfect, but everyone had something fun to contribute.

Overall: Despite this show’s classic status, I can’t call this one much more than a solid overall S4 effort. Ya got one ironclad game, and it’s LMAD. True, there’s a FAMOUS game here, but Title Sequence isn’t a classic playing, it’s just a good playing where a classic thing happens. And that’s sort of what this episode is- a good episode where a classic thing happens. A lot of games here, like If You Know What I Mean and Duet, could have landed in any episode from this taping. And even the games that cemented the runner, like SFAH and Hoedown, weren’t too substantial themselves other than keeping the runner going. Hell, Title Sequence was keeping the runner going itself, because the runner happened BEFORE Title Sequence.

Now, how’s this different from 4×08, where the runner happens between games? Well, there the games are strong enough themselves, and it’s a powerful enough WL episode, that the runner just makes them better. Take out the runner, and this episode falls apart on itself. Let’s Make a Date is the only game that either doesn’t pale in comparison to a runner it’s attached to, or doesn’t pale in comparison to a runner it’s disappointingly NOT attached to.

Keep in mind- I still really like this episode. It’s funny. Some games, like IYKWIM and Title Sequence have their best playings. And yes, the fact that the Hitler incident happened at all, AND MADE AIR, is funny as hell. But as a Whose Line episode, especially compared to some of the strong shows we’ve seen so far in Season 4, it can’t help but come off as a little weaker.

Show Winner: Brad
Best Performer: BRAD SHERWOOD. Not only does Brad own the entire first act of this show, but a lot of the progression of the runner is thanks to him, especially after he hammered the gag home in SFAH. He also kicked ass in both singing games AND made me laugh every time he popped into the shot in LMAD. This combined with his strong showing in E17 proves Brad was ON FIRE during this taping.
Worst Performer: Wayne, aside from Duet and Title Sequence, didn’t have much to contribute here.
Best Game: Let’s Make a Date. A career high, arguably
Worst Game: Duet was very take-it-or-leave it, despite Susie’s exuberance

COMING UP NEXT: Another Brad show. This one comes from the same taping as E20, which was a very meh show. This one is better.

2 thoughts on “Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S04E27, or Would Ya Like Some Jello…..Hitler?

  1. I remember reading an article (I wish I could post the link but I’m having trouble finding it) where they interviewed the cast after the Cosby/Hitler incident and they were pretty taken aback by not being allowed to use it. This made the performers feel like the staff didn’t trust them to use their best judgment. And the rejection arguably fails the “yes and” rule of improv- you don’t shoot down an idea because that inhibits the creative process. At any rate, they could’ve just cut the game before air if they did indeed go over the line of taste instead of refusing it from the get-go. Although, in a strange way, I’m glad they weren’t allowed to use it, because it gave us a great running gag throughout the rest of the episode.

    Even before that infamous game, we get one of Ryan’s all-time funniest LMAD quirks, and a “so bad it’s good” IYKWIM.

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